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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, January 29, 2007

You don't need to know where the butter dish is to be happy

'Chaos' has sort of a negative connotation, yet I can't think of another word, yet, to describe the new set of pieces I am working on and mulling through. Perhaps I will do a few and move on, but right now chaotic lines and colors are being registered by my muse into my hands.

When I lived as a single person, I was able to keep an organized little closet, and kitchen and garage. I wasn't a neat freak, nor did I label my closet drawers like some. But I knew where everything was pretty much, and had control over where something belonged, in order to maintain my sense of order, as I knew it SHOULD be. I had one shovel, one hoe, one rake, and no need for a wheel barrel.

Fast forward ahead....Marry a man. Move to a farm. Organization ceased to exist as I knew it SHOULD be. I now have multiple copies of everything- shovels, spades, hoes, buckets, rakes, ropes, boxes, crates.... I also have 3 wheel barrels: one is blue and is my barn barrel, one is grey and has a flat tire most of the time and is for making cement, one is not worth keeping but Frankie likes to sit in it, as do the cats on a warm day if there is compost in it. I spend a lot of time re-arranging piles of old beams in the barn, piles of fencing, piles of bricks to be used on a someday wall...I rearrange the multitude of buckets, feed bins, recycle cans, nail bins, hoes, axes, electric parts, pieces of metal barn roofing until I have it in somewhat of an orderly arrangement.

Then my husband spends a day on a project in the barn, and re-arranges my arrangements.

As three years have gone by, I have learned that certain chaos on the farm must be accepted. Unless you are Martha Stewart with Martha Stewart's staff, there will always be 'stuff' sitting in the barn. There will always be a burn pile growing, waiting for the right weather to burn it, there will always be old posts and boards around because one always needs old posts and boards here, and there will always be a pile of rocks waiting to be made into something.

At the moment, my husband is in the kitchen demolishing the cupboards. Soon, the windows will need to come out. The flooring is gone. The butter dish is not where it SHOULD be, nor is the silverware, the wine glass or the cat food.

But it's all fine. I did a 48" canvas today, sold a bunch of Etsy stuff, brushed my horse, spent time with my donkeys, and it's only 3:30. I specked windows for the kitchen, did a post office run, and spent a bit of time figuring out new cross fencing for the upcoming lambing season. Many things collide daily here - animals, art, business, life, family - but the trick is to approach this 'chaos' as a treasure hunt. I awake with more anticipation each day than I ever did in my life. There is always something to do here, something new, something challenging, something that will feed me internally like the city couldn't. The trick is to remain calm, but alert, with one's head up, and one's mind open. That way, when you are walking by all the stuff sitting in the barn, you won't really notice it much, rather you will make a mental note of the exceptionally nice blue color in the sky.