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

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

All images

©Katherine Dunn.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

In case you were wondering....

The blog has evolved over the past fifteen years. It has become more of an archive. I post daily on Instagram and Facebook for the farm. People ask which they should read...well, I guess it depends, but it all meshes.

The blog: stories from our beginnings in 2004 but now it is more of an archive-how I can keep track of animals coming and going [as in dying]. I usually post important news here but it all gets posted on social media anyway. I have fewer readers here-they want to be on IG and FB.

Instagram > Daily photos and happenings of the farm and our lives, new art, videos of the animals, and peeks at what is happening on Patreon.

Facebook farm page > Pretty much 100% farm news of the animals. I rarely post art there unless it is for a special reason. Sometimes I write a post without images on the FB farm page, and you might not see it on IG. I'll post ponderings about things - more like the old blog.

Patreon> where my art and stories are blending, including my newest passion-working with felted creatures and room sets to make stories and movies. There are also over 100 posts of stories and such from when I first started the Patreon [I paused it for a few months but am back with zest!]. Patreon is a way for followers to show their support financially, for as little as $2 a month, for my art and story telling- and you can leave anytime. Paying members gets perks throughout the year, including free access to flip books and discounts on product. While I show snippets of the movies on IG, Patreon members see the entire movie.

My main art site: my portfolio and a place to see who I am and what my work is all about.

My online shop: buy books, art, prints and more

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Harry has sage advice

I heard deep sighs as I walked to the barn. There sat all The Goofballs with their little goat faces looking glum.

“What is wrong?” I asked.

Pickles pushed something towards me-it was the farm calendar that had just arrived from the printer.

I think I know where this is going, I thought.

“Harry always gets picked for everything,” Pickles said, as she pointed at the calendar cover.

“Well, I am quite handsome,” Harry said, strolling by.

“But I’m so stinkin’ cute!” said Pancakes, the baby of the group.

“We didn’t even get to vote,” said Puddles the goat.

“The chickens didn’t get any coverage!” said one of the hens, and then the entire flock broke into loud clucks.

“The Goose made it in, twice!” said another hen.

Earnest the pig happened in on the discussion.

“Mrs. Dunn, I think you did a fine job. I especially like the October spread,” the pig said, beaming.

Everyone turned to October and there was Earnest and his pumpkin.

They let out another collective sigh.

Harry the llama retuned to the conversation. “The calendar sales help all of us. You should be thankful, not jealous, especially as we are entering the season of thanks and giving,” said the llama. “Just the other day, I was visiting the elder home and so many of our friends there wish they could just be in their own homes, but they can’t. And here are all of you, safe and happy, in your home.”

Everyone grew silent.

Hannah raised her hand, “Harry, why do the old people leave their homes then?”

“They can’t care for themselves anymore. They don’t want to leave their homes,” said Harry.
“I feel their sadness when I’m there, they carry their old homes inside and I can feel their sadness.”

Hannah started to cry. Earnest the pig put his arm around her.

“We have to bring the old people here, to live in our barn!” Hannah cried.

“Hannah, they can’t live here, they would fall and trip and they would be cold in your barn,” said Earnest the pig.

“It’s not fair,” she said.

“Life is not for sissies, Hannah,” said Poetry, the stoic old goat. “And neither is getting old.”

Hannah raised her hand again and asked Harry, “What do you do when you are with the old people?”

“I stand honourably by them, and listen,” said the llama.

“Do they talk to you?” asked Pickles.

“Yes, some do, some just pet me or watch me.” Harry said. “My job is to make them feel noticed. They are not invisible to me as they are to many people.”

“This is why Harry’s on the cover–he understands that sitting with an old person and listening is often more helpful than all the medicine in the world,” I said.

“I hope to play Bingo with them soon,” said Harry.

And everyone, including me, yelled, “Bingo!”

{The 2024 Apifera Farm calendar is now available at the online shop and all sales go to Apifera}

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

My bunny died

My bunny died. 

I had been hospicing her for almost two days. I thought she would release last night but on arrival this morning she was still alive but near the end. Last night I awoke around three thinking of her and took it as she had died. Now in the this morning and got her back on her blanket. She reached a paw up and turned and looked (but I knew she was blind these past days). Then she resumed her deep state and was gone in a short time. 

I’m grateful I got there so she could feel my presence. 

She was my studio/ office mate since 2017. I was at the shelter picking up two elder cats and there she was. Someone found her on a lawn. She was friendly and sweet. I always worried a child might be missing her but she came to live with me. I would bring her out in the morning and she’d hop around and then settle under my feet. 

I loved her. And I will miss her. It was dreary and rainy so I left her in her blanket for a day. Right now she just looks like my sweet little bunny asleep on her blanket. I named her Isabelle Noir but she will always be my Bunny.

Saturday, November 04, 2023

The lump of love turns ONE

 Visit our IG page or the FB page to see a video honoring Lumpy's first birthday. I required a hankie.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Introducing...Old Donkey

Old Donkey lives alone but has much to enjoy in life. In fact, I predict he might be making some new friends has winter comes. You can meet him here.

I am having a wonderful time making sets, learning about lighting the sets, delving into the magical [and addictive] land of miniatures. In the next weeks many things will be arriving to help create the world of Old Donkey and his friends.

Also, this coming month, Patreon members will be getting discounts and free. shipping on certain items in the shop.That will be announced soon.

Monday, October 23, 2023


Today is a sad day for me and Harry the llama. I’ve shed some tears.

We lost a dear friend. Her name was Margaret and she was 92 years old and until about a month ago she was living independently in her little house on the farm of her daughter in Virginia. I had known her daughter for some years after ‘meeting’ in blog world some 15 or more years ago. When Margaret turned 90, her daughter asked people to send cards. Well, of course Harry and I rose to that occasion and sent her a card and a Harry t-shirt. She swiftly posed in it, beaming into the camera.

Soon after, she and Harry became pen pals. I of course helped but it was all Harry’s words-telling Margaret of the goings on of the farm. Margaret would share stories, weather reports and she had a wonderful sense of humor. And she knew how to write a proper letter, something many in today’s modern world don’t. I’m old enough and went to a grade school where we were taught how to write a proper letter.

Getting Margaret’s letters in the mail also brought me great joy. And while I considered Margaret a friend to me, and Harry, I also felt like I had another mother for a brief time. I told her that seeing her lovely handwriting gave me a jolt, because it brought back all the letters my own mother had sent me during my days at college or away in NYC or where ever I was living at the time.

About a month ago, Margaret took a fall. She needed surgery. She was placed in a rehab facility near her home so her daughter and family were able to see her regularly. And of course upon hearing this, Harry immediately began his Harry the Llama Letter Campaign. I’m so glad he did. He wrote her every day the first week, short little cards. We all prayed that Margaret would be able to go home. But the fall and surgery take a toll on an elder. Through those days in rehab, she never lost her sense of humor, and never turned dour. At some point, I sent her a llama doll, and she had the doll placed on her basket of letters and cards, and told everyone Harry was the Protector of the Cards. She loved to tell people about her pen pal, Harry. She had sent Harry a red knit scarf for his outings into the village and in time, I drew her a piece of art of Harry wearing his scarf. She cherished it.

In the last couple weeks, Margaret developed bleeding and they could not determine what it was and more surgeries were out of the question, and Margaret was having none of it. But she remained her true self. After a couple bouts in the ER, she returned to rehab last week. We all hoped she could continue to grow strong enough to go home.

She died this morning. I had just been thinking as I did chores, giving hay to Harry, what should we send Margaret today, Harry? Harry did not respond. I think he probably knew before me.

There is a part of me that would like to drive to Virginia with a llama in a red scarf, to walk on her farm in her honor.

No matter how old you are, or how young you are, or what species you are-you can make impactful dents in another creature’s heart. I don’t think Margaret knew how much her letters meant to me, I told her daughter often. Margaret loved the letters but she initially didn’t want Harry to be overwhelmed and feel obligated to write. But Harry, and I, do everything we want, and we loved writing the letters and imagining a sweet, elder woman on a rural cow farm in Virginia getting an envelope from Harry the Llama.

I have saved all the letters. I will send them to her daughter as a memento of the beautiful friendship her mother had with a llama. I am not sure what Harry and I will do with ourselves without our pen pal.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

We lose Roscoe

Roscoe, one of the elder goats, showed signs late yesterday of having stones, a serious situation. I gave pain meds and this morning was able to get my emergency vet here. I knew it was probably going to end like this, but he was in dire pain.The x-ray showed his bladder was 6 ml wider than what is considered a bad enlargement, and showed signs of multiple stones some large. Even if I had wanted to do surgery [I did not due to his age and chronic issues] she could not have opted to because his electrolytes were already messed up. As she put it, even with surgery many continue to have these, and the smaller goats are problematic for recovery. We talked about my feed and I wasn't really doing anything wrong, but for the boys I'm going to switch to more hay and as little pellet as needed and only if they lose weight. I'm so glad he could die here. My vet agreed, and she said the 2 hour ride to the clinic would have been horribly painful for him. I'm a firm believer in letting them die here, and am also a firm believer in not over-vetting - that is a very personal choice for every sanctuary and animal owner.

So this is one of those things that has ended in relief for animal and human. It is always hard to see them in pain, so when he went under, I was so relieved for him. His belly was way extended which she noticed right away which was from him pushing out trying to get relief.

I buried him with a polk-a-dot blankie.

It was a tiring day. We got a lot of stall pre-winter clean up done which was tiring. Ready for a fire and a glass of wine.

When he went under, he turned his sweet little ol' head towards me, and kind of curled it over, like a swan. He looked so peaceful.