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

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

All images

©Katherine Dunn.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Downward cat

I do this pose every morning in my brief yoga routine but not half as gracefully as Samuelle. He does not require a mat, attractive yoga wear or signature water bottle, only the warmth of dry concrete sprinkled with goat and sheep berries.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Apifera hills made from elephant wings

I am lucky to receive an annual art mailing from someone each Earth Day. This year the theme was elephants.

I have always loved elephants and feel a kindred sadness with them. Their annihilation is particularly heartbreaking especially since they form deep relationships with their mates and herd. When I first moved to Portland from Minneapolis, prior to becoming the female half of The Pre-Dirt Farmer, I went to the Oregon zoo and naively walked into the volunteer office, explained I loved elephants and wanted to work with them somehow. The woman behind the counter said very authoritatively, "No one volunteers with the Big Boys."  I  tucked my thoughts on elephants in my back pocket, temporarily.

Blue Drawing: Sheep Hill

Sheep Hill, a small inclined area in front of our perennial gardens, bordered by old lilacs, cherries and quince is the burial ground for Rosie and Coral and their six triplets, along with two other lambs. Far enough from the well to be trouble, I have been working to establish wild flowers on the graves. The giant red poppies are growing in full force over Rosie and her triplets. The grave of Coral Bell is starting to take with the wild daisies I gathered from the river front acreage, but I have a lot of weeding to do to get them established. When I'm caring for a grave I feel vary calm and kind. It's the same soothing quality that comes from brushing a child's hair or a horse's mane.

I know exactly how their bodies are placed below the ground. I can see their faces, and I envision the roots of the trees and flowers embracing them.

See more of the Blue Drawings at the art site. Available for purchase there too.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

He went and named one John John

We never name the rams lambs, or at least not since the first lambing season 7 years ago when I kept every ram lamb and named each one thinking I could sell them all quickly for registered breeding stock. Not.

Part of raising livestock is dealing with the males. I've been over this a million times, so it is not that I have not thought of creative ways to deal with it. Rams are either sold for breeding, or eaten. It's a fact of farming.

However, this year, I am doing something I have never done. It all happened when Lilly gave birth to triplets. This triplet birth was a few days after Daisy had given birth to her triplets, but two were lost within days. So when Lilly had triplets, my heart flipped, but also sank. Especially when I saw the size of the little male runt that came out last. He was maybe 3#. He still is 1/3 of the size he should be. I did all the things I try to do with the male lambs- put up a bit of a barrier so as not to get too attached. And that means no names, no cuddling, no midnight bedtime stories.

But then Martyn came into the house one night weeks ago and said, "That little runt is so cute, he runs around like John John did in the Oval Office."

Great. He called him the same name as one of the century's most beloved first sons of one the most beloved Presidents.

I had spent the month very sick, and had hospiced two newborn lambs until they died. We'd lost Gertie and Georgie in the winter, and then the sudden death of a young ewe, Emily Wigley. The idea of butchering John John was unthinkable.

John John will be whethered and remain as a buddy for...I don't who, but he's staying.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring compassion

Spring is a busy time here - lambing, gardens to plant and maintain, fencing to fix after winter rains and vaccinations. And it's time to visit all the graves scattered through out the farm to touch up the tombstones.

At one point I wondered if I should just let this task go. These creatures served the Earth in the way they were intended and now rest in the dirt, their bodies returning nourishment to the tree roots around them. It takes days to clean the little stones and repaint them. I even have a map scribbled somewhere so I don't lose track of which grave is which.

I was very moved when we visited a Mission in San Diego area where the dead, many American Indians that had helped create the Mission and grow the food, were buried in a simple grave area. A book was kept noting who had died. The markers were plain and unmarked. It was a very humble but emotive spot for me to stand. Keeping my various cemeteries  for fallen birds, bats, mice in love, hard working mother sheep with lambs at their side, roosters and cats, chickens, and one old donkey, is perhaps my most compassionate work to date.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Love Floats" new mini book available

See the slide show of the book>

~Currently Sold Out~

"Love Floats" is a 20 page mini book created created with my art and words. It is a heartfelt musing of the power of love, and it's transitional qualities albeit mystical.

The little book is dedicated in the front page to all the old and neglected animals standing in a field alone, waiting, for love. Like most of my art sales, money is used to offset the cost of care taking of our adopted old animals- Matilda the donkey and the old goats.

The book can be seen at this slide show link. And if you'd like to purchase, you can do  through Paypal button below. I can also accept personal checks from repeat customers, and first time customers [the latter must wait for the check to clear.] International orders pay higher shipping.

$24.50 includes USA s/h.

Currently Sold Out

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Song for an old man

Each day that he greets me at the front gate is a gift. His crippled joints are catching up to him, but he gets up everyday and follows me to the hay barn where he spends as long as he needs to eat his breakfast in peace, unencumbered from other goats or boisterous lambs. He teeters and totters and there might soon come a day when I must help him to comfort. So today I sang him this song.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Bower of Dreams...Part Two

In Part One of The Bower of Dreams, readers were left wondering what was lurking behind the mysterious floating door of The Bower - creature, spirit, or perhaps just a figment of the artist's imagination? We shall see.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Nose of the beloved

I drown in the beauty of his brown nose, a deep brown it is, often with dew like gloss on the top.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The face of Fern

She was born of Daisy, quietly. We both worked hard today, she in her field, I putting down fir floors in the house. If only my face were as lovely as hers after a day of hard work. Still, we will both go to bed content with full bellies.