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.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Nuffy leaves for her forever home

I just put Nuffy in her traveling case with her baby blanket and she is off to her new home in Ohio, a very good home so we are happy.

Nuffy is learning to walk. But with that nose it can be a bit of a bumpy road. She is unafraid though.

Nuffy knew her mother briefly. She wishes she was still here, but her mother taught her well and that anytime she sees a tulip, that will be her, or when she smells cinnamon, that will be her. Nuffy also thinks that white clouds with grey spots are her mother so she really sees her often.

She had hoped to be adopted by a home with elephants, but now she just wants to be her ownself and be all elephanty and not told to be quiet or not play with her trunk.

Have a good life, Nuffy, I will miss you.

{See more art creatures at the shop}

Monday, February 22, 2021

In which Earnest the pig plans a trip to E.B.White's


Earnest in his hut, above him is E.B.White and his road map

“Mrs. Dunn! Mrs. Dunn!” I heard as I left the house to get to the barn. It was little Pickles the goat.

“Earnest says he’s taking a train to the sea?” she said, excited, and she ran back to her barn.

Instead of doing barn chores first, I went to Earnest’s hut. He was in good spirits, enjoying the sun on a chilly morning.

“Earnest, what is this I hear about a train trip?” I asked.

“Oh yes, I want to experience the sea, and also see E.B.White’s house,” he said.

Earnest has been enamored with the writing of E.B. White ever since I gave him a copy of “Charlotte’s Web” shortly before we moved to Maine. He began writing short prose and told me someday he’d visit Mr. White’s writing hut, to pay it homage. I’m not sure what the current owners would do if a pig showed up at the gate, especially when he announced his name was Earnest, not Wilbur.

“Perhaps you would like to accompany me,” Earnest said. “Trains are mysterious,” he said.

For seconds, I thought of the romance of traveling by train, the ocean coming in and out view, and my pig at my side.

Earnest continued, “You could bring Boone and ride on the bridal paths at Acadia, you said you wanted to someday,” Earnest said.

And for a few more seconds, I again thought of the joy of riding on a train, with my pig on one side and my horse on the other.

“You’d have to get to a bus first, and then maybe find a train to Brooklin, and there are restrictions about pigs on buses or trains, Earnest, and horses,” I said.

“I can only imagine what opinion piece Mr. White would write if he knew a gentleman pig who wanted to travel by train was being held back by the bureaucracy of a corporation,” Earnest said. “I so want to stand on the balcony of the caboose, like Lincoln, and wave to the villagers,” Earnest said.

We sat together soaking up the sun, not speaking, our breath showing in the twenty degree air.

“Look Earnest, how about we start off smaller. We’ll hook up the trailer and go to Pemaquid for the day. You can see the sea there,” I suggested.

“No caboose, no man in a black captain hat punching tickets, no bar car...no spirit of Mr. White on arrival,” Earnest said gloomily. And he got back under his straw bedding, leaving me to go do chores.

A few days later, I stopped to visit Earnest. He was out and about but I sat in his hut which has always been a comforting place for me.When we first got to Maine, Earnest had pinned a Maine map, and a photo of Mr. White, on his wall. I looked up to see them still there, but now the map had a dark line drawn from Bremen to Brooklin, and the handwritten word, someday, was scrawled next to it.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Shirley isn't trapped anymore

Opie tends to Shirley on our first visit

I found out yesterday that one of the first people I met, with little Opie, at Cove's Edge, has died. She was only 61. 
Shirley really struck me, and my heart. When I visited with Opie on that first visit, Abbey the activity director had brought many residents out-they have a lovely large area outside perfect for our animal visits. I told Abbey how Opie would find who needed him most, but that I would also let him visit everyone. And we did, but Opie kept going back to Shirley. Shirley had just arrived there and of course I'm not privileged to knowing all the details of her condition but I assumed she had a stroke. She could not speak, she could smile though, and her limbs were crippled and she was in a wheelchair. I was told she loved animals and was very depressed as you can only imagine. 
Well, that day, Opie found her, and every time I'd share him with others, Opie kept going back to Shirley. It was a beautiful thing, a sad thing, aand  memorable thing. I miss both of them. 
Sometimes when I went on visits, Shirley seemed more glum, sometimes, as when she saw Harry out the window, she beamed.
Shirley was a nurse before her life changed. She had two children all grown up. She liked crafting and campfires and being outdoors. I can only imagine being trapped in a body, and then with COVID trapped in a building. I hope Opie, and Bear [he sat on her bed many times as a pup and she always smiled] and Harry...helped her situation, I know it did even if it was fleeting. I know we all hope she found Opie, and anyone else she craved to mingle with again. 
You're not trapped anymore, Shirley.

The Opie Love Mobile and Shirley

In her former world, from her obit

She just beamed at Harry the llama

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Brreaking News: Officer Mittens arrests himself!


If you follow us on social media, you know that officer Mittens takes his job seriously. You can hear all about his arrests and citations he gives out on Facebook or IG, but I had to share this one here for my blog readers.

Officer Mittens has arrested himself! He had jailed Bear for eating the cat food but in thoroughly questioning the subject he realized Bear had been the victim of entrapment. Charges for both are pending review once Officer Mittens can consult with his supervisor and consul.

{Officer Mittens now has T-shirts for sale with sales going directly to Apifera.}

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ice...and Boone is good


The storm of Monday night came and went and we got off easy but it still created iced gates and barn doors. The warmer air on Tuesday caused heaving which meant many of my barn sliders were wonky. I had planned ahead and worked on some of them the night before anticipating ice, but forgot one of the inside barn sliders-just meant I had to carry water and hay farther. All is well. And Mister-I-Ate-A-Whole-Bunch-Of-Sand-Clear is fine, what a relief. I love winter, I really do and the snow has been pristing all month [except for the barnyard where I can't shisel the poop up yet]. But I have to admit, I'm ready for warmer sea air to come by, hoping next week. Meanwhile I've had router issues all week so internet access has been spotty but I got it all taken care of with a new router...I hope. It's always somethin'.

Monday, February 15, 2021

All day worry over Boone, but all is well

If you own a horse, you know the dreaded word–colic. Of course there is mild colic akin to a tummy ache, and then the kind that makes a horse owner shudder-impaction and severe colic.

So yesterday afternoon I went to barn early for chores and found Boone had come through the gate inside where I had some Sand Clear–a product we give seven days in a row one week out of the month. This helps keep granite dust out of the gut, which can lead to colic and bad things. Our main paddocks by barn are all granite dust which is great for mud control, which is great for keeping feet healthier [we suffered through very bad White Line disease with paco when we arrived], but it can also be ingested even with buckets.

So I must have not latched the chain properly. Yes, this is all my fault. There he was with the 5 gallon bucket wide open, the pellets all over-no telling how much he got.

Last night I dreampt I went to barn and old Matilda was lying on ground, almost dead, clearly dying. I had no way to save her in the dream. 

So I woke up and got right to the barn, haunted by the dream and worried about Boone. And there was Boone standing in the sun, but he wasn't coming to the gate as usual. He looked dopey. I took his grain out [Boone and old Matilda get supplemental feed] and he didn't even come over. I knew he felt crappy. He then looked at food, and turned around, went in the sun, and lay down [the picture here]. When I touched his belly he put his ears back, he clearly was uncomfortable. I did the skin test and he wasn't dehydrated and his inner gums were good. I really knew in my heart he probably just had a bad tummy ache, kind of like eating 5 pizzas, but then when he did get up, he pawed at ground-another sign of discomfort. I decided to try and walk him in the outer paddock, something to do in colic cases if you can, to keep them from twisiting a gut. He went a bit with me, but he was clearly uncomfortable.

So I got banamine in him. My dang thermometer wasn't working right. I watched him awhile, banamine is for pain but also is an anti nflammatory and takes about half hour to kick in. I waited around longer than normal and he was up, trying to nibble on hay. He didn't drink for me. I called the vet just to make sure of her thoughts, and I had done the right thing, but we agreed if he was still uncomfortable later in day-or if he worsened-she wanted to come out since there is a storm coming tonight. It's an hour drive for her and that made me feel loved and not alone. I checked him on and off all day and he wasn't terrible but clearly felt icky. The fear was that he could be impacted-the Sand Clear is a pellet and is all fiber, so it can expand.

Well, tonight I went out early and he was at the usual spot, and he knickered to me-I was the happiest girl in the world. He proceeded to eat hay in normal fashion and...wait for it...he POOPED! He didn't mind me touching his belly either. I called my vet and we were relieved. I'll keep my eye on him though and hope all is well in morning. But it was a relief.

My day was consumed with that, errands and dealing with internet issues so I was on phone all day with techs. I got little else done, but Boone is okay and that is all I care about.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The real deal called love


I got the real deal with Martyn. If I'd met him when I was 20 or 30, who knows if I would have recognized what I saw in him the second we met-when he knocked on my door the day I moved into the house in Portland, which was next to his. I immediately sensed what he was. Martyn is not a gift giver-but he brings me many little things -flower buds, seeds for example. He builds things. He cooks. And yes, he vaccums, alot. I am better at other household duties-taxes, the bills, groceries, online needs...We share many dutirs, but he is the vacuum king, I can't deny it. What takes me 5 minutes max to vacuum, it can take Martyn all morning because, well, he's just better atit. So that is my valentine, and I'll take it. I made him lemon bars. But every day is the same-we just like each other and we laugh.

Not deprived without those 10,000 steps

Moth and fog with peonies {Sold}

"Do not deprive me of my age, I've earned it." May Sarton

 I just read a Wall Street Journal article that many doctors and scientists are seeing and referring more and more to the power and healing of Nature-since the pandemic has found more people escaping the city, going to large outdoor areas and such, and many feel the benefits are outweighing this whole idea of "You have to get those 10,000 steps in, somehow, on your treadmill or by walking or climbing up and down the stairs." {snore}

I loved living in NYC, Mpls, Portland and other places...but I always knew I'd end up in a smaller place, eventually-that was my heart move, and it took until I was 42 but I got there, and some 20 years later, I would not change it for the world. I'd be miserable in the city now. I often have vivid recurring dreams of being in the city, often with some of my animals, but I'm lost and I can't find Martyn and I know I have to get back to him and the farm.

I get steps on my phone and I know when I do 5000 or more I feel better. All my steps are from chores, not walks. In warmer months I often do 7,000 or more just in chores. When I add a walk in I go way up. But the time it takes to get 10,000 steps through a walk...just was not a priority in my day. I finally quit letting it be part of the rent in my brain and focus on eating less carbs and simple things during winter. I gained 15+# over the years after marrying/post menapause, nothing like some go through, but I lost 14 pounds since last June and I'm trying to maintain that loss until spring and lose another 7 or so. It's Martyn's wonderful cooking, but I just cut way back on any carbs. I do want to get more walks in when the roads aren't ice and salt.

As I age, I'm 62, the importance of health is more in  the front of the windshield. One's priorities are different, and clearer too, than the 20-40 range. I am speaking for myself but I hear this from most of my friends, especially women. I wouldn't take my young body if it meant taking my younger mind, attitude, lack of experience too. I like my age. So with age comes the perspective that losing some pounds is about how it feels, not how it looks. And having a functioning body is more important than a body losing weight.

Working with the elders...what is important is the fact I can still walk, and bend, and move, and make my own decisions. And I don't fear death, I only fear losing those things-those things that let me live my life in Nature on my own. None of us want to end up in a home, and I often wonder if I could adjust. I don't dwell on it, but seeing the people I see, I just relish pretty much every day as who I am.

You often hear people as they age say things like, "My husband still looks like the young man I met years ago." I feel this way. Just because I am constantly aging, as are you, doesn't mean I give up the same joys I had as a child, girl or younger woman-flowers, gardens, horses, sky, moon, garlic. I speak to some younger women who really are full of it. They have the kind of hunger -for anything- that can make them brazen and snarky. I'm sure I had many moments like this although...I think the internet and social media has emboldened things in some people that are basically just rude behavior and misguided behavior. I have  some younger illustrators or writers/artists that still contact me for advice on breaking into books or magazine-they have been polite and respectful. They do not make me feel like a has been, although I tell them upfront I am out of the loop with most commercial ventures since I'm a one woman band now. There was a time when I worried that I was becoming obsolete in the illustration world. And now I turn jobs away becausue I have so much of my own work to sustain me financially and emotionally. I have no interest in awards shows, agent lists or trying to get published by so and so. I once did. It was draining.

I'd rather be with the peonies, and then do a painting. {And for the record, I paid my dues to get here}.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Harry has a valentine party complete with Harry hats

It was Facetime Friday and Harry was the guest of honor. I had delivered Harry's valentines and gifts to the elders this week, so I knew Harry had to be the mystery guest today. Harry gave them valentines, a poster of himself, chocolates and Harry Loves You stickers. I knew my contact Abbey was going to do something fun–she always does–and sure enough, they all had Harry Hats on! Oh it made my day, I just love those guys, always up for some fun.

Harry wore a red cashmere ascot. It was one of many I brought home after my mother died, they had tons of beautiful fabrics and scarves. I'm sure  she never imagined it would be adorning a llama.

Harry was a pro as usual but was more antsy today, I think because he was intrigued with the many animals loitering around outside, which he  could see through the window. And my internet was on and off–I've been having trouble with it, for streaming too, and I think it's my router so finally found a tech person I can contact. It is so frustrating, so we only did a 40 minute meeting today. But it still brought smiles. 

It's been so cold. I spent last night by the fire, no intrusion of phone or social media.  I've gotten into the habit of leaving my phone off and in the kitchen the minute it is cocktail hour. It can become such a habit, can't it? 

Anyway, Harry sends you all valentine love. 

Wearing her Harry Hat

Wearing her Harry Hat

Wearing her Harry Hat

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Now you can wear Harry, drink from him or carry him around

Trying out a new way, a fun way, to bring some donations into the non profit. I do pretty well with direct appeals and fundraisers [thank you!] but thought I would try out Bonfire that caters to non profits by making quality T's, mugs and totes. They do all the order full fillment and I just make the design. it is different than other product printers becasue they focus on helping non profits. Their service too is exceptional, I've actually been working directly with a REAL person for a couple days. The quality fo the shirts is very good-soft but durable and the ink holds up well in washing.

Anyway, just a fun way to add some whim to your world. Even if we bring in an extra $100 or $200 that is about a week of food. So why not? Go shop.

 Right now I have a Wild About Harry design. I plan to add Pickles and Goose and Mittens...and others as time goes on. It's fun to make the designs too.


Friday, February 05, 2021

It's Facetime Friday...the mystery guest today is....

If you follow along you know that we've been doing Facetime Fridays with our elder friends at Cove's Edge.  I started out with just the cats and Bear....but it has evolved into me bringing mystery guests intot he house. Last week was Harry the llama and today Pino the donkey came in. 

The elders just love it, and they agreed today that not knowing who the guest will be is much fun. When the video turned on and I heard them all say, excitedly, "Oh look, it's a donkey!"...well, made my day. I always end my sessions with telling them all not to get too wild and crazy on me...they like that.

Pino was so great, I knew he would be but it has been awhile since I've had him out on his own. His mates all brayed as he left the barn, but he trudged along with me trusting me as always. I was prepared to let him out if he got anxious but he was calm as can be. It was so nice working with him again like old times. They loved him, and his little toes. The cats were very enamored with him too.

Abbey, my contact there, took screen shots of the setup on the other side. It takes a village to pull these off and she and Amy are so great. We had more people today too so maybe the word is getting out.

We were also very impressed Pino didn't poop. We talk a lot about poop...we get a good laugh about poop, poop is funny, as well as informative tot he farmer types.

So who will next week's mystery guest be? I guess that is the mystery. Stay tuned. 

The set up at Cove's for Facetime Friday

Thursday, February 04, 2021

All of yesterday

Yesterday I got to the barn and just enjoyed my chores. I've learned to slow down in morning and I don't schedule meetings and such until later in morning if I can. I figure I rushed around in my early career and can relax a bit now. 

But the snow was pretty and untouched [in most places, I didn't show you the poop piles in well lived in areas]. 

I took lunch time and hung out with the elder cats. And I talked a lot to Victoria, one of the elder chickens we took on some time ago. She seems to be separating herself a bit more and I wonder if she is starting her next journey. I really love her but she is elderly. I'm hoping she can get to Spring and warmer air. 

There are a lot of angry people out there. I've been inward for many weeks now. I rarely read things online right now except my morning papers, and my business pages. My shadow puppets are really fun and magical and giving me something positive to do. I am percolating a new book but just not ready to explore it in depth. And of course there are our elder friends, and our Facetime Fridays with the animals to bring them some joy. It really helps them and I wish I was more adept at sound equipment and online tactics and I'd put on a better show for them. 

I'm very happy I can help my community and slowly become part of it, all the while being able to paint and write and be with my animals and farm. I think if you can do that it really helps in any time of a life, but especially now.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

My new project-shadow puppets

I am a beginner, and today I made my first simple joints. It is a learning curve but it is fun. 

I have so much to learn!

I have a crude set but am going to make a better one so i can sit or stand behind it with light in front of me. I have been researching others including a master Richard Bradshaw as well as younger and newer puppeteers.

It is simply another way to share short stories.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Facetime Fridays with the llama in the house

As I like to say, "What could possibly go wrong?"

It was a cold blustery day. I had planned to bring Captain Sparkle in the house for the meeting, but balked at the last minute-I felt it was unfair to bring him like that without any prep work, he is after all not as experienced as Harry. I didn't want him to have a bad experience.  I will work with him in coming weeks.

So in came Harry. He entered the house like a gentleman, and stood like one for over an hour. I placed a thick covering on the floor so his feet would not slip. He did just fine. Of course, Officer Mittens was the first on the scene, but all was well. Bear was in his pen but everyone could see him. I even walked Harry around the rooms at the end and he did just fine. I just love Harry.

The Facetime Fridays are turning into a weekly gathering of our elders at Cove's Edge and I'm so lucky to have Abbey, my activity director there. She really is wonderful with everyone and game for all my ideas. She works so hard, they all do. While I'd rather be there in person, I began to realize that I can look at Facetime Friday's as a talk show-who will be the guest next week? 

My animal therapy work, and my elder care work are meshed with my life now. Part of the reason I am frustrated with the pandemic is I can't due the work that was just taking off -but I can be outside and my life has always been one of happy hermit on the farm. I go to the feed store, and the store once a week so Martyn doesn't have to go in [he has asthma]. I think it will be some time before we can be there in person, but am heartend they are about to get their second shots. I am far from getting one since I am well below the age limits. So is Martyn.

So when I was feeling down about not being able to make in person visits with the elders, I realized I had to tweak my thoughts-and now, Facetime Fridays is a show, something to percolate and plan.

Every Friday, I'll try to put on a show.

Officer Mittens on the scene

Bear is wondering "This is different"

Officer Mittens guards the snake thing

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Teapot has the right idea

The Teapot is not bothered by her waistline, despite the fact we continue to limit her feed. She is thinner than this older photo and we love her just the way she is, then and now. {For those who don't own minis, being overweight can cause issues such as Cushings, so we do limit her hay which is a challenge with a herd}.

This piece is part of the Wisdom series on the shop-art printed on maple panels.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Pickles declares she will never love again, and Earnest steps in

 “It hurts to love something.  I am not going to love anyone new,” said Pickles.

“Love does’t work that way, Pickles, you can’t run away from love, it will find you,” said Earnest the pig.

Two days earlier, Opie the goat had died. He was only four years old and had been diagnosed with an incurable disease. Opie was the first therapy goat of the farm and many people loved him-he visited many of the elder homes in the area.

Pickles started to cry. Everyone in the barnyard gathered around her.  

Ollie the goat came over and said, “I know what it’s like to lose someone too, Pickles. I lost my mama, she died having me.”

Pickles cried even more.

“Opie was my friend. If love means hurting, I won’t do it anymore,” Pickles said.

Mrs. Dunn was cleaning stalls and said, “But Pickles, what will you do every day if you choose not to love?”

“I will run and leap all by myself,” Pickles said.

“But you love to run and leap” Mrs. Dunn asked. “And when you do, others are watching you run and leap and they smile and laugh and they feel love for you,” Mrs. Dunn said.

“Well, I’m not going to introduce myself to any new goats that come here, then I won’t be hurt if they die,” said Pickles.

“Before you came Pickles, I lost many creatures I loved and I hurt too, and I still miss each one. But I can’t imagine a barnyard without a Pickles. If I had chosen not to love another, we would not have you,” Mrs. Dunn said.

“I guess I’m kind of important then,” said little Pickles.

“Did we stop loving trees after our favorite maple tree was struck down from a storm?” asked Earnest the pig.

“No!!!” the barnyard said in unison.

“There are a lot of maple trees, there was only one Opie,” said Pickles.

“That’s right,” said Mrs. Dunn. “And that little maple sapling over there will grow up and be a favorite tree to someone some day. And somewhere a little goat is being born just like you or Opie and they will be loved by someone. Love is being born every minute, even when someone is dying.”

“Love is not your body, Pickles, it is all the stuff inside you that can’t be seen, but it can be felt,” said Henneth the blind chicken.

“Like my intestines?” asked Pickles.

“Well, like your heart,” said Auntie Bea, one of the elder goats.

“I wished things didn’t die,” said Pickles.

The moon was coming up, and Earnest the pig put his arm around Pickles and said, “When you go to bed at night, do you mourn the loss of the sun?”

“No, because the sun is somewhere,” said Pickles.

“So is Opie,” said Earnest.

The stars were now out, filling the sky.

“I think Opie is a star in the sky,” said Ollie.

Pickles intently watched the night sky, and said,
“I think he is all of the stars.”

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Tiny gesture fills my heart...oh, open your eyes too if you haven't

Opie honored by his elders at Cove's Edge

We did another Facetime Friday yesterday. Bear, Officer Mittens, Omar and Oscar and I put on a show, with visits from Pat the Cat puppet and grumpy pig puppet. I also made shadow puppets which was spontaneous because the sun was coming in perfectly for it. I read them "Everyone Poops" a funny look at, well, pooping. We laughed and talked, it helps them a lot. We will do it again next week. At the very beginning when I picked up the Facetime call, the ladies all had animal masks on-and they said they were animals and they wanted to be adoptd into our farm! That just made my day!

But then they told me they had honored Opie. When someone dies at the residence, they put a photo on the front entry table so everyone can see and honor their life and passing ...and they chose to put Opie there. I’m so honored...so is Opie. I have to tell you it made me stop in my tracks. I was so touched and honored. I think I hit a wall. Opie was my partner, he was young, he was a natural. I am mad he was taken. The question,

"Why?" can only be answered with 'Because."

The sadness is piled on with the sadness I have for the country. If you can not acknowledge that there are hate filled whites that want nothing more than to see people of color gone, you are not seeing clearly. It is not about politics. It is about 20% or more of the country truly fearful that their white privlidge is being taken. We've been here before, we in fact never left it behind. If one thing comes of this four years I hope it is that people, white people, will begin to acknowledge this. And it is not all a bunch of neanderthalls that went to the Capital, it was your Uncle, your pastor [I know one who was there], your doctor, your neighbor...the people that went about their lives...until a leader stepped in and gave them a megaphone, and helped choose their mantras for them, they fed off each other. 

So that is part of the real hurt of losing Opie. He was pure love. He wasn't inciting anything. He was just giving his time and love to old people, and to me. And now he was taken.

That is why this gesture of acknowledgment form the elders at Cove's means so much. It was and is a blessing that they ackowledged him, and in so doing ackowledged my therapy work.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

One of the first of the elder cats to arrive...has died.

I arrived at feeding time this morning to find Anna dead. I knew she was starting to isolate herself in the elder cat suite, and was less bossy around her clan than usual. In the past couple weeks, she slept a lot more. She was very still yesterday and last night, she had left her felted cacoon to sleep in an empty bag. I knew her days were fading because she just wasn't interested in life, and wasn't interested in being upset if I tried to brush her too much. She wasn't sitting under the table at breakfast informing the other cats she was there first.

So, there she was, right at the door, outside the bag I'd left her sleeping in. Tommy and Yume were there, sitting, waiting for me. I wasn't surprised, but wasn't completely expecting it this morning.

Anna did me a huge healing service on arrival. We had just moved here in 2016 and some of you might remember the traumatic even where Itty Bitty Etta jumped out of the trailer, just as we were setting out on our journey. We could not find her, and she clearly stated she wanted to stay on her land to roam as she had since her birth in a culvert on the highway. She would have been miserable inside all day and to this writing she still lives at the old farm. But it was so upsetting for me. On arrival we brought in three elders from the shelter–Anna, Sir Tigger and Yume. I thought Anna sort of resembled Itty, but in time I realized she really didn't, but what mattered is I thought she did, and it helped me get over that difficult episode.

Anna was 15, not that old in my terms of what old is since we take on the really old ones. I know she helped me, and I helped her. She had four+ years in which she might have lingered at the shelter. I gave her that space and atmosphere and that is all I set out to do-give them a place to be themselves and not be stressed.

Why she died I don't know. As I've stated before, often we ask "Why?" and the answer is, "Because."

Thank you for helping me, Anna. I will miss seeing you in your window.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

New prints

While I'm always creating new art for originals and archive prints, I'm also adding some oldies but goldies to the shop. I always loved the blue donkey piece, inspired by Pino, back when he was the star character in many of my stories. He is still a star, just a bit shier about always being front and center.

The shop is loaded with art and books and creations.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Goodbye Opie

Opie died this morning minutes after this video. 

I got to the barn about an hour later than normal and I heard him crying when I entered. He was lying down. I got him up but he collapsed. I ran and got a pain shot and he cried when I left. On my return, Goose was at his side. I sat with and repositioned him in a safer spot and added more blankets. I got up after about five minutes and he calmed but I got up to quickly feed in the elder cat suite-and he cried. I quickly fed the cats and heard him cry once, then I heard The Goose honking. I stepped back out of the cat room and The Goose left Opie’s side. That’s when I took this video. I really believe he waited for me. That might sound egotistical but Opie and I were a working team. Last night he fell on his side and I knew it was probably days and would need to call the vet this week. I didn’t think it would be this fast but the CAE had effected his spine and the wasting was rapid. 

I am so glad I got to the barn when I did. It was so like Opie to wait for me. I am very very sad and upset.

It doesn't seem fair when youth is taken. But it is taken all the time. I think he was one more comet in the sky moving pretty fast for his size. He did more in his four years than some people do in a lifetime. He was a natural healer, just like Pino, and Birdie, and The Goose. I have seen it a million times with him, so have my activity directors at the various elder homes. 

I have been crying all day. Usually I am very stoic about the deaths, especially when I know they are coming. But some of them just knock you to your knees. On the one hand, the fact he died so quickly this morning is a blessing for both of us-he is out of stress and I was able to be with him in his home and there were no vets available today. I might have been able to get him up to Warren to the emergency small animal clinic but they might not have wanted to help due to license issues. To hear his cries was very hard. I have been with so many dying animals. Some cry quite a bit right near the end. I feel in many cases it is is fear, they don't understand what they are experiencing. That is why I'm so glad I got there. I wish I had been there sooner but he might have lingered anyway I don't know.

When he was diagnosed with CAE, I knew little about it. I've tried to learn as much as I can. It's a horrible non curable disease. I do know that he was very sensitive in his spine in the last days, and he had become so thin.

I have a huge ripped out heart. I have much to smile about, but combined with the chaos of the Capital mob, the hate emanating from many people-some in my own community-I will continue to weep as much as I need. Feel free to join in, let it out, and then remember that once upon a time a little goat made people happy in his own little natural way.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Officer Mittens makes his first animal therapy visit

Officer Mittens stole the show yesterday at his first FaceTime therapy visit with our elders friends! This is him napping after the hour or more visit.

He really put on a show ...zipping and zooming all over the house. Omar and Oscar and Bear (who was a pup when they last saw him) were also hits. We also visited the front barn. Brought such a break from reality for them. They’ve had their first vaccinations though! One of the residents loved walking around the house with me,  and at one point when she saw the cats and blankets all over -she said it was just like her old house was. A bittersweet comment. I wondered if the visit would linger with her as a nice memory or make her more sad about missing an old life of independence?

Next Friday we will Facetime again, starting in the house. I hope to bring Harry in on this one. And, I thought it would be fun to introduce them to my puppets! I've been wanting to let my puppets get involved with our elder visits. My activity director at the facility is game for anything so it is a lot of fun working with her. We really had fun.

Even though the animals are a hit with them, I know too just sitting and letting them see something, anything, from the outside world is good for them. We looked at photos on my wall and paintings. We laughed at a dried up cat barf on the wood floor. They noticed the open wine bottle in the kitchen from last night and we laughed.

We have to just keep showing up. We enjoy them, I hope they know that, I hope they feel that. And Bear made me proud. He was so calm, just like in the days of his first visits back in January. We talked about that, how long ago it seems, how little Opie and his Opie Love Mobile would come and we remembered some of the elders that loved Bear but have passed this year.

We talked about how cats sometimes wonder off to die. We all commented that might be nice if we could do that.

The front barn gange Facetimed too

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Did you wake up on January 1st with expectations?

I read in the Times that many people across the world were relieved to see 2020 gone, but had the blues on the first day of 2021. I was that person. I couldn't pin point it. It was gloomy weather. We've had little sun and usually we have sun and snow but it was rainy and the snow was mush and blah blahblahblah blah.

I'm snapping out of it though.

I think part of it was the expectation that everything is going to change this year and the virus will be reduced with vaccines and we'll be gathering in nursing homes again and [for many of us] the current commander will be removed. But I think the first day of the year felt like the last day of the last year.

But, I got back in the studio, worked on a new raggedy creature [it went from being a llama to a goat to now I think it is the Teapot's mother], am percolating ideas for projects, scheduled a Facetime with an elder resident at Cove's Edge who is blue...gotta just keep moving.

Everything is going to keep moving around us. Seeds are percolating under us. All of us. Keep moving, even if it means sitting in your chair and moving your arms. The latter will let you feel the air on your body.

Monday, January 04, 2021

The Teapot gets her wish from Santa



A couple weeks ago I posted Letters to Santa from the barnyard, over on Facebook and Instagram. The Teapot had asked Santa for a cape because she thought she would look fabulous running in it.

Well, last night after chores, and I was in a very down mood, I checked the delivery box and a follower had read about Teapot's letter. And she made a little cape. I mean, how cute! Now, I told The Teapot it was Santa, the delivery delayed like many packages this year, and she had no doubt.

I just hope nobody sends Pickles that chemistry set she wanted [do not send Pickles a chemistry set].