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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, January 29, 2007

You don't need to know where the butter dish is to be happy

'Chaos' has sort of a negative connotation, yet I can't think of another word, yet, to describe the new set of pieces I am working on and mulling through. Perhaps I will do a few and move on, but right now chaotic lines and colors are being registered by my muse into my hands.

When I lived as a single person, I was able to keep an organized little closet, and kitchen and garage. I wasn't a neat freak, nor did I label my closet drawers like some. But I knew where everything was pretty much, and had control over where something belonged, in order to maintain my sense of order, as I knew it SHOULD be. I had one shovel, one hoe, one rake, and no need for a wheel barrel.

Fast forward ahead....Marry a man. Move to a farm. Organization ceased to exist as I knew it SHOULD be. I now have multiple copies of everything- shovels, spades, hoes, buckets, rakes, ropes, boxes, crates.... I also have 3 wheel barrels: one is blue and is my barn barrel, one is grey and has a flat tire most of the time and is for making cement, one is not worth keeping but Frankie likes to sit in it, as do the cats on a warm day if there is compost in it. I spend a lot of time re-arranging piles of old beams in the barn, piles of fencing, piles of bricks to be used on a someday wall...I rearrange the multitude of buckets, feed bins, recycle cans, nail bins, hoes, axes, electric parts, pieces of metal barn roofing until I have it in somewhat of an orderly arrangement.

Then my husband spends a day on a project in the barn, and re-arranges my arrangements.

As three years have gone by, I have learned that certain chaos on the farm must be accepted. Unless you are Martha Stewart with Martha Stewart's staff, there will always be 'stuff' sitting in the barn. There will always be a burn pile growing, waiting for the right weather to burn it, there will always be old posts and boards around because one always needs old posts and boards here, and there will always be a pile of rocks waiting to be made into something.

At the moment, my husband is in the kitchen demolishing the cupboards. Soon, the windows will need to come out. The flooring is gone. The butter dish is not where it SHOULD be, nor is the silverware, the wine glass or the cat food.

But it's all fine. I did a 48" canvas today, sold a bunch of Etsy stuff, brushed my horse, spent time with my donkeys, and it's only 3:30. I specked windows for the kitchen, did a post office run, and spent a bit of time figuring out new cross fencing for the upcoming lambing season. Many things collide daily here - animals, art, business, life, family - but the trick is to approach this 'chaos' as a treasure hunt. I awake with more anticipation each day than I ever did in my life. There is always something to do here, something new, something challenging, something that will feed me internally like the city couldn't. The trick is to remain calm, but alert, with one's head up, and one's mind open. That way, when you are walking by all the stuff sitting in the barn, you won't really notice it much, rather you will make a mental note of the exceptionally nice blue color in the sky.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. To awaken with anticipation. What a joyful idea :-)

Debbie Schramer said...

It's so funny, Katherine....Mike and I used to do the same thing with all of our piles of lumber, old windows, cedar shingles, driftwood, etc. We loved driving around looking for things people didn't want anymore....we'd ask them if needed that wood or those windows or whatever and they would happily wave them away in our direction, so soon we had our own piles of building and creative materials all over our yard. Mike would go out in the morning and start building a shed or a fence or lining the walkways with driftwood or stones. When he first started, the piles were organized and neat and orderly. But by the end of the day, our yard looked like noone had cleaned it in 100 years. I would go back the next day and organize it again and the pattern repeated itself. I finally just realized that I needed to just enjoy his creativity and energy rather than worry about what seemed like chaos. Mike built some wonderful things and that's what I have good memories of.

I love reading about what your day is like on your farm. Living in the city, I pine (a perfect word in this situation) away for the air in the country, the expanse of the land, the sound of quiet and the beauty of nature. Reading your blog brings back all the great feelings I used to have while weeding my garden, talking to the birds and the flowers and watching our dog Molly run through the flower garden so happily, it was as if she thought I planted all those flowers just for her.

Thanks for such wonderful thoughts....
You sure accomplish a lot in one day!


Carla said...

What a wonderful post. I can totally relate to you sense of order and then lack thereof.

pangolin said...

Hello, just found you blog thru illo friday and I'm so pleased about that. Your work is lovely as are your stories . I shall stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

I've come from illo friday too. Your post reminds me of something Ursula Nordstrom talks about in one of her collected letters: that if she's had a particularly unproductive day, it's because she didn't have an 'open heart.'

And yes, I agree - the color of the sky is enough sometimes.

jfm (former Minnesotan)

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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 ~