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

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images are ©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I stop here, you start there

We all need to walk out our days on a path we feel fits our own footprints-not that of another's feet.

I was thinking just the other day that the world would be a lot better off if people wrote this on a piece of paper and tacked it to a wall, or shellacked it onto their iphone case:

You are you, I am me. I stop here, you start there.

I get to choose my path, you choose yours. You might be inspired by my path, or it might make you scratch your head. Could be sucking lice, might want to treat that. You might not bother to notice my path, or I yours. Some might want to jump onto my path, or yours, thinking it is just what they want-the path seems so perfect for them. I find this latter group of people, often nice people, often project onto my path what they want to see, not what is actually there. About twice a year, I get an angry letter from someone shaming me for not clarifying I eat meat, or that we butcher some lambs. I've never hidden this fact and have written about it over the past 11 years. It is clearly stated in many places what our farm is, and isn't.

It seems I am not pro-animal enough for the extreme vegans, I am awfully strange to some farmers around here and elsewhere, and I rile up the pig sanctuaries because I choose to help some pigs and eat another. But I've never hidden any of it. So when someone comes to me, and shames me, for 'hiding' these facts, I get riled up. And that riles up the barnyard, all of them.

I used to be afraid to write about this. And its not like I had some 'incident' in the past days. I just felt like writing about it, unafraid.

Because I stop here, you start there.

I have a wonderful diverse farm. I have a working flock that provides fertilizers for our fields, a small amount of meat for our chosen diet and field maintenance-the latter that has helped see this once neglected farm improve its soil/grass quality. I have some working dogs in the barnyard [in training, lets not get to carried away with titles yet, I warn myself]and some chocolate love machines laying on the couch. I have chickens of all ages since I never cull any that give us eggs-and also provide The White Dogs and pigs with ample surprise snacks. The old goose is so old I've lost track but she and the ducks are entertaining, and horribly messy. I have one very grumpy pig adopted from a sanctuary, and two more in the barnyard that will make piglets- some of those piglets will be eaten. I have old, crippled goats that I've chosen to adopt, because I can, and I want to help them, and they help me in many ways. And no, we never eat elderly, crippled Misfits - yes, this was asked of me once by a vegan–some people really need to learn more about animal husbandry. I have old donkeys and little ones, and earless ponies that are blind and a fine pleasure horse I can ride and work.

That is the diversity I choose to surround myself with. It might not be the diversity some would choose. Some will judge it. But that is not a problem.

Because I stop here, you start there.


Terra said...

Your post makes complete sense. You stop there and I stop here. Different ways of living make the world a richer place. I admire how you care for your animals.

Sarah said...

it's hard to imagine how a regular reader of your blog might fail to notice you eat meat, as you say you talk about it just as you talk about the other parts of your life you choose to share here. I for one am sincerely glad that you share a way of both living with and caring for animals with rearing and eating animals.

I think it's important that people understand that eating meat does not necessarily equal intensive farming and horrific methods of slaughter. Just as our ancestors did, we can eat meat and still have a healthy caring regard for the lives we take in order to sustain our own. What is important, I think, is understanding our connection with the animals we choose to eat, but I think sometimes that the distancing of most people from the reality of the food chain, doesn't just lead to a tolerance of abysmal animal welfare standards, but also makes it difficult for those who do care about animals to be able to both care and understand that caring and eating are not two separate things - or don't have to be.

I hope that makes sense!

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Thanks Terra! Sarah, well said. Also, I know when we moved here, with each passing month I became more aware I am part of Nature, not the moral compass for all of it. I don't know if that makes sense. I think there is a disconnect from Nature in many people's lives, more than ever now with technology. I mean really seeing Nature for what it is-not some reality TV farm show like Esther the Wonder pig [no offense to Esther, she had nothing to do with it. I have always felt disappointed in others who shame others-without really trying to understand their foot prints.

Sarah said...

That makes complete sense to me Katherine, and I think it's that disconnect from the reality of life and all its cycles that is the root of most of the problems in our world in one way or another. We've forgotten, most of us, that nature isn't something 'out there', it is us too.

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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 ~