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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

I am reborn as a shepherdess

I've been withholding important information from all of you. I have to have some secrets. But I was busting to share and now can, complete with visual documentation.

I awoke an ex-shepherdess pouring my old flock. By afternoon, I was reborn as a shepherdess. I can not explain how important this is to my evolution into the new Apifera here in Maine. I just wasn't ready or willing to be sheepless.

It all happened in a nice organic way. At first I was looking for Katahdins, the breed we had in Oregon. I love that breed. They are a hair sheep and that made more sense for us there. But I began to rethink it all, and I am a lover of felting and so many friends and followers who are avid knitters/spinners, that I realized wool sheep make much more sense for me here. I then started researching fiber, and came upon a breed that is endangered, and is known by fiber enthusiasts for its wonderful wool, and the breed itself are a lot in temperament like my old flock-good mothers, easy keepers, and calm and personable. The more I researched about it, the more I knew these were the ones. And then of course we visited the farm and I loved them, and the couple raising them also have a fiber mill-so that means I have not only a knowledgeable teacher, I have a place to take my fiber for processing.

These are Romeldale/CVM sheep. The Romeldale is is a fine wool breed [created from Romney rams and Rambouillet ewes in the 1900's], and the California Variegated Mutant [CVM] is its multi-colored derivative. The CVM and Romeldale sheep have never been numerous, and today they are quite rare. The CVM's are listed as critical on the endangered list, so I like we are helping them. Fiber enthusiasts are avid lovers of this breed. Commercial breeders tend to breed out any color.

I chose two spring ewe lambs, and one yearling ewe. I also brought home two of their retired girls, and I am thrilled as the fiber on both is awesome. I neglected to bring some of it home with me to photograph! I was so excited, I forgot, but will go back and get some to show you. The elder matriarch gives this incredible silver fiber-just gorgeous. When you look at these photos, it is the color underneath the top coat that will show up in the fiber-I chose many that have silvers and grey. Both the retired ewes have good years left for fiber [they won't be bred] and both have beautiful fleeces.

And then...I had to have her. The battle baby. I might not breed her, but she was such a little sweet lump of wool, and comes right up to you like a pup. We think she might catch up and she is out of the retired white girl so I am hoping she produces a nice white fleece like her mama.

So that is a quick introduction. You will be hearing a lot more about them-and the fiber end of things. I can't wait until spring and sheering! I don't have a ram yet, and I will see if I get one in spring.

This is going to be fun, lots of new things to learn and I already have a shearer lined up who is highly experienced and used by many shepherds around here.

You will be meeting the flock in greater depth as the days and weeks go on.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Me and the barn, we're sticking together

Out in the field this afternoon on the tractor, working on clearing new pastures for new fence lines, I took a break and looked up. I was almost startled by the site of her. It was a beautiful view of her profile, against the blue sky, so close to the ocean with the smell of the sea over my shoulder coming in on a breeze. There are donkeys to the left of her and a bunch of Misfits back and to the right, and an old house that still hasn't released all her magic to me, but will, I hope in time.

With each hour I work on the land here, I feel closer to being home. I'm not totally there yet. It could take months, even years. Whose counting? When I'm here on the property though, I feel content, hopeful, full of ideas. Sometimes when we are out and about, I feel a bit lost, or an outsider just trying to stand up straight. I know how this goes, I went through it in all my moves, and this is a big move. We went to the feed store today where we also have been buying fencing and materials galore and they know us now. They share banter with us. We feel at home there. We go to the main grocery store and know certain clerks now and know where all our favorite items are.

We drive down the road and know names of some people, and the myths of others and gossip about some too. We find the farm people we have met are of the same ilk. But my favorite feeling is coming into our gate, and being here. And when I looked up at the new barn today, I felt her encouraging me,

It's all fine, we have so much to do together. I can't wait until you plant the bed out front with the sunflowers like you said.

She might think differently if I move The-World's-Grumpiest-But-I'm-Fine-The-Way-I-Am-Pig out there, which I plan to do soon so she can have an outer area too, of her own of course.

The new barn feels like a real anchor here. I can think in there and feel my skin and not worry about saying the right or wrong thing to The Hungry-those people in the outer world who have so much empty space in their lives that they project their expectations on to other people, and are always, in the end, crushed that their expectations aren't met. The Hungry that I have encountered in my life never seem to have healthy boundaries. Some of them give and give to you-material things you haven't asked for but kindly say thank you too, or they tell you after one meeting they 'love' you and all you project out tot he world. But in the end, they give and give, and are always, in my experience, hurt-because they don't think they are getting back what they deserve, they seem to always think they have not been appreciated properly. The Hungry seem to swoop into your life, and can often just disappear silently, and never speak o you again. I'm learning to recognize them more quickly but not always.

My barn respects boundaries, and has gates-sometimes they are open, sometimes they are closed, and I get to decide the best time for that.

That's the great thing about barns. They don't expect anything of me, they don't make projections. But they give back so much, without asking-shelter from wind and snow, dappled sunlight for old and young bones, a sandy bottomed floor to sit down on and just listen to the cud chewing meetings. The roof creeks a song and the big doors when opened might reveal a myriad of surprises-life, a death, or  a wandering cat come to stay.

I'm sticking around to be with the barn. She's not of The Hungry. She's her, I'm me. And she never should me, nor I her.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The little healer

Pino did wonderfully, again, in his therapy mission last night-to stand and let the people touch him, pet him, talk to him, and admire everything about him. Pino is a natural at this. I did feel he was a little out of sorts last night, as was I for some reason. We were both a little lost last night. I noticed he put his head into me a lot, and I talked to him many times in the night. Maybe we both needed each other for some reason. As we stood together at some point looking out at the ocean's bay, salt air thick in the humid night, I wondered if he understood where we were. Of course I've told him, but I wonder if he has a sense of loss too-after all his birthplace and parents still live in Oregon.

I'm being overly dramatic and analytical.

Anyway, we met some great people last night, of all ages from Maine and elsewhere. The best line of the night came from a four year boy, who put his hand on me and waited for me to finish a conversation I was having, and then he very politely asked,

"Is he for sale?"

His older sister chimed in with,

"He only has $3 and he's also saving for a pool."

That made the haul into town worth it. Pino made a whopping $5 in his tip bucket, and I sold...wait for it...one book. I am well aware these events are more about exposure, and long ago I made vow to never do art fairs, because as my painting mentor told me, show your work in venues that are parallel to the price range and customer. People go to outdoor art walks to browse and eat ice-cream on a hot night [several people asked where they could get ice cream], not buy $1400 paintings. So I can say I am not surprised, and I could say to myself you already told yourself this, but one can always hope they sell something or meet a collector. Maybe I did and I don't know it yet. I did get two more senior facility ideas from someone.

The little healer was tired I think. He didn't bray once, versus last month when he brayed several times. I suppose this shows he knew what the gig was all about and was comfortable. But I sensed his tiredness. This morning I went out to feed and he was braying his heart out, I guess all rested, or very ready for his hay.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pino and I are out on the town tonight!

Pino and I will be back tonight at the Wiscasset Art Walk, on Main Street.  I will have a small, select group of original paintings on wood, as well as my books, Misfits of Love and Donkey Dream. I'll also have Donkey Wisdom journals for sale.

We will be arriving a bit later this time and leaving earlier. The traffic noise is pretty bad-or I should say the Harley noise is pretty bad. SO when Pino gives me the nod, we will high tail it out of there. I had hoped to bring Birdie the llama to this event but I don't want her having a bad first time outing experience. I know she will be a super therapy creature though.

So stop by between 6-7 to make sure you see us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The World's Grumpiest Pig has the shock of a lifetime

The-World's-Grumpiest-But-I-Am-Fine-the-Way-I-Am-Pig had quite a startling morning. And as I had my apparatus to get it quickly on video, I did. I was beginning my morning feedings and always feed Eleanor and her gang first, followed by the new chicks, and Rosie. But Rosie often sleeps in deep, deep slumbers. Sometimes I am shouting to her to was up for breakfast.

The chicks are getting more active and have taken to sitting on her pen door, but this morning they were all huddled together, with the so far nameless rooster. I admit it, I turned on my video and waited for Rosie to wake up.

And wake up she did! The conversation was not that polite, but I already explained to the chickens that you don't mess with the pig's slumber, or her bed. She lived with chickens in Old barn in our former farm, but had more room and sometimes I'd find her bedded down with Papa Roo-sigh.

So the chicks got their first taste of grumpy pig explanations this morning.

"Humph phrumph el brrrr!!! Hrupfhhhhh!" she gnarled at them. "What in the world is going on!?"

"Excuse us, we didn't mean any trouble," said the biggest of the chicks. We just found your hut so much more open than ours. And you leave a lot of food laying around, you are a bit messy."

"ARGHrrrupolstompous!" the pig snapped.

"Oh my, gather up girls, let us go sit a bit farther to the south of the suite."

And they did. And Rosie went back to bed. No need to get up and eat when you have food all day.

Monday, July 25, 2016

An honest view of aging-it's the bones

"And yet I look at men and women my age and older, and their scalps and knuckles and spots and bulges, though various and interesting, don’t affect what I think of them. Some of these people I consider to be very beautiful, and others I don’t. For old people, beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young. It has to do with bones. It has to do with who the person is. More and more clearly it has to do with what shines through those gnarly faces and bodies." Ursula LeGuin

This really resonates with the transition I feel I am in, and will be for some years, as I go from looking somewhat fresh and 'young' to at this stage, really looking like I'm in my upper middle years, which I am. I seem to always prefer images of me with my face partially covered. My braid clumps still look ok, despite the fact my thick hair is thinning more.

I am almost embarrassed to write about some of these things. But it is an honest upheaval [at least it feels that way at times] to me. And with the upcoming Emerging Crone Workshop, it seems appropriate to talk about. One of my hopes is that the workshop will help other women in the same transition, or that women who feel they've already gone through it will help us emerging crones.

The reason I feel silly sometimes admitting it on a public space like this is...well, I'm not that bad-I mean, I don't have an illness, I am loved, I have a solid foundation of spirit and home, work I love, a mate I am best friend's with, and my body and face and 'appearance' to the outside world is 'not that bad.' Martyn assures me in his eyes I am still the woman he met. When I look at him, I still see him too, but when I look at photos, he has aged of course but in a way that doesn't bother me a t all and it's as if he gets more chiseled and more handsome to me as he ages. Could it be he sees my sagging towels and bulging middle in the same way? How could he? But, perhaps he does.

But the outward appearance of my body and face is not what gets things done, it is not what helps me create art, or help my animals or build barns. My appearance has nothing to do with how when I look out at beauty of the land - I am moved.

But it all goes back to old wounds, doesn't it-for all of us? When I was young I had a terrible body image of myself. I had red [bright orange to be exact] curly hair and I saw a fat girl in the mirror. I would look at many of my peers and see long thin legs and straight long hair which was the in thing then, and I would feel chubby. I truly believed I was chubby. But when I look back on photos, I really wasn't. How this started, I think, was when I was about eight years old, my father told me point blank I was too young to be fat. My mother immediately scolded him and reassured me I wasn't. But I felt it, I owned and continued to view myself that way well into my twenties. To stand up for my father, he had a chubby childhood and always struggled with his weight. He loved good food and was not obese by any means, but as a kid and teen he was a bit chubby, and I know that what he said to me was his stuff, not mine. But it took me into my adult years to understand that.

It was well into my late twenties when I began to settle into what I thought I looked like to the outside world. And from about 35 through my early fifties, I felt good about what I saw. I wonder if this is sort of an optimum age for many women–our bodies still have hormones and we are still very young looking. It took me so long to get to that point in my life of acceptance of my appearance, that when it all started going south I thought, so soon? I just got here.

I also hesitate to discuss this because when I hear a forty year old, or fifty year old who looks great to me discuss her wrinkles, fat, etc, I want to reach out and say...just wait. But they are going through it in their own pace. I remember turning 40 and looking great. Even 50 I felt great. Oh, a little bulge hear and there, but still jobless, still strong. Genetics is really much of it, and hormone loss. Living a healthy lifestyle, working in nature, eating right, doing yoga daily as I have done for years is not going to keep my body from sagging, or my middle from expanding. I have given up on that thought. I tossed all the ill fitting closes and bought new ones. I wondered if I was rich would I have my sagging towels and waddle tightened. I don't know. I'd rather use the money to pay the barn off.

But doing the best I can do with activity and lifestyle choices can help my bones stay stronger, and my lungs can keep giving me oxygen, and my skin might stay free of skin cancer if I keep it up.

I want to stay strong. I want to get to a point where what I see in the mirror is just like a painting, or a story line, or a blank canvas welcoming me each morning.

But what I've always sensed about aging is...it gets better, emotionally? I mean, the part of looking in the mirror. I'm not afraid to die. I actually think death will be...a release of everything. But seeing my face so visibly changed, and sag, and hair thin out, and bulging middle-it is a struggle to go through it.

So I really love what Ursula Le Guin says. And I don't think any of us should poo-poo the real angst many of us face when we see our bodies and vessel really changing in what we perceive to be unflattering, or ugly, or not what we wish for.

I am focusing on breath, and bone as I go forward. It isn't all pretty, but pretty doesn't grow muscle, experience does. When I work with the animals, it with intuition, and heart-they sense that and work with me. I doubt they even notice my neck.

Visit the workshop site to learn more about the upcoming September workshop here at Apifera-a day of doll making, communing, healing with animals and each other.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Triple Donkey Dusting Roll

On these very hot days, with flies covering at all angles, the donkeys do a lot of dusting. And I caught them in a Triple Donkey Dusting! That's a gold medal I think, don't you?

Friday, July 22, 2016

My itty love story

I have one more spread to complete for my itty love story. I am really liking the looks of it and the feel of it-reminding me of the books I gravitated to as a child. I guess I might be outdated that way but this is a book I would buy, if I may say so myself.

It is a book of loss, and love, and...acceptance of self.

At first I was thinking maybe this book is just therapy for me, that is its purpose. But I am finding people are resonating with it-after all who hasn't lost something, suddenly, that they loved? So we shall see, I am not sure of the book's fate yet.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Calling all emerging crones

{Early registration is over. But if two people sign up together there is a break in price}

Are you in a transition in your life? Are you entering your fifties, sixties, or older and feeling restless, stagnant, scared, optimistic, pessimistic? Are you seeking internal acknowledgement of who you really are in an older skin? Do you look in the mirror as you age and wonder who that is-or maybe you are unable to accept the signs of aging in your body and are mad, sad or lost confidence? These are just some of things the September Emerging Crones workshop can open up answers to, or at least begin paths to understand our power as we age, and acceptance of an older body but a very strong will and heart.

A day of intuitive doll making [no experience necessary], sharing internal myths and story, and the healing companionship of farm and animals. Read more and sign up at the workshop blog.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Getting to know M'Lady Apple and other newness

M'Lady Apple is by far one of the most striking creatures on our new farm. She is old but holds the grace of wisdom in her curved trunk and arms. I went out and explored the ground around her and decided I will create a healing perch near her trunk. There is a huge slab of granite, I believe, that is the perfect resting spot. It sits under M'Lady's arms and one can look out at  the fields where the sheep and equines will be.

Did you catch that? I said the word...sheep.

I bought three ewes from a close by farm. She had nice stock and we will pick them up Thursday. I can't wait. Just being with those sheep made me enormously happy, content and grounded in a way I haven't been since arriving. I have been without sheep for 2 months and four days and I wanted to give myself a teeny bit of time to reflect before jumping into sheep. I thought 'teeny" bit of time would be a year. Oh the tricks we play on ourselves. I asked myself,

Am I wanting sheep because I miss them, want them, need them, or because it was what I was used to and I need time to be without them to adjust.

In time, I realized I was actually very sad without my old flock, or without my role as shepherdess. I underestimated how much it was ingrained in me, how much I learned about sheep over the years and how much more I can learn. I like animal husbandry. And I find them graceful and beautiful. The three ewes I'm starting with were exposed to a ram so if they are bred we will have lambs in September, something I'm not used too. But I decided if we had fall lambs this year, fine, we won't breed until next fall. But if we don't have fall lambs, I will find a ram for breeding this fall.

I am finding many things very different here. The hay selection is almost zip [so feel free to help with our Misfit hay fund!}. I had heard that, knew it, and now it is the reality. Many buy Canadian at some point in the year. I am having a mobile vet coming out just to meet her and have heard good things about her. But the vet selection is also nothing of what I had in Oregon-for farm animals anyway. I am grateful I have 12 years under my belt with sheep and Misfits and do most of my own vetting....but it is rather sobering.

And I brought home 5 Buff Orpington feathered out pullets and one mixed rooster. Because, a day without chickens is not as happy as a day with chickens. Overload of chicken pictures to come. Chicken underpants included!

Basically, I am rebuilding myself. I am feeling good and very excited about some plans I have for Apifera-which I'll share as they develop.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The new barn whispers: we are on a parallel path she and I

When we looked at our last property in Oregon, way back in 2004, Old Barn spoke to me. I've written about in books and often remind you, and me, of the history and wisdom of that century old barn. The stories in Old Barn were there for me to reap from her past, but also, she was there for me in our first lambing season which we did in one of the stalls that first year, through the death of the old donkey Giacomo and others. That old barn witnessed my joy as I first got to know her, got my first chickens. With her, the adult version of a child that had always wanted an old barn walked under her frame looking for secrets.

I found her. But then I left her.

It was a hard goodbye and I try not to look at her picture at this stage of our resettlement in Maine. It's too hard, too soon.

We did things to that old barn some might not have bothered with, and will help her stand for years to come. My father's and my Uncle's initials are carved into cement there and only I and that barn understand that meaning. She had many battle wounds from life which is why I connected with her in the first place, plus looking back, I think she was wounded, without much purpose. Her animals had been gone for years, there was junk a mile high in her then. She sheltered no animals for many years. I'm glad she is back on track with her true purpose.

When we found this property, it was through photos online. We took a chance. I felt the house immediately in those images, a mothering voice and hand came through the screen-not once, but many times as I looked at them over and over. But the barn had no real visceral voice to me. The existing barn here is a lovely structure built in 2005, post and beam with two nice stalls, center island where Rosie currently resides, and a large side room too nice to be a stall-most likely a tack room at some point but I hope to use it for my ceramic studio someday. And there is a good little workshop, and a large loft with stairs. It is more of a gentleman's barn, something out of a Doris Day movie with a horse and two chickens. I do love it, and it sits only 30 feet from the back porch.

And now we are building another barn. We need it for hay, and the equines. I might put Eleanor out there, and the White Dogs. And I am working at getting some sheep again. I have discovered I am not happy without a working flock. I miss my sheep and I need to move on.

As the barn goes up, it is so exciting for me. It makes me feel better, as in, it makes me feel more like the me I grew into at the old Apifera. It is like I am that child-woman in her dream again, on the earth. When I stood out in the open frame, I started to imagine the animals in it, and where the paddocks would be, and it all seemed so hopeful in this time of floating. Because floating I am, still, as we settle.

So the new barn has not spoken to me–but she has whispered. A breathy word or two I can't make out. She is forming too, she is in transition just as I am. As her walls go up and she takes shape, we are on a parallel path. Old Barn had a hundred or more years of farming wisdoms and stories. But the new barn doesn't even have a name yet, she is birthing herself and she and I will emerge together, learn together, go forward together.

She is a very important piece of the puzzle here. She is an extension of why we are here.

Eating under a donkey bridge

What could be better than sharing breakfast under an old donkey bridge?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hay drive! Help if you can!

This year I especially need help monetarily with The Misfits! I am the sole bread winner right now as we transition here in Maine, something I am trying not to overreact to but if you can donate to the fund, I really, really appreciate it. Any donation of $50 or more gets a book. $100 or more gets a book and a Donkey Wisdom journal.

Hay is so important for the animals, and we are finding that hay prices, and availability here in Maine, is very different than the resources we had in Oregon. We have found one local hay person, but the fact is I might have to spend much more for hay than I did in my past life. This year it is especially important we have plenty of hay on hand for our first winter, especially for the elders. I will be needing much more hay than I did in Oregon for The Misfits where I went through 6-8 tons. Many assume that feeding pellet/supplemetal feed [which we do for many here and is important] keeps an animal warm in the cold, but it is actually hay and the chewing process that is as important to create heat. We also have so much to do to make the Misfit area better for drainage. I am not used to wet in the summer! And our land has a lot of marsh on it so we have our work cut out for us, and money ill need to spent for drainage, fill and rock. We are building the new barn as I speak, and have already added a couple acres of pasture, but have much more fencing to do too.

Thank you in advance to all those who help, and to all those who have supported our efforts with The Misfits in the past.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Dropped down by a tornado

That's what if feels like. You know, like when Dorothy is inside the twister with Toto and finally the house is dropped down on the ground?

We drove two hours to see a close friend this weekend who after many years in Oregon moved back to Maine where she had lived for years. Both of us experienced similar paths in some ways once we decided to move-in that doors just began to open, details fit together kike puzzle pieces, there was a whirlwind energy that was driving us forward, time sped up in some ways, like a beautiful storm that didn't kill anything but uprooted the scenery in a permanent way.

We delivered two of the piglets to her house where they will live as grass caretakers and pets. My friend is in the same state of mind as I am-feeling for her land feet, still somewhat discombobulated from the move, but happy to be here.

I left our get together with a good feeling. I became very aware that I am in the lull after the storm. I have moved an entire farm across the country, left a home and piece of land I nurtured and loved and landed with all extremities attached. My husband has no income right now and won't for many months and I am the one who brings in what income I can and still watches the savings account dwindle as we forge on with necessities-like the barn. After the sense of awe and wonder of arriving, I am calming. I realized that I have earned the right to...just be me now, just watch and listen for awhile. The sense of

Oh my god I have to get this built and that done and make this happen, now, quick let's get on it so then I can really settle down...

is softening into more of a

I like this place, look how nice Martyn is making the fledging garden, oh things are really forming, think I'll have a cup of coffee, maybe I'll sell a painting soon.

Many people, some I don't know that well, have told me they are watching our relocation with interest, as they too have ideas of making a big move, or they want to move but haven't figured out where or how. There is a balance for me to project here-I will not sugar coat it-there have been many dramatic elements to this move-leaving animals behind [something I underestimated on my heart I have to admit], leaving a place of my blood and guts behind-and there has been grief, for I am grieving the loss of my old farm, and some people I won't have around. I suppose it's like breaking up with a job you like-you didn't hate it but you felt you had reached a wall and needed to move on. I say this though- don't let the fear of discombobulation scare you from moving. It is a temporary state. If I hadn't left Minneapolis, or Portland-imagine what I would have missed.

But now that the house has dropped on the ground, and I am doing things that are part of my skin, things that grounded me in my last home-riding, picking up hay, delivering piglets, building a chicken coop, watching the flowers grow, getting to know the mail person-each of these activities puts a softer veil on the grief of leaving behind things I loved.

People say that there is a reason we were brought here. I believe this. It will make itself known over years ahead. I am as interested as anybody to know-but like any good novel it will unfold chapter by chapter.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Little Bird gives me a message

Last night as we sat on the porch relaxing after a long day, a little fledgling came across the yard, about twenty feet from us over by the barn. He was a bit wobbly and we waited, looked for a nest nearby but all the shrubs were pretty far from where he appeared, almost out of nowhere. Since he seemed to not take any interest in hopping anywhere, I scooped him up.

I tend to follow nature when it comes to wildlife–leave it alone–just as when you see fawns alone in the filed, the mother is almost always nearby, and it is her way to teach them of their coming life without her help. Birds are the same. But, this little guy seemed healthy, but a bit off. He sat still while I picked him up. His eyes were bright and he could perch well, so we made the assumption he was pushed out since he was big enough, or he fell out, or the mother knew something we didn't. There are many arm chair bird experts out there who will give me all sorts of unsolicited advice but on this instance I made the choice to gather him up, feed him and put him in a crate surrounded with the recently sheared llama wool from Birdie. He ate well. Maybe I overfed him, but this morning, he was dead.

But that little bird reminded me of some important things about myself. Things that have been on the back burner for a while due to first planning the move, and then the actual long journey east, and now-the settling in part of the post move. I sat with that little bird, singing it my bird song. It was all I wanted at that moment, to help the baby bird perhaps make it through the night. It just made me remember who I am, or one important facet of my being-that child that saved moths with broken wings, keeping a feeling in her tiny five year old heart that if I tried hard enough, that moth would fly away. Sometimes they did. Mostly, they died in the time that nature designated at that moment as 'their time". But it was the childlike optimism, the hop, that it would fly that was important.

It's the same child optimism that I felt last night-that I can help a creature–that stuck with me as I went to sleep....maybe it will make it, I thought. Even though I knew it was doubtful, maybe it will make it overrode the inevitable practical voice that it wouldn't.

The fact the little bird died is not an issue. It was its time, and it was safe and warm. But it gave me a gift of insight. He is the first of many little creatures that will undoubtedly cross my path here who I will bury in the now nearly empty cemetery. I can't save everything, and don't need to, nor want to. But I can lead with my child like optimism each day I walk out the door.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

We are in Uppercase Magazine!

UPPERCASE issue 30 on press from uppercasemag on Vimeo.

I am so excited to be in Uppercase Issue 30 Magazine! I have loved this magazine for a long time and was so thrilled when writer and designer Laura Tarrish asked to come to the old Apifera and interview me. I can not wait to get my copy. The video shows my spreads on about 40 second mark, and it is fun to see the good old fashioned way of making print again on the press. Thank Laura and Uppercase for including me and my work!

No words needed

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

When homebodies rebuild their empire

We left behind a well formed and mature garden and structures that took time and evolution of pondering to conceive and bring to life.

Time. Time. Time.

I keep reminding myself of that. While I have felt that my impatience streak has been slightly softened with age–really, it has–I do remind my self of that word, often...


We hadn't "planned" to start rebuilding any of what we imagine to be garden beds, but after Martyn dug the four foot trench for the water and electric pipes to the new barn, there was lots of rock, including large pieces of granite.

He couldn't help himself! I was upstairs in my studio and had left him in the yard on his own. When I looked down hours later, he had a wall up. It was so fun to be a voyeur and watch him from a bird's perch as he worked in his element with materials he loves.

And once I saw the beginning of his creation, I just can't wait for more. That's the thing–I know what we created at our old place, I know what we can create here and it just makes me excited to see it. I guess that's called enthusiasm for daily life and what it holds.

We sit on the small postage stamp size porch and look out at the field and the existing yard. Once one project is complete, or even started, it percolates new ones. We are homebodies in general, we stayed in last night and i took what was to be a 20 minute nap at 6pmish and slept almost two hours. But I was up in time to see dragonfly parade in the sky followed by lightening bugs. So our gardens and environs are important elements to settling.

In the meantime, I am having deep sadness about the old farm. I know this will pass or evolve into a different form of acceptance. This is not to be confused with buyer's remorse. There were strong shifts that pulled us here, and many things came together to help us land here. I think what I'm feeling is a bit of shock. Not shock for being here, but the shock that we aren't there-if that makes sense. While it was thought out and seemed to take months, it now feels...sudden. I also underestimated the feeling of having left behind animals. I know the new owner is taking care of them well-I know this, and am grateful, and I know my animals go about their day there, comfortable and fed. It just feels like I left an arm behind. Or I left me. Maybe I did, maybe I'm scattered there.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

It's time for The Very Bad Haircut

As some of you who follow along already know, I give Very Bad Haircuts–and today's lucky recipient was Birdie. She did very well, pretty well anyway. She is much easier to trim than Aldo the Elder was, and there was no cow kicking [although she was on the verge].

I never plan out my Very Bad Haircut days which is part of the reason I give Very Bad Haircuts-my scissors are never as sharp as they should be for starters, but when the hankering to give a Very Bad Haircut takes over, I can't stop myself. So chop away we did. Birdie has easy hair to cut, it is very fine. I saved some to use in the Emerging Crone Workshop.

Llamas can lay down on you when you are trimming. You can still keep working on them, or I do, which means part of their legs don't get trimmed, and this adds to my skill as a Very Bad Haircutter. But we got it done. I took her out to walk her afterwards and she did what she always does after a Very Bad Haircut–she took a good roll in the dust.

The concluding part of giving this Very Bad Haircut was I got vacuumed. My husband, ladies, some of you covet this, but he vacuums. So today he vacuumed me as I was covered in Birdie hair.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Pino walks the town and shares the love

Last night Pino and I, and Martyn, drove into the town of Wiscasset and propped up our books outside the shop of Moulinette Mercantile on Main Street and greeted the many people out and about on the monthly Art Walk. Pino was a perfect gentleman and to say he got noticed is an understatement. I knew that bringing him would put the highlight on him and not necessarily my books and art, but that was all part of the thought behind it-to shine a light on a little donkey who can bring people to a standstill and just enjoy him.

Last night was our first real venture out as Martyn & Katherine and what we represent to each other, and what we want to establish here in our new home. When we got home it was perfect timing, just light enough to see in the barn, and by the time I was on the porch, the fireflies were out. We talked about the night and all the people we met and conversations we had. The sales were weak. I only made $40 and gave Martyn $20 for food and with gas prices, meh. These outdoor gigs have never brought me much in money, and I have avoided them most of my career for various reasons. But it's a way to connect with real people, and that is one of the missions I want to focus on as I progress with my animal and healing work.

We made some great connections-including a couple that have an elder facility where they are bringing young children together with elders. She was thrilled to see my animal work and took home a Misfits book, but most importantly we hope to bring Pino there, and have field trips to our farm in time. That was a good connection.

We met lots of locals or Mainers-well, Mainers to us, people who had lived in nearby towns for 20+ years- and we heard from all of them, "you are going to like it here" and they all encouraged the idea that finding pockets of interesting, caring, real people in Maine is all around us. And we believe that and feel that.

There were lots of young children that had never met a donkey. Cars were pulling over so people could take photos. Pino even got to meet his first police officer, complete in uniform with handcuffs. He got to have music too, and while I didn't let anyone give him treats, he did get the last bite of a man's ice cream cone.

A woman who bought my first book way back when-Creative Illustration Workshop- happened to be out and about and recognized my art. She too is an artist and lives near by. We had a wonderful talk about life and Maine. And another woman who has read my blog for some time and knew I had moved to Maine made a point to bring her two adorable kids to meet Pino-I wish I had taken a pic of them though-they had these really special smiles. There so many people taking selfies with Pino, I can only imagine how and where he is on Facebook.

I heard people saying, "He is so magical." That was cool. I didn't mention that he floats, and has pie parties in his past. I didn't want to totally overwhelm them with his specialness. As usual his painted toes were a hit. I met some avid Democrats who liked donkeys. And only a couple of ass jokes were released from passer bys. One man reviewed my book and art and was so grateful for the work-both art and animal-and he watched us as we walked Pino back tot he trailer, and waited to see us drive off.

One of the most verklepmpt moments afterwards for me was when we got home, and we were resting with a glass of wine. Martyn told me that it didn't matter I made no sales, people liked the work, and what we were doing and we met so many people. And then he shared something with me. While I was waiting in front of the shop, Martyn went and got the trailer from where we had parked some blocks away. He said as he drove to the shop to get us, people all over the streets, even in restaurant and bar windows, were waving at him, as they saw the trailer and recognized him. People on the street were saying, "Good bye Pino, thank you!" Martyn pointed out this had never happened in other venues, he said,

"It was different. They really connected with Pino and the work you do."

I also realized last night that while Martyn and I each have our individual careers, we also have an energy as a team. We developed that in Oregon over time and Apifera would not have been what it was if one of us left the picture. The energy of Apifera in Oregon was me and Martyn. But because Martyn has no clients or work here, and knows nobody, I realized that in Maine it is our light as a couple that will send us forward here. We are not personas, we are not trying to be a brand, we are a genuine team and I think our energy just felt so real last night.

I am very excited to go forward, with my animals, my art and writing as compassionate vessels for those who stumble on them.

Inside the shop of Moulinette Mercantile

Pino meets his first police officer

One of the piglets thinks Pino is a God