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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Love song to a puppet

I was experimenting with some still shots of Pino the puppet, and when I put it into a slide show, this is the generic song that was embedded. It was so appropriate, is so appropriate to me and this puppet. I know, I know, he's just a puppet, but we are in a relationship, a friendship, him and I. I can say he believes in me because in fact, he is me, and I am him. And we are all together, cooo coo coo choo.

I am going to continue to create what I feel propelled to create - with or without the blessings of the current commercial markets.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dog...and goat...days of summer

What thoughts are in that beautiful brown head, now enhanced with one white whisker,surely brought on by his duties as older brother. And the old goat sits in a forever home, perhaps thinking of summers long ago under spent under a tree in what must seem like a far off land.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More rides with Boone

I posted pictures from another ride to the cemetery with Boone . It's turning into a special place for me, one of the places within a short distance I can be alone with Boone, quiet, just a horse chewing, or a twig breaking. Perhaps on some visits we aren't alone, but so far, I feel welcome there.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Essence of cat and thistle

How does one capture a feeling, of a creature, or a moment, or a time in one's life? Can that essence only be fleeting and known to the observer at that moment, or can this photo take me back to this exact second, years from now? Is that why take pictures?

Just as a perfume can transport me back into my family home of over 30 years ago, or the smell of dog fennel takes me to of our first days here at the farm, to a moment when I was walking in the pasture with my then-first horse, Emily Brown, so too I hope these pictures will transport me to this place I've conceived, Apifera.

And I have conceived it, for my own sanity. For a shelter from the rural county I often feel so much like a fish in, without water. It's really not my job to soothe anyone, or inspire anyone; it is certainly nice my photos,art and words do that for some people. I like that, it gives meaning to my art, for sure.

But it's not why I photograph, or document, or create. I don't do it for anyone. I think I'm just trying to hang onto moments I know are whirring by....so fast. Just as I look at photos of me as a child, or a young woman, some day I'll look at these pictures as an old woman. God, let me feel the sense of donkey ears, and cat tails brushing my leg, and hay as it's being cut in the distance, the sound of a horse on gravel, my husband's voice in the kitchen. I think that's why I create. To experience it in double time, to say, 'Hey, thanks, Gods, this moment was too good just to experience, I had to, well, I had to do something more to honor it, or capture it."

The Apifera Cats have dwindled over the years from 25 to a 12, and this weekend I thought we'd lost another, Bradshaw, but he came back after a 3 day Apifera hiatus. It me to thinking of this farm without cats, or years from now, when all the animals I know so well will be gone. If I'm still here, on this farm, will this picture bring back the delight in seeing BW in front of the yellow Santolina plant? I hope so.

Will I partake and feel the mystic in the blur of the globe thistle, or will I wonder why I took it, all blurry like that? Who knows.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two plus more

Inspired by yesterday's ride on Boone up to the old cemetery...

"Did you hear that?" she asked.

His left ear twitched towards her, the right ear went forward. His muzzle bulged of breathing nostrils, and he didn't even bother to shake the fly on his neck. He hated flies, abhorred them.

"Me too." she said.

And they rode on.

Getting past the troll

In which one must ask, can a face lone, or a body, move sheep?

Nothing, no one, no how, not man or beast, can get past Frankie without the secret code. To this day, I don't know the code, nor does anyone else that I'm aware of, but then again why would they tell me?

I think this picture captures the essence of Frankie completely: bold in a compact package, standing her own ground, comfortable with her looks even though her ear tips froze off and her horns weren't debudded properly.

See more Apifera pictures from today's Flickr upload here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You say calm I say exhausted

It is said that lavender calms and soothes the beholder. With lavender harvest once again in full swing, I'd like to take this moment to squelch that idea. I have lived and worked with lavender, lots of lavender, for 6 years now. After caring for, weeding, cutting and bundling, then hanging, then drying, then taking those bundles and re-bundling them for sale, then boxing them, then taking them out and debudding them, I have to make an admission to you, my readers. I really don't feel calm at all. Or at least, I don't feel any calmer then when I start out in the morning without bundles and bees surrounding me. If anything, I feel angst, because there is so much of it, and like our friend the hay, when the lavender is ready for cutting, one must cut it, or lose the quality of the dried bundle.

Who had the idea of planting lavender, you might ask? Um, that would be me. The sheep sure look pretty walking in it. Maybe they feel calmer, I guess I should consider that. Growing the lavender is possibly calming my sheep, very important come lambing time.

The Dirt Farmer and I were getting ready to go to the field yesterday, and a segment came over NPR on how lavender farms are growing in popularity. They interviewed some woman up in Sequim, the lavender capital of the Northwest, and when asked why she thought there was an upswing in the plant's popularity, she said something to the effect that in our chaotic, fast paced life, lavender is soothing. Perhaps she's smoking it, I don't know.

I guess this isn't a very good advertisement about our product. I'm hoping that people that buy lavender really do feel nice and calm from it. I think the word that comes to my mind, about how lavender makes me feel is...exhausted. I love the plantthough, and there are many days when I'd like to just leave it in the field, and let it live out it's life whole, communing with bees. Maybe next year. Maybe not. An old farmer in the midwest once said to me, "You can always change your crop, farmers do it all the time."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ride with Boone

I have been wanting to start a photo project about my rides with Boone up to the old cemetery a couple miles from the farm. It's a nice, easy ride, with lots of shade, good snack vistas and the added dimension of many worlds colliding right under our feet. Head stones go back as far as 1800's, up to present day. I'd say it's about 2 acres at most and it backs up to forest, and looks out on cattle ranches and coastal ranges.

When I first rode there a couple of years ago, I felt a lot of activity, as they say, in the back of the cemetery. Not to get all woo-woo, but I'm very open to feelings that are generated from energy floating around, and if you want to call it a ghost, that's fine. The first time I rode to the back of the cemetery a year or so ago, as I look back on it, I think maybe they were just checking us out, those that came passing through. I know Boone was very intent that day too, and while horses are much more in tune with sounds and smells than humans, I think we were on the same wavelength that day. It wasn't exactly a scary feeling, but more of a "I think someone is watching us" feeling. I didn't ride to the back of the cemetery again, until this month, partially because I feel more confidant as a team with Boone, and I figure if some cranky spirit is going to spook us, I'll just say, "Git' on" and Boone will head for the hills.

We visited several graves today. Wondered about the lives of those people under those stones. So many stories under that dirt.

So I have started this ongoing project for myself, with one goal: Take many photographs over the many months and years to come of my rides to the cemetery with Boone in hopes that one, just one, will somehow capture the essence of that ride, and that horse, and that place, as we are all together, alive. For that cemetery is alive. When I'm old, or I can't ride, I want to look at that photo and feel that moment. So I'll treat these photographs more like paintings, they might change after leaving the camera, some will, some won't.
See more here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Short short story: "Walnut"

He had lived his entire life in this tree, this tree of senior status, on a grassy knoll where he could only see shades of green from the leaves that entombed him. He was surrounded by nuts, most the same age as he, and while he was programmed not to care, he was weary of the view. It had been a good life, and even though he knew falling meant a slow death, drying from the outside in, he was ready for change.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

She found a home!

Update: Kitty Who Dressed Herself has found a home in Oklahoma! I am so pleased she will get a taste of living on the plains and midwest, it will ground her immensely.She is currently packing for the trip, "her ownself".

"What shall you wear today?" asked the mother cat.

"I'm dressing my own self, Mama." came the response, confidantly.

And so begins each morning for this little cat. She reminds me a lot of me as a child. From a young age, I refused to underwear, and my mother would greet me at the breakfast table with a little good morning pat to my behind, to check to see if I was sans unders. Alway, I was sans unders. A tradition I abide by to this day.

Oh dear, I've shared too much.

Anyway, this little cat needs a home. Made of recycled Dirt Farmer socks- clean of course - and scraps of fabric from the bottomless scrap box. A teeny bit of Apifera lavender bud is stuffed in her- better than perfumed kitty litter.

She has no formal name, preferring to be called, "Kitty who dressed herself".

$39.50 includes USA shipping. Scroll to bottom of post to pay.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Chicken of the sky

I love this photo, it reminds me of a set from a natural history museum. But to make things clear, this is Clara, and she is very much a non-stuffed chicken. Clara is one of our Buff Orpingtons, and tends to hop instead of strut or run. She is on one the first hens out in the morning, and runs to me when I'm in the barnyard. She has lovely underpants too, when they are clean.

I now have a a Flickr photostream, and you can escape from whatever your reality is and visit the farm.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

More fashion from the Dirt Farmer

If you are a reader of this blog you know my right hand man, my side-kick in fencing work, the chef of Apifera, the one who follows with hammer and tool belt, is also a fashionista in his own right. It can not be duplicated, so don't try. One must actually be Martyn to pull these outfits off.

Yesterday the Dirt farmer came out to have a coffee break and I noticed the rip in his pants at the knee was being held together by many safety pins. He carried it off with such grace, I felt it deserved a mention.

And for the record, I do not stage these fashion encounters with my husband. As we say in our house, "I dressed my own self today!"

Monday, July 05, 2010

Smile from any perspective

Another string of moments with Boone, who smiles from all angles.

Boone and I rode up to the cemetery, about 2 miles, and back. What a wonderful ride, no cars, just the hum of some hayers, birds, leaves, grasses. Boone has a habit of stopping about every twenty minutes, just to stand, look, wait for my go forward command. When I first got him, I worked it out of him pretty well. But now, I allow him to do it, because I look at it more as a gift to sit still, on my horse, take it all in. As long as he's not snatching grass, I'm OK with it. Our rides are soft, not hard, we trot occasionally - such a lovely sound, trotting. It holds within it's rhythm so many embedded sensations from childhood journeys to my Uncle's farm, or autumn rides in Minnesota on neighbor horses.

In my new book I talk about capturing the essence for a painting, either by jotting down a note or crude sketch to take back to the studio as a memory jogger. Not details, just the essence. Today I thought about what words I could store in my memory of my ride- hoping I might remember them back at my studio, for a poem, or 150 word prose piece. In my head, it went something like:

Grasses over ripe with seed blow up and out through bramble full of light pink florets soon to turn blackberry. The dust has not arrived, leaving the roadside daises virginal white, but strong in their independence from other fauna. Straight above, a black bird soars against an equally virginal cloud, for what has touched it? It's black wings then merge into blue.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Changes and consolidations: please read!

If you've followed along for awhile, you might have noticed I'm like a tree- I grow branches at will, and let the leaves blossom when they need too. Such is the story of my many websites and blogs.

But my tree needed major pruning, and I have consolidated the Donkey Dreams and the Store blogs into this main blog. I just couldn't keep up, or not in a way I felt good about. Now all Pino news, apron news, animal news, art news, items for sale, births, deaths and Dirt Farmer photos will be on this blog. I can hear you sighing..or at least I feel better.

As you can see, I've added a little overview on the right hand sidebar. As my books develop, hopefully I can do one of those fancy sites with tabs and floating donkeys someday.

In a nutshell:

-If you were a Donkey Dream blog reader, all of those posts are consolidated into this blog now, and I hope you'll Follow this blog too.

- Since I took the Apifera-a-Day store down, I will now post items periodically on this blog for sale. High end paintings are still available on my main art site, as are prints. Pillows, dolls, raggedy items will NOT be posted, except in a once or twice sale each year. Sales will be noted on this blog.

- Check the side bars of this blog for incidental single items for sale with a Buy Button.

- All lavender items will be sold at Local Harvest, where we've been selling for awhile now. Wholesale/large orders still can email me directly.

- Pino's Apron Gallery is an entity of it's own, and it has it's own link. It is totally revamped, and looks very sweet, I think. Please visit his aprons and buy one, the money helps senior creatures. It will tell you how to send aprons if you care to.