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

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Ollie, the resident goofball

This guy brings me such joy. Ollie is truly the goofiest fellow in the barnyard, and full of love. I have not had him out on a therapy visit yet. He does great here at the farm. I need to have a second set of hands to do that. So I'm working on finding people that are good fits to help me. All in good time. I don't seem to be in a rush anymore. I think I get to choose my speed. I feel like I rushed a lot in the past years, sometimes out of necessity, or because my work was more deadline driven, and I am entering this new slowed down version of myself. It's nice.

So, Ollie, don't worry-we will find ways to share you more on the road of love.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I birthed a goose

It was a pleasant birth experience. I'm going to live with her for a bit before offering her to the masses on the shop-but feel free to contact me if you are interested in her. I want to make her alma, it is only proper I think. Sebastapol geese are amazing, their feathers are torn and curl, it is very cool. Some of her fallen feathers are in the doll. I had some old scrap that was so perfect, it ripped and seemed almost better than the feathers.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Visiting elders..why it matters-because we are all on this circle

The grace of old hands-how much they have done over the years
Opie and I visited our elder friends at Wiscasset Green this morning. We have been visiting now for two years and have grown to think of them as friends, and even family. We've lost a few people too and it is not easy-you will not be told in advance of a death or a departure for privacy reasons, and it is hard. But it is part of doing this. I have to say it is hard on me.

But, I will continue on because I love them, I love our gatherings...and I care about them. I was thinking recently why these visits are so important-to them, but also me, and Martyn when he comes like he did today.

I think of life as a continuum, a circle. We are born, and cared for by young adults. We in turn become young adults and those parents move to the right on the circle, and grow old. When those elders die, they have passed on their traits and hearts to those on the left on that circle. Circles never end. Circles are prominent in all aspects of Nature-the moon, the earth, the sun... The time and energy we give to our babies and children is later found and felt in elder people who also had time and energy given to them by parents.

By visiting the elders, I am honoring the power that the moon has on the tides. It's really no different. You get, and you give. And you don't stop. You just are, like the moon.

Opie was particularly intent on going to one of the residents today. I have seen Pino gravitate to a person in a group and then I find out later that person was hurting from a trauma or loss. We all chuckled that Opie was intent on this resident, and I casually said that Opie must know she is sad, or grumpy, or hurt...and she told me with teary eyes her 70 year old son had died recently and she was hurt.

She looked at Opie and said, "He can feel my hurt hurts."

Opie is on the circle too.

Opie was gravitation to one elder today...and he knew why before I did

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Papi has an important announcement!

We don't want to let down Papi. As President of The Old Kitty Knitty Club and well, er, the largest member of the elder cat suite, he has a very persuasive look when he needs more cat food, don't you think?

Thanks to the good people who go to our Wish List and send us food directly, we have helped put weight on all the elders, even our latest and oldest arrival, Gilda, who is turning 21 soon and gained a half pound, and when you only weigh five pounds that is a lot!

When you send items for the Wish list directly, it helps keep money in our fund for the other animal needs. Cat food is expensive, especially the special urinary food we must feed, so we all raise our paws to you.

Visit the Wish List, and our greatest need is the canned food, the first three on the list. We also use the dried food daily, so never turn it down. I'm just running low on the wet food.

NOTE: It is helpful to me and Papi when you purchase from the list, to send your name with the order, so Papi can send his special message to you. Otherwise, I don't know who is sending the item.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Don't worry, The Nose has it under control

Weather is such a crucial part of people's lives, especially those of us that live more in the elements in rural areas. Since I don't have to drive to a job, nor does Martyn in the winter, I actually get sort of jazzed up for big winter storms, especially since we have a generator now. I am afraid of lightening storms even though I love them, but a good snow storm is comforting in some way.

And I got everyone midget sized insulated overall bibs. They are pretty content. We are well prepared here with our barns and shelters, electric water buckets in the most crucial stalls and frost free pumps. And now a generator which we haven't had to use, but could have used a million times before we bought it. Why we waited so long I can't say, although money is always an issue but we have the kind you fill with propane and it does what we need.

The beautiful snow, about 8" so far is sadly turning to sleet. I doubt we will venture out tomorrow either. The temps will be very cold for a couple days, and then warm up. My biggest challenge as the sleet takes over will be keeping gates and sliding barn doors free of ice. Having the electric water buckets for the outer barn is such a god-send. it took some doing to make it safe, but I'm so grateful I have that this year.

The happiest camper right now? White Dog, and Marcella too, they love the cold and snow. The Nose wants you to know we are well, and he has it under control.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I'm fighting the blues...give the goats hula hoops

I have learned over the years, all sixty of them, that sometimes melancholy creeps in, or swoops in, or crashes in. I think it crept in in the past week, not because of one horrible thing, but because of a series of events which led to a series of thoughts which led to series of fears, and whys and what ifs and then you realize, again, that there is no control over anything...anything.

And before I knew it you I was sitting in my studio trying to paint something significant, or actually I was trying to just pain one line of anything, and my hand is barely moving across the page and all I saw was hula hoops with goats.

I rather liked it. I thought that maybe my muses were telling me to lighten up, enjoy the off time. But any artist will tell you that sometimes off times lengthen. To be honest, I've never had a 'draught' per se, but I feel more and more, after being a full time creative since 1996, that sometimes I wonder if my well is drying up...or maybe that my well is getting stingy and just wants to paint and not share everything manically. I can also tell I am writing less on the blog. I have thoughts that after 12 years or what ever it has been, how much more does anyone want to read here? And they have FB, IG, Pins and pics and pokes, my ego is not that big I just don't think my thoughts are that compelling any more.

I heard about an artist-I forget who-who quit Instagram and other social media platforms-he has millions of followers-because he felt it was becoming the reason he was creating-to share it. I get that.

I'm shifting. I can feel it, and I am also feeling that I'm 'digging in' a bit, which gives me this urge to go sit in The woods with White Dog and not share anything for weeks...and just draw the shadows I see come in through the trees, and not show anyone. But sharing online is how I can continue to make a living, pure and simple. It means one has to constantly check boundaries, and motives of oneself, and others. It's exhausting.

And I like to share. I have grown away from sharing online for a reaction. It's nice to hear people respond positively, don't get me wrong, but I don't need it like I think I did early on. A lot of that came from personal relationship work and recognizing I don't really need anyone's approval for anything. But when I take a beautiful photo, does it exist if I don't share it? Isn't my sharing a gift in and of itself to those who resonate with it. I guess. Yes, it is.

But, I have a bit of the blues, or the stucks as I call them, the floppy ear donkey days. I think a lot of it for me is the constant bagging out of information from all the online sources, the constant news cycles with so much going on-alot of it bad-in the political world, and it is all important stuff. We can't turn our backs. But I think, for me anyway, it is making me distracted. I am almost feeling I am addicted to being distracted.

We sensitive creative intuitive can easily get sucked up into other peoples pain and issues, I have worked hard to understand what boundaries need to be to keep healthy and sane. I think the boundary that isn't there right now is I have to be online for a lot of different reasons-keeping the shop running, filling orders, updating sites, billing...it is so easy to fall into the I'll just check such and such to see if the world is till here.

Anyway, after all these years, I still have days where I think I might be done, not Dunn, but done. I think the muses just lifted me up a bit and gave me hula hoops today.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

To my mom, and yours, and yours, and yours....

Today would have been my mom’s 93rd birthday, it has been 6 years since I saw her in January in '13 on her 87th, and in April of that year she died, suddenly, but in her own home and on her terms. I miss her, of course, but the way I miss her has evolved. I have said before that when a loved one dies, the love they gave, and that I received, somehow expands.

I figure that when a person is alive, they have all this love inside them, like energy, and they dole it out over time…but when the body is done, everything is released and the love expands and it explodes out free to be carried all over and merge with everything-the trees and sky, people, flowers…the air–it’s like air, the love expands and we breathe it daily. I can say that this experience has shown me the power of love, and while I miss her voice and talking to her and hearing her thoughts...I know that it’s all still there, the love.

Last night I dreamt about her and my father, and two of our Westie dogs, we were all together eating dinner somewhere...I have similar dreams a lot. I don’t know if this is my will to want to visit them, or their will to want to visit me...or both...either way...it’s the love again. Everything is connected.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Old Kitty Knitty Club-calling all knitters!

The Old Kitty Knitty Club is a way for you to collaborate on knitting projects that help elder people. Back when we arrived in Maine, we began adopting the elder cats out of the shelter and they live in a special Elder Cat Suite in the front barn. A couple of my friends who love cats came over and we knit amongst the cats. Well that led to The Old Kitty Knitty Club, and Papi is President.

But now followers from all over can partake in the Old Kitty Knitty Club. Right now, we have two projects you can partake in.

Blankets for Old Bones [Deadline April1, 2019]
Participants will knit [or crochet] 7.5" squares and send them to me. I will mend/sew them together into a blanket. The blankets will be used for our elder friends when they come to the farm to sit with the animals. We are right on the coast, and it can be a tish chilly so the blankets are welcome.

We will aim to do two blankets for now.

Make as many squares as you wish. Each must be 7.5" square. The finished blanket will be 25 squares. If we have lots of squares, I will do more blankets.

Colors: one blanket will be earth tones - mustard yellows, olive greens, greys, off whites, egg shell blue, etc. No need to leave a tail on your squares, I will choose a thread I like. The other blanket will be full of colors of your choosing. You don't have to worry if you have yarn laying around, just use that and I will be the painter and choose the colors I like when putting the blankets together [but all squares will be used]

Yarn: I prefer natural fiber. I will be hand washing these when needed. If you only have non-natural fibers, it is okay. I would only suggest you stay away from the super bulky yarn.

You can make your square as simple or fancy as you want. Stockinette, garter, whatever, fancy edges or not, one color or more-have fun with it. I started a Pinterest page for inspiration [and many are for me to be inspired, don't be overwhelmed by them if you are a novice knitter [which I am].

Attach a tag with your name and cute/state on it. Also when mailing to me, make sure I have your mailing address and email so Papi can send you an official membership card and other news if needed.

Misfit Wrists of Love [Deadline August 15 range, 2019]
Participants will knit wrist warmers or fingerless gloves and at end of summer I will gift them to the elder residents of the Lincoln County Elder Network homes where Opie visits. There are seven homes so if we aim for 70 pairs, that is a good goal. Choose any pattern you'd like. Attach a tag with your name and city/state. Pinterest board for ideas.

Mail to:
Papi, President of The Old Kitty Knitty Club
c/o Apifera Farm, 315 Waldoboro RD, Bremen ME 04551

Also when mailing to me, make sure I have your mailing address and email so Papi can send you an official membership card and other news if needed.

Monday, January 07, 2019

New art to soothe

"Wilbur became the snowflakes" 12" on wood [available]
"Blue Wing" 16 x 20 canvas [available]

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Wilbur gets his wings and Ollie plays in snow

Sophie was his designated hospice nurse

"Wilbur got his wings!" 
Old Sophie told the goats as she came out of Wilbur's convalescing suite. Sophia had been designated as Wilbur's roommate as he lay in his suite, unable to rise, for the past two weeks.

"Will I get wings too?" asked little Ollie.

"Someday, Ollie, but not now, it is not your time for wings, you have to earn them in your own way," said Sophie.

After two weeks of effort, Wilbur is free of his body.

Wilbur began to show signs of his age this past summer, but nothing alarming. Right around when we learned that Birdie had suffered from the brain worm-something that was new to us- I think it was about this time I noticed Wilbur lay down more, but that in and of itself is nothing to be alarmed by with an older goat. He was not lame, he was not showing any signs of the same worm that crippled Birdie for weeks and damaged her nerves. We fortunately got to Birdie quickly, and learned from our vets the protocol and were able to treat Wilbur for the brain worm too. It could be other things. It could be a tumor or wasting disease/cancer, it could be some other diseases my vet said, or a combination, and it could be old age combined with all those things.

For a good two weeks we have fought together, and his eyes and attitude were with me, he had not given up. Until a couple days ago, I could tell he was just plain tired and uncomfortable. I kept thinking of the story of the llama who was downed for one year, and the couple kept trying, and wouldn't give up, and one day, she rose. But Wilbur could not even put weight on his feet, and they were curved now. Since he was downed, I went in morning noon and night and got him up, cleaned his bedding, sat with him, gave hm water and food. The last two days, his body could not swallow, and when the vet came today, we immediately put him down because he was in clear discomfort. I have found a vet I truly love, and I've been working with her now about a year and have learned so much. There is so much to understand about deworming, not deworming, when to deworm or not to, learning your area, etc-and I've learned this year many things that make me a better caretaker, even after 15+ years you can always learn and grow. I don't think any of it would have saved Wilbur, in fact it probably would have just prolonged his life slightly, if that.

I have spent so much time with him, and I have been putting Sophie with him too at night and during the day. While chores are being done, I let the other Misfits come by and visit, and eat together. The animals already know, except Ollie, what is to come. They say their goodbyes in such a different way. They come and sniff a dying member, and there is no drama, just recognition. It is always beautiful and sad too to be part of these intimate herd moments.

With each passing of one of the Misfits that came to us long ago, and lived out West with us, it is like another string to that floating farm in the sky being cut. I will miss this sweet goat. Once a brilliant acrobat, he could fly through the air with the greatest of ease, and once even had a trapeze-it is said in the barnyard but I never got to see it. To watch an athlete's body disown him, it is hard.

This morning, when I knew the vet was coming, I told him his wings were ready for him, they were right with me for whenever he needed them.

And sometime around ten this morning, he put those wings on and took one last look at me. We all stood together and watched the light of the sky change and the shadows on earth were magnified for seconds.

"Will he come back?" Ollie asked Sophie.

"No," she said.

And Ollie ran outside to play on the snowy compost pile.

Once a day, The Misfits were allowed in to eat and commune with Wilbur

In his younger days-he had the sweetest smile

One of my favorite photos of him in his youth

Wilbur aka The Acrobat Goat...now you know why