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

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Monday, October 19, 2020

A beautiful poem was sent to me

 If you follow along on social media, you know it has been a lot of loss-one right after the other. We were just catching our breath when Noritsu died suddenly this weekend. You might recall how important his presence was to me in the elder cat suite-I called him my "nurse" as each time an elder was hospiced, Noritsu was there to nurse too, and nurse me. I will, and do, miss him greatly. Some have said it isn't fair. It can seem like that, or it can seem like someone or some entity is sending messages through these deaths–am I doing it not up to your standards? But being partially composod of magic dust and mystery, and partially composed of science, I see it as part of the deal when living amongst the elders, or compromised. Even with that knowledge, and respect for Nature's way, it was, is sad. I am sad about him leaving.

So it was beautiful to get this poem from a friend's poet partner, Dag. I am deeply moved by it, and am going to frame it, maybe I'll put it in the barn too. If you are willing, take a breath, and read it out loud, as poems should be. 

 

~Poet, Dag T. Straumsvåg ~
 

noritsu
I didn’t know you
wearing your nurse’s white coat
your eyes always wise
& calm in pictures
watching over someone else
next to Katherine
in the elder suite
I knew a cat called Nusse
looking just like you
with winter coming
& the season’s first snow
falling over us
I’ll think about you
Noritsu Nusse Birdie
Old Sophie and see
you in each snowflake
beautiful & different
from all the others
 

~ October 18, 2020 ~



Thursday, October 15, 2020

One foot in front of the other, we are retredding our soles

Morning broke over the herd, minus one

The beautiful sun shone over the herd this morning, sans Honey. We are not sad. We are just regrouping, retredding our soles. She would have suffered this winter. And we are relieved she will not.

This morning was a beautiful day. So was yesterday, old Honey's death day. We buried her in the back paddock. She was able to see her buddies in the next paddock, and she had some apples before the sedation was streamed into her. She went down fast. She did not fight it. Afterwards, al the equines were let in to smell her and inspect the grave. Boone spent the most time with her, smelling her open eye, her body...then he walked off.

This morning felt like a quiet relief. I say 'quiet' because the day after death there is sort of this feeling of relief, but also a tiredness. You don't realize how it can stress you out and it effects your body. I wasn't stressed about the decision, it was the right decision for her, but it is the 'knowing' it is coming, it is knowing you are responsible for her death. We did all we could do for her, she just could not put on weight. She was famished, I think, devouring 10# of food a day plus trying to eat hay which ended up in cigar spit outs since she had no teeth. Soaked alfalfa did not work either. She had minerals and teeth work and blood tests.

She was old and her body was done.

I told her that it was her journey day. I like to think of it that way, for her, for me and any loved one or loved creature. The leaf drops off a tree and travels, travels, travels, finally landing in a new spot, a new world, then gets blown a bit by the wind, and covered some day in rain as it decomposes into the dirt. It feeds a worm who tills the underworld. And that energy never dies, it just gets recycled over and over.

I hope to take tomorrow and just work with the ponies, setting up a beginning obstacle course, or at least some small jumps. I'm way behind on it, I've been talking about it for months. Talk is cheap. Captain Sparkle and The Teapot could use the fun, and discipline. I can't wait for the snow to do some pony runs.

Boone smells Honey's body before going off to graze

 




Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Mister Mosely and Nurse Cratchet update

 

Mister Mosely has been a very tolerant patient. SInce we brought him home, I have been hand feeding him a mash, along with some high calorie substenance. So he's getting 150-200 calories a day, or that is the goal. And this morning, Martyn saw him drinking and eating, and then I filmed him eating tuna. I was really happy. Plus he just seemed more himself. We are not out of the woods. And of course, he could still die of something soon or...not. We just don't know. He still has yellow skin but my understanding is that can take weeks or longer to go away. For now, I'm just so happy to be able to nurse him. Caretaking a creature, of any kind, like this is a bonding experience. I have always been bonded to him, but it intensifies the bond. There is a lot going on. Winter prep and just alot of little animal issues. Tomorrow, we say goodbye to Honey. Send us a prayer of wings.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Mister Mosely is home...and now we try


Mister Mosely came home late yesterday after three days at the vet. He was jaundice this past Sunday so I knew the slight weight loss was something to get checked out. But the scan showed  he has a dilated biliary duct. Firstly, there was fear it was a mucoseal which would have been the worst news, so we were relived it wasn't. He still had a chance to be treated. He is not in good enough condition to open him up and explore in a more probing way-looking for a stone, abscess, something blocking him to csue the coliostasis. A specialist was another option after the initial scan, meaning he'd be in the hospital for days or weeks, getting test after test, but I saw no sense in that, especially if he is not in good enough shape to undergo exploratory surgery or any surgery.

So we are treating him for things it might be, with antiobiotics and liver enhancing pills. 

And the struggle to get food in him is now the main goal of every day. 250 calories to be exact. Mose has always been a bit picky, but he was a good eater and that is another way we knew something was up-he wasn't getting up in the wee hours with Martyn for some milk for example. I got him to eat before we went to the vet and he ate there the frist two days.

So I went to the store today and bought as much different variety of stinky fish as I could. Smokes salmon, mackerel, Kippers...and he is letting me force feed him. The drugs he is on-the one that lasts one week-can cause a lack of appetite, so I will not give up until weeks are gone. I read about a cat that took five weeks to get back to eating right. 

It's one day at a time.

When I got him in the house, I held him forever and he was probably saying, "Um, Mum, really, put me down now I'm not a baby."

While I know that the end result might not be what we hope for, to be able to try...I'm so grateful I thought he would have to be put down when they told me he might have the mucoseal. That was a horrible 12 hours of waiting.

Mister Mosely was adopted from the shelter, while I was there picking up another elder they wanted me to take. I went into the cat area while they got paper work ready, and Mosely was sitting upright in a chair, looking at me. It was instantaneous. We already had brought home Omar and Oscar, and I didn't consult with Martyn, I just knew he was meant to come home with me. Looking back, I know he would have been adopted quickly, he'd been in the shelter for awhile having treatments and things. I walked in at the right time. 

So I remain optimistic, hopeful, grateful...but also realistic.

But I will do everything I can to get food in him. A feeding tube thing would have required surgery.

If you don't have love with them, there is no pain when they leave. So I will continue to love, and know that through the pain, there is always more love to give, and receive. Mister Mosely is my dream cat. He is like a pug version of a cat for me. He was supposed to be my cat, my long term cat as all the other elders we adopt pass through quickly. He was supposed to get old and cranky with me. But maybe Mosely knew he wasn't going to take that route, and somehow he masterminded it so I would walk into the shelter that day, and find him. I always thought I needed him, but maybe he needed me.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

The Harry Chronicle! The llama now has a newspaper!

Harry and I have been working hard on the first issue of The Harry Chronicle, a full color newspaper that will promote joy, wisdom, humor, ideas and more. We came up with this idea as another unique way to help our elder friends who are still in lockdown. All the residences that Harry visits will get free delivery of the newspaper.

 It's an actual printed 24 page newspaper that will go to the elders. But I also have an online version for family or Apifera followers. I decided to make it free too, and hope that if people like the idea, they will share a donation with Apifera. 

Each printed issue costs about $1000 to print. I am paying for that out of my own business funds, not the non profits.

Harry is editor-in-chief, Pickles is proofreader, and I am everything else.

Our hope is to work with our activity directors so that each quarterly issue might include things from the elder homes-letters, stories, art-anyway that they feel they can reach out to Harry and the outside world.

The issue contains Paco Poetry, Harry Chats, Ask Harry, Stories from Apifera, photos and art, an Opinion section, and The Barnyard Dirt which is gossip from the barnyard. 

So feel free to share the link with anyone. And the actual newspapers just shipped to Harry today and should be here next week. He of course wants to deliver them llama style.

If you love Harry's paper idea, please consider a donation. Enjoy the paper!



Monday, October 05, 2020

I'm not even sure how to title this


I am sorry to report that Luna was put down. Deep breath on this end. We can’t be 100% sure but we think it was a combination of a tumor or abscess -the lump in the side of her throat) combined with choke. I did some things right when I first noticed it on Thursday, and the next morning she seemed ok but on feeding again she had trouble so I called vet. We were looking at old pics of her and could see a slight lump and think maybe this had been starting a few months back and since she was eating ok I just did not notice. 

Luna and Luci weren’t handled much so I do not examine or touch them like I do Harry and Arlo. So..I learned some new things on any future events. My vet -always kind- said not to beat myself up-even if I had called sooner the idea we could have done surgery on her going into winter on a very old body was not really practical. But if anything happened with the others I would know to act sooner-or she gave me some tests I can do before I did call to help assess. We put her down in the paddock-one has to think about getting her body out-and everyone was there that she is used too-Earnest watched, White Dog assisted my vet , Luci and Arlo who came with Luna watched...Harry in the distance. Damn it

I have decided it is best I also share two pieces of information with you, now. Because I am open here about the bad and the good, withholding the sad things is not healthy for me. I just know it is hard on some followers, but that is not my responsibility to care take that, and it becomes a burden on my soul to hold things. But if you can't handle more sad, best read elsewhere today. Firstly, my beloved Mister Mosely is at the vet today after I discovered this weekend he has yellow skin. There is no scenario that will be presented to me after initial tests that will likely be good, but I am praying we will be able to treat him [and there are some treatments for some scenarios]. Mister Mosely is so special to me. He is the cat equivalent of Hughie the pug. I'll be honest and say...I'm a bit ticked off. But I'm trying to stay in the light. But, really, Mister Mosely? Why? And of course, there is no answer, and it isn't personal but I do not want this. It wasn't suppose to happen. 

Secondly, it has become crystal clear that the right thing to do for old Honey the horse is to euthenize her before winter. She came out of last winter thinner than fall and many vet evaluations over the spring-summer-fall, dentistry work, diet changes, additional supplements, she is not gaining, she is loosing. We've done photos too every month. She is 30+. It is time. She has hardly any muscle and I can see her getting weaker even though she is still a pistol in the herd. But she simply can not digest her food anymore. It would be cruel to make her go through winter. And even with 4 coats on her, she would suffer. I have done my best for her in this last year. But it is time. While I was unsure in summer, I have no doubts this is the right thing. That will happen next week. 

One of the reasons I want to tell this upfront is if you can't handle all the loss here, combined with the volatility of the country right now, I just don't want to bring anyone further down. But I want to share the reality of life here. What I want more than anything is to help Mister Mosely. Entering the house without him was horrible. He and I are very bonded. He started acting a bit off a week ago, so I weighed him and he'd lost a pound. I made a health check up for next week. But then I found the yellow skin and was able to get squeezed in today with my vet [thank you!]. But now when I look back over the past days, the way he was looking at me did feel different. He was telling me he needed help. The car ride over, he was purring and content–that's so like him. I will do whatever I can for him. 

People ask how I can go through loss after loss. Sometimes, I can't. This one....this one might explode me. One thing I've learned about myself, since I am an optimist, is I tend to just keep going in a crisis, buck it up, but often I carry that around without sharing the load. Of course I tell Martyn, but I am the one that makes the final decisions, I am the caretaker and executioner. I am the one who walks around for the next coming days knowing I am going to put an animal down, and even though it is the right decision, it can eat away at you. I often crash the next day and have palpitations or a headache and realize how the holding it in can cause physical illness. I have begun to dance again to relieve stress, and deep breathing too.

I told Mister Mosely as we left, "Don't worry, I'll do the worrying." And I just sort of stopped in my tracks, and thought, man...I need some worry co-pilots I think. So that is why I'm telling you this. You can watch all the free videos of Pickles and Harry and songs and donkeys and joy but you also get a free look into the hard stuff and that goes with it.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

How do I keep doing it, she asked

You might have already read elsewhere that sweet little Fuzzy died. I knew she was dying a few days ago and she went into pretty much a death slumber 24 hours before formally passing. The video was right before her body finally let go. She was very much 'not here' and not in stress.

Sometimes people ask how I keep facing loss over and over. I guess you could ask the same of elder caregivers at residences. Someone once said people have to be wired for it.

I don't know.

I think maybe I am just at a place in my life where I can keep doing it, keep going on after a death. Some hit you really hard of course. Some are a relief when they pass [like Fuzzy, due to her chronic cyst issues I was relieved for her]. And I won't say one gets desensitzed to it the loss, one just evolves into the role.I still have so many charges here, that after I buried Fuzzy, I came back to the ct room and hung out with the other cats for awhile. They all need me.

Maybe that's reason enough. Other animals need me, need a place like Apifera, so you don't question going on. Maybe someday I will question it, but not now.

The video below is this morning's Walter Song. He came over to me everytime I was attending Fuzzy in the pass days, even more than Noritsu. I have noticed Walter has lost a teeny bit of wight. I asked him not to go yet. But then I told him I can't do that and it is out of my hands but I sure do like having him here.