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

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Pie Bakers!

I just had someone volunteer to make 6 pies for the June 28th Pino Pie Day! Now that is a Pie Ambassador if there ever was one. So start thinking about baking a pie and bringing it too, or volunteering to be a pie server. Visit the Pie Day page to see what's planned so far.

I also stopped at my farm vet today for meds, and got a couple names and ideas about connecting with hospice workers, cancer patients and more.

One step at a time. Pino and I will make a difference to somebody.

On and on


This is Olive Oil, one of Rosie's triplets. She is small, expected from triplets, but I admit to a strong favoritism to her. She is a calm lamb and I do hold her more than the others.She has this odd little impish expression hard to resist. I called her Olive Oil because when she was born she was the thinnest little thing, she was like a board. I have too much on my mind to name lambs right now, so will start thinking. The 4 rams this year are exceptional. Hard choices to come in the months ahead.

The juxtaposition of the spring lambs running around, while we say good bye to my father, is appropriate to relish. One can feel and learn from the cycle of life anywhere, but nowhere have I grasped it more than on the farm living with
more land, and a river ebb and flowing, changing the river banks and uprooting trees.

"She whom we love and lose is no longer where she was before. She is now everywhere."
St. John Chrysostom. This is what I am feeling. The things I learned, experienced, valued, received and felt from my father are all here, around me. They don't go away. If one stops at the moment they are thinking of that person, and notices - that bird that just landed, oh there he is. Or the sound of a branch on the roof - there he is again. The language is just different now.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fatherly winds


I keep a boundary around my personal life on this blog, but I felt I needed to write something about my father's death. It is just the strangest sensation, on the day you get the word. Many know what I mean, others will someday. You can't practice for it, as one person said. Thank you for the many kind thoughts already.


In the predawn morning when my father died, it was not raining but the branch of the Doug Fir outside the bedroom window was blowing. I ate yogurt for breakfast just like the day before when he was still alive.

On the morning my father died, I went to the barn like I always do, first stopping to let the chickens out for their daily free range. I fed Boone and brushed him, taking time to rub his underbelly since he's shedding and he likes it. I watchede the mother ewes and looked over the new lambs while they ate.

"I must name them soon," I think to myself.

For that one moment I forgot what day it was.

I drive to the feed store for supplies. It began to rain at 2:01pm Oregon time. Everything becomes significant on the day your father dies. I see old men everywhere, with canes. One is buying birdseed. Old men are like old trees - they die one limb at a time. I had that thought in my head for a year now, wanting to paint it, but never did.

My father was not a religous man, nor am I preferring to look to Nature and Higher Power as one huge university with health and wellness seminars.I'm a leaf, only with a different anatomy and make-up, and will someday crumble to the worms.

Picking up the phone that morning, I heard the voice say,

"It's happened."

Not, "He's dead," but, "It's happened."

"It". That's a huge "it".

Later in the morning, I asked out loud,

"Where are you? What are you doing right now?"

My crumbling leaf analogy didn't really help as I ran into the impact of this day. Please, do not write and tell me you know where he is. It's really his business now. It would be nice if someone told me, "He felt the need to get away and went on a road trip east." If he had just gone on a road trip, I wouldn't need to know what states he went to, I could fathom he was still on earth, grounded by body. Wearing clothes. Dog at his side. Camera in the back seat. But just a crumbled leaf with the worms, I just could grasp it - on the day he died.

I noticed how sensitive I was to the wind that day. I think there might be this one terrifying moment before death, where I'll struggle to stay on Earth, "Please, I can't leave you behind, Wind!"

All day long, movies played in my mind - of former holidays as a family, pleasant lunches, little moments that are stuffed over a lifetime in a memory book, old houses we remodeled, that night we drank 100 year old Armanac in Zurich as father and daughter and smoked cigars. You remember the oddest things too, like standing in line at the old Mann Theater in St. Paul when I was about 7 waiting to see "Sound of Music". And the night he came into my room and made me a deal when I was 8 years old - instead of me buying tickets to the Monkee's concert, which he would have to chaperone me on, he offered to buy me all three of their albums. I pondered, and recognized the albums would last longer than a concert and agreed. I now smile at his probable relief.

On the day my father died, he was 84 years old and safe in his home with his wife of 53 years and his little dog nearby. He was surrounded by items he could still recognize as important to him. And I was on my farm, sleeping next to my husband, surrounded by fields and animals and things important to me - ike the worms and the wind.

Creatures helping Amelia




NOTE: The Paypal button I originally had below isn't working. So email me and I will send an electronic invoice for now until I figure it out. Wow! I knew you'd love them. Only one donkey left! Now, what about those sweet sheep? Sheep are $18.50 each [includes s/h]

I recently met Deborah Holmes who lives about an hour from me. She has chickens and some goats and has a love of donkeys. In fact, she might own a donkey someday. Deborah knows how to work with felt, one of my favorite things, and she made some mini felt creatures and showed them to me. I was in love and immediately encouraged her to make more! Aren't they so wonderful?

Deborah is raising funds for a friend who needs a transplant. All the money from selling these little creatures will go directly to the National Transplant Assistance fund to help Deborah's friend, Amelia. She captured the spirit of a donkey so well. She also did some sweet little sheep. They are $25-$28.50, includes USA s/h.

And next month, Deborah is going to come teach me how to make these! Can you imagine what will happen when I know how to make felt creatures? A barnyard will form over time....And I thought they might be fun to make for care packages from Pino to elderly or cancer wards. Scroll down to see Paypal button, and select your item.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Power of two


I did this rather odd piece for my portfolio this week. I had intended to do a man and woman, but ended up being 'urged" to make it sisters. The cat that was in one lap soon seemed to evolve into a piglet. I realized I was painting two sisters I know, farm girls. I embellished the story a bit, as I know they don't drink, but it seemed so juicy to think of two hardworking [which they are] farm girls who spend their days flipping goats to trim their feet - and then rest in dresses, barefoot, with a strong martini...surrounded by family portraits - of their best stock. In memory of Sharon - Hey, I hardly knew you, but I can't stop thinking of you - twenty seems too young to go. I will miss your chicken stories and red braids. Catch a rooster,wherever you are.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Raffle extended to Wednesday!

Due to a broken link on the side bar, the raffle is extended through Wednesday, March 19. The link now works, but if you still have trouble, go the store site/Donkey Art section >, scroll to the last image of the donkey.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Pie Ambassador...

I received a nice email from a new Pino supporter.

"... I’m going to bake an apple pie today while your beautiful painting of Pino is fresh in my mind. I think I’ll share it with Mr. and Mrs. Tudor across the street. They are nearing their 90’s and still living independently. You’ve got to love that."

One more baked pie, one more elderly couple getting pie love...Thank you, Kathy B.! You are now an official Pino Pie Ambassador...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Old Friends...



I've added some old friends to the store site for sale, including this one. This is one of the pieces from my very first gallery show back in 2001 and it was an honorable mention in the Sioux City Museum show. Sometimes I hang onto to pieces without intending too, they become guides of some sort for me, but at a certain point, I let them go. I had a tree in Minneapolis that was such a companion for me at the time, such an essence of stability when I wasn't feeling so stable. I have new tree friends now, and this painting might help another as a companion.

I also have brought back most of my originals from out of state galleries and have added some to the store in the Canvas and Original section. I'll have more coming from another gallery in a month.

Growing


Planting season is upon us. I've had my Donkey-Sheep-Clearing Crew taking out the weeds and winter growth of the vegetable area. I let the young lambs and ewes into the garden for about 4 weeks, just enough time for the babies to grow enough to be in the bigger field, and enough time for the ewes to eat the weeds. Then at night, I allow the donkeys free access too, and they roll in the dirt. By the time I till the bed, my job is much easier. I just love that, all of us working toward a goal of making food, or assisting in some way.

Growing your own food is so rewarding. I really love that we have that ability. The more we put our own food on the table, or the food of farmers we get to know, the more sensitive we become to what we see in the stores. One does not need to eat food from overseas - not as a staple. I am all for buying from all countries for variety, but I like the Alice Waters mind set - eat what is in season. The anticipation of our own tomatoes again....

I am happy more schools and communities are working to teach children and teens about growing food. It is so fun, and the results are so tangible. It is the best way to let kids see a connection with the earth/food/farmer/store/stomach. We don't all have to be farmers, but if everyone tried to grow something even in a kitchen garden, it seems one could start making connections with what they are actually putting in their mouth from the stores.

I noticed the local store chain here, finally starting to sell locally grown potatoes. And elephant garlic. Finally. What the customers demand, the mangers will eventually sell. Speak up. One food item at a time. I can't change the world. But I can applaud my store for buying local elephant garlic. It's a start.

Monday, March 10, 2008

How to celebrate your 50th



"She never wanted diamonds or pearls, she always said "Honey,
they're too much money""
...

Last nite, Martyn felt rather badly, as he had not made a concrete plan for my 50th today. I had no problem with this, as I have always been a self entertaining unit from a young age, and I had made some birthday plans for today - a donkey walk with my friend where we would meet a mile from here, she with her donkey, and I with my donkey. On the way, we would pick up litter. We had dubbed this the Lucia Litter Patrol, and I made buttons. We hope to do this a few times a year. Picking up litter with a donkey is a slow process, but it was a nice day, and my day got even brighter when I arrived at our meeting point to see Angelo [father to Pino and Lucia] adorned in fresh daffodils. Now tell me, what could have made my birthday better?

I arrived home to find a package from a friend - fresh brownies and a bee house, complete with live, newly hatched bees. I baked a white cake with chocolate frosting later in the day, and had many nice calls and notes.

Last nite, Martyn suggested a spontaneous dinner out to celebrate early. But it was already late in the day, and I said, "What would really be fun is to build a bonfire and grill hot dogs." Within an hour, my gallant king had whipped up a new firepit, carried a table and chairs, candles and blankets to the area. Some fancy pants people would not consider drinking good red wine with hot dogs, but for me, a hot dog is such a decadent splurge. We eat really healthy, but I love hot dogs, as disgusting as they are. Combined with wine, ah, I was in heaven. As the nite grew dark, and the fire lit the scene, the donkeys appeared in the orchard behind us. The glow of the fire lit up their faces and 3 pairs of ears. I was so happy.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

RAFFLE! Help Pino, win art!


OK, it's time for another art raffle. The proceeds of this are going into the Pino Pie fund. Here is the direct link to the raffle.

I need to start raising money for upcoming events - I plan to have at least 2 private or semi-private Pino Pie days for people/children that are healing or fighting life threatening illness [I have one hospital contact, but am still working out details with them ]. I am also going to contact hospice workers. I just feel if I can get one or two of these under my belt, the reputation will grow, and I'll have pictures and references of real people.

So, help me and Pino out.

Animals bring joy and soothing to those fighting cancer and other debilitating illness. Grooming, petting and hugging a donkey is soothing and brings great joy - I know, I witness it in myself and others. An afternoon with Pino and some home made pie, in the sun, farm smells all around, it will soothe, and help in a small way. And if you know children/elderly or adults who will benefit from a Pino Pie Day, please let me know so I can contact them.

Visit this link to participate. Entries are in multiples of $15, no maximum. If you submit one $15 payment, your name is put on a piece of paper and in the hat once, 2 x $15 gets your name in 2 times, and so on. As usual, Pino will be helping with the actual name pulling.

The winner will receive this 13 x 19" archival print, valued at $155.50, signed by yours truly. These are not available anywhere but on my store.

I'll accept payments through 3/17/08. Good luck, and thank you so much for entering.

RAFFLE!


OK, it's time for another art raffle. The proceeds of this are going into the Pino Pie fund. Here is the direct link to the raffle.

I need to start raising money for upcoming events - I plan to have at least 2 private or semi-private Pino Pie days for people/children that are healing or fighting life threatening illness [I have one hospital contact, but am still working out
details with them ]. I am also going to contact hospice workers. I just feel if I can get one or two of these under my belt, the reputation will grow, and I'll have pictures and references of real people.

So, help me and Pino out. Spread love with pie and one little donkey.

Animals bring joy and soothing to those fighting cancer and other debilitating illness. Grooming, petting and hugging a donkey is soothing and brings great joy - I know, I witness it in myself and others. An afternoon with Pino and some home made pie, in the sun, farm smells all around, it will soothe, and help in a small way. And if you know children/elderly or adults who will benefit from a Pino Pie Day, please let me know so I can contact them.

Visit this link to participate. Entries are in multiples of $15, no maximum. If you submit one $15 payment, your name is put on a piece of paper and in the hat once, 2 x $15 gets your name in 2 times, and so on. As usual, Pino will be helping with the actual name pulling.



The winner will receive this 13 x 19" archival print, valued at $155.50, signed by yours truly. These are not available anywhere but on my store.

I'll accept payments through 3/17/08. Good luck, and thank you so much for entering.

Walkin'


Time to recharge after 20 days of sickness - what better way than to take some time for a walk with a friend. The weather today is around 60, sun. My body needs it. I haven't had time or energy to spend much quality time with myself, let alone the animals, or my husband. I'm feeling good though, just still a bit 'quite', but the worst is over. I did manage to crack a rib or two from coughing so hard. Good grief.

We await the final ewe to lamb. She is so sick of me lifting her tail and checking the hardness of her udder, that she sighs when I appear in the morning - "Are your hands warm?" she asks with her eyes...

We lost one of my favorite bantie hens, Zuchhi, on Sunday. I don't know why. I found her dead by the barn in the late afternoon. No signs of distress, wounds, puncture marks or bugs. She had appeared normal all week, and was laying. She was a comical frizzle, with a unique personality. I held her in the barn - surrounded by the newly loaded 2 tons of hay - and cried and cried. The crying made me cough, and together the coughing and crying disturbed Pino Blangiforti. He arrived at my side, and stood quitely with me. I was crying for that darn little chicken, but also for my father.