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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, December 31, 2012

It's the little things

I like to go internal on the day before the New Year. Or at least, I don't partake in parties or resolution lists. I do however love the week after Christmas and before New Year's - I clean the studio, sort, shred, and this year rearranged my drawing areas as there was always something not quite right. It feels much better now and I'm excited to get painting for my May show.

So I thought about all the things I could write about for New Year's and I just keep hearing the same message: I'd rather be here right now than anywhere else. The day I quit feeling that, I will evolve in the direction my soul leads me. I can't imagine leaving Apifera, but I have no control over future experiences that might change my perspective. And Apifera is a breathing entity, she doesn't control me or smother me in any way.

I know many are in pain, are poor, lack things they think they need or want but there is still joy and hope to be found in each day. I know it is hard to feel this way if you've lost a loved one, are struggling at work, are care taking elderly parents or lack resources to move. And if you are physically challenged and in pain, or mentally challenged without proper help, my words might seem simplistic and naive. I have many days of despair about one thing or another - the blog gives you the calm version, the well thought out version without anger or frustration.

But this one internal message is something I carry everywhere - there is still joy in each day, like a little pig standing against a red barn.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bucket & Donkey

The 32 page book, "Bucket & Donkey", opens with only sixty words of text, and lush full page illustrations. An old bucket in the milk barn is tossed aside due to a hole in his side. Thrown in the burn pile he assumes his life is over, but moon encourages him to dream of a new life, and he does. With the help of the Wind, and a little donkey, Bucket goes on to a life of purpose and sharing.

Rather than have this book project sitting in a pile on my desk, waiting for the right publisher, I decided to make it available on Blurb. I'll continue to pitch it to editors, but my life is too short to wait for a publisher - don't you agree?

I'd like to go out of this world knowing I shared as much as I cold through art and story. Waiting for a publisher seems to be counter productive to that. The frustration of working on a project and not seeing it go out into the world is sad for me. I'd rather just let people enjoy it. And so far, I've heard from people that really loved the quietness of the story and found the art lush and beautiful.

I plan to do more little books like this and hope you are able to enjoy some as they become available.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blue wings for Doris

We lost Doris over the holiday. She was an old duck, the mother of the other ducks collectively known as The Bottomtums.

I buried her in the pumpkin patch after laying her out for the others to view. She'll feed the worms and grubs now and her fowl clan will graze above her. They did not mourn and accepted her death as part of the lapse of a day. Good role models for me, I'd say.

I gave Doris beautiful blue wings and new shoes to go about her next journey.
Farewell,Doris! You were a very good duck!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace of the field for you

May your day have moments of a nature's theater - and may you recognize its peace.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Watching with wings

I see wings as my connection to universal wisdom. When my wings are on I can feel them and I think I am at my best because they make me lighter as a spirit, softer in my views and choice of words.

This image is available as original art - but also as a beautiful new art card with three separate art panels - the words make it a beautiful way to share New Year Wishes or encouragement year round.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Puppets Sing and Ponder Christmas

The annual songs and ponderings of the season from the Puppet with a big heart and his side kicks, Olive Oil the little lamb and Stella the goat with the voracious holiday appetite.

Besides learning the real deal about Santie Claus, this season, after some songs, Pino explains his heartbreak...and sends a lovely message to all those suffering from broken hearts.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Comfort in a pig

She makes me happy. I needed that this morning - the look on her face after she finished a special treat of left over squash pie, orange mash covering her little snout and lips.

Comfort comes to us in small ways. You look to your routine to get you back on track. I'm thankful part of my routine is feeding a little pig who so enjoys her breakfast - everyday.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Angels, hold them and give them wings

The sadness of the day fills the farm.

Even little donkeys can't bring cheer today.

We hold the parents and survivors in our hearts and wish for wings for all the little souls now floating on - and peace in time for those left behind.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Love Letter to Father Christmas

My latest entry on the Huffington Post, "Love Letter to Father Christmas", is now online. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Father Christmas again after all these years and a got a bit teary eyed doing so.

The post is a gentle reminder that one should never give up believing in their dreams.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Graveyard of life

The yin and yang of nature is clearly depicted in the daily scene of the winter pumpkin patch. Old friends lie deep down beneath the dirt, their bones and skin providing a perfect meal for slugs and worms. Along come the The Bottomtums who dig with beaks, gathering up the once squirming mud dwellers.

I like to see the living mingling with the dead. It helps to see life as a circle, not a line. And in times when I miss a creature or person that has physically left, I can remember that the body feeds the dirt that feeds life - a body simply moves on to another form, vaporizing into air before it lands on something before it's lapped up by chicken, fish or mouse. We will all be eaten one way or another.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Christmas Garland Festival!

Last year, a follower of Apifera sent some lovely vintage fabrics and a gift of a felted garland she made. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was sharing the garland with the barnyard and then sharing the photos with followers.

The happiness it seemed to bring to so many in such a simple way left an impression on me. So I declared it a new holiday tradition - The Christmas Garland Festival.

I hope you enjoy the slide show - thirty plus images of the Misfits and then some. Wilbur the Acrobatic Goat chose to observe versus participate - one must not force garland wearing. Raggedy Man would have nothing to do with it, and he was much too busy flirting with The Head Troll - flirting is a kind word.

In the end, I garlandized The Dirt Farmer. The man doesn't take a bad picture, does he?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Walking Goat Soul on Huffington

My latest entry for Huffington Post, The Walking Goat Soul, tells the journey of Stevie, the handicapped goat - from a mud field of neglect, to a kind hearted veterinarian and staff, to our friends at Sanctuary One where he met Rosie the pig, and finally to the barnyard of Misfit at Apifera.

You can help support Stevie and all the other Misfits at their fundraising page.

You can also buy art cards of some of the Misfits at the Etsy shop. I am still editing and working on the Misfits of Love, the book I hope to have published someday about the creatures that call the barnyard their final home.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tangled up illuminations

You try to guide them, but at a certain point one has to let them just make their own mistakes. I reminded them last year that if they took the time to carefully roll the lights up into a tidy ball, then this year it wouldn't be so hard to untangle the string.

The last I looked out to the barnyard, I saw several small statured goats running around in the dark, all lit up. It was very festive.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Little Mud

You'll have to endure a trip down memory lane every now and then.

Muddy turned three recently. I just can't believe it's been that long. As Huck will be turning 8 in January I occasionally suffer from 'Awwww" moments when I come across an older photo of one of them.

This is one such photo when Mud was about 6 months up on his name sake, Muddy Hill. It is a classic Muddy look, the expression clearly states,

"What? Who me? I didn't do it."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Misfit of wood

{My latest entry for Huffington Post...}

"Dream deep," I heard a voice say warmly, like an old Aunt sitting and knitting on the front porch.

It was Old Barn, back on the day I first looked at the property, the place that would become Apifera Farm as we know it.

It was then that my relationship with her began, for she recognized I was a dreamer. It was the first of many brief conversations we would have, as I learned that Old Barn was a creature of few words, but when she did speak it became a pivotal moment for me.

I had no idea at the time that she and I would work side by side with so many animals, old and young, helping some pass on and encouraging others to live. It was all part of the dream and Old Barn intuitively knew about it before I did. Just as I was enticed to move West by invisible wisdoms allowing me to find my human mate, there were powers that brought me to this old barn and her land and together we became a dreamed reality.

One of the last century wood barns in the surrounding area to still stand, she had become a Misfit herself. Her kind had been replaced by aluminum and metal structures that wouldn't rot and could hold off fires. One person suggested we tear her down and sell her fir boards using her concrete pad as a starting point for a new barn. But I approached her condition like I would any neglected creature that would some day arrive here - giving her sustenance to make her limbs stronger. To this day, she stands in a state of elderly attire, rusted roof and faded red wood exterior softening in fog and lighting up at sunset.

Her life of service defines her and she has what many old creatures are missing - purpose and companionship.

{Old Barn is part of a book I am writing about the Misfits of Apifera}

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Old Rudy gentleman in a goat suit

He's not a goat, he's more of a dignified elder that greets you at the front door, welcomes you in, always with a kept beard and good posture even though his arthritic legs might be wobbly.

Rudy and Tasha are settling in amazingly well. These two are so sweet and gentle, and though very arthritic and somewhat crippled from it, they get around on sunny says, not afraid to explore all over the place. I have yet to capture a good shot of Tasha, as when she is moving, she is fast on those crippled little legs!

But Rudy, ah, Rudy, he stands for me, poses, calls out to me as I leave the barnyard.

In other related news, Rosie the pig has two beds now - her overnight sleeping area near Stevie, and now a napping lounge in Rudy and Tasha's stall. Knowing that little pig sleeps next to the newcomers during the day and Stevie at night makes the cynical deed of the outside world melt away.

Meet all The Misfits of Apifera and hear their stories >

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Upon thy neck shall I gaze

There is no more beautiful neck than the old goose's, unless perhaps Grace Kelly stood beside her, but knowing the little I do about Grace I think she would humbly agree with me.

Such a marvelous road way for her food to travel through - Perhaps the worms understand this somehow as they slide to her gullet. I watch her twist and conform this neck under gates, or twist and turn it to communicate pending danger to the Bottomtums.

I had never held a goose or stroked one's throat until I came to know old Priscilla. I am glad our introduction happened.

{ Priscilla came to Apifera after a woman's husband died of cancer, leaving her no choice but to sell her farm. She asked our mutual vet to help find a forever home, and he contacted me. Priscilla was the matriarch of a herd of 6 ducks, known here as The Bottomtums, and they too live in the Barnyard of Misfits with their own lakeside cabin.}

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Final Gift

When rabbits appear in my pieces, I don't question it. But I can't really discuss it because the meaning behind it is very layered, encompassing past, present and future encounters. But as the viewer, you get to have your own relationship with this painting.

This piece will be for sale at Adamson Gallery during the annual Dog/Cat Show which helps benefit the Placer SPCA [both artist and gallery donate partial proceeds].

The preview reception is Thursday, 12/6 from 5pm - 8pm.
The opening reception is Saturday, 12/8 from 6pm - 9pm.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Little bottoms I love

I love her piggie bottom, so round and bulbous attached to a tail of white glazed straw with tassels on the end. I never tire of her piggie bottom. Never, ever.

The satisfaction of living amongst daily encounters that bring pleasure is all I strive for. I worked in an office for much of my twenties and thirties and had many good lessons - but was usually looking for the window. Nature is a better boss, it teaches and never scoffs - however it also pays no mind to human desires, judgments or spoiled states of mind.

I had some really wonderful bosses but I can't think of one that taught me more than the trees, dirt, or water...or goat and pig bottoms.

What does the bottom of my pig teach me? Simply, that to gaze upon it is enough.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful for the Misfits

The Head Troll coordinated the Thanksgiving Prayer for the new Misfits, Rudy and Tasha Teats Tudor. Old Daisy attended for the flock and Pino led a touching version of Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me."

I've always been a bit of a Misfit myself. My art never really fit neatly into one category, nor does my writing. When I was little I had short curly red hair and always felt like I stuck out. My feet were freakishly small with very high arches yet I was not graceful like a ballerina. So I feel like I finally fit in here with my Misfits.

I think Apifera was here long before it manifested itself to me. She was waiting, ripening, exploring - just like I was - until we could come together at the right time. Any sooner, and the relationship might ave have sputtered out of control, or one side might have dominated the other, or lost interest.

I feel so grateful for Apifera and the Misfits in my barnyard along with the donkeys, sheep, horse, chickens, fowl. To every feral cat that now calls the barn, porch or couch a home, I am glad you showed up. And of course Apifera would fall down without The Dirt Farmer.

But I'm also grateful for all of you. Some of you have been loyally following along since the start, others are just coming on board. Some of you I have come to have real life friendships with and you have supported my work as an artist and an animal caretaker. Thank you so very much. It's a lot of hard work here, but it keeps me breathing and vibrant. I still get excited when a new animal comes aboard, still cry over birth and death, still love the smell of my horse's neck.

Apifera has evolved right along with me and it blows my mind sometimes when I look at my life from a bird's perspective - a woman scurrying around, with buckets, and lots of crippled goats following her. I hope you will stick around for awhile with me - who knows what will happen tomorrow or the next day.

Peace and love,

~ Katherine & Apifera ~

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We interrupt the calm, healing influence of beauty shots of the animals and gentle prose that lulls one to slumber for this business announcement: We have a new fundraising page.

Here's a way to say 'thank you' for the stories inspired by The Head Troll, or the chance to watch Matilda share hugs with guests at Pie Day; None of it could happen if they weren't being fed, nurtured and cared for on a daily basis. There is joy in knowing you can really help the animals directly by chipping in what you can - a little bit goes a long way here, and all money is spent wisely.

Like I've said before, we live non-lavishly and consider sitting on a home grown pumpkin looking at an Apifera sunset much more romantic than shopping for a velvet cushion to rest our feet on.

I am trying out yet another new crowd funding source called GoFundMe. [Thank you to the recent contributors to the ChipIn fund but their service and tech issues weren't acceptable so I switched - but your funds are safe in my account and I'm on the way to the Feed store tomorrow!]

On my new fund page, you can chip in for the monthly care costs of the barnyard adoptees, or you might see a "Wish' item that appeals to you - for example, the current wish items help raise money for a new small shelter [for more small Misfits!] and Pino Pie Day Prep help.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I have an art sale going on over at Etsy and I also have more pieced in the regular art section, including this piece which will help our friends at New Moon Goat Farm Rescue. In the past 5 years, Apifera has adopted 12 special needs/elderly goats. I am so grateful to have helped Ellen and New Moon, and happy to call her a friend - or "Northern Mother" as the goats and I refer to her as. Ellen has become adept at bringing in an old goat, and letting me know 'it would fit right into the barnyard of Misfits at Apifera." She works tirelessly, and teaches photography full time so she is a very busy woman.

$200 from the purchase of  this original shown above will go to New Moon. I also have a watercolor drawing in New Moon's upcoming auction which is being held Friday, November 30th, 6-10pm in Arlington, WA [about an hour north of Seattle]. It's going to be really fun if you can attend and everything helps the goats. I donated bundles for the gift bags too, so get on up there. Here is the link where you can buy your ticket [which includes dinner/drink and more] and you can walk away with some fun art, and help a goat.

Farewell, Big Pig

It is with a worn out spirit but a clean conscious I let you know that Big Pig will not be staying with Apifera.

As charming and magnificent a creature as she is, my first responsibility is to the farm's health and the Misfit's safety. Big Pig and I have talked, she holds no grudge. And I hold no grudge against her for simply being...a 500# pig who continued to do 500# pig things. I have spent almost $1,000 and put so much time and energy into making, remaking, fixing, refixing - all the time not giving up. Some of you might know - I am not a quitter, and I am very loyal to those I give my word to. But I also know the freedom that comes from admitting I made a mistake, or need to change directions.

In the last week Big Pig showed me she was not going to fit into the scheme of things here, and the last straw came when she tossed Rosie aside like a feather - she was not being mean, she was being Big Pig. Each day something happened to make me reconsider her living here, including the day she pushed through the extra plywood I put up
to keep her from ruining a stall door, and in so doing she nearly knocked me down, under the plywood, and was on her way to walking over it with me under it.

I'm too young to die.

Always containing her in her spacious paddock was an option, but the money, time, and energy drain - to fix and refix, and worry of the consequences if she did get out into the barnyard - was what helped me come to my decision.

Big Pig has given me many gifts in her short month here - for one, I was able to experience this creature, in all her pig glory. I will never, ever forget her, or her eyelashes, or her quite grunts that meant, "What are ya' doing? Wanna hang out?" , to her manic grunts and foaming at the mouth that meant, "Come on, feed me, now, I am PIG!"

But the biggest gift she has given me is to put me and my open heart back on the Apifera track - that my goal is to help old, crippled, special need creatures or short term hospice cases. And a 500# healthy three year old pig does not fit into that master plan.

Big Pig will be back with her very good and caring former owners. Some of you might offer optional solutions to returning her there, or ways to keep her here, but I do not want to hear them and won't respond to them.

I will not talk Big Pig again. But she will appear in my art or stories in different ways, I suspect. She has made a huge impact on me. Her destruction here has also made a huge impact on me.

But it is a fact, Big Pig and I have a silent agreement.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Safe landing of old goats

Rudy and Tasha Teats Tudor - I took liberties with her given name 'Teats" - have arrived safely at Apifera. They are snug as bugs wrapped in a blanket of Mother Earth's hay, resting up after a long road trip. We were so lucky to have someone volunteer to drive them here for us all the way from New Moon goat Farm Rescue - thank you Chery! The kindness of strangers.

These two old timers, ages 11 and 12, are very crippled from arthritis but their former owner took very good care of them. I hope I can get them walking some more, but right now they seem content to rest up. They have been through a lot of changes in the past couple weeks, leaving their home of 10+ years, stopping at New Moon for a couple weeks before taking a long car trip to Apifera.

They are locked in my heart already - a very gentle twosome.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Teach thy children

A young guest at this year's Pino Pie Day listening to his first donkey heart beat.

I truly believe if we can show the young ones a creature they otherwise might not have met, if we can let them touch them, hear them breathe, they can connect on some level and embrace their shared traits, but they can also see their differences are not an obstacle to coexisting. And that experience with an animal can be used as an example when they try to coexist in a world of human creatures.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Two more old goats coming to Apifera!

Visit the  Apifera ChipIn page to contribute to help with monthly care costs of all the Apifera adoptees.

Their story - and their owners- grabbed my heart when I read it. A woman and her husband had the goats for most of their goat lives. They were loved and cared for.

But her husband sadly passed away in mid life. The woman's situation changed immediately - and I think any of us can understand this. She did not panic and looked for almost a year for a caring home that could care for her two pet goats - both very arthritic and needing medication and the right home. So after a year, with much thought, she relinguished the goats to our friends at new Moon Goat Farm & Rescue. She really fought it, but knew it was what she had to do.

I am really happy to know they will live their lives out here. I have seen a movie of them and they are very arthritic so they remind me a lot of Old Man Guinnias, and Gertie of days gone by. They come with the names Rudy [the red one] and...wait for it...Teats. Now, I was rather bemused by the name Teats, but the story is the first breeder of the goat called her that because she had an extra teat or only one, I forget, and the name stuck. I imagine I will let Apifera find a nickname for her, if it so desires.

Now would be a great time to let you know that I am trying out ChipIn fundraising.
Many of you say how you'd like to help out but live far away, or you can't get away, or you don't have a lot of money. But you can help in tiny ways monetarily. Each month I spend about $250 on feed alone just for the adoptees - and that doesn't count vetting, extra medicines, materials like gates, straw, hog fuel and more.

Visit the ChipIn Widget on the upper right hand sidebar to contribute to the monthly, or my ChipIn page to contribute. If emergencies arise, or special needs, I will add it on to next month's amount to raise.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Windfall bounties for the beauties

I have been picking the many windfall apples around the area - sweet, little fruits fallen from the Mother tree with nothing to do but rot and feed the worms - which is all good and proper - but I hate to see so much fruit not being eaten by my barnyard of misfits.

So I gather as much roadside windfall as I can and share it with the donks, pigs, goats and Boone. AS you see here, Lucia is very enthusiastic when it comes to apples.

This weekend a kind friend also brought over these apples from her old trees - these are King apples and are huge! Big Pig will be thrilled! Even the One Eyed Pug had his share today when he literally knocked into the buckets - the blind wonder boy couldn't believe his luck, stumbling onto such a bevy of delicious apples - pug gas is sure to be swirling tonight.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lofa love

Little Lofa seems to have fully recovered from his anemia and is eating, walking, and doing all Lofa like things in true Lofa like fashion. A huge collective sigh of relief. Amazing when an animal has been malnourished in the past how much havoc is played on a little body.I've been putting a little jacket on Lofa in this colder weather just to give him some extra heat. I had purchased it for Old Man Guinnias but it was too small, so am glad it is being put to such good use.

Lofa was adopted by Apifera after New Moon Goat Rescue took him in from a neglectful situation. Feel free to sponsor Lofa or the other Apifera adoptees at different gift levels.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Don't forget

I have lots of Apifera lavender products for sale over at Etsy including the dark purple Hidcote bundles that are wonderful for wreathes, floral sags and arrangements. I also have the aromatic Grosso for sale at Local Harvest  and bud for your craft projects [you can email me if you want to buy anything lavender related or large quantities.]

There is also an art sale going on at Etsy through December.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Oh, to float around the farm with my old friend Louie Louie, the fox terrier of years ago. My father's pipe smoke would then arrive before him, and over he'd fly, joining us for his favorite treat - a good piece of cheese. But it's only a dream.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Big Pig Big Mud

We spent the last two days hauling 7 tons of hog fuel to keep the most traveled sheep paths and gate passages free from the mud buildup. But no paddock got as much attention as Big Pig's.

Here's a tip - when you consider bringing home a 500 pound pig, take a good look at their feet. So pretty, they are. But they create more mud in less time than any creature I know. Of course it is NW Oregon, so Rain is our companion and with Rain comes our other companion, Mud.

We had put a small area of hog fuel [nothing to do with hogs, it is a wood by product like mulch, and they used it to burn in hog burners - also nothing to do with hogs] into Lucy's area so she'd have a 10 foot area free from mud. She loved to lay there by her hut. But within one week of heavy rain there was about 6" of liquid mud. Besides her piggie feet being overloaded with wet mud - a bacteria risk - the farmer's feet [that would me moi] were getting mud soaked every time she entered the paddock to give fresh water. When you have a hole in your sock, and you sink down deep into cold mud which goes over the top of your Muck boot and travels down to that hole in your sock, you only have one thing on your mind - hog fuel.

It was a warm day, partially sunny, more like Spring than Fall. As hard as the work was of shoveling, raking and lifting 7 tons of hog fuel, the animals were about, and to see Lucy's big pig body sunning on her new and improved large hog fuel island, surround by mud unable to touch her, it made me happy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thank you, Jack London

Riding at Uncle Clayton's around 1960

I have had three farms in my life that have opened my heart to what my soul requires in this earthen life. One was my Uncle Clayton's farm in North Dakota - with thousands of acres of corn, wheat and soy, and a barn full of creatures. It was there I would travel the ten hours from Minneapolis with my family, anticipating the smell of each horse and the feeling of the saddle under my bones for the entire trip. I journeyed there through my adulthood, and even though my Uncle died much too young, it was his land that stirred the beginning of my farm dream.

During my forties, I began searching for a place to replant my feet. Minneapolis and NYC had been my homes in the past, but I felt a yearning to head West. The sensation would come to me in subtle ways - such as I always found myself facing West whether inside or out. I ventured to Northern California to visit some friends, thinking maybe the small towns that dotted the Sonoma Valley were a good fit for me, my guides and dreams.

It was there I met my second farm - a place called Beauty Ranch, better known as Jack London's farm. I went there out of curiosity, and for a place to ramble around in while I waited for the dinner hour to meet my friends. I arrived around 10 am. I left around 3 pm. As I went from the small cottage that London wrote from each day, saw his barns and read about the many new animal husbandry practices he was doing, I felt his soul in that land but also felt mine speaking loudly to me. He was a true steward there, not just a landowner - which was a new concept back then and often ridiculed by some local farmers. By the time I arrived at London's grave, I was very emotional. I felt like I'd met him, loved him as a person - flaws and all- and then lost him. His ashes were placed under a large rock in an unpretentious spot, tucked away in the forest near the graves of two two young children of the former owners who died from disease years earlier.

That visit to Jack London's home back in the mid 1990's reminded me that my dream was a tenacious one, one that my soul was not going to let go of and in fact was going to keep reminding me of in anyway it could that a farm was where I needed to be. A farm was where I could enact my optimal performance as the creature I was evolved.

I guess you know I finally found my farm. I took a long time and my guides must have been exhausted getting all the pieces to finally fit into place. But I've never stopped loving Clayton's farm. And I knew I wanted to return to Jack London's - not only to feel it and share it with Martyn, but to thank Jack.

So I packed up Lydia, tucked The Dirt Farmer in the front seat, thanked the angel who said she'd care for Apifera's charges, and headed south to California. On the way, I had many meetings with Redwoods, Oaks and Eucalyptus . The beauty of meetings with trees is note taking is never required.

I couldn't wait to get to Jack's. And seeing the horse trails this time reminded me how far I've come in 10 years. The dream of owning my own horse is in the past - now I live that dream out loud by riding my own horse, learning with him under my weight. I'm not much for 'bucket lists' as I tend to enact what I want, but I do dream of riding a horse through London's land someday, just as he did.

After arriving at London's last Sunday, we started our visit at the small cottage where he initially wrote. I felt his love and interest in his life and land everywhere. The small back porch room with simple, single cottage bed where he so often wrote, notes still hanging on the wall, was full of sun, perhaps not unlike the day he lay there and died.

Three miles of walking later, I arrived at his forest grave. I didn't have to say much, I simply said,

"Thank you, Jack."

Jack London riding at Beauty Ranch

You can learn more about Jack London at their site and see how you can visit or volunteer there; and read a good article about his short life.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween of misfits

I try to stay out of the way and let the barnyard do their own thing on Halloween. They do remarkable things even though I have banned the use of scissors and glue guns. The biggest battle is always keeping them away from candy corn.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Loyally waiting for the Dirt Farmer

As his young brother Muddy plays in the background, Huck takes on the stoic duty of waiting for the sound of tires on the long gravel drive. It is a lucky man that can come home to such loyalty.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

98 human years

The Old One Eyed Pug has turned 98. That would be 14 in his years.

He continues to truck on, one eye ball reaching out for any light it can gather. He is quite blind now and his hind end is weakening. He suffers from confusion more and more, but I still see that he enjoys life so his journey is still not over, it's just a bit slower.

He still loves to steal tomatoes from the garden - although I have to go find him since he often gets a bit lost coming back to the house. He was one pound when I brought him home as a pup, lived with me and Louie Louie for all those years in Minneapolis, watched [he had two eyes then] me struggle through tough personal times and was always on my lap by nightfall, snuggled down to watch some television together. He is still on my lap every time I sit by the fire or watch a movie - he just needs a little help getting there.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pie flying

The farm is good for me - it forces me to watch nature move at a pace I have no control over. I think one must look at publishing, and writing, like this. I have one story that has had so many evolutions I've lost track. It seems every time it feels like it's buried, it raises its voice again - and evolves a step closer to birth.

I am talking about my current love- "Donkey Dream" {A Love Story of Pie & Farm}. This book is a memoir of how I lost at love, but found something even better-my life. A life that was wrapped in my internal dreams, and the mate came with it. And pie. And farm. And a little donkey. I have been working on this in one way or another since 2009.

I love this book, and I think you will too. It is fully illustrated and takes on a fable-like quality, transporting the reader to a real but enchanted world where a donkey has pie parties, an old barn speaks and one woman floats out of sadness into the place she is meant to be.

It is really time to get it birthed and into the world! Please consider supporting my Kickstarter project going on through 3/23/14. If i don't raise the entire sum, I get nothing, and you aren't charge. I have one successful Kick project, and am so grateful to your support. So we can do this. The money is used 100% for printing the hard cover book at an offset printer-for quality and options.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Huck of my eye

The soul that shimmers in his eye, the dappled grey his chin now carries, the velvet fabric crafted into ears - never fail to make me swoon. Huck is at one second a goofball, happy, and then he turns back into his soul man stance.