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.





Thursday, July 18, 2019

You might get a Rosie


After a reprieve, it is back at fundraising with the final 80% of our hay due in the next couple weeks. Going to be doing some print and art giveaways in coming weeks. And who wouldn't want a Rosie gracing their wall? I miss her royal grumpiness...sometimes I forget she is gone and will still look over at her last bed of straw expecting her to pop out of it....grumpily. She would have really liked The Grumpiest Old Men, wouldn't she?

Donate here on the blog, or on Facebook, or by check [let me know if you are sending a check so I can count your name in the art give away. We will need about %3000 for the final hay, so if you want to do a matching donation on any of these print give-aways just let me know.

This print is 9 x 12 and has a retail value of $125.


Monday, July 15, 2019

The past beckons...or something

Memory of my mother's turtleneck sweater
I've been waking up in the past weeks, maybe longer, and a memory comes to me from my past....and then I lay there and I try to remember the context of that memory, where I was living at the time, who I was friends with, etc. Sometimes it is a memory from childhood, sometimes from my time in NYC or Mpls in my 30's-40's...I lay there the other morning and tried to create a timeline in my head of this two year period when I had met someone I became involved with, then he walked away from me in a very secretive-lying way, but sort of lingered and it took me awhile to shut the door on him...but I tried to remember the exact sequence of events and it was sort of blurry. That even was such drama and such a huge part of that period of my life...so it was interesting how memory had adjusted itself...and of course we all know how that trauma led to so much like Oregon, Martyn, Apifera and more. The only thing I don't like about saying it that way is knowing the ego and mind of that person he would probably take credit for my life right now.

OK, so anyway, I've been feeling this pull to explore things of the past. I don't know why. I believe in living in the present and trying not to pontificate about the past or future. But I will listen to my muse. It might change course any moment.

My father's blue checked shirt


Friday, July 12, 2019

A loss, questions, a dream

It was a shock.

We had made plans to drive the 10 hour round trip to pick up the baby llama and her elder mom this weekend. On Wednesday I got a text that there was a setback, that Button was not well, and the vet had been there and certain regimes were in place to offset what it might have been. She was making improvements, but there were also odd signs that confounded the vet and farm.

And on Thursday night, she was found dead.

I was so excited to get her here and start learning her personality-which I was told was a little spitfire of love. The plan had been put in motion when we first picked out Arlo, and also old Luna. The baby female, who was being called Button by the farm because she was as cute as one, would be trained for therapy work along with Arlo. And the elder mother would be a companion for old Luna as she aged-Arlo has to be separated very soon from Luna since he can't be gelded for another year.

But back track...on Wednesday night, before I had heard the baby Button had taken ill, I had a dream. Birdie was in it, briefly, and had a baby white llama with her. {Button and her mom were both black]. When I awoke, I thought nothing of the dream except that it was so nice to see Birdie, as she had not come to me in a dream yet. Later that day I got a text that there had been a setback with Button, but it was not a dire thing at that point. The farm felt she was responding and was acting more normal. We all agreed transporting her was out of the question and we would wait a couple weeks to ensure her recovery was complete. I was disappointed, but was grateful it happened on their watch and not while in transport.

But today, when I got a voice message to call, I had a feeling it was not good. The farm is devastated and I feel so badly for them. Not knowing can really play with a farmer's head -I know because I've been there a million times and you can really kick yourself...llamas are also very exotic creatures and most vets really only have a handful of experiences on treating things.

This week at some point, before I even knew that Button was not well, I was cleaning the barn and when I was by Birdie's grave I told her, "I hope I picked the right little llama, Birdie."

I do feel Birdie came to me. Maybe the baby in my dream is out there and I will find her.

I talked to the farmer and we both agreed that little Button had a month of a wonderful life, running, frolicking, greeting the farmer-she said she was very sweet and loved helping with chores. I am grateful she could die there, on the land she knew. As short as her life was, it was spent the entire time with her mum, and she died right by her.

We will still bring home her elder mother, Lucy, sometime this month. She will not be a therapy llama, nor will Luna, they will be companions and live out their days-be it months or another few years. They are both 19+.

I have picked out another male llama for Arlo and he will be coming in the autumn. He will also be trained as a therapy llama. I still am going to keep my heart and eyes open for a white female. But Arlo will need a friend and the one I picked out is out of the same father as Arlo, but has a white face and is reddish, he is really sweet.

I don't know why this happened. I don't know why Birdie died. Is it all related, or chance. Is it a learning situation or is it simply the way it went? I do know that llamas are very unique and special, and they are still a part of the master love ambassador plan here at Apifera. But today, I grieve a little bit, for Button, and her farm who lost her.

We will Birdie On.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Earnest the Pig: In Search of E.B. White



{This article first appeared in the June, 2019 Lincoln County Maine News in my monthly "Tails & Tales from Apifera Farm}

Earnest the pig has settled into his new house. White Dog, the llamas, and the sheep often nose him through his fence and he can see the goings-on of the entire farm. As a very manly pig, with all his manly parts still attached, he lives in his private retreat with a stone wall that keeps him from making night visits to his old lady friend, Eleanor, the retired sow. I have explained to him that he has evolved from the career of spreading seed and is now free to eat, nap, and sunbathe.

I have begun to decorate Earnest’s house. I told him I will find the right accessories that fit his unique Earnest personality. So for now, he has his flag and a painting. He suggested a photo of his mother, but I never knew his mother so am afraid that won’t work.

“Then maybe a portrait of E.B. White?” he asked. To this day, Earnest thinks that E.B. White still lives. I tried explaining the facts, but he refuses to believe them and insists someday he will in fact meet Mr. White now that we are in Maine. When Earnest heard we were moving to Maine from Oregon, he wrote Mr. White and was disheartened to have the letter come back.

“Perhaps he is camping,” Earnest said as I showed him the returned envelope.

Earnest first grew enamored with the author when, as a piglet, I read him “Charlotte’s Web.” Earnest knew very well about pigs being eaten, as he was born and raised on a working farm. He didn’t judge meat eaters; in fact, he and his family often ate meat scraps. He just was proud someone chose to make a pig so front-and-center in a book.

“It just doesn’t happen much,” he told me.

I also found Earnest with a road map of the Maine coast and he had circled the town of Brooklin, and it is a well-known fact Mr. White had a beautiful home there. In fact, he had ripped out that page of the map and tacked it to his wall.

Just the other night, as I was closing up the barn for the evening, I could hear Earnest in his hut, snoring away after dusk had hit the land. I opened his gate to take a peek into his house; he is quite endearing to watch sleep. I suppose since I never had children that watching my pig snore brings something out of me. I noticed there was a new addition to the wall –- an old black-and-white framed portrait of Mr. White.

“Now where did that come from?” I muttered quietly. “Hmm.” And I turned to leave.

I closed the gate as a breeze lifted a discarded envelope into the air, fluttering around until it landed at my feet. It was addressed to Earnest, another fine pig. There was no return address, but the postmark was from Brooklin, Maine.


Inside Earnest's private hut

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

A page from the new book...White Dog speaks

From the upcoming memoir "White Dog"

{I have most of the manuscript done for the upcoming White Dog memoir, just need to thoroughly edit which takes time. Here is a page from the book, told in White Dog's words.}

"I was born on the man’s farm. I don’t know where my father was, but my mother reared all seven of us pups. I can remember her smell, and what it felt like to be with my siblings in a pile after she fed us.

I remember running, and falling, and getting up and running.

I have broken visions, images in my head, of my siblings being picked up by people and held in their arms, and then they would drive off in a car and never come back. Until one day there was only me, and my mother. I always stayed with my mother. I was still a pup when the man let my mother take me down to the field with the sheep. She did her job, sitting on a perch watching, waiting for unusual sounds. She was stern with me. If I tried to play with a lamb, I was butted by her head. I learned quickly sheep were not to be chased, my mother told me this, and so did the mother ewes. I remember my mother’s eyes. I remember she seemed in charge. I felt safe.

I also remember the day the man moved me away from my mother. She and I could converse through fences, and we still could smell each other, see each other, hear each other but it was always through a fence. I took to lying against the fence at night if she was there, our fur and backs touching each other. But in time, I became more independent, and soon I became the dog the man took to the sheep field, while my mother stayed near the barn, laying about, but also looking after elder ewes."

Sunday, July 07, 2019

The prodigal son returns in the form of a pig


Uno was born in Oregon at Apifera two weeks before we moved to Maine-one of those Earnest broke the gate events. Once here, he and his brother Wee Willi went to live with a good friend up north on the coast. For three years he had a wonderful life, in his little wood hut with his brother, being loved and adored by his human. But then Willi died this year, suddenly.

My friend felt he was depressed, and she is going through some transitions herself so felt that the best thing was to rehome Uno to the right place, a place with a pig friend and human interaction-her job schedule had also changed so Uno was alone a lot. When she first told me she thought he was depressed, I wasn't sure if that was a human putting human emotions on an animal, but when I drove up to see Uno last week, I had to agree that he seemed down. I really wasn't planning to take on another pig, and we had driven up that day just for a visit. I had not seen Uno for three years, since he was a piglet.

Well, my friend kept telling me he was big. Holy smokes! That is an understatement. He is much bigger than Eleanor and I always considered her to be big for her breed. On top of it, Uno is very overweight-my friend gave him the best of the best including fruits and breads, but fruits have a lot of sugar and he was simply overeating. Since she had never had pigs, she just didn't know, I mean, how would you know. So we will work over time to get some weight off him, I think it is clearly slowing him down and I fear a heart attack. We will work on that.

We drove the two hour trip and it was ninety degrees and humid. When we got him home, I immediately put him in the mud bath paddock and hosed him for 15 minutes. I also notice his skin reddens very easily. This makes me wonder if he has circulation issues, just like a very overweight person would. He is not very agile either. So I was so happy to get him under the hose, he was really hot.

I let Eleanor and Little Lonely come out to greet him. May as well see how it goes. Marcella stayed out of it. I'd like to tell you all, that just like one of my paintings, Uno got up on his hind legs and walked to Eleanor and held her and said, "Oh mother, I have missed you,"...but instead Eleanor, the alpha, bit him and they fought a bit. He clearly is stronger than she is, but she is the boss. I separated them even though it calmed down quickly, only because it was so hot I didn't want him running around. He spent the night with the goats and all was well. This morning, I brought Eleanor and Little, and Marcella out with him. Same thing. But within minutes, Eleanor had backed off.

For now they will stay separate so I know he is getting his naps in without being harassed by his bossy mama.

Do they know each other? I have to imagine they do, by scent. But I can't say for certain. I think every human wants to believe a son returning to his first home, and his mother [and father] would know...but three years for a pig is a long time. By the end of the first day, I watched him as he walked around, sniffing the air, in the same paddock he lived in with his mates. I felt he did sense he had been here.

So Uno who began in Oregon, and drove across America with us, and then moved to the upper mid coast is now back home. I have to tell you, as far as a pig's life goes, he has had a good one. I am grateful my friend cared and loved him, and grateful we can take him on and help both her out, and Uno.

He is full of expressions!

On his arrival on a hot day

Nosing his mother Eleanor through the fence






Friday, July 05, 2019

The Matilda bond

I had to look up the date to see how long Matilda has been with us. It was 2011 when we brought her home. I can't really imagine life without her. Matilda was being used as a brood jenny, the story goes, and fell into some hard times. She was not being fed properly and her feet were neglected and she was very thin. While she still has a sway back from carrying all those babies, she is in good condition and we love her dearly, as does anyone who lays eyes on her.

This was one of the first photos I took of her on her arrival, adorning her with flowers she so deserved.

Matilda has a very clear, and old soul. She wears it in her eyes. Over the last few years, we've grown even closer, since I have to work on her more than I used to-I put fly ointments and sprays on her daily since they bite through her skin-she is more of a magnet for them probably due to her age. We have a routine each morning where she is fed separately to ensure she gets her supplemental feed, and then she stands for her fly spray. When I'm done with that, she continues to stand for a gentle brushing. Working with a creature like this grows any bond and trust that was meant to be.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

More art cards coming


I just added a new art card to the shop. I will be adding some new to designs tot he current roster of 30, so stay tuned as summer progresses.

Visit the shop >




Sunday, June 30, 2019

Else

It is what she does. She suns, she naps, she sits looking out of whatever is in front of her. Her vista becomes what is in front of her. Like an elder woman confined to a front porch, she awaits her meals that are brought to her, and needs some help to get up each day. But all and all, I believe she is still content, for now. One day at a time.

As she fades, she is the first I look for her each morning when I open the barn door.





Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The choir sings to the animals...was that a dream of sorts?



Yesterday was perhaps one of the most memorable times at Apifera in our many years of existence. It was one of those days where the glow began from the first moment, spontaneous encounters happened each step of the way, and by the ending it was like...a dream of sorts.

The Homeward Bound Hospice Choir  came to sing to all the animals. I had met them through one of our volunteers, also in the choir. The choir is a group of people from all walks who volunteer their time and heart, and voice, to sing to people in hospice. When I came into touch with this group, I immediately asked if they might come and sing to the animals. They immediately agreed and sent me a date that would work-that date turned out to be yesterday, which was also Birdie's birthday. Hankies!

Now, normally when I have a group coming, I might rearrange animals into paddocks or barns so the people can see them up close. But on this day, I made a conscientious choice to let the animals be...as they are...I let the donkeys and Boone go to their fields, knowing that if the energy was right, they'd come up when they heard singing. And they did. More on that later.

I had old Else and the elder gang, and Opie and The Goose, in the orchard, and that is where we began. In some ways, this was the most touching scene for me. I had packed lots of tissues in my vest, and hoped I'd get through the day without becoming a blubber fest. Else is on her last summer, I am pretty certain of that. She enjoys the sun, and spends most of the time laying down, which she was doing in the clover and grass when the choir entered her area. I was busy doing something and when I looked up, the choir and lined up in front of Else, and that is where they first began to sing. It was as if Else was there just for them, and vice versa. And then The Goose arrived, voicing, or singing, but also checking in on Else, which he does regularly.

We went on to sing to the llamas, Arlo infatuated them all, and then on to sing to Earnest who greeted each singer through the gate, and even did a belly flop [a sign of true pig happiness]. White Dog was next and he of course loved it, The Teapot was as I thought she would be, The Teapot, snorting and chewing her hay. And then into the equine area. The donkeys and Boone were in the lower fields. I suggested the group begin to sing, and I did yell down to the field to get their attention. Old Matilda began her slow walk up about 400 or so feet, and that alerted the donkeys to come up. I knew that Boone would most likely wait, and in Boone fashion canter up in a beautiful Boone way, and he did-and that was a beautiful moment. The donkeys were right close to the singers, and Matilda especially won their hearts.

And then, we sang Happy Birthday to the nearby resting spot of Birdie. I made the entire day without a blubber, till then.

The day hung on even after they left, it was a glow, a glow that comes after certain special encounters, or music concerts or gatherings. I think what I felt the most strongly, after I had time to gather my thoughts, was that...this is truly where we were meant to move to, this exact spot, at this exact time. The scary reality of leaving the old farm, the pit in my stomach when I was the only one who knew we were moving to Maine and I knew it was a calling of some kind and once I expressed it out loud all hell would break loose...all that turmoil ended up landing us in a place that could bring us to this moment.

The other thought I had was, all the animals, and me, we are a bunch of bodies walking around, but we are so connected, like a string of old pearls...I have heard people repeatedly say it is a magical place and I believe it is magical-because the idea of what Apifera started as long ago came from my child's heart, and it has remained true to that essence and intent. One of the reasons I am not interested in having an open farm event every week, nor do I accept people's pleas to visit [or very rarely] is because this is my haven, this is where my heart lives entwined with the trees, fields and creatures-it fuels me to create and write, but I also fuel the creatures with my intentions-and they turn around and act the way they did yesterday. They didn't do any special tricks...but what resonated with the guests, I believe, is the pureness of my intent that is channeled through the animals and is demonstrated by their gentleness, their acceptance and enjoyment of the people. Animals know our intentions. And one of my intentions with my animals, is while I teach them boundaries [ie ground manners that are and aren't acceptable] I allow them to be...just be who and what they are at that moment...a grumpy pig or cat, a sour little spitfire pony, a young llama learning the do's and don'ts.

I also am a firm believer that music is a healer and communicator on so many levels-for all creatures including people. When I worked with Boone, I often sang to keep his canter or trot going. Mothers have been soothing babies for centuries this way, music is a rhythmic cue to our animals. And of course music is a vibration and I believe it connects us with our souls of long ago.

The entire day was 'pure'...of pure intent. It wasn't about propping photos for social media and marketing [although we all did take pic and video, thank goodness], it wasn't yoga for baby goats to gimmick us into the paper, it was pure and raggedy and imperfect. I loved the choir-they are not the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, they are just sweet people singing, a note or two off, it was so Apifera.
Oh, I should mention the song choices were all spot on....including "Angels Hovering Around".


So there you have it. They came, they sang...and I can guarantee not one of them left here without a buzz.






Monday, June 24, 2019

I embraced winter so I guess I can embrace this

The Goose and Miss Lilac both stunning

Many years ago, when I was living as a single woman in my little Minneapolis bungalow, I made choice to embrace winter. I actually loved winter, but it could and can get to you, especially when I lived alone and had to shovel and all that. But I began walking almost everyday, no matter the temp. The other day as the weather warmed, and a flock of mosquitoes - or are they a herd since they are as big as elephants this year?- followed me everywhere, I decided I had to embrace summer.

Summer is my least favorite season, always has been. I have fair skin so heat and sun are hard for me. Humidity, which thankfully midcoast doesn't suffer too much from, kills me, literally shuts me down. If it is over 78 and sunny, I slow way down mentally. The flies leave scars on me no matter what protections I take.

But this year, I decided to start focusing more on small elements of summer. I have no trouble loving the snow, I need to open up to...heat? Anyway, I have been relishing many things this year. It was the most beautiful spring we've had since arriving in 2016, and the garden is already gorgeous. Last night, we saw our first fireflies. I walk the garden twice daily, and love my time with Martyn examining things we've planted and nurtured. Yesterday, I held a yellowtail for seconds.

I can also say that the mosquito traps we've found are working, for small areas, so I also embrace those.

Matilda in the seas of Runaculous

Arlo embraces summer by rolling in the pile of dirt

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Arlo shines in the spotlight and a shift occurs

No words needed
Arlo has felt the power of love, of being touched. Yesterday we had a wonderful first therapy session of the summer season, and it was Arlo's first official group get together. He was a star! He behaved very well, and lasted about 30 minutes before getting itchy young llama syndrome, but I was really proud of him, and me I guess–all our work together paid off and we still have a lot to do together but he was very good. What was most wonderful is he enjoyed it, and gravitated to people, gave kisses, and wowed everyone with his long neck and soft wool.

It was a new group of elders and most of them were in walkers or wheelchairs, one woman was blind, some had difficulty speaking due to stroke [I assume], but even those people were able to communicate their joy around the animals. The group could not have been sweeter, and responsive to their outing-they were very happy to be there. They came all the way from Camden, which is up the coast about an hour. One of the women had grown up on a farm, and had a horse, which she had named "Pony" because she was only four years old, so she communed with Boone a lot. I was so pleased to have five volunteers, which made it possible for the first time to have Boone and Teapot in the paddock, then we brought Matilda and Paco into the orchard first. Matilda loves people and is usually very calm and special at these things, but she and the minis have become a bit herd bound so she was wondering why she was there alone, and she also liked the grass. So she did great, but I felt bad they didn't get a better sense of her true gifts. They loved her, and her deep eyes. They told her she was beautiful. Then I went and brought the little goats out, which was a hit because they all ran in and it was a fun scene for everyone. We brought Ollie out on a lead too, and he was very happy to partake. And then, I went and got Arlo.

I left Luna in the barn, since I knew it might distract him, and Luna is a real worrier. I could hear her humming the whole time. Argo came in and I let him stand and look at all the people and wheelchairs for a few minutes, and then he did his thing. One by one we visited each person, and he reached down to touch their faces. There were a couple times where I got verklempt, not only because it felt like Birdie was there, but also, I was just so proud of him. I have been training him not to lean into me, and he has been very good, but a few times he came to me for reassurance, and it was ok. He just did great.

Once again, I saw the power of how animals opening people up to share story–and how sharing story opens us all up to listening to others, learning and seeing our common grounds. By sharing story, the elders feel heard, and we all want to be heard.

At the end of the day I asked everyone if they had a favorite animal on the visit..."the llama".

I returned Arlo to the field with Luna, and let the donkeys out too. Arlo proceeded to chase everyone around, to the delight of the guests. He then went into a young male romp, rolling, head and neck twirls like llamas do, and the guests -all lined up in the chairs-sat watching, oohing and awing like we were at a parade with fireworks.

It was such perfect way to start his career. I told him so many times that night that I was proud of him. I also sensed that night when I went out to feed, that our relationship had shifted ever so slightly, like it does when you work with an animal as a team. I sensed he 'got it'.

And so, it begins.

Boone communed with a woman that had a horse as a child

They told Matilda she was beautiful

Arlo's career begins

I felt Birdie at any times

Ollie examines the oxygen cord as Opie looks on


Monday, June 17, 2019

Summer's first therapy visit...and we Birdie On


I am excited for our Wednesday visit, with a group of elder residents coming down from Camden. This is a day of firsts in that it is the first farm visit where there will be a hole where Birdie once stood. But we will have Arlo at his first official therapy day. I plan to also bring in Matilda, and maybe Paco as this group seems enthusiastic about bigger animals.

I am excited but found myself feeling anxious this weekend. I began to realize it was partially sadness that Birdie-a natural at these things-was not there as my partner. I never had to think with her, she was a lady and a love star. With Arlo, he is in training, but is doing very well and I have had people over to due test runs with him. But I will have to watch to make sure he doesn't wear out. And Luna will have to be in the barn I think so she doesn't get anxious and then he will get anxious. He likes people and is also behaving well with learning his ground manners. I have several volunteers coming so am also feeling good and appreciative about that since this day will take some moving animals around. I'd like to have Ollie in the mix too but he is getting so big and is like a giant puppy, so he will be on a halter for control.

I think I miss Birdie more than any animal I've ever known and loved and lost. I think because we were partners, right through her illness and death. But, there is only one thing to do, Birdie On...and I know Arlo is going to bring smiles. He is so soft, and he is caring. The other baby female llama is supposed to be coming this week or very soon and she will be fun to train. She is also black as is her elder mom who is coming. We will then have two elders who will live out their months or years with us–it is hard to know how long they will live but they are up there on the age scale-and the two youngsters. I still would like one more, a white faced or speckled/white one. Selfishly I miss seeing a white llama. So I am putting it out to the old universe, and Birdie. I'm in no rush, and just am keeping my eyes and heart open for that final llama to add to our family.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

I once was a shepherdess


Little Sylvia Pettini is now three and she has blossomed and grown well, even her bad eye is normal. She had a rough start–she almost died after her now retired mother, Calla, who also lives here, rejected her and had mastitis. Sometimes I have to look twice as they look so much alike. Their wool is beautiful. She and her elder mother will live out their days here.

Of the many faces of animals that I've known since living at Apifera it is perhaps the faces of my old flock out West that come to me more often than you might think. I think this is because for starters, I raised them, I watched them get old, I buried them. We were a team. Until you've raised livestock-for whatever your reasons-you will not understand, it is not the same as owning sheep or livestock, raising them is an entirely different relationship. I suppose too one's intent in raising animals is entwined in the outcome. I loved being a shepherdess, as hard as it could be. I loved being their flock leader. One of the hardest parts in leaving the old farm was leaving my flock. I knew it was unfair to bring them to Maine and was unsure of what our land was like here. I did the right thing. They were hair she and it makes more sense to have wool sheep here I think. I chose to euthanize my two weakest and oldest ewes who were on their last year, but I wanted that end to be with me.

I sent some of my flock to live with young farm family and the rest, including that year's lamb's stayed with the new owner. I had many communings with my girls before we left, and I know they wanted to stay-it was the land they had been born on, it was what they as a flock were embedded in-their mothers and sisters, sometimes children or great grandmothers were buried there. While they respected my place in the flock, it was the land that was their true bond.

Besides learning about animal husbandry and all that goes with it-lambing, medicines, fixing broken legs, saving a sheep torn up by a dog, sewing up a prolapsed vagina to name just some of the acquired skills-I learned so much about animals and my place as a human amongst animals by raising sheep. It helped me clearly understand my specific place in the Nature, on Earth. Having been a vegetarian for seven years before moving to the farm, it helped me sort out the conflict of loving animals, and eating some. Some of you might not understand that, some of you might be angered by that...but you are you and I am me and I am grateful I got to live on a farm and watch Nature-not control it or demand it fit my morals-and decide what was right for me and our farm. Some people never get the chance to live emerged in Nature and land so I am grateful for that time there as a shepherdess. I don't miss lambing though or all that went with it, it was a beautiful time of my life, and now I have shifted ever so slightly to be exactly where I am meant to be, still in Nature amongst animals, and elders–but I come with those years of experiences that shaped me.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Another art giveaway to help Apifera


For the coming weeks I will be offering an art print to someone-all you have to do is donate that week and once the pot hits a certain amount one person will take home a print. This piece is 11 x 14". Once we gather $750 from donations [ we are already at $300 or so at this writing, someone will take it home-and this week Earnest will pick the winner. We are collecting donation on this give away through the week.

So donate here if you can. You an also send a check [just let me know]
.

We are of course always in need of bringing in donations for feed and vet care among other things, but this summer we are putting up the final barn addition which is going to total $20,000 so we need to keep our regular fund healthy for the animal care. Thank you again to all who support and follow our work here at Apifera!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Living with Goats [Prepare to Share your Sandwich]


I have been writing a monthly article "Tails & Tales from Apifera Farm" for our regional paper The Lincoln County News. Since many of you that follow me have no need to subscribe to the paper, I will be republishing the articles one month after they come out in the paper. This article was from March. Enjoy.

Buy a whole bunch of pasture fence. Make sure it's five foot tall or higher. Spend your whole weekend getting it up. Run electric wire on the top and bottom of the fence.

Put the goat in the fenced pasture. Explain to the goat that this is her goat-side, and over there, that is your human-side. Explain to her what an electric current is. Goats are very smart and appreciate facts, even if they often ignore them.

You are now tired, but also pleased with accomplishing your new goat-proof fence. Make a good sandwich, preferably with home grown tomatoes and good bread. Get your lawn chair.

Sit in your lawn chair and enjoy your sandwich.

As you chew, notice the goat roaming in the nicely fenced pasture you just finished especially for her. Call out to her,

"Hello dear Goat! I see you!"

Enjoy the sweet sounds of the goat calling back to you in goat bleeps. I will translate:

"Hello!" says the goat. "I see you too! What are you eating? You are so close, I can smell the bread! I love bread. I'll be right there! OH! Ouch! Electric current, no problem, it's over now. Oh look! Here I am right by your chair, I will join you and your sandwich."

Say nice things to the goat, then lead her back to the pasture with a bit of the bread. Ask her if she learned that touching the electric fence has consequences. Explain to her in clearer terms why this is her side of the fence and that over there is your side of the fence. As you turn around to leave, you swear you can hear laughing.

Return to your lawn chair. Gather up your sandwich, anticipating the fresh bread and tomato melting in your mouth. Look over at the goat pasture. Oh good, she is still there and clearly understands the rules now. Close your eyes as you chew your sandwich. It is a beautiful day and you have so much to do but
you have a few minutes of peace and quiet to just sit in the sun, and doze for a few minutes.

But wait, you hear foot steps behind you.

"Hello! I'm right here with you again!" says the goat. “I did it right this time though. I went under the fence, no electric shock. No consequences!”

Try to refrain from yelling, harshness gets you nowhere with a goat. Accept that your goat simply wants to be with you, and your half eaten sandwich. Forget about the comfortable lawn chair, and walk back to the pasture with your goat. Find a good rock to sit on. It is warm from the sun and feels mighty fine on your old bum. Sit and share the rest of your sandwich with your goat.

Friday, June 07, 2019

More Llama Love arriving!

Hours after being born-look at those legs!
This sweet girl and her mom are coming to Apifera! She was born on Wednesday and we have been waiting for what seems forever but she finally popped out. These pics were taken hours after. She is pure black.

When Birdie died and I began looking for more llamas, I quickly found that it is hard to find them in Maine. So I began to really pursue llama people in New England as I didn't want to go too long without a llama. I also knew I wanted more than one, and if one died, I would not be llama less.

So I found a woman with the young male now known as Arlo, and she gave me the 19 year old we now call Luna. Luna is old, she could live to be 25, or not. SO when I picked out Arlo and Luna, I also was on board to take another elder llama and her baby. The elder llama is 19 which is a bit up there for having a baby and I won't go into details-but there is no 'bad human' story here–and the baby was born healthy and all is well.

Argo can not be gelded until he is at least one and a half, it has to do with his ones and joints forming properly. This of course means I have to separate him out very soon from Luna and will do so once the baby and mama arrive in coming weeks. I was hoping for a girl, as I really didn't want to train two in tact males. I was also hoping for more white, but...I think this is exactly as it is meant to be. A black llama is so different than Birdie and it will remind me of that, that she is her own llama this little girl.

Argo has been doing so well, in fact, I had a volunteer come this week and I wanted to see how he would be with a newcomer in a therapy setting and he was great. i really think he is going to be a good therapy llama. He is inquisitive but has learned boundaries well-something I work on everyday. He is gentle with his head and not spooky. Luna is also getting settled, she is not scared, just a bit shy. She will not be a therapy llama, her job here is to be herself and retire with ease.

I am excited to meet her. I will have lots to do this summer but what a gift!

Hours after being born
One of our volunteers gets to know Arlo

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

When your office is a port potty



If you have followed along you know that The Puppet has always been enamored by the Porta Potty. Out West, we would rent one every year for the infamous Pino Pie Party, and The Puppet just loved it, and would decorate it and sit in it and sing to it...it was always fun the day the Porta Potty arrived. The puppet was quite sad when we had our final Pie Party, understanding his ports potty days might be over.

But they are back, and now in Maine we have decided to have a porta potty for the entire summer season! The Puppet is beside himself. In fact, he asked for permission to put his office in there for the summer. I did not know he had an office but he leads a mysterious life when out of my site despite the fact he is basically a sock.

Anyway, if you want to become a Porta Potty Queen, and you know you do, you can donate $125 to help defray the monthly cost,and you will get a Porta Potty Queen button which you can wear with pride.

{And thank you to our current Porta Potty Queens!}


If you prefer to send a check make it to Apifera Farm Inc.
315 Waldoboro RD, Bremen ME 04551
You will get a receipt immediately after arrival.

Our EIN # 82-2236486




Monday, June 03, 2019

Black fly woman


The black flies are horrible this year. I am very sensitive to any bugs, and ever since a child get huge welts no matter the terrorists that bit me. The black fly season is winding down. Thank God. But wait, that means we are getting ready for biting fly season!

This is my portrait of me and black fly bites. I was pleased at how I got my dropping jawbones.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Healers & Misfits 100 page publication of photos


I am also offering a gift level for anyone donating $250 or more to Apifera. It is a beautiful 8.5 x 11" photo book, soft cover of 100 pages full of beautiful photos and other Misfit musings. This will be sent after the barn addition is complete [August-September]. So no matter where you donate your $250, here, or on FB or by check, you will be on the list to receive one. {People that gave this amount or more recently will get one too.}

I put Luna on the cover. In her elder years, we don't know how long she will grace us here, but I have already grown to admire her. She is beautiful in a very wise crone way.


If you prefer to send a check make it to Apifera Farm Inc.
315 Waldoboro RD, Bremen ME 04551
You will get a receipt immediately after arrival.

Our EIN # 82-2236486