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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

And the barnyard mourns

Post Note: Thank you to everyone who wrote such nice comments and emails. It is appreciated and comforting.

As the morning sun came into our bedroom, I opened my eyes and my first thought was, "I know he's dead". I took my time getting to the barn for morning chores, as if procrastinating would change the inevitable.

Arriving at the barn, I heard the usual animal sounds - sheep bleating, a whinny, a little goat knicker, cats of many tones. But there was no sound of a sick rooster. I looked in Ward's stall, hoping, maybe...but he wasn't at the food dish like normal, and I could barely see a feather sticking up out of his bed box. Ward's body was slumped down in his little hay bed, already stiff, his beak slightly open, his neck curled like a swan. But his feathers still so light and breezy, so beautiful even after death.

The night before I had gone to put everyone in for the night. Ward had been under the weather again, limping a lot, his wattle always drooping. But he was eating and drinking. But the night before, he was making gurgling sounds. There was liquid in his lungs. He couldn't make any normal clucking sounds, and when I opened his mouth further, you could hear the fluid. His neck feathers were wet too. When I put him in his Ward Room for the night, he went into the corner, and faced his head down. I knew that was a sure sign he was in distress. I made a fresh, fluffy bed of hay for him in his bed box, and held him for awhile. I hated to leave him alone in his room, and thought about bringing him in the studio in a crate for the night, but the new sounds and lights would have just been more stressful.

So he died alone in the night. I plucked his finest tail feathers, and showed his body to his barnyard compadré Frankie, and then buried him in the front garden next to Mr. Pumpkin Head. He was always an outcast from the flock, and it didn't seem right to bury him in the hen yard. His headstone reads, "Ward 10/19/08. Rooster, friend, gentleman."

Damn, I really liked having him around. He was a fine fellow to have known, and I will miss him.


Mare said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It is a terrible year for losses for me too...love, mare

Tai said...

I will think of him whenever I see his beautiful tail feather fluttering in the prayer flag. Roost in peace, Ward.

Cathy said...

Oh Katherine, I'm so very sorry! He was a fine, fine rooster and a good friend. The hens must be so sad.

Love and condolences to you all.

julie@greatwool.com said...

It must be the times...I buried a kitty yesterday. She was sick with Lupis of all things. She died in a horse stall, curled up in the corner. Another good time for prayer flags.

MamaHen said...

I'm sorry. I had come to like Ward too.

deedledumpling said...

Katheryn, I am so sorry about Ward. And glad he had someone who cared so much for him.

JoyceV said...

Dear Katherine

I am so sorry to hear of Ward's passing. I could tell in your writings how fond you were of him. It's hard to let our little friends go. May he rest in peace.

Bruce Anderson said...

Ward was so loved and that's all that matters in the end. My heart goes out to you...damn it, now I'm crying!

coloredsock said...

OH K...i'm so sorry. i am all teared up too and am sad for him to go. i feel like i know all your animals and Ward, well, he was one of my favorites. he had such spunk, and i'll remember him. he was lucky to live his life at Apifera with you. big hug to your my friend. xoj

Tonia said...

I left a comment early this morning, while I was at work. Between trying to see my keyboard for all the tears in my eyes and trying to at least keep up the appearance of being OK, I am not sure if I actually sent my comment. If I didn't, I just want to add my heartfelt sympathy to the rest of the comments. As tai said, "Roost in peace, Ward."
Peace, tonia

ChicagoGrrrl said...

that was lovely, absolutely lovely. i am sorry for your loss

deborah said...

Bye Ward. May you be top dog in the next life or better yet, top donkey.

Debbie said...

It's always so hard to lose a friend. These fluffy guys and gals seem to find there way into our hearts. The crazy way they walk, move, and go about their business, always brings smiles.I'm sorry for your loss of this fine friend and gentleman. Blessings Ward.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Thank you, one and all, for writing such nice thoughts. he was just a chicken, but he got under my skin. Life goes on.

Anonymous said...

big hug for you. sorry for your loss. our animal friends touch our hearts in very special ways.

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

OH KATHERINE.. I am Sorry for your loss!!!

Dead comes on swift wings sometimes and takes those we love unexpectedly. He is at peace now!


Sandra Monat said...

we are just trying to catch up with what goes on at Apifera farm.
So sad to hear that Ward has gone. When having so many fellows around there is always again time to say goodby to somebody. It´s wonderful to see how you deal with that. Warm hugs to you!
Friederike! and Sandra

Lisa said...

So sad to hear of your passing friend. All the best to you and yours.

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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 ~