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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Can I breathe a sigh of relief now?

Free at last
It has been an actively healing week, but healing is an action and it required a lot of my time and energy. I was relieved I was partaking in healing versus another burial. I really thought Moose was dying Monday, and he would have if my vet didn't come asap as she did [thankful]. That was Monday and today after days of thiamine {we treated him for goat polio which has nothing to do with polio but it is a thiamine deficiency and causes trouble in the rumen and elsewhere} he seems to be doing pretty well. In fact last night I tried to hold and hug him as I have been during his recovery, and he pushed away-a sign the old Moose is back, or reappearing. I am glad for that. Moose has never been a hugger.

On top of that, White Dog got his stitches out on Monday and was free at last to lie in his favorite coat-The Snow. He was so happy to be outside. My vet and I can not imagine him opening it up again, and so far it seems fine and he is not even messing with it.

On Wednesday, Martyn had a birthday and took the day off. It was also Goose the goat's birthday. Goose has been keeping Moose company in the healing suite. He is such a good little chap. He still gives me kisses. I took the birthday boy, sans the birthday goat, out to lunch to Eider's and ran into Remy's to buy him socks. Woohoo! We live everyday like a celebration-good food and drink, sleep, laughter-so it was a nice day.

I was doing chores this morning and watched White Dog go bursting out of the barn to run free. We almost lost him. Just a tish and an artery would have been cut. It's the what if that keeps coming back. I don't dwell on it, but White Dog is one of those spirits that is very strong, and the thought of him gone is just upsetting.

The big wind and rain storm yesterday knocked out power early morning, just after I got all my water buckets filled in the barn-that is the little thing in a day that can make it seem like a good day, the water buckets got filled despite everything. The Wind was so HUGE. The Wind here is full oc ocean, you can just feel and hear it. It is both beautiful and terrifying to me. Out West the wind came from the mountain foothills where we lived, it was beautiful and powerful too, but for me it was more subtle.

I walked back to the house this morning, White dog at my side as he escorted me tot he middle gate-his boundary-and I thought,

I guess I can breathe now.

I think it will be okay for Moose, and White Dog. I think it will be okay.

Goose has been helping Moose

Moose seems to be doing very well after treatment

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

Love the one you're with

Happy valentines to all those special friendships and misfits out there

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

UPDATE: The book is now available at the shop >

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