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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Aging is freeing -at the moment-and my apologies to the arugula, again

Ollie turned one month old
May is always a very busy month on a small farm. We have the front and private gardens going-Martyn has reshaped the structure of the gardens and of course it is a work in progress, but one we love to work on it. We love to save Misfit plants too, and revitalize them. This is our third garden we have developed and it remains a passion we can share together, but also, we seem to be able to blend our styles together well-Martyn has learned that 'weeds' are okay- Queen Anne's Lace, clover, And many others I don't know the names of. And I have learned to mix plantings more, for texture, just like a painting. I also get my solid bed of hollyhocks against a wood fence, a must, and always, lots of sunflowers.

It seems I should know the problematic status of growing a vegetable garden around ruminants. Yes, it is fenced. But they always find a way into the side arugala bed. Honestly, if Girl George doesn't ruin it by laying it, old Sophie comes along and eats it. Of course, every year I say I am going to go buy another 'real' gate, instead of my raggedy pallets and fence and hay twine...but something always is more important. We have so much lettuce, this morning I just gave up and let them stay in with the arugala.

I've also been consumed with many details of many things. This is what I call 'doing human' state of mind. it can take a person over. But I always try to stop, sit, commune with the gardens, and animals several times a day. The older I get, the more each day of health, stamina, the ability to walk and work at things I love, the ability to still see, hear, think...love amongst the vitriol being spewed...savor my food versus worry about post menopausal 15+ pound weight gain....age has a way of separating out the gravy from the grease. I have less tolerance for ignorance, stupidity, laziness and people that just don't try, aren't honest, are arrogant and live by their ego not by their heart. I no longer mince words with people that ignore boundaries, or I just don't let them through the physical gate out front or the invisible one I carry with me.

Being sixty is freeing that way. I imagine each year might become more freeing, if I am fortunate to remain independent.

This weekend I realized too that one of the things I really like about our Maine property is the intimacy of the barns and house, and how the barns are close to the house. I really missed the vastness of our old farm, and the openess of the land out West. Midcoast Maine has lots of woods, unmaintained, kind of has a northern Minnesota feel. But I realize too more and more, this is a really different gig. And we needed that for many reasons. But I'm finally settling into the difference of character between the two farms. And of course, we aren't breeding sheep or growing 4,000 lavender plants-we are no longer 'farmers' per se. We are stewards to our land and animals. We are caretakers. We are walking on this spot of Earth as gently as possible, communing. And as I was looking out my studio window this past week, I could see at one point most of the animals, including the equines in the back paddock fields. I felt they were safe, I could see them, there was and is less of a feeling of predatory possibility here. It is there, coyotes and dogs, but it feels like I have more ease with keeping everyone safe. I can move the animals around more easily. I put them in at night, or in paddocks, it is just more contained.

It's funny how a move takes a long time to settle in a person. There is also a bit of 'hanging on' to things that worked once, but really don't work anymore, or don't work well. Letting go sooner, also seems to be a perk of growing older.

And for the record, little Ollie is stinking' cute.

He has not told me his name yet
View from the second floor studio