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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Blue Cats, Why Not?

From a scientific standpoint, why aren't cats blue? I really sat and wondered this. Of course, most grass is green, most prairie fields are brown / earth tones, so blue cats would have stuck out in the wild and been preyed on and the species would have perished. But it would have been lovely...So, I wondered why not green? Green cats would have blended in very well in many tropical areas as well as the woods. Green stripes with earthtones...it's just an interesting thought. I think it is all fine how cats turned out however, and I can stare for hours at our many barn cats and their coloring...

Tomorrow is Huckelberry Pie's first birthday. It dawned on me he will only live to 9-11 years, and this was such a horrible thought. But I am almost 48, and many people I have known my whole life are in their 80's and I am entering this incredibly tender period of recognizing the inevitable passings of certain people. I have to get Roseanne Cash's new album, "Black Cadillac". She was interviewd on NPR this weekend, and was so eloquate in her responses to questions. She mentioned that when someone dies, it is not the end of your relationship with them, you just have to change the terms. This was comforting, but also reminded me how death is so surreal when it happens, and shocking, even if it is someone that is very old and sick and you know they are going to die - when they do, it is just so shocking. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, their physical body is gone, their voice is gone, but their energy lingers and it is just a different form. Why isn't it easy to grasp that? We hang so much on the physical connection...Roseanne Cash went on to say she had an epiphany a few years ago, well into her 50's, that she too would someday actually be dead, and it was a lite blub moment, and she laughed telling it - but I know what she meant. Martyn and I were talking about all the trees we were planting, how in 100 years they will be this big or that big, and it was a lite bulb moment. I won't be here, he won't , the sheep will long be dead, no Huck, no pug with one eye, no parents, Neil Young, everyone..all gone. How odd.

Please go rent the movie "Millions", a little British film from 2005, and buy Neil Diamond's [YES, Neil Diamond] new CD "12 Songs". Death and life and the yin and yang of it are expressed there better than I can do here...Meanwhile, I am still living, and I have a painting to do, and the ewes need their vacinations, and I will prepare a poem or something for Huck's first birthday. Plenty of time to die later down the road...

Monday, January 16, 2006


I was touched by an email this morning from someone who has bought a lot of my work and while looking at the moon she said she thought of my moons in my paintings, and how she has become more aware of nature because of the art she has bought...she thanked me for this 'awakening'. What a wonderful thing to hang on to in my heart when I paint or work in such isolation here - it is a reminder I have value.

Speaking of moons, the moon came out briefly the other nite. It was so nice to see her again, and I greeted her, and just stood with her by the barn for a few minutes. It has been so long, and I look forward to summer again when the
nites are warm and dry and the star watching here is magnificant.

The three paintings that went to Sundance are finally on their online store , it took forever to get them online, so long I had forgotten how much I liked them. One is about the moon watching the barn - I really see her as a protector and guide to all of us, including the barn, that houses and keeps our animals safe. When the full moon shines here, it does light our way to the barns, it's amazing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Not for man or beast

The rains have not stopped. I did more emergency trenching in the lavender field for 5 hours yesterday. I didn't cry this time, as the rain soaked me I just told each lavender plant to hang in there. I got back to the house and the pump had shut down, no water, no shower, the gutter had snapped outside flooding the basement. Power out this morning. I sat in silence and semi dark and drank coffee - now what do I do? No power, no lite to paint, too wet to work outside, roads washing out all around me including ours, trees falling on the highway from water overload, it's the end of the world as we know it, I thought. The overwhelming power of winter weather. If it isn't rain that'll kill you, it's ice somewhere else.

Power returns. Thank you. Changed my normal routine of NPR all morning and put Dylan on, LOUD.
"Now the road's washed out, weather not fit for man or beast
Now the road's washed out, weather not fit for man or beast
Funny how the things you had the hardest time partin' with are the things you need the least..
...Last night the wind was whispering, I was trying to make out what it was,
I tell myself something's coming but it never does..."

Then I entertained myself for about 20 minutes dancing to Neil singing "Rockin' in the Free World" -LOUDLY- danced, and wore my new Heinz peace sign, and took stupid pictures doing it. Self entertaining. It's a lifestyle. One must dance, even alone. I do it all the time, and yes, I play air guitar too. I pretend I get a letter from Neil Young's family saying he likes my art and sheep and wants to loan me Old Black for one week, and will come up at the end of the week and pick it up himself, and play a few songs out in the field, with all my animals around and select friends and family there, sun, good food, Pinot...
He and I jam on "Powderfinger"...

Happily, the little painting in the last post is off to live in Japan...a long journey, but it will have a very good home, with many

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

See flowers your way

Someone told me that the way I painted my flowers didn't make sense, and I replied, "Oh, well, then you must come meet them"....a few new pieces are for sale on the online store

And the sun is out, making everything gay [I still use this word to refer to "happy, light, frolic". I use is it in other ways too without a problem, but as someone said to me awhile ago, 'It's a shame you can't use that word just to mean happy anymore..." Why not???? ]

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Communing with ewes, and rainbows

This weekend we worked on building more lamb stalls in the old barn. While Martyn worked in the old ram area replacing dry rot beams, I was left alone in the other side of the barn with an air gun and plenty of nails - another monkey house is being created! [See earlier post]. It was the worst wind storm going on outside, with torrents of rain, which most of the West Coast has been tormented by...Being inside the old barn reminded me of being a little girl when we lived on five acres in Minnesota, and on many spring days, when the winds would come in, I would take refuge in the sumac groves on our property. I was safe and quite warm out of the wind, but could hear the wind- Funny how sounds and smells transport you in time. I can still remember the plaid pullover I constantly wore back then.

I also got to spend quality time with the sheep, ewes that is, with Joe Pye Weed safely out of our area [yes, we have the new ram area done, so I don't need to go into the pasture to bring him in - my limbs, skull and bones are somewhat safe from him now, and yet I can still give him kisses through the stall. Rosemary is our head ewe, she is going on 4, and is the mother of our other lead ewe, Daisy. She is the inspiration of many paintings and part of the product line. Once the other lambs came last spring, the dynamic of the sheep barn changed, not in a bad way, but the quiet times I would spend with the ewes in the morning was gone, and it was harder to bond as closely with the lambs, and wise not too I suppose. So being in the barn with them this weekend was so nice, rubbing their ears and under necks, which they love. They go into their trance state, and eventally start chewing cud. Daisy actually kept putting her nose in my face each time I would stop rubbing her. I tried to feel heartbeats of lambs by putting my head on their bellies but couldn't, but their udders are starting to bag a little. The other three younger lambs, Lewisia Pinkie, Coral Bell and Lilly of the Vally, are due in mid March. Coral Bell is a real beauty, in that Audrey Hepburn way, gazelle like with beautiful coloring. I read some Katahdin sheep breeder say that when he hears a breeder talking about 'color' in sheep, he knows he is dealing with a novice and it should not be a factor when culling your flock or choosing breeding stock. Call me a novice, I love chocolate colored sheep, and I love the buttery colors of my ewes, and the freckles on Joe Pye. I also love their good teeth, strong and straight legs and body stances, but if I want to look at their color as a desirable trait , I will. If that labels me a 'novice' or a 'city-woman-who-thinks-she's-farming-now" label to certain farmers, so be it.

At the end of the day, after days, weeks of rain and very few sunbreaks, flooding of rivers, Martyn and I started back to the house and there over the range was a rainbow - and then it was a double rainbow. Of course, this was a message, perhaps from the many butterflies, moths, and flies I have helped out of the house over the years who are now residing in thir higher states - they were obviously showing us that Apifera Farm is graced, and to hang in there for more rainbows.

And to the coal minors - I am thinking of your suffering today.