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

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images ar©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Teapot thrives, while we get sick

One thing about being self employed, you don't get sick days. Martyn came down with a bad sinus cold last week and yesterday I got it. Chills, slight fever, blah, blah, blah. So what do we do? Go outside and work it off. Now I will say it was a beautiful 40+ degree day with sun, no wind, and the task at hand was not that difficult. We needed to put up pressure treated boards on a fence that divides where I feed The Teapot and the other equines. Boone was pushing over the fence to try to get one blade of hay. I'm hoping I can wait until spring to get the No Chew on it, so I was quite pleased that it was still standing this morning [tongue-in-cheek].

Lydia Rose, aka The Teapot has already shed some pounds. We have her on a good diet of hay and trace minerals and tish of senior feed just so she doesn't lose too fast or lose good resources of minerals and vitamins. Her Cushings test was fine and in spring we will do an insulin test, as per the requirement of the rescue we got her from.

I have been working on her ground manners, she has them lurking in her, taught long ago, she just got away with a lot in the last years, and not because she wasn't loved. She is also settling more when i put her with the donkeys, and less 'ears back' to move them around is happening.

To be honest, she reminds me of a combination of Paco when he first arrived, and Rosie the grumpy pig who nobody wanted as their friend. I do not feel any sadness in Teapot, she just needs a clearer job. So I am going to start walking her on a lead into the woods, and I am planning on having "Wood Walks with Teapot" or something like that.

I had planned to make Paco her buddy, and maybe teach them to pull a cart together. But Teapot is not herd bound, and I'm thinking now since she clearly had some driving training years ago, she might be a good candidate to work with on an individual basis. I also of course hope to have her be one of our therapy healers...but we will proceed one step at a time.

I looked at the photo of her taken right before we picked her up, and compared it with the photo taken yesterday. Her coat is looking shinier and she has lost a little bit of weight.

Making the fence Boone proof
Left, The Teapot after some time on her diet

Friday, December 14, 2018

Opie's elder friends sing along

Opie and I made visit yesterday to our friends in Wiscasset. It has been awhile since I've seen them, since early fall when they came for one of their visits to the farm. I have missed them and after two years of getting to know them, I truly mean it when I say–and I told them–I miss them when I don't see them regularly. The last few months were so full with the new barn addition and other projects....I had to take a step away for a bit.

So it was an extra special visit yesterday. There is a new resident who is very sweet, and I enjoyed meeting her. She is very homesick, and she shed some tears, I held her hand and supported her sadness. She doesn't think she belongs there, but her kids do. At ninety, to have to leave your home...it is all hard stuff.

We talked about that yesterday, how they all do miss their homes, but they know they are lucky to be at WG–and I will say it is a very homey old house, in the beautiful little village of Wiscasset. But...to have to leave one' home...there is no getting around it, it is a sad thing and it is something some people might never adjust to.

I don't know if I will be so graceful at it, if it comes to that. Yes, it comes into my mind from time to time–where will I end up? I of course want the universe to take me out quickly, and let me live amongst my animals, and Martyn, for as long as I am meant to, and then just dissipate me. I think everyone has fear of being put in a 'home' and some are so much worse than others.

I told the new resident that I will be back regularly, and that she is going to find herself falling for Opie. She had a goat as a little girl, it was at her mother's farm, but she wasn't much of an animal person she said, but she wanted to come meet Opie. I hope to get to know her, and maybe bring things to our meetings that will give her some joy, some comfort.

The residents heard it was Opie's 2nd birthday, and they made him a little "2" out of raw squash, and then we all sang. Opie wore his jingle bells too. He was very quiet yesterday, the room was very warm, with a space heater on, and sun streaming in the windows. He took a stand up nap at one point.
The residents also surprised me with a little gift of a calender and a farmer's almanac-so sweet! I told them I had a New Year's surprise I was working on...Joe said they never expect anything in return because they just so love our visits-that was so special, got me verklempt thinking about it.

I'm very excited to start the new year, and get them all out to the farm again too. But we'll be going on visits starting up in January...it clearly brings them joy, as do Opie's letters. In spring or summer, i hope to bring Ollie when we can be outside but I'll need an assistant with Opie and Ollie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Who is two? A breakfast animal cracker toss!

Our little Ambassador of Love turns two today! He is still stinking' cute, and still full of love, all though on a quieter tone than when he was a rambunctious little sprite-the latter has been taken over by Opie's sidekick, Ollie.

We tossed animal crackers today in his honor, for breakfast, and The Misfits thought a breakfast party was swell-why wait until lunch or tea for a birthday party?

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Annual Live Nativity Scene...who will be Jesus?

Before you ask, no, I never film or photograph the Annual Live Nativity Scene. We have to have some rituals all to ourselves. Besides, it takes a lot of energy to get it to happen, and often ends in disaster, like someone knocking the manger over, or Boone eats the Baby Jesus bed...

This year there is some debate about who should be Baby Jesus. I will let them figure it out, this is really their Christmas event for themselves, so the decision is their's to make.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Odd animal friendships-it's all the rage, but we knew that long ago

In case you haven't noticed on social media, it's all the rage to post sweet videos of odd animal friendships-emus and donkeys, chickens and cows, dogs and ducks, on and on. I enjoy many of those videos too. Although I do sense many are propped.

Many people are out of touch with Nature and I feel like some of these videos present Disney-ized versions of real creatures. There are people out there that truly believe all pigs are teeny [um, those are called new born piglets] and should dress in clothes and live in houses, or that a horse lying on the cold earth in winter is abused and they call a sheriff [please don't do this, horses love to lie on the ground even in winter].

So, I hesitated somewhat to share my Goose & Llama evolving friendship, but after weeks together, the goose, who we named My Grace, does seem bonded with her llama. And I like that, she has a defender. I find them sleeping together, they eat together, and for the last couple days I've allowed Birdie to go outside and get some sun. I wanted to make sure she was stable enough, the last thing we want is for her to fall or pull something due to her nerve damage as it could set her back.

I now have Birdie on anti-inflammatory pills and we have gone to pills every other day after getting good results for one week of daily pills. The idea is to taper her off as much as possible without losing ground. Nerve damage is a long road of recovery, if at all, so I feel we will go a year before we see what recovery we will have.

But I'm pleased with her progress, and she seems like herself too. She tried to do a little llama 'skip' something they do as they run, head and neck down-it is like a frolic and I so miss seeing her do it, it is pure joy. But she couldn't quite make it work, and I encouraged to stop and stand.Still it was a sign of progress.

So Goose & Llama will not be appearing in any viral videos, I am sure of that, but their friendship does seem real. And lets not forget My Grace was there for our old friend, the World's Grumpiest Pig aka Rosie. I've seen these inter species friendships many times, and sometimes they stick, and sometimes they evolve.

I have a crazy theory that My Grace admires Birdie's long neck, and Birdie admires Grace's neck too and how it can twist and turn.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

We celebrate Papi!

Papi turned a year older and we celebrated with him this week. Papi is one of the youngish elders in the Elder Cat Suite, turning 10. When the shelter took him in he had such bad case of urinary issues that he had chewed his penis off. Surgery was done to help what was left, poor chap.

If you have met Papi you know he is not one we have to worry about keeping weight on! The opposite. He is a portly fellow but what is funny is he is always the one to sit back and let everyone else eat first, so I try to give him as little wet food as possible. But on his birthday, we did not measure his intake.

Everyone needs a day off from counting calories, I told him.

{If you are one of the I-Love-Papi-Club people, feel free to send him a donation, or cat food [of course the latter will be hidden in a locked safe}

Monday, December 03, 2018

Will I ever learn

You'd think after all these years I'd learn not to store the Christmas lights in the barn.