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

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images ar©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A proper place for little souls

Today was the first real spring day, the kind of day that makes gardeners get twitterpated. The kind of day that makes you forget it ever rained. I could actually hear things growing, really, the grass makes this sound when it grows - at least the grass on Apifera Farm does. Huck and I drove into town to pick up feed, and on the way home I couldn't resist stopping at one of our local small nurseries and buying some more honeysuckle, and chatting up with the two owners. Just seeing the plants and feeling the warmth of the sun made me change my plans for the day. Painting could wait until tonight - 65 degrees and sun were my muses today.

I indulged in working in the garden, and got all wrapped up into re-configuring my entrance to the Apifera Farm Small Rodent and Bird Cemetery. I'm quite pleased with myself, and even though my stone work is always crude, it brings me pleasure. I laid some old split rail that we brought up from the cow pasture, and created a series of 'rooms', one area for sitting near the cemetery. So now one can sit and visit with all the little souls buried there. And later in spring or summer, I will be able to expand the burial area. As I lay the split rails out in square rooms, it reminded me of being little and how we would make rooms out of leaves, piling them up to create walls. It was magical then, and it was magical today.

I must say, I do spend quite a bit of energy and time on that cemetery. I chose to hand paint the headstones and varnished them for protection. But each year I have to repaint them. I wish I knew how to etch in stone - but goodness, this would be a little time consuming. "Oh sorry, I don't have time to do a gallery show this month, I am busy etching bird tombstones..." Still, the quite of working under the two Redwoods while I care take the little cemetery is very soothing.

We had a wonderful weekend combining a lot of work [including hanging the door to our vegetable area which is now protected with deer fence] with a pleasant meandering journey over to a nearby Mossback Farm, owned by a couple we met recently. Val and Rich are so kind and gentle, very informative, from diverse/creative backgrounds and very busy reworking their farm to be more fertile and productive. They used to raise meat chickens, but cut back for a million reasons [their blog is very informative about agriculture and small farm issues] They have some sheep and a cow or two and are doing all this without any out buildings or fencing - they use temporary electric fence allowing them to rotate pasture. It was so good for us to visit another couple on our playing level, so to speak, doing the work bit by bit themselves, on a shoestring I assume, as we are, but enjoying it, and believing that they are making a difference for the land. I really felt good stuff going on there. It made me love our farm even more as we drove back home, and I heard the familiar sound of the driveway gravel under our car, and heard the sheep bleat and saw a swish of a palomino running up the hill to our barn. Home.


Dave said...

I just found your blog and love it. I am so ready to leave professional life for farming and artistic pursuits. My wife seems ready, I think. We will begin researching/driving to places to live this summer. In the meantime I will visit your farm blog often for tips and inspiration. Keep painting and posting!

farmgirl said...

There is something about your writing thatis so something. Pleasant? Peaceful? Calming? Inspiring? Soothing? They don't sound quite right. I think it must be a patented magical swirling mix, unable to be precisely put into words.

I only know I love it.

Anonymous said...

Nancy from Maine (graphic designer, gardener, dog person) and admirer of your art -- see my friend who "introduced" you to me at http://www.maryannelloyd.com/
says: I used to be a Seattlite and am still convinced that Apple Trees Bloom and all Life Starts on the Ides of March. However, here in Maine where it hasn't rained for over two weeks -- not even any cloudy days -- trees don't really come into leaf until May.
We have a headstone out back (a reject from a gravestone carver) where we bury the bats that our neighbor's cat leaves as offerings. It has bats & skeletons dancing on it.
Your blog made me happy today that such bright sparks exist in the world.
About peace and the state of the universe: My 78-year old Hoosier uncle (who went to Palestine as a member of the Christian Peace Maker Teams) sent me this thought about the world today,
"Our small acts do have significance. Yesterday I was reading this which Tom Fox wrote while in Iraq.
"It seems easier somehow to confront anger within my heart than it is to confront fear. But if Jesus and Gandhi are right then I am not to give in to either. I am to stand firm against the kidnapper as I am to stand firm against the soldier.
Does that mean I walk into a raging battle to confront the soldiers? Does that mean I walk the streets of Baghdad with a sign saying 'American for the Taking?' No, to both counts. But if Jesus and Gandhi are right, then I am asked to risk my life, and if I lose it, to be as forgiving as they were when murdered...
Standing firm is a struggle, but I'm willing to keep working at it."

elaine haby said...

I've also just found your blog, and love it! Your words describe your days so vividly & the photos are wonderful.

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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 ~