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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Traveling away from one's daily environment and routine brings a fresh perspective and outlook on things. I am a notorious homebody. I'm happy here surrounded by things and chores and rituals that I have chosen to bring into my life for meaning and happiness. Every now and then, I need to be dragged away, to remind myself there is energy and life all over, not just in my little realm.

So we took 7 days and flew to my old homeland of Minneapolis to visit my parents, celebrate my mother's 81st birthday, and see old friends. Leaving a house with a couple of dogs had a certain amount of preparation, but leaving a farm of pregnant ewes, and other creatures in the middle of winter has unique challenges. We were fortunate to have probably the best and most reliable and loving person take care of our animals while we were away - the birth mother of Pino Blangiforti. As if her huge heart and animal sense weren't good enough, her husband is the founding vet in town where we vet our cats and dogs. I had absolutely no fears about the animals being cared for properly. Still, the days leading up to the trip had me anxious: "Will they think that I have just left them? Will Miss Pussytoes the cat get enough to eat if I'm not there to place her food in a corner of the hay bale away from the more bossy cats?" My over the top imagination imagined the worst of the worst, until finally, we were on the plane. Once on the plane, I was fine, but I did ask God to get everyone on the plane safely to their destinations, and get me and Martyn back home to Huck and Billy and everyone else. The pilot was standing at the cockpit door, and he had this really nice smile, he was about 60, and I thought how if something horrible happened in mid air, I was sure he would get us out of it safely. As I sat and did my crossword puzzle, one of the clues was "donkey" - I was sure it was Pino reaching out to me...

This is why it is better for me to stay in my little realm...Air travel makes my creative energy turn to death and all the things I want to do and make and paint. Eventually, I slap myself in the side of the head and join the masses of living.

However, as I stated initially, travel also brings huge leaps of inspiration. Sitting in the plane, looking down on the land patterns reminded me of my paintings. And some new ideas formed in my head for future pieces. We spent a good deal of time at the Art Institute and I was especially inspired by an exhibit there on abstract drawings by various painters. We had a wonderful meal of catfish and sauerkraut prepared by fellow artist Heinz , sitting on cushions in front of the fire, with his huge and wonderful cat Blue Boy sitting near by- a painting if there ever was one - and we played a lot of great music and shared stories of everything from families, art, and politics. We ate like pigs, and drank well. We were also able to visit at a fellow fellow shepherd's home which was much fun. We caught up with family and old friends and slept late in the morning. I coveted my parent's nice shower and their DSL line.

The city had changed, or increased on the same onward and upward path it had been on when I left 4 years ago. It looked good, exciting, vibrant, energized. It was a nice time and I'm glad we could go. But like they say, it was nice to get there, but also nice to come home. We left on a cold, sunny day. A new snow had blanketed the highways, and we got a ride to the airport from two of my dearest friends, who picked us up with their Bloodhound - my friend and I sat cuddled together as the bloodhound took up the back seat, it was fun. It was a nice way to ride to the airport, all cozy with good friends and a 100# animal. Home was close now.

Flying in over the mountains, seeing Mt. Hood, Ranier and St. Helens, being able to recognize the city areas from the plane, seeing the farm land near the city, it felt like home. The airport seemed so quiet compared to the huge Minneapolis airport, and we easily made our way to the tram to take us to our parked car in the Red G lot, which we remembered by saying 'Red Goat' as a reminder. As we drove the hour to get to the vet to pick up Huck, Billy and Big Tony from boarding, I was excited to see them. Huck road in the back seat with his head leaning on my shoulder the whole time. As we drove up the driveway, the house was there, the trees were all standing, and my little realm was just fine. Our animal caretaker had left us a basket of fruit and delicious homemade coffee cake - still warm. That was nice.

I didn't venture out to see the barn animals that nite, as the caretaker had fed them all, and I didn't want to disturb their sleeping. But when I awoke, to a dusting of snow, I jumped out of bed. It was like Christmas. I went to the barn and greeted everyone. They were all safe, and well fed, and happy. So was I.

1 comment:

Debbie Schramer said...


What a beautiful writing of your travels. I am the same as you....I love to be where I am comfortable and at home. I admire you though for having such a "real" home, a farm with animals and gardens and so much going on. I love reading about your life and appreciate so much your love of animals. They truely are "gifts" from God! The souls speak to us with such clarity and they are always unafraid. I miss having an animal, a cat, a dog, an animal to hold and feel the spirit of. Thank you for your stories and your words of love for the earth and it's beauty! Truely! What would we do without it!

Debbie Schramer

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~