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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sometimes they just go off

It is time to admit that Quince is not returning. I will be honest and tell you I don't know exactly when he disappeared from his normal barn routines. I was overwhelmed with lambing duties this year- more than ever because I bred more ewes - and then the rain and other things consumed me. I just noticed one day he was not at breakfast.

I have learned not to panic immediately when a barn cat goes off - they were born wild here and lived on their own terms - with food from me, of course. Most semi ferels don't live a year, so knowing Quince lived eight years - and happily - is a good thing to keep with me.

He was from the first litter of Apifera - days into arriving here, I knew there were several adult semi ferels roaming around - Mama Kitty was one, and Big Tony, the latter who turned out to be a big lush of a cat and now lives in the house with the Dirt Farmer as a pillow.

Mama is still with us after three litters, two of which have been raised here at Apifera, the other litter she deposited at a farm down the road and many still live there. She lives on the porch with remaining sons Orange and Plum, both brothers to Quince. Take note, trapping/spaying/neutering of the 25 'free range' cats took place over a two year period when I first arrived at Apifera. Many good people helped me pay for it all. And of course cats still show up periodically and are invited to stay.

 I feel like Apifera - now eight years old - is on some kind of shift. Some of my old timers are leaving me. Old Man Guinnias' departure was a huge turning point for me and the barnyard feels askew. Now the first litter is waning...Big Tony is showing signs of age too. Even the Head Troll is about 10 and The One Eyed Pug is ancient.

All is well, do not be fooled by my rather overly quiet post. But everyone has shifts in their life. It's good to recognize them as such, and be wide eyed for what is in front of me when it resettles.

I hope you did not suffer, Quince. You were a fine gentleman, never pushy or aggressive, always willing to schooch over in the food pile.


Lisa of Lisa's Little House said...

Rest in peace, indeed.

Cindi Myers said...

I am just dropping in and I don't know if I missed a back story here but have you posted flyers and put LOST ads in the newspapers? Or is your area too rural. Could he have gone to a neighboring farm? Are there people that could help you walk the property?
My cat wandered away and was gone for 1 month and 3 days. I had ads in 2 papers, made flyers and stuck them in the neighbors doors and posted posters wherever I could. I walked my dog and had several others looking for him everyday. He finally turned up in a storm drain a town away. Some kids found him and turned him into the Animal Shelter and they scanned his back and traced his micro-chip back to me. I was so lucky. I realize a person couldn't micro-chip 25 farm cats but maybe he will return on his own? Sigh....this is so sad.
If he is truly gone, I too hope that he did not suffer and rests in peace.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Thank you for caring Cynthia and suggesting such sensible and good things. We live in a rural area. Fortunately away from the main busy county road. It is more likely he went into the bramble and either died or was taken by a fox, or even raccoon. We've had bobcats at the barn years ago. There are many natural predators and i can't control that. The property is isolated but fields are open. Walking the property is not feasible due to thicket and poison oak. It is part of life here on the farm. He might be somewhere, I can't deny that, but I feel in my gut he gone. He had a good life here.

barbara said...

Dear Katherine...I am sorry you and Apifera Farm have suffered another apparent loss. I do know that is the way of life on the farm where there is a time to be born and a time to die, but it is always sad to lose a familiar. Accept my deep sympathy.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~