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

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images are ©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Moose: update

Moose last night at dinner
It was a rough morning. I found Moose in very bad shape, I really thought it was the beginning of what some vets call the death spiral. He had been doing really well.

When I last wrote here, Moose was showing improvements. We were thinking it was a possible concussion, which could have many side effects. He was showing some neuro issues. And he appeared blinded in one eye. Of course this all started on a Friday night so I had to cope on my own and I gave him my usual meds for upset rumen. He never had a high temperature [nor a low one] so that sort of ruled some things out. On Saturday morning, he was up and eating and looking 90% normal. This continued through Sunday, there were intermittent signs he was still struggling, but he even spent all day on Sunday out in the warm sun. I could tell he was blind because he hugged the fence line and walls.

So I was feeling pretty good, and relieved. This morning, he was clearly in a state of confusion, could not walk well, dopey, didn't eat...I was able to get my vet here because she was on her way to another town not too far away [grateful!]. I had misled myself a bit because there was never a high temp. And he was eating. This morning I went back to wondering if it could be polio, and it was the first thing I asked my vet, and she immediately felt it could be. Which means the treatments I gave were helping and keeping it at bay, but he needed larger doses of certain meds. We did an intravenous and an hour later he already seems improved. I hope we caught it in time. Of course it could be something else, or it could have been a concussion and then it led to upset rumen and polio symptoms...I guess weather changes can instigate it, which we've had.. He certainly isn't eating silage or anything moldy and we don't feed sweet feeds, nor is he using Corid which the sulfer can reak some havoc.

So, we will see. I'm grateful I could do what I could over the weekend. I will now have more of this supply around so if these symptoms happen again to someone, I will have learned about polio, which I've never had to deal with.

I hope he pulls through. He was eating when I left him, and by mid week we should see improvement if we are on the right track.

If anyone wants to donate to help offset the $395 vet bill, please do. I have art cards I will send to anyone donating $25 or more. I appreciate your help.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

When a goose and an old goat come knocking and sometimes we fall and tinkle

The Goose and old goat come knocking
“I think you should knock,” I heard a whispering voice say as I stood near the front door getting ready to put on my coat.

“I’m crippled, you do it,” another voice said. I recognized it as Sophie’s voice, the very old goat. Which led me to think she was most likely with The Goose who tended to chaperone her, or any needy animals.

I peeked out the side window. I considered crawling on my hands and knees under the window to get back to the kitchen, but the intrigue of what they wanted got the best of me.

The Goose and the goat, and any barn animals to be clear are not supposed to be at the front door. It is the domain of the humans, and the house dogs. So when they crossed that gate line, it usually was for a reason and I learned over the years not to ignore them.

“What is going on?” I asked, as I opened the door.

“We have an issue,” said The Goose.

“Yes, we need issue advice,” said the old goat.

I sat down on the stoop and shut the door. It was chilly but I enjoyed the winter’s crisp air and I could smell the wafts from the cove.

“I’m listening,” I said.

“Do you have any crackers or perhaps toast in your pocket?” asked the old goat.

“No, is that the issue?”

“Heavens no, that is not an issue, I’m just hungry, you have not given me breakfast yet,” she said.

“I haven’t fed you because I just got up and I’m sitting here waiting to help with your issue!” I snapped.

The Goose took over.

“I have asked Sophie here to be my valentine. There is a dance on Saturday night,” he said.

A dance, I thought. I have not been invited.

“And I’ve been asked by Ollie the goat,” said Sophie. “I accepted both invitations, but I want to go with The Goose.”

Hussy, I thought.

“Why not just all go together, as friends. I used to do that in college and it was more fun than a date,” I said.

“Was that in the World War? I saw a movie on that,” said The Goose.

“No, I was not in a World War, thank you very much,” I said.

Then old Sophie leaned into The Goose and whispered to him.

And The Goose explained, first clearing his long throat. “Ahem. Sophie fell when we practiced the box step. And that made her tinkle in her dance dress. She likes the dances because they bring her warm memories of being at her grandparents’ dances, she likes the music, especially the fiddle.” Goose said.

There’s going to be a fiddle? I thought.

He went on, “She wants me to be her jealous suitor so nobody will dance with her, so she doesn’t tinkle in her pants.”

I held Sophie’s old head, and said, “Ah, lass, we all tinkle in our pants when we fall. I can be Ollie’s date.”

The Goose practices his two step

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A sudden illness...a revival...and the healing is in the barn not the house

Moose last night

Last night at feedings. I found Moose in the barn, lying down, his head bent back, his eyes puffy and shut. He was not well. His mouth was warm, a good thing. He was trembling, not from cold but from illness. He was grinding his teeth, a sign of discomfort. I never jacket my goats unless they are very old or ill on very cold nights. Moose is not old, he is a healthy seven year old and has been with us since he was born. So I put two jackets on him and ran to the house for my regime I've been taught over the years by my vets.

Of course it was a weekend night, and no vet could be called, but I knew they'd do what I had done. His temperature was not that high. I moved him onto a sleeping bag, and gave him shots and pain/anti inflamatory meds, electrolytes and probiotics. He got up once, on his own, and stood in the same spot. I watched from the other corner. In about 2 minutes, he just sort of collapsed. I spent time with him, over an hour, calming him so his breathing slowed. I knew the pain med would help. My thought turned to fear as he could have been septic, he could have been blocked, neither are good.

I went into the hay area and The Goose was there. I held him, he curled his neck as geese do, into my neck and tucked his head into my coat. I love holding The Goose. I told The Goose I didn't want him to ever die, but "You will die, everyone here will die." I shed some tears, and The Goose went his way and I went mine. "Such drama," he must have thought.

I checked on Moose a few times into the night. He was the same. I went to bed preparing for the moment I opened the barn door to find him dead. But...he was up, walking, alert, his eyes wide open, and he was not stumbling. He ate, he drank, he wanted to go outside. I held him, or tried, but he was back to his normal 'Please don't hold me I am not your baby' mode. All good signs. His temp was okay.

Three hours later he seemed okay, but a bit off. I hope it was what it was and stays away.

I was admonished by a total stranger on social media for not bringing him in the house. I didn't bother to respond to her. I have many things to do here, and have learned silence is 99% of the time a better response to online animal police with opinions. The barn is many things-church, cafeteria, playground, sun room, triage room and a healing comfort for those that live, and die there. To die in the barn for me would be a blessing of a gift-to go out hearing the chewing of my mates, the smells, the light coming through the cracks of the walls...it is what Moose knows. Taking an animal out of its natural place to a human world-a world of harsher sounds and lights-is not healing. Moose does not want to be with me, he wants to be near Goose [the goat]. In fact when I checked in on him around noon today, there he was, in the corner with Goose.

Moose this morning

Friday, February 14, 2020

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The mystery of getting out of bed

When I open my eyes, this is often the view. Oscar likes to sit behind the sheer fabric in the window, Mister Mosely prefers to be in the center bed, and the old tree outside that must have greeted the first or at least second settlers here appears like arms reaching out to me.

It's sun rise. I get up then, I do not get up without a sunrise unless forced. Martyn is up at 5:30. he makes coffee, has breakfast, and goes off to his landscape work.

Rountines. One could say mundane, but I like it that way just about every day–cat in window, sunrise over ocean, tree shadows, smell of coffee...a new day to lump together with all the rest that came before, but knowing it is a brand new day....anything can happen, after all...makes getting out of bed a daily mystery novel.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Well darn it...White Dog back to the vet

The dreaded cone returns

Just two days ago he was free. But yesterday morning sometime White Dog reopened his wound site.

Expletives flew around the barn when I saw it.
ne. I
I knew the good news was the interior skin was healing and looked really good, and it was about 1/3 of the original stitched area that popped open. It was not bleeding. I knew it would heal, but since I had to take Bear in for more shots on Monday morning I opted to take White Dog too. We opted to novocaine the area and clean it and restich that opening. Ben did so good.

So he's back home, on sedation pills again, and wearing the dreaded co'll have him in the barn again for 7-14 days. I'll take him on some short walks to break up the boredom. We've been through too much to take risks. The vet was happy though with the wound area, we just decided after all this why risk an infection.
So keep your hooves and toes crossed that we can get it healed up sooner than later.

"Am I going to get a shot?"

Friday, February 07, 2020

He's free

White Dog is back to his real life. We were able to get to the vet today despite the ice and rain and get his stitches out. My vet was pleased with the wound area and gave the green light for White Dog to be outside or back in his normal routine. He is so happy and immediately went outside to his beloved manure pile [this photo was taken several weeks ago].

I just want to again thank people for helping with the $1000 vet bill [worth every penny] and I want to thank the universe for helping too, the fact the tusk came so close to his artery...he would have died, I just want to move on now from it. I don't think I realized how upsetting it was, you have to stuff some things to get through them.

Earnest will go back into his normal hut once hard winter is over which will cut down any possibility of this happening again. But it still concerns me. It isn't Earnest's fault, he just tosses his head around when issues happen, like any pig. I used to be able to let White Dog out through Earnest paddock, but not any more. The risk is not worth it. So I am considering options of paddocks to help prevent it ever happening again...I'm actually considering all sorts of options, some I don't like. I am responsible for his remaining years but also must think about the safety of other animals here-even though he is separate from them, we all know these accidents can happen. I'm working on it.

For now, he's home, White Dog is really home, in his real home-the land, free to go in and out of his barn when he wants instead of being cooped up in the stall.

He's happy.

And thank you to the people who have come through so far and pre ordered White Dog's memoir. We are $3,000 away from the initial $5,000 printing cost -with the remaining $5,000 due on delivery. 

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Update: help the new book ...brought to you by White Dog


I made a big change to the new book-it will now be 4 color, versus black/white. It also means the price of printing shot way up, but I just felt the art and photos were not being done justice,and I want this story to get the respect it deserves. It means a total printing cost has jumped to $10,000. Half of this will be due in March when I send finished files to the printer. My goal is to earn that [and more if possible] by March. Your pre-sales help, as does any extra tip you add. The options allow you to simply pre order books, or get books plus share some extra for my efforts.

I decided not to do a Kickstarter. I have done three and they are exhausting, take my creative energy and give me heartburn. With a Kick fundraiser, if you don't make your goal, you don't get a dime. They also take a cut. I have done three Kickstarters and I do feel that they are worthwhile, but I also feel there is some fatique for them, my Itty Bitty Etta book failed by a small amount. It was right at the 2016 election and I think that really doomed it a bit due to the mood of many of my followers.

So, I have raised about $1700 net of the first $5,000 needed. We are getting there! Thank you to everyone who has helped so far.

The fact White Dog got injured, and almost died, makes this book even more special to me.

The book is narrated by White Dog, I am only the translator. White Dog shares his story of how he ended up magically appearing out of nowhere one day at our farm. Nothing had ever penetrated our fences before. And oddly, we already had Marcella, also a Maremma. This is an unusual breed, and expensive, and there were no breeders anywhere near our area-we drove 6 hours for Marcella.

Along his journey he is helped by Crow, a rabbit and other creatures of Nature. Fully illustrated, and over 100 images of art and photos.

This is my sixth book, the fifth I have self published. I do all the writing/art/editing/shaping/pre-press and use a very experienced off set printer known for creating books. It is a labor of love. Making books is not a get-rich-quick-scheme, in fact, one does not ever get rich making books at my level. But you know me, wealth has never been on my list of musts, unless it is a wealth of animals and Nature in my life–the latter makes me rich as royalty.

Monday, February 03, 2020

"What if?"

White Dog in his healing area, looking sleepy from his sedation pills
The stitches are healing well. We went in last Friday to get the drip line out, and it looked good. I had told White Dog he'd get to be free in his pasture after that, but in my deleriuum on the day of the accident-I'm sure I was told this by the vet– I did not realize he had stitches on the inside too to sew up various muscles and such. It was that bad.

So...White Dog continues to reside in his healing area, and is still on sedation pills and other meds to help in his recovery. All is looking good though. We go in this week to get the outer stitches taken out and then he can go outside again.

I'm still so grateful we didn't lose him.

Life can change at the click of the second hand on the clock. If one dwells on that fact one might just stay in bed avoiding all possible despair or accidents awaiting all of us. The car accident, the plane crashing, falling down the stairs, falling through ice....it's all just one big world of accidents and it is also sitting around after aviding one and asking, "What if?" that can really freak a mind out.

So, on a calm day, sitting with White Dog, secure in is stall, unable to run and tear stitches, it feels safe, for both of us.

But I'll be happy to see him in his element again, and off the doping meds that make him look like a sad pup.

Back from the vet, Marcella was relieved to see White Dog again

Friday, January 31, 2020

Bear and Opie's Love Mobile keep on rolling

Every week the staff and residents notice how Bear is growing. I notice it too. I already look fondly at his first photos here, he is growing like a weed but still is completely a pup. He has a beautiful temperment and each visit I think we bond more with people, and I with him. People keep saying how calm he is. Well, I agree, but then I always add,

"Knock on wood."

I think that initial ride home in the truck, on my lap, for 2 hours was a real bonding thing for Bear. He was so timid, and trusted me instantly. He had too. I taught him basic 'sit' immediately, and within a day he was doing it on command, and does so on our therapy visits. He sits well on people's beds too and isn't too ansy-although as I've said before the home is kept sooooo warm and I give him water but at this stage water means piddle breaks outside, which is fine. The hot temperature of the place makes him pant a bit. Panting can mean other things-pain, anxiety, fear...but in this case, I truly think it is the temperature. He is not as bothered in the beginning hour. Some of the private rooms almost take my breath away they are so hot! If I ever end up there I will have to be buck naked at all times.

Opie has sort of taken a back seat in stardom to Bear, but I think he is okay with that. Opie's real talent lies in going up to people that need him most, something he can't do in The Love Mobile. Come summer when he can be in the courtyard he will be free to show his talent again. Will bear follow suit? We will see.

In the past two weeks, three people we visited at the home have died. They were sudden, and fast deaths. The thing is, you don't do this thinking nobody is going to leave. They all leave. I wonder if I could do this if my parents were still alive? It might sadden me in ways I could not fathom now. It's not that I don't feel sadness at times, I do. In fact, I have to treat myself to decompressing after visits, and sometimes I forget that the visits even though enjoyable and full of laughter too, the energy is very strong on some days, around some people. I have to remember that for the animals too. I have a ritual of pulling energy off their backs as I breath it in, then quickly release my hands as I breathe out. I thank the animals for their work that day.

This residence home is a good fit for what I want to accomplish with my work and animals. The staff is helpful and loves our mission. I am getting to know some of the visiting wives, 'The Wives Club" as they are called. I've been to homes that are so depressing the second you set foot in the place. This is not so here. They try really hard to make it full of life, versus bodies waiting. The rooms are rather hospital like, but that is the stage most of the resident are in, this is not a place you go when you are independent, it is the end of the line basically.

Bear and his friend John who used to have a lab and loves Bear

Opie holds court and Earnie talks to him

Even though he can get out, he stays in his basket with my command

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Mothers and dogs uniting us

I think people come and go in our lives, some pass by once and make a huge impact, some come and go, teaching us what we need at the moment, some leave and some don't, some remain strangers but they still impact us. Who knows how we each impact someone from afar? Last year I wrote the book called "Little Tulip" starring a little dachshund named Tulip. It was inspired by real people in my life, a composite of elders I knew who told me how they hated when people 'detracted' from their lives-case in point, when people told them they were too old to get another dog. In the book, Mrs. Storey [a real friend of my youth] loses her husband of 60 years. They used to have a dog. She is told many reasons why she should not get a dog. But one comes into her life, and she names it Tulip because she and her husband loved to plant tulips.

Sometime in there one of my followers shared the Tulip in her life, a little dachshund named Fritz who was owned by her mother, who was well into her 90's. She would share a picture or two over the coming months of Fritz and her mother. Well, she informed me one day that her mother was transitioning, and she wanted more "Little Tulip" books for family. Soon after, days I think, she let me know her mother died. She shared this picture of her mother three weeks before her journey. It felt just like the book when Tulip sits with Mrs. Storey.

Her mother died on my mother's birthday. The book shared a mantra that was shared with me when my mother died. On the day of her death, a college friend called me out of the blue and I had not talked to her for 30 years. She had lost both her parents. And she came right to the point [thank you, Sam for calling that day]. She said, "Your mother is okay." While that might seem simplistic, it was the most powerful thing anyone said to me in that time of grief. She wasn't suffering, she wasn't dying, she wasn't gone of earth but she was okay. Whenever I think of anyone-human or creature-that I grieve, I remember that, they are okay. And now that story about a little dachshund named Tulip also carried with it that mantra my friend shared-it will be okay-and someone else was sharing the book with those grieving their mother.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Long ago when he arrived I knew someday he might break my heart

White Dog this morning in The Cone of Shame, with Arlo
We had a very serious incident with White Dog {aka Benedetto or Ben} yesterday, and the reality is, we are lucky he is alive. If you follow us on social media you saw the photo at the vet.

White Dog was slashed by Earnest's tusk. This happened once before about a year and a half ago, and it was because they got territorial about some dropped feed on the ground. If you are unfamiliar with a pig tusk, the last 1" or so is literally like a sharp knife. Pigs use their heads to move things out of the way, so they can accidentally slice you without meaning too - I had this happen with Earnest so am always careful when I stand near him-but things can happen.

After that skirmish, I never leave anyone alone with Earnest. We also built him his own paddock and 3 season hut. But in winter, I decided to move him into the interior barn where he lives next to the ponies and White Dog. This way I could keep his water unfrozen, and he'd have company too, and it was warmer.

I often let Ben come running out of his back paddock, through Earnest's paddock, so he can get tot he front field. In winter, the back gate is often frozen. But when I do this, I am careful, and make Earnest stand away. Yesterday as I left the pony stall after chores, White Dog came up from behind to get out of the gate, he wanted to go to his front field to patrol, and as he ran past me, Earnest was there. I don't really know how it started, but it happened fast. By the time I separated them with a rake, White Dog was crying in pain. I have never heard him cry-these are very stoic dogs. He was holding his right foot up.

I got him back in the stall and the blood began coming out in gushes. When it happened before, the gashes were small, and not deep and I could treat them on my own. Maremmas do not like to be messed with when they are hurt or sick, although Ben is better than Marcella. I have a bunch of muzzles I sometimes use, and put one on him, but he got it off fast. So I tried to find the hole and sort of did but the light was dim. I finally let him outside, and the blood was everywhere. In the light, I could see what I was dealing with. A huge 4" or so slit, and wide open, his tissue and more hanging on threads.

It was horrible.

Ben has been in the car once, to get neutered. It is very hard to get him in the car even with two of us, and I was alone. I ran in and called vet hoping maybe he could come to me but he couldn't. So somehow I got Ben in the front floor area of my truck. It hurt him. Blood everywhere. I knew he must be in pain because he allowed me to hold a towel on the open wound. I think the pressure gave some relief.

At the vet he continued to gush blood everywhere. The fist thing we did was take a chest and lung x-ray to make sure it had not been punctured, as that would kill him if he put him under. Fortunately, there was no puncture. So off he went to get put under and shaved. It turned out the tusk, which his about 4", had gone up way farther than I could have seen, and it almost punctured a main artery. If it had, the vet said he probably would have died before I could get him tot he vet-a 15 minute drive.

There were so many thing that could have been worse.

I left him at the vet for the afternoon, and came home to try to settle down. But I was vibrating all day, I just was so shaken. Firstly, I have been so aware about Earnest's tusks and the danger they can present, but even with that knowledge and care, this happened. Shaving them down is problematic, and must be done all the time. Putting a pig under to work on him-I am told by two of my vets-is dangerous [another vet didn't agree]. Some people cut the tusks with clippers, as long as they don't go too deep it supposedly is dead bone, like a hoof trim.

So no matter how careful I am, accidents can happen. We are mulling over what to do to ensure it never happens again. Some of the choices...are hard for me to imagine. I have always been loyal to Earnest. I love the guy. He gave us food when we were sustainable out on our Oregon farm, I wasn't going to leave him when we moved. But...it all seems so daunting right now, so for now...I just want to heal up White Dog.

Martyn was visibly shaken last night. He told me that when he heard, he just was...mad. He didn't want to tell me because he didn't want me to think he was mad at me. He was just mad that it happened to Ben. He told me he was so upset all day, and he realized how much he had come to love Ben, and want him around forever. Martyn has a relationship with White Dog, but the other barn animals are really in relationship with me. He said he just never thought about Ben dying, and he was worried he might not recover. Unbeknowst to me, he went out to barn last night when I was in bed, to check on Ben.

White Dog showed up on our farm, out of the blue. No dog had ever penetrated the fences where are sheep were. And coincidentally, we had a Maremma of our own, Marcella. How he got there is being told in the book I'm getting ready for print, a memoir of White Dog as told by him. But when he did arrive, and he had not yet settled in with us, I told Martyn,

"Someday this dog is going to break my heart."

I always worried he would run from us, not come back or get hit by a car. In the beginning, he did do some run abouts that nearly killed me, but he always came back and he had a lot of land to cover.

But now...as he ages, and is probably about seven, the idea of not having him here is hard to comprehend. Some animals, like people, are bigger than life, bigger than death. White Dog is surely one of those creatures.

Arriving at the barn this morning, there he was, alive. I guess I'm being dramatic, but, I held my breath, the wound was very, very severe, and the vet told me we were very lucky. The drip line that is in the wound, sewn in, will come out Friday at the vet. The wound looked pretty good to me, he is residing in the interior stall, surrounded by the sounds and smells he knows-that is where he wants to be. He actually wants to be outside, but not yet.

I am just so glad he is alive. I try never tell an animal, "Don't die," as it is selfish and unfair to their journey-but I don't want White Dog to ever die. But I know he will, someday, but not today.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

A good death

Else was helped on her way shortly after this article. She had a good death.
{I write a monthly article in Lincoln County News. This was last month's}

“But where is it I will go then?” asked little Opie, the very smallest of the goats, and youngest.

“Go when?” asked old Sophie, a very old goat.

“When I die?” asked Opie.

“You kind of don’t go anywhere, because your body becomes like rain drops and it goes back into the ground so in fact, you will be everywhere,” said Ollie, a bit older than Opie.

“So when you die, I will always be able to talk with you?” asked Opie.

“Sure!” said Ollie, and he romped off to eat a tree.

“It’s just like being the moon,” said Earnest, the very well read pig. “Your body is gone but you become the light of the moon.”

“And you become the sun, and stars and snow,” said old Else, one of the oldest goats.

The conversation had begun because one of the old cats had died, and the animals are always informed by the house boss lady when a death occurs. The animals had seen many herd mates die, and buried. While they don’t carry on in mourning the same way the humans often do, they revered death as an integral part of life, and they respected both. They feared neither. In fact, they sensed death much sooner than most humans. The boss lady always came out and calmly told them who had died, and then she would let them all see the animal lying in repose, and they could sniff the body if they choose. But they knew long before the boss lady when death occurred. It was an innate message but also a scent of the dying that alerted them.

“It sounds like being dead is a very busy time.” said Opie.

“Death is not that important,” said old Else, who was very crippled and old, and felt she was probably the next one to go. “What is important is a good death.”

“What is a good death?” asked Opie.

“Well, think about what it was like to be really little, and you were sitting around with your mother and father, and maybe some other friends, having a nice evening and meal together, and then you got sleepy since you were so young. And your mother tucked you into your straw and kissed you goodnight, and as you fell off to sleep you could hear her and the others chewing their cud, and the moon was out over the barn and maybe you could hear the wind, or smell the ocean nearby...and just like that, you are asleep. That would be a good death,” said Else.

“That sounds okay,” said Opie. “And then when I wake up I would be rain or snow or the moon and you could still see me anytime.”

“That’s right, Opie, all the energy and love in your little body just gets bigger and bigger.”

“I’ve always wanted to be bigger and bigger,” said the little goat in the barnyard. And he ran off to help Ollie eat the tree. “Is this tree someone we once knew?” he asked.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Oh, Lord, these two

Mud split a toenal so I bandaged to stop slight bleeding

"What happened to your foot?" Bear wonders.

"I'll live, don't worry, little fella."

Monday, January 20, 2020

Pre-Order the new memoir "White Dog"!


A white dog appeared one day in our sheep field. In the
ten plus years we had lived at our farm, no dog or large
predator had ever breached our fences– that we were
aware of. He was very thin and worn, unkept, hungry
and intact. And, he was a Maremma, the same breed as
our livestock guardian dog that also lived on the farm
who had arrived as a pup about eight months earlier.

How he got there was, and is, a mystery, but it is a tale
laced with magic and universal forces at work.
Maremmas don’t just drop out of the sky, or do they?

I named him Benedetto which means blessed but we all
have come to know him as White Dog.

Looking into White Dog’s eyes from the first time I met
him, I knew there was a story only he could tell. I knew
he left something to come to something else, for a reason.

It is a simple truth that all who meet him come to

White Dog knows.

This intimate book is 4.25 x 6" and at 228 pages is small but stout. It is fully illustrated and also includes a section of photographs of White Dog's world. The story is told by White Dog, along with the guidance of Crow and I am the translator.

By pre-ordering, you are allowing an indie author/publisher to continue to make books. Pre-ordering basically helps pay for the traditional offset printing of the book which must be printed in larger quantities–this allows me to not go into debt and helps me continue to birth high quality off-set books into the world.

The book will be ready around May if not sooner.

Once the printing is paid for, a portion of net profit will be put into the Apifera non profit account at year's end. When you buy this book, it is not a tax deduction [Donations to Apifera Farm are tax deductible.]

There are options in the drop down menu and prices include USA shipping [International orders will have to pay at least another $25 for shipping, do not order unless you are okay with that.]

I have included options so you can simply order a book or two [larger quantities just let me know], but also the $250 and $500 levels let you send extra money to support this indie publisher to get this little book out into the world.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

New art

I was in the studio this week and have some new prints available...you might recognize The Teapot, and Captain Sparkle.

Available from the online shop.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A farewell to old Else, miscalculations and a window opens

Opie views the body. Right after, he came to my side.
Yesterday I got to the front barn and Else would not eat or take water. I always give her a bucket of water so she doesn't have to walk to water bucket....at least for the past month or so, a clear sign she was getting tired. But yesterday, I chose to lift her and move her into a more draft free corner. She cried, in a pain cry. Else never talks. It was clear what she was saying. I went to house to get pain meds, and the injection made her cry out in a distress cry, not a 'hey that hurt cry'. I tried to adjust her body for her, more terrible pain cries.

I told her I would make it right.

Watching an animal suffer is a horrible position to be in, and I was so lucky that one of my vets was very close by, and she came to put her down. She went out like a bulb. She was more than ready.

I had talked to my vet last fall about putting Else down before winter, and I had that in my head as the right thing to do. But then I started really getting good weight on her [for her, she is very thin] and she seemed to be going outside and enjoying life, even though her crippling condition was getting worse, as we knew it would when we adopted her from a state neglect case. For the past months of winter, it has been okay, she was eating, and had a good demeanor. It was about a week ago though that I could tell she had more trouble getting a position that was comfortable. And then yesterday. There was no question we needed to let go.

I am relieved for her.

I told my vet that I had perhaps done her a disservice not acting sooner, but she just didn't seem ready...vets hear this all the time, knowing it is usually the person that isn't ready. But I really didn't think it was time.

So it was a misjudgment on my part. After all the years of doing this, I guess I'm entitled to some miscalculations.

I feel badly though, because she clearly had a morning of pain. But then a big beautiful sleep, and no pain.

This morning she is still in the barn, covered in blankets, with the chickens sleeping on her-it is a process to bury an animal in winter, but we will in the next day or so. It is never a feeling of closure until they are in the ground. I had Wilbur cremated last winter because it was so impossible to bury him with the heavy snow, and I wasn't going to put him out for Nature [I am not opposed to this option, it just doesn't work well in our setting]. I felt really bad about having to take his body into the clinic, put in a freezer to wait for the next cremation pickup. That is how it works. They do the same thing with dogs. And people. I was so relieved to pick his ashes up.

But I want to bury them if I can, return them to the earth in body, feed the worms and tulips.

This morning I did my chores, and I realized how tired I was. I was moving slowly. I have actually given myself permission to move more slowly during chores, and take moments to look and feel and smell it all in. I don't make morning appointments anymore if I don't have to, I just don't want to rush. I've rushed enough. As I did chores I realized how much care taking fills a space, and when the creature or person is gone there is a big space left. I do not have one moment where I think "I wish I didn't have to care for this animal', never, but there is an initial empty space and a feeling of, "now what?" and then, life steps in...another old goat will come along or crippled one...the space Else left will be taken up by another Misfit who fails, or a new comer. A window will open.

So in a way, I guess her death is one more gift-it opens a space, and leaves behind the memory of her sweet self.

The Goose gives Else one last peck...just to make sure.

How I will remember her

Monday, January 13, 2020

The continuing thread of caring for one another

It's my mother's birthday. She died in April, 2013 at 87. I miss her, I miss her as my "go-to shore" to call...but in time, after she died, I realized her death made me more able to understand myself too, and learn and grow in ways I wasn't when she was alive. It's part of the plan. But I miss her. I thought of making her famous dense white cake with fudge frosting...or maybe spaghetti. I remember as a little kid being so excited when I knew she was making her spaghetti.

Over a year ago, a friend I'd known about 7+ years online who was a wonderful, funny, engaged-and helpful-person, died by suicide. Shocking. Sad. From that death, I got to know his mother, who to this day I communicate with online as she continues to grieve, learn, grow, and heal. It is odd how death can bring people together but it happens all the time and I'm grateful for my friend's mother. Seeing her grieve her only son makes me realize how much love my mother had for me, I knew this, but watching my friend's mother grieve makes me realize how many times my mother must have had a broken heart watching me go though hard times as I grew up.

Today my friend happened to send me this FB 'memory' in a message, something I had written on her son's page after he died. How beautiful that it was on my mother's birthday. This thought in this quote became apparent to me as I flew back from my father's funeral, in '08, and I was in the plane in the clouds, and I just felt like he was the sky, the clouds, everything. It physically felt like that.

"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." -- Katherine Dunn

Friday, January 10, 2020

Perhaps the most poignant moment ever

Yesterday I took both Bear and Opie to the elder home for their weekly visit. I wanted to try having both of them there, and I had Polly my assistant volunteer with me and it worked out really well. Opie was in his cart making rounds, and I covered another area of the home with Bear. Again I had his little wagon so when he got tuckered out he could rest.

He did great. I wondered if last week was a fluke but I was so touched by him, and his behavior. He is a bit more puppy like now with another week of living under his belt, but he was calm and focused much of the time. We let him down to walk too and what just slayed me was he would sit on command, watch for me, wait for my next move. We've been working on that in the house-he is rewarded when he is calm with praise and love, when not I ignore him. I've been teaching him tosit, off leash and I couldn't believe it when he was able to be so focused at our visit-everyone ooohed and awed, and I was very proud of him.

But the moment captured in this photo is one of the more poignant moments of my animal therapy career. This is John and last week I told you how he lit up when he met Bear, and that was the first time I'd seen him smile or be animated. He held Bear and just was so happy the entire time. His wife visits him twice a day every day. Well, when we got there yesterday people were excited to see Bear and Opie, and at some point I noticed John and his wife coming down the hall. About 15 feet from us, John saw the puppy and he stretched his arms out, smiling, until he got wheeled up to Bear.

My heart nearly broke into a million pieces.

Opie was treated to a carrot by staff

It's like she was loving him so hard it showed in her face

Se doesn't usually talk a lot

She always had lots of animals in her life