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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pumpkins! And a pig is named.

There is nothing quite as wonderful as a pumpkin. A glowing orange orb complete with a carrying handle-so impressive. The Pumpkin Patch of Old Souls is ripe with them and I've harvested some for the season's first pumpkin party. Soon we will be celebrating Halloween, and like every year, the largest pumpkin brings out stories and visits from Old man Guinnias and other souls that are buried underneath the pumpkins.

Today the Lower Misfit Village had their party. As you can see from the short video, it was very well attended.

It was Birdie's first pumpkin party in her life-I think she was a bit confused.

Do we roll them around or fight over them? she wondered.

I have been watching one of the black and white spotted gilts [a gilt is a female pig that has not been bred], and I have decided to keep her as a possible therapy pig to join us on the Magical Misfit Mobile. She knows how to sit now [an easy task with pigs] and seems to be the most personable of the group. Eleanor is sweet but very different than Earnest and never really lays for belly rubs-she's a doer, busy, not a relaxer like Earnest. Earnest would be great on the Misfit Mobile but I'm afraid he's just a bit big for it, where as the gilts will stay smaller.

And her name is....Cornelia.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Magical Mobile is getting wings!

I've been busy thanking everyone in the past 24 hours. We reached our Kickstarter goal yesterday, and I am relieved! And thankful. Now the fun really begins. Although there is still 24 hours to support with a pledge if you are interested.

We have a lot of work to do! But I think we are all going to have fun watching this project be birthed, evolve, and see how it expands. I have big plans, and an open heart. Anyone who pledged at a reward level will se those rewards sometime in late October.

I am setting the deadline to have the Magical Misfit {Healing} Book Mobile completed for a June 19th, 2016 launch. We will have a celebration here at Apifera and everyone is invited. There will be Misfits to meet, and the Mobile will be open for people to sit and read to a Misfit.

Stay tuned as details emerge.

For now, I'm kind of relaxing for a day, at least mentally. But I have much to do, including writing that new book!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Moon....is Hughie's eyeball

I'm sure many of you witnessed the beautiful eclipse last night, The Blood Moon. But here at Apifera, I held Hughie the One Eyed Blind Pug up to the window and said,

"There it is, there is your eyeball."

It is something that many of you probably don't know-the story of The Giant One. While I have shared it here before, through the voice of the former One Eyed Pug, I will share it again in honor of the momentous occasion last night. So here it is, as told by our former pug, who lives on each full moon.

The Giant One
In which The One Eyed Pug I shares a secret of his breed, knowing the audience of this blog is open to the many mysteries of the universe, or at least is not judgmental.

As a young pup I knew my daily life was unique, as I could see much more like a fly. While I was often ridiculed by even the best of friends, I just got used to the stupid comments. People are much worse than the creatures with what they think are humorous pokes at my facial look. "Did you run into a wall?", they'd asked, in that baby talk voice they use on their own fledglings. I got so tired of it. At some point, I just couldn't stand it, and I took to passing gas, silently of course, if they told a joke about my face.

I lived just fine for many years with my over weight eyeballs, until one day, while living in the presence of the chocolate lab named after a pie, I was partaking in a good game of 'run around the tree really fast". As usual, I was slower, but since I am much smaller, was able to trip the big chocolate fellow up. This unfortunately caused him to fall, and I don't know if it was his toe, or a stick, or grass, that grazed my bald eyeball. But whatever it was, my eyeball fell ill, and did not improve. The Two Footers squeezed cool liquids and medicines into my aching orb, but one day later, my eyeball felt so heavy and so strange like it was swirling outside my head. When blood squirted out after one medicine was applied, the Two Footer rushed me into the Medicine Keeper in town.

They shot giant streams of light into my aching eyeball. I knew already what this meant. Our breed is forewarned even before we are born, in dreams and embryonic classes, on what life is often like with our bulging eyeballs. We know that there are many obstacles to our eyes. And we are raised to appreciate every day with out having something run into our eyeballs.

So by the tones of the Two Footer, and all the kisses I was getting, I knew my eyeball was moving onto the Great Place to live amongst stars and other magnificent orbs. This did not worry me. I knew my eyeball would be returning to where it originated, to The Giant One in the night sky. The Two Footers call it a moon, and they say it orchestrates tides of the ocean. The Giant One sends off little eyeballs to all the earthly mother pugs precisely at the time she gives birth.

We pugs don't bother to tell the Two Footers that our eyeballs are born from their moon, because we know most would scoff at it. But I am sharing it here with you, in case you live with a pug, so you can be more respectful of 'full moon' nights. We pugs call it "Giant One Calling" night. For once a month, on the full moon, all pugs instinctively gravitate to the garden, or window seat, and sit amongst the loving shinings of the moon.

And for those pugs who have lost an eye, or are blind, they turn their heads towards the sky, feeling the orbs hitting their heads, and in pride and comfort they know their eyeball is now with the Giant One. It will be nourished by starlight, and in time, it will return to another mother pug, and placed in a young pup to once again see earthly delights.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Need a good head shot? Stand by a lady llama.

An old friend from Minneapolis came out to Apifera yesterday. It was so good to see her after too many years-she's hardly changed. AS usual, lady Birdie proved to be the first Misfit to greet my friend, creeping up behind her and gently sticking her nose into our guest's face when she turned around. She is always such a hit with guests because most people have never gotten that up and close to a llama. I was the same way. Llamas are probably the most unusual creatures I have come in contact with at this stage in my life.

I thought this was a sweet photo of M'Lady. She definitely helps me look better in a photo-you know, get a llama in your net photo so she can cover up your middle aged neck waddle!

{I hate to mention it, but I will. There are only 5 days to get funding for our Magical Misfit [Healing} Book Mobile. We still need $1,150 at this stage-it feels like a million dollars to me-and I forgot how draining these Kickstarters are. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far!}

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's coming

The season has changed. One word was heard as a muffled voice flew over the farm,


A teacher nearing retirement in my grade school, as she listened to me in spring anticipate summer break, admonished me-

"Don't rush the season"

She was right. And of course, as my age advances, the metaphors of passing seasons does not go unnoticed. However...I'm glad to see this summer end. The heat, the dryness, the flies, fleas, lice, everything associated with heat-I'm ready to move on.

Last night it was chilly and as I did barn chores I suddenly began thinking of soup, and planned the cauliflower and pepper one I would make. We finished putting eight tons of hay in the barns–nothing feels better to me than getting the hay put up for the winter. I suppose it is like a mother knowing she has canned enough to feed her family through the winter. On the days we haul in hay, it is like Christmas in the barn-Boone is the most ecstatic. I give everyone extra hay that day-I mean it would be like someone bringing loads of cookies into my house and not sharing one or two.

Last night I sat on the deck, in a sweater with the pug buried under the blanket we shared. The light is shifting, the sky has become crisper, the leaves can be heard more clearly now as they get crisper hanging on to life for their final month. Birds were pecking the walnuts in the tree outside the garden. I love this time of year. I think most people do. I was thinking how it must go back to our primordial days and instincts. Autumn brings with it the innate desire to nest again–nesting brings with it survival and comfort.

We had many losses this year, as you know. As certain creatures leave, it gives me moments of repose on the deck at night to think of them, but also to think about how many new creatures will arrive, new adventures come with them and life goes on, even after the chill of autumn brings winter. Huck has taken to wanting to be inside instead of on the blanket on the deck when we do our evening sit down. This saddens me, but it part of the life with an aging friend. He is not sad, he just has shifted his comfort levels. I suppose in time, I will need a certain chair to be comfortable. Still, it leaves my relationship with Muddy an open window, and a new kind of bonding begins with him and me.

Itty stood on the railing last night-but she was not Itty Bitty. She was Big Etta, her outdoor name. The five pounder grows into a mountain lion when she is outdoors. I truly understand that when she looks at me from a high perch she is saying,loudly,

I am Big Etta and I am as huge as a house and strong as a lion.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Thank yous are in order

In any grief, there are beautiful moments of the other extreme-joyful memories, and current moments, that envelop the ones who just said good bye to a friend.

I named my September show, "Calling All Wings" for a reason, and my intuitive inner companion[s] were correct. While there is always loss in every one's life, I knew that the farm was going to go through some major losses-it's not magic, it's a fact that many of the original creatures of Apifera are aging. My flock is aging too. I knew all of this when I signed up to run this ship. There is no complaining here, just a wee bit spent after losing Stevie and Sugee back to back-and the many that preceded them this year. And I do grieve, openly, here at the farm. I have go-to animals I grieve with, Stevie was one, he is gone now. But I have Boone, and Marcella and Benne. Huck too, but he is very sensitive and can soak up my grief so I wait to tell him things. I have Martyn, my stoic, but always funny mate. I'm not really made of rock, just a bit of muscle and fat and bones that keep me upright, but I do mourn.I get to be all calm here, I edit myself-who wants to come to a blog and read a poorly written, misspelled mess of an inept attempt to share grief-this is not a counseling session.

I want to always share the deaths here- but I hope, you also always see I point out the life surrounding the death. It's a beautiful thing-life and death work together and if you can grasp that, be it in trees, leaves, dirt, animals, your parents of loved ones who have passed, it is a skill to acquire and grasp through out your life.

But anyway, thank yous. Like I said out of sad moments come compassion of others. Some are strangers to me, or they read my blog and have been following along for many years. They too grieve when one of their online farm friends die, I understand that, and don't take it lightly. They send nice notes and buy some art in Sugee's honor, or outright send me a donation. Some just send love. All of it is appreciated-thank you so much. Thank you mostly for continuing to follow along. There are many new adventures in store for all of us. I can't wait to find out what they are. Death or life, we will have adventure together!

This photo of Birdie should make you smile. It was my view the day of after Sugee died. Around her were a scampering, limping army of small statured goats, some crippled, some wide bodied, but all very much alive and and asking me in unison,

Hail to Sugee! Where is breakfast?

There is much to do this week- I am getting the lavender bud ready to sell again, the Kickstarter project is 50% funded but we only have 10 more days to get it funded! The book will really begin in earnest this week, finally. And it is fall, the barnyard is preparing for the annual celebration in October - more on that later.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I gave Sugee her wings

It was a beautiful, clear, cool morning.

I had big plans for the day, as I headed out to do morning feedings. Martyn had to spend the day in town on business so I was anticipating a day of deworming the upper barnyard, fixing some fence, and perhaps beginning to deworm the flock.

I was deep in thought as I greeted Earnest and Marcella at the gate, my head down as we walked to the barn. I did some feedings and was headed to the pig paddock when I saw her. As I ran to her, I was trying to figure out the situation even before I got to her. She responded, barely, as I called out her name.

She had somehow got her hind hip and leg completely caught in the lower pasture fence. I assessed everything calmly, and then ran to the old barn to find wire clippers. Meanwhile her pasture mates-the rams and her daughter Wilma-were some 100 feet away, nonchalantly eating hay.

When I got the wire off her, I could see the upper interior leg area was bloody and very swollen from the pressure of trying to get out of it. I couldn't ascertain if and how deep the wire had cut into her skin. When I got to her she was on her side, and one side of her face had cuts, her eye was swollen because she had tried to right herself but couldn't. Her teeth were chipped, and her lower lip was pretty chewed up, even ragged.

I ran back to the house and the blessing was my main equine vet was on call-she was the vet who had actually been the one that found Sugee with her ears chewed off and starving, and eventually Sugee came to Apifera, so this vet has been out here a lot to help me with Sugee. While she drove out here, I stayed with Sugee, and tried to determine how weak she was. She could not get up. And she didn't have much energy.

I assumed she'd had another seizure, and was possibly still in the midst of one. All of her other seizures she was always able to right herself. Not today. She'd been through an ordeal.

I was able to get her to drink. And then I groomed her mane with my bare hands. She has a huge, full, beautiful golden mane. I pretty much knew we would have to put her down. It was her time.

"My mother used to run her hands through my hair," I told her. I sang to her a little bit too, about a place where her ears would be and she could see and run.

At some point, the rams came over and watched. And finally, old Wilma, her daughter came to the fence and knickered. Sugee did not respond. I knew then without doubt she was ready.

When the vet arrived, discussed options, but we both knew we were putting her out of pain at this point. And we could tell by some of her body reactions she was already kind of checking out. She went fast.

I took these photos before the vet arrived. Some might think it odd to post pictures like this-or even take them-but I believe in sharing the the real life of my animals, and I also feel these scenes are beautiful. What I see here is not a forty year old pony about to die, I see an elder who has been cared for, had a home, and is lying in the sun on a perfect morning. She had trauma, yes, but we were all with her in the end, and she is now at peace. No more seizures or falling, no more fear for me of that happening.

When the vet put the syringe in her neck, and the death medicine went in, the second it was done, we heard Pino bray from the upper paddock.

"They always know, " my vet said.

I too believe that. And I believe that is why her daughter who has been with her for thirty years or more, was so calm. She had said her good byes, perhaps weeks ago.

I haven't asked for money for Misfit care outright for some time, on purpose. But with the many deaths of the past month, burials, vet bills, I have some items you can buy below - to say you honor old lives like Sugee's. No pressure, especially if you can't, or have recently bought art or books.

I'm just relieved for her. She is resting now.

Mama Sugee love

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The voice of White Dog returns

I am beginning my new book this week. I don't have a working title, but I know what the book will look and feel like-something I will share as I get further into it. The book will engage the Misfits, perhaps both past and present, and their voices, but I feel strongly that White Dog, aka Benedetto, will have a strong role and possible narration voice in the book.

I read on another person's blog recently, a published animal 'expert', make a remark that animals don't talk in words and it was insinuated that only people are asinine to think so. I think his opinion is partially inaccurate. No, they do not open their mouths and say,

"Get me some food, please."

But they communicate in gestures, eye position, ear and tail movement-and those actions are sent through my brain and become reactions, and sometimes, words. Not all the time, but if I am going to translate my experiences with these animals, I choose to use my language, which involves words, my language. I do not feel I 'dummy down' these words into a Disney movie [not that all Disney movies do this, but many do, as do many animal books and movies].

I have been working on this book in my head for many months and wanted to wait until the show was over. Last night, I had an upsetting dream. It was a recurring dream within a series of dreams. Benedetto was gone, and we didn't know where he was but we feared he was not coming back. At one point, a sheriff told us there were people stealing Maremmas and shipping them to dog compounds overseas, and we would never get him back.

This might have nothing to do with my new book, I don' know. I just know that White Dog comes like this, and seems to have strong messages. So today I'm pondering that as I prepare to begin writing.

Last night, we were out with Huck and Mud, the labs, and I caught these images. I was transfixed to the sky, the wind had just picked up and I felt a storm developing in what seemed like an instant-that happens here by the coast range. The White Dogs know their territory. Marcella is much more the guard than Benne, in fact she is the Alpha of everyone. They take note of the labs, and then Huck–who is the least brave creature I've ever known-ran up to the fence in play but immediately turned around and ran to me. The picture you don't see is Huck standing behind me afterwards for protection.

Earnest of course took it all in stride. Man, I love that pig.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Free parking in clouds

When you have a Misfit pass, parking is free in the clouds. While the Magical Misfit Book Mobile will normally be pulled by my truck, I can't control its magical powers-and it will most likely float around too. Raggedy Man will pop out of his dutch door to greet passers by, and young girls will swoon over the pig-that is if I can squeeze him into the 5' x 8' mobile. 15 days left to get funding.

Will we make it?

The Misfits tend to be an optimistic bunch, which also fuels magic which fuels their Mobile. I will stick with that answer.


Just a quick post updating you on workshops and other delights:

~ The online workshop, "Capturing the Essence" which was developed in 2014, is now once again open for new students. But this time there is a deadline. Registration is open now through 9/30/15. The lessons must be completed by 11/30/15-after which links will be blocked.

~ "Emerging Crones" is a new workshop that will be held in April, 2016. I don't have all the details and pricing yet, but this will be an all day doll making workshop where we explore and celebrate as women emerging into our middle years and  'crone' years. People have been asking me to do a doll workshop for some time. Stay tuned!

~ The Kickstarter project, The Magical Misfit Book Mobile, has only 15 days to get funded. We still need $2400 to get our raggedy jalopy off the ground! Come on Misfitians, we can do this! Visit the funding page to see a movie and read more.

~ And this week, I am beginning my new book! Still no working title, but it will be magical, heartfelt, and I think White Dog and other present and former Misfits will be telling you a lot of stories. I will be sharing things as they develop. I hope to have the book finished by late spring.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

When you need undewear and you need it fast

The show was wonderful, the gallery really did a wonderful job hanging everything-I was thrilled! Spoke to a lot of wonderful folks, including some art friends and sold some things-I've learned to never really look to the opening as a huge sales night, but red dots are desired and appreciated!

I did have about an hour of complete mishap, anxiety, trauma and angst. But since it turned out fine, it is now a very memorable funny story to tell you all. As many of you know, I rarely get to leave the farm for a night, so it was with great excitement we left for a night in water side hotel, to relax before the show and to be able to spend the night and have a good meal with friends and not have to rush home to the farm [thanks to our lovely farm sitters]. We arrived in Astoria and had a bite to eat of fresh fish on the piers. I was anticipating a nap before the show, something I rarely get to do. I was simply enjoying the entire day and anticipation of the show, and had bought a new outfit that I felt good in [which is difficult right now in my Emerging Crone body]. We got to the hotel and before taking my nap, I went to lay out my clothes.

I opened my suitcase and there was no outfit.

All I had to wear was the holey, raggedy tie dye tshirt I had on, and either a pair of mud ridden, sloppy jeans, or a pair of dumpy veterinarian pants that I wear a lot.

I was absolutely...crushed.

The show was one hour and fifteen minutes away.

It was one of those moments where I knew there was nothing I could do to change the situation-but I could not accept it. Even if I could find a dress, I had no proper soldier underwear to go with it-you know, ladies, the kind of undergarment required to hold in those extra bulges. And , I'll be honest, I had a bra on, but no underpants. Yep, I go camo a lot, what can I say.

I cried. Martyn felt horrible. In true Dirt Farmer fashion, he did the only thing he could do to help,

"You can wear my belt..."

I ranted at myself, and even threw myself flat on the bed.I had managed to make all the right lists for the farm sitter, and get all the animals squared away with feed and sch, but had neglected to put my clothes in the suitcase. At least I had toiletries.

So I called the gallery they calmly led me to a couple stores right by the gallery. So we got in the car, and off we went to find me some underwear and clothes. I ended up rushing in and out of about three stores and there was nothing. We ended up going into JC Penny's-at least I could get some leggings and soldier underwear. JC Penny in Astoria felt like I stepped into the 1950's. I kept taking deep breaths and managed to find leggings, camisole and a top which was mediocre and would make me look like a flower girl, but whatever. While in the postage stamp sized dressing room, I got stuck in the soldier under wear-I mean, those camisoles these days are made to hold in lots of skin! I was beginning to panic but finally got my arm free on one side and got out of it. We made our way to the gallery, and there happened to be a lovely small shop next door. They had expensive beautiful kimonos, but a rack of mini dresses perfect for me and my cheesy JC Penny leggings. I was in and out of there in five minutes. I made it to the gallery and since everyone knew my situation we all had a good laugh about it.

So, I got a new outfit out of it, something I rarely treat myself too. And some new soldier top underwear.

Friday, September 11, 2015

My gentle kissing giant has died

It caught me completely off guard. You'd think that wouldn't happen any more after these many years of living and caring for these special needs souls. Surely, you're thinking, I should not be shocked to see one of them lying dead.

But, it was shocking. I had just carried down night time feed to the pig pen, and looked up to throw hay over the gate, and there he was. I knew he was dead, but for seconds my intuition had me believing he was cast and I could help him. It is odd what your impulses can do in dramatic situations, especially when you are an optimist. I dropped the feed, with piglets swarming around me, and rushed to him.

I'll admit. It was all dramatic. I often have written that when an animal is dying the last thing they need is a human dramatically weeping over them. Showing sadness is one thing, creating drama for them is just stressful for them. But he was dead, and I was shocked, so I held him and wailed to the sky.

Birdie and Marcella came to me. And little Sir Tripod Goat came over too, for seconds. The other animals went about with eating their hay. They had accepted Stevie's passing immediately I suspect. I've seen that over and over here-they recognize death, but move on.

In true Stevie fashion, a goat that had no ego, he had not just picked a proper day to die, but a proper hour of the day. We will be heading out to Astoria on Saturday for the show, leaving a trusted farm sitter, and he died on a day that allowed me to be with his body, mourn, and bury him properly with dignity, without rushing. He also timed it so he didn't die hours before I had to leave, and he waited until the cooler part of the day, when Martyn was only ten minutes from the farm so we could dig a grave in the still crusty dry soil.

You might think I'm creating this all in my always active imagination–but I do believe he knew I would take care of his body properly, and he wanted me to do it. I believe animals that have bonds with us as caretakers are intuitively connected to things we don't give them credit for-because most of us have lost that intuition we had millions of years ago. I have no proof for this. But I believe it, because it happens over and over with my animals here.

Stevie has touched so many people all over the country. He was a magnet for love and a vessel of unending reciprocal soul healing. He retained his dignity even with the most crippled body that has arrived at Apifera. When they found Stevie and his herd years ago, he was living in muck and mud engulfing his limbs. His feet were so long and curled he had been living on his knees to move around, which eventually made it impossible for him to stand. His herd was confiscated, and Stevie was singled out as the worst off, and also the most endearing character. He was given a very expensive operation thanks to the Humane Society in Southern Oregon and a vet who wanted to help. They operated on his ligaments so he could at least stand to move, and eventually he went to Sanctuary One where Apifera adopted him, along with Rosie the grumpy pig.

When I first met Stevie and saw his condition, I wondered if the operation had been the right thing to do for him. I see animal advocates all too often stepping in and no matter what it takes to save an animal from euthanizing it, they do it, without always looking at the way that particular animal lives in natural situations. There are worse things than death. I continued to wonder this for days after he arrived at Apifera. But as I got to know him, watch him, and understand him, I am grateful they gave him a second chance at life. Stevie arrived with the world's grumpiest pig-he had allowed her to sleep near him at Sanctuary One when no other animal would tolerate her grumpiness. They arrived at Apifera together and within months, Rosie grew more independent, and confidant, and often slept without Stevie. In time, I moved him down to the lower Misfit Village because Marcella the pup had arrived and was a bit overwhelming for him.

When he moved to the Lower Village, he really began to blossom. Perhaps not having to caretake Rosie was one factor, but he started to walk around more and graze.

One of Stevie's most endearing qualities, was that when another new animal arrived that needed some emotional protection, they sensed Stevie was their Go To Man. I saw it happen over and over, a weak newcomer would sleep near Stevie for days into weeks until they sensed they had the confidence to venture out more. And when Stevie had a bout of falling and casting a couple years ago, and we really worried we were losing him, who took care of him? Our beautiful elder, Aldo, the Great White, the llama who also had spiritual qualities much like Stevie.

Many have said that Stevie taught us lessons. There are books galore about how animals are our teachers. I have heard a lot of people say they prefer animals to humans. I don't agree with the latter opinion. I think there are some jerks that are people, and some animals with damaged personalities that I won't bond with. I think putting animals above people is against Nature, and is a flawed view of what true Nature is and always has been. And I think one of the things Stevie symbolizes is just this. He was not better than you or I. He was not more worthy of respect than any of the other animals here, or in the woods, or in the ground. He would not seek that adulation. And I will not place that on him.

But what he was is clear to me, someone who had the privilege to live with him all these years–he was a symbol of dignity, doing what he could to keep going with what he had. After all he went through in his former life, he still loved people. He didn't just show up to a person to get a treat, he enjoyed companionship, and kissing. Those kisses. If you were blessed to have one from him, you understand. Martyn and I were pondering his life and we both felt the best thing I gave him these past years was a way to share himself with people, he got a lot out of it and gave double in return. On the day he couldn't share any more, his body stopped, but his soul reached out into the fields and all over, and grabbed people and said, "I'm okay, thank you for helping, thank you for the food, thank you for coming around to see me."

We buried Stevie in the lavender field, next to Stella. I buried a copy of "Misfits of Love" with him so he'd have all his buddies with him, including his old friend Rosie. I had just trimmed his feet this weekend and was glad he went to his grave in the best possible condition he and I could muster.

And Rosie, you ask? Does she know? Yes, I told her this morning. What I found rather interesting, when I went to feed her in her private suite in Old Barn, she was still sleeping, which is unusual, as she is normally up and anticipating her favorite thing besides sleeping-food. I watched her for a minute, said her name, and she continued to sleep, letting out little dream grunts, still deep in her sleep. I wondered if Stevie had passed through her, just like my father, and mother, and many others have passed through me the day before they died, or the day of.

I patted her head to wake her, she rushed to the feed dish.

"Stevie is dead," I told her. Instead of being all grumpy as usual, she was very quiet while she ate and I rubbed her belly. Perhaps it was was her homage to her old friend, staying ungrumpy for one or two minutes in his honor.

Stevie is dead. But I can assure you, he and I have plans. I already discussed it with him. When I get up each morning, I can see the bottom field where his fresh grave is. Just like when we laid our old friend Stella to rest there, it gave me comfort to look down and see where he is buried. I know exactly how I laid the body in the grave, his head wrapped in cloth, his book laying at his heart. His head faces the river where the eagles land on snags.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Trodden paths...and the show

{View the entire show on my site, with info and pricing. You can purchase any item now-even before the opening}

Of all the places to stand on our farm, this vista looking down to Old Barn is perhaps the most magical for me. I think it has to due with deeply rooted memories of being a child, where I would walk in pastures near our then house-that sat between properties that had once had working barns but development caused them to be repurposed into storage units for more modern dwellings. I can remember finding the trodden paths made by horses and walking them, hoping the neighbors horses were out. I still think of that when I see the many paths created here-by donkey, sheep and goats. They make intricate roads, sometimes running parallel to one another-the donkeys take one path, the sheep another. And they are often on steep hills- it amazes me how they run at high speeds on those paths.

I have been very busy getting ready for the Saturday opening, and I'm so excited for it. I feel this is my best body of work I've ever done for a show. We drove everything up to Astoria, a two+ hour drive, yesterday and I hung out for awhile in the wonderful space my work will be hung. It's the biggest of the rooms in the gallery but still intimate, and it is perfect for the work. I have to say, I was sad to leave my creatures behind, but their lives now are evolving into what they will be. I had the best time making my clay and sewn creatures, and the stories that go with them-I felt those stories deeply and they came to me intuitively. I think they will resonate with people, I really do.

The show pieces are now on my site, with a pricing. You can call the gallery and purchase anything before the opening-even today through Saturday-it is always encouraging to walk into the opening and see a red dot or two!

Monday, September 07, 2015

The joyful season for us has begun

The air has cooled and the rains have lifted our spirits, and the hearts of the grasses, and while Christmas is usually what the commercial realm labels "jouyous" for us it has begun-with the harvesting of the pumpkin friends!

We shall eventually eat them all in one way or another-be it pig, dog, chicken or goat-but before we do we admire them, roll them around, and stand in them.

Harvesting of the pumpkins has become more complicated due to Muddy and Marcella. We used to bring choice pumpkins out to the house for decoration and enjoyment-but one by one, Mud would relish the flesh of his orange friends. I don't know if your dog has ever consumed a pumpkin a day, but the gas that ensuea is pretty overwhelming. Then it became apparent that Marcella would go to great lengths-although with her innate shape shifting abilities I don't think it was difficult for her- to dig under the pumpkin patch fence and eat parts of pumpkins, bringing the chickens in with her, and maybe a duck or two, to finish them off.

So this year I gathered the ripe ones and hid them in the vegetable area. We still are waiting for Old Man Guinnias's giant pumpkin-every year I plant seeds on Guinnias' grave, and a huge elephant sized pumpkin emerges. Of course you will be invited to that special event and I will write about here later this month.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

When the blind pug dresses

Last year, people sent their old dog coats to help me keep the Misfits warm and dry if needed. Many of the coats were way to small for any Misfits, and probably too big for chilled lambs, so I donated the teeny tiniest ones, but kept some smaller sizes...just in case.

And then Hughie came into my life. And like any Pug, he prefers some warm attire in the chilly season. So this outer jacket will make him cozy–when he's not under a blanket with me!

Hughie is just a wonderful little chap. I can't say it enough. There is rarely a day that goes by that I don't look down at him in wonder and joy and think,

I'm so happy to have a Pug in my life again.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Raggedy Man has something to say!

Some might be surprised at the depth of his abilities. He's Raggedy Man and he's on board with the new venture. Are you able to help Raggedy ramble?

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Post it note from a father

My father, an architect, was hip long before we all knew it I guess. The tiny house trend that has swept the Northwest, especially Portland, has been around fr many years. Many before the current little house people have sought out a simpler life, a small place to call their own, away from all things commercially chaotic, all things related to the daily storms of a normal work or family life. Virginia Wolfe wrote about it, Waldon's book is still popular, some just used their cars to be vagabonds-but many have been building tiny houses for their own inner sanctums for centuries.

So, when I was looking for ideas for The Magical Misfit Book Mobile, I remembered that many years ago-back in the '80's I think, my father had this book called "Tiny Houses". As an architect he really loved it because it had floor plans and was compiled by an architect. It was not DIY by any means, and the houses shown did not cost the whopping amount of money you pay for them today [most in the $60,000 range]-nor did they include extravagant high tech kitchens or facades.

I went to my book shelves in the guest room, as I was sure I had at some time taken the book in my adult years. There was a time in the 90's, before Apifera, before Oregon or Martyn even, when I thought I could find land and plop a little house on it, even if it was just for weekends. I had used the book to dream. I was right, I did have the book and I brought it out last night to show Martyn.

As I opened it up, there was one yellow Post-it Note in the pages, marking a specific tiny house-it was called "Architect's Studio". And on the post it, I saw the familiar handwriting of my father, Bob, and it said,

For me B.D.

It brought tears to my eyes. This was a note to his dream, to have a little studio somewhere all to himself where he could dream and smoke a pipe and be on his own, a vagabond in the woods, dreaming up three dimensional masterpieces.

I knew he never got that studio. He bought small plots of land twice in my years of growing up, to build his dream, but he never was able to afford it, or circumstances changed and other responsibilities of family took over the dream. He remodeled a lot of houses, built us a tree house or two, but he never got to build his own little squatter's paradise.

I was meant to remember that book, and I think my father pops in every time we talk about our plans for the Magical Misfit Book Mobile,

You can do this, there is nothing stopping you, you are unstoppable.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

A Magical Misfit Book Mobile is launched!

Imagine this: a tiny red trailer with a teeny tiny dutch door about 2 feet high opens, and there is a little goat greeting you. There is a homemade pie on the shelf above, and beautiful illustrated books to read and buy. You can go inside too, and sit and read to the goat.

I have another dream-to take my books and a Misfit or two and travel about in a little tiny red book shop, plop down at markets, schools, libraries, elder facilities, private parties and more.

A book shop where you can also sit and read to one of the characters from my book-a goat named Raggedy Man, or maybe Professor Otis Littleberry will be there with me.

I looked into have one built, but the prices were over $6,000 so Martyn and I are going to build one-with your help! We think we can do a good job with $3,200 and I've launched a Kickstarter project today; I have 29 days to raise the money, if I don't reach the goal I get no money, and anyone who donated gets all their money back.

We have a trailer bed and the finished book shop on wheels will be tiny-5' x 8' and 6 foot tall. There will be a big open window for me to look out and chat and sell books; a smaller two foot high double dutch door for a small Misfit to poke his head out, a reading chair inside for one or two children or one adult who can read to the animal, maybe a fresh homemade pie as my gift; and lots of love. I'm going to have wood on the outside and paint it red, and inside off white wainscoating. I want it to be intimate [how can it not be?] and people can also enjoy the animal. Maybe even the blind pug!

I am asking for all you Misfitians to come together and help me fund this. I want it to inspire young girls to write and be entrepreneurs, artists and authors to think indie and outside the box, I want people to have fun, read and walk away feeling full of Misfit love.

We have 29 days left- please support us if you can, and share away!