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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When you name a duck

Naming the ducks has been a challenge. For starters, I've never named a duck and they are very shy around me even after a few weeks. This has allowed for only short, cocktail chatter rather than longer intimate conversation one really needs to name an animal.

Light in my heart...always

"Yesterday, not today", acrylic on paper ©K.Dunn

So many times in my life I have asked the muses to help me see what my unconscious knows. I do this by painting. If I feel very raw about something, painting lets me embrace my bones and all my organs and cells and say, "It's okay, we understand, but look at the light here, look at this heart of yours."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Honey Boy Edwards

He stands so tall that when I greet him at the gate, his back is to my waist, allowing me to hug his face without even bending over. Quite convenient for woman and goat. His beard blows in the wind like the goat version of a ZZ Top video.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

May September romance

Granny and her much younger man, Wilbur the Acrobat Goat lounge together in their favorite spot. They care little for naysayers saying such a union will never last.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Introducing: Little Walter

I brought home our new ram lamb this week. What a beautiful boy he is! I named him after a blues musician since I think rams must have a lot of blues, separated from the girls so many months.

He had a traumatic day of being stuffed into a crate and then spent the afternoon in the barnyard meeting all the goats. I couldn't bare throwing him in right away with the big rams, but when I did, they were gentlemen. They took care of their own hierarchy without me.

We also said farewell to Daisy's last ram lamb who went off to breed in a small flock so I know he will have a good life. It was bittersweet though, as I have decided to retire Daisy. She came to Apifera with Rosie and Joe Pye Weed in 2004 and helped build our flock. I love her with all my heart. She has been a leader in so many ways- helping me as a new shepherdess with her calm demeanor. She has become a bit arthritic and is going on eight, so I wanted to let her spend her remaining years relaxing and grazing.

After her ram left, she kept seeking out his sound and when I brought everyone in at night I could tell she was calling for him,

"Come in now, where are you? It's time to go in, where are you?"

Watching any animal leave the farm is traumatic. Feeling the shakeup in the herd or flock is hard on everybody, but we all adjust, we all survive, we all get up the next day and do the best we can do.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coffee klatch on a manure pile

On most early afternoons, you can find the chickens lunching at the manure pile. I sometimes join them and on a slightly cool afternoon such as we had today the warmth of the manure pile soaks deep into your bones. Not only did my bottom get all warm, I had my ears wide open for local gossip from the hens.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Collaged sewn donkeys and elephant babies

I just posted some more Raggedy Aprons at Pino's Apron Gallery.

I've been taking the illustrated fabric I make with Spoonflower, then cut and collage fabric scrap into the faces and embellish vintage aprons with them. I see this as a leaping off point to do more abstract fabric scrap work in my leisure time [chickens, goats, Frankie are all laughing in the background on hearing this.]

I also posted some raggedy folk dolls. I was in my elephant muse stage.

As usual, apron sales will go into Pino's bucket to help old animals- like Honey Boy Edwards who arrived last Friday from New Moon. You'll hear about him soon. We also have two more small packages to pick up this month sometime and then the senior menagerie will settle in to leisure activities. More on that later in the month.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Open love letter to a dirt farmer

The Dirt Farmer doesn't read my blog which gives me an enormous amount of latitude to share the inner sanctum of my love for him...or pictures of him in odd farm like poses.

As I looked out over the small sea of people at Pie Day I could hear 'Yummm" as they tasted my pie and when more than one person at a time would "Yum", it resonated in some kind of spiritual farm orchestra with the bees humming in the nearby gardens.

My Dirt Farmer was busy rushing about as I was on Pie Day and we really never came together because our roles were to host...and guide small fingers holding carrots. As I caught glimpses of him through out the day, standing next to the many structures he has built for our farm, including the Donkey Hug area and many outside "rooms', I'd get one of those "Yum-Bee-Buzz" resonances in my heart.

When the guests had all left, someone caught this picture of two middle aged dirt farmers wearing carefully selected hats sitting exactly where they belong.

A sigh after pie

Another Pie Day has left the hosts, both donkey and human, exhausted but fulfilled.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pino gets press

A couple weeks ago the local paper asked to visit Apifera to interview me about Pie Day and my efforts to help animals in need.

It's always shocking to see yourself blown up way big, even if it is the local rag. I can only imagine the shock a movie star feels when first seeing themselves on screen. But I just adored this picture of me and Pino. There was also a nice one of Old Man Guinnias and that made me extra happy. [Photos © News Register]

The reporter wrote a fine article, and we appreciate it. There were a couple small errors, so just to be clear, Pino is not a rescue donkey but came from a loving farm right up the road a ways, as did Lucia. And while I am raising funds and awareness for our friends at Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue [all apron sales go to them this year], I do not own that Rescue.

We are very excited and still rushing like lunatics to get all the details just right for our guests. Tomorrow Pino's beloved porta potty arrives as well as our dear friend all the way from New York City. And like there wasn't enough going on, a very special elderly gentleman will be arriving too, delivered by two angels. But I will tell you all about that after Pie Day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Healing donkey hugs are free

We are scrambling to get everything tip top for Sunday's Pino Pie Day, our 4th annual farm event where we share donkey hugs and homemade pie under the big top of the Apifera Farm sky.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Amongst chickens in awe

"Did you see the size of that egg?" she asked.

"Yes, it's ginamanous." said Henny Penny. [Note to readers: chickens often combine words.]

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Old goose still has it goin' on

The woman who relinquished her old goose and ducks to me mentioned that the ducks were laying regularly and that even the old goose still lays a couple times a week. I'd never seen a goose egg until this morning.

It's big.

I thanked her and must have caught her right after the act, as she was away from her ducks and was just leaving the scene of the crime. I spied from a nearby crack in the hen house and watched Priscilla as she began dosing off, her neck slightly curved allowing her beak to rest in her wing. I'd nap too if I just laid one of those.
[In the picture, from L to R, bantie egg, Orpington egg, duck egg, Priscilla egg].

I bought the fowl gang a new temporary wading bucket today. The chicken pen is now full of buckets in a variety of sizes and colors to accommodate the ducks. It is a scene you would not see at Martha's, but then again I doubt you'd see anything from Apifera at Martha's. Martyn wants to build them a real pond in the ground, with rocks to rest on. I will be relieved when that happens, as the hens are very upset with the temporary chaos of their hen yard. They tried to schedule a meeting with me, but I said it had to wait until after Pie Day.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Yes, it's a senior citizen goose

One day you wake up without ducks, the next day you wake up with ducks, and a senior citizen goose named Priscilla.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Bird soaks in me

My new book often describes my intuitive process for "capturing the essence" of a feeling, time, creature or person. I am not sure I can say that this is always my main goal when I get up in the morning, to capture the essence of things all day, but I feel that is what my art's purpose is, to be emotive for me and viewers.

While I was in the barn yesterday taking pictures of the building, I heard the distinctive call of the Bullock Oriole. The photo is nothing worth talking about, but I felt compelled to take it. At that instant I was moved by the small little body immersed in bramble, sitting on a falling down fence. His strong song piercing through the barn felt juxtaposed to his small stature.

That was an attempt to document that moment's essence and use it later as a "jog" for my memory in order to start a painting. Later that day I felt moved enough to do something in color and shapes. I played with an old original digitally collaging so the birds were as big as their song. The falling down fence has my respect and so achieved color. Sometimes the moment captured on film or recorded in our memories evolve in the art as the muses let us journey in a self beating rhythm.