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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Eleven years with a Dirt Farmer

It is our anniversary today. We are celebrating in a grand way-working in the pig paddocks putting up better fencing. Actually, Martyn is, I am taking break from the sun.

This continues to be my favorite picture of Martyn. I think the expression on his face is so genuine. It was one of those classic Dirt Farmer moments–I saw him come out of the house in his rubber suit, with red handled clippers, and I said,

"Wait!" Don't move, I have to get my camera!"

No complaining came from his lips. I told him to smile and he did, the same smile I have seen so many times. It's the same gentle smile I saw some 12 years ago, when a knock came upon my door, and their he stood, introducing himself to me after I first moved into my Portland house. Some of you have heard the story over and over, and of course, I celebrated it in the book Donkey Dream, but I never tire of thinking of that day. I didn't put it in the book, as I knew it would sound like I was an unstable desperado, but I knew at first moment I'd marry him. Then I let the thought slip away, as I had just arrived in Portland. But my heart and gut were right that day, and one year later we exchanged vows.

We have had one fight in 11 years. That is due to the fact that Martyn is very patient and I am very forthcoming. That fight lasted two days and I did not speak to him. By day two I could hardly stand it, I missed him so much even though he was right there with me. We worked through the specifics that caused such a blow, and it wasn't pleasant, but we did. There is no passive aggressive stuff going on in this house. It works for us. Except for the issues that often arise when a person first marries-usually boundary issues with extended family, or how to load the dishwasher-we have a wonderful time. We like to work, alone and together. We love our gardens and fields and perhaps the most amazing gift of Martyn, speaking for myself, is he follows along helping me with pigs, crippled goats, needy donkeys and other dreams I keep percolating. There might have been a time when it seemed overwhelming and out of control-all the animals-but I think we've built a life here that not only feeds us physically and emotionally, it brings bounties into our home- through guests we interact with, friends we make due to the farm, and applause we get for our work. The animal work is clearly my baby, but because it fills me, and it is shared with the outside world-it bounces back and enriches Martyn's life.

I married a friend, someone that makes me laugh, someone that works hard, passionately outside of the marriage but comes home with new passion for me and the life here. I remember reading some article for newlyweds guiding that one should let their mate come in the house after work and give them 15 minutes or so before you start unloading any problems of the day. I have a different technique. I wait until Martyn has his beer open, I have my wine, and I list off all the exciting things I'm dying to share:

"Earnest busted down the duck hut door again to get eggs, so we need to fix that, and I saw an elk on my ride today. Did you see they cut that field over by Bansens?"

So tonight we'll celebrate like always. He will cook - grilled chicken with fresh blackberry sauce and our garden delights - we'll drink wine and talk and notice the signs of autumn coming in. I have a lime chess pie made. It's not that much different than any other night here. But that is what I mean–life with the right mate isn't about having fireworks to postmark a birthday or anniversary. The fireworks are internal desires that come to fruition in the work you do together, through the things you share with outsiders and the fact that you make each other laugh as you grow old together.


Candace said...

Happy Anniversary to both of you, Katherine! I always enjoy reading about Martyn.

Cheryl Razmus said...

It's the love of the ordinary day that makes life with a beloved mate so amazing. (And now we are off to a daily neighborhood walk.) Enjoy your lovely dinner and we clink glasses for another special wonderful year for all.

barbara said...

Katherine and Martyn, may you be blessed with many more years together. You are sharing a beautiful dream. Happy Anniversary!

Cindi Myers said...

It's so nice to read about true love.
Happy Anniversary!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations...He's a keeper. xox

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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 ~