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

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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

With great regret I write today

I was so tired that night, it was almost 8pm when I came up from working in the field for four hours. I did my nightly feedings, and as usual, finished with tucking all the chickens into their secured house. But there was no Inkie. She had been setting for the past two weeks. I had even bought fake plastic eggs to give her - this lets me still take the fresh eggs from her roost, but leaves her with something to set on, otherwise she starts hiding eggs out in the barn somewhere. She is a fierce and loyal setter, so when I saw that she was not in the roost as usual, I knew she was in the old barn somewhere, tucked on an egg. She had done this several times in the past, and once she was gone for two days and nights before she returned. The old barn is not secure, but since she had done this before, I let it go. I was tired. "she'll be ok..." I assured myself. I just wanted to sit down.

The next morning, I expected to see her in the barnyard, but didn't. I fed everyone, did chores, and went back to the studio, thinking she'd be around later. Her hiding spots are almost impossible to find. Later that day, I went to try to find her in the part of the barn she favored for hiding. And I found feathers, everywhere. One pile led to another. They were Inkie's, no doubt. I followed the trail of feathers to the fence line by the woods. No body, no blood.

It was most likely a raccoon. Our first chicken death by a predator [which might have been Lyndon Baine's demise too]. But I was 50% responsible. My selfishness contributed to Inkie's death. If I had just tried to find her hiding spot, I might have.

Inkie came to us as an adult chicken, who knows how old. We had noticed her eggs were getty runny, a sign of age [or nutrition issues, but all other hens were laying well]. Martyn said nature took it's own course, but, I was part of that nature too.

Inkie was a Bantie, and we always laughed when we'd see her rush across the barnyard in the morning to get to the compost pile for her worm breakfast. She ran like a Muppet, we always joked. Or like a little person in a chicken suit. She gave us a little white egg every day for 2 and half years, and helped brood Vivienne, Gracie and Chicken Named Dog. It seems to me these are accomplishments to be proud of.

I hope it was a quick kill. One can torment themselves imagining the last minutes of any one's death. That's the journey we only experience once, on our own, even if surrounded by loved ones, or creatures of the night.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Lump in my throat

Pino recieved some aprons and fabric swatches from Helen S., and my throat lumped up when I saw her sweet prayer flag for the upcoming Hospice Day. She wrote a note for the care of hospice workers who helped with her husband, George. So it'll hang up on the fence with all the other prayer-message flags on August 15th.

And she sent 4 aprons for the June 21 Pie Party, all made with generosity and a fine hand- Thank you, Helen! [Helen also made aprons for us last year - a real Pino supporter!]

Cat entrance

In which you need the secret Apifera cat paw signal to gain entrance. I have no idea what it is, but if you don't know it, you seem to get womped on the head.

Another somewhere

I'm rushing around trying to get the final touches on some things for the upcoming "Somewhere" show at Zeek Gallery. This is a 3D set with felted creatures. It's really just the start of the idea I have of doing a whole show of felted creatures against illustrated sets. I need to do much better with the process of the set portion, but hope to schedule a show two years out to give me proper time. I want the sets to be much more theatrical and detailed than this. But, it's a start. This is called, "She picked a star out of the night sky for him" and is 16" square.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In which we learn exactly why Mr. Bradshaw left...and returned.The cat we thought would never return does, with insights...

Visit Tails & Tales, the short story site of artist/Katherine Dunn to read this story.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Feelin' groovy walkin' my stuff

Some people have asked how Samuelle Noel is doing...the expression and swagger of thankfulness in these pictures should explain it all. He has turned into a real sweet heart of a guy. Much more quickly than some of the other semi ferel strays that have shown up here in the past. His feet are still like marshmallows and always will be, but he seems to hang out close to the barn. He is very submissive, so easy to have in the clan, and has even tried to befriend the once dominant Mr. Bradshaw-I-Just-Came-Back-Cuz-I-Can cat. He no longer lets out his male pleas for female hanky panky. I again thank all who participated in last month's raffle to help vet him.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Breaking news! Mr. Bradshaw returns!

I saw the usual suspects lining up on hay bales last night when I did barn feedings. And out of the corner of one eye, I saw a black tail flash by outside the barn doors. But all the black tailed cats were sitting before me...my head flashed a thought..could it be? Mr. Bradshaw rushed up towards me with a somewhat chagrined expression...kind of like he knew all the fuss I was showing was especially for him but he wasn't sure why.

Oddly, he looked magnificent. Healthy, well fed, and his tail was especially fluffy, almost like he'd been to the beauty parlor.

"Where have you been????" I quizzed him over and over while I searched for any signs of wounds. Where he went, or what made him return after 2 weeks or so, I'll never know.

My step was lighter going back to the house last night. When someone dies, and you have visits with them in your dreams, it's such a gift. The dreams can be so vivid, that waking can be bitter sweet, but still those nightly visits are to be cherished. It would be nice if all those that have left could come back to me, walk up to me casually in the barn when I least expect it. But this one time someone did come back, and he was in real time. It just felt...hopeful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Between pies and fields...

Dear Mr. and Ms. art director who finds yourself here while working at your ad agency or corporate office, I know I talk about pie a lot, and yes, my donkey is preparing for two pie parties which means I do have an influx of mail arriving for him. Please be assured if you have tiny jobs or big jobs, my donkey knows that I will be baking less pie for him and making more art for you. Donkeys just know these things. It's the humans that get all worried a pie baker can't juggle too many balls at once. Why just yesterday I created three new patterns for my license portfolio, prepared a large wholesale order of lavender, finsihed 2 more pieces for a gallery show, and hoed two hours in the field. I also made muffins. Faithfully, Katherine Dunn, illustrator

PS. The top image is from my emerging and evolving license portfolio and the bottom image is about the distribution of the small farmer's food crop into the cities for buyers.

Great Grandmother Kate's apron

Today Pino received an apron from western Oregon. We especially liked the stamps and small scribbles of her sons on the package...I guess I didn't mention Pino saves the stamps, did I? That's a whole 'nother blog, "Pino's Stamp Collection" [please, stop me from doing that].

Anyway, I just had to share this sweet story of this apron. Shannon wrote a nice letter explaining that her family of Eastern Oregon just celebrated their 100th homestead year on their family's cattle ranch. Her grandmother still lives there, and in preparing for their celebrations they came across a lot of old aprons of her GREAT grandmother Kate. So she sent this lovely apron [back when the normal size was a 6 or 8.] It's a wonderful vintage lime green. I'm not sure I can part with it. I hope Kate is around for pie day, watching that it goes to someone special.

Shannon also wrote that she reads my blog because it "inspires her to dream out loud" about one day having a small farm to raise her boys and a place where"creativity, animals and humans come together." She said she cherishes her memories of her Grandma Betty's ranch - this is the wonderful thing about the internet- when it works it works well. I of course was lucky to have my Uncle Clayton's farm in North Dakota, and the place soaked into my blood and heart. It moved me to get where I am today, even though it took into my late 40's.

So it's just nice to get letters like this...Thank you Shannon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This is Boo Boo

I created a special little sock doll for Huck awhile back. I knew full well he would make it is own by taking the stuffing out, and rearrange the arms and legs to his liking. The head would disappear into the back studio fairy land, and he would spend a good day sucking on the threads to give it a nice straggly look.

As an artist, we must often let go of our work, and let it be cropped for a published piece, or edited down to the provide a solution for a client. So I looked at my sock doll as the final outcome of a creative partnership with Huck. I guess he played the client role.

Huck often has that 'look'. You lab owners know the one I'm talking about - "Ohhh, did I make a booboo? I love you, I love you. " So we named our creation Boo Boo.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Goodbye, and goodbye

I keep thinking the new morning will bring me something so I won't have to write this post, but that was three days ago, and the mornings keep coming without desired results.

Mr. Bradshaw is gone, as is Lyndon Baines.

About two months ago, Mr. Bradshaw had slowed down a lot, or just didn't seem himself. When he first strayed onto our farm, we thought he was a girl, so I called him Mrs. Bradshaw [a type of flower I liked]. "Mr.s" Bradshaw was pretty feral, so when I finally trapped "her", She quickly became Mr. Bradshaw. For the first couple years, he was one of the more higher ranking cats in the feral barn. And not very friendly to anyone. Sort of a pain in the butt, really, jumping on low ranking cats. But about a year after neutering, he calmed down a lot, and really became very sweet, and submissive. He relinquished his bully role in the pack, and was quite calm. About two months ago, I could tell he just wasn't himself. Nothing really in particular, he was just way too quiet, and didn't move around much. Last week, he greeted me at supper time like he always did, but I remember saying, "Are you checking out on me?"...He just seemed way to calm. A few days later, he didn't show up for 24 hours, but he returned. And when I look back at that, I really think it was to say goodbye. Sounds corny, but maybe he had picked a nice spot, got his things in order, and came back for one last look. It's been a week, and I really feel he's dead, but by natural causes. I just feel that strongly.

Lyndon Baines had tamed up well even in the couple weeks he was here, and had a distinct routine of rushing to the coop each morning when I fed the hens. I spoke only in a southern drawl to him, and soon he would find me in the barnyard when I was doing chores, looking for a snack. He wasn't overly pushy with Papa Roo or the adult hens. He had started hanging out a bit with the young hens, but Papa Roo has no interest in them. Nor had there been any serious confrontations, just a few rooster-has-his-fancy-pants-on dances. I wondered if maybe he'd had a brief fight, become infected, and wandered off to die. He did go to the old barn at dusk, and was safe in there, but since he wasn't contained like Papa and the ladies, he might have been killed by a raccoon. There s no sign of a struggle anywhere. Or maybe he had never intended to stay. Like Phinias T. Barnum, maybe he is a wandering troubador, never content to settle with one hen clan. While it had only been a short time that he was here, I was fond of him. I wondered today what the lesson is here...as I was once again fixing the fence where the goats had escaped today, grumbling, I thought of how the goats are getting older, they won't be here forever. Some day I'll fix fence and think of them, and miss them. So I went on fixing the fence, happy to know they were up at the barn. Things come and go on many planes, enjoy the plane that's in front of you, as it will change when least expected or wanted.

Each animal that comes or goes onto the farm, shifts the energy balance. The hand feeds them, the eyes admire them, and the heart always feels them. Mr. Bradshaw, Lyndon Baines, I hope you have not suffered greatly, and I cared for you well, I know.

More aprons arrive for Pino!

Yet another fun package arrived today for Pino, illustrated in a charming little donkey scene. And inside, two little hand made children's apron's and one adult apron. We love children's aprons. The maker wrote about it [thank you!] over at her blog.

I will be giving due credit to all you donars in time, I just have to decide how I will do that this year...Thank you for your patience!

Post office alert! Pino's getting mail again!

The first arrivals of aprons and fabric swatches are coming in! So fun and heartwarming to see the time people have already put into beautiful aprons! One package had two homemade reversible aprons, so well made. And the swatches are just great!

I have so much fun opening each package, each one is meaningful and heartfelt - thank, thank you.

I am not sure yet how I am going to post the aprons and swatches this year. Last year I was overwhelmed. Some people don't have websites or blogs, and some do. I'd like to give people credit when I can. I think I will post aprons that don't sell at the event on Pino's apron gallery in late June. Swatches I'll take pictures of in groups to share here. And the swatches will all be documented once people write their words/blessings/prayers/thoughts on them to be hung up at the Hospice Celebration Day.

For now, Pino and I send love to all who have donated so far! Brays, hoof stomping, kisses.

Donkey's gettin' mail again

The aprons and fabric swatches have begun arriving. The mail woman is really into it this year! Upon handing me two Pino packages, she said, "Is it aprons?" This one was our first package, and, it had no name. That's a first, a Secret Pino Admirer...hmmmm...The package had sewing on it too, and the stamp selection, well, full of love, people!

I'll do my best to post arrivals over on the Donkey Dreams blog. But I want each person who sends something to know how much fun it is to get each package and open them up. Never is one less meaningful than another, really. What is fun too is new people are sending things as well as repeat Pino supporters.

If you are new to the blog, and have no idea why a donkey is getting aprons and fabric in the mail, read here, and here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Donkey's got mail

The packages have begun arriving for Pino! Including some aprons already and a wonderful package from a secret admirer in Portland for Hospice Day.

I will photograph this week and share - stay tuned. Keep those aprons and fabric squares coming!!

New work: Green is green

I know it's a roll of toilet paper, but I am in love with this piece.

I've been working on a series about "green" items. Yes, it's all the buzz, but illustrating what one cares about is always juicy. I have way too many ideas for the series, so I might have to stop myself after a couple more.
You can see 'green haircare" and "green Dresses" at the portfolio.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Seasonal pie opener

In which the dirt farmer receives more love...

Last week an artist I have never met emailed and we decided to meet. I was to make a fresh pie.

As luck would have it, the mail carrier [yes, the same mail carrier that delivers aprons to Pino] brought me some of her rhubarb. Nothing says spring like rhubarb pie!

I had told Martyn I'd be baking a fresh rhubarb pie for my guest that day, and that he'd have ample fresh pie that night. Well, it is flu season, and my new friend was struck down by a nasty breed of something, and had to cancel that morning.I told Martyn as he was drinking his morning gruel..."I had been so excited to make that pie too, " I said mournfully, "I'll just make muffins later in the week."

Martyn stopped in mid drink. "You're not going to make a pie now?" he asked. Beside him sat Huck, who had his best Lassie look going on, [paw down. Huck's giant chocolate eyes spoke clearly, "You must make the pie for the dirt farmer. His heart might break otherwise."

So I sent my dirt farmer off to work with a kiss and a promise of fresh pie - what
husband could want more to anticipate while working?

I whipped up the fresh pie of the season, complete with my trademark Raggedy Apifera Lattice Top. Huck and I admired it before we put it in the oven.

"Wait! Huck! I forgot to put in a bit of flour! Oh chicken feet! It will be a runny mess!" I complained.More Lassie looks. Head cocked. Paw down.

Taking the lattice work off and adding flour seemed messy and unworthy of the lovely lattice. I opted to have runny pie. So I cooked the pie for 1+ hours, and still found the juices through the lattice overly juicy, even more than I had been prepared for. "Huck, fear not, I'll just pour a bit of juice out through the lattice." And I did, but with it went the wonderful juicy sugar to sweeten and offset the wonderful
tart fruit.

"This just won't be my best pie, but it's ok. All pie is pie. My beloved will see pie, not runny pie." Huck's lip quivered, that was his Scooby Doo look.

The dirt farmer arrived home and ate pie. It was runny, and tart. But the crust was buttery and flaky. And it made Martyn happy. And Huck. Martyn said it was 'Hmmm-mmm, good" in his Andy of Mayberry twang. This of course was an untruth, but the kind full of tenderness woven into any solid relationship. The next day I made the left over pie into whole wheat bran muffins which also made Martyn happy. Perfect dirt farmer snackin'.

The moral: Fresh runny tart pie is still made with love.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

"Pinch me, please."

When I stood back and looked at the studio wall, hanging with floral that I'll use for dried lavender swags, I had a moment. You know, the "Pinch me, I'm pretty happy and lucky" moment. One can have all the money in the world, but I have flowers hanging against a paint spattered wall, creating a natural Pollock Avec Monet...

I am running around a lot, so many pokers in so many fires. The show is in two weeks, working on lavender wholesale items for the market, vegetable garden is in, and planning pie parties. This month I'm devoting as many 2 hour spurts after 6pm to work in the lavender field. It's my favorite time of year out there, the lavender scent is so subtle right now, there are no bugs, and it's cool. My sheep are with me, and when I see Martyn's truck drive up the road about 8 pm, I know a glass of red wine beckons - after I give kisses to all equines, and old goats [Frankie on the other hand refuses kisses].

So forgive me if my posts have seemed 'spurt like", but May is a 'spurt like' time here on the farm. Everything seems to need doing all at once. But scattered throughout all the hustle, there are many 'pinch me' moments.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

It's been a hard day's goat

"It was a good day, eh Stella?"

"Ah, yes...that last fence conquest was truly outstanding."

"Wasn't it?" Iris beamed. "You see, I knew that fence was 5 feet, but from the rock I knew I could push off and extend my jump..."

"That you certainly did." burped Stella.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Participate in Pino's Hospice event

For those of you new to my blog, I love pie and I love donkeys, and after delivering pies one summer day with Pino at my side, I knew I had to somehow bring pie and Pino together and share it with others. Since Pino and I don't have a pie pulling truck [someday....] we host pie parties here at the farm, complete with a donkey hug area. We ask people to donate $5 and that money is then used to fund another free pie party for a cause we believe in. So this summer, the June 21st Pie Day [open to all] will help support our August Pino Pie's Hospice Celebration Day.

I'm just so excited for Pino Pie's Hospice Celebration Day to honor hospice care workers. The event is set for August 15th, and I'm working with one of Pino's supporters who is a hospice worker with Kaiser Permanente. She came to Pie Day last year and has been an avid supporter of both my art and animal causes. I have great respect for those who help the dying. While my hospice work seems to revolve around animals, I was so glad my father had the care of hospice in his final month. It also meant the world to my mother. I hope too that the event will help me build relationships with specific caregivers, who might have clients who would benefit from a Pino Pie Day with Pino.

How you can contribute or participate in Pino Pie's Hospice Celebration Day:

For the Hospice Care worker Celebration, 8" squares of fabric will be handed out to people, and they will write a brief note to thank a hospice worker, or send a prayer to someone they hospiced. Children will also be able to write on the squares. The squares will then be hung on the fence line here at the farm like prayer flags so people can read them during the event. Then I'll take the squares after the event and make them into a book, or something as a commemorative, and present it to my contact at Kaiser.

So I'm asking people to contribute 8" fabric squares, and you can have fun and embellish them [or not].
- Send us fabric squares. Important: leave the interior of the square open for writing. You can leave the square blank, or embellish like I did on this sample square.

- If you don't want to make a square[s], send a yard [or less] of plain natural fabric [white or lite colored cotton, muslin, linen, natural fabrics only].
- Did you experience the caring of a hospice worker in your family at some time? If so, send in a 8" square with your own hand written note on it, and it will be included in the event. You can simply write on the fabric with a Sharpie or black marker, write your first name and city/state.

- Send your items to Pino c/o Apifera Farm, 14710 NW Tupper RD, Yamhill, OR 97148

- Deadline: Please send as soon as possible. I want to send some squares to my Kaiser contact soon - so people that can't come can write on a square.

Donations: We are not a 501c. Our public pie parties [like the June 21st event] are paid for by us, all out of pocket. I make all the pies from scratch. We do not charge for the pie [this is illegal, for one thing]. We ask for a suggested $5 donation per car - that money helps us fund more pie parties for our causes - like this year's Hospice Celebration Day. Besides hosting the Pie Party for Kaiser's hospice caretakers, we hope to make a small monetary donation after the event to their hospice program. Some of the ways Kaiser uses donations is to offer free acupuncture services to hospice patients, or support their volunteers. If you want to send a donation, just let me know. We accept checks or Paypal.

Pino's annual call for aprons

That little donkey is at it again - he needs some aprons!

Pino will host a June 21st Pie Party which is open to the public here at our farm. We serve fresh homemade pie and people and children visit with the donkeys in the Donkey Hug Area. Last year we tried collecting aprons from blog readers and then we sold them at the event - the money went into Pino's bucket and is earmrked for Pino's Private Pie Days he has for needy people or others needing cheer.

This year, we are collecting aprons again for the June 21st Pie Day. Sales will help fund our August 15th charity event to honor the hospice caretakers of Kaiser Permanante.

If you want to donate an apron, either hand made or one you see in an antique store, please do so! It will help Pino continue to make pie and bring cheer to many. If you make one, make sure to include a handtag of some kind so the buyer can email you or see more of your work if you want.

All apron donators will get a surprise from Pino later in the summer. Send apron by June 20th. Mail to : Pino, c/o Apifera Farm, 14710 NW Tupper RD, Yamhill, OR 97148.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mama Kitty

...in which we are introduced to the first cat of Apifera....She had no name, and had never had a name, but as she saw it there was no use for one.
Her age was most likely hundreds of days...

Visit Tails & Tales, the short story site of artist/Katherine Dunn to read this story.

Hospice Celebration Day '09

Note: This pie party is by invitation only. Apifera Farm is treating the hospice workers affiliated with Kaiser Permanente [and their families and or guests] to a day at the farm to share pie and donkeys. Each year, Apifera selects a group or cause to honor and treat to a free pie party - all through donations and Pino's money bucket.

Hospice Celebration Day - by invitation only
Hosted by Pino's Pies and Apifera Farm

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

11 am -3pm

A day for invited hospice workers and their guests to get some healing farm energy [with donkeys and pie!].

What will we do at Hospice Celebration Day?
Eat pie! and hug donkeys. Picnic if you like. There will be an area to visit with the donkeys, you can tour the draught tolerant garden [Martyn Dunn is a horticulturist], visit the lavender fields [some of the field will have been harvested at that time, but it still smells nice], and see the sheep and goats. We'll have lavender items and Katherine's art cards available.

Prayer Flags will be handed out to arriving guests.

Hospice workers can write a message or prayer to a former or current client . They might choose to send a wish to other fellow hospice workers, or their families. It is just a small ritual to take a moment and debrief. Non hospice workers who arrive can write messages to hospice workers they admire. We will hang the prayer flags and release the their wishes to the winds. After the event, I'll make some kind of commemorative book for Kaiser.

Some details for people attending:

-We'll have plenty of fresh homemade pie, but feel free to bring one too if you like.

-You are welcome to bring your own picnic food too if you'd like. We'll have some areas to sit, but if you have a family you might want o bring blankets for ground cover.

-Please leave all pets at home.

-There is no smoking on our farm

-Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Please obey any signs you see around animals and fences.

-The donkeys are not afraid of wheelchairs, and we welcome them.

Why are we having a charity pie party?

The goal of all our Pino Pie Parties is to give people a respite, surrounding them with the energy of Apifera. Taking the bounties of the earth and making fresh pie for people is an act of love that we like to share. And when you eat fresh pie surrounded by donkeys, well, you'll really feel good. It's that simple.

It all started when I delivered a fresh homemade pie to a nearby farm with my little donkey Pino at my side. The reaction was pure delight, and it made everyone happy, including me and Pino, so I decided I had to share more pie, with my donkey. But since Pino and I don't have a pie pulling truck, we decided to bring the people to our pie. When we have a Pie Party for the public, we raise money for our selected charity pie events.

Why did we select hospice workers for this year's charity pie party?

For this year's charity pie party, I chose hospice workers because I admire the people that care for the dying and was fortunate to meet a wonderful hospice worker from Kaiser. She talked about the fact that hospice workers often don't have time to really grieve the loss of their clients, as they often move right on to the next dying patient. WHile we all expect and encourage the families of the deceased to take time to grieve, we might not think about the grief a hospice worker has to process. As a caretaker of many animals here at the farm, I know that it is an honor to bring them into the world, and to be with them when they die. Working with any creature that is dying is an important, meaningful act - I also know the hospice worker that was with my own father in his final month's played a vital role for my father, but also for my mother, and for me, as I was unable to be there.



From Portland:Take I-5 South to 99W. Take 99W to Newberg, 240 to Yamhill

From Forest Grove - Take 47 to Yamhill

From Mac- Take 47 to Yamhill

Once in Yamhill, turn off of the Main Street of the town [also called 47] onto Pike RD.The sign where you turn on to Pike Rd also says Bailey's Nursery. There is a new gas station at the place you turn onto PIKE. It is a good idea to note your mileage as you turn on Pike.

Stay on Pike Rd for 5 miles-When you are Pike Rd, you'll go by Bailey's Nursery, and eventually you go through this little grove of trees and you'll see Rockyford on your left.That means you are almost to Tupper Rd. [Warning: if you miss Tupper Rd, Pike Rd becomes Turner Creek Rd].

Once on Tupper, our house is the 2nd farm on the right . You'll see mailbox with Dunns [14710], and white pasture fence, long driveway and house sits up on hill. The lavender field is in the front as you drive up and you'll see sheep. Drive to house.