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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Little Lapine Recovery Program

I was minding my own business, getting ready to go to barn when a mass of Itty Bitty Etta fur color went flying by me out of the corner of my left eye.

Then came two distressed, "Eeek, Eeek!"

I saw Itty leaping forward to escape with her prey. I screamed at her and remarkably she dropped the small mass of fur, almost identical in color to her.

I had assumed it was a bird from the sound and resigned myself to the probable fate. But it was not a bird, it was a tiny bunny.

Now I am perfectly aware that taking in injured wildlife is not always wise. I am also aware that it is actually illegal to keep a wild cotton tail as a pet. The bunny was a not a newborn and seemed unharmed physically. It was very calm - but of course a calm looking bunny is also a scared stiff bunny. This is not Disney and I knew the bunny was not looking at me as it's gentle savior - It was looking at me as a giant, scooping up her life in her hands.

I brought the bunny in for observation. The two tooth marks were barely noticeable, no skin had been punctured. The legs seemed to work. I had learned from a vet years earlier, on one of my many bunny rescue attempts, that the injuries can often be neurological and there is usually one outcome. Stress is very hard on these little wild creatures, especially around the sounds of a two footer's house.

After a few hours of rest, I took Little Lapine to a shady place, but it refused to hop off. I tried another place, and again, it sat right there, not moving from my gentle prods. I walked away, it stayed. So I brought it back in, thinking it might be brain damaged. I knew it was in Nature's plan now, not mine, but it seemed heartless to leave it for cat bait if it was brain damaged. I would hospice it if that was the case.

I fretted and did research and emailed a wildlife connection. All led me to the same response - release it farther from house. I made the mistake of sharing it all on Facebook, which seemed to generate two kinds of responses - one being, "Oh my God you have to keep it" [never my intention], and two, slight scoldings from complete strangers about not keeping wildlife as pets [again, never my intention]. This not only reminded me about the difficulty of having any kind of intelligent discourse on Facebook, but also reminded me of how intensely people feel about bunnies.

How can you not get dreamy eyes while holding a small bunny?

I determined by its weight and length the said bunny was at least 5 weeks old - but probably much older. He was 350 grams, well over the 150 grams of a five week old and was very capable of living on his own. I also viscerally knew the bunny needed one thing to hop away - to be free of me.

So I set out to take him to Muddy Hill this time, much farther from my original place of release. I took him to the Savannah Oak Grove and set him in the shade.

"I think this will be good, don't you?" I also told him I was sorry, that if I had done the wrong thing, I apologized for just trying to help for while I did save him from Itty, perhaps I should have returned him sooner.

Little Lapine just sat there, but then took a big hop.

Then I took a step toward him and said, "Go on, now," and off he went, rushing into the thicket.

When I took the sheep down to their grazing area the next morning, I looked up to the spot where I'd last seen Little Lapine. I imagined him there, safe, in the bramble, hearing my voice as I called out, "Hello Little Lapine!".

It matters not if he was there or not. That is not up to me. What matters is I choose to think of him this way.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


There was something so delightful about opening up a package and finding the white envelope in it, with addressed succinctly to "Pig". The letter was from a cat name Puck with made it even more charming. Puck wrote Pig. Very nice. The package also shared sunscreen for Pig which is also welcomed.

Rosie the pig will be snorting around at the end of next week and somehow snort out one name and send send off an art print of herself. An 8x10" art print. Who wouldn't want an 8 x 10" pig on the wall?. So you can still help out here and stay tuned for further grunts.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The little raggedy guy

He's been here one month and little Raggedy Man is still raggedy, but he's putting on weight on his back bone and his skin is getting better. His nutrition was neglected so he has very scaly skin, like a crocodile. He's shedding out better after being neutered.

But the biggest change in this little fellow is his demeanor. Always gentle, he was hesitant and skittish when he arrived. But now he doesn't run from me, and likes to get brushed. He has the most innocent little expression. I have really fallen in love with both Lofa and Raggedy Man. Having so many small dark pygmy creatures around is quite comical - like a barnyard set from "Wizard of Oz". Thank you to Northern Mother and New Moon Goat Farm and Rescue for once again taking them in and getting them down to Apifera.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Donkey Days

I took time to simply commune with the donkeys recently. After the photo session I did what I hadn't done in some time - sit with them on the ground and just listen. They all eventually are gathered around me, as I kneel and rub their bellies, elbows and muzzles reaching down to my earthen chair.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The picture below shows the grace of my beautiful pig, standing amongst the autumnal colored cheat grass - nasty stuff but also so beautiful. Rosie is wearing Destin, a cod liver oil white cream [used for diaper rash, but I have used it my whole life for my own skin issues and on the animals too] to protect her further from the sun. She is tolerating the spray version which I spray on in the morning, then at night she gets baby oil to soften the skin, and then if there is any scabbing I put Destin on.

You can help Rosie here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The pig's call for sun screen

Thanks to all who sent sunscreen this summer!

Visit this link to see how to help year round with Rosie's skin or help next year.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Every step with the old pug

I told him just today,

“Look, I’m right here with you, every step of the way.”

We age together, the old dog and me, but he leads the way and shows me with grace how it is done.

Our time together is constricting now and each pose becomes reminiscent of an old man on a park bench, sitting, waiting for company to sit with him and share stories of youth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Letter from Old Man Guinnias

Old Man Guinnias, the first needy goat to be adopted by Apifera, died in 2012 at the age of 20. While he is buried in the pumpkin patch, he now floats, somewhere, and periodically writes Apifera - which always brings us joy. He is greatly missed but his current deeds show he still has much to give.

My Dearest Apifera,

I have not written for many weeks and now that I am in between rehearsals, I shall take time to catch up with you.

My life on the earthen floor brought things into my life that I least expected, and now I can share another unexpected turn of events - I have begun a dance company here for goats. We are known as "The Floating Goat Ballet Company". Many have just recently arrived and have great joy when they realize their once crippled legs can perform pirouettes, dips and leaps. Since leaving Apifera, I have recruited over 38 goats, some from as far away as Italy and one recently arrived from Northern Mother's place.

I can't say I miss Mother Earth, because I can see it at my feet, unless I am floating upside down and then it is above my head. I don't think of you in a literal sense, for every experience, person or animal that was embedded in my heart on the day I died floats with me. But I can tell you, each time you think of me, my beard blows the opposite direction.

We will be performing the ballet "Don Quixote" this season. I felt transformed by the aging nobleman's imagination.

There is much to do. I know you know that.

Fondly, and with love,


Old Man Guinnias

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stevie the walking soul

Another piece of art to be included in "Misfits of Love" a collection of narratives about the old and needy barn animals that have found Apifera in some magical set of circumstances allowing them to live out their days with nurturing. If there was ever a creature that deserves a halo of flowers, it is the beautiful, soulful, Stevie.

A couple years ago, a herd of 30 goats was rescued from neglect down in Douglas County, in southern Oregon. It's odd to look back on such an event and wonder what my life would be like had it not happened - for it was the beginning of a series of events that brought a handsome, dark physically challenged soul named Stevie into my life. It also brought me a pig named Rosie who had bonded with the goat.

When discovered, Stevie and his herd were living on a small piece of land littered with garbage and rotting carcasses. They were malnourished, loaded with fleas and had bad feet. But Stevie was the worst of the group - he walked on his belly and knees because his neglect feet were so long.

Someone finally blew the whistle on the property and The Humane Society of the United States {HSUS} helped the county Sheriff remove the herd of goats. But right away there was one standout who endeared himself to the rescuers - Stevie.

Stevie was known for giving kisses - yes, true, I witness this every day so can attest to it. He gently puts his closed lips forward, and graces your face. They are gentle, tender acts of acknowledgment and trust, like all good gentlemanly kisses.

After his rescue, the Saving Pet Adoption Center helped trim Stevie's 6+ inch hooves. But he still couldn't stand. He'd been on his knees so long that his tendons had contracted. With funding from HSUS, a vet named Gene Kang performed an operation on Stevie's legs to enable him to get off his knees.

Eventually, he was transferred to our friends at Sanctuary One where he quietly got up one night and went to the pen of a small, grumpy pot bellied pig named Rosie. They became companions and never parted. He seemed to tolerate her mood swings and grunts, and she had no qualms about his physical limitations.

So, when I went looking for a pot bellied pig in need to adopt and bring to Apifera, there were many out there. Most were living in their original homes but the people had tired of them. But none of them came with a Stevie. No matter what separate entities need to be brought together - man and woman, woman and farm, goat and pig, woman and pig with a goat - the universe always seems to get the job done, even if the road is curved and hilly.

Friday, July 13, 2012

To know they watch me, as I watch them, and listen for the front door to open each morning - this is one of the many reasons I never tire of a new day. If I feel I have rushed moments where I begin to take this life here for granted, I just look at them, they look at me, and my graced life becomes the stage again - warts, crushed worms under foot and all the other conflicts that come with it.

Living with a donkey always softens the internal times of questioning.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Lesson of the pig

She dreamed daily of all the things she already had because they were simple and good and made her content. This is the lesson of the pig.

This is another piece included in "Misfits of Love" a collection of narratives from the voices of the many needy animals that have found their way to Apifera's barnyard to live out their lives. Rosie the pig was originally taken in by Sanctuary One, along with the very handicapped Stevie the goat, her boyfriend. Together they live simple but solid lives surrounded by chickens, ducks, the old goose, equines and a lot of pygmy sized goats. "Misfits of Love" is currently looking for a publisher.

Friday, July 06, 2012

In my basket

"I am in my basket. I am in my basket.

I lack nothing.

I see you, you up there.

I don't need you, not at this moment.

I lack nothing.

I am in my basket."

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Freedom ride with Boone

The pictures and words you see here show you the tranquility of moments, snapshots of a fleeting second that had a real essence to the real original viewer - me. And Boone.

I ride on a friend's land nearby Apifera so I cans stay off roads. What a gift to have found this place, 300 acres of Savannah Oak, Doug Fir groves and coastal mountains all around our heads. Mt. Hood lurks under clouds and throws itself at you on a sunny day.

Today as I rode Boone and I thought how many dips and curves there were in my road to get here. But I did. I don't intend to take a moment for granted, at least not when I sit down to write about it.

Boone and I cantered up hills today now that the warmer air is drying paths. It was our first canter outside together and we rode uphill, climbing, climbing into the blue sky that was waiting at the top horizon. We had no fear because we both trusted each other, something we've worked hard to acquire. When we reached the top, we saw the view that many people seek - but first they must pack up suitcases, stuff themselves into flying tin cans loaded with human cargo and endure small packs of peanuts as sustenance.

I am free to do this today, and other days, because of past battalions and sacrifices of many. This Fourth, as I eat my home grown meat and drink some of Earth's best beverage - wine - I will have moments of consciously knowing this. The other moments I will be living to the fullest, enjoying and always acknowledging scenes such as this one with an internal, "Thank you."

Monday, July 02, 2012

Head Troll prepares barnyard for the Fourth

The newcomers, Raggedy Man and Lofa, are new to the barnyard but they are quickly learning that The Head Troll is prepared for any kind of disaster or event. But The Head Troll is also entrepreneurial and is having a quick sale of last year's safety equipment for this year's Fourth. It's America.