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

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Birdie update: patience and the goose is named

Birdie and My Grace this morning-still smiling
Birdie continues to improve, with some days of what feel like set backs, but it is all part of the healing process of nerves damaged by the nasty Menigeal worm.

Each time I talk to my vet, I seem to understand more about this dreaded parasite, and how different it is than other worms. For one, it does not leave the body when it is killed, like stomach worms do. Nerve damage recovery is a long process-only after a year will I assess what we have. I read about one llama that was much worse off than our Birdie, completely down every day, and a year later after the farm did everything they could for her, she simply stood up one day and lived to be 15.

If Birdie can get up on her own, that is the key. Even if she is permanently wobbly, it will be okay. If she were a working guard animal, it would be a problem, or if she were a breeder, which of course she isn't.

So when the vet was here to put down Rosie, we also had her assess Birdie [along with a Cushing Test and shots for The Teapot]. The vet and I were concerned that we had gotten all the worms in our first round of treatment. After that treatment, Birdie was doing well, but then two weeks later, her hind end weekend again and it seemed so sudden. So we gave her a different dewormer-a one time shot that the vet gave her-and we dosed her with something for anti-inflammatory via a shot. We also have switched her anti-inflammatory medicine because the one we were giving daily can cause ulcers in camelids. It means I'm giving Birdie six pills a day instead of one shot. I find she already accepts the pills pretty well, with my 'firm guidance'.

And the good news is, she has been standing every morning when I get to the barn which is a relief. And walking better, less 'drunken walk' some call it. She is eating well, and she has her goose nurse.

By the way, I have named the goose My Grace. If she doesn't lay eggs in spring, I guess she will be M'Lord!

So thank you to the many who are showing concern for Birdie. I don't wish this on any llama. I will do whatever I have to to help her through this, and remaining positive, even on the bad days. I must show her my intent each day-that we are in this together-and I know she is trying to.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Possible Matching Donations at stake

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. I know you probably know that because every time you open your email or social media you are being shown all the places you can give too.

But do those places have a Love Llama? Or acrobatic goats? Grumpy pigs that fly off to heaven?

If you want to give on our Facebook fundraiser, there is a chance those monies will be matched. Facebook will be matching every dollar for registered non profits, beginning at 8AM EST on Tuesday, up to 7 Million dollars total. We have to try! There will be a lot of non profits competing for those dollars.

And no matter what, your donations are always used wisely and needed on a every day basis for feed, materials, vet care, routine medicines and more. We do not take a salary and we both have full time jobs to support our simple lifestyle and also have time and energy and love to help the animals and our non profit.

We could not do this without your support.

I have many repeat donors, and I so love them all for coming to bat over and over-that includes all you Apifera Angels that send cat food.

I often see people saying, "I wish I could give more"...but I always say that all money is helpful to us! $5 buys half a bag of feed. It all adds up. The small donations are bread and butter. When we get a bigger donation, it is absolutely Misfitingly Magnificent! But all donations help keep our account flowing in a healthy way, and keep it so we don't scrimp on animal care which is the most important.

Of course, you can give right here on the blog if you are not a Facebook person. No matter how, or when, we will appreciate you donations.

Hoof stomps, tail swishes and pig squeals!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Belly, I hereby declare you a Goddess

I love this photo of me, I was probably about three. What I love about it is I see my spirit, and intention in this photo. I do not feel any need to shame my body. That would come years later when I understood what weight charts were and that some kids wore chubbies.

My body grew up, right along with me, and in time I learned to like my body, and I took care of it. And I told myself I'd never let it get out of shape. That all seemed to be working just fine...But hormonal shifts wreaked havoc and despite my efforts a 20 pound weight gain occurred since I married Martyn some 15 years ago, and I lost my hormones of course. I still ate like a bird, pretty much.

But what I'm working on more than losing weight, is to lose an inch. I threw out my scale last month. If I moved the scale one inch on the floor I could weight 10 pounds heavier, or lighter. Who knows what I weighed. I always weighed about 10 pounds more than the weight charts, even when I was 'thin' and young in my young adult years.

I came to hate being strapped in-mentally-to this magic number on a stupid scale, a scale that was unable to really weigh anything anyway. So I killed the scale, literally.

I walk, I do my chores, I probably do more 'steps' than the average person just in my barn chores. I get what I need to do to 'lose' weight. But post menopause, I don't care what anyone says, it is very difficult, and I've come to this point in my 60 years of life where I say to myself,

What do I want to do with my time today? What do I want to do with my strength, my mind, my hands today?

So I've gained weight.

There is not one animal in the barnyard that cares. My husband is completely supportive and has seen me try, and agonize, even cry when I could not take off pounds any more. I used to lose weight if I needed to by 'intending' it, not anymore. I am a believer in Nature and Nature knows exactly how to store fat on me at this stage of my life so if I ever did trip in The Wood and be stuck there until someone found me, I would probably outlive my thinner self of my 40's.

SO, back to this photo. That little child, I wish I could have her sitting here with me right now. I guarantee she would not be worried about her weight, or her sweet belly sticking ever so slightly out of her pants. I could show her my belly. I'm sure she would look at it as some kind of solidarity of sisterhood.

The other day I was lying in bed, about to get up, and I noticed the skin on my arm looked older and was more wrinkly and loose due to age. Something in me, well, I put my lips on my arm and gave it a gentle kiss.

My legs are still strong and carry me to the barn, my arms are still strong and help me carry an old goat out of the cold, my eyes still see and there is still much to be amazed by. My waistline is thicker, and I hope to hold it at bay, but I am tired of fighting. I just want to bend down and kiss my waistline, but it is rather difficult, so I now have a regime where I pat it, just like I pat my dog, donkeys or the pony shaped all short and stout. It is my Goddess belly.

My belly is full of nurturing food, and not a lot of it, and tonight I'll feed it some wine.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Heaven just got a bit grumpier...goodbye, Rosie

"She is gone," I told them.

As I sat with the body I could here the news spreading amongst the animals,

"Rosie is dead,"

"Rosie has died,"

"It's over,"

and on and on until the last creature was informed.

I placed a drop of oil on her body,

"May you not feel any more pain, and may you never be cold, and may you find a good cloud, and may you see Stevie again," I said.

I wrapped her body in her pink blanket, made just for her, embroidered with words so carefully placed,

"The World's Grumpiest But I Am Fine As I Am Pig ~ Rosie"

We placed her in our clam sled, and began the slow march to the front garden, a place we had gathered before over the last couple of years. As the animals stood in front of the freshly dug hole in the Earth, Martyn helped me lower Rosie's body into the ground, her pink blanket covering her to keep her forever warm. I placed a shroud over her eyes, a shroud made from Assumpta's wool. Burial items had come from afar, and I placed each one, thoughtfully, and carefully around her body. I placed feathers with her for flight, a toy llama for safety, a pig for a reminder of what she once was, and on the top, a red rose.

Earnest stood of to the side, he had dressed in his formal cape and bow tie. The goose, who had slept amongst Rosie in the last two weeks, also came. White Dog watched. Pino and Paco both said their goodbyes,

"I remember when you arrived," said Pino. "I remember when you could run."

"I understand you," said Paco. He placed a slip of paper in the grave, with a special, private poem to Rosie.

Earnest said not one word.

We covered the body in ancient soil, perhaps Civil War heros who once lived here had touched it long ago.

When the final dirt was spread, Opie pointed to the sky,

"Look, it's Rosie, she has beautiful polk-a-dots now!"

The animals had paid their final respects, and as they left they all bowed to the nearby grave of The Head Troll. Martyn returned to the house.

I knelt down, and whispered one last time,

"Oh, Rosie!"

As I returned to the house, it was still, and clear, and crisp. I heard a rustling, clouds appeared over head, tree branches snapped, and a distinctive hrumf-grrr-arrrr-hrumpf sound echoed in my hear.

Heaven just got a little grumpier.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

To recognize this day, every day

Opie takes a stroll in the fresh snow
Thanksgiving, the ritual of taking a day to observe thankfulness, is a tradition for many Americans. But I've always found the biggest blessing I've acquired over time in my own life is the realization that each day has moments strung together of gratitude. The 'strings of gifts' are things I can hold onto in times of pain, fear or turmoil.

I've always been an optimist, even as a little girl–not everyone has that. Blessed to have two parents who were stable and loved me, and gave me the building blocks of a good life–not everyone has that. Blessed to have health, knock on wood–not everyone has that. Graced by an imagination that allows me to share my soul's longings and light–not everyone has that.

I get to live with animals and help them and they return the favor by percolating my art and stories.

I'm not rich, so far from it, but I have a house and firewood, a loving friend in my husband.

I can walk, and move, and lift, and see.

I smell food cooking. I have food.

I have people I've never met that somehow stick with my intentions and support both my work and farm.

I have acquired new skills with age-like finally walking away from toxic people well versed in disguises.

I miss my mother, and father, but I had them to miss, and I see them in Earth messages all the time and have learned to communicate with them in a more caring way.

I have friends that lift me up. I have friends.

I have a donkey. I have four donkeys. And a horse.

My llama is standing, I found a goose, I can laugh at the ducks, a chubby pony awaits, goats run amok, pigs flop daily. I have milk to give Mr. Mosely. I have Mr. Moseley.

The wind still blows, the sea is near–I can feel it on my skin, I smell it.

I'm still here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

The new odd couple? Goose & Llama...a developing story.

I once was contacted by Animal Planet some years back, a producer was looking for unique animal couple stories. At the time, we had recently brought home Earnest the pig, and he and the newly arrived Marcella, a pup, were the starring couple. Pig and Pup I called them, their friendship went on for years, and still exists although they have entered a new stage of their relationship-where Marcella is the boss. And of course I told them about Stevie the crippled goat and Rosie the grumpy pig.

"Do they do anything special together?" the producer asked.

"You mean, does the pig carry the pup around on his back?" I asked.

"Exactly," she said.

I said they did lots of charming things, like caressing each other, watching out for each other....but I said they did animal things, like biting out if the other got too close to food. These were real animals, I reminded her,not Disney characters. I swear some of the animal videos we see out on the internet are staged, people training their dogs to ride equines or chickens on bikes...nothing wrong with that, it brings a smile, but not my thing. I mean, my donkey writes poetry and my pig thinks he's still going to meet E.B. White someday, that's good enough for me.

So I am cautious to tell you that the goose seems to be bonding with the llama.

They have not sung a song together, and so far the goose has not gotten on Birdie's back. I do not think I have to worry about them going viral, yet.

I do believe in letting animals work out their own dynamics in the barnyard, if it is safe. The goose, who I have not named yet and must do that, as she is too beautiful to not have a name matching her grace, since last night has seemed to have attached herself to the llama. Now the goose came here because the farm where she lived felt she was lonely, and she was not able to bond into the duck yard, and the goose's own mother pushed her out after she had more goslings. So the goose more or less imprinted on the farmer, and I often sit with her, and she loves to put her long neck under and into my warm coat, and I pet her.

As you know, I have Birdie inside the barn because she had a set back with the horrible M worm, and we are once again giving daily shots of anti inflammatory med, which as we are day three, appears to be helping. Last night when I went to do feedings, there was Birdie, standing comfortably on her feet, not as stumbly. And beside her, was the goose. I took a picture of it as it was charming to see two differently sized white creatures of such grace, an odd couple for sure, side by side.

This morning, Birdie was standing when I got to the barn which was so good to see. As I did clean up and feedings, I kept hearing the goose roughing up the ducks, one in particular. I figured because Rosie was still finishing her breakfast, that the goose was being territorial about that. But then I fed hay to Birdie, and the goose went right out there, and defended Birdie's hay from the ducks. She made them walk away, and then she stood with Birdie and I took some photos.

So stay tuned. I do know in my many years of care taking, that certain animals are more prone to be caretakers themselves. And you never know who it will be. Sometimes it is a complete surprise. In watching the goose try to interact-or not-in the past couple weeks with the ducks, my sense is that she is not a 'fowl' fowl. She prefers other creatures, even making her way into the Boone stall, which was fine, but I took her out since he could accidentally step on her, but he was fine with her. I like to let animals make their own living arrangements, if possible.

So, we will see. It might be the beginning of a wonderful relationship. And since Birdie might need to be kept in the barn like this, where she is safe if she falls, I think I, and she, will welcome one more caretaker. Birdie can see her sheep and White Dog, and the barn is very open so she is not alone.

Stay tuned to see the [maybe] the developing relationship of Goose & Llama.

Last night, the first hint this might be the beginning of Goose & Llama

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Update on Birdie...it's a long road ahead, I think

The fact she can still smile gets my heart. Birdie relapsed.

It has been about a month since we ended the two week treatment for Birdie's fight with the meningeal worm, and she was doing really well, although I could see the wobbles and damage in her balance/rear end, but she was able to rise on her own, eat, graze, etc. We knew it could take months or longer for slow improvement, and we might never get better results. But I was feeling hopeful.

But that changed yesterday-Birdie could not get up without my help. Once up it took her some time to get balanced. I opted to put her in barn to be safe. At feedings last night she was unable to rise until I helped her. I also noticed her neck had developed a slight curve-which I now realize is a normal part of this dreaded disease.

I called my vet and we are going back to a shot a day of anti inflammatory med to see if that will help. The vet said not to panic that the nerve damage is there and it is a slow process for nerve recovery-and she will always have some. It is also possible she fell due to her condition [I witnessed her falling a few days ago] and that is adding to immobility. It really bummed me out that it seemed so sudden, but the vet said this is a pretty typical way the recovery can work. I have been researching as much as possible, and this post had several success stories, and then some not so positive outcomes. There is no answer as to 'if' of 'when' she will be 'okay'. And okay if she is in time, will most likely mean 'damaged'.

This morning I again had to help her up and she fell in the beginning. There are other anti inflammatory drugs we can try but we are trying to start with this one to see how much it helps.

She is up and eating -and still smiling -it’s so hard to watch her like this.

This is largely my fault. While I can't control Nature, I did not know about the M. worm and being new in Maine and without a vet when we arrived, I treated/dewormed like I always have out West. Once I began researching it was too late. She most likely contacted the worm in the summer, and we saw the first symptom on October 6. Fortunately, we got to her right away, since I spend so much time with her and saw the symptom. But...I feel responsible for this.

I will fight for her and with her for as long as I have to. She is one of the most special creatures in the entire universe and I will never give up on her. I hope together we can pull through this.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Teapots can run like Abrabians too

She certainly does not lack confidence, that is for sure. She is brave and strong and it is clear already that the short stout teapot might be running the place before we know it.

Today I put the new addition out with the donkeys for the first time. They've had ample time to sniff and snort, so it was time. All went well. The ground is chunky and frozen, so footing is not the best. For that reason, I did not want the pony running with the llama, who after her bout with Meningeal Worm can fall more easily due to her hind legs/spine being weakened.

So I put her in with the donkeys, leaving Boone out at this time. Boone has never done anything to the little donkeys, but I wanted to be cautious on this first outing. Matilda was the most cautious, and her footing is not great due to her age, but all was fine.

Soon, I'm sure they will be taking hiking expeditions together and Paco will write poetry to her. I did overhear a conversation this morning as I did my usual barn chores:

"So is she really a teapot?" Lucia asked.

"I don't think so. But she is round so she is a living teapot," said Pino.

"She is like a big round ball," said Lucia.

"The moon is round, so is the earth, so it is good to be round," said Pino.

"Cookies are round," said Paco.

"What is your name?" asked Lucia.

"She told me it will come," said the Teapot.

The donkeys returned back to their hay, all except Paco, 
who put his nose close to the fence that separated him from the new arrival.

"If your roundness means you are like the moon or earth, 
I wonder if you are some kind of Goddess?" Paco asked her.

She stomped her little feet, and squealed. And Paco ran off.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Who says?" Me and the Teapot Pony start to listen

I worked the new arrival [still no name] this morning on a lead line to see what training she really does have. I can tell she has some foundation work, which was what I was told [supposedly she was trained to drive many years ago]. It's been awhile since I've had an equine 'project' so this will be a really good thing for me, I think, and her.

She is a pistol. She has a mixture of sass, but then walks over to you and puts her head next to your leg for love and reassurance.

She is rusty, but so am I, we will relearn together.

Today I simply worked on the basic commands. She did fine, although it was her first time out into the new barn addition, which still doesn't have the wood exterior up [happening in coming month] so she could see out to the woods and pasture she doesn't know yet. I let her trot her circle with her head out, she clearly was not paying attention, but I allowed it for the beginning of our first session.

This has to be fun or her, and me.

She needs work on 'stop' or 'ho', but all in all, we had some good beginnings. By about 20 minutes into it, she was listening better, turning her ears into me. Considering she has been here two days, I wasn't going to push her. I'm excited to continue though, and make progress.

I think she is going to be a mixture of Boone and Paco. Boone was trained well, a former cow pony, but he was desensitized -which had/has its merits. He is quite bomb proof [although no horse is 100%, and it would be foolish to not be aware of that on any ride]. But Boone needed a leader, and I had to learn that with him, how to be a better leader. This sassy lady is not fearful, which is good. If anything, she is a lot like me-when told to do something that might seem contrary to my liking, or makes me feel uncomfortable, I ask a simple question,

"Who says?"

There is nothing wrong with that, especially as a woman in a white man's world-why should anyone else think for me.

I have to show her I'm trustworthy as a leader. I have to be patient, and clear, and let her make the choice I want her to make-like backing up, or turning right-before I am tempted to over correct her, or tell her to do it again before she has had time to make the decision. Be still and wait. Let her make her move, it might be the right one. If she makes a right move, and is praised, she will safe to make other right moves.

It is pouring so hard with over an inch of rain today, so being able to work with her in the new barn addition was great. It makes me want to keep the barn addition a large open space but I am not sure if that is functional for us. If I were rich, and I am not, I'd build another small barn for therapy visits where I could also work animals. Who knows, maybe that will happen in time.

First things first. I really feel this little teapot of vim and vinegar is going to be fun.

Inspired by the new pony...available, just inquire

Monday, November 12, 2018

A new Misfit arrives and Paco thinks she is like a teapot

We love her free style hair do
We made the 7 hour round trip to pick up an 18 year old mini horse that needed rehoming. I had heard about her through the New England Mini Horse Society which helps network adoptions and rehomings. I have been keeping my eyes open for one, thinking it would be a wonderful addition to therapy sessions with elders.

This little lady was well loved, and had two little girls that cared for her, but as little girls do, they grew up and went onto other things. Their mother was feeling overwhelmed with some of the animal care of some of the girl's animals, and she knew in her heart the best thing for this horse, and her mini horse companion was to find a new caring home that could give her more time. As you can see, she is a tish overweight, actually 'obese' if we are being honest. It is said that in her earlier days she learned how to drive, and we will begin working with her, and Paco, to see if we can get them to pull little carts full of...cookies or something. Who knows.

Many years ago, when I had to rehome a horse that was way over my head, and dangerous actually, I felt like I was letting the animal down. I wasn't. I had tried hard to work through issues we were having, but I wasn't ready for that horse, and she was well ahead of me and knew I was not a good leader for her. She went onto a more experienced horseman, that took her all over the place on rides and it was meant to be. I was telling someone about feeling like I had failed her, and they said that they believed a horse comes to an owner it needs at the time, and vice versa. I believe that to be true. I encouraged this owner with those words, that this little lady is meant to go on now and reinvent herself. She did the right thing, the brave thing, really-it is never easy saying goodbye to a creature you've watched your children grow up on. She was really happy to know this little horse will work with elder people, and have a purpose again.

She will need some supplements to help get her coat back to snuff, and we'll have the vet out soon to do a Cushings test just to be on the safe side. She will have to watch her calories, but I told her I have to also so we are int his bulging midriff thing together.

Bringing home a creature is always a bit stressful. You get them on the trailer, and you reassure them that it will be okay, but of course they sense something is happening. For me, I know once the trailer begins to move it helps calm them too, and our little friend-who knickered her goodbyes as we left [that was hard to hear] rode very well and didn't break a sweat. On arrival, she looked around and realized,

OKAY, there are trees, and leaves here too, and I hear animals...there is grass, and a barn where I sleep

I opted to put her in a stall where she could meet everyone over the fence, but would be safe on her own and get a good rest. Boone was right on it, being the first to give his approval. White Dog was really excited and is about the same height. Birdie was cautious as always but very interested. This little pony [she is a mini horse, but it is impossible not to call her a pony] is no push over, but seems to have a very good personality-she definitely likes people as she came and stood with me a lot. She likes to be brushed, and she lifts her feet well so the farrier will be happy. She is easy to catch and halter. So there is a lot of ground work in her, and I think she will fit in just fine.

She had goats and a large Thoroughbred at her old home, and when Girl George, the goat that lives on Boone's side, gets too nosy, she squeals and tells her to back off. But that will all end in time. And Girl George needs some tough love!

Poco is interested, but also cautious of the new arrival, all the donkeys are not afraid, but until they can get in the same paddock with her they won't be able to show some true bonding. I hope to do that this week sometime. Boone has never tried anything stupid with little Lucia so I think it will be just fine.

I have told her that everything is okay, everything will settle, it always does in a new beginning. I truly believe we will all look back in a few years and be so happy she came to us, and she will blossom in a new direction as she enters her senior years. We must all recognize we can readjust, and reinvent ourselves...it keeps hope in the heart that we will always be inspired by new things.

"I like the way she looks, too," Paco said. "She is like a little teapot all short and stout. Perfect."

{We welcome any donations to help offset the cost of this new little arrival and upcoming vet check}

First nose introductions

"She looks like a very nice teapot," said Paco. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

What if I had to choose: the horror we feel for the fires

Every time there is a major fire out West, I have visceral reactions to it. It is so hard to see the images of people and animals in such desperate situations. I have read some gut wrenching stories of people faced with leaving their horses to run free, and one woman rode her horse to a shopping area, waiting and hoping to somehow get her and the horse out. The firemen told her she had to go, and they promised they would do what they could for her loyal horse, and they didn't let her down. They told her they would get a Uhaul from down the street, and haul the horse out, and they did. The woman though had to leave the scene without him, they really made her go. Nobody knows where she went so she didn't get to see her horse driven away in the Uhaul.

Just writing that makes me agitated. To have to make these hard choices, stay and die, leave your horse and know he will suffer, and die...just so hard to watch. I get to turn off the images and walk away, they don't. Although i can't stop thinking of the images either.

I saw a pot bellied pig being guided out of a house by police, to a car I suppose. Thank you to all those people. Can you imagine if it were Rosie?

I saw llamas and a pony sitting on Malibu beach, tied to posts, their owners probably had no other choice and hoped the ocean water would at least keep them safe.

Two frightened shepherd dogs, dirty but healthy, looking lost and scared.

I took this photo of Benedetto two nights ago, the sunset was so striking. But when I looked at it again this morning it made me think that anyone that lives through a fire must see a sunset like this in a different way. I would imagine if it effects me to read these stories, the people that live through them are never the same, and visceral reactions must come even when they look at something as beautiful as a sunset.

We can only pray from our little house. They are facing such horrible things all at once, those people and animals.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

My blue hangover was worth it

Yesterday, Muddy came bounding into the bedroom at 5 am like always, pushed his wet nose under the blankets and flipped them up sending a shot of cold air on my skin. He does this every morning. But this particular morning was his 9th birthday so I sensed he was a tish happier than normal. Muddy starts everyday with enthusiasm,

"It's a new morning! Isn't it great?!"

Yep, yes, it is, Muddy, especially with your wet nose on me.

The excitement of the day's voting was also part of the energy and I was excited, but anxious. I know many were. In Maine, we overwhelmingly sent a message to the sitting governor, president and current political believers of the administration–NO MORE.

We elected a moderately leaning Democrat woman, and put the house and senate in Democratic hands. We voted against another Trumper business man for governor - and we have suffered through a horrible governor here for years. What I'm proud and relieved to see is there were no tight races, this was a mandate, with most Dems getting over 60% of the vote, and turnout was high.

I have hope. I think what I hope for most is that there will be an effort, somehow, for politicians to come together more in the House. Dump is not going to change, but he at least won't go rolling down a hill without brakes out of control without any speed bumps. He has wasted no time going right back to his onslaught of the media, and lies, pointing fingers, and we're right back into the circus.

One thing I feel needs to happen is to bring more understanding to the city elite and progressive leaning people about their rural neighbors, and that somehow rural people with certain views have to be more clearly heard and understood. I'm not talking about persuading either side to switch views, but I live and work with many people in my rural villages that are good people that voted for the current president. I do not believe everyone of them is a racist. I do however feel after two years, that sexism, and racism has to be acknowledged by everyone. If you can't see it, I believe you need to be educated on it...but I'm sick of rural people being designated as ignorant and uncaring.

To me, many [not all] of the city elite saying these things sound as elitist as the white men of the Senate and former House they love to criticize.

SO I was excited for the voting results. I also realized as I was in my little town hall in my village of 600, how much I love where we are, and how we are truly meant to be here. I feel a real sense of community here. When people went in to vote [it's the old school building that is now the town hall] there were-mainly elder-towns people there volunteering, and then there was a long table of sweets and goodies manned by other towns people. People stood and chatted. I stopped to get my trailer license, and someone said,

"Oh are you the ones who live at 315?"

Two years ago that might have freaked me out. Today, I feel we are becoming part of the community and region, and we are also giving back to it with our work. I walked out of there just feeling so positive how the universe brought us to this exact town, and house and at this time, for a reason. It's all part of our path here.

I also feel the current administration-which is exposing the underbelly of America that has always been there-is also meant to be here, at this specific time, for a reason. I don't like it, and we can change it, but it is teaching us all many different things-be it the fact that whites are born into privilege no matter their income, and that racism is alive and thriving, as is sexism and every other ism.

But I felt hope again last night. And I do have a tish of a blue hangover, after a bit too much wine runneth over. But one has to let off steam.

And besides, it was Muddy's birthday.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Everyone wants to be heard, even the ones we think are hateful

I choose to believe the crow that I heard high up in a tree this morning, cawing, was sending me a message of hope, and a reminder to carry on. No matter what happens on Tuesday night, there is a lot of work to do in this world.

Crows have always been messengers, for me, and many others...and I suppose the cynics will say we read into anything when we need it most. Years ago in my youth, with a broken relationship haunting me everyday, I believed that when I saw two crows together, it meant the person was going to come back to me. I would find two crow feathers on walks and felt optimism. As months wore on, I would only see single crows. I told myself at that time that I just wasn't seeing the crow pairs, but they were there, and that this entire 'believing in crow messages' was a farce.

But the crow's message, and my reading of it, was accurate back then. Seeing the crow pairs was true to my mindset, as I had not let go of the relationship and there were still lessons for me to glean from it. In time, a single crow was exactly the message I needed at the exact time I was ready to see it.

So this morning, like many people, I'm anxious about the world, the hate, the underbelly of America that has always been there but in the past two years-or more-has been given a green light of acceptance from the top.

Democracy is not a straight path. Nor is freedom. I have remained silent on social media about it. For one, as a non profit, one is not supposed to be talking politics, and I don't on the Apifera business page. As for my personal Facebook profile, something I rarely interact on anymore except to post links to the blog, I see no point in giving my opinion there anymore, and my personal profile page is basically a way for me to interact with some people I actually know in the real world. There is no real discourse between 'the sides' and there are so many 'sides' these days. I see people talking to their own choirs over and over. I just backed away from it. Some people I respected I've lost respect for, not because of their beliefs, but because of how they are banging them over other people's heads, daily, hourly. These same people despise Dump [a sentiment I share] but they are using tactics of 'sharing' their messages to their own choir that–in my eyes–are some of the same tactics the president and his party are using.

But just because I'm not posting about the political environment, the racial hatred, the sexism, the fear mongering doesn't mean I'm not working against it in my own way. I wonder what would happen if people that only post their political hates [this goes for either party] of the moment, had face to face conversations with other people.Talking to people with different views-especially hot button issues-is not easy. I think we should have community help in this. It is a skill to share your beliefs without shaming others. I'm no expert at it either. But FB is not a safe place to acquire the skill, or hone it.

Everyone wants to be heard, even the people we feel are wrong and hateful.

Llama Update!

I’m feeling optimistic about Birdie who is doing well after our scare in early October with the dreaded Menagerial worm which we caught early and treated aggressively via my vets recommendations.

Her swelling has noticeably disappeared in her rear upper legs. I feel her wobbliness is at a minimum–in fact I doubt any of you would notice–and could still improve since it has only been 2.5 weeks since treatment ended. I doubt I’ll ever totally relax about it-but am grateful for this outcome and hope it continues. She now will get a monthly dewormer shot, versus a twice a year dewormer which was our protocol in Oregon. Our land here is wetter, and although we don't have dear walking around, they are here passing through The Wood, so...it is what it is.

I'm so grateful I noticed it when I did [on Misfit Love Day, I was talking to a llama person as we stood by Birdie and when Birdie went to get up, she stumbled and acted crippled]. I also feel badly that I didn't understand the problems of this worm. Part of it is the fact I am just now finding my vets, so I really didn't have anyone to guide me with llama issues here when we arrived, and llamas are an exotic, so there are not a lot of vets that really don't know them well.

Anyway, I've asked for Birdie's forgiveness, and even made art in her honor, which she appreciated.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Now what? The ongoing thought process of one woman and two goats ambassadors of love

I took this photo today, spontaneously, as I walked in the front gate after doing errands. There they were, just set up for a perfect moment caught forever by a photo.

Sometimes things evolve so fast that I have to stop and take stock of what was and what will be-or what I want it to be. I am after all the co-pilot of this raggedy ship. I've been doing a lot of thinking about how I want to grow our ability to share our love ambassadors. When I looked at these two, and then the photos after I got in the house, I got this big feeling in my throat, like my heart shifted up to my throat but then it fluttered all around my body and then burst out into the room where I sat.

Somehow, I stumbled on Opie and then I stumbled on Ollie, or someone stumbled on me to send me Ollie. Was it all written out on a map of my soul long ago before I was a human vessel? As I drove to the feed store this afternoon, I was again in awe of how beautiful the autumn was this year. And then I realized I was beginning to know certain areas more on my routine drive, I knew the coves and bays more and it felt familiar, it did not feel like we just got here and were fish out of water [even though we always felt good here]. I thought of the couple of friends I've intertwined in my life now who are loving, funny, positive creatures and I'm thinking as I drive-I'm here, this is so the way it is supposed to have played out.

I feel like I'm on a nice speed–propelling forward with my work, and life.

Opie will be turning two in December. Look how little he was! Meanwhile, Ollie is growing like a weed and continues to be a lover not a fighter. We need more lovers, don't we?

Yesterday I went and visited a very beautiful elder residence, with beautiful views of New Harbor, right on the water. I will be taking the animals there after the holidays for regular visits. The residents there have come here twice and I'm so excited to have yet another nearby place to visit. Remember the wonderful 101 year old gent that came to Misfit Love Day? He lives there.

Tomorrow we will have the residents of some of The Greens come for a farm visit. I'm glad. I love my "Greenies" as I call them - The Greens is a group of seven homes, in small little vintage houses in different village settings, where 6-8 elders reside. And next week, I'm visiting one of The Greens I have not been too that we've been given the go-ahead to have animal visits at, and residents from the other homes can come on designated visit days. Part of the reason this is happening, besides my interest, is the help of one of the Greens employees [thank you, Cindy!} and a local man who now can drive the residents. This is so wonderful and he's great with the people too. It's very hard for the elder homes to get people places, due to staffing issues.

So one of my big goals is to develop these winter visits.

My other ideas are to start drawing days in the upper loft, which we plan to winterize and summarize -hoping to do that this winter. The elder cat suite will be opened up so the elder cats can walk around up there too. Elder people won't be able to get up there, it is a lot of steps. So I'm a bit frustrated on not having a place here for elder people for winter. But maybe it is meant to be that I find these other places for winter animal therapy visits?

I still would love a little winterized shed for animal visits-but the logistics of keeping the snow plowed around it, safe for elders-it's the little details I need to figure out.

Meanwhile, Opie and Ollie, are ready to report to duty as soon as I say, "Let's go!"

Opie on arrival back in December 2016