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

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©Katherine Dunn.

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.

Conversation of chickens: The Secret Sisters big surprise

"Did it come out yet?" asked one of the hens, in a whisper, to her fellow Secret Sister.

"Thankfully," answered the smaller of the hens.

"What the hell was it?" asked another of the ladies.

"I have no idea, but it felt like a large rock."

The five hens and Francis the rooster all gathered around what had just come out of one of the Sister's bottoms.

"It's very firm and strong looking," said Francis. "Shall we do anything special at this point?" he asked.


"I am not sure," said a hen, and with that The Secret Sisters stood silently, waiting for some kind of motivation to move from the oval shape.

"Shouldn't we hide it?" asked one of the hens.

And before an answer could come to one of them, footsteps were heard coming to the barn.

"She's coming, look casual!" said Francis, as they all stood around and pecked here and there at dust balls falling from the spider webs.

As the woman did chores, the chickens proceed to fall into their routine-scatter from their hut to forage in the pig paddock for fallen grain bits.

Within minutes they heard expressions of contentment from the woman.

"She's found it," said the laying hen.

"She seems to be happy with it," Francis said and they heard the woman walking away.

"Do my pantaloons look okay?" asked the laying hen, bending over for inspection.

"Perfectly fine," said another Sister.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

My dog is Grace Kelly...sometimes

This was the last face I saw last night as I did chores. She is like a Grace Kelley at times when she sits like this. When I saw this photo later on, it just took my breath away.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I wanna hold your hand forever

I have been preoccupied with getting the new book ready for the press and busy in the studio. I have some things to share and will do this weekend.

In the meantime, I give you White Dog love. Benedetto and I have rituals in the morning. He loves to hold hands. While this could be construed as dominant behavior on his part, it is not. It is our personal time together, usually in silence, where we share a sense of safety in numbers.

When we were in Oregon and were moving here, I would look in his eyes and tell him everything was going to be okay, we were all coming together. He knew that already I suspect, or trusted me. But this morning I asked him if he should die before me, will he come find me when I die, wherever we are. I have no doubt he will. I also told him today I was so glad he came to us, so unexpectedly in such a magical way, a mysterious way, but I do believe somehow it was planned. I feel for some reason he is safer here, I don't know why. He seems much happier here in many ways, I think because his job is more defined due to the set up of the paddocks. And he has his job and Marcella has hers.

Marcella meanwhile gave me her beautiful look, her brown eyes looking up at me, letting me know she's here, she's ready and she knows I am here and I am ready.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Earnest has unprotected sex

It's the feeling every farmer knows. You walk into the barn and something just doesn't seem right.

Such was the case a few days ago when I went to do my usual rounds of morning feedings. I always feed Eleanor and her piglets, and Cornelia her daughter, and Scooby Keith and Sir Tripod goat first. There was more than the usual pig banter that morning.

"I'm going as fast as I can," I told them from the feed room.

More banter. Then squeals. Lots of them. Too many.

Oh no, I thought.

I looked over the five foot high stall door and there he was, sitting, politely waiting for breakfast while his sons, daughter and lover were scampering around trying to get the best feeding position. But Earnest with his size and fangs knows he can just sit politely, not budging. Doesn't matter if a 60 pounder crashed into him, or even 150# Eleanor, he's secure in his position.

And he had not broken out of his adjoining paddock on his own–he had an accomplice, his right hand gal, Marcella. I can't blame her for coming along, it is her job to take care of her charges.

May as well let them eat there, I thought.

After feedings I escorted them  back to their neighboring paddock. I then proceeded to re-secure what I thought was a Fort Knox fence that separates the ladies form the man. As I moved a pallet up against the fence, tying it with hay twine-a temporary situation until I could move more boulders in-Earnest came and watched my progress. He sat down [pigs sit like dogs] and he looked at me so, well... earnestly, which is why I called him Earnest in the first place.

"Earnest, we weren't supposed to have piglets this spring," I told him.

But we most likely will. And even though I have reasons I did not plan on piglets this spring, i have to say, the though of having piglets this spring makes me...giddy. I've noted on my calendar the two escapades he has had with Eleanor, and now Cornelia and I am unsure if either were in heat. So the countdown begins...three months, three weeks and three days [pig gestation]. At least it will be March and not the dead of winter.

I suppose this makes me look like a crappy farmer. Yea, sometimes all farmers are crappy at their jobs. We did our best with securing fencing when we arrived. There was no fencing so we had to do in one month what probably took us years in Oregon. But now there is a boulder wall there. So hopefully that will do the job.

I got up to leave and patted Earnest on the head.

"I'm glad you got to have some sex, Earnest, and be with the girls."

He followed me to the stall door, and watched me, earnestly, as I left.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Time to pre-order- the printing contract has been signed!

Please visit the Itty Bitty book page and pre-order the new book. I have signed the printing contract and we have a due date for the book's birth on January 13, which happens to be my mother's birthday and I take it she is watching over this project.

I expect to get your books out to you the first week of February [sooner if books arrive as scheduled]. Perfect for Valentines day love sharing.

Thank you to everyone who helped the initial Kickstarter. Because the Kickstarter failed to fund, I have the Itty book page set up for pre-orders and extra support if you care to give that at this time. I have secured 75% or the original Kick amount, enough to at least pay off the printer and not go into debt. So pre-orders really help an indie author...thank you.

Please share the book with your friends too [link below]! I also have some exciting news which I'll report here soon-in a nutshell, we are creating a Cat Healing Cottage where I will take in elderly/special needs cats.

Share this link with friends:

Friday, November 11, 2016

Helping Rosie the pig get ready for bed

Every night I cover up Rosie for bed - she may sound mad but she immediately goes to snoring and is warm (copyright Apifera Farm)

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

I remember liking it when my mother came into my bedroom to tuck me in.

Now that the weather is chillier, I end my chores in the barn by covering Rosie up with straw. Pigs will grab straw and carry it to their nest site, and will cover themselves up with it entirely if needed. Rosie used to do this on her own. I suspect that her arthritis makes that hard for her, I'm not sure, so she is usually half covered.

I actually really like this task. Even though she sounds grumpy, the minute I'm done covering her, she starts snoring.

Being mother to The World's Grumpiest But I'm Fine As I Am Pig means letting her be her ownself, and simply enjoying her demonstrative style.

What a pig!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Finding comfort in faces and life

It has been a hard week for many Americans. There is an outpouring of sadness from many, including me. It's palpable. There is also slightly less than the half of the voters who are content with the outcome. But Americans just showed that a woman won the popular vote total-this is progress we must not forget.

But I'm not going to rehash the why's of this outcome-there are plenty of people doing that. I am going to write about what I do in times of darkness. I did feel so much darkness that election night, many of us did, some did not. I felt very alone even though I had Martyn and many friends who were upset. I felt a heaviness in the air, and in my lungs and my body was physically agitated. I really did not want to go outside the next day. But I did, because I knew who was waiting for me out there-the faces.

And it helped. The beautiful routine I get to have with my animals in feedings and chores. The Wood behind the barn sent me reassurance,

I am still here.

There is a frenzy on social media. Panic, really. People are passing around probabilities and non factual scary possibilities all over the place. People are rabidly agreeing and disagreeing. Many are desperate for someone to give them hope and comfort. Martyn and I have fears too, for our health care, global security, our funds and our brothers and sisters who work so hard for this country that are now in fear of so many things.

I wrote a post at the end of Wednesday on Facebook of how I was going to handle my grief, shock and fear-by finding light, seeking light. It may sound woo-woo to some, but it is how I get through darkness like this. I find the light right here, in the farm, but also by reaching within and coming back to ideas of how I can share light with the community, both local and global. I can share light by sharing ideas of hope in writing and in my art; I can show through action the importance of communing and helping Mother Earth; I can continue to be of service, to both animal, elder and people and provide a place here that will evolve into a healing place.

I just decided pretty quickly after Wednesday morning's sun did rise,

I am not going to let this man take away my light, joy, talent, hope and ability to act.

So I look to these faces, and their non judgment of me and others, as solace. I am glad they don't have to ponder what we in America must now ponder, still even in 2016-racism, sexism, classicism, the fear and frustration of the working class that helped put this man in the White House. These faces just help me, and I share them with you here too, to help you. They won't solve our problems but maybe inspire you to seek out faces in your own local communities-be it animal, elder person, child in need, or someone needing a lift- and sharing your smile or hand. That is what can get us through this, to feeling our own light, and then to mobilize for the things we need to do to ensure all Americans are treated fairly in this country.

I think a lot of work is in the making for our country. Working on these issues is an ongoing skill for all of us, and for our past ancestors and future generations. I think the outcome of this election -as scared as many are and rightly so-will have powerful things of good coming out of it as the coming months and years go by.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Piglet named Rosie

A piglet named Rosie is ready for adoption here
I never knew Rosie as a piglet. I would have loved that though. There was much wondering what in the world made her so grumpy. Some of my old vets said they found most Pot Bellied Pigs disagreeable. My Kunekune pigs are the sweetest, all with unique personalities, but none are grumpy.

Rosie started her piglet life in a house, with an elderly woman in southern Oregon. The story is that she had her own bed and room and was pampered. When the woman died, Rosie ended up at a shelter and then was sent to live at Sanctuary One. There, she began her reign as a very grumpy pig. And that is where a very crippled goat named Stevie became her only friend, or only animal that would tolerate her grumpiness. Eventually, they both came to live at Apifera in Oregon. After about a year or two, Rosie began sleeping away from Stevie, and eventually, she was independent of the entire barnyard, after she told me clearly she liked living in Old Barn, on her own-although she had the company of sheep and donkeys and an occasional rooster walking by her suite.

In Maine, Rosie has taken a slightly less grumpy posture on life. I said, slightly. She is still grumpy. But after a few months here, and after her permanant suite was prepared for her with her own private outside yard, she began to lighten. And she began to greet me at the gate for breakfast-that was unheard of. Now that the air is getting cold, I find her in her suite at dusk, in straw, but I take time to gather more for her and cover her entirely. She grunts and snorts with,

What are you doing? Oh, fine, hurry up then, I'm sleeping.

It amuses me and makes me feel good to cover her like that-like an old lady unable to fully undress and redresss for bed, but she is very happy once I do it for her.

So I wonder what the little Rosie was like as a piglet? I can tell you that she must have had moments of pure innocence, and quieter, happy grunts. Either way, if you adopt this creature doll, she will require her own suite. And a blanket.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Today's donkey breakfast symphony

I spend time each morning with my many animals and one thing I love, and am comforted by, is their chewing, especially when the weather is chilly or rain and I'm in the barns with them. It's funny, because I am hyper sensitive to people chewing sounds, but animal sounds are different for me.

Old Matilda is today's guest chewer. It's a firm, loud chew, don't you think?

Friday, November 04, 2016

Let us all act like BIG ETTA today! Roar!

Yesterday at 3 pm, the Kickstarter campaign ended, and I came up $2,000 short. Heartbreak. I got lots of supportive comments, but at the time, I felt it was just the way it was going to go down.

But I woke today after bad sleep with my blood on fire! It is as if Big Etta came inside me and said,

"Get up! Don't QUIT! get on with it."

There is no room for ittiness today. I have setup a page on my blog so you can pre-order/pledge to the book. I have talked to some backers who did not get to the Kick page in time, and with some quick stepping, I can make this work. I was only $2000 shy, I can do this Big Etta way.

I have asked all Kickstarter patrons to resubmit their pledge on the blog page. Once I hit that amount that will cover printing, I will alert everyone. The same page will continue to take pre-orders. Just like the funding campaign, I have to hit that magic number before i can send the book to the off set printer so  I can pay for the printing and pay for shipping, about $8500. I have worked out arrangements with the animator [the original Kick campaign sought $12,000 to cover marketing, animation and fees, as well as printing, rewards and shipping].

PLEASE support the book. The people that pledged to the Kick campaign are already responding in Big Etta ways.


The goal is to get the money collected in a week, then get in the printer schedule and gets files checked so a book can be delivered in early 2017. Once i have a printer contract, I will be able to give a firm deliver date to you.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

23 hours

I don't need to tell you it is hard to see that this one might not make it.

There are 23 hours left to make a pledge. That's 3 PM East coast time on Thursday. I am still $3,000 short of the goal.