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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Culling, bunnies and freedom to grow

I have been reinspired by this new setting in Maine, and have not even truly gotten into it in earnest. The Wood here is important to me, and in time, The Sea. I seem to go from painting in grays and whites and then back to blues and whites, and then there are the bunnies. Last week I challenged myself to paint about Aleppo...I guess the bunnies in the night glow was an antidote.

Having Isabelle Noir in the studio is really nice. She is very affectionate and likes my company. She sits right by the chair, and will hop up and sit behind me. I think I need to get her chair to sit right beside me, don't you think? I know, I don't allow comments anymore, so how can you respond. {For the record, I felt there are so many, too many, places for people to comment on social platforms. I'm tired of it. So that's all it is.}

This has already been a year of 'culling'. When I first announced our move from Oregon to Maine back a year ago, I could tell I'd lost some followers. I wasn't sure why, and it felt strange. Some were Oregon animal followers and even though I went to great strides to bring my Misfits, some quit reading, or left the newsletter. But I don't look at those as losses anymore. They have their own reasons, and often it isn't personal, it's boredom, change of interest...need to simplify. But I also realized when I looked in my data base, many of those people never contributed anything to my art, career, or Apifera. Some might've bought an art card, or a book, but most were not reciprocating what I was giving out over many years-stories, hard work, humor, whim, art, books...puppet movies. And please, i am not suggesting by reading here you 'owe' me. But I have to make a living, and I've been writing an ad-free blog for over ten years, and I work hard to provide refreshing, heartfelt, real content. I think I add value to the world. I want to get paid like anyone else-eventually.

So, some are culled either in mind, or in other ways.

It's a wonderful stage of life, this about to turn 59 in spring stage. I don't need-and I can say I seek it very infrequently as I age-the approval of others.

One of the worst things you can lay on an artist or writer is to try to hold them down to keep doing what you like, and not what they internally are called to do- one should watch them like a growing child, in splendor as that artist grows, expands, changes, falls, gets up-and that means the color palette changes, the subject matters change, the tone might be tweaked-it's all part of an artist growing and being in their own personal flow. And to be clear, when someone you are following changes their style or subject in a way that doesn't resonate, by all means, look away, cull yourself. But the artist must cull too, and recognize which 'followers' need to be culled, even if they are culled invisibly.

But I have felt immense freedom of late acknowledging my own culls.

I do need my bunny. She is truly sweet and I am already very fond of her presence in the studio.

Available in the shop

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reprieve with the pig

It has been mild for two days, like spring. The ice melted.

And the The World's grumpiest But I Am Fine As I Am Pig came out for the first time in weeks. Like Solstice, I celebrated it with her, this coming out, this acknowledgment that winter days are to be blessed for the book end feeling of surprise spring days. She was uncharacteristically cheerful this morning, so I petted her behind the ears, her one spot of acceptance. And then I helped her back to her suite, covered her in straw, put my gloves in my pocket, happy to be able to open the gate with bare fingertips. These are the reprieves of winter. And they are worthy of my gratitude.

We are celebrating our incredible year here, all week. We are happy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

When your likeness ends up in an antique shop

I kind of wish Martyn was a rabid photographer so he could take images of me with the animals. Years from now when we are long dead, someone would pick some of the images out of a shoe box in an antique store and think,

That looks like a good life, I wonder who she was?

At the same time, I hate having my image taken at this stage-or since about ten years ago I guess. I am not photogenic, and I just can't imagine that many of the images are what I look like. They don't match my insides, I like to think. I do know this feeling has been acknowledged by close friends and relatives when I see certain photos and cringe,

"Do I really look like that?"

"No," they say.

I know some people that always look like themselves in photos, consistently. I know others that always look way younger or way more 'something' in photos-I suppose this is worse, to look better than in real life, as when people meet you you they might wonder if they can believe their eyes.

A photographer friend told me a photo is just light, so when I see something that doesn't look like what the mirror shows, it's like a magic trick. Good way to calm down the photo subject down.

Anyway, my brother came and took some photos, mainly of the farm and a little road trip we took. I was happy to see this image of me and a pig. I mean it isn't anything special, but for once there is a photo of me to look back on in coming years. And in all fairness to Martyn, I think it's nice he doesn't photograph. I know of a couple where the husband never puts down his camera. That would drive me nuts, and I have no interest to share every second of every trip to the barn, grocery shop, cafe, good days and bad with the public. I can't imagine why you'd want to see it [collective eye roll from barnyard], that is, if you don't know me in real life.

But it would be nice to have one soft focus shot of me roaming in the field with donkeys on one side, my skin alabaster, the llama in the middle, and pigs trotting along, maybe a White Dog or two could be off in the blurry distance. You know, the kind of photo you see in an antique store and think,

I wonder who she was and what happened to her.

Maybe that's all I'll pass on to the next land dwellers. My books will be collecting dust somewhere in an attic and the grandchildren have to come along and clean the estate out. They might stop to look through one, just as I have done with old books, and find a connection with a photo, for whatever reason.


I spent time working on my illustration portfolio and decided to challenge myself and do some images about my angst about Aleppo. I think we have all been haunted by the images, the ones that get out into mainstream that is. I wanted to do a series of portraits of the children, and researched other images.

It was very difficult.

I had to stop after a couple pieces. And I just thought,

But they can't stop. They are smack inside of the mess created by governments of power and regimes of greed with goals they think are worthy. It is all horrific, as any war has been.

A friend said, she applauded my attempt, but could 'not go there'. I understand. Even Martyn felt my angst and suggested I stick to my farm art and happy emotions. But...what can we do to show empathy for them. And empathy needs to lead to other actions in order to help them, and it seems it hasn't. I applaud the aid workers. I've carried limp bodies, but 99% were animals that died naturally. To hold a rag doll child crushed in rubble...how does one get through that, pass through that experience. Maybe never. My father never talked of WWII, he was in four years of Pacific battles as a Marine, and only takes to me in detail about it once. But he loved war movies. As I aged I came to think it was his way of coping with what he saw, maybe it helped it make sense of it.

I, and most of you reading [not all] have been graced with a life without civil war, without bombs falling...I hope that is true for us all as we go towards the future. I just don't know what these images can do to help. And that isn't what doing them is necessary about. But it is what I did to try to share empathy at the moment.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Paco? Where is Baby Jesus?

The manger scene never works out as planned. Hughie was going to be Baby Jesus this year. We have it all-the sheep, the manger, the straw, Joseph, and Marcella would be Mary. Earnest offered to step in as Baby Jesus....but it was all getting overly complicated. So our Christmas morning is much like other mornings-spent together, in Nature, among animals and rooster sounds...a beautiful blue sky today with thirties and big gusts which make The Wood alive with tree music.

A red cardinal has been coming to the bush outside our bedroom window. I know it's my father. He loved Christmas and loved to go all out with wrapping and cookies, stocking stuffers, good food and wine. He loved birds too and my parents always had bird feeders. We laughed that they must be looking over us this holiday because for the first time in our marriage we have bought a bird feeder and seed-something we never did in Oregon because of the cat population. I felt my dad saying,

Finally, you're feeding the cardinals!

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Well, what a year. Probably the most change I've ever been through besides birth. I had intended to go all out for Christmas, with a tree and all, and revive the Garland Festival [but I have posted here some past and present Misfits form past Garland festivals-until next year]...but you know...I went with my inner flow instead and focused on art and spending time in my new home with animals and Martyn. We said so many goodbyes this year, and now I am focusing on the hello's while still honoring people and creatures from the past.The changes this year were more significant than usual. I would not want to relive this year, but it is a conduit for so many things to come. and some of those things are already presenting themselves. I hope for light, for all of us. I am grateful for a warm bed, clothes, food, a life I like and somehow manage to survive financially each year and care for the farm...my husband....and all these four and three legged wonders out there. Life is going fast. I'm whirling right along with it and at this speed I don't dare blink. As long as I can be in Nature, I can survive emotionally I think, I hope for that as I age-Nature.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to so many who share their lives with me.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Hopes are here for you!!

I decided we all need some hope and happy.

And now when you can subscribe to the newsletter, you will get a weekly "Happy Hopes" brought to you by me and Apifera love.

Each 'Happy Hope' is a emotive piece of art by me, with words meant to inspire, encourage or comfort. Or just make you smile. There will be nothing else on the mailer, just a piece of art. You will have the option to buy them as prints too.

I will send each Happy Hope out on Monday to start your week.

So hop on board-all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter [it's free]! And please share this page with your friends too. This is going to be fun for me too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fairies trust me

Fairies are rampant at Apifera, they only come out when they feel comfortable with their surroundings, so sightings are rare with guests. I was so happy that early on after we arrived in Maine I found fairies in The Wood. Maine seems like a perfect place for these wondrous creatures especially since they love forests and there are so many woodlands here. I was fortunate enough to witness a baby fairy being born, and made this image for all of you since I know these creatures are very hesitant to allow humans into heir world. They trust me.

I also love that the snow makes the trees sparkle, and helps me find the bunny paw prints that lead me to burrows and icy birds sitting a top trees. Snow and stars all make winter a wonderland here in Maine, and Apifera and creatures are taking notice.

Both of these are now available as prints.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Love Letter to My Father Christmas

My annual story revisited about my Father Christmas.

Dear Father Christmas,

I remember seeing you that night, I can remember the house we lived in and that means I was six years old. I loved that house, remember it had a riding arena out in the back where the nearby high school girls would journey through the woods on their horses and ride around and around. I would run out to greet them and sometimes they would lift me up to ride double. And every Christmas, I asked you for a horse. Of course you remember, because you are Father Christmas and you feel the hearts of everyone, good and bad, and you especially are sensitive to the naive hearts who still believe in magic no matter what the age.

But I remember that night, even though it was some fifty one years ago. I remember it was snowing and mother and father had us all tucked into bed, which was not easy because we always got to stay up late on Christmas Eve and watch for you. They were wise though, they knew exactly when you would come down the chimney. My brother who was a year older and very wise, like a scientist, he said you most likely came through the door and that the chimney story was just preposterous. He said preposterous. Even so, I was always concerned that the fire was out long before you arrived so as not to burn you. But you knew this too because you are Father Christmas.

So we got all tucked into our beds, my brother in the upstairs attic room, and me in the downstairs room, right near the chimney and living area. My parents stayed up some, but then I saw the light reflections in my bedroom windows go dim, and I heard foot steps walk off down the hall. I lay in bed...waiting. I was sure if I just stayed very still, you wouldn't know I was awake and you would come. I'm impatient, I always was even then, and I got up out of bed and crept to my window, looking up into the snow flakes falling, convinced you would descend at any moment. The snow made a sound, even through the window, a puff, whoosh, then silent until the wind blew it into the panes.

I heard noises, but not from the roof, from the living room. How did I miss this, I wondered, you must have come to the house from another direction. I ever so softly opened my door and tip toed out into the nightly house, the lights of the tree guiding my tiny toes.

And what I saw is etched in my mind to this day. The beautiful tree was lit and the tiny colored lights bounced off the white socks of someone sitting in my father's chair. And you had a little black dog in your lap, just like us. It was you, Father Christmas and you were smoking a pipe-I couldn't see the smoke but it smelled like what my father smoked in his pipe. But you know all this, because you are Father Christmas.

I let out a Haley Mills gasp, holding my little hands over my mouth.

I heard another door in the house, and slipped back to my room and got so quickly into my bed in case somehow you might see me all the way from the living room. I got under the covers, and clutched my brown bear, and didn't move. I am not even sure I was breathing, but the next thing I remember is waking up to a beautiful sun over glistening snow crystals on my window.


I ran to the tree and the first thing I did was look for anything that might indicate you had brought me a horse. I was sure there might be something somewhere out of sight that would be kept until all the presents were opened. But you didn't bring me the horse and as the morning wore on, I quickly accepted that.

"He can't carry a horse in the sky," my brother suggested. "You'll just have to wait some more."

I didn't tell anyone that morning about seeing you. I don't know why. But I know it was you.

Years later now, I think back to that night, seeing you in the chair. I imagined you were just resting in the quiet of the busiest night in your life, enjoying a moment to yourself, with your dog, the beautiful light emanating out of the tree, enjoying a smoke. You were probably tired because you worked so hard to bring us gifts and you just needed some time to yourself to be you. And I know you never did bring me that horse, but I did get one, and it is better that it worked out that way.

But you know that, because you were and will always be my Father Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Marcella...three years I would not change for anything

Marcella turns three today. I have said it before, she is the most challenging creature I have ever worked with, but the operative word there is "work". She has taught me more than I have taught her, I am sure of that.

She and I have worked on boundaries, commitment, accessibility to our true cores and consistency–the latter is something all creatures crave, I find.

Marcella was my first outdoor dog, she arrived as a pup and immediately slept in the barn. We did not get her when we first arrived at the old Oregon farm, and that is a good thing. We waited some time to bring a guard dog on, because I didn't think I was ready. Even after she arrived, I had my own issues with 'letting go' of worry for her safety. I held her back in ways. She still had a job and did it well, but I did hold her back a bit, in fear I'd lose her. I lost animals at the old farm regularly since it was part of the deal in taking on elder creatures, many of them on their last months, so keeping Marcella safe was something I clutched. I guess I still do.

Her territory to be guarded is more compact here. Benedetto is in charge of the sheep, Marcella is in charge of the pigs and smaller Misfits. She mainly protects them from sneaky, invading squirrels and rats that sneak into their area, undercover agents looking for dropped grain. But she takes her job just as seriously, and when the coyotes bark in the woods, Benedetto takes up the lead position, but Marcella reciprocates to form a unified front.

She was a comical little pup, and of course if you follow along here you know the charm of her relationship with the then piglet, Earnest, and to this day they reside together. Their fondness for one another is apparent, but she has become the alpha and I suppose you could say that Earnest has learned something other smart males do...if the woman is happy, the house is happy.

I never tire of looking at her photos. I never tire of taking them. She is Grace Kelly, she is Joan of Arc, she is Head Mistress and sometimes she is just a girl looking to smell the warm dust as she naps...she is the most magnificent, always beautiful, never to be replaced...Marcella.

Available at the shop

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Isabelle Noir

I like having her in the studio. Small interactions like these can keep a person joyful, even under doubt laden clouds. A bunny in the room simply makes those heavy clouds move a bit faster, or appear less doubtful. That is my experience, anyway.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Embracing her...The Road

"The Road" available at the shop
Our old farm in Oregon was much more rural than our current Apifera, about 8 miles from a tiny town where one of my vets was and I could buy gas, meet friends occasionally at a small cafe, but not much else there. It was 12 miles from the town we shopped at and Martyn was driving out 50 miles into Portland and then back again each day, rain or shine. Our farm was much more open-as in pastoral, with the entire 22 acres cleared and used for farming. Any neighbors were pretty much out of site–we had to plant trees on one side for a problematic neighbor, but our house sat well off the gravel road that carried about 25 homes of cars/truck and ended on a dead end.

When we moved there, there were definitely adjustments. I remember crying a lot the first six months, and it really took a couple years before we met 'like minded' people. I had many moments of feeling what have we done, but I always loved the land, and the barn, and farm feel. It was, and is, a very conservative crowd there, as are most rural areas. There were sounds to get used to, including lots of gun fire, some of it just for celebratory fashion, some was hunting, and then there was the guy with a permit who shot off semiautomatic weapons to target shoot.

We had a neighbor that was very problematic for years, with noise and garbage, which took time to resolve. We never broke bread with him, but he calmed down a bit especially after he was humbled by life's challenges and authorities on several occasions.

In time, the unnormal became the normal for us. We adjusted. W found people we liked and we made a life.

No place is perfect.

This place is almost perfect in some ways. We love the house. It is small, making storage a challenge but we came with as little as possible for that reason-that has proven troubling at times since we left things I can't afford right now-like a love seat, so I sit on hard rocker with a pug in my lap and it is hard on both of us. In time, we'll get a small love seat for the tiny 1760 house. But the house is very comfortable, easy to keep up with and full of charm and history. The land is less open, with lots of back woods, lots of marsh in the middle of the wood too and still lots to explore there, and come to know.

But the one thing that has really been hard on me is the front road. It is a main artery for the mid coast and considered a county road. This has clear benefits-it is easy access to town and hospitals, and anywhere we might want to venture. It is plowed regularly. But it is busy. Really busy. When we arrived in late May, it had just started to turn into the busy season. And it carries the fisherman to their 4am destinations-most it seems drive fast and loud to get there. Our house only sits about 100 feet off the road. Across the road is an old house, and about 1000 feet down is the bay to the sea, which we can see.

The road has caused me great strife, and to be honest, I wasn't sure this was where I wanted to settle. I told myself this place was a conduit, and this time here was a sabbatical. But each time I thought it, I felt conflicted, because I like the house, and our barns we've made, and I don't want to move. I want to be settled again. It has been six months. The winter has made the road turn a bit quieter, which we were told would happen.

"It gets pretty quiet," people said.

Um, not if you are a hyper sensitive clairaudience soul like me who came from a rural road. Non audio sensitive people won't get it, or think I'm exaggerating. But to me, my senses are high strung and always have the ability to be receptors of all that is being bombarded at hem. It is what helps me be the artist I am, and do the work I do, but it can also be challenging in the actual world. It's why boundaries are very important to me-to my well being and survival, actually.

But I got help from my healer and spiritual guide, and we talked about the road. I knew even before taking to her that it was partially my perspective about the road that was keeping me from feeling bonded to the property. I knew I could not change the road. There are two main roads in mid coast, we are one of them. In the summer, people on the road put all sorts of signs up to sell anything from eggs to old wood. Some put up signs advertising their woodworking or paintings. The east coast summer crowd-much of it riddled with cash-drive this road up the coast to their summer homes or vacation spots. It is of course something to take advantage of, and make hay while the sun shines, and then hunker down in the quiet of winter.

I knew I had to embrace this concept, and we have a plan in mind to create an outbuilding, combined with more trees, that will not only block the road noise more, both in sound and sight, but it will allow me to sell art and other things there, a mini book store complete with donkey twice a week.

But, before that, I knew I had to come to peace with Road, as I call her. I knew Road had benefits-like the fact it can taking me places and in a convenient way, but also Road has the potential to bring me people and things I need, and was lacking in Oregon due to our location. I came to realize that Road is a significant part of my work here, my future work-just like the vast remoteness of the last farm was part of my work then.

I thought about the curves of Road, for she is not a straight two lane highway, she is more like a county rural road, paved, but very curvy without shoulders, lined in wood and sometimes churches and cemeteries from the 1700's, and she often shows glimpses to the sea. I thought that if I were a bird, looking down, she would be a beautiful organic shape, like in a painting.

So I will continue to explore the beauty of Road, and try to find ways to scramble the obtrusiveness of the cars driving by. My healer suggested humming, or finding my own form of white noise that would help block out the sound of engines and way too fast trucks going by [many drive way over the limit]. The noise was really making me angry, and depressed. I couldn't figure out if I was mad at the noise, the road, or the fact I'd left our old place. But now, I also understand that as a highly sensitive person-both visually and audibly-it is not just the road noise that bothers me, it is the energy in those cars and the drivers that I might be picking up on. Just as I can be unnerved by meeting certain people, or places-like the sixth sense-I was letting those energies pass through me. I need to find ways to divert it.

I am painting Road, or thinking of her as a conduit, a bringer of something big into my life-when, I don't know, who or what, I don't know that either. But I do feel we have to be here, we had to leave Oregon, for many reasons. Some of the reasons I know and I told you, some I know and they are between me and Martyn; and some, I do not know but must trust that they are legitimate and not to be feared. In that way, Road presents something to me that I love...a good mystery.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hope...I don't know

I could only muster some doodles yesterday. Sometimes that is what you get, and you accept it, and carry on.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Head Troll can't believe it

"I have never in my life had to succumb to human attire," she said as she scurried away from me.

I had just put a winter coat on The Head Troll,  slightly ill fitting but it will keep the wind out.  She is older now and her natural coat is much thinner than in her youth, so I decided to get a coat on her. I also put one on Sophie who has a nice natural coat of wool, and little Lucia who even though she has a good fur coat she is prone to the chills. And of course old Matilda wears a coat, as does Scooby Keith.

Scooby Keith has a chronic nasal issue, sort of like pre-chest infection-pneumonia. We went through it in Oregon almost every fall-winter, but he always pulled though with extra care, often getting meds that would be given for pneumonia. He is eating and drinking though and is out and about. He wears two fleece coats.

We have had a pretty warm fall/early winter, so this was our first dip into the low teens, and there was a wind last night, so I got everyone suited up that needed it. Rosie the pig did not cover herself last night and was pretty chilly this morning. I made sure to get her covered with straw after her breakfast and she has a good indoor area out of the wind. I tried to get a coat on her but the neck was too small and it did not fit. I might try making one since she is not as good about covering herself like in her youth.

{Consider buying holiday gifts at my shop. It helps me continue on as both artist and Misfit caretaker.}

Friday, December 09, 2016

The healing and healers are settling in

The newly arrived residents of the Healing Cat Cottage are settling into their new routine. Like most elder cats, they enjoy long naps, a good dish of food, some sun streaming in the windows with views out into the trees. We have room for more and I have my eyes open, but for now, I am doing communings with the cats, reassuring them by strokes that they are in a safe spot.

Tigger is opening up. He is 16 and his owner had to go into a home. Heartbreak of a story heard over and over. Tig is independent, allowing the other cats to sit near him, but he seems to be more of a solo guy. He has started to get up when I come into the room, a good sign. He likes to be petted, but when he is finished, he lets you know, not in an aggressive way, just by saying in body language,

I am finished now, please let me be.

People have asked what they can donate to the Healing Cat Room. One kind person sent a brand new crate, since I had to leave mine behind in the move as I had so many. Another sent a cat felted cabbie basket. Right now, the barn is evolving and I'll post if there are needs later, which there will be. Money is the best gift now-food, vets, litter, etc.

Introducing...Isabelle Noir

Some of you know the story.

I was minding my own business...standing at the local animal shelter signing paper work for the three elder cats we adopted to be the first residents of the Healing Cat Cottage, and there sat in a cage...a bunny.

A jet black bunny.

"Bunny, " I said to her softly. I looked at Martyn, "Bunny, " I said to him.

That was about all it took for me to adopt her. I've always loved rabbits. I haven't had a small studio mate for sometime, not since a wonderful little chinchilla named Tucker lived me for many years. This bunny was found outside, with very long toes-many inches, curled-and her bottom was completely matted with feces. She clearly was loved at some point, as I can turn her over and trim her toes, look at her teeth and she is very docile and responds to my voice.

She is also very hard to photograph, black animals are. So she will be a real challenge.

She has a large cage where she sleeps when I am not with her, complete with toilet rolls to play with, a bit of good hay, some pellets and a daily snack of lettuce leaf, and a small bit of carrot or apple. {I have had numerous rabbit people write me, unsolicited, with their warnings and advice about over feeding-so there is no need for more dire warnings.}

I have named her Isabelle Noir.  I hope in time to take a magnificent portrait of her, sitting still on white linen, looking right into my eyes. I suspect this will prove very difficult.

For now, it is just very nice to have her hopping around while I paint. We are still getting to know each other, but she seems to really like it when I come in the room.

She is the smallest Misfit, and loved in a big way.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Going deep...new art

She knew if she sat still, waiting, protected by sister bramble, the moon would light the path for a heart to find her, and scoop her up and take her in. And they did. {Now available at the shop}

In the deepness of winter, when creatures reach down inside and explore their uniqueness, old paths crossed and roads yet to travel, little donkey knows when to return to his barn. There he can dream deep, and in morning he will return to his Wood. {now available at the shop}

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Hundred words for snow

It happened.

We had our first real snow, a beautiful blanket of snow, with snowflakes all day yesterday that came down in different sizes, large snowflakes, some wet looking gin the sky as they fell. I had been looking forward to the winter here in Maine since arriving. Yes, that's correct, looking forward to winter. It is by far my second favorite season right after fall, with summer being my 'carry on and endure" season.

Winter and snow are, for me, full of a deeper form of communication, not only with myself, but with nature and therefore with my creative soul which is wrapped in nature. The fallen snow covers, but it hides things and one gets to rediscover them if we pay attention. I walked from the Misfit barn to get to the pig water bucket, and tripped a bit...it was the hose we had not picked up yet. It left a faint mountain range, the hose, with the snow on it. An entire new shape was created with the snow over the hose. In Japanese there are many words to describe the different forms of snow. "Yuki" means snow, but "yuki-boshi" means the little hat shapes that form when snow covers an object.

So I admired all the yuki-boshis yesterday.

The White Dogs love the snow, Benedetto especially. He was not a fan of rain. I knew he would thrive in Maine. He lays around in it, plays in it, eats it, sleeps in it into the dark night. The sheep's thick wool coats are like yuki-boshis too. The Eskimos have over a hundred words for snow. "Jatla" means snow between your fingers and toes-we all had that too.

I sense that Maine is bringing me something I needed, that for whatever reason, I had to get here, and nowhere else, not Oregon, not any other place on the planet. I had to come to Maine for the next step of my journey. It will be about going inward more, a deep journey. I also realized I have been hesitant to fully engage here, but that changed a few weeks ago. Perhaps it was the fact six months have past and I am over the shock phase of leaving our land in Oregon. The land played a crucial role in my art and psyche there, and it shaped my stories in ways that only that land could. My image was wrapped up in a pastoral feeling there, this property is different, and it has taken me some time to come to terms with it. It is more of a village feeling here on the property, very New England, meaning the Misfit barn sits about 30 feet from the house, and the new barn we built is about 150 feet from the Misfit barn. Everything is spaced more tightly. Houses often sit on the main roads here, very common in many winter climates. Our sits slightly back, about 100 feet, but it is not a feeling of being 'way out in the wild west' like the old place in Oregon. I had to come to a sense of peace with that. The road itself has been a real hardship on me. But I have come to a new understanding about that road. Rather than see it as an annoyance, {I am very sensitive to sound but also the vibrations that sound enfolds -it is not just the sound of cars driving by, it is all that comes with it, the feelings of that driver, all the stuff that driver is carrying and transmitting, it all astounds my senses}–I am now seeing the road as an entity, a bringer of news, a conduit for something that is going to come into my life that I can't grasp yet...who knows who will drive on that road by Apifera and meet me. The old farm was one thing, this Apifera is something else, and I am ready to embrace it.

Anyone seeing the farm in the snow, yuki-boshis all around, the sounds of the creatures, the wind over and through The Wood, they would feel its magic. I have felt it too, but it was the snow that highlighted my new sense of wonderment with this place, this Apifera-not the old one. The land here is more reserved, less embracing, to the newcomer. But its been waiting for me, as the house has, to relax a bit, and fully accept my environ.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The first Healing Cat Cottage residents!

On Friday we went to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter. I had had a talk with the supervisor on the phone about my goals here, and when we arrived, it seems the employees had all heard about it and were happy to meet us. The people there were very nice, I was really impressed and am so glad I could take on some elders. We have room for more so I will be keeping a close eye on their intakes. It was hard to leave any of them behind, but they are being well cared for by staff and volunteers. People have asked what they can send me for the Elder Cat Suite which I really appreciate! I will be honest, the best gift is always...money. It allows me to purchase the most necessary things-litter, food, meds, and possible vet needs. I plan to have small reading days there so people of all ages can visit with the cats, and Misfits, drawing days...all sorts of things with one simple mission-bring animal and people together for mutual healing.

So, please meet the first residents of the Elder Cat Suite:

Anna was loved and cared for and originally came from Virginia. She is over nine and has had most of her teeth removed due to infection. She is on a special needs diet due to her intolerance of certain foods. Anna's photo made my heart skip a beat as she reminded me of Itty Bitty, but upon meeting her I realized Anna is...her own cat. She is Anna and is very personable.At this point she is the greeter in the cat suite.. She loves to held and petted and shows no signs of aggression or ill-use. She is currently independent of the other two cats.

This 16 year old gentleman is so handsome and came with the name Tigger, but we added a "Sir' to represent the respect we have for him.  He definitely responds to his name. His owner had to go into a home and could not take the cat–a sad story we all hear too many times and somehow the system could do better on this, couldn't they? I am always a sucker for this story, it is a dread we all have of having to go into a home, especially one without animals. So Tigger is getting lots of love right now and reassurance. He is quite independent, so far. He does respond to petting and on day three, today, we had a nice long morning rub down, which he really liked. He also has extra toes, but hates to have his feet touched, so far. He is in very good shape and also lets the very shy bob tail cat sleep near him.

This 13 year old bob tailed calico is very shy at the moment. She came with the name Money Penny but I am searching for a new name for her because she has a very interesting past. She was born in Japan and came to her owner as a pregnant stray. Due to her job, the owner relocated and brought her cats with her to the US. Another job move to Sweden came upon them, and the cats could not come. The two cats that lived with this girl were adopted already, leaving Money penny alone and scared. When we went to the shelter, she was hiding behind cages. Upon arriving here, she immediately hid so well I could not find her-she was buried in some straw. She lets me pet her, and this morning we had a long love session together, while she hid under a blanket. I massaged her with long, slow back strokes and had her purring up a storm. I think in time she will come around. Her intake papers say she is independent and I think she will remain that way...but you never know. Time is what she needs. She is 13.

Donate $50 or more and you get an Itty Bitty & Big Etta Book [due out February 1, 2017 or choose between "Donkey Dream" and "Misfits of Love".

Add any amount below you'd like. {Email me if you want to pay in another way}.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Let the healing begin

We brought home three senior cats Friday...and a...well, you will have to wait until tomorrow to hear all about the new Misfits. We are busy, busy, busy building cat perches, lounging areas and just making everyone feel at home. I will share it all, hopefully tomorrow. This is Anna, who is just a real lover. More on her tomorrow too.

I'm just so...happy, to have these creatures here, and we have our eyes open for other senior cats in need. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Announcing! The Healing Cat Cottage!

In 2016, Apifera relocated to mid coast Maine, with all The Misfits. The semi feral cat colony of 20+ lived a long, good life in Oregon, many living past age 12, including the founding father, Big Tony, who still resides at Apifera Maine in the house, living like a king.

Now in Maine, we are ready to help cats again. We have a large area in the main Misfit barn, complete with windows and a secure door, heat and air condition in summer {I don't even have it in my studio yet!]. Eventually in the spring/summer, the cats will have an outdoor, closed area where they can be in Nature, but with the safety of fencing [including a roof so no escapes]. They will have things to climb around and perch on. The area will also be able to care for cats that have special conditions that need to be treated.

Mutual Healing for Cat and Human:
The area is also set up so that visitors can come and sit with the cats, read to them, spend time drawing them, holding those that one to be held.

The goal at this stage is to home five cats who will live out their remaining days at Apifera. We are focusing on senior cats, and special need elders.

I have already found three cats that caught my heart. Details will be posted on blog as they develop.

The room itself is ready-it is well lit, secure from inside and out. We do need to build some more cubbies, with crates for emergencies or for cats that need safe areas to sleep at length [this is also good for acclimating cats to a new environment].

Martyn will be building many of these enclosures. I am in need of cat carriers as we only could bring one from the old farm due to limited space. If you have one to donate, let me know. They cost about $60.

If you would like to donate to the Healing Cat Cottage-for feed, meds, litter, blankets, etc....it is all appreciated. We still care for the nine Misfits which requires time, energy, love, commitment...and money.

Stay tuned as I develop visitor programs around the Misfits and the Healing Cat Cottage.

Donate $50 or more and you get an Itty Bitty & Big Etta Book [due out February 1, 2017 or choose between "Donkey Dream" and "Misfits of Love".

Add any amount below you'd like. {Email me if you want to pay in another way}.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Old One Eyed Pug II is in love with Mrs. Revere

I call the oven in our Maine house "Mrs. Revere" and I mentioned once on social media that she really was in Paul's kitchen as a child, and hence her name. Amazingly, some people asked if there were ovens then.

There should be classes teaching a witty sense of humor.

We knew all about the oven when we bought the place. We had it inspected and were told how all the former owners 'loved it'. Short on money, we figured we'd keep it since it is safe, and work with it awhile. We have no intentions of overly modernizing the 1760 house. The kitchen is tiny. I must say I miss our old kitchen, and the way we could look out big windows to the upper fields without worry of passing cars seeing us. You have to swap out certain things in any move and grab onto the good stuff. But we found some old cupboard this week and it's a cute bug of a kitchen and has all we need right now.

Mrs. Revere is amazingly reliable for baking. I have done pies and cakes in her and cookies and all were done perfectly. She has no built in thermometer so we use a store bought one. Our turkey was perfect. She only has one rack which makes it a challenge, and there is no such thing as a simmer control. She has to be hand lit. I have to say, hand lighting the stove makes me feel closer to the process of cooking-it's like starting a fire after you chop your own wood-kind of gives cooking a more visceral quality.

Another of Mrs. Revere's skills is she keeps the place warm. The house is small, about 1500 sf, with four rooms on the first floor and two fireplaces, one of which we keep going. We have a furnace too but so far it rarely comes on during the day [that will probably change]. Mrs. Revere is both chef and heater.

Hugh likes to help cook. He is very enthusiastic about any kind of meal prep-especially when there is chopping, or sizzling. He also gets to be warm by Mrs. Revere's side.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Oh Rosie!

Getting ready for bed when you are The World's Grumpiest But I Am Fine As I Am Pig is serious business. And around here, when you want to say Goodnight to The World's Grumpiest But I Am Fine As I Am Pig, one must proceed cautiously.

Nothing will keep me from wishing her sweet dreams, even her grumpiness.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

White Dog Eye Conversations

I often take photos of The White Dogs faces, their eyes are hard to look away from, as you can see from these images of Marcella. I have told you how I have conversations with them both without words, speaking only with our eyes. I was told a long time ago that looking deep into your dog's eyes makes them happy. There are situations staring into an animals' eyes will not be good, or will provoke agitation or be construed as a threat. But my daily eye conversations with both White dogs are a beneficial encounter to both of us. They seem to bring clarity to what I am thinking or percolating.

We never really knew where Benedetto came from. It was and is a beautiful mystery. In a way, I think it is good we didn't know the entire story. But the fact a white dog, of a breed that not that many people know let alone own, and a breed the is hard to find and is expensive, showed up at our rural farm where the same white dog breed lived...is a story that never ceases to tire people's imaginations. I knew back then there was a message Benedetto came with, I knew it was important. I tried starting some stories about his life, but never finished them. I suppose writing those stories was my way of trying to find the answer of why he came to us.

There are many spiritual mythologies about white animals. I am not a historian of those but I do know the many white animals that have graced Apifera have brought deep stories, deep sentiments from all who meet them. Aldo the Elder was one, Old Victor the crippled goat was another...to name just two. Benedetto is happy here, he is more settled here than at the old Apifera. I have asked him in our eye conversations,

Is it you who was meant to come here, not just me, or Martyn? Is your destiny all wrapped up here too?

I have been coming to the realizations that we are attracted to certain places, certain land and certain creatures-both human and otherwise- at certain times in our lives to help us do the work we are meant to do. Perhaps as I've read by some spiritualist writers, these companions have been working with us for a long time before we meet in the physical world. I think both White Dogs are of that caliber relationship with me.

Today as I did chores, I was thinking about how I want to evolve this Apifera. I have been holding back a bit, for reasons I won't disclose here, for now. But this morning I knew that my animal work needs to come back to the front burner. And my goal of making this a healing place for people and animals is on my mind. Somehow looking at these White Dog eyes reminded me of the work I really love doing-helping special need animals.

A video posted by Katherine Dunn / Apifera Farm (@katherinedunnapiferafarm) on

Friday, November 25, 2016

Newsletter deals

This month I started to announce months deals to newsletter subscribers. Sign up for the newsletter and each month I will share some special with you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Here is the latest edition, still time to watch some November specials!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Adjusting to the move- grabbing my emotional anchors

We had our first dusting, and it was very nice. I get the feeling some people back west think we will crash during the first winter and come back at some point. We don't have the finances to do any such thing, although I suppose if we really anted to we would find a way. I have never moved toward a place, or left one for that matter, because of weather. The animals are settled, and are fine with the chilly days and nights. Benedetto loves the cold air, I knew he would. He was not much into rain in Oregon, but loves to sit out in the snow and cold.

A friend asked me how I was adjusting to our new life in Maine. We have been here almost six months. It is hard to put the answer into a brief word or two, or even one long sentence.

I told her that I am grabbing emotional anchors.

I am sniffing out people, people I really want to bring into my fold. I am used to being alone, lived alone my entire adult life until I met Martyn at age 42. I like being alone. I also like really good conversation with smart and witty people, people with firm interests-riding, animals, art, forestry, carving, learning, etc-and there are many people like that in Maine. Really interesting folk. I like to laugh, and think, and I have reached a point in my life, or did some years ago I guess, where there is no reason for me to put myself in boring enclaves.

So, part of my life is dangling...with old friends from back West, with memories of a more open terrain that I really do love and miss, of a quieter road, of a more rural setting...part of me, only part of me.

Another part of me is relishing the cold air right now, the blue skies that come with that, the glimpse of a bay from my front yard, the ease of barn chores due to a smaller footprint of barnyard, the twinkle lights the last owner left that make one of the barn's interiors at night so sweet...part of me is relishing that and more.

And yet another part of me senses...at this juncture...that our shift is not complete here. I sense we might relocate within the area at some point. I don't know. This house, built in 1760, is an embracer. I love the house. It always felt that way to me from he first time I saw it online as I sat in Oregon wondering where we would land. It felt like that the night we arrived. It feels like that way now. This house does not have an ego of any kind. It is not haunted either, as many ask. It does have energies I am feeling now that we have been here longer. I have begun to see energy around me, always white light and I am open to communing with it.

This house was a Quaker meeting house at some point. There is a Quaker cemetery on the edge of our land, a very small one. So it does not surprise me that this house feels like a place to begin, to be here for a purpose and then leave and go out into the community. But I don't know about that yet, it is just a sense, and it might feel that way only because we are not totally rooted. I know I felt unrooted in Yamhill County for a long time, but on our farm I felt rooting pretty much right away.

So, I have been open to encounters that feel right. I am not desperate. Nor is Martyn. We are very content in many ways. But I am responding to very specific encounters that make me feel emotionally anchored here. Today I had one. I met a few people in the area over the past six months who kept telling me, due to my horse riding goals here, that I had to meet a specific woman in town. I will call her Ms. Boulé so as not use her real name here. As months went by, I kept thinking I need to call her, to find maybe a new riding friend since she had horses. One day we were driving down the road we knew she lived on, and there was a woman on a horse, and I rolled down the window and said,

"Are you Ms. Boulé?"

And it was, so we agreed to get together, and finally did today. She is going to help me create a riding trail that will be safe, away from the county road, and she also has trials at her place.

I also got to meet her husband who is a painter, her horses, an electrician that lived down the road and stopped in, and a charming man who lived nearby that popped in with a Thanksgiving Day treat for them-he also had sheep, and pool table, which I hope to play at someday in the future.

We talked politics, the state of the world, raising and harvesting animals, and painting. The husband asked if I might come be a model in his portrait painting group. I agreed and he told me how it was a group of all painting levels and would be a good thing to be part of. The painting group is located in a home in an area I really love, about 20 minutes from here, more inland and slightly more pastoral- the thing is, it is an area I kind of have had an inkling, a feeling, a nod from somewhere, that it might be our real final destination. We shall see.

The point is, these are emotional anchors to hold onto right now. Moving is discombobulating. The political uproar has left many of us [yes, not all of us] upended and wobbly. That coupled with a move of the magnitude of ours, requires careful navigation.

All I know is when I was there today at that house, and when I was leaving, I felt this is a home of significance to me here in Maine. An anchor.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Blossom the elephant and her ears

Blossom is an optimist. She truly believes her ears are like wings and can help her fly. She wants to find her cousins and her mother. I hope this can happen.