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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Donkeys and pigs and pigs, oh my

The note slipped under my studio door this morning was written in dirt, on old note paper ripped from a seed bag.

I recognized the writing. It was Wilber's, the Acrobatic Goat.

"Meet me at the Small Rodent and Bird Cemetery at dusk...alone" it said.

I had fallen for Wilbur's pranks in the past Halloweens–the year he leapt from the hay bales when I entered, inside an empty feedbag, writhing and chirping like a rat; the time he ran screaming towards me as I entered the barnyard holding a limp chicken; and my favorite, the year he strung his hind leg up with hay twine to look legless and at the same time he held an anatomically correct looking goat leg with canine teeth marks [miraculously crafted in paper maché from seed bags, twine and mud coloring].

So, I was onto him.

"Nope, not this year," I said out loud. "Nope, nope, nope."

Dusk arrived. The cemetery I was to meet him at is about 20 feet from the front of my studio. I heard some noises.

"I am so onto you this year," I said to myself.

I waited. Until dark.

And then I went to the barn as if I was simply late for barn chores. I walked right past the cemetery and saw nothing, felt nothing and heard only the goats in the barnyard. I hid behind the horse trailer some 20 feet away, so I could watch the cemetery. It was cold, and after about 15 minutes, I gave up my watch.

"They must have bored themselves and moved on," I thought.

I opened the barn gate. I heard the usual bleats, whinnies and snorts, anxiously awaiting my feeding hands.

I don't like doing barn chores in the dark, or even at dusk, because when I enter the old barn, I can't see as there is no electricity. But I need to go in there to feed the donkeys. It can be spooky on any night, for the night life is in and of itself, it is above me and below me. The hay loft creaked. Wisps of hay blew around me.


Swoosh, squeal, honk, squeal, scramble, SCREAM....leaving my heart pounding.

Feet scampering.

I ran to the goat barn so there would be light and there I saw Pino, standing, facing me. He had a hand painted mask that he held upright in front of his face, his ears showing. It was the face of my mother.  He approached me,

"I wanted you to think she flew in. Like a saint from the clouds. I told Wilber not to scare you in the cemetery," Pino said as he took the mask off.

Three short grunts. And off rushed Doris and Pearl...then Ernest approached me in a sheet. He said nothing.

"Ernest wanted to fly about like one of your mother's clouds. I told him he and the other pigs might be construed as ghosts and scare you, but he insisted on wanting to be a cloud."

I gathered Ernest up close, those big red lashes blinked - like only a pig's can do.

"You were a lovely cloud, Ernest, thank you," I said.

Pino and I walked back to the donkey barn. I asked him how he was able to draw my mother's likeness so well without a picture.

"Oh I see her all the time," he said.

Cheer in the mail

I'm aware it's Halloween. I also realize that it is still 4 weeks from Thanksgiving. Which means Christmas and the holiday season is not here yet. But I must encourage you all to go look at the new art cards–18 designs in all.

If I didn't have to make a living, I'd buy all of these for myself and send them out randomly to people hand picked in the White Pages. Not only is it thrilling to get a real card in the mail, but from a total stranger–wouldn't that be something?

"Hello, you don't know me, and we might not even like one another, but we are land walkers in this life so I am just sharing this card and a greeting to say I empathize with how difficult a day can be on this realm- and it is my intention that this simple colorful card bring you cheer. Love, Apifera"

You could adopt this same idea, buy cards and send them to strangers. Or at least to the ones you love or those that need cheer–Apifera style.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When a woman loves a Pug

In honor of The Old One Eyed Pug's birth week, I have written this in my Life After Pug state of mind and heart.

I was sitting in my bathroom the other morning...well, you know why I was sitting in there. And in walks Muddy, the giant tailed chocolate lab that really should have a crash helmet. He is such a sweet fellow and his routine is to come in and smash his tail around in the bathroom while I...well, you know.

But the other day, and each day since it seems, I can't help think of The Pug as I'm sitting in there. Because that was the Pug's job–to come into the bathroom each morning and wait for me to be...you know, finished.

So I was sitting there watching Muddy's giant tail, and it's a wonderful tail, it's a battleship, really–it can take out entire shelves and sustain no damage. But it made me think of The Old One Eyed Pug's little compact curly tail, and how much a Pug's tail is like a pig's. A pig expresses a lot in how it curls or uncurls his tail. The Pug did too, and when he uncurled it so it hung like a Lab's tail, it either meant he felt ill or was so relaxed he did not have the energy to recurl his tail. When he was that relaxed, even his one giant eyeball looked sleepy.

I miss the way he wagged his curled tail. Any Pug owner knows what I mean. It's this tiny curled masterpiece the way it moved.

The Pug died a couple weeks after my mother, last April. You know the story. I won't bring everyone down reliving it here. I often write that living is the important thing we have, versus looking backwards. But the state of Life After A Pug leaves me reminiscing a lot about his sqooshy face, his giant eyeball left behind after he lost the other one and enormous quantities of gas emanating from him while he slept unbothered.

Oh, the gas he passed. But I'd take a lap of it tonight to sit and hold him again, as his snores encouraged me to turn up the sound on the TV.

I have friends with pugs. And I have some online friends with pugs. I swoon over their pug photos. They understand that Pugness is a state of heart–One never gets 'over' Pugness. Never. There was one rather annoying "friend" on Facebook who really wasn't a friend [and is no longer a friend....you know how that goes down] and she had Pugs and after Billy died she kept posting pug photos on my Facebook wall, not weeks or months after, but days after. I didn't say anything as I assumed she meant well, but it was rather hurtful. She also told me to "get off the couch" just days after Billy died, meaning, "Go out and get another one, you know you want too." I didn't react to that either.

So, before I go further - a tip to all reading this. When someone is in Life After A Pug, do not haunt them with new Pugness! Let them wallow in their broken Pug state.If they seek more Pugness from your Pugness, then you may share Pug love with them.

I plan on having a Pug again. In fact I'd like two. But, I am committed to getting my dear mellow soul man, Huck, through his senior years. He is so sensitive and although he loved The Pug, I just feel I need to let him live his days out without a new gas maker in the house. The Dirt Farmer might just leave - he must have some limits to animal acquisitions, I must be wise. He's the best cook around among other things.

So, to my little Billy Baker, my One Eyed Pug, Pug, Oh Pug, I am thinking of you on your birth week. I miss you. I know exactly where your body lies under the lilacs, and I know exactly how I laid you to rest and which way your head faced. I can see you. My Pug.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Paintings needing homes

It is best to click the 'next' button when viewing this document [versus scrolling]. If you have trouble, you can also go to the direct link here.

While many of these pieces are sold, many are still seeking new homes. Please contact Adamson Gallery directly. They will gladly help you if there is a piece you are fond of.

The Head Troll cavorts

Please immediately stop reading out loud if children under six are in the room.

The Head Troll is "in her time". Or to put it another way, as only the barnyard can, she is 'juicy'. Goat and sheep people will understand.

She is wide open to love.

Open to love from any walking male, castrated or not. And since E.B.White is the only one with intact manly things in the near vicinity, I found her pressed up against his fence to his current resident paddock.

E.B. is separated from Little Walter [who is no longer little, believe me] because Walter is off making love in true rock star timing over in another field with four ewes. This leaves our dear E.B. in a side paddock in the barnyard, free to be alone, but also in the company through the fence of small wandering Misfits...including wandering feeling randy girl goats. To call The Head Troll a 'girl' seems wrong, but she's not a "woman", and definitely not a "gal".

She's The Head Troll. "Frankie" is short for Franklinia. When I brought her to Apifera, she was named after a vacuum cleaner. Cute name, I thought. But she was more tomboy in my eyes, so I gave her a girl name that could be a boy name. To this day, many think she is male, or pregnant - if you are unfamiliar with pygmies I will explain to you now that their bellies expand in true pregnant looking form after a day of eating. Four stomachs will do that, I guess.

Anyway, back to my randy goat. When Frankie is in heat, it messes up my well timed to a second feeding schedule [insert laugh track from barnyard]. I rely on Frankie to...well, be Frankie. When I enter the barn, she comes bashing through the crowd, rushes to be at my side, er, feet, and I let her into the hay/feed area. She is the only goat or pig allowed in there, for good reason. While I give her snacks, she stays out of everyone's way. This is essential to my - wait for it- well timed feeding schedule. My farm sitter will attest to the demands of feeding. Each Misfit has a special place that they eat in: Rosie in stall A, Raggedy behind the locked gate next to Stall A, Rudy in Stall B, Stevie outside Stall B but closed off from Raggedy and wandering ducks, Moose-Goose-Professor-Wilbur in Stall C, along with Ernest who has a mini stall within Stall C.

So if Frankie is in heat, and wandering the barnyard to find male goodies, she is not in the hay room with me. And that means my fine tuned morning of feedings goes haywire. Goat crazy. Pig wompumoplous.

Fortunately, her sexiness only lasts a couple days.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

An appeal from the barnyard

And it is a day

I put the sheep in the paddock outside my bedroom window last night, where they sleep under the old Doug Fir. By now you must wonder if there is rhyme or reason to where the sheep sleep any given night–and the answer is 'yes'. But it might be impossible, not to mention boring, to explain quickly to my busy readers.

Cross pasturing is part of it. But we are in the middle of the 45 day breeding season, so the flock that is not breeding needs to stay clear of the ram and his ladies. I like having the flock outside my window. The other night on the full moon I looked out at them bathed in moonlight, and it was so beautiful. I thought of getting my camera, but just soaked it in, me and my flock. But last night I brought my camera to bed, knowing how beautiful the sunlight is on the fields and through the Doug Fir as it hits their bodies.

Sometimes when I lie in bed in the morning, I bleat to them, and they answer back. I hope I never forget them.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Perspective ponderings

Early morning as the sun was just up, I looked out at the orchard where I'd put the flock last night. I love this sight. The sun so warm on their earth tones. It is peaceful. The dying stacks of fennel in the foreground add some blur, some motion–but it was a moment caught just as I saw it.

Later I took my camera outside. I can easily sit in the barnyard and take photos of the faces I love so much, or the vistas I see each day that make me feel at home, and grounded. Surely if I feel something from these moments maybe I can pass it on to a reader through a photo and it might create needed stillness.

But I forced myself to open up a bit, if even for one photo. How many views have I overlooked, or rushed by to get to something at the other end I know will be there? It's safe and comforting to go for what I know.

The view from under the Sequoia Redwoods near the Small Rodent Cemetery offered me another view of Old Barn. One might say the trailer adds no charm to the shot, but I saw it later on the screen and really liked it.

I think this next year is going to be full of new vistas. I feel something opening up. I guess it already has. The new book feels like it is leading to new things - things I can't even imagine now. It's birthing is inspiring ways to connect to a wider audience, a community. So I must keep my eyes open for those new vistas and not always rush to the comfort of an old view.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Raggedy Man, his feet and some ducks

It has been beautiful for more than two weeks now and all Oregonians know what lurks and this causes one - if one is as lucky as I am to be able to do this- to stay outside anyway they can, even for short spurts. Not being one to waste time, I decided to put my lolly gaggle in the barnyard yesterday to good use–I took a straw poll.

And the outcome–The goat with the most Muppet like feet is...Raggedy Man.

Raggedy Man came to Apifera several years ago, along with Lofa Love who has since passed away. Upon arriving here after we adopted him from New Moon Goat Farm Rescue, Raggedy had no name and was skin and bones and a lot of scruffy, stinky hair. He was very shy, but had the sweetest smile. In time, he learned that one can stand still for a cookie, and also get petted, and that it wasn't too bad. He no longer avoids touch, has plumped his little body up and his coat is shiny and clean. I have grown so fond of Rags, he is a total gentleman, and that little smile can really lift one's spirits. I hope he is with us a long time and since he is only about five, he should be.

He also is very good at simple tasks–such as standing very still...around ducks. this will come in handy some day for me, I just know it.

{Feel free to toss Raggedy what you can to help support him and the other Misfits.}

Monday, October 21, 2013

In honor of an old Misfit

Today is my father's birthday. He died some 5 years ago and would have been 89. I never planned that the book would be printed and launched around his birthday, but it seems fitting–for new things have been birthed from his death. Just like when an old crusty leaves is finally crumbled to dust, it feeds something. He was crusty in ways too, but who of us won't be if we are lucky enough to make it into our eighties.

Like me, he had some Misfit qualities–the constant notion one might be saying something not quite right–but he had a heart of gold and was very generous with gifts ad supporting other people. I wished he could have met Rosie. She constantly reminds me of him! That would get him.

"She's comparing me to a pig, for God's sake," I can hear him saying.

But as I write in the book, when I massage oil onto Rosie's chafed skin, I think of how his skin was so dry and thin in his elder years and it brought him discomfort. There is not one time I massage Rosie's skin that I don't think of my father. There's something about looking at Rosie's head too, from the back, especially when she loses her hair in the summer, that reminds me of my dad. Now that would really get him.

"My balding head reminds her of that pig!" he'd snort.

Anyway, I sure do miss him. And my mom. But in honor of his birthday - if you buy a book today you'll also get an art card with an image from the book [not the image shown here, it will be a full color card with art and photo of one of the Misfits]. Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

But as the barnyard filled with needy animals, an elderly creature I’d known since my birth—my father—was nearing the end of his life far away from my farm. The daily caretaking of my Misfits helped them prosper and brought me a sense of purpose, but it was much deeper than that. I found my work with them helped me grapple with everything that comes with the death of a parent. As I massaged their old joints or communed amongst them without words, a remarkable thing happened—that silence created an internal, safe space for me to float with memories, fears, and questions. The animals became conduits of powerful messages that left me with a better understanding and compassion not only about my father, but also about myself.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wrapped all Apifera like

Each copy of "Misfits of Love" {Healing Conversations in the Barnyard} that is purchased will be wrapped Apifera style and will also have a full color hang tag/ two sided. I will not divulge the other embellishments, but they will come from Apifera.

When I wrap each book, after signing it, I will close my eyes and imagine the wind in my braids. So if you feel a slight breeze when you open the package, that is just me.

Pre order or support this book project today - and thank you to all who have. Books are almost in the final pre-press stages at the printer. I hope to have them by mid November- just in time for holiday giving!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pino Pie Day 2014 - save the date

Yep, never to early to start dreaming of Pino and homemade pie, right?

As always, I'll have my art and farm's lavender for sale, as well as my upcoming book. Aprons will be blowing in the wind - all donated by Pino fans to help us raise money to offset the cost of caring for our farm's adopted needy barn animals. I'll be posting more as the date nears - but take note it is the same day as Father's Day - I try to do this each year as I think it's such a nice place to take Dad, and my father can be here in spirit too. You can read more about Pie Day here.

I've alerted the donkeys, they are already thinking up new ways to make Pie Day even better than last year. The mariachi band is out though, I had to tell them.

You'll be able to meet all The Misfits - Matilda the old donkey, the many pygmy goats and Stevie the handicapped goat who willingly gives free kisses, Wilma and her 40 year old Mama Sugee - earless and blind...and wandering pigs.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Taking time to ask the hard questions

I've been spending as much time outside as I can, and want. It is beautiful, warm, sunny - and one can sense it will not last. It never does. Nothing lasts, except love.

I've been inward lately. Not morose. Just asking questions and letting the answers come from me, not from an outward source. I think this is important for me to practice - gather all the information, ponder, percolate, ask more questions if needed, then ask myself what it is I need - and want. What do I lack that I might have pushed aside? And what do I have I should have pushed aside? Who or what am I allowing to take up precious space in my brain when I could welcome something else in - something that brings about positive rumblings, not drama or angst.

I realized some days ago how educational it is for the soul to lose a mother. That sounds wrong. But it is true. I am learning things about myself, now that the initial days of mourning are over and I'm left with...me. There are patterns of opening up a boundary too quickly when meeting people, people that seem caring and interested in your real soul, but only are there to satisfy something they lack; or to use you as a mirror so they can enjoy your goodies and avoid their own issues that are making them miserable.

So I go to my horse. What a gift to have him, and the farm...and Martyn. I somehow managed to listen to the right universal guides, and my gut, when I met Boone, and Martyn. Of course I'd had good experience picking the wrong horse, and the wrong mate!

Yesterday I did a four hour ride - it was like being transported back to youth in some ways - I rode the open roads this time, allowing me to see vistas and the mountain ranges dotted with autumnal color. The sound of the horse's shoes on the packed dirt road - simply put - heaven, transformational, pure pleasure for the listener.

Today I rode again and as we walked under the tree groves of the upper hills, leaves fell on us, his feet made the downed brown entities crunch and swish under foot, just as they did as I played in them as a child, or ran through the campus quad as a young girl. But here today, it was just my horse and I who felt it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One itty bitty second and life changed

{Through October 20th, read, leave comment below [all comments moderated] and one of you will get a free copy of "Misfits of Love".}

October has been a hard month for me, very hard. There is such a juxtaposition of beauty and melancholia in autumn. I've always felt that way about it, even as a child. It's a beginning, but also an end - summer leaves and school starts; teenagers fly off and mothers regroup; leaves die but the dirt is nourished; winter is felt in the air but the sun still warms the face.

October is a "reminder" month for me in many ways. It is the month of many birthday's - my late father's, my old One Eyed Pug who died in April, and friends from back home who I miss. It is the first October that I have no trip planned to be with my mother who died in April. Reality has firmly set in.

It is the beginning of a holiday season that will be harder than usual this year for me. But I am working, I am moving forward and I'm looking at ways to avoid falling into a hole. So many things are shifting around me - and that is as it should be. One can't be static, I don't expect that. But shifts bring discomfort and nostalgia that the past was more serene, even though we know it wasn't. Shifts also bring growth and new challenges, new perspectives and vistas leaving one refreshed or inspired to create something brand new that would have been unthinkable before the shift occurred.

I've been on the farm almost ten years. Hard to believe, really. I think of all the animals that have come and gone, and all the fencing projects that came with it!

Three years ago a small little imp rolled into my life unexpectedly as I was driving down a rural highway. Wet and bone thin, it was a miracle the oncoming truck didn't hit her, but when I pulled over to see if I could catch her, she sat quietly on the edge of that road, cars passing by, and she squeaked once. I really did not want another house cat. And a kitten to boot. I took her to my nearby vet wondering if they might take her in, but they were full up. So I drove her home, all the time thinking of how I could manage her in the house with two other cats, and two dogs. I knew the barn cat colony would be rough on her, and she was so tiny - only one pound and skin and bones. I figured Martyn would not be too pleased. But he took one look at her and said,

"Well of course you had to bring her home."

From that moment on that cat bonded with him. To this day, she adores Martyn, and gets under the covers with him, still letting out her tiny itty bitty squeak, just like the day I found her. We get such amusement from her. She adds to the household.

So I wasn't expecting her, nor was I seeking her. But she came into my life and made it better somehow. She added to it. I am going to hold onto that thought as I go through these melancholy times. There are unexpected encounters lurking right around the corner. Who knows what they will bring into my life?

Happy three year anniversary, Itty Bitty Etta. One second earlier or later on the road, we wouldn't have met. How important the timing of a day can be, not one second can be taken for granted, no matter what state of mind one is in.

See more of Itty Bittty Etta.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Polk-a-dots for everybody

Apparently there was an autumnal sale of polk-a-dot flannel fabric. But nobody ever tells me anything around here.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Hidden barn cats

We used to joke that some visitors might have wondered if we really did have twenty-five cats, since they were semi ferals and back in the early years only came out for me. Most would not even show their faces to Martyn, so strong was their innate desire to remain safe. And since I was the hand that fed them, consistently, they formed a secret covenant with me.

It was ten years ago that we moved here and before the goats, horses, pigs or donkeys arrived, even before The Head Troll got her notary license, there were cats. Lots of them.

In one of our first days here, I was in the new barn when out of a hay bale crevice stepped a one pounder - a red tabby kitten. He looked at me earnestly, I touched him, and then he slipped back into his hay empire, safe from large upright dwellers like me. So it began, the first litter was born into the already burgeoning adult cat colony. Mama Kitty went on to have three more litters that year, the last of which she moved to another nearby farm. I was able to trap and fix all the kittens, but it took two years to catch Mama. She still lives here, with two of the original litter sons on our front deck. To this day, no one can touch her.

It sometimes amazes me the original litter ended up being her healthiest. Gus, the red tabby and first cat to introduce himself to me at Apifera, is still with us. Gus lives in the hay barn, along with his litter mate, Hazel. Another litter mate, Mr. Plum lives on the front deck with Mama and his half brother, Little Orange.

I was out in the barn yesterday with my camera, to grab some hay, and there were Hazel and Gus, sitting in the afternoon barn light. Hazel was atop some old rope and it was like a stylist came in and propped the setting for beautiful abstract lines and color. I had the wrong lens, but love these photos. Perhaps Gus and Hazel allowed such intimate portraits knowing they are going on ten years old - quite elderly for semi ferals. Then again, I don't think animals think like that. But perhaps it was the universe that granted me this opportunity to capture them in intimate portraits, so I can look at them years from now - and remember the first cats of Apifera.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Old goose

The beautiful old goose, Priscilla, gives me a rather goofy look, caught forever for us lucky viewers. Old Priscilla is something like 23. She arrived here with her charge of six ducks, who I named The Bottomtums. She shepherds them, protects them and tries to keep things calm when the boys pick on the girls [ducks can be pretty aggressive in love making]. Every now and then, she lays a gigantic egg. She is aging, and now will often have to wait on the other side of the fence, patiently, as her Bottomtums graze in areas she is unable to go.

Priscilla has a spread - of course - in the upcoming book, "Misfits of Love", which you can now pre-order or support at various gift levels.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

The horse and I, continued

If you read the post I wrote a day ago, you know why these two blue ribbons mean a lot to me.

Now, for the record, the second ribbon was in a category with only two people, however, I'll take it. What I'm finding with these schooling shows is I learn something new about myself, and Boone each time. And each time there will be a different mini challenge to overcome. Today it was that our warm up before our first test was not great - but we worked through it, and I had some great understandings about what I was doing wrong that was helping to make the warm up not so great. I had my teacher there and she walked us through it - always learning, I am! So we went into our first test, and did great. My second test I did not feel good about it. The score wasn't bad, but I made a couple of real mental errors - embarrassing things like forgetting to salute!. I'm learning that setting the mind for that second test can be a challenge, as it is exhausting.

But, I was pleased and so was my teacher. Each time we go somewhere new - we gain confidence, we learn something, and he knows we are in this together. I know he is having fun too, and he enjoys his other two buddies that we ride with. I was so pleased after the mediocre warm up at how he entered that ring and actually took the first steps to calm me, so we could be a team again.

I encourage any of you who are late to the riding challenge - or like me put it down for years and want to take it up again - do it. It is so rewarding, so fun, and such a confidence builder. No matter what 'thing' you have put aside for very good reasons [family, career, health, money] look for a way to do it. It is never too late - and life is short in this realm.

Friday, October 04, 2013

The horse and I

Six months ago to the day, my other died at age 87. It was also the 15th birthday of my horse, Boone. On that day back in April, I couldn't help but feel there was a reason the two days had collided like that. At the time, it felt only like a heavy, heavy day - so surreal and it felt wrong that it had fallen on my horse's birthday. I figured I'd never be able to celebrate Boone's day again in the same way. Boone treated that day like any other - he called to me when I came to the barn, he accepted my petting and my tears stoically and politely, he put his big old head into me and just stood there for me.

Today I awoke and felt very subdued, calm, but in a rather sad way. I didn't feel right. I felt a bit off. And I wasn't sure why. the sun emerged after days of rain and good things have been percolating.

Tomorrow I am taking Boone to our second ever horse show so I am in my show 'head', reenacting the test in my mind, getting my gear ready and such. And as I went about the morning, I realized it was the 4th, and that made me think of April 4th six months ago, the day my mother died at 2:45 or so. And here I was prepping for a show with Boone - the day was once again entwining my life with Boone into my mother's death.

The days after my mom died, I found great comfort in my horse, and our trips over to the local barn where I ride. It was the barn owner, now in her 80's and someone I considered a friend and mentor, who was the first person in my outside world to know my mother died. I calmly told her as I sat on Boone. We talked, I held it together, and then we rode together. Had I been standing as a solo human on the ground, perhaps I might not have held it together. Boone was my strength that morning.

And in the initial days that followed her death, there were very specific things that held me upright. My husband of course, my farm, my animals, my ability to express myself in art and word, my closest friends - and my time with Boone.

Boone gave me a reason to get on him - we were a team and had work to do together- fun work, but work. He carried me around on the trails to smell the Ponderosa Pines and wet dirt below us, he let me lie on him - a wonderful thing about Boone that not all horses will tolerate - he greeted me like always when he heard the door open and shut in the morning and he never failed to look willing to go where I went. Each day after my mother's death, I would hold his big neck, bury my head into it and tell him out loud, "My mother's dead, Boone." That was all I need to verbalize, and he listened each time. While I don't think he understood the words, he felt and empathized with my energy, position, sadness and need for a calm shoulder.

We did our first schooling show in June and did well - a blue and a red ribbon. I was so proud of us. And I thought of my mom and all those riding lessons she gave me, knowing we could not afford a horse back then in my youth.

So today, when I felt a bit down without understanding what was causing it, I realized what day it was - a six month anniversary. But I thought of it as a gift this time. Boone's birthday will always remind me of the day my mother died, but I have Boone, a living being I chose to include in my life. What a privilege to have that partnership, the means to keep him, and what a gift to have a mother that I loved so much that I can still sense her every minute.

Boone has partnered with me to grow as a team, to learn new skills and he takes me places I can't always get to by car or foot. He enjoys our rides - he shows it in his ears, his breathing and expression. He and I will go to the show tomorrow and do our best, and be together. We will enjoy it. We're here together, that's about all I can ask for.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Wet noses, wet toeses, wet tails

Every part of Pino is wet, but that doesn't mean donkey kisses aren't available. The huge storm that blew in Friday through Sunday is waning...kind of. Sunbreaks followed by down pours. Ah, Oregon.

Today when the rains came again, I was caught off guard. It always takes a refresher course to get back into the swing of things with the winter rains. All the coats are wet and never seem to dry, muddy feet of man and beast abound, the damp chill doesn't leave the bones - it all comes back to you. A momentary depression can engulf you - will it ever be sunny again?

But with it comes the fire at night while the rain pounds on the tin over hangs. It's comforting somehow.