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

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Prayer flags for the travelling Misfits



I've asked people to send The Misfits prayer flags so I can hang them in their trailer for their long journey to Maine. They don't have to be fancy. One person just sent a sweet little white rag just like my Prayer Flag Tree this past year, with her state on it; and others draw little things. So if you want to help us on our journey to Maine, send us a prayer flag with your state name on it. It makes us all feel safer and that light will travel with us from the West to the East.

Send to The Misfits, c/o Apifera Farm, 14710 NW Tupper RD, Yamhill, OR 97148. Get them here by 5/11.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Respect the dream currents



People ask me how I could leave this place. It is an evolution when you live anywhere, even places you love. I did not plan it, but I didn't plan my birth either. A full circle has been made, I feel, with the new buyers. When I heard that they will name the farm a Norwegian word that symbolizes "the tree of life" and they will plant a tree to commemorate that, I felt so good, calm and satisfied, and proud, like we were passing the torch onto the next steward–the right steward.

So knowing a good buyer that cares about this place is taking over makes it easier to say good bye. I think the leaving day will be emotional, but we've asked the new buyers to be here, so as I look out my rear view window, I know the farm is in their care, and it is meant to be. We are meant to continue the next step of our dream together, in Maine where Apifera will grow new root stock and shed some old branches too.

Dreams are fluid, like an ocean wave, if you try to hold them back you might suffer and you have to respect their under currents too.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Apifera special public service announcement



Time is flying. The Misfits are packing, or I'm packing for most of them. We will heading out the second week of May. The store will be put on hiatus the first week of May so we can pack and carry on. Once in Maine after the long five day journey, I will need some time to get the store back up and everyone settled.

So, if you are planning to shop for art, cards, prints or sachets, best to do it this week!

During the journey East, I will be sharing our trip on Instagram.

It's getting pretty real! But still time to shop or support the Misfit fund too. I appreciate how the extra help so far! Since I am the sole bread winner for the next few months, my art sales are very important. It is always a bit uncomfortable as a freelancer to close up shop for even a week, but I'm trusting in the Gods this time. I need to give full attention to the journey and the care of my cargo-and to just enjoy America as we drive across her mountains and plains.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Diary of a Pig: Earnest's journal



April 24

There has been much discussion of late about seating arrangements for the trip East. I hope to be near Eleanor, but it is unlikely. The people know me, and I know them. We both realize my yearnings could cause problems. I will hope for some lovemaking on arrival in Maine. It has been too long, me thinks.

The pink pig from Old Barn is problematic. I hope to not be placed in the same riding compartment as her. But what can I do about it?

We have had warm weather and have had many mud baths. We have been informed the travelling mobile has no bath tanks, or mud, and the windows are high so sight seeing will be impossible. But there is some kind of mission to have a secure chair to stand on, so we can take turns seeing America. I have put in a request too, I'd like to stop at some of the national forests, since I've never been to one, now must be my time.

I have a microchip now, we all do. We were assured that it will keep us from going to jail in Maine, and it is even good for European travel. I have taken note of this, and am considering a trip to Paris, or Scotland. But first, we will leave our home here, and see America, and perhaps stop at a drive in too.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Conversation with The World's Grumpiest Pig



The time is moving quickly and we are preparing the Misfits and the trailer for our trip to Maine. I have spent much of the morning in discussion with The World's Grumpiest But-I-Like-Myself-Just-The-Way-I-Am-Pig, aka Rosie. The conversation went something like this:

"Rosie, this traveling crate is how we will get you into the truck to go to Maine. Look, I put your food bowl in there,check it out."

"Hrumpf. Nuwwum squeal, nope," she said.

"It is a temporary bed. You will travel in your own mini suite," I encouraged her.

She stepped one piggy toe in the crate.

"Hrumpf! Not soft!" she squealed.

"Of course, I see, but I will get the finest straw for your bedding," I said.

She let me know in no uncertain terms her thoughts, by grunts and pig motions that only I can decipher at this point since nobody else lives with her but me.

"No, Rosie, there is no room for you in the back seat. You will travel in the trailer or truck bed."

"HRUMPF arsolophis grumpf, humpf!" she said.

"Do you have any idea how much effort I am making for you?" I said as I sat down near the crate, frustrated. "I'm running out of time Rosie. Maybe I'm just...nuts."

"Hmrompo mushes....grumph...." she said in a quieter tone. And she she moved into the crate to eat.

I walked back to the house.

"Can I pull this entire thing off?" I thought to myself.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Days of mud baths



It has been in the high 80's for three days, very hot for this time of year. As you might remember I hate heat. I considered sitting with Eleanor in her private mud bath, but there is so much to do, and how could I interfere with her spa treatment?

And on another note-the newsletter is also out. Hoof stomps!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The mother ship has entered the barnyard!



So we brought the traveling Misfit hotel home yesterday! She is parked in the barnyard where I will feed The Misfits to get them used to it, hoping for a smoother departure day.

But here is the thing. Remember how I said the Kickstarter project would evolve? While this trailer is not at all what I first imagined when I put the Kickstarter online and we had not decided to move to Maine, but I realized the design of this trailer has ways to become my Magical Misfit Book and Healing Mobile! The back door has dutch windows on the top, and when opened, I could be standing there handing out pie, with Misfits in tow with me. There is a front room where I could have my books, and it is plenty big for a couple chairs and a Misfit or two. With some creative draped fabrics and Apiferian raggedy touches, I think this is the start of many good things. You all know I love to get creative with fabric.

Here are some pictures of the first Misfits going in the Magical Mobile. Of course, the challenge is figuring out seating arrangements. The biggest challenge is The World's Grumpiest Pig who will need her private area. Everyone else will be easy after that....although I think Itty Bitty is going to be one ticked kitty.

She [I need to listen to her to hear her name] is brand new for safety, and was quite a bit more than I planned, way more really, but we could not have found anything suitable for less money. I'm not messing around with safety for this journey. If you'd like to help offset the Misfit traveling hotel, feel free [and thank you].

[The GoFund budget is almost 50% less than the price]



I made a deal with the devil, but angels intervened

I have been recovering from a huge mistake I made. I am going to write about it so it might help someone else. Back in February, when we accepted the offer from someone to buy our beloved farm, I had internal turmoil from the minute I met the buyer. There are many details I can not write on a public forum, but I will tell you that my body and internal instincts told me this buyer was not the person he said he was. He paraded around telling us he would care for our sheep and any animals we wanted to leave. With bravado he suggested iphones for us at closing but to me it felt shallow and made me realize he was a wheeler dealer. The second I shook his hand, I had a visceral reaction. But we accepted his offer. That was the day I made a deal with the devil.

All these past weeks, as we patiently waited for a close to come, my body was telling me-loudly-that this person was not worthy of this farm. But I would stuff it, telling myself not to be judgmental. My body reacted every time I had to deal with the buyer. I would have stomach aches, my right side became so tight I was having daily head aches. I was drinking a bit too much at night and going to bed early. I was having dreams of rescue attempts. I would wake at 3 am and cry silently into my pillow. I chalked it all up to the usual stress of a move.

The buyer made many blunders as the weeks passed, including having a shady lender from out of state-who went AWOL in the middle of the deal. Literally disappeared. I googled him. He was someone who had fled Canada for being a pedophile. My body shook. The more I discovered about the buyer's life in NYC, the more sick I became.

Because when you make a deal with the devil, you are not in a healthy relationship with yourself.

We allowed him an extension and he released his large earnest amount. We had after all found and bought our dream farm-pending a successful close here- in Maine and were anxious to leave. We had lots of money down-non refundable-for horse hauling. After the extension, he had a local lender, and I once again told myself 'all was well', but my animosity for him grew. I began to despise him. But what I really couldn't accept-yet-was I despised myself for letting my farm fall into his hands.

Every chore I did on the farm with my sheep I disconnected from them. I grew impatient with my flock. I told myself it was part of letting go.

Because when you make a deal with the devil, you convince yourself of all sorts of things.

As the new closing date of 4/15 approached, there were more signs Mr. Big was not who he said he was. He got stuck in underwriting. Because of the new lending laws, there is a mandatory 3 day period before you can close. If he didn't get out of underwriting by Tuesday 4/12, he would not be able to close, and we were not going to grant him an extension. On Tuesday night, he wrote us an email via his realtor telling us how much he was spiritually connected to the land. I spit at that screen, and deleted it.

And then, angels appeared. I am not using that word lightly. I believe angels were involved, as long as all my inner guides and upper guides. Friends of our good friends had loved our farm back when they first saw it online. They were disappointed it had already sold, but they continued to watch to see if it closed. Meanwhile they looked at many farms, and none compared to ours. Our mutual friend suggested they contact us, as she knew there was some trouble getting to closing.

So they came out, and we loved them. This depressed me even more, as we were in a binding contract with the Devil. While we knew he could not close with a loan by Friday, he could possibly close with his swarmy cash. He had many businesses he was running out of NYC and we legally would have had to let them buy the place if he had cash by 2pm Friday.

I reached out to my healer in Minneapolis, my spiritual guide and teacher who has helped me for years work with my own inner guides and abilities. My mistake was put into perfect words for me- I had made a deal with the devil, I was so eager to begin the next part of my dream that I ignored my relationship and responsibility with my current farm. I had fallen off my track, so impatient and eager to get to Maine.

Meanwhile the new buyers came out twice, and we hatched out a plan for them to buy our farm in a way that we could somehow not lose our Maine farm. I was back working with people that deserved my farm, I was working in 'right relationship' as my healer called it. We just needed to get past 2pm Friday to be free of the devil. At 1 pm Friday, I got word the buyer could not get cash. We were free. My body lifted.

I was given so many gifts of learning. Never, ever, lose your soul to something that you know instinctively violates your beliefs. Never give up your own heart to fulfill one dream if it works against everything you put into the last one. The fact these new buyers came at the moment they did, the fact the timing was what it was-it is as if it was all meant to be-for learning, for the preservation not only of my soul, but for this beautiful place, and my flock.

While we were still dealing with the devil, I told Martyn that when we did drive away from Apifera for the last time, I would leave the sheep in the upper barn, so I wouldn't be able to see them as we drove away. I thought that would be easier on my heart. But I realize now, that was my attempt to forget what I was about to do-leave my farm and flock in the hands of the devil himself. I didn't want to see what I was about to do, I was ashamed and I knew it was wrong. I sensed danger for my sheep but i kept making excuses.

The relief we both feel, knowing this great family will carry on here-yes, with my flock- is huge. I am so happy for them, and us. I sat with my flock yesterday and sobbed. I apologized to them and I told them of all my lessons. I know they don't hold a grudge, but when I look at their faces now, and all the land and living things here, I think how close I came to leaving it in the wrong hands.

I'm humbled by my error, but, also I walk away with new respect for the inner sensitivities I have, that I sometimes push away, due to impatience for a desired result. The devil loves to target such people because he is a manipulator.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Diary of a Pig: Earnest's journal



April 10. Sunday evening.

The weather was good. The mud has crusted over allowing me too dust a bit, but also lets me maintain a light layer of mud as the sun heats me up in the afternoon. I have been quite lazy. Why not, I am not allowed in with Eleanor right now. She was not interested in me yesterday when I pressed my body up to the gate. I could knock that rat trap gate over if I wanted to, held up with hay twine, it would be less than an afternoon's work for me. But like I said, I feel lazy. It's the warm air and sun.

This morning we had breakfast and the day seemed like yesterday and the day before. I don't keep track of the name of the day like the people do. Why bother. But I knew something was different about the day when I saw the two of them together in Eleanor's paddock, with wire crates. All of us in the upper barnyard were curious and gathered to watch. The squealing began. One by one my children were caught and carried off to the driveway and the trailer. Eleanor was not upset, so I followed her cue and did not worry myself. I heard no bullets. The llama took care of circling the paddock so there was little I could do to interfere. Then I remembered she mentioned it to me, my woman. She told me the children would travel to a near by farm to live. Children go off, that is the way it is. They don't come back. I have my consistency here though-my food and ample areas to bed in. I have White Dog, and Eleanor, and my daughter Cornelia. This is enough for me. I like the people, they interact with me and care for my feet and rub my belly. But I don't need to be surrounded by piglets running amok.

So the children except one have gone off to their own destiny. I am told they will live out their lives there in the pasture, with goats, and two brothers that came from my seed. A pig either is in a pasture for life, or is eaten. I don't judge the outcome either way.

It was quieter at breakfast without the children. A nice quiet. They were good looking, like their mother.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Pino says farewell to a friend



This morning I had an emotive, beautiful encounter with the donkeys. My farrier came to do trims on everyone. It will be our last time seeing him before we leave. We've had him for years and love him. He came to us back when Paco had just arrived and that poor little donkey had no confidence. It took four of us to hold him for his feet trims. Each time, he got better and more relaxed, now he doesn't even need a halter on.

We trimmed the donks first and usually they hang out in a corner while we trim each one. But today, they all kept close to us, literally huddled in a circle right up on us.

"They're saying goodbye," the farrier said.

It was so sweet. We knew they understood something. Each time we shifted our stance, the donkeys would move themselves back into our sides to be close.

After we trimmed Boone, my farrier started going on about how much he loved working with us and how good a heart I had and to never let that change. I teared up a little, got that cracky voice you get to hold back tears. And as he got in his truck to drive off, he waved one last time and said "Thank you" out his window.

I turned to take Boone to the barn. The donkeys usually just go off on their own and graze the minute they are done with a foot trim, but there was Pino running the fence line with the farrier's truck on the other side, and he was braying.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

My former life in a treehouse



When one makes a major transition in life, it seems the natural tendency is to review one's life. I think this is understandable. The past brought us here, the present is launching us forward, and it makes sense to review the material a bit before moving on. So as I stumble on things in my house purging, stories come up.

I am of the lucky ones who got to have a tree house in my very young years, and I didn't have to wear a helmet, or even shoes. It appears I often dressed for an occasion too. This was on Goodrich Ave. in St. Paul, one of my favorite houses and times of my life-or as I recall. It was a large grand house with secret rooms in the basement and an octopus furnace, the attic came with forgotten boxes of ancient stuff, and my bedroom had a window that allowed me to climb out and sit on the roof, naked, waving at the man across the street on his porch. My mother used to tell me stories of how he would nearly have a heart attack seeing me out there, one story up, casually laying about.

"She's out there again without her clothes," my brother would say, according to my mother 's retelling years later.

There was a bakery around the corner where my father and I went every Sunday and I always got free stuff because of my curly red hair and I suppose charming personality. I know I was well behaved but I also am told, and it comes as no surprise, I was spriteful and quite independent from the start. I had a lot of friends at the hardware store that was right around the corner too-that would have been Grand Avenue for all you St. Paulites. It was family run and I remember the son of the owner was named Bob. He was probably my dad's age. Once my father and I returned from the hardware store-we went there all the time-and on our return my mother noticed I had put a brand new red collar on our little black poodle. It had diamonds in it, while they were fake diamonds, I am not sure I understood that. I just really liked that collar. The collars had been displayed on the counter at the checkout, on a cardboard stand up display. My mother asked me how I got the collar.

"It was free, it was right out on the counter," I said. I do remember thinking it was not right to be scolded, I really thought the collars were free.

So my mother insisted my father march me back there and return it, and apologize. I remember being upset, not crying, but feeling strange I was in trouble for doing nothing wrong, and I think I thought this would all be understood once we got there, that those collars were free.

Well, the grandmother of the family was working that day, and she said it was no problem at all, that I could keep the collar since it was a misunderstanding on my part. Of course my mother laughed years later, saying they were trying to teach me a lesson, and I got the goods anyway. But to this day, I tell you with my hand on my pig, I didn't steal it, it was free- in my mind. Many years later, when I was in my thirties I suppose, my parents and I stopped into the hardware store. Bob was still working there and was probably about seventy five. His face looked the same to me and his smile, I can see it right now as I type, but he had grey hair. He remembered me, and my parents. The store still had old creaky oak wood floors, the thin strips, and there were bins of hardware up and down the walls. As each customer came and went, I heard what sounded like the same bells ringing, the ones that hung from the shop door. Of all the places I've lived and returned to, there is one street that makes me feel I am back with my family and childhood–Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota.

My father made us the tree house, it was out back behind the family room which was behind the kitchen. I remember it being very high off the ground–it would be fun to see that now, how tall it was. But to my memory, I was way up in that tree. I think I might have to make another tree perch in Maine, maybe for a better view of the bay.

I distinctly remember putting my small poodle in a basket once and then I tied a rope to the handle and tried to hoist her up. It was unbalanced and didn't work, no matter how slowly I pulled. So I put a rope on her collar, and started pulling her up to get her into my tree house. I remember the little dog struggling and I thought this probably isn't good, and dropped her to the ground, and then fortunately my mother saw me and intervened.That little poodle was my right hand shadow and she sure tolerated a lot, but never denied me her company.

There we are on an old door from the basement suspended by a sturdy tree-who knows what plot was in my head in this picture? It was at this time that I can say my memories of my childhood really began, since I was four or five. Kennedy died while I was in that house, I remember my mother crying as she sat on the foot stool right up close to the black and white TV, so I cried too.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The World's Grumpiest Pig turns eight



Today is the 8th birthday of The-World's-Grumpiest-But-I'm-Fine-Just-the-Way-I-Am-Pig...aka Rosie.

Some of you may follow along and know that over a year ago, I found Rosie in the rain, shivering, and that was the day she left the goat barn for good to live in Old Barn. Over the warmer months, I have tried to entice her back out to the sun, but she is content in her private suite with a rooster or two, and visiting donkeys or sheep. The sun still shines down through the old fir floors from the upper hayloft. Rosie does not like interacting with others, never has, and we all know Stevie was the only one who really tolerated her grumpiness. But I miss her in the barnyard, I do.

I told her it was her birthday, which she knew, but she had no interest really.

Hrumpf ruperumph, she said, then ate her egg and kibble. She even tolerated me cleaning her eyes.

How we will get Rosie in the trailer when we move, I don't know. But I do plan on creating a private suite for her in Maine-in fact, I'd like to find some little pink rosebud wallpaper, vintage of course, and put it up on her wall, complete with her Rosie birdhouse.

{Read all the Rosie posts}

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Sophie blossoms



Sophie is doing very well despite having lost Victor this past winter. In fact, her personality is blossoming a bit and she has become much more affectionate and personable with me. She was never unfriendly, but let Victor do all the love sharing. Like many elder couples, when one passes away it can create a necessity for the survivor to come out of a shell, or allows an opportunity to speak up a bit more. For example, to day I was hanging out visiting the pigs at their fence line, with Earnest. And out of the blue, Sophie came down from the upper barnyard to put her head on my hand for scratches. I'm so glad she has opened herself up. She is a tender girl and her bedtime mate is Raggedy, who will be her travel mate when we move.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Mother Tulip returns! We rejoice in life!




I wondered if she would return this year. I thought it might be fitting if she didn't, since we are leaving. But then again, when I saw her little head poke out of the spring ground, in the same spot as last year, I thought,

"She has come to say Safe journey, be on your way.

Like every year, she begins folded tenderly in a tight closed flower head with her yellow coloring on the edges, which burst out red when she opens. Mother Tulip first appeared three years ago. On April 4th, 2013, my beloved mother died, suddenly really, at age 87. My mother loved tulips, as did I, and in Minnesota we always planted bulbs no matter what house we lived in. When Martyn and I moved to the farm, my mother sent us about fifty tulip bulbs. That was twelve years ago and over the years, the bulbs petered out as they do until there were only about 6 tulips, then maybe 4 the next year.

Several days after my mother died, a lone tulip bloomed amongst the Muscari. I felt my mother greeting me, trying to cheer me on,

I'm around, don't worry, go on now and be happy on your farm with your animals. I'm okay.

For the past three years since then, she has returned, still the only tulip.

It is also Boone's 18th birthday. Back in 2013, you might remember that I mentioned that at first I thought it was kind of sad that his birthday would always be entwined in my mother's death date. But immediately I changed that thinking, for it was a perfect example of life going on after death. We must embrace the living and cherish the memories of the dead, but let them walk with us in different forms as we carry on without them.

So that tulip is symbolic of the circle of life. She is strong and unique. She bends with the wind. I am glad she returned one more time to see us. I guess we will never know if she pops up next year. But that's okay, she has given us all she could here. I will plant tulips in Maine and will think of the lone tulip who brought me happiness, and the mother who taught me to plant tulips in the fall for their cheerful greetings in spring after winter's slumber.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Doctor, can you do something about my baby's face?



Every night the dogs run and we let Hughie out and despite his blindness he is fearless and knows his territory. We let him be a real dog, although I am not sure pugs are real dogs, they are mystical little beasts. When we are ready to sit on the porch, we go grab Hughie and carry him back to the deck, always in this pose.

Hughie will do great on the trip, he likes the car and will have his little bed. I have no worries about him acclimating to the new place. He did so here in record time for a blind dog. He is such a delightful little fellow.

Friday, April 01, 2016

My comet is moving pretty fast for its size...we let go



As we wait to move, we are about to go into overdrive-packing, tossing, preparing the trailer for the Misfits and the myriad of details that will go with all of it. Somewhere in there I am hoping to sell art and books and Martyn is winding up his client schedule so money, as always, will be tight. But I now have to focus on the task at hand. I'm the ship captain. Martyn will do anything he is asked but he is not a big picture guy when it comes to moving. 'Nuf said.

Yesterday was a turning point in letting go. I was able to make arrangements with both my equine hauler, and the small barn where the equines will land, and spend 2-3 weeks as we get to Maine after them. It was a huge relief to find someone that I trust and like for both of those things. It was also a reckoning with the fact time is going by and we are really leaving. I want to leave. In fact if I could go tomorrow I would. It is a time of excitement, tension and sadness. All goodbyes are like that. But when I looked at my calender and saw the date the hauler would pick up the equines, and I thought about that day, I got overwhelmed, and I immediately knew we had to leave as soon as we could after them. So I ordered the moving van to arrive that week, and I could see on the calender when we'd all be together again.

Yesterday, I felt everything around me just sort of letting go, even Old barn as I looked at her, and I in turn felt I let go. Things that seemed to have meaning to me here, are less important today. The signs hanging all over the farm that brought so many such joy-like "Watch For Cats Falling From Trees' in the front drive-they won't have meaning now in Maine, or here even. I gave them meaning. I pondered last week about taking them or leaving them. As an artist and writer, they were part of my living story here, and if I brought them to Maine they would be like props on a fake farm. There will be new signs to make in Maine.

I suppose my friends and those that follow me here are almost as anxious to see us get out of here as I am. The words and posts here have a dusting of melancholy, I know. But that is the stream I'm in now. It will change.

This month will be busy beyond normal busy. I might not have time to mourn, but I know there will be surges of reality hitting both of us. People are starting to ask if they can come say goodbye, some are good friends, some are just supporters and I think I am going to have to real in the fences and protect myself from too many goodbyes. It's just too draining. I have animals to say goodbye to also in the coming weeks-some hard ones.

But the weather this past week has been a blessing. The sun is always a positive sign in any adventure. It lightens any mind frame for the trip ahead. Imagine the original pilgrims at sea when they saw the dawn each day. I am sitting amongst moments like these in the photos, with the animals, in the place that birthed so many stories, trials and tribulations, happiness, and some sadness. man I learned a lot. My little comet in the sky, to pen a Neil Young song, is travelling pretty fast for its size.

When we get to Maine no creature I've cared for will be buried in that soil. My mother and father never sat in that house-I will not see them in chair by the window as a memory like I do here. It will be refreshing that way–a new beginning within my life journey.