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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another Lucia Levitiy

Little Lucia reminded me that even in the constant, driving, never ending, mud inducing rains for the past week, one can put a daisy in their hair and leave their grumpleoposous and doom and gloom behind just to sit with the old goat - and invite the rain to come! And since the rains are supposed to last for more days, I would like to say, "Thank you, Lucia, you have levitated me, even if for a moment."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Last week for sale

The art sale ends this week. Many of these older prints are not coming back and I will be creating new prints for the season. The sale is one of two a year that helps me offset costs to care for the many Apifera adoptees in the barnyard.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Old and elderly mingle at lambie daycare

It's raining girls

It's been the year of the girl with Fern popping out two beautiful ladies early this morning. It was a shepherd's dream to arrive at the barn for morning feedings and find new lambs healthy, strong and all cleaned up, ready for life. Thank you, Fern.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And we wait

Betty stands in all her motherhood, waiting. Fern is nearby, belly full. Every day it seems their movements indicate impending labor. But like a watched pot, they don't simmer. Stay tuned.

Approval of the pig

One of Apifera's loyal supporters - she and Old Man Guinnias have a cookie exchange going on, oh wait, a one way cookie exchange going on - sent me a surprise package recently. She's notorious for brightening up gloomy, rainy days with little somethings. Her mom is an avid sewer [and a good sewer, I might add, no raggedy messes on her work table]and loves to make things and share them.

So these two little sneaks went to my Spoonflower shop and bought some of my fabric designs and whipped up this lovely bag for carrying eggs, hay twine, meds, sick chickens, or little lambies that might need a lift through the mud.

If the pig smiles, you know it's a hit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Matilda shines in "Misfits of Love"

I am busy working on "Misfits of Love" and finished the section on our old donkey, Matilda. This portrait will grace her chapter.

I have a higher resolution format of the introduction and first chapter so it's easy to ready [versus the low resolution presentation listed above], but I haven't decided on a comfortable way to share that yet.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Head Troll crossing guard

The Head Troll is of course in charge of rules and regulations in the barnyard - and with the temporary lambie playground invading her space, she of course put herself in charge of all playground activities. As you might already know, she takes her position very seriously.

"They don't have name tags, they need name tags," she said in frustration as she rushed one small lamb out of the duck puddle.

I rolled my eyes out of her sight.

"And they need helmets! Get me some helmets!" she ordered as she ran to the barn looking for rope. I have no idea what the rope was for, and I decided not to ask.

Lambie playground now open

We finally have had some sun, a bit chilly, but sun. The regular lambie area is still a bit soaked, so with permission from the Head Troll I have relocated the lambie play ground to the barnyard. This provides my little charges with lots of rocks to leap off of, ducks to watch and the warmth of the concrete.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A happy tail

One of Audrey's triplets at the Mama Milk Bar. This boy can eat. He's 4 days old here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sometimes you have to sit in a bucket

This little ewe lamb is a twin out of Edith - another first time mama that did her job on her own like a pro. She was 2 days old when I took this a few days ago. She loves that darn dinner dish to sleep in.

When your mom is a couch

Elida Ruth has taken on the role of new mother with the patience of Mary Poppins. Here she is with her four day old ewe lambs and like all good mothers, she multi tasks as milk bar, couch and jungle gym.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wet goats and Paco writes the sun

The weather is beyond miserable. It's a soaker, but even that can not adequately describe the rains since Sunday, forecast says it will last through the week. We are all disgusted with it, even if it is a natural occurrence and causes all sorts of good things for our Earth ship. It makes the farmer's head wet, as well as the old goat's beard. To make it even sadder, Lambie Outdoor Kindergarten Playground has been temporarily closed. Paco even handed me a letter, addressed to,

"Sun, c/o Sky, Universe, zip code unknown" and asked me to put a stamp on it and post it for him. I couldn't help myself, I held it up to the light and read the contents:

Dear Sun,
Where are you Sun? Please, come out, come to us, we need you. I have gathered a bucket of Fig Newtons to share, but they got very wet because of the naughty, greedy Rain, so they are gone. 

Love, Paco
c/o Apifera Farm

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Waiting with Blue

Update: We induced Blue Wednesday afternoon since she began to prolapse moderately. No fever, and no sign of ketosis, the vet confirmed. But she needs to get those babies out. Stay tuned - hopefully by Friday morning I will be holding healthy lambs.

I am hoping Blue has her lambs today. She is very large and uncomfortable. I've been giving her spine massages and she looks at me longingly when I stop. Every day since Sunday I think she's going to lamb. While I fretted over her time line, Edith quietly popped two healthy lambs out Sunday, a girl and boy, while I slept soundly in my bed with the Dirt Farmer, Itty Bitty and Bog Tony. That was easy - I think as I enter the barn.

"Still not ready, Blue?" I ask, holding her beautiful Roman nosed face in my hands.

She looks at me in a plea, "I hope it's soon."

There is a warm light in the barn specific only to lambing time - a warm yellow radiates off the honey colored hair of the sheep, sinks, then absorbs into the hay leaving strands of light to warm any new arrivals...and the shepherdess.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Full circle 1958 -2012

I celebrated my 54th birthday yesterday. It was a day complete with Audrey giving birth to healthy triplets, a huge relief since she was so huge and we figured she was carrying three. Two beautiful boys and a little black-brown girl with a white cap on her head popped out one by one.

I don't usually name ewe lambs until a few weeks, just to make sure they survive but also to get to know them a little bit. But when these triplets were born on my birthday, I immediately thought of my grandmother, Katherine, who died at age 57 two hours before I was born. I was named in her honor, but she went by the nickname "Kappie".

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Smiling of lambs

The stress of Rosa's delivery on Tuesday overshadowed the joy of Elida Ruth's twins born without incident on Sunday night. There is nothing a shepherd likes more than arriving at the barn to two healthy lambs. She hadn't even gone off feed and her udder wasn't that big, so I was bit surprised. I find the first time mom's do not show all the same signs of pre-labor as the seasoned ewes.

With not a cloud in the sky, they got to sun all day in the orchard, along with Nellie Moser and her lambs. Audrey joined them since she is lame and carrying quite the load. Close your eyes, imagine that first day you felt the sun and your toes met the grass. I'm sure you leaped a little too, and wiggled, and smiled just like these little creatures.

Loss and light

Rosa lost her two lambs. While I remained calm and fulfilled my role as helper, nurse, confidant and mother, I failed to be able to help her fully and had to finally call a vet around noon yesterday.

She went into visible labor around 7 am and the lamb's mouth and toe were visible. A half hour later she had made little progress. I've learned not to jump in too soon, as more damage can be done [I learned this the hard way a few years ago]. I felt as a new mom she might not have known what to do, so gave her an hour. Then I stepped in, but she was so tight, and my small lubricated hand could hardly feel my way around. I did manage to get the whole head out, but it was clearly a dead lamb, and a big one. I tried my best, and so did Rosa.

He gave her an epidermal and had to tube lubricant into her. He got the first lamb out - a huge ram lamb of 15# [about twice the normal size for us]. The twin had never fully formed and was about a pound, a little girl. I felt better when the vet assured me I never would have gotten the ram out on my own, nor would Rosa, mainly due to the size but also because she was bone dry inside - probably because the lambs might have been dead awhile [he could tell from the fluid, I guess].

It was a traumatic day, mainly because Rosa was suffering. I did notice that each time I came in the stall, she tried so hard to push it out, as if I could help her. No pulling worked, we both needed help.

I was dead tired yesterday afternoon after all the chores but felt compelled to put something, anything on paper to honor the lambs, and me. I thought what a gift to have the ability to purge, heal and emote through a drawing to myself - and then turn around a day later and share it with others.

Rosa is in the sun today, letting the earth and medicines help her heal. I have other mothers to be to help and reassure. And a beautiful big chocolate lamb is in the pumpkin patch, with a tiny little sister nestled at his side.

Monday, March 05, 2012

And Audrey waits...

"Audrey is as big as a boat," the Dirt Farmer announced as he walked in from the barn.

I try not to use this phrase around any of the pregnant ewes, but it is statement I can get behind when it comes to Audrey. I feel for her. She also has a swollen ankle and I gave her a pain med but she still can't put weight on it. Someone suggested Epsom salts so I'll try that I guess.

Rosalita went into early labor this morning, so it might be a long night. I asked all the ladies to only have day births, but no one ever listens to me around here.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Apifera gives us new life

The first lambs of the season were born early Saturday morning to Nellie Moser. Two beautiful, chocolate girls, almost identical. The proud papa is Little Walter who definitely put his color gene in the mix. Things can go south in lambs their first few days, so I'll be relieved in a couple days.

I arrived to do barn chores knowing Nellie had gone into labor. She's a seasoned mother which always helps, and there in her stall was a little girl still wrapped in womb gel. I made sure she was breathing right, and let Nellie do her job. Nellie is not the most personable of ewes but mothers very well. She much prefers her privacy and still stomps her foot around people [a sign of anxiety and warning to the flock]. So I let her be.

As I prepped all the lambing stalls on Thursday, I had a movie in my head starring every mother sheep of the past eight years of my time here at Apifera. Each stall had a memory - the birth of the very first lambs, the place where Rosie lay dying surrounded by her daughters and grand daughters, and the thrill mixed with fear of our first triplets. Each year, something is learned, gained, and often something is lost. This year feels more precious in a way because my flock and I are in a transition, a transition I haven't quite put down on paper or into words - but a a change is in the wind with a settling down the road. I vowed to take it all in, slow down [as much as I can] and merge with each nuance of the season, and so I have.

It's a miracle, life. So is death. It's all so big, so complex - but then again, it's pretty simple when you come right down to what makes a good day - breath, air, warmth, a safe spot, food - and an innate sense you're okay standing in the spot you woke up in.

Friday, March 02, 2012

My copyrights

There has been a lot of confusion about reposting and sharing of images flying around the cyber world of late.

Please take time to read about my copyrights and what things might get my legal dander flying. I appreciate your understanding, and if you ever have a question, just email me.