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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Annual Christmas Garland Festival -the importance of tradition

I wasn't thinking I could pull it off this year, with this head/sinus cold going on day nine....but I rose with the Christmas spirit and we had our annual Christmas Garland Festival yesterday. I'm so glad I made it happen. Amazingly, except for Moose and Goose, everyone was on tip-top behavior and this year the garland did not suffer as it has in some past festivals. Even the blind chicken partook.

The garland was a gift to me many years ago from an Apifera follower. I liked it so much-it was handmade out of felt, buttons and jingle bells-that I decided to share it with the barnyard for Christmas photos, and it immediately turned into an annual tradition.

Many of the traditions I had as a child for Christmas are gone, mainly because we keep things very simple around here, and without children or extended family, our holidays are spent like many nights-by the fire with some spirits and good conversation. I cherish our time together. I spent a lot of energy in my youth complete with broken hearts and bad choices looking for a solid mate and friend, so when I met Martyn at age 42, I had no problems with spending time with him. We are rarely apart, but also have very independent lives during the days. I like being with him.

We honor the spirit of Christmas by celebrating with a Charlie Brown tree harvested from The Wood, and in so doing we create more light for the other trees. The tree goes onto the barnyard for the goats to eat and so we honor the gift of food from Nature. So that s a tradition we created. And The Garland Festival has become an Apifera tradition, and it matters. Why? Well, despite all the chaos of life and the world, knowing that there is a day when a beautiful red and green garland-made by hand and given in friendship-will adorn the animals that we care for, it brings a sense of stability. It reminds us that a tradition s something we create, and do over and over, and it shows those watching or partaking what our true values are.

We nourish each other with good food, and warm ourselves with the fire made hot by the wood Martyn has chopped from the our land. That is tradition.

The Garland Festival is something I like to do for the animals too. I really think most of them understand this is a special activity just for them. The one that really made me smile was Birdie. The second I put it on her, she literally posed, she must have stacks of old Vogue magazines that she knows how to stand just like Grace Kelly. She truly loves to be admired but not really in an ego way, it is the same feeling I had about her on Misfit Love Day when I put the crown on her head-she was working the crowd with love and...well, her beauty.

You can see all the photos from this year's Festival on our Instagram feed. And past years too can be seen right here on the blog.