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

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, December 04, 2017

The man who keeps the place standing...and a good chicken love story

As I age and especially as I work with more elders, I think of what will come of me, of us, and our animals when I get really old. I will be sixty in spring...this is not old-old, but I am entering my final quarter. After the riding accident, after any bad fall, it does change your perspective on falling. I always assumed I'd carry on as usual into my final years, always walking, always working outside, always with animals in my life.

I liked what a woman in her eighties once said to me, that she did not like, nor did she deserve, to be 'detracted' from. At the time she wanted another dog, she missed her dog terribly but due to her age some family members felt it was not a good idea-so many things could go wrong-she could trip on the dog [she could trip on the carpet], the dog might out live her and be homeless [the dog might die before her, and if she did die the dog might end up in a wonderful new home, just like my pug Hughie ended up with me]; walking the dog might cause her to slip on ice [there are solutions to these things, perhaps a small outdoor pen on the deck or outside the door for winter months, something my parents did for a short time].

One has to be practical, but too many times I think we treat our elders like they don't have experience and inner knowledge of their own. They have lived 80+ years, they must have some clue of what works for them. I saw an article this week about a farm setting elder home in the UK where they are incorporating chickens into the daily lives of the residents. One of the residents had had to leave his home, and he was somewhat depressed. The manager spent time talking to him and found out one of the things the man missed was his chickens. So she decided to see if they could help him with that. And soon, the home had a chicken coop and the man had some chickens which he cared for, and other residents helped too. The man's depression went away and he talked more, smiled more, felt more like himself.

As someone who has moved, a lot, and also had to leave my beloved farm in Oregon, I know how unsettling it is to leave animals and a place that once gave me a purpose. I loved the article about the chickens, and realized I want to make something like that happen here too. I have so much work to do, so much. If I was rich I'd buy the property next to us and turn t into a farm-eldercare place, so there could be a few animals, and I could help. I've even thought of trying to raise funds for it, but I need to focus on getting our barn built, and continuing our elder work. We had our first annal meeting with our board and many good things were discussed and one was to recognize the 501[c][3] is evolving in its own time frame, in its natural way. I sometimes get ahead of myself.

I wonder if I could stay here without Martyn. I am a very handy woman, I have lived alone most of my adult life until I met Martyn in my forties so am very self sufficient in most ways-but there are many things here that I rely on him for. I am grateful for each thing he does. He keeps the place standing, fixes the things that need work-important things like electrical and plumbing. He can build things-crucial to any small farm.

We talk about what we would do if one of us died. It gives me comfort to hear him say he wouldn't leave if I died. He loves Maine and he loves our house. I think one of the crucial reason we landed here, in this state, in this region an din this house is it was right for both of us at this time, but it was crucial to Martyn's well being. His life here is better with less commuting and less stress. I know I would stay too if he died, but, it seems the reality of what is coming in the final decade or two is present everywhere in my work with elders. I don't dwell on it, but I don't think a day goes by where I don't thank the skies for what we have together.

And he's stinking' handsome in my eyes.

{If you like the work we are doing with our non profit, helping animals and elder people, please consider a donation which are tax deductible.}