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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Old man

“Age is a seasoned trickster. To our parents, we will always be children. Within ourselves, the same yearnings of youth; the same aspirations of adolescence, will last a lifetime. Only to the young - blinded by our grey hair and slowing gait - do we appear old and increasingly beyond the pale.”
― Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe

The Chocolate Lab named after a pie, Huckleberry, aka Huck, has turned eleven today. We will be doing what we do every day with Huck, looking into his soulful and now cloudy eyes, speaking to him through that silence, saying to each other,

We are here together, all is well, we are safe.

Huck came to Apifera as a pup a year after I said goodbye to my original road warrior, Louie Louie, the fox terrier who was my companion in singleness for 14 years. Louie was able to get me to Martyn, and then the farm, and after six months here, I helped him on his way, his life was so full that he went out in my arms with a smile on his terrier lips. So I waited to fill that spot for some time, and we still had the aging One Eyed Pug that became the Old One Eyed Pug I.

I never would have picked a Lab, but since so many animals were my decision, I let my new husband's opinion matter in the decision. I was after all a unit now, with an opinion, but he too had an opinion. Louie was a very alpha dog, as many terriers are, and he was definitely my dog and came with all his and mine insecurities and unbalanced behavior wrapped together. He somewhat unsettled Martyn I think, I can't blame him, the dog used to pee while he ate his food as a warning to anyone to stay away. It worked every time. By the time Martyn met Louie, the latter had calmed some but was almost all blind and he had anxiety attacks if he didn't know where I was. So I asked Martyn what kind of dog he envisioned.

"A lab," he said.

"A lab?!" I retorted, having come from a long line of terrier ownership, with Standard Poodles tossed into the mix.

I paused..."It has to be a male, and chocolate."

I had always loved Chocolate Labs, so the idea was born and I found a good breeder within a couple of hours and we brought him to Apifera. Five years later, we brought home another pup, from the same parents-a totally different dog than Huck but a joy-you know him as Muddy.

From the onset, Huck was a worrier, but very polite no matter what his feelings about anything. When Martyn sits in his rocking chair at night, Huck waits until we tell him it is okay to go to the couch. If we are in our bedroom, he doesn't come in without an invite-while Muddy bounds in every morning to let us know IT IS MORNING!

Huck used to do 'The Scooby Dance", twirling around and around in tight circles. We could tell when one was coming on, he'd sit and get this very goofy expression on his face-his lower lip slightly limp and drooping. Then we'd say, really slowly,

"Oh, Huckleberry, are you wanting to do the Scooby Dance?" and around and around he'd go.

He quit doing the dance a few years ago, as he is very gimpy in his front shoulder. But every now and then, maybe once a year, he does it and we all just get so happy.

Huck has slowed even more this past year and I think his eyesight has definitely failed a bit, especially at night which is pretty normal. His grey has increased even more, his lumps and warts lay on his aging frame with his hips sinking and his back swaying. He was never the athlete Mud is, but he was and is the soul man of the house, the one who comes to me trembling when I cry, or raise my voice at something. He needs more encouragement to do certain things to feel safe-like going to the couch if we are still by the fire.

When he was a pup, the place was in its wild days, raccoons visiting day and night on the porch, and we taught Huck to alert us of any raccoons. He did and then some, bounding out on the porch just so far to ward them off. As he has gotten older, I don't let him do that anymore. And we often turn the light out on the porch as we sit by the fire so he can't see raccoons. He usually is soundly sleeping and just isn't as alert as in his youth. But every now and then, he hears one, his fur on his back stands up, and he barks at the window, then turns to look at me,

The raccoon is here! I'm telling you, do you see him, shall I go out? he tells us with pride. We praise him for his good work, and he returns to lay down on one of his many cushions spread throughout the house, falling almost immediately back into slumber, his legs and paws often twitching as he is most likely chasing that coon in his dream, or doing the Scooby Dance.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Paco's Birthday Picnic

Today is Paco's eleventh birthday. As you might know if you follow along here, we always throw a little party for Paco because of all the donkeys he has always needed the most reassurance, as he is our resident worrier.

Now usually we celebrate at Old Barn with just the donkeys, although Stella and Iris, or The Head Troll, often crashed. One year, at Paco's request, we had a Fig Newton Layer Cake, and although it only lasted minutes, it was a huge success. Other years we play party games with animal crackers.

But this year, things were a bit problematic for a barn party. The flock and Otis the llama are sharing a field with the donks so I had to improvise. I told Paco not to worry, that I would surprise him.

The day started with mist, but it was warm. By noon it was gorgeous with something we all relish this time of year-sun. I decided it was a perfect day for a picnic, donkey style.

So I trudged to the upper fields where I could see the flock grazing. I couldn't see the donkeys, so was unsure if they were there or in the old barn napping. But it was so pretty and warm, I lallygagged along with my picnic item, a big bag of animal crackers. The sheep came over to greet me and I hung out with them for awhile. It gave me time to check out growing bellies of the bred ewes.

Suddenly, the flock was alerted to noise, and fled back about twenty feet, as Otis gathered them in his protective llama circle. The donkeys had come up from a hidden part of the field, behind brush. They were eager and happy to see me. Pino and Lucia were the first to arrive to sniff out my picnic offering, then Matilda, and Paco stood back a bit, waiting.

"Paco, come on over, it's a birthday picnic of animal crackers!" I said.

He swooshed his tail and came a runnin', his little stout head tucked downward in donkey play.

"I'm eleven," he said proudly.

"I'm twelve," said Pino.

"I'm nine," said Lucia.

"I'm old," said Matilda.

"I'm fifty seven," I said.

They all looked at me, in a somewhat quizzical, almost horrified look-thinking about how old that was, to a donkey anyway.

"You'll be dead soon," said Paco, worried.

"I hope not, I could live to be eighty, or ninety," I said.

"That's ridiculously old, " said Matilda.

"We're here to celebrate Paco's birth, everyone, that was a wonderful day for all of us because I can't imagine my world without him. So let's all share our animal crackers," I said.

"I want the elephants!" said Lucia.

"I can't eat the elpants," said Paco.

"El-e-phants," Lucia corrected.

"El-pants," he tried again.

She sighed.

And suddenly the flock and Otis, who had been hanging back in the distance, hoping perhaps for a late invite, fled backwards again, behind Otis. I heard grass and fast movement behind me.

It was Marcella. This complicated things, as Matilda is protective of the donkeys and flock if Marcella comes by. Fortunately, she learned quickly to be submissive to Matilda, and she sat by my side like a pro picnicker.

It was a quick party, they often are with the donkeys as the food is usually the inspiration for them to keep the party going. Conversation can only last so long when you are a donkey, I've found.

When the last cracker had been eaten, Paco looked around, walked away a few steps, then turned around to look at me. I caught his expression in one of the photos here.

"Are you sure you won't die soon?" he asked.

I hugged him.

"You mustn't ponder death too much, Paco. It is the bookend of life and it is what is in between we should focus on. And I don't want you to worry about it."

And they slowly left the party. But then, Paco saw one more forgotten animal cracker, all alone, lost in the tall grasses, and as Marcella caught on to his find, he swished his tail, and reared his round rump up a bit to tell her, matter-of-factly,

"I am the birthday boy, it is mine!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

White Dog rituals

Every morning I have rituals with the animals. Rituals give us all consistency, and animals like and need consistency to feel safe, and therefore happy. Benedetto and I speak each morning and our mantra for this year is,

"Everything will be okay."

It reverberates from his eyes and my acknowledgment reflects back to him.

While each day there are things to think about for the move [to be clear, we have not sold yet, and must before we can move], I am relishing in my time with the farm and creatures-more so in some ways than ever-simply because I know the uprooting will be chaotic at times, exhilarating, sometimes cloudy-but once we land our rituals will be in place again.

Thank you to the initial supporters who have come out to help us off set the cost to move Misfits. The goal amount is only a portion of the $30,000 it will take us to move the farm, but will help with the cost of the adopted Misfits travel.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Misfits to see America!

Details of the move to Maine are formulating, as are ideas about the Misfit Mobile. The busy season for real estate is said to be starting early this year like last, so we are fingers, toes and hooves crossed for a sale soon.

In the meantime, we are hashing out the details of transporting Misfits, dogs and people to Maine. In some ways, we are building a Misfit Mobile - or an arc. We have decided to haul the donkeys and Boone with an expert horse hauler. It's not cheap, but they are very good and that is what is needed. We looked into having the remaining Misfits hauled too, and for the same price range, we can put it towards a bigger, safer trailer and haul them with us. I feel the Misfits should be in my care and there are just too many details to hand over a grumpy pig, crippled goats and a duck, cats, White Dogs...so that is the plan. People wanted to chip in, so, I prorated out what the estimated Misfit hauling fee is [Matilda, Paco, goats, Rosie] and set up a GoFund [Note: The GoFund is only for the Misfits portion of $7500, our entire move including our household stuff is going to be about $30,000]


I talked to someone involved with elders and she made a good point. What about using the horse trailer we will need to buy for the trip, as a hauling trailer for elder visits, but then create a 'setting' outside of it so elders can have better access to the animals. Picture a book shelf with my books, reading items, an old oriental rug, some chairs and a Misfit and me open for readings and healing. Since many will be mobility challenged this made sense.
I thought too, create a double sided pouch for Pino, Paco, or Boone that would hold a few books. Go for a walk at the local farmer's markets, or other areas, and invite people to sit and read and talk to the animals. Crazy? Just friendly.
Invite facilities to the new Apifera and create a shrine of healing for visitors
So, the Magical Misfit Mobile is indeed magical, and healing. And it seems to be coming in many forms-the actual hauling van we will have FULL of Misfits as we drive across America [yes, I'm hoping to make some stops and hand out books, or leave loving Misfit messages on walls and park benches], and once in Maine it will take on another form.

I don't expect any of you to feel obligated to support the GoFund. But its there to help us haul our little Misfits in the safest way we can. What a journey!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Chicken Named After a Pirate is blossoming

The homely little hen that came to Apifera last December is blossoming. While she is still a very plain chicken, she is filling out and is as busy as ever.

I took her and two other hens, along with three roosters-just what we need-after the neighbor died and his daughter asked me if I could take them for her. I must say that Grace O'Malley is very pirate like-she takes no gruff from anyone even though she is much smaller than many of the other hens. I have seen her in the roosting box so she is laying too, although there are so many new hens I haven't discerned who is laying what. This is one of the subtle aspects of raising layers that I love-knowing which egg belongs to which hen. I used to know that. But after two surprise clutches last spring, and the new hens, I have lost track.

I don't think it will be wise to haul my chickens out to Maine. It saddens me, but I need to be practical as it is a long trip and its not like we don't have a full load already. I know I will find good homes for my hens, but I am attached to many of them, and yes, Grace O'Malley is one of them. Perhaps she can ride in the car with me, which has AC in case it is warmer. I've never traveled with a Chicken Named After a Pirate, and a Blind Pug in one car-and add the gas of the two labs and it will be a great ride.

On a practical note, I want to make sure I have a solid hen house in Maine before bringing chickens in. Some of the places will have a hen house, but I want mine to be insulated. Martyn will kill me, but it's not hard to do and why not? They pop food out of their bottoms for us so I should prepare a warm place for them. There is a craze of chicken sweaters, but this will not happen. I know chickens. As sweet as they all look running around in their colorful knit items, thy poop, a lot, on anything, anywhere. They walk and poop, run and poop and fly and poop. Martha Stewart probably has chickens that do not poop, or only in a certain room in a clean barn. But my chickens are free poopers, so even though I do intend to get back to knitting, there will be no chicken sweaters.

But perhaps there will be a sweater for Earnest or Cornelia.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mud on Muddy Hill

Mud and I went for a walk today, or tried, but as we got on the gravel drive we saw lurkers at the gate-people most likely driving by the place after seeing the listing. I have no problems with that, but didn't want to engage, so I decided to run up Muddy Hill a few times for a much needed aerobic break. Mud loved it, running on his namesake hill, the sheep up on the upper horizon with Otis and the donkeys.

He is a beautiful dog, a very happy creature. While Huck carries the worry that I might express at any given moment, Mud holds no pessimism in his mind. He is one of the happiest dogs I've known, a goof ball at times, a weapon carrying guy when his tail is with him which is always so hold onto all breakables.

Huck can't go on walks anymore, which is sad, as his face shows disappointment when Mud and I leave. It is only relieved when we return, and he looks so soothed that we are back.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Head Troll steals the pig's bed!

Earnest the pig came a runnin' to me, giving me a clear set of grunts that he was a bit upset, not panicked or scared, just upset. I assumed Marcella had once again over played her role as Head Mistress. When I got to the barn, there was The Head Troll, sitting quietly in Earnest's day bed. Earnest has two beds. He seems to prefer the inner barn at night, but naps near the front door, perhaps garnering light and sun breaks.

"You took his bed? There are many other places to sleep, be off with you."

Earnest grunted, and looked up at me [really, he did.] She did not budge. You see, The Head Troll had spent the last rainy months in the hay barn, with Scooby Keith. But then, this past week, Sir Tripod Goat made it clear he did not want to live in the piglet pen any more. Tripod really is not a goat lover. He likes the other species. So I moved Tripod Goat up to the hay barn, and told The Head Troll she would have to go back to the barnyard, as she would be too bossy on Tripod and he can't hardly stand up any more anyway, with only three legs and now a front leg seems to be collapsing on him.

She responded by running around the hay barn, playing catch me if you can. Fortunately for me, she is older now, maybe 12-14 we don't know, and it shows as she sleeps more and is easier to catch [but not really] and I had to be careful with my back. Eventually I got her and out to the barnyard she went.

"Well! I have never been moved without my consent," she mumbled [really, she did]. There was a lot of head banging for a few days. And Sophie is quite upset, and Raggedy Man has been acting up. It will settle soon. Today she was out in her old barnyard, muttering around that it was damp out -she has always hated rain.

And Earnest took a nap in a new bed.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Olive Oil has died peacefully

Olive Oil calm, quiet, and safe as I say my good byes and stroke her cheek

I had a very tearful goodbye yesterday. The little runt triplet of Apifera's first mother-Rosemary-died last night.

She was born on a spring day and immediately won my heart, as runts often do. Skinny as a rail, I named her Olive Oil. She was spoiled by me from the get go, but a shepherdess has to indulge in some of this. As she grew up, I never intended to breed her due to her size, but I never would have culled her either. Some of you may know, culling my flock is not my greatest suit, something that I can say I consider a failure of sorts.

Olive Oil had a friendly disposition, just as her mother, Rosemary, did. Daisy is also out of Rosemary, and the two of them have the same expression and coloring. In time, she was added to my muse list, and joined Stella and Pino as a visiting puppet. Now that Stella is gone, and Olive, I can't bare to take their puppet selves out of the box. It saddens me, but for now, that is how it is.

Like I said, Olive was never meant to be bred. But one of our first rams, Mr. T, was a fence jumper. We had never had, nor do now, a fence jumper, but he won a blue ribbon in that category. It happens. So not only did he breed with Olive once in 2010, but again in 2012. The latter occasion, I made a note of it in my calendar, "T jumped fence" but I forgot about it. And come Pino Pie Day, my friend was visiting from NYC to help me bake pie, and Martyn came into the house and said, calmly,

"There's a sheep out there with two new lambs."

"What? Who?!" I asked.

"I don't know her name, she's brown, and little."

Olive, I thought. We went rushing out and there was Olive Oil with two healthy ewe lambs. My friend got to hold them and it was a memory I know she'll never forget. We put Olive Oil and her girls in a shady spot, safe behind fencing, so the guests at Pie Day could see the surprise. She had not even looked pregnant.

Olive, even though slight, was strong too. And she was my girl in many ways. There are several ewes that are closer to me than others. They are personable with me, they seem to respond to my presence, not just for food, but for quiet sit downs. Olive was one of them.

She had become thinner than normal, but with the torrential rains this winter, and wet fields, I wasn't too concerned - until her body began wasting even with supplement. I did all my normal things that my vets have taught me over the years, but it was clear she was fading and weakening. She fell on her side two days ago, and I had to move her into a stall in the new barn, where she was side by side with her flock, her daughters, and Otis, but was safe. She did not appear to suffer, although, a sheep that can't move and is down is suffering since they are a flight animal. But she was going pretty fast, her body was clearly shutting down and she was not fighting it. I always sing a little song to a dying animal, and I told her,

"You'll see Rosie, your mom Rosie will be there again for you."

I thought of this later in the night-whether or not we do move on to another realm-which I believe we do, as energy and spirit, but even if we don't, when I lay dying, I would be comforted at the thought of seeing my mother again. If there is nothing after we die, it doesn't matter, we are dead. But it is the empathy we can give to the dying person or animal-to give them that thought, I will see my mother again now.

We buried her with her mother, who died in the horrible Spring of Death-a learning year for us. Rosemary was my favorite ewe along with her daughter Daisy who is still with us at 13, so losing Olive Oil is like losing the original Apifera. That has been happening all this year. It has too. You raise sheep and they get old. And now that we are moving to Maine, I feel their are invisible hands that are helping me let go-in a variety of ways. I can't help but relate everything that is happening to Apifera as a demonstration that there are multiple goodbyes for many days ahead. It has to happen. There are lessons for me in each goodbye though-including lessons on what changes we will make to the next Apifera in Maine. Just as my sheep are aging, so am I, so is my back. I have to deal with it, and I am, and I will. There is no terror in this. There are just some shifts that are and will happen.

As I sat with her last night before she died, I took the photo, my hand a blur as I say my final goodbyes, stroking her soft cheekbones and eyes. Her face was calm. Her breathing non labored, her body was still without fight. The rain was falling hard on the tin roof, the flock was all around eating and I could see out on to the lower fields. I cried, not so much for Olive's death, but because everything is a good bye now. Every day, there is something that moves me and I know I will be leaving it, I will have to let go. It is a process, Martyn told me, there is no other way through it. Martyn will easily walk away from here to our new life-that is okay, he has told me so, and I know this is true. But I have my animals-some of them won't be coming, there will be some partings, either by death, or because as their caretaker, I will have to think about what is right for them. And I will also have to think about what is right for me in that equation, something that got a bit lost in the past few years with all the care taking.

When we wheelbarrowed her body out this morning, the sheep went about their business, all but one. Alma, one of my pregnant ewes who will lamb in March, looked so intently at me. She is a beautiful ewe and one of my favorites, out of Edith. It was as if she said,

I see what you are doing, caring for her body.

A shepherd friend told me, they watch you and know that you will care for them that way too.

Olive Oil was born a runt, and a triplet

Olive Oil's first surprise lambing

My friend Cathy from NYC partaking in Olive's surprise lambing.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

When mothers speak from above at the grocery store

Yesterday have been my mother's 90th birthday. The last time we were together was for her 87th in 2013 and she died unexpectedly in April just before we were to visit again. In Minneapolis I always brought her either tulips or hyacinths on her birthday- something to bring spring to the cold winter.

Yesterday I bought myself a potted Hyacinth-I rarely buy things for myself out here due to budget and that is going to change in Maine. Not that I am a big shopper, but all my money goes into the animals. When I saw the potted spring flowers at the grocery store it made me miss her-but instead of passing them by to pinch yet more pennies, I grabbed one and put it in my cart.

I could feel her saying,

Buy them, treat yourself, you deserve it.

Thanks, Kelly, I miss you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Three years of Marcella

She started out stinkin' cute, and from day one she loved the elements-rain, mud, whatever came out of the sky, she embraced and does to this day. She is the smartest dog I have ever worked with, and the most challenging too. But I would not do it any other way. The relationship we have is one of my strongest in the barnyard. I have made mistakes but have learned more from her as far as communicating with an animal than any other I've known. And I still have much to learn.

So here are some pics of her from her first days, including one of her first introduction to The Head Troll. And we all know how she felt about Earnest from the start.

What a dog, what a creature, a teacher for me, a guard, a patroller keeping the outsiders on call. I have no doubts if anyone were to intrude here, without permission, they would have a firm set of canines in their flesh, or would be told in no uncertain terms to get out - fast. In many respects, she is my dog, rather than our dog, but...she really belongs to nobody-rather we and the farm work with her and by her. She is also fun to be with. She greets me at the gate, exuberant for the day. She has a routine, with me, each morning. Into the feed room we go, she eats, then patrols the hay bales, announces herself to cats and roosters, cleans up any spare feed, then out to the goat area and she patrols the stalls, then out to the barnyard. Sometimes she slips out of Boone's stall and does a fence check, looking up to the hills. She follows me to Old barn where i feed the grumpy pigs and donks, and maybe get some firewood. She is alert, conditioned, agile, strong, fearless.

She is the ever beautiful white wonder, Marcella.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Where we go who knows

Martyn saw this bird fly into the living room window and he brought it to me, knowing my habit of recording the creature as my homage to it.

It seemed almost appropriate to be looking at the wing span of this animal, still as can be, once able to lift this feathered body off the ground and high into the sky. Appropriate because there was much talk this morning on the air and cyber waves about the death of David Bowie. I heard it last night just before going to bed and was as shocked as anyone. One person made a comment that I had also made to Martyn,

"This is going to be the beginning of a long list of goodbyes for the people whose music we've grown up with."

Another woman stated she hoped Bowie had found God before his death even though he had once stated years ago he was almost an atheist. I found that so...annoying, really. Why should she be concerned if David Bowie 'found God'? What would happen if someone really discovered without a doubt there was no God, no after life that some believe is there-the kind of afterlife where we all see our favorite family members and pets-what if it is just...the end. And you are dust, without any emotion, memory, soul, energy. What if this is all there is, this life here. I have come to the decision that it is worth it. This life is worth it even if when I take my last breath that's it. In fact, it almost makes life even more meaningful and precious.

The farm has given me the opportunity to see death, and experience it, in a much different way than when I lived in the city with a couple of pets. While I've always been spiritual, I never was religious, but I do believe there is more after we die. I have no proof of it other than the feelings, sensations, visits, and sixth senses I have had over my fifty seven years. But, living on the farm, holding death so many times in my hands, burying an animal and hearing the dirt hit its body, I now see what will happen after I die. My body will be gone. But some people will remember me, and miss me even, but their lives will go on-just as mine has always gone on after losing my parents, and so many Misfits. It shouldn't really matter what happens to me after I die, as far as those living, because they are here no to live.

But if I die and that's it, I won't know anyway, will I? So I strive to do my work every day and do my best. I intentionally look up at the beautiful fog engulfed trees as I did this morning on my walk, and give a internal Wow. And while I take notice of the beautiful wings and markings of a dead bird, it is always the living I return to.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Spoken words of the young

Some of you might know my little friend, Henry, who lives in Washington and came to our Pino Pie Day some years ago, at which point I fell in love with him. He is now four, I believe, and is growing up into a fine creature. I had to share what his mom relayed on her post today. She asked Henry how he learned to skip so well, and Henry said,

"I just breathed in my heart and let out the truth."

I am going to write that on my wall in my studio. What a perfectly wise gathering of words from the innocent-words we could all improve the world with if we followed it through our lives.

Perhaps this is what the animals do too, like small children, their motives are pretty basic-to eat and sleep. And while children do not have the need to procreate like animals who do it instinctively, children to recognize the importance of a tribe, for safety and companionship. When I watch the Misfits and Marcella I can't help but notice they are always stating their true being. There is no persona that we often choose as adults. They are pure truth that way. Take it or leave it.

I will remember these words of Henry's in the coming days and weeks-as I paint, work with the animals or write. I can get caught up in my writing where I hold onto the truth because there can be consequences for stating it, especially in the cyber world so full of trolls, hate and anger. In painting, I think it is different, I feel more comfortable putting down the truth in color and form, but am never doing it consciously-which is why art is so powerful. Painting is my subconscious already awake, waiting for the conscious to take notice of inner truths.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Preferred method of donkey travel

The logistics of moving the animals from Oregon to Maine can give a shepherdess a headache, so I am trying to take one step at a time so as not to overwhelm myself. Obviously I have to research methods but somehow I feel that when the place here sells, some magical wand will twitch from The Head Troll's hand and everything will snap in to place-just like a Mary Poppins movie.

And of course, the donkeys would like to just put their wings on and fly their own slow route, stopping to visit roadside weeds and daisies. Why hurry, they will tell you.

After suffering 8 days with my strained back, I am finally getting back to normal. It's a relief to know when I get out bed I won't have to scream in pain. And I'm happy to be done with the pain killers, I am just not very compatible with drugs,which I guess is a good thing. I just needed to paint freely with a child 's hand and heart today and made these sillinesses. They are on the sale page so snap them up if you feel the need for bright whim on the wall. I'm also going to be adding these to the art card designs this next week.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Earnest is giving out buttons

Earnest is quickly becoming a new friend to many, and has already made some friends in Maine. But how can a person not like Earnest?

I made up some mini buttons and if you buy anything at the current January sale, I'll pop one in with your order. Then you can proudly pin a pig to your lapel and when people ask, just say matter-of -factly,

"That's Earnest. He is my pig friend and he's moving to Maine."

So stop over at the sale and shop it up-books, journals, art and more on sale for the next two weeks.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Snapshot {snow} Moments

Like true Oregonians, when it snows, even an inch, a snow day is called by The Misfits. As a born and bred Minnesotan, I always smirk at what happens here in a dusting. I told the barnyard, You better get used to snow, it happens a tad bit more in Maine.

Only Duck just decided to lay it, Goose and Wilbur preferred the "stand-in-the-barn-looking-out" approach, The White Dogs relish in it, and Sophie sans her Victor knew exactly what snow was and posed giving us a white on white masterpiece.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

I finally crack, and Maine speaks

I come from a long line of scientists and engineers - people who base their opinions and beliefs more on fact versus feeling. My father, an architect, used to tell me "You are such an optimist, that is something good." I guess we all see what we need to see in 'signs', for lack of a better word.

But over the past years I rely less on 'signs'. I just think of many of my encounters as conversations in a language that might not be human. Just as we must converse in a new language with our beloved family members when they die, I believe we must be open to learning new languages when we are going about our daily lives.

I found this piece of wood when I was bringing in fire wood. Maine spoke to me loud and clear,

"Hello, fear not, you will arrive here when you do."

Adventures don't always have a clear starting date or end time. I am living that each day-the unknown of when. And it is easy because I know we are going to Maine and I know that is our path. There is no fear when you know you are on the path. I don't know the exact route, turn offs, valleys and peaks, because that would ruin the best part of the journey- the adventure.

There is a reason it can't happen all in one day -  I have things to learn before we go.

I have been in a great deal of agony and physical pain since Tuesday morning when I thought I had once again come down with sciatic issues. I've had those before and have learned how to cope with them, and how to use my body in more caring ways to prevent future issues. But this time, it was different, I could not get up and walk the pain was so great and I screamed in pain at certain movements, even having to crawl on the floor to get to the bathroom. It takes me about an hour to work through it and then I can walk. I finally got to urgent care and it is a lumbra acral sprain. Worst thing I've gone through physically in my entire life. What will help? Time. It stinks. Not a great way to end 2015 or start my year, but I also think it is a fitting ending. It is a culminating lesson here, the lesson I have referred to before of needing to alter the amount of physical labor I bring on myself because of the quantity of animals I have. And the emotional drain of this work is coming to a head. I am not a weak person, but I have many times had thoughts that things needed to change, or I would crack. I think this entire month I was pre-cracking, and this week, I really cracked, leaving me to talk tot he sky a lot,

"Look, Universal powers, I get it, okay. Sprained ankle, flu, back sprain, enough. I'm making changes, I've told you that, I mean what I say, so knock it off. I'm on board."

I am wide open hearted right now, knowing Maine is open for me, and the new setting will help me tweak what I need to tweak-to help my body, and to help my art and writing career-and still help animals, but the latter will be in a different way.

I fed Boone yesterday and found a stray hay twine sending me a loud message of love. Or perhaps Boone took the time to arrange the twine with his big old feet. Either way, I needed it. It's been a hard weak of illness and pain. Pain is no fun. Pain is hard to work through and is exhausting.

When you see a love note on the ground at your horse's feet, you  accept it with gratitude.