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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Head Mistress begins her real job

It's all evolving now. The Head Mistress spent her first day out in the fields. First, I let her escort me as we moved the 4 rams into the lower field. They were unfazed by her, pretty much, and she them. Then we took the main flock to the upper side fields, and this was Marcella's first time in that area.

Friday, June 27, 2014

All books shipped...now we nap for a day

The Head Troll has a good idea-napping. Which I am about to indulge in on this blustery, misty day. If you pre ordered a copy of "Donkey Dream", or were a Kickstarter supporter, your book will be in your hands soon, if not already. The last batch went out this morning!

Martyn said that distributing this many pre orders this go around will give me a good idea of what it would be like to distribute if I were on the NY Times Best Seller List. he is such an optimist!

I look forward to hearing more of your comments and reviews-so far, it has been really rewarding to hear people's comments. I am really proud of the book–even The Dirt Farmer is pretty touched by it. Lots of ideas to promote it are percolating, along with Misfits.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A tribute to our farm

I am always appreciative of people that take time to write and share in words what their time at Apifera meant to them. I speak about "living in the full circle" in the new book, Donkey Dream"how the guest comes to my manifested dream farm, the guest is wide eyed and open to every sensory level; they then share this awe through words and body language which itself reminds the host the wonder of her own home. The guest and host receive a circle of gifts.

Such was the case when Lisa Hofmann came, with her daughter Clara, to Pino Pie Day last week. As you know I had no photographer this year and chose to partake fully, versus trying to take pictures. So it was nice to see some photos. Lisa is an artist from Omaha and made the effort to coincide a business trip so she and Clara could come to Apifera. She wrote a wonderful post over at her blog, with many more photos, but I am sharing a few here. I just love the one of Stevie, make my heart swell and pump.

Lisa wrote a note, and I felt very proud and happy that Apifera has become a place people can come to, even briefly, and feel something, soak something inward, and maybe it percolates ideas and missions for their own life.

... it WAS truly magical and I cannot even begin to process how utterly transformational the experience was for me. Something clicked into place in my heart ... all the yearnings and dreams I had as a child flooded back in but with a sense that I too can translate those ideas into reality. Your work, your world, the Misfits all tangible evidence of what is possible: the deepest whisperings of the heart taking root and thriving. Thank you all for the very rich soul medicine.

And thank you, Lisa, for reminding me again I am living in the circle.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ode to aging necks

This painting is an ode and exploration of aging. It is a celebration of reality of the beauty we all have, no matter what we see in the mirror.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The loyal watcher

Aldo seems to keep his eye out for Stevie. I like to sit in the shade hut for a break in the day as it is a gathering spot for an odd mix of personalities–goats, chickens, the pigs and The Great White himself.

Aldo has not been sheared yet- this is my upcoming challenge. It is not that easy but I will try it on my own first and see how far I get. I am not in the mood for a cow kick, but the fellow needs to be sheared for comfort. It will happen.

Aldo does come in for shade frequently, although he seems unfazed by sun. When he arrives in the shade hut, he seems to always take a little sniff of Stevie, as he did today,

"How is it going? Looks good to me, I'll rest now," and he lays down nearby.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Scared together-me and Old Mama Sugee

The day was over, it was almost 7 pm, and I was doing chores and feedings in the barnyard. My mind was focusing on the water-as our pump has a leak somewhere so getting water to everyone requires focus and making sure I turn off various hose zones properly.

And then I went into the pony paddock with Sugee's grain. She was in a corner, wobbly, chewing or mashing her lips, shaking. Her eyes looked panicked. I went to lead her by her shaggy mane-as I always do - to her gated stall. She stumbled, and her hind end was like a drunken sailor. She was acting like she could barely stand and was trying every thing in her power not to go down. While it might have been choke, there was no froth or discharge from her nose or mouth. She is due for another teeth floating, but there had been no hay out all day.

And then she went down.

But she wanted to get up, badly, struggling. I calmed her as best I could. I wanted to call a vet but didn't want to leave her. She somehow got up enough to sit like a dog, and I did all I could to keep her still. I didn't know what I was dealing with so wasn't sure what to do. I've only dealt with a minor colic in the horse once, and moving was the right thing to do then-but this didn't feel like colic, as little as I know. I asked out loud for Martyn to come home, now. She fell down again...I had to leave her.

I ran to the house and called my closest clinic-got the recording and called the emergency vet on call- someone at another clinic I didn't know, and only a recording came on. I needed to talk to someone NOW, not leave a phone recording. I tried to find the number of the woman down the road from our clinic who had originally taken the ponies in and would know the main vet's home number. But her number had changed. I was watching Sugee out my window, some 100 feet away, and she was cast, lifeless looking. I broke down and called one of my other favorite vet's cell numbers and left a panicked message.

I was emotional. I never get emotional-or do my best not to- with my farm vets. They have enough to deal with the animals, and a emotional caretaker is not helpful. But I was so helpless. I really thought she was dying, and was suffering, and I felt helpless. Watching any creature suffer for a length of time is a horrible place to be part of.

I left a panicked message for my vet, and went back to Sugee. My phone couldn't be heard or get coverage out there, but I had to go her. When I got to Sugee, she was still lifeless, and she had cut her interior lip on the last fall. I rested with her, really thinking,

"This is it, she's going."

Since she was calmer, I ran back to the house and the vet called at that moment. I was calmer too, and apologetic-of course she was gracious, she is a great vet. We talked it through and of course choke was a possibility, but it could be neurological, or a colic. Soon after Sugee arrived, she stumbled and wobbled like this, not falling, but it was really scary. I know there is a wobbler disease and will have to ask my vet more later. I had Banamine around and I gave her the vet's recommended dosage, to relax the throat /esophagus, and by the time I went back out, she was standing, a bit wobbly, but seemed pretty normal.

This morning she ate well and tonight when I went out to sit with her and take some photos, she seemed normal. She is still very thin, much better than her arrival, but at age 38-40, we do what we can to keep weight on. I will get her regular vet out as soon as she can make it here, to re-evaluate. I want a better emergency plan if it happens again.

Things can change for any of us in a heartbeat. Usually I have some go-to system in the barnyard when an emergency happens. But with equines, it can get pretty hard and complicated. I felt really small and apologized to Sugee, as I didn't have one trick up my sleeve. While I realize I am not a vet, or a magician, It really startled me at how emotional I got. I am sure there are many reasons for this, but not being able to care quickly for something was unsettling. It is part of the package of caring for the elders.

I will learn from this and hopefully do better next time.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Keep the moths at bay

There is Apifera lavender bud for sale at the Etsy shop, as well as Grosso bundles. They say that it keeps moths out of the closet. I can't prove that. Although I can say we don't have moths in the closet.

This little doodling is also for sale at the Etsy shop-in the Doodling section, of course.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pancakes escorted to a pig

Last Friday, when my friend was here from NYC to help me with Pino Pie Day, I took her to a special place, a little food cart in our nearby small town of Carlton. Henry's Diner is the sweetest little eatery around, with chef Joseph cooking up fresh local food while his customers sit outside at picnic tables. I never get to go out to breakfast [or lunch, rarely dinner] so going out that morning was a real treat. We put Boone in the trailer too since we were going to go run him with his buddies later. This was fun for my visiting city friend-hauling a horse around, eating from a food cart in a tiny 2 block town-not to mention we stopped at the local bakery with Boone in tow, and he whinnied at all the passersby.

So I opted for the pancakes. Now, I love pancakes. Grew up eating them every Sunday, unless it was waffles or French Toast. I am very picky about my pancakes and rarely eat them out. Besides being way too much carb and sugar, I am usually disappointed. But Josephs' pancakes were wonderful. I do prefer dollar size [listen to me!] but it didn't stop me from raving about them. These cakes were made of 4 kinds of flour–a recipe his grandfather Henry taught him, based on an old Aunt Jemima recipe. It has buckwheat, rye, whole wheat and one other flour. I love buckwheat, and the combo made it slightly less heavy.

So the pancakes were superb. I highly suggest you eat at Henry's. Of course, my small frame [barnyard laughs] could not handle eating all the pancakes. I told the chef they were delicious but I needed a bag to escort the remaining cakes back to Ernest, my pig. He took no offense to this. And he said he might put a hitching post in for me and Boone.

Back at the farm, Ernest politely sat while I fed him his pancakes. He was also pleased.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heart beat of the book

The new book arrived on Monday-it was supposed to come Thursday, then Friday, and once I got over the disapointment it wouldn't be there for Pie Day, I relaxed, realizing it really didn't matter-it would land here when it did. Besides, the excitement of the new book and Pie Day might have made my head explode.

A book isn't complete, for me, until it is printed and out there. It is different than a painting-again, this is my sensation. A painting is me, it is something I do to explore a feeling; a book is a story I compile and shift and shape and want to share. If I just wanted it for me, it wouldn't need to be published.  I feel books have heartbeats, they feel like entities to me. Little creatures-they have a weight, a smell and a voice. A painting feels more like my insides on a canvas in 2D. A book unfolds like a movie. It has a beginning, and an end, not only as a book, but as a creative process. I know paintings that just keep changing and being painted over. There a lot of paintings I could bring back into my studio from whoever bought them years ago, and I'd paint over them, not because I don't like them, but because I did it then, and now it is now. I don't feel like that with books. They were thought out and then made -and although they evolve during the process, they just are more complete in the end, more solid. While my writing is personal, I feel like paintings make me more naked, and viewers have all sorts of ideas what it is "about"- they are usually wrong, but it doesn't matter, because long ago I learned, for myself, that the viewer gets his or her own relationship with the painting. It has nothing to do with me, and vice versa. I suppose that is one of the ways the two mediums are alike.

It is just beautiful, this book, if I may say so! I know my followers are going to love this story, and all the art and images. I love "Misfits", but this book is slightly more appealing [perhaps] to a wider audience. It will make you feel for your own magic dust, or wing nubs on your shoulders that we all have. I especially love the feel of the cover, as I used a different surface. Feels like butter. I agree with the freelance editor who I worked with on the manuscript [over 4 years ago, that is how long it has been in the making]- I think the commercial publishing world missed out on a gem. While I would love a wider audience for "Donkey Dream", I am simply happy it is birthed and out of my womb.

I spent a half hour looking through it with a cup of coffee yesterday and had an overwhelming sensation of self accomplishment. I shouldn't forget that. I am beginning the process of wrapping and shipping to Kickstarter patrons and will be shipping out books to everyone in the next couple weeks. And anyone who pre ordered too.

A friend said it should be a movie, and we fantasized who would play me and Martyn. I want Frances McDormand to play me and Jeff Bridges to play him. Or maybe Ed Harris. Or Billy Crudup. If we add chapters and end up old in the movie, then I vote for Sam Shepherd.

Oh good grief. Make me stop. You can purchase the book at the site. You can also purchase a copy of "Misfits" and a copy of "Donkey Dream" and have them sent in one pack for a 2 book price-you will see it in the Paypal drop down menu.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pig and Pup guards

I was a bit concerned how Marcella would react to the crowds at Pino Pie Day. It was her first experience with lots of unknown people appearing. While no one was allowed in the barnyard, they could approach the two gates the look into her current domain. I asked folks not to pet her–with signs–which nearly killed some of them I guess, but I didn't want her thinking that she could sit at a gate and get petted by strangers. Not really what a guard dog should learn.

But, she did great. She didn't bark much at all, a couple woofs here and there. I was amused by this scene, of her and her buddy Earnest, checking out the arriving guests.

On a business note, I had a couple people email and ask if they can still donate for Pie Day even though it is over. Yes, you can donate 24/7 around here! We always welcome subscriptions or donations to help offset the expense of caring for elders and Misfits. So thanks for asking!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Poetic waxings after Pie Day...love is in the air

To each and every volunteer and followers who helped with this year's Pino Pie Day, we all love you and thank you in our best Misfit and raggedy way!

I have loved each Pino Pie Day, all seven of them. But this year was a special one for me personally. It's not right to say "it was my favorite"–but it was perhaps the most rewarding on certain levels.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Compassion from one elder to another

Do animals feel compassion for one another? I think they do, although I think it is compassion that is meant to help another survive, or be safe.

I can't help be touched and struck by Aldo's vigil over Stevie. I mentioned before that the old llama took to Stevie immediately-as if they were two old soldiers who recognized similar wounds-arthritic, aches, bent legs, fallen pasterns. But in the past few days, it seems Aldo has taken Stevie under his wing. He doesn't cry out to alert me that Stevie has cast himself, but he is always there when he does. When Martyn entered this morning to help Stevie right himself, he said Aldo gave him a wary chortle, but also accepts we are the caretakers helping Stevie.

Stevie is doing his best, as am I. I think decisions will have to be made in the near future. That is my responsibility to all my Misfits-to let go of what I want so I can make the right decisions for them. I have a covenant with each of them to help them when they need it most. This is perhaps my hardest case to really know "when". Stevie's case is unusual, as his attitude and expression are the same as always, but I know he is showing signs of physical discomfort due to so many years with crippled limbs. While the vet and I agreed last week he wasn't ready, I know that these situations can change quickly, especially if an animal's spirit just wears out. I am not a religious person, but I simply asked God and Aldo to be his caretakers at night, and I will be the same in the day.

Stevie will receive a lot of love on Sunday's Pie Day. Since I've put him in what is usually the Donkey Hug area, he will be the first Misfit people will see. I've gone to lengths to try and share Stevie's background-to show people his story. I know that Stevie has had a quality to his life and even though I was a bit conflicted when I first met him, wondering if the operation he received was the correct thing to do for him versus euthanize him, I came to feel confidant that it was correct for his particular spirit and personality and will.

It's not all puppies and sweetness out here. In between photos there is often turmoil, hard decisions, anger, sadness, misbehavior and pain. Then there is death, always death. It's marked the farm in every corner. But each death mark is also a reminder there was life too. They go together. I don't want to say good-bye to Stevie, but I know this will be his last Pie Day. I will make sure he gets and gives a lot of Stevie kisses-yes, he really does kiss. Pecks, gentle little pecks.

The thing about care taking an elder, or a handicapped creature, is that you do begin to let go, because you live it with them day to day. You come to an exhaustion point-you want the animal to feel good again, but you realize they won't. I do believe something goes out of a creature's eyes when they are exhausted too. There is just enough in their eyes, that if you look closely and quietly, you can see clearly the message they are trying to emit-release me.

I haven't seen that sign yet, but I'm watching. And of course, I hope I don't see it before Sunday, but I have already promised myself I will help him if needed, even if we can't have him here on Pie Day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Flirting comes in all sizes

It always amuses me to see the elder ponies flirting with Boone. They always start it. His paddock is next to their's and I often see him reaching over, nibbling, then a little squeal is heard from one or the other–a normal equine behavior. Boone is not one to be impressed by the ladies, but it's sweet to watch him with his little chums.

The new book is coming!

As if my life isn't exciting enough this week getting ready to have a pie party with a donkey...and old goats...the new book is scheduled to arrive this week! While it will be hectic getting all the books in storage in between pie baking and such, I am so excited to see it and have it at Pie Day.

You can buy the new book at the special pre order price for the next few days! If you ordered a book, they will go out after 6/20.

Monday, June 09, 2014

A wet llama is a happy llama

I was minding my own business, really, watering the vegetable garden. I turned on the sprinkle first to water the top bed, but then also had a hose going to make sure my squash got watered. It was a hot weekend-about 85 and all sun.

And as I stood there squirting the hose into the air, I noticed Aldo appeared out of nowhere. Now, Aldo is not one to rush up to greet people. He is like many llamas, a bit reclusive or just not interested in human company. But there he was, rushing to the water he saw shooting up form my hose. The vegetable garden is adjacent to the orchard where Aldo and the more elderly, crippled Misfits are-like Stevie and Rudy. There is a fence between it but they can see into the garden.

And he stood at the gate, watching me, and the sprinkler. So I squirted water onto him. And he stood waiting for more. He loved it! It was so funny! I was covering is body and head and he made this sweet little face - he was in water heaven. I asked Martyn to hold the hose so I could grab my camera and he said he would, but got distracted and didn't do it, so by the time I came out Aldo had gone off to rest in his newly wet coat, seen here. Curses! I told Martyn that that one photo series might have made it into National Geographic or maybe Llama Monthly or something and we could have been rich.

I will try to schedule another hose down photo op for Aldo. Aldo needs to be sheared, but I am new to llamas and want assistance, and it has to wait until after Pie Day. In the meantime, Aldo will be taking many trips to the hose.

Museum of Misfits-open 1 day a year

It's open one day a year, and that day is coming fast-Sunday, June 15. I created the Museuem so people can see the animals we've taken on over the years and begin to understand their stories-if we know their stories.

You can see the Misfits and get to know them a bit more before you come, at this page.

Marcella's first guarding assignment

This Pino Pie Day will be Marcella's first. We will see what shall be.

My hope is she settles in to the routine of cars coming and going and doesn't bark the entire time. I don't think she will. She is not much of a barker. Now that she is 6 months, she is beginning to mature and when a stranger enters the barnyard with me, I make sure she is greeted without fanfare and then we go on our way. The idea being not to smother her in goo-goo-ga-ga talk as all of us often are prone to with pups or youngsters, so as not to let her overbond with humans.

I think what will happen is she will settle down by the gate that leads into where the donkeys will be, there is shade there and she likes to lie there, where she can observe through the fence. We will ask people to admire her from a distance but not pet her. I don't want to take any chances. She is after all - a guard dog.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Shade for old giants

Yesterday I spent mostly hanging fabrics in the Misfit and Donkey Hug area not only so our guests will have more shade this year if needed, but so that Stevie and the other rickety elders can have ample shade. It always reminds me of a caravan shanty town! Aldo took to Stevie right away. I've witnessed Aldo's innate concern for his charges before. Last week when I was trimming professor's toes-pygmy drama and squealing-Aldo came right up to me, which he usually doesn't do, checked it all out and decided I wasn't killing him, but sat down near by until I released the goat. So when I brought Stevie in for the first time, I found it so beautiful that Aldo came right over, and lay near him, as if he knew they were pretty much in the same boat-arthritic.

Stevie had one fall last night-or I should say, they are really incidences where he is laying or trying to lay down in some kind of position [Stevie usually is on his knees with his hips raised, and of course this gets uncomfortable]. By the end of the day it is reasonable that he is more tired. So he gets in a sort of lay down position, and then with a wrong move can lose balance and end up on his side. I did not sleep well, waiting for morning, but he was up and walking so I was relieved. I'm afraid this is the way it will be from now on out. I don't think he can be helped by a wheelchair but I am researching.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

A miracle call from the crippled goat

In which a goat speaks to his caretaker...for the first time.

I have moved Stevie into the Disabled Vets Orchard, for lack of a better term. These are the Misfits that I moved out of the regular barnyard so they wouldn't be accidentally tortured by Marcella-the ones that are wobbly and unable to run, or in Rudy's case, just plain crippled from arthritis.

So, it was time to move Stevie. I've been watching him like a hawk, spending lots of time sitting and watching him move, to try and decipher exactly which part of his body is weakening on him and causing him to cast.

After finding him cast twice yesterday, I decided the softer ground of the orchard, and grass versus bedding, would be less slippery for his one stable foot. I also discovered sore on the other front leading foot-the foot that gets all the pressure of the weight, and it almost appears as if his hoof is breaking off.

Stevie doesn't leave his barn much anymore, which is a shame since he liked to in the past, and when I first started leading him to the orchard, about 50 feet away, I really was disheartened. I wondered if keeping him going was the right thing to do. But midway there, he recognized where he was headed and really picked up the pace. Once there, he got to nibble on grass and seemed really pleased with himself. Now that he's in the orchard, I can look out the studio and see if he is okay, and when Martyn is coming and going he too can see him. He is with Old Rudy, Scooby, Aldo and Professor and the pigs come and go, and chickens, and hens. And no bouncing white dog to possibly cause a fall.

And then, this morning, a miracle occurred.

He called to me as I entered the orchard. Stevie has never once spoken verbally. Some goats talk all the time, they all have distinct voices. But Stevie never talked. I had one other got that never talked wither so it isn't unusual. But there he was, talking to me, quietly, which is fitting for this stoic soldier.

I really knew I'd done the right thing moving him into the orchard. He ate well and seemed more confidant, like the Stevie I knew a month ago. I feel so emotional about him. It comes with the territory. For some reason, some more than others get you, talk to your soul, interrelate with interior issues. I have told Stevie so many times in the last few weeks how loved he is, how special he is, how many people remember and love him from Sancuary One, that he probably does internal eye rolls. I tell him I'll do my best until I can't. Usually I do that without tears-but for some reason my conversations with him are more emotional.I'll explore that later, but for now, I'm just trying to keep this old soldier safe and on his feet.

If you come to Pie Day, it will be a special one for Stevie. It just might be his last and even though that is sad, when you think about where he as 6 years ago, and how he ended up giving kisses in his final months...well, that is pretty beautiful.

We vet and care for our animals no matter what it takes, but you can help us support Stevie and the other Misfits with donations for rewards or subscriptions.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Hens collaborating with pie baker...I hope

Sometimes I get a bit behind n picking up eggs. In the summer, or war days, if I miss the egg pick up for a couple days it can add up, and I usually just take those eggs tot he barn, to give to the pigs and Marcella as treats. They adore eggs.

Yesterday I made my shopping list for all the pie baking I will be doing and I remembered I have to have about 30 eggs for certain pies. I went out to collect and there was one tiny egg, pink, no doubt it was good old faithful–Henny Penny, our eldest Bantie. She lays the cutest little eggs. But by night there were no more.

I seem to remember this happened last year. I am convinced the hens get together and collaborate in ways to play a bit of a head...er, hen game with me.

"Come on, just for a couple of days, girls, to get her a bit nervous, then we'll pop them out," says Edmonia.

"I want nothing of it, sucking in my eggs gives me upset egg regions and I don't like it," states Chicken Named Dog.

But if you are coming to Pie Day, don't fret, they always come through for me-and the bounty helps make the Chess Pies, and Buttermilk too.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Pino's Porta Potty Movie!!!

The Puppet has a lot to say this year. Give the tired little fellow your attention for three minutes. His Porta Potty is a very important part of our upcoming Pino Pie Day [as many of our past guests will agree, I'm sure.}

Pino decided to try to collect money on his own this year, the brave little fellow. You can see how he did on the movie. If you still want to donate something to Pino, you can do so here at the blog.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A guy and his ducks

Raggedy Man takes a moment to reflect on....who know what goes on in his little head. The Bottomtums assist.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

How a crippled goat puts perspective on my midlife waistline

Stevie, on the right, rests on his knees due to his permanant handicapped condition.

As I mentioned last week, Stevie had a few falls, leaving him cast on his left side-a dangerous predicament for a ruminant, often a deadly one. I immediately suspected Marcella, but after observing for a day or two, I realized Stevie's left side is simply getting weaker, so if he does fall, he isn't able to use that left front leg to get up. One of his falls was in the barnyard, and he might have been banging his head on the ground trying to get up, and we suspect this led to the hematoma.

The vet just left. I didn't want to lance it on my own and wanted to make sure there was no infection. I had thought that it might be infected, which was causing inner balance issues. But there was no infection, but we treated for it anyway to make sure.

My vet also agrees that Stevie is not 'ready' and is still a strong goat. What a fantastic goat! Here he is checking on Little Moose.

Some people ask me how it is I can do what I do-helping the more disabled animals, and elders that often come in compromised, and die, even with intervention. I don't consider what I do heroic. It just seems to be something I want to do, or I wouldn't continue. Every time an elderly goat would die, my mother would say,

"Now that is enough of these old goats." She simply felt it was too hard emotionally. Each time one dies, I do suffer, some more than others. It is just one more loss in a life. Maybe somewhere in me each death still helps me grasp life, I don't know.

I think there will come a turning point for me in what I choose to do here. But for now, I continue to just try to help the ones that are still able enough to have good days. It feels good to help the elders. The older I get, the more my body changes, my perspectives on my own life changes-what is most important now wasn't really the case in my 30's or even my early 50's. Somehow, working with the elders and disadvantaged Misfits makes my own aging body more understandable, it helps me see that even if you eat well and are active, eventually, your bones get then, your muscle tone loosens, your chin swags-but you know, it really doesn't matter as long as I can still do something in life that makes me feel passionate.

I have been struggling of late-trying to lose 10#, trying to come to peace with my sags and 56 year old body. It is still a good body, a vessel that takes me around, lets me see beautiful sights, ride my horse. My body requires nourishment, and I enjoy the earth's bounties. I have come to a time in my life where the passion to lose 10 pounds feels less important than soaking up a good day of work, and then tasting something wonderful to delight my senses. I am not sick, do not have cancer or a multitude of things that some have to suffer with. It feels embarrassing that I still even have to have an internal conversation that it's ok I'm carrying more weight than I did as a young woman.

I'm sure I'm not alone. If someone is really overweight and they read this, they will roll their eyes, as they look at my weight and body as not that bad. But we all grow up with invisible role models-carved from years of magazines, friends, media, family, genes and the inability to really see the beauty in our own flesh.

So when I get down about a bunch of pounds, and thicker middle I can't seem to rid myself of-or it just keeps going on like rolling the boulder up the hill only to watch it roll down, and then I have to start all over again-when I feel somewhat depressed by that, I make myself look around and realize I never once question an elder's beauty due to their elder state. I never look at anyone I love and question their waistline. My muses never ask me how much I weigh. It would physically feel better I think to have one less inch off my middle-but the consequences of getting there right now seem almost insurmountable. Hormones or lack there off–the 5# I could shed in a month and keep off in my 40's, is now countered by eating an olive, God forbid, and blowing up like a tick for a few days.

When I'm dying, no matter when that is, I'm not sure it will matter if my waistline is what it is today. And I certainly don't want to be lying there craving olives. So my new counteract to feeling badly about loss of control of weight, is to smile, smile even when I'm standing around alone. Smiling feels radiant, doesn't it?

Monday, June 02, 2014

Posers, pie eaters and cookie smugglers

Lucia has been practicing her "look" she hopes wins her many admirers...and treats come Pie Day.

" Excuse me? Is that a cookie in your hand? May I have one? Pleeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase?"

Sunday, JUNE 15! Are you coming?

I of course will be there, or here. Pie Day is my way of sharing the love I have for farm, animals and pie. Lots of love swirls around that day, and this year we have many new Misfit elders in attendance-Aldo, Scooby, the ponies. Martyn finished the new hut so our guests and Misfits [and volunteers!} will have yet another place to rest out of the heat or drizzle. My books and art will be for sale as will the farm's lavender. All money raised from sales and donations helps to offset the money we spend each year to keep the Misfits healthy.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Marcella and the grumpy pig unite in girl power

Martyn and I have been working manically on getting everything ready for the June 15th Pino Pie Day [are you all coming?], but that doesn't mean I can't take time for breaks to sit and really watch the various animals, their language with each other–and me, of course. It is all fun, and I learn or see something new each time.

Watching Marcella mature over the past 6 months has been both amusing and frustrating, but also so interesting. One thing we've both witnessed several times is Marcella appearing to step in and guard Rosie, when Earnest gets too amorous with her. Rosie has show no signs of being interested in a roll in the hay with Earnest [she was spayed early on] and when Earnest starts showing signs of his Mojo working, Marcella slips herself between the two of them to keep Rosie out of his reach.

But then last night I witnessed Rosie step in and intervene when Earnest started getting lovey with Marcella.

I don't believe it is jealousy, I think it is just two girls instinctively knowing they aren't in heat, so they say,

"Back off Little Big Man."

My God, did you or I ever think these two females would ever work together like this? Just a few months ago I wondered if Marcella would ever understand Rosie Language-a hard one to decipher depending on her grumpy level that day.

But don't feel sorry for Earnest. I think he is the happiest guy around. Different ladies all over the place to swoon, his own barnyard, a field of daisies and grass to go on dates with Doris and June, his own swimming mud hole with private beach, belly rubs from me, fresh eggs at a whim–the guy is in hog heaven. Today he stopped by the pony paddock while I did feedings and Mama Sugee was in heat so he did some real flirting. A pig flirting with an ear less, blind old pony-now that was fun to watch.

Marcella continues to mature and I've noticed some leaps. She is quicker to stop puppy play when I say, "STOP!". She still loves to taunt Earnest and grabs his tail and ear tips–he could end it quickly if he felt the need. She also is starting to explore other parts of the farm-which was bound to happen, and it is okay. She is after all here to guard the fence line of all 22 acres if needed. So today she found her way into the donkey paddock through Old Barn. There was no problem, and since in time I plan to drive the sheep through their to get tot he upper field, she is one step ahead of me.

This month she will go into get spayed–a necessary requirement to keep the gentleman callers away. And besides, she has one boyfriend, a pig, she doesn't need a canine calling.