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

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

All images

©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Healers & Misfits 100 page publication of photos

I am also offering a gift level for anyone donating $250 or more to Apifera. It is a beautiful 8.5 x 11" photo book, soft cover of 100 pages full of beautiful photos and other Misfit musings. This will be sent after the barn addition is complete [August-September]. So no matter where you donate your $250, here, or on FB or by check, you will be on the list to receive one. {People that gave this amount or more recently will get one too.}

I put Luna on the cover. In her elder years, we don't know how long she will grace us here, but I have already grown to admire her. She is beautiful in a very wise crone way.

If you prefer to send a check make it to Apifera Farm Inc.
315 Waldoboro RD, Bremen ME 04551
You will get a receipt immediately after arrival.

Our EIN # 82-2236486

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Time to get busy-you might take this art home

We are entering The Final Barn Addition Fundraiser Freakout with the work scheduled to begin mid July. We have only raised $2,000 of the $20,000 needed. This is pretty much my fault as I just stopped fundraising to give everyone a break including myself.

But, time is of the essence.

I will be sharing lots of goodies you might take home if you donate.

Once we hit another $1000, one person's name will be picked out of a bucket-this time by The Goose [USA only, or you will have to pay shipping]and you will receive this beautiful 20x20 print, signed on the front. Includes a 1" white border.

I am also asking anyone who can do a matching donation to let me know, be it $10 or $1000 or more. It all helps.

The final barn addition will allow better mud and winter management, and safety, for the equine area. It will also allow more hay to be stored in the upper loft, freeing up more space on the ground level. Mud management is essential to foot health, as Paco will tell you who we are still helping resolve his White Line Disease which we are doing well on.

Of course, if you prefer to pay with a check, that is fine, just let me know it is coming and I will add your name to the list of possible print taker-homers.

Fundraising is a challenge and I really appreciate the many people who repeatedly support our efforts! You will be most likely greeted in the after world by old goats, llamas and donkeys.

Donate >

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Can you ever prepare yourself for a loss so big?

“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
― Kahlil Gibran

A friend posted this quote on her page today, it is the fourth anniversary of the death of her husband. The quote gave me pause, and the reality of the quote, the truth of it made me stop in my morning routine of checking in on emails and such.

I am well aware of the love in my life, and the fact I'm graced by so much, especially my best friend and husband, Martyn, who I met in my early forties. He is not a space filler, we are blessed with a relationship in which we share so many common desires-the love of nature, building gardens, being outside and working hard...we work hard and then we sit at night and relax, eat a good deal, sip hooch and enjoy discussing our plans fora  new garden or building or land project. We laugh. We share details of the day. Those things are removed when  a mate goes.

I have seen my friends and family lose their mates to old age, suicide, early sudden death, and cancer. Each time, through the thoughts of my compassion for them, the thought creeps in...how can it not...what would I do at that moment, that moment of separation no matter how my mate had died? What would I do to keep breathing at that very moment?

The people I mention above are walking examples of people that kept breathing, somehow.

Every day, I swear, there is not a day I don't reflect on the fact that I am here, with Martyn, and how different it would be if he wasn't here.

Can you prepare yourself for that moment you hear your mate has died? That exact moment? No. You can understand it will be gut wrenching, soul strangling stuff. You get that. But you go about the day or night just happy to have them there.

One can't dwell on it, then you would not be living. But I think when it happens, it will be like being turned upside down, and everything will look strange and disoriented, and scary. The sensations of the wind will feel different and my skin will be so sensitive I might have to stay inside for weeks.

That hour of separation will come. It is why I choose to live so out loud now with Martyn. And soak up our nights too.

Last night I wanted to capture the house and the beauty of M'Lady Apple in full bloom, and Little Apple nearby.  I was swept up in a moment, of how perfect this moment in this time on this piece of land in this little house in this specific location with this exact person is.

Friday, May 24, 2019

The accident changed me...what will Boone and I be now?

This week I worked with Boone a couple times on the ground. The second time I saddled him up and did fifteen minutes of ground work and was really planning to take a little ride. But I held back. The video below was us just sitting in the driveway, in the wind. I love being on him in the wind.

I came to a hard truth...I am still affected by the trauma of my accident with him. I am not afraid to ride. I did get on and we rode in circles in the driveway. But I just kept hearing a voice telling me not to go out on the rode to get to our side trail. We walked back tot he barn and I told Boone I would figure this out. But it saddened me, and it made me really miss my old friend Joanne who I rode with out west. It was she who helped me get my confidence back with Boone. I miss her, and I miss that feeling of being able to feel like I could ride all over with Boone, alone if I wanted. The day of my accident, when Boone and I entered the wooded trail, a butterfly flew right by me, and I said out loud, "Joanne?" Isn't that odd, i thought, that I just said that without thinking. Thirty minutes later I was blacked out after the fall.

If someone came and trailed with me, I would be fine. But I do not want to go through that again, nor do I want Boone, or Martyn, to go through it. I guess the risk of it out weighs the pleasure of it, and that makes me sad. It is like a nagging weight on my shoulders. I tried to find some people to ride with last year but most don't have trailers, or trails. I might keep looking. I had an indoor stable I rode at once, but she wants $25 a ride and I can't afford that. Plus I really want to trail. Both Boone and I get bored in the arena.

I'm also going to look into making an obstacle course or something for me and Boone. I have to find a way to be with him more.

At the same time...I began to think there is nothing wrong with just...being with him. As long as I remain a good leader, maybe that is what we will be now. I don't know.

But I do know that that accident changed me both physically and emotionally.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Grumpiest Old Men being given a chance at Apifera

My contact at the local shelter where all our old cats have been adopted from contacted me a week ago.

For the record, I was minding my own business, working in the office when her email came in.

A woman had reared these two brothers from kittens, the mother was an outdoor ferel and she brought the two kittens in in time and they never left the house. She cared for them all these years but now had to go into assisted living. She cared enough to write a long note about them when relinquishing them to the shelter. My contact spent a lot of time with the two cats over the coming days, and basically, they are ferel. The only reason she asked me to take them in is they get along ok with cats. We all knew these two were not going to get adopted, they are 14.

So, they arrived this week and I can attest they are grumpy. They are also scared and I guess in the shelter went through the usual battery of shots and pokes and prods so were agitated from that. When we opened the crate door they went exactly where I knew they'd go, under the corner bench to the sheep fleece.

I worked with the ferel colony we had out west. Some never tendered up, Mama Kitty being one. I think some ferel or semi ferel can tender, others are wired not to. It is not my goal to tender them, it is my goal to let them live in peace here. At this stage, I am not attempting to get near them, I talk to them when I come in, but they are left alone. They have made it clear at this stage they do not trust me to get to near, one is much worse than the other. This was the same experience my contact had.

Noritsu immediately went over to check them out, no hissing and no claws. I told my contact if there is any sign of danger to the others, we will have to deal with it and she is with me on that no matter what. But they just want to be left alone right now. This was really the only option, they could not be put out for adoption. I am happy to try to give them a final home...as long as they know Papi is in charge, as am I.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Of the light...Tripod is gone

He is now of the light
I knew. He knew. It was time. There was no movement that didn't look uncomfortable, there was no position he could manage to lie in [and Tripod always had issues with lying down due to his condition he was born with] that was helpful at this point. When we took the bandage of the sore, it had worsened, and was eating into the muscle and body.

The vet didn't hesitate, and I knew she wouldn't. We had done all we could and it was time to let go. And we did.

The vet went out to the truck to get her shots ready, and I sat with Tri one last time. What was so telling is he rested his head against me, something he really doesn't do. I knew he was just tired of hurting. He declined swiftly after the initial sores arrived. His body was incapable of healing them and it also causes him to avoid using the leg at all, which caused the other legs to just weaken, almost overnight. When the drug was administered, his eyes flicked immediately, he was gone. No more pain, what a relief I felt for him.

He had become my buddy ever since I moved him into the hay barn when we lived out West. He was not interested in other goats, probably due to the danger of being knocked over. But in the hay barn, he tendered up and recognized I was there as an ally. When we moved East, he had many good days left, to sit in the sun and sniff the wafts of ocean air. I am so glad he ended up with us and that he was in our lives.

I will miss his sweet little face sticking out of his special cubby. But that cubby is full of other life and we carry on. Each brings new stories and experiences. There's isn't a sun until after the dark night.

Waiting for the vet

Tripod last year helping raise The Holy Child

Monday, May 13, 2019

Tomorrow might be a sad day but we will do what is best

The vet is coming tomorrow to give equine annual shots. I always have my vet do the equine shots, I do everyone else but just don't like doing the equines.

The vet will also help me choose the next steps for Tripod. Tripod was born crippled, with a hind hip and leg that are permanently frozen making him only able to use three legs. But it also compromises his body in other ways, and we knew as he aged it would be more and more problematic. And that day has come. This winter, I was able to keep him from getting elbow sores, since he was lying down all winter. He was not getting other sores and I thought we had jumped that hurdle. But then he got a very bad sore behind the elbow, in the crease and it is not healing. Bed sores are real problem for elder, crippled animals and at some point you are fighting an battle you can't win. So we were struggling with that in the last couple weeks. But what began to happen was his 'good' legs seemed to just become unusable to him, and he can't get up anymore. When I help him up, he cries, and gets agitated, so there is pain. He can't even get up on his front elbows much to eat grass. He wants to come outside, but he tries to get up and gets off balance immediately and falls down on his nose. It's so sad to watch. For the past few days I have been putting him in the clam sled and taking him outside.

So...it might be time to let go and let this beautiful soul be pain free. If his wound is as bad tomorrow as it was last week despite meds and treatment, it might be one more reason to help him fly off.

So please send light to Tripod, and me. It is so hard because despite his crippled condition, he has always had a good life here, and this is not how I wanted him to go out, in pain with sores and such. But we will do what is right tomorrow.

People sometimes ask me how I keep saying goodbye to the animals. How do any of us keep saying goodbye to so many things on a daily basis. We say goodbye to our elders, our mothers, best friends, favorite singers...our pets....Sunday always becomes Monday and we say goodbye to our flat bellies for sinking hips and hurting muscles, we say goodbye to youth, to autumn, we are saying goodbye to Mother Earth unless everyone wakes up...we are constantly saying goodbye. There isn't a moon until the sun sets, and there isn't a goodbye unless there was a hello. If I weren't saying goodbye so much, I wouldn't be letting new things into my life. And when I'm tired of saying goodbye, I'll die.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Opie's Surprise is out!

These two retired elders came to us from the same farm as Opie is from. Opie is thrilled to have some of his great great Aunties or grannies or whatever they are in his home. He was really strutting his stuff when they came. These two old gals have been bred every year and have earned their place in the sun without the worry of childrearing.

The black one had the pedigree name of "She's The One" but the farm's little boy pronounced it Cheese. So I kind of like that. So her name is Cheese.

We've called the other girl Dorphy.

I love them. Goose immediately grabbed onto the blonde girl. So funny. he likes light colored animals!

Memory of the concussion

{From the studio this rainy morning, "The Day I Fell of My Horse and Blacked Out"]

It's coming up on two years when I took a bad fall off Boone, alone in the woods on a ride, hitting my head, blacking out and proceeded to walk around for 30 minutes not knowing where I was [yes, I had a helmet on, always wear one]. It turns out I had called Martyn 10 times that 30 minutes. He saved the messages and I only knew I had called him after I got out of hospital. The messages are heartbreaking. I was scared, and unable to tell him where I was at first. I was in the forest, and could not tell which way I should go. My horse was gone, my glasses were broken and my nose bridge was cut. The messages were so hard to listen to, it made me want to hold me like mother and child. I can only imagine how poor Martyn felt, hopeless I'm sure. At some point, I wandered out of the woods, and was able to call 911. Boone had gone down the busy road and a neighbor took him in- it's a miracle he wasn't hurt, or so many things could have gone wrong. My theory is we slid on ledge rock, as we were cantering and the last thing I remember [it had been a wonderful ride]is 'it's time to go into a walk, there is some ledge coming up" My head must have crashed down on his neck rising. Oddly, I had not one scratch on me, not any stains or anything on my pants or bare arms, only a cut nose bridge where my glasses hit the horse. Boone had a few scrapes. I wish I knew what he did after-did he look at me and think, "Well, she clearly isn't going to lead me out of here so I'm leaving'...or did he stick around and sniff me, or just fly off?

To this day the only thing I remember is that last thought of we need to go into a walk from canter, and I do now remember being disoriented, scared, and not knowing which way to walk on the path-each direction looked the same.

I had a severe concussion and spent two days in the hospital. They made me stay to see if I needed surgery. Surgery? I told them that was ridiculous. I was still pretty out of it and Martyn says the surgeon said it was a pretty severe blow so I'm lucky. He said without the helmet, who knows. I got back on Boone a month later, but I will be honest and say the event changed me. I am not afraid to ride, but riding alone in the woods gives me pause now, which is sad. But I never want to put Martyn through that, or my horse, or me again. The thing is here in Maine the woods are so miserable starting about late June if not sooner due to the bugs. It's unpleasant for horse and rider.

Today was going to be my first spring workout with Boone, but it's raining. So I made this painting.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Opie can hardly keep his big secret

"Why can't I tell them?" Opie asked.

"Because," I said.

"Because why?" he continued.

"I said so," I said.

"You says so but I says it is so exciting for me!" he said.

"Well, I just know how this works and it is best to wait until tomorrow, when you have your surprise in your midst to show everyone," I said.

And he ran off singing and yelled to Ollie,

"Ollie, I have a midst!"

{Stay tuned...}

Monday, May 06, 2019

The goose continues on as caretaker

The goose seems to be continuing her-his care taking role. After first gravitating to Rosie the pig in her final weeks, then Birdie his llama in need, he has now latched on to old Else, who is elderly and crippled and frail. She arrived that way and seems to be growing farther into that state. I do not know if she will be with us in the coming winter, or if it is right to let her go through another winter. But for now, she is able to nap in the sun and lives in contentment. It is just much harder for her to walk, and she seems more tired, taking longer to get up in the morning.

The goose still roams and grazes, but he seems to go back to Else during the day to nap with her, or sun near her side.

It's endearing. I know I have a vivid imagination but I truly feel she-he gravitates to those bodies trying to release. Perhaps it is a smell we humans are closed down to. Perhaps she-he just knows.

The goose has not laid an egg. I have taken to referring to the goose as she-he, or The Goose, or My Grace that is Goose a guy. I suppose by mid summer it will be definitive that she-he is in fact either male or female, and not much will change, since I call her-him simply, Goose.