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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Non manic Monday

I was sitting–sitting– with the barnyard gang this morning after chores. I was thinking about the early days, how sometimes I had so much on my plate pre-occupying me that the chores in the barnyard became just that-chores. It has taken me awhile to reshuffle the priorities of my life and this morning as I was putting my Muck boots on to go to the barnyard, I remember thinking,

"Oh good, I get to go to the barnyard,"
like I would have thought if I was here on vacation.

When I first moved here in 2004, I hardly sat down. While each day was filled with 'pinch me' moments, I can honestly say we both worked in a non-stop mode-we had too. The farm needed everything, it had been neglected for decades–the house was outdated in every manner and there was no proper fencing. The barns were a blessing even though both were neglected and we are still working on Old Barn. They are in constant need of maintenance-as is any barn or house anywhere. We were in our early forties and both worked on the farm full time and our freelance jobs full time. If you think that is impossible, that one can only work 50% on a farm and 50% as a freelancer, you are wrong. It simply means you work 16 hour days and weekends.

I think that aging also helps bring about this return to child like wonder of living. The initial middle age shifts in body, hormones, looks, and loss of family are daunting and uncomfortable. I feel at almost 57, this discomfort is settling into more of a beautiful, fluffy cloud. I suppose this is why high tech companies want youth-they are manic in energy. And of course, after eleven years of fixing and renovating, we are starting to see light in the tunnel. It will never end, the jobs here, but we are in the really fun part now-developing fields, enjoying the bounties more, understanding our flock better to make better choices, having cross fenced pastures to help me cross pasture more efficiently.

At middle age there is a shift in perspective and energy levels. I can't do everything any more- or wait, I could, but I don't want to. I don't need too. I probably didn't need to back then, but I'm glad we worked so hard for this first eleven years, because the fruits of that work are beginning to show. It all adds up to new wrinkles and scars from sharp fencing cuts–but also a lot of inner peace and joy of accomplishments.

While sitting with the morning breakfast club, Iris, one of the Boar goats, choked on hay and began coughing a lot-a normal occurrence, not an emergency. But Marcella jumped up from her place and positioned herself near Iris, then looked at me. I praised her, as she notified me that something might be amiss. She is one year old now and I am seeing many more moments of mature guarding. I appreciated that as a wonderful teaching moment for me and Marcella.

Everything could be gone tomorrow. I could, Martyn could. I must live with that knowledge and do good with it, for me, the barnyard, The Misfits and my creative spirit.