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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lady llamas and Misfit updates

Since Old Rudy's death a few weeks ago, it has been calm as far as medical issues with the Misfits. I felt this year would be a lot of losses, and I my intuition was correct. But I knew it would be losses of the first animals of Apifera–Stella, our first goat, for example. We have been here eleven years so I sensed a changing of the guard would begin in this new decade.

I still will hear Stella. She and Iris were a team, and i often slip and call Iris by Stella's name. I apologize of course. Iris without Stella is odd. So many little energy orbs float in and out of the barnyard for me, poking me, reminding me of a face, a special bleat or distinctive voice of one Misfit or another.

I'm so enjoying Birdie. I have her up in Boone's normal paddock, with the elder ponies. I move the animals around depending on my needs, and on what pastures I have my sheep in. It's complicated. One of the complications is that the new boy llama, who went from being called Ollie Ollie Oxen Free to Wendell [and I'm not sure that's right either], is still intact and can't be castrated for another few months. So I can't run him with the flock if they are fenced by Birdie because we don't want llama love-I know you all would love a a baby llamas! But for now, Birdie must remain virginal. There just aren't enough virgins in the world.

Having Birdie in a spot where I see and handle her multiple times a day is so enjoyable, and rewarding. And of course helpful to tendering any creature. Time, that is what animals need with us, and touch. What a unique creature she is. I think she might have some swan in her after seeing this photo, or maybe Grace Kelly has been reincarnated into her.

All the Misfits are doing pretty well. Old Mama Sugee, our earless wonder is eating but not swallowing her food as well. I am anticipating issues by winter-but I said that last fall. She has had one seizure this month which I witnessed, but I haven't more since. If she continues with more seizures, I will make decisions, and not hesitate this time. She has had an extension to her already long life by coming here-but a life with seizures on top of everything else she has going on is not good quality for her. Meanwhile Wilma, her chubby elder daughter, has her ups and down depending on the season due to her chronic founder issues.

You can see Sir Tripod Goat in one of these photos, the little black goat that can't use one leg. He arrived very skittish, and still is with newcomers. But, he finally has figured out that back scratches are divine, especially when I get to this one out of way spot on his hind end that he can't reach. I find that tendering an animal with treats has its limits-I want them to understand even without food, I'm pretty safe and nice to be with. I remember how long it took Raggedy Man to stand for scratching, now he's a love muffin.

I like having the species mix. I think its good for them. Why wouldn't it be? I don't want to only be around people, I think it gives them excitement, drama, humor and something to keep them on their toes.

More Updates:

The Cats of Apifera: After the loss of Mama Kitty, the matriarch, it seems so catless. We are down to Plum and Little Orange on the deck, Hazel in the barn, Tomentosa comes and goes, Big Tony and Itty Bitty in the house, and Peaches the kitty slut. In some ways, it's a relief. But I still think about the different faces that lived here-all 25 of them–and have spurts of missing each of them.

Donkeys are all fine. Matilda is on supplement year round now and holds her weight well.

Stevie has been strong and active all summer, so far, He hates heat so we are glad for more normal temps.

Raggedy Man, Professor Otis Littleberry, Scooby Keith, The Head Troll, Wilbur, Moose and Goose are all well. Watching their pygmy bodies in a line heading for breakfast-it never ceases to crack me up. I must get a video for you.

Sophie and Victor face the challenges of their condition with grace. Sophie is doing excellent, and is more personable each day-a rewarding thing for me, and is putting on some real weight. Victor is doing his best with cheer and sweet smiles. I watch him like a hawk for signs of further issues.

Rosie the pig is grumpy,of course, and living in her private suite. I am going to do a post on her soon. She has put back on the weight she lost in the winter, and her skin is looking good, probably because she is inside the barn all the time.

Priscilla the Old Goose just keeps on going, but now only has one duck to shepherd. I sense that final duck is a bit lost. We lost so many of them this year, two from age, one to an eagle strike, and one to a raccoon.

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