Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Communing with ewes, and rainbows



This weekend we worked on building more lamb stalls in the old barn. While Martyn worked in the old ram area replacing dry rot beams, I was left alone in the other side of the barn with an air gun and plenty of nails - another monkey house is being created! [See earlier post]. It was the worst wind storm going on outside, with torrents of rain, which most of the West Coast has been tormented by...Being inside the old barn reminded me of being a little girl when we lived on five acres in Minnesota, and on many spring days, when the winds would come in, I would take refuge in the sumac groves on our property. I was safe and quite warm out of the wind, but could hear the wind- Funny how sounds and smells transport you in time. I can still remember the plaid pullover I constantly wore back then.

I also got to spend quality time with the sheep, ewes that is, with Joe Pye Weed safely out of our area [yes, we have the new ram area done, so I don't need to go into the pasture to bring him in - my limbs, skull and bones are somewhat safe from him now, and yet I can still give him kisses through the stall. Rosemary is our head ewe, she is going on 4, and is the mother of our other lead ewe, Daisy. She is the inspiration of many paintings and part of the product line. Once the other lambs came last spring, the dynamic of the sheep barn changed, not in a bad way, but the quiet times I would spend with the ewes in the morning was gone, and it was harder to bond as closely with the lambs, and wise not too I suppose. So being in the barn with them this weekend was so nice, rubbing their ears and under necks, which they love. They go into their trance state, and eventally start chewing cud. Daisy actually kept putting her nose in my face each time I would stop rubbing her. I tried to feel heartbeats of lambs by putting my head on their bellies but couldn't, but their udders are starting to bag a little. The other three younger lambs, Lewisia Pinkie, Coral Bell and Lilly of the Vally, are due in mid March. Coral Bell is a real beauty, in that Audrey Hepburn way, gazelle like with beautiful coloring. I read some Katahdin sheep breeder say that when he hears a breeder talking about 'color' in sheep, he knows he is dealing with a novice and it should not be a factor when culling your flock or choosing breeding stock. Call me a novice, I love chocolate colored sheep, and I love the buttery colors of my ewes, and the freckles on Joe Pye. I also love their good teeth, strong and straight legs and body stances, but if I want to look at their color as a desirable trait , I will. If that labels me a 'novice' or a 'city-woman-who-thinks-she's-farming-now" label to certain farmers, so be it.

At the end of the day, after days, weeks of rain and very few sunbreaks, flooding of rivers, Martyn and I started back to the house and there over the range was a rainbow - and then it was a double rainbow. Of course, this was a message, perhaps from the many butterflies, moths, and flies I have helped out of the house over the years who are now residing in thir higher states - they were obviously showing us that Apifera Farm is graced, and to hang in there for more rainbows.

And to the coal minors - I am thinking of your suffering today.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~