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.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

It was swift...Papi has died

Papa's final night on this realm
For the past 24 hours, I knew Papi was not himself. He was eating and drinking normally, but he seemed...out of sorts, in small ways that only I who knows his habits would notice. Papi is not a cuddly guy, and while he likes to have his neck scratched, it is always on his terms. He has never liked having his mid back and body touched, probably because of the issues he had when he was first brought to the shelter [urinary issues, that led him to have his penis amputated as it had gone on so long and he had tried to chew it off].

So when I sat with him a day+ ago, I talked to him, and tried to comb out more matts that had formed on his back. I had been working on them a few months, slowly getting them out. And on this day, he let me work on them, without his usual vocalizing. When Papi didn't want you to touch him, he had clear vocalization that told you so. The fact he wasn't doing this, led me to believe he just wasn't himself. That same day, I picked him up to put him on a table to examine him, and he did not fight it, also unusual. When I picked him up, he just seemed...like his energy had left.

Still that day, he got up and moved around and I kept my eye on him, but he was eating and drinking.

Last night, he was in his wood cradle, and I spent a long time with him. I knew he was dying. He just had lost strength, and his eyes were in the pre death vapid look. I talked to him a lot. He was calm and in no agitated state.

I knew this morning he might be gone, and he was. He had retuned to his other favorite place to sleep, on the sheep wool under the benches. He was lying in a comfortable pose, and by the state of his body I think he died within an hour or two.

Papi is lying in state so the elders can see him. Although they knew last night, so did I.

I also noticed last night, as I crouched on the floor to be with Papi, in the dark room since I had no lights on, there was a light presence above me. It was pure white bodied Noritsue, sitting up on the freezer to my side. He was looking down on me, like an angel, his white body visible in the semi dark room.

The other thing happened this morning when I found Papi. I had placed a towel over his body, but his head was showing. I started to do feedings, and I was to his right about five feet. I was opening canned food, and I saw something move to my left, where Papi was, I swung my head to the left and I swear I saw his head rise a bit. It was not like gas leaving his body, it was more like it was lifting. I went over had touched him, and kissed him, and I thought...did he wait for me somehow, and now he really left?

Papi will be missed. He was The President of The Old Kitty Knitty Club. He was a voice in our fundraising efforts. How appropriate Papi left the day I started our final yearly fundraiser, it is a vote of confidence for me, that he knew I could do it. Papi was a strong energied cat, he was his own cat. Much like Sir Tigger, he wanted things on his own terms, he saw no need to be held a lot or interact like some of the other cats. He got to go out quickly, and in a place he knew he was safe. For that I'm grateful.

But I will miss his huge presence in the elder cat suite. He was a great cat.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Opie's Love Mobile is about to roll!

I'm pretty excited that we got a lot of the Love Mobile ready to roll this week. I was able to spray paint the added siding we put on for height, and Martyn still needs to reinforce those sides which is easy peasy. I decided to see how Opie liked the mobile the other day, and he got right in with a little lift. He is used to being in the car with me so he really was fine when I rolled his Mobile around. I have a rubber matt in the bottom which allows him not to slip. He kind of started out wondering if he should bail, but once we started rolling around, I think he really liked it. He will understand the Mobile is his love machine once we start going to Cove's Edge in it. But I'll have a tether on him just to be safe.

Then I decided that it needs a canopy! So Martyn will build a lightweight wood frame today and I can add a fabric top, and little prayer flags of some sort.

I told Martyn that it would be fun to have a little baby cart that was hitched to the back for Opie's chicken. I just can't stop myself.

Martyn refuses to wire it for an AM/FM radio. Geese, some people.

Stay tuned. My horrible chest cold is waning but I'm still not quite ready to go to visit elders. But maybe very soon!

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Opie's traveling clothes

Opie has a good thick natural goat coat. He does not need a jacket. However, I think he might be stinkin' cute in one for his winter therapy visits, in his soon to be finished Opie Love Mobile. This coat here is one that I put on Else, but he looks pretty styling', don't you think?

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

The magical pup

I want to tell you a story.It has some magic in it.

When Hughie died this year, it was heartbreaking, but I had the honor of living with him for four years after taking him on when he was nine. I knew our time would be short like that-like it is with many of the animals I’ve taken on over the past 15 years- and he left a huge hole. We lost Huck at age 12 a couple years ago, leaving Muddy, Huck’s younger brother with us. Muddy turns 10 tomorrow. Any death in the pack brings a shift, and it also opened me up to what was next. This time, I did not set out to find another old pug. I knew in time, maybe, one would come along. But I was hurt, and I realized…I didn’t want that at this time anyway. I also wanted a legacy for after Mud dies, and he is aging now. I realized what I wanted was a pup, a chocolate lab male pup, to train and become another regular traveling ambassador of love to elder visits.

Well, I started looking for a pup a couple months ago. Many were out of my price range but I keep looking and finally found someone I liked and felt good about. And pups were due in the fall. So I put a deposit down and had first pick of a chocolate male. Now if you know genetics of labs, basically one parent has to have the chocolate gene, and 25% of the litter could be chocolate. Once I got attached to the idea of walking my little chocolate love ambassador around the elder home, I realized how disappointed I’d be if there were no chocolate males in the litter, and I’d have to wait. I was already attached to the thought of those pups in the mother’s belly, and we knew there were six. The breeder was supportive and told me…she thought it would work out. The due date came and went and we were on pins and needles. Finally, seven days past due time, I got an email, with the photo you see below. The first pup out, a chocolate male…this image was on his birthday, I swooned. I have never bought a pup and seen them at birth like this. It was both exciting but also made me want to rush out and get him. Well, the breeder wrote me again later the next day to say he had been the only chocolate male.

You know I have a close relationship with optimism, magic and the power of imagination. But I just sense this little guy made a point to me. He is ready for duty.

I am very excited to work with a pup again, it has been a long time. I love my elders. I also have buried a lot of them since 2004.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Strike a pose

Luna strikes a regal pose
I've been very sick with a chest cold for a week or more and it is finally breaking and today I'm feeling better, but still not back to true form, but there is hope in the beautiful blue sky at least. I've been enjoying the sun on my daily chores, going slower than normal and just soaking in the last days of fall.

I felt this photo of old Luna was one of my best in a long time. She sort of struck the pose for me on her own, but the addition of the branches and blue sky....just really loved it.

Meanwhile Sylvia Pettini struck her usual pose but had her own headdress...which I learned from my followers is called a fascinator. Everybody kept using the term and I stubbornly looked it up on my own. Learn something new everyday.

Anyway....here's to a better day for anyone who is suffering through a cold.

Fallen cosmos with the cove in the background
Sylvia Pettini and her fascinator

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Ollie wants to be Ringo....and Halloween outfit challenges

I hear the sound of little feet rushing, and a piece of paper is slipped under the front door lands at my feet. I know what this means. A group request is being expressed by the barnyard. Less urgent requests are verbally brought up at feedings and barn visits.

The paper showed a list of “Requested Halloween Outfits”.

I sighed. I made the mistake of partaking in a small holiday parade at our old farm out west, in which I dressed as a character from one of my favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz. I was a witch and one of the donkeys was at my side, dressed as a flying monkey.

It took a lot of time to make the outfits, but I have to say it was fun, and it made me think of my mother who every year would make me a witch outfit. I was always a witch and my mother took her job as seamstress seriously. Those were the good old days back in the early ‘60’s when as children we could walk all over the neighborhood, in the dark, unencumbered by adults with the spooky sound of blowing leaves swirling at our feet. There was no fear of razors in apples then, or drive by shootings or getting kidnapped. We weren’t forced to pose for anyone’s Instagram feed and we could eat stuff we weren’t supposed to.

So I guess making outfits for a bunch of Misfits in the barnyard somehow fulfilled this yearning for a simpler time, when candy bars were full size, my mother was alive, and all I needed was a good witch outfit.

The list that had been slipped under the door was actually very simple this year, I was relieved. Five of the animals wanted to be ghosts, another group wanted to be spiders. Earnest the pig wanted to be his hero, E.B.White, and Paco the donkey wanted to be an apple. One of the littlest members of the barnyard, Opie the goat, wanted to be a song, and Ollie the goat wanted to be one of The Beatles.

“How do you know The Beatles?” I asked Ollie the next day.

“Jim Bob has a transistor radio,” Ollie said. Jim Bob was another one of the resident goats.

“Well, who knew?” I said another my breath. “Which Beatle do you want to be?” I asked Ollie.

“Ringo,” he said.

“And I want to be the song “Yellow Submarine”!” said little Opie.

I walked around doing chores that morning wondering how I’d pull it off this year, it was clearly a creative challenge. But as I watched all the goats play that day, unencumbered by the weight of the world and all the scary things we all face each day as adults, I thought of my mother. Just as I was thinking how I could make a little goat into The Yellow Submarine, she must have always wondered how she could make that witch outfit even better that year….just to make me happy.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Opie's Love Mobile!

While Opie and I were visiting Cove's Edge the other day, I told my contact that it would be helpful to have something Opie could stand in, which would make it easier for some residents to pet him. Almost all the people we encounter there are wheelchair bound and many are very fragile or not limber, so I often will lift Opie up off his front feet and hold him while they pet him.

So how about a wagon, we thought? And that wagon could also be used to roll Opie around inside too. The setup there is perfect for a cart. This way we can see some of the real bed bound people, or others who might be shy. My contact was excited and so was I.

I immediately came home to research wagons and after a couple days of research found a brand with a good reputation. And one that Martyn can add some height to, and it is made of wood. And it's red! Martyn will be able to help me tweak it too if it isn't quite right. So then, my wonderful followers got onboard and we raised money to make this happen. I just ordered it and I'm really excited.I'm so grateful to these Apifera Angels, many who come through time and again.

Opie wonders about bucket seats, or a radio. I told my contact we could bring his chicken too, maybe, and she loved that.

So, another way to share Opie love.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Acquire an animal versus helping an animal

I have a sentence tacked to my office wall: "Are you acquiring an animal, or are you helping an animal? Does this animal work with your mission or does it simply give you a rush of excitement of something new"

I wrote this while I was struggling with the decision of taking on another equine, which in the end I did. It would be easy to fill the farm up with animals. Over the 15+ years I've been doing this, I've seen others take too much on, or for misguided reasons [this of course was my take on their choices]. I think that is another reason adopting Honey in took me some time to consider it. I know I did the right thing for her, and for Apifera and our mission. But, I get a lot of requests and that sentence helps me stop and consider our mission here. I am not a rescue that rehomes animals, I am no a petting zoo, and while we do take on some youngsters, those youngsters [ie Opie] fit into our mission of animal work and therapy. I can't be everything to everyone. I am on a mission. I like to think its selfless. Maybe that's arrogant sounding. But I do ponder things deeply.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The muse is back

"Red Boots, Yellow Mittens" on watercolor paper

I am entering my time. Art time. More time in the studio because spurts in the studio might bring nice things, but one needs strung out time in the studio to let things develop further. So I was pleased with the last day and a half of studio time, back listening to music, the bunny at my feet...I post art here but more rapidly on Instagram as I finish things, then they go on the shop. So if you follow here to see art, you might want to follow Instagram. If you ever see anything you are interested in here or on IG, reach out to me and I'll share price and details.

"Woman with Holes" on paper
"Last Apples and Chestnuts" on paper
"Pam's World"

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Earnest the pig wants a grilled cheese sandwich...from King Eider's

{"Tailes & Tales" is a monthly article I write for the Lincoln County News. I post the articles a couple of weeks after they appear in the paper. This was last month's.}

“I would prefer a grilled cheese sandwich, like the one you gave me a bite of last week,” Earnest the pig said as I handed him some animal crackers a follower had sent.

You see, some weeks ago, Martyn and I went to King Eider’s with a visiting friend. We rarely go out, but when we do, Eider’s is our go-to place. I’ve become hooked on the grilled cheese sandwich with cucumber, two cheeses and red peppers on rustic bread. It’s not something I eat at home and it is a wonderful twist on a simple sandwich. I pour over the menu, tempted by so many items, but lately I still go to that darn grilled cheese sandwich. Well, the last time, I had a filling soup too, so brought home a half of my sandwich. The next day, I warmed it up, ventured out to the barnyard and sat with Earnest while I enjoyed my beloved sandwich.

“Do you want a bite, Earnest?” I asked.

“It smells appealing,” the pig said, and he swallowed a morsel. I finished the half but left him another bite.

“I am sorry it’s all gone. I would have preferred my own full portion, cut diagonally,” Earnest said.

Back to the present...I handed him more animal crackers, and he ate them, but looked unsatisfied.

“Earnest, I rarely go out to eat like that, so that grilled cheese sandwich I shared with you was a special treat,” I told the pig.

“That’s very disappointing,” he said. “Surely they deliver?”

“Earnest, I don’t think they deliver, especially to pigs,” I said.

Well the next day all I could think about was that grilled cheese sandwich. I had no time to go to lunch on a whim, but whipped up a simple grilled cheese sandwich, and took it out to share with Earnest.

“The bread is not as rustic or crispy,” the pig said. “Perhaps your griddle wasn’t hot enough.”

“I don’t have a griddle, Earnest,” I said.

“There are no peppers in it, and only one rather bland cheese,” he said, but he ate it anyway, and returned to his hut.

A few days later, I was cleaning Earnest’s hut, re-fluffing his sky high straw bed to ensure his pigly comfort. And there in the corner under the straw was a local phone book, ear marked at ‘restaurants’ with a mark by King Eider’s.

I want to assure the staff of King Eider’s that Earnest the pig does not have a phone, nor can he drive.

{Neither woman nor pig were paid to write such a glowing review but I encourage my readers to go to Eider’s and order our beloved grilled cheese sandwich.}

Friday, October 18, 2019

New 120 page photo book now available!

"Healers & Misfits" is now available in either hard cover or soft cover. It is 120 pages of my photographs in a large 8 x 11" format, beautifully printed, with 220 photographs. This is such a beautiful collection, if I may say so, it just makes me feel so many things for Apifera and this life here. I hope it will bring many of you the same feeling.

When you order, it does take a couple of weeks for me to ship. But if you need a quicker turnaround I can add on extra shipping. Just let me know and i will give you estimates.

Here are some sample spreads.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I guess my pink bubble suit had a tiny leak...

I was recently contacted by someone who was having health issues, as was her husband. In fact, they were diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, and their adult son died of it two years ago. Times were difficult and getting harder both physically and financially. She left me a message but the cell phone was garbled. So I did not respond as there was no name or number or clear message. About a week later they showed up unannounced at my gate. You all know I frown on pop-ins, but even though I was already in for the afternoon, in my pj bottoms, I looked out and saw them, a couple in their 70's, and figured it might be them. When I opened the gate I was confronted by their sad story, and it is sad. Getting old is hard enough even in the best circumstances but with added medical and financial issues, it is hard. There was emotion in her voice, and the man retreated to the car-because his condition did not allow him to stand long and it was painful. I felt they were genuine people.

Now, I was in no way wanting to take on another equine. Old Matilda will need my care, Boone is turning 22 and the ponies are old too. Equines come with foot care and teeth care and handling care. But I listened to her story, told her I probably could not help her out, but would try to help somehow. You see, the horse was 28, and they were faced with possibly putting her down. They wanted an answer soon for logistic reasons. I had my event coming up, and told her I would do my best to call her in a week.

That time came and went. I was overwhelmed with work, and then I got a bit of a flu or something. I did not call her. But she called me. We talked again. I tried in my head and heart to separate out what was her responsibility, and what my duty was to my animals and farm. I always ask myself with a new animal: am I helping the animal or is it simply an animal acquisition. The woman had a bad experience years ago, where she rehired a horse and in a round about way, it was sold, and then sold for meat. She did not want that to happen. I assured her that would not happen here, but that I could say yes or no at this point to taking the horse. And I wanted to make sure in my mind, that maybe the horse did need to be put down.

There are worse things than putting your old horse down, one you have cared for for over 20 years. The horse had been bought when she was about 8, she was now 28. The woman felt she was being an executioner, because the only reason she was considering euthanasia was because she herself was not healthy. But the process was dragging on and it was clearly causing strife in the household.

So...I went over on Sunday to see the horse, telling her I wasn't sure I could help. I went over with open eyes, trying to investigate all the facts and feel for the real story. I'm not saying anyone was misleading me, I just had on my pink bubble suit-again, what was my responsibility if anything to this animal, and this person.

The horse was clearly old. Sometimes people tell me an animal is old but it really isn't, they just want me to take it. The horse was quite calm, and seemed to like me immediately. I mean, I felt an instant call out from her, like, "Can you help?". I found lots of tick bites and embedded ticks. The woman had been unable to tend to the horse for awhile. I helped her get the ticks out. I don't want to give too many details, but I felt I needed to adopt her. So I said I would. They had been doing the best for the horse that they could in their situation. And the horse is not thin.

We went to get her yesterday. I have more to say on this but not now, to be honest, I just need to...not feel what I felt yesterday for awhile. I just want to get to know Honey, the new addition to Apifera. After the night in a paddock where she had nose visits with equines, I let her out with Luna and Lucy and she has the equines in the other pasture to visit at the fence. The vet is coming this week. I'm betting she has Cushings judging by her coat. Her feet have been cared for but she will need updated shots and a teeth check.

She is settling in. But there is mystery to this story, I know, I just don't want to explore that here, in writing. I'm happy we can help her, and help an older couple who clearly need help. It was a good fit for our mission which also swayed me. The woman was still concerned that if something went wrong, or changed, that the horse would not be sold. I had given her a specific contract stating everything to reassure her, but she still brought it up as we were loading the horse. I was losing some patience as I'd spent a lot of time on the entire situation, and listened over and over to her story, which was truly sad. And it could be any of us, at any time.

Martyn and I were both feeling drained from the experience. There were a lot of angles to this story that have nothing to do with a horse, but instead, with life, and aging, and family, and the luck of the draw...My feeling as I sipped my wine by the fire was...I just want to be me now, at this age now, for this time now...and be old when I'm old. I felt I got washed over with someone else's age and sadness and hard times...even though I had on my pink bubble suit [it must have had a leak].

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Autumnal llamas

I have been so busy with business things and then late week felt a bug coming on so stayed inside doing office things. We managed to drive a bit today as we had to get a tractor part and saw leaves-gorgeous! But what is even more gorgeous are the dark llamas in front of fall color, don't you think?

So, there are lots of photos at the IG site. I'm just too tired to write at length!

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The old shop is closed, the new one is the place to go

I officially closed the Etsy shop. All my books, art, prints and other goodies are now for sale at the NEW SHOP. There is so much to browse through so if you have any questions, just let me know.

I also offer a payment plant for the original paintings. I need to add that option to the original painting section, but if that is of interest just let me know. I require payment in 3 monthly installments, no interest is charged. If you decide you can't finish payments for some reason, there is no refund but money can be applied to other items for up to a year.

Lots going on her creatively, so stay tuned. There will be a photo book of over 60 pages coming in time for holiday giving, and the first of the year the new White Dog memoir will be open to pre-sales. I also am offering the Goose & Llama tribute book at the shop too since so many people were asking for it again.

A portion of net sales from the shop goes to Apifera at the end of my accounting year. When you buy at the shop, your purchase IS NOT tax deductible. When you make a donation to Apifera Farm Inc, no matter where, it is fully tax deductible.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

What a day, so wonderful

Misfit Love Day 2019 was a huge success on so many levels. We had a steady turnout all day, we had many newcomers, we had a woman drive all the way from NYC just for the event, we had one of our favorite guests come again this year–David who is 102–I almost cried when I saw him coming in. He is a wonder and loves the animals, taking slow deliberate strokes when he meets an animal.

I am tired but just wanted to post these pics. It is difficult taking photos while holding a llama or a pay, and I always feel my main job is to be present so I don't have that many.

Once again, my volunteers were super, and we think we had a t least 100+ people. All ages came and the children were delighted and well behaved. We all agreed that every one who has come to our events are just nice people! And we made -I think_at least $2,000 which is the best we've done at a fundraiser.

And Harry made his debut and was super. He has a fan following now! The trailer worked perfect for it, not tress for him or me that way. Then I brought Arlo out for two walk arounds so he got a workout and di fine. It was a lot for him to take in so I gave him breaks. White Dog proved to be a favorite, and I had him in a stall but we decided next year he will have his own little 'Sit with White Dog' paddock so people can be with him. I couldn't let him be free, it could have proven chaotic. he loves the people though–I can't tell you how many people came and told me about White Dog. I brought Captain Sparkle out just to test the waters and it was a lot for him to take in, so we made it a short 15 minute visit. The goats ran free with the people as did the donkeys and people love that. People always tell me how peaceful it it.

And more importantly, people understand what we are doing and appreciate it and told me-tht means so much. I feel very optimistic as we head into next year.

David came last year and is 102 this year
Harry's debut was a hit

As usual Arlo posed like  a super model

So happy that Roscoe and Jim Bob were so loved and vice versa

And Uno! He now has a fan club and gave belly rubs all day

This is Cora, I considered keeping her-she's a redhead

Thursday, October 03, 2019

If you open a space, they will come to you, they will shift

Captain Sparkle leans into my guest
I wanted to write about this before I get swept up in the next days of the annual event [on Saturday]. Some beautiful encounters took place in the last couple days. I can say this is a daily thing here, but sometimes even I am reminded of the intuitive skills of nature and animals [and humans if we can recognize it and practice it].

Yesterday friends came to visit for the morning all the way from Oregon. It was so great to take time with them, since they knew Apifera out west from the onset, and actually delivered several Misfits to me to help out, including goats and dear sweet Hughie. But what was even more special for me was to see how some of the animals responded to the visit. I was surprised but also delighted that of all the current animals, I never thought Captain Sparkle would show such camaraderie with a guest. I've only had him out with strangers once as you know, and he did fine, but was a bit sidetracked since we were in a strange place. So when we stepped into his paddock where he lives with Arlo and The Teapot, we we all so happy to see that he almost immediately went up to my friend Lisa and leaned into her. He was so quiet and calm, and even started napping. He stood there the entire time. I felt a real shift in him in the last week or so. I think he definitely understands now that he is safe, and that I am the leader and protector against the boss pants, aka The Teapot. Captain Sparkle just swept me away on this visit, and I knew that in time, this little chap will evolve his purpose here, and get great reciprocal healing from it.

There was also an exciting–for me–shift with Harry. We went into the new barn addition to hang out with the donkeys and Harry, and we probably stood there for a half hour or more chatting. Within time, Harry started coming over to me. Harry is not scared or mean, he is still just ungrounded here, but he has begun to recognize my role here. My friend noticed he was paying close attention to me [wow, someone really listens to me].

It dawned on me that the way to put this into words...is that when we give the animals space, they can feel comfortable making their own intuitive response. If you back a horse into a corner and he doesn't trust you, it's dangerous and scary for the horse; if you give that horse space to understand the situation, he responds more calmly. 

I realized that having some people there that I was focused on, allowed Harry to feel more open to exploring...me.

It was a shift.

And then this morning a heart in throat encounter. Many of you who follow along know the beautiful story of friendship between The Goose and Birdie the llama. He was with her through it all. And you know that The Goose seems to gravitate to those in need. I do not take his skill lightly. We all know that Else is very old and crippled and fading...but this morning when I came back from the outer barn, she had brought herself outside to sun, without my help. I squatted down to take a photo as Opie stood near her. And in seconds, The Goose came over to make sure things were as they should be. He preened her some, but not a lot, circled her, and they tilted their heads together for seconds.

The Goose checks on old Else

My friend Lisa gets a surprise visit from Harry

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Would you buy a book from this dog?

If you've ever been to one of our events, you know I kind of like signs. Our second annual Misfit Love Day is this Saturday and I finally figured out how to use the little hut we took from a dump site at one of Martyn's jobs. Someone made the little hut we think for a child-there is a cupboard inside, windows, remnants of wallpaper and a smoke stack for charm [I can assure you nobody built a fire in it].

Martyn saw the hut at his job site and laughed out loud to the crew that he better not show me a picture of it or I'd want it. He had planned to not tell me, but...well, he did, and when I saw it I of course knew it held all sorts of possibilities in it. And the thought that some little kid probably loved that little hut...well, now it would be brought back to purpose. When we went to pick it up at the job site, Martyn's boss was there with some crew and they all just chuckled when they saw him there showing me the hut. They helped us get it into the truck which was nice, and off we went. Then on the way home we stopped at the hardware store, and pulling out was another crew member who knew the whole story, and there we were like the Beverly Hillbillies with this hut on top of our truck-he was laughing.

So this little hut has a local history. I keep wondering if someone will show up Saturday and demand to take it back home. I'd be crushed. It is a small town, everyone seems to know everyone so who knows.

Anyway, it will greet people as they enter the pasture of free roaming Misfits, and it is a perfect bookstore. I opened the back door on it, and White Dog rushed in, it was so funny. He had no idea what to do once inside, as he fills it up, so he looks a bit..."Um, can you get me out of here, please?"

The weather appears to be holding well for Saturday. Either way, we will be here, as will our little Bookstore.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Earnest declares, "Sacrilege!"

{Photo 2016} This is the first year since 2004 on the farm when I haven't grown pumpkins. I have to say I don't like it at all but it was an unusual year with the barn addition which meant our garden was a bit transplaced and I just decided to let it go for one year aand oly do tomatoes and lettuce. Earnest is bereft.

"I don't understand, pumpkins come every year" he said.

"There was no room this year, the garden got moved, but next year the pumpkins will be back," I said.

"I don't know how that will feel, not to have pumpkins," Earnest said, and he walked back to his hut to nap.

I felt terrible. "I guess I can buy you one," I said.

"Sacrilege," said Earnest.

"I agree," I said.

"Oh well," said Earnest. "You're still doing Christmas decorations, aren't you. And the cookies."

"Yes," I assured him.

Which reminds me, I promised them all I'd decorate one of the apple trees so they could see it from the barn. I just hope they give up on the live nativity scene that we suffer through each year.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

I'm scattered...bare with me...Uno shows me the way

One week and it is our main annual event Misfit Love Day [Saturday October 5th, 11-3]. I am officially entering the all systems go and too many ideas and thoughts in my head stage of the pre-week-event. So bare with me if my posts are off until then...I am now torturing myself daily by watching weather forecast [which looks good at this point] and making lists and leaving the lists in various parts of the house which causes me to rewrite the lists. It's just the way I do it, it always seems to work out.

This year we have a very different mix of Misfits from last year. We have the two older llamas who are shier and more reserved and I have gone back and forth on how to arrange my paddocks for the day. The goats and donkeys will once again be out mingling with the people, the guests love that. Hopefully Ollie won't be too enthusiastic with love, as he is much taller now but he loves people. Earnest will be addressing guests from his private hut. Uno and the pigs will be in the paddock so people can meet them-with The Goose, which should be interesting. I could not have Goose out wandering, I know he'd be concerned with strangers coming and going and he'd try to protect me and everyone living creature. And the ponies will be with White Dog. I hate having to stall Marcella away, it really makes me sad-she is such a part of my daily life and we are a team, but she is too territorial which is her job and it would be hard on her, and me, and also could lead to problems-it would be her job to protect. So she has a place int he barn she is used to going, and sleeps there too and it will be fine. I have figured out a way to let Harry and Arlo partake in a way that won't give them too much stress. I want Harry to be part of the event, but he is still new here and I am not going to overwhelm the poor chap. I'll let you see how it works out with photos after the event.

I have some other things up my sleeve I'm trying this year.

Martyn said to me this afternoon as he saw me staring out into the field, "I can see the wheels turning."

So, I try to work hard and fast each day, and then take a cue from Uno, when it is time to go to bed, go to bed.

I hope I see some of you at the event. If you can't make it, please feel free to send us a donation if you like what we are doing for animal and human.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Harry...and his magnificent haircut arrives

Harry journeys from mountains to ocean, complete with prayer flags

On Tuesday I was up at 3:30 to do chores. We were on the road at 4:45 AM headed to the Berkshires, a 6+ hour drive. I told Martyn we were not going to do any 12+ hour round trips anymore to pick up animals...but...it was Harry, he was worth it. And, we got to see the Berkshires, and the leaves had started turning. We also got to meet Harry's owners and see their beautiful place [which by the way has a sweet little Air B&B where you can enjoy the area, but have llamas outside your window].

I had so many memories flashing though me as I drove the old familiar highways I knew from my time in college back in the late '70's. Seeing the road signs that could send me up to the Saratoga area where I spent some summers at school, or small towns in New York and Vermont of college friends...it got me to thinking of memories of long ago-like driving to Canton for freshman year with my parents, and we stopped at the old village historical site, that was jogged in my brain when I saw the road sign. And the mountains. I miss the mountains. I am very happy in Maine, I love the ocean, but...I have to say the mountains have always been kindred. The ocean is more like my inner womb I swam in as a pre-human. The mountains feel like a protecting wisdom all around me.

When I first saw Harry, he was standing next to another male herd mate. He was even more beautiful in person. He is very calm and loaded right up even though he'd never trailed. He rode in the trailer for 7 hours back to Maine, with the prayer flags hanging above him that followers sent for our 6 day journey from Oregon to Maine three years ago. I never took them down and it was nice to know they still send prayers for our travels.

It was dark enough when we got home that I opted to leave Harry in the trailer for the night. He was lying down when I went in to sit with him for a spell [llamas couch/lie down when they travel]. He has a very sweet expression. He listened intently. The time between picking an animal up-when they leave their home-and the arrival is always the most unsettling for me. I want the animal to know it will be ok, and I know Harry felt this. When we loaded him, his former owner took time to say his final goodbyes in the trailer...it was sweet. I truly believe that even though Harry knew this was different, the intention of his former owner was clear to him, and my intention was also clear to him.

The next morning, I brought Harry out. It reminded me of my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, as Dorothy opens the door and the b/w scenes turn to color. Llamas are naturally curious, and Harry had so much to see. He had lived in the same place his whole life, so this was a big day for him. I was pleased the The Goose didn't harass him-The Goose is protective of me and when new people come in, he usually runs to them [although he has never down this with elders, which I think is so intuitive]. He heard familiar sounds of donkeys and chickens, but he'd probably never seen pigs so that was pretty new for him.

When we go to the outer barn, I let him nose Arlo, but opted to put him in a stall where he could meet everyone though the fence-sheep, horse, donkeys, ponies, White Dog...and Luna and Lucy were introduced to him too, but he will not share a fence with them for obvious reasons. I did chores and decided to see how he did, and let him out to be with the docks and Boone. My animals know llamas, and there was no drama. I thought there would be more drama between Arlo and Harry at the fence line since they are both intact [which will change come spring] but there really wasn't.

For now, I'm letting him stay with the equines, he seems content. And I can still work with Arlo and keep him more focused on me in training...I will let them in together soon to see what happens, but all indications are it will be fine. Arlo is very content now I think, he has his little Misfit herd of ponies and White Dog at night...and me.

So, welcome, Harry. It will be much fun to see how you settle...will you like therapy sessions? We'll find out. No pressure, Harry. And maybe your purpose is to smile at us....who dos that remind you of?

Harry enters Apifera for the first time

Harry smiles...who does that remind you of?

Monday, September 23, 2019

Arlo expands

I took Arlo, Opie and Captain Sparkle to visit residents at Cove's Edge last Friday. I figured since Sparkle lives with Arlo, I'd bring him along and test the waters. Captain Sparkle did just fine, in that I tied him in the shay area and he was well behaved. I brought him over to meet people and he was a bit mouthy so that is something to work on, but he wasn't horrible and all in all he did just fine. He got a bit any. I will need to do 30 minute sit downs with him in the coming months.

Arlo did great, and this was his first real outing. He really likes it! He stands front and center like a super model, and then shared himself with everyone. He also met his first beard.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Another conversation with a chicken

Hazel the Wanderer arrived at Apifera last week after being picked up wandering on the road by a  good samaritan. After settling in a couple of days, she laid her first egg for us.

"Hazel, an EGGGGG! You laid an egg! AN EGG!" I said upon entering the barn this morning.

"Good grief, have you never seen an egg?" Hazel said.

"Well, of course, I am just thrilled you gifted us one," I told her.

"Gifted? They pop out no matter what, I have no say about it," the chicken said.

"Well, eggs are nature's perfect food, already in a handy carrying package of shell. You can bake 'em, eat em and give them to the pigs too. Thank you again, Hazel," I said as I left to do more chores.

Hazel wandered out to The Goose and Henneth the blind chicken.

"Is she always this excitable about eggs?" she asked.

"Oh yes, I can attest to this, she screamed so loud on my first egg I nearly had a heart attack," Henneth said.

Just then Opie ran by, and Ollie.

"And those two?" Hazel asked. "Are they always so happy?"

The Goose and Henneth nodded in a yes and the three returned to their morning pecking for bugs.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I was minding my own business....

You know the routine, I was minding my own business, intently working in the office when an email popped in asking me if I might be able to take in a chicken. She had been found wandering the road and a good Samaritan was giving her food for a few days when they finally could trap her. She clearly had been wounded in the head area. They took her home and she was living in a crate and they named her Hazel.

So sure, I took her on. She is a lovely lady, a Barred Rock just like some of our flock and she is quite tame. I held her last night and told her I wondered if somewhere out there is a little girl or boy who lost their pet chicken? She had wounds on her head, which the samaritans doctored. Hard to know what got her, maybe a young coon that couldn't finish the job, who knows.

She is acclimating to her new environs. I put her in the private care unit in Henneth and Opie's area, where she could be by the hen hut, but safe. Well, Little Big Man went wild, stomping and strutting his 1# little man body. Good grief. The next day, I tried letting the door stay open and let Henneth wander in. Fight. Henneth started it but since she is blind I can understand but I was sort of surprised.

So the next day, I let Hazel out with The Goose and Henneth where she was in a fenced area pretty much with trees to hide in and this is where Henneth and The Goose wander. It gave her more room and Henneth was less threatened. I think it will be fine. To be honest, I'm hoping she and Henneth get friendly, then again Henneth has a pretty good life and doesn't have to deal with Little Big Man. I think my rooster days are over once he is gone. I just want my girls to be in peace. Since they don't free range anymore, there really isn't a need for a roo. Out West, we never really had rooster issues, and I loved my roos. Its just a different set up here. If somebody came along who loved Seabrights, I'd rehome him but until that might happen he is my responsibility.

The Goose keeping track of the new arrival