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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Working girl arrives at Apifera

I have named her "Marcella", pronounced Mar-chell-a to honor her Italian heritage. She is a Marema and she has a very important job to do at Apifera- guard the sheep and Misfits. She will be busy.

We drove to Bellingham on Saturday, leaving at six in the morning and picked her out of three pups. Then we turned right around and hauled ourselves home. The trip was long, and made longer by the ridiculous under built highway of Seattle-which the powers to be had shrunk by two lanes, causing us to lose an hour and a half on Seattle's freeway stuck in grid lock and wacked out drivers. So she got her first taste of what my voice sounds like when I am grumpy.

But we made it home and she spent her first night in Old Man Guinnias's old suite, so she could be safe, but also have nose touching with the goats.

This morning was a big day for her, and me. And The Misfits. While she will probably do most of her important work with the flock, allowing us to develop our upper fields, she will also have to know and accept everyone in the barnyard.

It was a bit painful to watch at times. I brought her out for intervals of about 20 minutes, in between my chores of getting the lambing stalls ready. Many of the goats just stood back, disturbed, concerned and wary. But Wilbur and The Head Troll took action, smacking her down. A bit of this will happen, and if she were bigger, I'd leave her out to work it out. But she is a bit small for that, so I am chaperoning all her visits with the barnyard. She gives them all her best submissive gestures - tail wag, bent down head, even flopping. But goats know dogs are predators, so it will just take a bit of time.

And we made huge strides even by the end of the day.

I don't want her to over bond with me, so I put her safely in her stall area when I need to until the introductions are acceptable.

And who do you think finally was the first one to accept Marcella? Ernest. Sweet little Ernest. Rosie on the other hand walked right up to her and tried to bite her. But that will end too.

This is a new thing for me, and I am up for the challenge. She is not like the terriers or other dogs I've had, and the breeder gave me lots of good reading material. Her personality is very independent compared to other pups I've had-but she is submissive which is good-but not overly. She seems very smart. I like it. I wasn't sure what it would be like to have a dog in the barnyard-I never allow our dogs there-but I really liked her following me. That will change of course, when she is mature enough to fulfill her job as Head Mistress.

I'm speaking in an Italian accent to her. This amuses me, and perhaps will help me learn more of the beautiful language.


M.E. Masterson said...

Aww so cute..looks like she will adjust nicely...they are extremely smart it is all about consistency and routine. I knew a family that had one for their kids..guarded them just like animals...his name was bear...great dog! The ranches we neighbored all had these dogs for their sheep herds 500+ This was their life out with sheep 24/7...tbey dont move locations of property very well very territorial...the neighbor that bordered out back left his two dogs and sheep with the property when he sold the land and ranch. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

She is quite beautiful. I could never do it though, she would be too good to snuggle. xox

Terra said...

I love animals and art and am glad I came here for a visit, from Dandelion and Daisy. Nice to meet you and hello from California.

Dandelion and Daisy said...

http://dandelionanddaisy2.blogspot.com/2014/02/sketchy.html Just a little note to tell you that I've given you a mention on my blog, above, not that I have a huge following or anything but I do love your art and have your blog on my blog roll. We live closer to Woodburn and I am planning on visiting on pie day. I used your photo to draw from, I hope you don't mind.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Thanks M.E.- it is all learning for me, thanks. Corrine, I wasn't ready when we first moved here 10 years ago, but am doing fine-but I hear ya'! Terra, nice to meet you too!

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Thank you! APpreciate it- and yes, I appreciate you telling me you grabbed the pic- thank you! And if you come, make sure you come find me and meet me- and remind me who you are- I get many who come and I get all confused since people have online names and such! LOL.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Oh, she is so very beautiful and I love her name! My daughter lives on a 65 acre farm and several dogs have been dumped at their front gate. The first was a male puppy, obviously half Pyrenees, with the distinctive feet and grew to have the huge stature. He looks like Clifford, the big red dog, and has the stoic, calm Pyrenees demeanor. My son-in-law named him Cowboy. A couple of summers ago, Cowboy, came down the drive towards the deck where my daughter was with something in his mouth and dropped it at her feet. It was a teeny yorkie poo which had been dumped at the front gate and he gently carried it home. When they would take it out for potty trips, Cowboy would pick it up. He slept in front of the rabbit hutches and guarded the chickens. He has been known to take on a coyote during the night, but is docile to small children. I love this breed! Dogs with a job are the happiest--like us work gives them meaning and purpose.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

How fun to hear that story!! I hear alot about the Prys....Maremas are bit more independent I think-from what I'm told-but both great breeds. Such a fun story you shared!

anna maria stone said...

I'm sure you will really appreciate your Maremmana. I live in Italy and have a male Maremmano who appeared at my gate, barely able to walk, about a year and a half ago. He was skin and bones and very ill from canine Leishmaniasis - a horrible disease that is very common in Italy. Well, he is now beautiful and weighs about 95 lbs. Looks like a polar bear. He loves to stay outside in rain, cold and wind, and the only times he will enter the house is if there there is thunder or fireworks! I do not have farm animals, so my other 3 rescues and I are his herd. and he guards us very well! Sweet, gentle and independent - not a cuddler but graciously accepts them. All the best!

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Anna Marie- what a wonderful thing he found you! And a great story- 'not a cuddler but graciously ccepts them' - that is what I see already in mine, although she is still very pup like and happy to see me. I will tell her she has an Italian friend.

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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 ~