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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gusts to the bones

Wind blowing through his mane
up onto my hands which hold two reins loosely.
We ride, or I ride and he carries, down a gravel road
chunks of itself missing
after log trucks rush by with their fallen victims.

All around us, before us and in front of us,
lay fallen leaves, dead on arrival.
He stops to ask me with his ears and a twinge of his neck,
"May I have one?"
"No," I say with tight leg, "we still have a ways to go."

And we move on,
the flies sitting in the corners of his eyes
which he blinks away, only to have them return seconds later.
With each gust of wind I watch his mane's journey,
left, then right, left, right again.
I lose my sense of place as I watch,
waiting for the course strands to settle again.

We near our destination,
a small valley with abandoned house,
nothing left but an old satellite dish,
and a gate falling down, bent in age.
The hay has been cut, bundled and hauled off to old barns
leaving us this empire of grass, and a backdrop of ancient trees.
We hear the true collaboration of trees and wind
with branches and space humming, hissing, and groaning .
It's not a greeting, or a playful song -
It's a resonance.
Ignoring skin, it sinks down into the flesh and then the bone,
while the heart skips beats trying to keep up.

Haunting, it reminds of a past time
that we can not get to.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The old man is home!

Guinnias is home from the vet!

I decided he'd be more comfortable here in his stall, with daily exercise, and the vet felt he was looking good. He has a drainage tube in the remains of the abscess area [that little strip in his rear you might see in this movie], I won't say more! But the vet did make it clear the huge quantity of goo he got out of it - we're talking 2 cups! It's definitely not cancer, and we'll know if it's Cl, or just a harmless abscess next week. He also confirmed there was no blockage in his boy parts, so that's good. [I can say 'boy parts", how much info do my readers really need at dinner time?]. The other good news is the lump in his throat was drained and was just a harmless cyst.

One sweet thing, when I went to pick him up and I greeted him at his stall at the vet, he leaned all over me, and if I moved out of eyesight, he let out his silent cries [Guin doesn't bleat, we don't know why, but lets out little raspy whispers instead].

So until we find out the test results, we will shoot him full of Penicillin and flush his wound and give him many animal crackers. And thank you to all his well wishers. He is one old, loved goat!

He's home!

Guinnias is home from the vet!

I decided he'd be more comfortable here in his stall, with daily exercise, and the vet felt he was looking good. He has a drainage tube in the remains of the abscess area [that little strip in his rear you might see in this movie], I won't say more! But the vet did make it clear the huge quantity of goo he got out of it - we're talking 2 cups! It's definitely not cancer, and we'll know if it's Cl, or just a harmless abscess next week. He also confirmed there was no blockage in his boy parts, so that's good. [I can say 'boy parts", how much info do my readers really need at dinner time?]. The other good news is the lump in his throat was drained and was just a harmless cyst.

One sweet thing, when I went to pick him up and I greeted him at his stall at the vet, he leaned all over me, and if I moved out of eyesight, he let out his silent cries [Guin doesn't bleat, we don't know why, but lets out little raspy whispers instead].

So until we find out the test results, we will shoot him full of Penicillin and flush his wound and give him many animal crackers. And thank you to all his well wishers. He is one old, loved goat!

Wonderful donkey sanctuary

I have been spending a lot of time at the The Donkey Sanctuary's site, and they are role models for me. I know I'll never be as big as they are, but I am so inspired by their accomplishments. Not only do they help the donkeys, they educate children and adults about the plight of working donkeys [of which there are many in Europe]. They have subsidiary farms in Europe that also take in donkeys, and each has their own education programs. Some work with donkey therapy for special needs children, and some take the donkeys to the elderly - the latter, oh if I were free and single and farm-less, I'd hop a plane and beg to work there, with room and board in the barn.

I have written them explaining I want to fund raise for them, and hope to hear back in the month. In the mean time, please visit their site, adopt a donkey, donate, or just educate yourselves about the plight of many working donkeys.

This lovely lady here is Consuella, who is 30 years old. This is a Creative Commons copyrighted image, meaning you can post it as long as you give them credit. So pass this post on to donkey lovers.

I'll be posting more from their site - and hope I can help in some way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grandmère Chat has moved...

The story of an old cat continues, with illustrated flashbacks to an early kitten life, all narrated by Grandmère Chat. A sweet, yet haunting beginning to the various chapters in this old cat's life.

Visit Tails & Tales, the short story site of artist/Katherine Dunn to see this movie and more.

Blue sky

Just what I needed today, some blue sky. The kind that fills up all above your head and shoulders and everywhere you look there is blue sky. And Stella came by too.

And Paypal responds

I will have the vet pack up some of the abscess goop and package it nicely for Paypal. If anyone uses a merchant for online shopping carts for their site, please let me know which one. I think I've outgrown Paypal.

If you'd still like to enter the raffle, you will have to mail a check to me at 14710 NW Tupper RD, Yamhill, OR, 97148. Please send by 10/1. And let me know you are mailing it. I'm off to the vet now!

Dear Katherine Dunn

Thank you for providing us with information about your account.

Unfortunately, your appeal has been denied. You are directing your patrons to send electronic payment to the email address associated with your PayPal account, this will still allow payments to be received and your account
will be in violation of our Raffles policy.

1. Remove all requests for payment via electronic sources from site

I apologize for any frustration that this may cause.

If you have any questions, please contact the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy
Department at aup@paypal.com.

PayPal Acceptable Use Policy Department
PayPal, an eBay Company

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Scratchin' my head...

Just an update on the raffle. Firstly, goat kisses and smells to all who have entered..really. It helps so much.

I will try to write this as politely, and eloquently as I can. If you sense a fume here or there, forgive me.

Today I received an email from Paypal telling me that my art "raffle" for Guinnias is in violation with their terms of service. It seems they feel my "raffle" is a lottery and is gambling. They told me to take their logo/pay button off the blog post about Guinnias.

"Well," I thought, "Paypal has always been reasonable for me, surely when I call and explain to them what this is, they will understand."....not.

After some effort to find their phone number, and get through the voice system to a real person, I spoke with a pleasant enough woman who seemed to understand the silliness of the situation, but had no solutions. So I asked to speak to a supervisor. This supervisor's name was Rich - when I asked for his last name I was told he can't give me his last name. "But you have my last name," I said. "Yes, but I have your last name because when you signed your agreement to be a Paypal member which allows me to know your last name."

Begin scratching head here.

Back and forth we went. He kept using the word "lottery" instead of "raffle". "Look, this is not a "lottery". This is [insert louder voice here] a raffle to help a senior goat!!"...

I finally gave up. I was told I should contact a person within the complaints group, explaining my 'organization's mission and business numbers." This would give me permission to have - gasp, art raffles for old animals- in the future using the all important Paypal button.

"Look, RICH [emphasize caps], I'm one middle aged dirt farmer with a 16 year old goat who has an abscess the size of your head on his ass and it's about to blow."

OK, I did not say that...instead, I said, "send me the email, goodbye", because at that point, I knew my friend Rich had no real interest in helping me, or my old goat.

What sort of creeps me out is there's some department in Paypal where some guy, or gal, is googling all day for the word, "lottery" or "raffle" and then they click that link. Picture it, this person clicks on my link to the Guinnias raffle, and stands up and screams to the cubicle city he probably works in, "Eureka!! I found a hot one - a farm in Oregon having raffles for an old goat!! We got 'er now. Let's shut 'er down!"

So, I have taken down the PP button. But you can still enter the raffle if you'd like. by mailing me a check

Stay tuned - Guin goes into vet tomorrow!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rest in peace, lovely chicken

A reminder that death is just like life- it comes unexpectedly sometimes.

I was shocked to open the coop on Saturday to find Madeleine Albright dead. She had obviously died in the night, as her body was stiff, and she was laying directly under rafter perch she liked.

It gives me comfort that she died with her flock, safe, maybe even sound asleep.

I'm not upset about her death though, even though I was fond of her. I'm not upset because I know that chicken had 6 months of life she might not have had on many farms. Her scissor beak that kept her from eating well most likely put stress on her system. A few days before, I did notice the other hens had definitely surpassed her in size, but she was eating, and drinking. But the beak issue must have been a detriment to her nutrition, and amount of calories she could consume. Even though I gave her as much feed as she wanted, nature took over.

I buried her in the hen yard, next to Zucchi and Henny Henny. I adorned her with a beautiful green ribbon, sprinkled lavender around her, and rested her on a bed of dried flowers. She lived free to roam and cluck and flap.

Pino has tea with Emma

Okay, we didn't serve tea, or make pie, but we had a casual, lovely, slow visit with Emma, our hospice friend. Emma is the person that helped me coordinate the Hospice Celebration Day with her Kaiser co-workers. She came out Sunday to pick up all the prayer flags from that event.

You know, I really like a person who gets out of her car, and when you greet her with, "Do you mind sitting out in the donkey barnyard?", she says, "Sure!" That's my kind of woman.

And when you say to that same person, about an hour later, "Hey, wanna go sit with the chickens?", and she says "Sure!" - well, I really like her.

What's more, it was therapy for me. I rarely have a day where I get 30 minutes to sit, let alone two hours. Thank you, Emma, for providing some company and donkey-chicken therapy at my own farm.

Friday, September 18, 2009

RAFFLE! to help Old Guinnias

ALERT: PAYPAL is disputing my use of their logo to have this 'raffle" because they say it violates their terms of use, in a nut shell, this is 'gambling'. Good grief. The raffle continues, but if you want to enter, you will have to mail me a check.

A serious medical concern has arisen with old man Guinnias . A minimum of $350 in vet fees will be eaten up but could be double, depending on what the outcome of tests show.

So I am having an art raffle for the vet bills. I will keep this raffle up for at least two weeks. For each $10 you enter, your name will be entered that many times in the raffle jar [i.e. enter $30, your name goes in on 3 slips of paper]. Put in as many $10 entries as you want.

This is an archival print and is matted and framed. It recently hung in the Society of Illustrator show in NYC. The retail value of this framed print is $255.
Actual image of 11.5" sits in 17" square frame. Black frame, teal green matt, signed on front. Ready to hang. Winner of raffle will pay shipping [estimated at $15 in USA].

About a week ago, I noticed Guinnias didn't look quite right in his rear end area. Sorry for the graphic talk, but basically, his rear end was swollen. I kept my eye on it. Within a few days, he had formed a hard lump the size of a grapefruit in his scrotum area. I immediately thought of kidney stones, common in neutered animals. But his stream was normal, and there was no straining. It could be cancer, it could be a thorn causing a harmless abscess. But the fact he is so old, and the fact he also developed a strange lump in his throat, made me call the vet.

My worst fear is Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), the dreaded, and very contagious disease seen mainly in goats, and some sheep - but it can be spread to equines and others. If he was the only pet, I could possibly wait for it to burst, or lance it on my own, and not be as concerned about it being CL. But with sheep to be bred, equines and 2 Boer goats [who were tested before coming to Apifera] , I have to be responsible. Many will tell you they keep CL infected animals without problems by keeping them separate if they develop an abscess. But CL is nasty in that an animal can have internal abscess, and if that animal coughs, spits, licks something, poops, it can shed the bacteria to non-infected animals.

I feared too that if I did my own lancing, I wouldn't adequately disinfect it due to it's size. This could be serious in an elderly animal. I'm no wussy, but felt a vet call was warranted.

And my vet was glad I called. He found the location of the growth very strange. Guinnias has been neutered for a long time, so it seemed odd for any issue from neutering to arise now, years later. Cancer is possible, and he'll know that after he goes in and examines it. For some reason he doesn't think it's cancer. But he felt I must know if it's CL, and gave me a kind lecture on doing blood work on future goat rescue missions [which helps screen, but isn't 100% sure thing - only tissue is].

It seems like a lot of money to spend on an old goat. Martyn was a bit agitated. But there are no healthy, or fair, alternatives. Some will say, "Put him down." I've thought this through, and it is not time to do that - the facts are not known yet. And that would be in opposition to what Donkey Dreams is all about, or what I'm about. I have to try my best now for Guinnias, and go forward once the facts are clearer.

So Guinnias will go in Wednesday, and be put under so the vet can thoroughly examine the scrotum lump, and the throat. It takes 5+ days to get he CL report, and the vet suggests he keep Guinnias since this large an abscess will take days to drain properly. I feel uncomfortable having him away from the place he calls home, but I will listen to my vet.

Oddly, I was just starting to work on some writings, illustrations, and possible short movies documenting why some people, including myself, gravitate toward helping elderly animals. I hope Guinnias will be the star of that movie, and will be with me for many days and months to come.

Good luck in the raffle, and send some wishes to the old goat.

[Paypal button deleted - see note above.. If you want to enter, please mail me your entry. Make check to Katherine Dunn, 14710 NW Tupper RD, Yamhill, OR 97148.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ladies in waiting

In which the young ewes find out the truth that all ladies do at some point in their life...and Frankie gives her views on child rearing.

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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Messages of the hose

What does it mean when your hose starts spelling? Was the hose trying to say..."Please,more water...". Or perhaps, with a 'p', did Plum come over to practice spelling his name, confused that he too was going back to school?

Later in the day, I ventured out to water the vegetables. Stella and Iris were in their sunning area in the pasture. I overheard them, as I was only 20 feet away. OK, OK, I snuck over to spy on their conversation, thinking they might be planning an unsupervised nightly jaunt outside of their fenced Apifera Garden of Eden.

Stella had just whispered to Iris, "She'll never know we were up near the house...I left a clear sign that will lead her to think it was Pino, or Paco."

Olive at work beckons

I've been keeping my Facebook Fan Page active, loading new albums of work - both old and new - so don't forget to visit there often if you are a follower of my art.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The President hears from Pino


A friend sent me this wonderful quote from Maya Angelou. Not to compare myself to her, but this statement is exactly how I choose to live. But it didn't come over night. As her quote states, "I've learned that..."I think this quote is perfect for what my goals are with Donkey Dreams. [And thank you Justine for sending it.]

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it
seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that
you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things:
a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that
regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're
gone from your life. I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as
making a life. I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both
hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I've learned that whenever
I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've
learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that
every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or
just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you
did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sophie's snow

This was the final for the most recent pet memorial, commissioned for a woman's beloved yellow lab named Sophie. While many of the stories about Sophie were sweet, the story of her loving the snow, and just being content to be covered in flakes stuck with me. The client requested a garden scene with purples and pinks like she had seen in an earlier portrait I did. I thought that the black background and garden would work out nice with the color of the lab so agreed. The words say, "When the snow falls on the garden, it's just me. Sophie". I think Sophie's owner was hoping that this portrait might be so real it would be Sophie. Alas, I thought I captured her well, but she seemed disapointed that it really wasn't her in her eyes, even though she liked the painting.

I'll be starting another pet memorial for an Apifera fan and supporter who is also an avid senior dog adopter. It will be so nice to spend time working on that one - the dog's name is Penny and she has a wonderful story which I will share after it's all done later in a month or so.

Donkey Diary 8.09

Donkey Diary 5.09

Donkey Diary 7.28

Donkey Diary 6.10

Donkey Diary 5.09

Donkey Diary 5.23

Donkey Diary 6.1

Donkey Diary 5.8

Donkey Diary 5.12

Donkey Diary 4.20

Donkey Diary 4.29

Donkey Diary 4.3

Donkey Diary 4.10

Donkey Diary 3.25

Donkey Diary 4.1

Donkey Diary 3.18

Donkey Diary 3.23

Donkey Diary 3.4

Donkey Diary 3.11

Donkey Diary 2.23

Donkey Diary 2.11

Donkey Diary 2.17

Donkey Diary 2.4

Pino has been quietly keeping a diary, which I help transcribe for him. Only subscribers will be privy to all new diary entries.

Friday, September 04, 2009

More womenly chickens

The three Buff Orpingtons of Apifera are lovely, calm and are much like me with their strawberry blonde tresses and fair skin tones. I never knew I'd have so much in common with a chicken.

I immediately named the leader of three "Golda" after Golda Meir. While I don't see Golda the chicken as being too political, she is very adept at hanging out with all the different chicken varieties in the flock, which I think is very Golda of her - nation building at it's finest.

I also named her Golda because she is typically the first hen out of the roost in the morning, and I just started saying, "Well, good morning Goldie Golda Gilda", 'cause it just sounded like morning sunshine. You can tell Golda because she has the tiniest comb of the three. I named the other two Florence Nightingale and May Sarton. One a nurse and the other a writer, and a lesbian to boot. That is May was a lesbian, not Florence to my knowledge. Wouldn't want to rewrite history by mistake. I figure hens are very nurse like as they tend to those little eggs, and like a writer, they peck and scratch for the best combination of grit and nourishment.

Now, there is one more hen, but she is the shyest of the new ladies. An Aracuana [like Edmonia, Madeleine Albright and Mabel], she laid the first green egg for us a few weeks ago. Only two of the new hens are laying yet, so having it be a green egg was so special. And who would have appreciated such a fine egg more than Alice Waters? So I named her Alice Waters.

And those are the new chickens of Apifera. They accept poetry and prose from all ages, as they find it stimulates their souls, thus creating better flavored eggs.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The three Janes

My beloved Barred Rocks, oh how I so love my three Barred Rocks. The personalities of these three ladies is calm, polite, inquisitive, friendly, and welcoming. I have always loved the speckled looking chickens, with the standout red combs. So vintage, don't you think.

In keeping with the theme of naming the new hens after strong women, I have named them The Three Janes. Jane Morrison, for my mother; Jane Anne Lyman, for my mother in law Anne; and Lady Jane, who I know nothing about but I needed another Jane. When I told my mother I had named a chicken after her, she reacted as I knew she would- indifferently, not insulted, but not honored. The naming of my favorite chicken after my mother was more for me I think. We are very different, my mother and I. I take solace in chickens, she sees them as possible carriers of disease, something that was drummed into her little farm head when she was growing up in the country in North Dakota. On the other hand, I feel quite strongly that my hen Jane is honored to be named after my mother Jane, so that's nice. You can't please everybody.

Now, I can share this with you, but Jane Morrison the chicken, seen in the top picture, is my favorite hen. She is the first hen, besides my dearly departed and much loved Ward Schumacher the rooster, who likes to be held. In fact, she actually stands at my feet and waits for me. When I hold her, she curls her neck in like a swan, and leans it into my chest. It's endearing to have a chicken act like a newborn. Now, now, I know she's a chicken. No, I do not want a baby. And please don't write and tell me that I'm yearning for more outward demonstrations of love from my real mother, so I named a chicken after her and now enjoy hugging the chicken. My mother gives me all sorts of love, it's just in short sentence spurts, or appliances I don't really need, but gratefully accept and always use.

No, it's just that Jane Morrison the chicken is so nice, and she likes me. And I like her. Even though our daily huggings led me to come down with another ongoing case of poison oak all around my neck and chin. This outburst of poison oak followed last month's bout when I was hugging the donkeys and got it from them.

"You can't hug the donkeys until I can get rid of that poison oak..." the dirt farmer said to me.

I assured him I would refrain from hugging the donkeys - which is very difficult, but I did. But that didn't keep me from hugging that chicken. He now says I shouldn't hug my chicken. Well, who am I supposed to hug?

Anyway, Jane Morrison has the smaller comb of the Three Janes, that's how you know it's her. And she's the one at my feet, that's the other way you know it's her.