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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, October 31, 2022

The old donkey wanted to be a tree....and...

Peso wanted to be a tree, holding a bird's nest, for Halloween. I think he did a sweet job of it.

You can read all about Earnest's celebration of the dead, and other Halloween-ish antics from the barnyard, over at Tails & Tales monthly short story publication [it's free].

We lost one of our eldest cats, Inky this week. He was 22 or so and had come to us many years ago from the shelter, after his owners died. There was some trauma in the house in the end and I do not know how much of it Inky saw. He was always stoic and friendly, never pushy with the others and liked to ride on my shoulders. He had a good death with Catfish looking on, wrapped in a polk-a-dot blankie in front of the heater. I buried him under the lilacs along with so many others.

There is often a shift that occurs after a death in the herd or cat room. Inky always slept, for the past few months anyway, in a basket on one of the perches. He chose to stay on the ground in his final few days, but nobody claimed his basket. Then this morning, I saw that Francine was sleeping there. The empath in me wants to think she waited for the energy to shift, to give Inky time to leave, and to respect his space. I'll stick to that story.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

New holiday card...yes I know it is not even Halloween

I just ordered these and they should be here in a couple weeks. The inside is blank so it's great for holiday season and New Year's greetings.

Visit the online shop >

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

It takes a [caring] village, please donate to our non profit work



As you all know, prices for everything have gone up-feed, fencing, vet care, gas...we are all in the same boat. I did not do a fundraiser this summer due to my own health issues but am back on track and it's time to gather as a village and support the animals, and the work we do for elder people with those animals. 

Martyn and I do not take salaries, all money goes to maintaining the farm animals and helping elder people on our visits. You can donate here at the blog, over at the FB page, or by check. If you are a foundation and want to route money, please let me know.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

The face, brought to you by my internal instincts

The face. It is the same one that grabbed me when I saw it at online from Great Pyr rescue farm. White Dog had been gone 3 months and I really wasn’t “actively “ looking [insert eye rolling face] but well, why not just take a “peak” to see if something grabs me [more eye rolling]. 

I waited to contact the rescue, I didn't want to do a rebound adoption. Nothing could replace White Dog, he was such a strong spirit. I didn't want to bring in a dog and always be comparing him to White Dog, it would not be fair.

But days went by and week or two and I kept seeing Teddy's face. I truly believe White Dog was behind it. He knew that Teddy would carry on in work that White Dog had just shifted too-animal visits with the elders. White Dog was not as suited to go in the car, he wanted to be on patrol or in his farm element, but he began to visit elders when they came to the farm. He was a magnet for them. 

After he died, I talked to White Dog everyday as I went to the barn–he is buried under Old Apple. I’m so grateful both White Dog and Teddy kept nudging me as Teddy is so perfect for our life and mission.

Don't underestimate, don't ignore your internal 'feelings'. I have learned over and over to listen to them. If a feeling keeps coming to me over days and weeks, I know it is serious. That was how I moved to Portland, that was how I knew Martyn would be my husband on the day I met him, that was how I knew we had to move to Maine as soon as possible. 

And breaking news! Harry's pretty excited, as am I, that the Lovey Mobile is arriving next week. Stay tuned.



Friday, October 07, 2022

Teddy thrives as an ambassador of love

I took Teddy over to see our elder friends at Cove's yesterday. I opted not to take him on visits in summer since it is so hot. So we were happy to be out together again. He was the same old calm, loving guy as the last time...complete with drool which 99% of the residents find amusing and we get chuckles.  I know he was happy to go with me again. When I leave the farm he always looks at me so longingly, it's heartbreaking. So he will be out and about with me now through Spring. And I imagine he will be great in the upcoming Lovely Mobile.

It was a really nice visit. There is something about Teddy, as there was with White Dog, that attracts people to touch him. Perhaps it is his size, his fur, his bear like look...but he is a magnet for touch.

Just as White Dog would say, "Touch me," with his eyes, so does Teddy. Although Teddy also uses his nose to push your hand if you stop petting him. He got to visit with several new residents-some nice photos over on the IG page. One of the residents took my breath away, she looked so much like my mother who died at 87 in 2013. This resident was new and she was 101 and had the same haircut and look, the same smile too. When she was done visiting, she rolled her wheelchair over and starting pruning the petunias...puttering away all by herself–that too just reminded me so much of my mother. As someone noted, they come to us when we need them. Upon arriving home, there was a dove in the garden that flew out as I walked in–another visit from my mother. I think she was saying, "Do I really look 101?"

Teddy got to bring so much joy to one of the regulars there, a woman with advanced ALS who can't talk but smiles a lot when she is happy-and Teddy clearly made her so happy.

I still see Teddy as Teddy, not another version of White Dog. And he is very different that White Dog. But I do still believe White Dog helped bring us Teddy. White Dog had just started participating in elder visits here at the farm and he was a natural. Soon after, we discovered the bone cancer in his leg. He lived another 6 months and still did visits here and it was so beautiful and heartbreaking. I felt so...angry-sad that just like Birdie, and Opie, he was so well suited for this work, and Nature stepped in. Maybe the three of them were needed more elsewhere. But I told White Dog this, that it was not fair and I was mad the cancer came for him-we were a team. I really know White Dog knew I was going to be heartbroken when he did have to leave at some point, and he got the ball rolling for Teddy to find us. 

The visits at Cove's always have a mix of laughter and sadness. One woman was there for rehab after a fall. She wanted to go back to her home and hoped too. But she was grappling with how to continue to live on her own there, even with help three days a week. She was sharp as a tack. No matter how we want to age, it is only so much in our control.


Sunday, October 02, 2022

We prepare for winter while relishing fall

It is clearly autumn-cool days and nights, flies are dying, leaves are crisping...it has been beautiful. My favorite season, like many of you I'm sure. The animals can stay unbothered all day by flies and soak up sun without being hot.

Martyn is busy as always shopping large logs and then will split them in coming weeks. I also opted to buy a ton of first cut Canadian hay for the elder horses. They kept their weight so well last year, even old Matilda, who sadly lost her strength in her hind end even though she was doing so great otherwise. The Canadian hay is $13/ a bale...ouch...the local went up to $7.50 delivered and stacked. But It just doesn't have the punch for elders. I'll be doing our fall/winter fundraiser soon. Ive held back on them this summer due to my health stuff but am back in the saddle.

I spent all morning cleaning equine barn. Getting winter coats ready, making sure Earnest the Pig and Hannah both have adequate bedding, organizing tack and bringing in any freezable meds. It's time for the monthly llama shots, not my favorite task, but since switching to shorter needles many eons ago it is not that bad. My only bad day was being ribbed with my elbow when Harry smashed his ribcage into mine-lost my breath for a minute or so.

The old hydrangea continues to evolve in color. Such a beautiful creature. I can't help photograph her over and over. She is over 100 years old, if not 150+, according to Martyn. Imagine...if she could talk, or if I could teacher her human English. The black and white image is almost like looking at our house back in 1760 when it was built.

I hope you are all having a good autumn. Our pumpkin harvest, much to the sadness of little Hannah and Pickles, was muted...thanks to the squash bugs. Oh well, they ate well. We got some, but nothing like normal. They still are so fun, so cheery. I don't carve them anymore, it doesn't feel right, they get to die a natural death and then are fed out to the animals. I suppose that is the same fate but I just feel sad carving into them. And pumpkin tosses that are all the range seem so violent to me.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Inspired by the old pig and her roomate, a turkey

I woke up thinking of this piece the other day, and set right out to paint it after chores. If you follow along you will understand that the title I gave it - Ode to the Graham Crackers - is appropriate. Hannah the elder pig arrived with a bag of grahams from her former owners who fed them to her daily. Most animals, I find, do love graham, so this was not a surprise. What was is that the pig's nightly roommate, the very independent thinker, Ruthie the turkey, also likes graham crackers. Well, let me clarify that, Ruthie appears to be slightly addicted to them. I have never seen her get so excited over a food before. The other morning when I arrived, Ruthie was waiting by the orange bucket that holds the graham crackers. She had taken out the package the night before and ate them all. So that morning when I arrived, she was puffed up and very upset, standing by the bucket, carrying on, "Where are the graham crackers?"

So...I painted this. Available at the shop. And if you get a kick out of mailing graham crackers to an old pig or pirate turkey, you can visit the Apifera Wish List.

Friday, September 16, 2022

House dream surrounded by ocean


I worked a bit on this yesterday...but there is something so simple about it and I'm not going to alter anything. 
I call it "House dream surrounded by ocean". It was first inspired by the 100+ year old hydrangea outside our house, but I think it is also inspired by my innate pipe dream of someday having a shack on the ocean. I do not think that will happen. But who knows? 
Anyway, it's up on the shop-maybe there is someone else out there with this same dream.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Wisdom of the Old Donkey {latest from from Tails & Tales}

 “No!!!” I heard a little voice screaming.

What on Earth, I thought.

As I entered the barn, Earnest the pig had his arm around little Hannah the goat, who was crying. This is a very common scene, as Hannah is very sensitive and not very savvy at her young age. She is easily fooled by the pranksters of the group-you know, Pickles and Puddles.

“They ate my pumpkin, Mrs. Dunn! They killed her and ate her!” Hannah cried into my overhauls.

I could see shadowy figures in the not so distant corner of the barn, pretending not to be there.

“Pickles! Puddles! Hop to it, over here, right now!” I said.

“I know nothing!” said Pickles.

“You do too!” said Puddles.

“But Mrs. Dunn, the pumpkin was already mushy and dead because the squash bugs got it first,” pleaded Pickles.

Hannah screamed some more into my overhauls.

“It’s true, Mrs. Dunn. I saw the little pumpkin yesterday. The bugs were on her and eating her up," said Earnest the pig.

More screaming from Hannah.

“Hannah, this is all part of Nature’s way. Nature gives us bounties, and other parts of Nature take it away,” I said.

Ollie the goat, always cheerful no matter what the occasion, came running up to little Hannah. “It’s just like when you eat your hay, Hannah. Nature turns it into something else in your stomach and then you poop and the worms eats it!”

“You mean the bugs are going to poop my pumpkin out?” Hannah cried.

“Well, I guess in a way they are,” said Earnest the pig.

Hannah went running off to her favorite tree, crying, “I will never eat or drink again in honor of my pumpkin.”

“Let her be,” I said. And we all went about our morning.

Around mid day, Earnest and I wandered out to see Hannah, who was still under her tree.

“Hannah, that is a nice little pumpkin you’re holding,” said Earnest the pig.

“It’s my pumpkin’s sister. I’ll never let her die,” said Hannah, still sniffling.

“Death is like a moon that doesn’t see the sun come up, that’s all,” said a slow talking voice. It was Peso, the new arrival. He was a very, very old donkey, the oldest donkey that had ever lived on the farm.

Peso came closer to Hannah. “Hannah, your little pumpkin got to live her life in her field, unencumbered by the man made world. Nobody carved her up and stuck candles in her, or slung her from a cannon, she just got to be a simple, beautiful, humble fruit breathing in the sun on her Earth,” Peso said. Hannah stopped crying.

Just then, Poetry the eldest of the old goats called out, “The Queen is dead!” and everyone rushed to the rabbit ear television I’d finally put in the barn for them.

“She was my favorite Queen!” cried Hannah.

“Mine too, Hannah,” I said. “Were’t we lucky to have had her though?” I asked.

Hannah shook her head, yes, pressing into my overhauls again. “She would have liked my pumpkin, I’m sure of it.”

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The truth about my summer-I had a scare but I'm back on top

I want to share some reality of my summer. I haven't posted about it, but I'm going to, because it ties into why I'm so excited about the Love Mobile. Last June, on a Saturday morning, I did not have my usual yogurt breakfast, I had a toasted scone, and instead of only eating 1/2 of one [my norm] I ate an entire scone. Half hour later, doing chores, I had the most intense heartburn. Now I've had heartburn in the past from food, and from stress-I know how it goes. But this felt a bit different. I alerted Martyn, it felt that weird.

I had also been coughing for months from the fact I work in granite dust that has silica. And, I had Jabbed my elbow into my under sternum so hard that it knocked me backwards and I lost my breath for a minute [I was giving llama shots and Harry shoved me which is what llamas do]. I'd also had a sever bronchial cough for over a month.

At the same time, I had been searching for a new GP and it is hard to find one taking new patients. I finally found one, and signed up but it would be two months before I could get it.

The heartburn subsided, but it also kind of lingered in my sternum for a week or so. I was mentioning it to a friend, and how it would be two months to see my new doctor, and she suggested I go to the ER and they could give me  a blood test that can detect heart attacks. I wasn't so sure about that, but decided to go in. It was a very naive decision. I explained the situation, that I did not have chest pain, etc, and just wanted to have this blood test [again, that was naive!] but they whisked me in for an EKG, blood tests, chest XRAYS...strapped me to a bed and wouldn't let me out. My blood pressure was very high-which is the norm for me at a doctor. In fact, I'd been taking my BP daily for a few weeks because I knew I'd be going to a new GP soon and wanted them to see my BP since it is always high at the doctor [any doctor that denies white coat syndrome is wrong].

Well, all the tests were fine. The ER doctor was someone I hope I never see again. He would not listen to my symptoms, he would not look at my BP diary, he would not listen to the stress that was going on all month-how that very day old Matilda was cast, she could not get up without my help, and I knew her time was coming. He did not care that heartburn over my adult years nearly always came from stress. There had been multiple deaths of people I knew that month too. We'd lost some other animals too. But he was hell bent on making me think I was about to have a heart attack and had to stay in the hospital. He said even though I was in the lowest part of the lowest percentile for dying of a heart attack in a year, I still could. I refused to stay based on my tests.

I did not have a heart attack, and my tests were good. But I did agree to go on BP medicine. I just wanted to get out of there. Within days, I became groggy. I was taking two hour naps. I was very angry too. Short temper. And I was having sternum sensations I'd never had. My BP was so low it seemed unreal. I began researching the medicine and saw I was not alone. By the time I got into my new doctor, I felt like I had slept walked the entire summer. I was unmotivated, even depressed. I could not focus. I could not create. The new doctor switched me to another med, and the first couple days were ok, but then the night terrors and hallucinations began-like lying in bed at night and seeing a man come in and cut Martyn's throat and then killing all the animals. They were not night mares, they were sheer terror. One night I looked over at Martyn and his body was see through. It was hard on him too to have me go through these things.

I told my doctor that was it, I would not live like that. I asked her why I was even on these meds. She agreed the ER doc had done what many docs do-throw you on a pill, and he did it just becasue of a high reading at the ER.  She agreed I should wean off of this med, and see if my BP is as normal as my diary says it is. So far, it is. {By the way, I like my new doc a lot, she LISTENS].

The day I went off that med, I was myself again. It made me realize how out of it I was, out of it as in my creativity and soul were being drugged. There were mornings I didn't want to get up. During my summer daze, I began seeing my life as almost finished. I am 64, I began to feel sort of...old. I always figured 78-80 was a good life. And I thought, man, that's only 14 more years. Is this how it's going to be, drugged up on some doctor's idea of good medicine? I want to be me again. I need to be me to write and paint and create and help people.

The day I went off the drugs, every symptom I'd had disappeared and has not returned. I hope they don't. And within a couple days, my ideas started coming back to me, as did my energy. I bought a Nordic Track so I can make sure my heart gets exercise [my work on the farm is more upper body strength],  I made some slight changes to daily eating even though I eat well, and I bought a new dress!

And that is when the idea of Love Mobile came to me again. And I went online for vintage trailers, and came upon the Happier Campers. And just like I had felt this enormous feeling back west that we had to move, not later but ASAP, I felt this enormous push to invest in this little camper. Moving to Maine was the greatest thing for us, and me, and I feel my little Love Mobile will bring great things to me, and others.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Announcing! FInally, a real Love Mobile is coming!

I had this idea before we moved to Maine. We were going to try to build a traveling Love Mobile where I could sell my books, and have one of the animals with me to share healing and love. But we moved to Maine and it was put away in my heart.

Ideas have a way of being birthed when they are truly ready. And looking back, it was not the right time. Now in Maine since 2016, we are a non profit sanctuary taking in elder/needy animals [and some young, crazy ones] but we also share the animals on visits to elder people's homes. Harry the llama is one of our main love ambassadors, but there are others.

But I still make my living as an artist/writer [since 1996]. Since Apifera Farm became a non profit, my art has merged with the farm and animals even more. I sell my art and books online globally through my online shop , and through Sundance.

The Love Mobile, I've been calling her Lovey at this point, will allow me to get my art/books, and the animals out to a wider audience in the wonderful region we now live, Mid Coast Maine. It will expand my creative ideas-the mobile comes with two fold up windows, perfect for pop up shops. I have so many ideas-perhaps puppet shows!

Over the years, I've searched for the right vintage trailer. Most needed tons of work, and none are cheap. Most were in southern states. And they were not the right weight or size. Building our own was something we considered. Martyn has enough on his plate, and to keep a trailer vintage, lightweight, electrified and more was not something we could do.

When I found the Happier Camper company I was thrilled. Finally! Just what I wanted. Vintage looking, but safe, and incredibly adaptable to my whims. It is a very lightweight double wrapped fiberglass trailer, complete with heat, and 120 and 220 electricity. It is designed in a modular system, so seats [with storage] can be removed to use outside, or moved around. The entire inside can be hosed down and has a drain. It comes with electric brake and breakaway safety measures [many small trailers don't. It is the only small trailer with a back large hatch-perfect for llamas, goats, Goofballs, and a pop up shop. {I will post the specs soon in an update].

This is a leap forward for me-a way to continue to blend my work with animals, art, writing, creation and people. It's like the next chapter. In some ways, it might be my final chapter as I enter my mid 60's.

The entire package costs $34,000. It is an investment. If you have looked at any vintage trailers you know the price. So this one is well worth it for me and my business-it is SAFE, completely road ready, and adorable.

And while this Love Mobile is dual purpose [selling my art, and also promoting and sharing our non profit healing animals] I will be paying for it out of my art business. It is a huge step to do this-but I know this is a good step [just like I knew moving from Oregon to Maine was what we had to do].

I'm so excited to get her this late fall and to see all the travels and experiences we will have. It has ignited a flame inside of me! 


Sunday, September 04, 2022

Her Royal Highness arrives

We picked up the elder pig today. With a bit of pig patience, and luck, and 'encouragement' at some point from yours truly, we were able to load Hannah up in the trailer in about 30 minutes. Loading pigs is always problematic and we were all pleased it went as swimmingly as it did.

Her name is Hannah and she is about 12 years old. She and Peso lived side by side for years but her owners have fallen on difficult times and have to sell their property and move. They found us through the help of another farm person who knew about us. It worked out well for all involved.

Hannah is settling in and is living like a queen in the same spot that Rosie The World's Grumpiest But I'm Fine As I Am Pig lived after her arrival from Oregon. Peso does not like her much we are told and so Hannah will be where she can see llamas, which she is used to. I think she will spend her final days resting, and eating, then resting, and eating some more. She needs some weight and her toes have not been kept up. Her owners loved her but were physically limited  due to illness. I was happy that Hanna already lay down for me for a belly rub, and while giving Her Royalty a rub down she had no problem with me touching her feet so I hope to get them trimmed soon.

It's the end of an era for her owners. All their original animals are gone now and they will move when the house sells. I know they are grateful they found us, and that is a wonderful feeling that we could help them, and their elder animals. The alternatives were upsetting, so we saved that heart ache for them.

I just hope pig and donkey can have some years here, for my sake. I'm already fond of them and both are quite elderly, so we have no control on that, but...I'm just asking, "Universe, can they stick around awhile?"

Thursday, August 25, 2022

In the blink of an eye...it can happen to any of us

So much has gone on in a week, one right after the other. I keep it all up to date on social media so it gets daunting to relive it here too. But the one thought I had this past  week is the phrase in the blink of an eye.

 Bear got very sick last Saturday morning and threw up a couple small rocks. I surmised [wrongly] he had eaten the rocks to try to throw up something else he had eaten-which on a farm can be a myriad of things. He wouldn't eat and was morose and clearly uncomfortable. I knew it would be 24 hours to pass something so we watched him closely all Saturday into Sunday. On Monday he tried to poop but nothing came out, so I called the vet and got him right in. The x-rays showed he had rocks in his large intestine and once into the surgery the vet had to take out a large portion of his small intestine that was dead. We knew one scenario was he might not come our of surgery if the intestine could not be repaired. His section that was damaged died so fast. In the blink of an eye. Bear had a long 4 hour surgery in which two parts of his intestine were sewn together. Then he went to spend that first night under supervision at the emergency clinic. Then he went back to spend the entire day at the vet for observation and drugs, and then I got to take him home even though he wasn't eating. He made it this far and is now just starting to get an appetite. Once seven days have passed we will be a bit more relaxed. But we wonder if he is a changed dog. Of course he is still uncomfortable and on 4 different drugs so is not himself, but he seems very intent to be close to me. 

The vet said if I had waited on more day he would have died of septic. In the blink of an eye. I've had labs eat weird stuff, and other dogs eat weird stuff and never had this happen so was not that well versed on it. I always saw things pass out of the dog so was not that worried but after 24 hours plus, and with his demeanor, I knew something was blocked. He might have chronic issues for his entire life now. I never saw him eat the rocks. We will most likely muzzle him when we aren't with him outside.

Somewhere in that emergency, I was saying good bye to Marta, my little pirate chicken. She is one of my favorite little Bantie hens, fiercely independent and no fool to anyone. She had seemed to get weak on one side, suddenly, and she is old. She was living in a private suite with the two chicks I allowed her to hatch. I knew when I said good night on Monday she'd be gone the next day, and she was, the little chicks were sitting on her body. I was so glad I let her set on some eggs, it was something she felt she had to do and was programmed to do and she watched over the chicks fiercely, keeping them safe from rats until they feathered out. I will miss her though. I cried over her like a baby since I needed a good cry after the Bear scare. 

One day she was fine, the next not so much. In the blink of an eye.

Then yesterday I went to meet a local couple who have fallen on hard times and need to move. They have a 34 year old donkey and an elder pig and I will be bringing them home to Apifera. The donkey is the sweetest thing, I'm so glad I can help the animals, as well as the couple. They love the animals but can not take them to the city they have to move and they two have health issues and limitations. But they are sad. it is a challenging transition for them to leave the little farm they've lived on for so long. We talked about all the work they had done over the years and all the ways they had struggled to keep the place going. But they couldn't. In the blink of an eye...things can change. I look forward to getting the old donkey on Saturday, but I feel for them and I just hope it helps them some how to know he will be loved and cared for. Their other options were not palatable so somehow I am once again able to help both old animals and older people. I'll share more when they get here.

The time and love we have put into our farm and home is no different than what this couple put into theirs. We might have done it in different ways, but we work hard and love our home...and one day very soon we too will be older and things aren't always in our control. One day you look back and you say...in the blink of an eye...here we are.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Old goat's view of death...in honor of Dorphy

I heard the voice of Earnest the pig, talking to me through a cracked window in the living room.

“Mrs. Dunn, you are needed in the barn...now. Dorphy has to talk to you,” said Earnest.

When I got to the barn, I could tell something was off. It was silent, but then I heard a bleat from a goat–it was Dorphy, one of the elders.

“Mrs. Dunn, today is my day,” the old goat said.

Dorphy was lying in one of the smaller rooms of the barn, a normal gathering spot for the animals in the front barn. The Goose was close by. I had noticed The Goose was staying close to Dorphy in the last months and I knew what that usually means–an animal is ill or transitioning. I had seen it over and over-he gravitates to the needy, and watches over them if needed. He did this with Birdie the llama, the old pig, the cancer ridden dogs and many goats. I learned right away that The Goose was a very good  hospice caretaker. The night before, I noticed Dorphy walking very slowly to the barn, with The Goose walking slwoly with her.

“It’s a good die to go,” said the old goat Poetry.

“I think so,” said Dorphy.

Hannah came running over to Dorphy.

“Where are you going?” the little youngster asked.

“I am dying today,” Dorphy said.

“Mrs. Dunn, Dorphy is dying!” Hannah cried.

“Child, do not cry for me, smile for me. I have all I need here, and I will have all I need there,” said the old goat.

“You mean...you’re going to Here There Everywhere?” asked Hannah.

“That’s right,” said Dorphy.

“Well that’s different. That’s were White Dog is,” said Hannah.

“And Birdie the llama! And my mama!” said Ollie the goat.

“Are you scared?” asked Puddles the goat.

“Well, it is the unknown. But it feels more like a trip, an adventure...” said the old goat.

“I think of death thay way too, Dorphy,” I said. “I guess the only thing is I can’t share it with anyone left behind. I can’t wite a story about it, or paint a picture.”

“But isn’t that the beauty of it?” asked Earnest the pig. “It is all yours, and yours alone.”

I spent the morning in the barn, finding little chores to do so I could look in on Dorphy every so often. She was in and out of sleep, and in time, the sleep was taking over. Earnest the pig was nearby, writing in his journal, Pickles and Puddles were chasing flies, the rooster was crowing and Henneth the blind chicken was sitting on her nest attempting to lay an egg. Life was all around us.

Dorphy suddenly perked up out of sleep and said, “It’s like falling asleep while your family and friends are still laughing and talking in the living room. It’s like a lullabye. It’s like leaving the party first, that’s all.” And she lay her head down, and died.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A real honor to hear that quack just for me

Last week one of the Pekin ducks was clearly transitioning. He had been separating out, not eating, falling asleep while the others ate...all signs. It was during the hot days last week and he was getting picked on by the other non Pekin ducks, they can be real bullies. SO I brought him into a private stall, where he could hear the barnyard but he was at peace. The next day I knew he was dying. So I brought him out in the breeze and shade and I laid him on a dog bed and I sat with him while he went through death, about an hour and a half. 

Death is active. It takes time for the organs to shut down. I was touched that close to the end he quacked…caught on video here. At the very end…I knew he was close, I walked away for a minute to check delivery box…and he was gone. I know taking care of him and giving him a safe spot was helpful to him…he wanted peace from the other ducks, and walking away for seconds let him go on the final leap. Death is after all a journey we take alone, at least at that final breath. Imagine if we could all day in the breeze in a garden. It was really beautiful to be with him and have him respond to me, and watch him look out at the garden, and then fade back into his death journey.

Friday, August 05, 2022

A State of Mind

 A State of Mind

The wind still blows, the sea is near–I can feel it on my skin, I smell it.
I can see the cove from my garden.
I had two stable, loving parents that gave me security and an education–not everyone has that.
I am still healthy. Not everyone has that.
I am graced by an imagination that allows me to paint and draw and write.
I have puppets. I am not afraid of puppets, but some people are.
I am not afraid to walk down a street. Not everyone can say that.
My skin has not been a disadvantage. Not everyone can say that.

I get to live with animals and help them and they return the favor by percolating my art and stories.
I'm not rich, but I have a house and firewood, and a best friend in my husband. He makes me laugh, a lot.

I can walk, and move, and lift, and see.
My arms are still strong even though less firm. My hands have age spots but they lift animals and paint and touch.
I am not in a wheelchair. I can get up from a chair. I have a chair, several.
I smell food cooking. I have food.

I am not afraid of old people. This makes my life richer. Not everyone can say that.
I get to work with old people. This makes my life richer. Not everyone can say that.
I get to take my llama to visit old people. It makes our life richer. Not everyone can say that.

I have people I've never met that understand my intentions and support both my work and farm.
I've been my own boss for 26 years and self sustained.
I've bought many houses on my own. Not everyone can say that.
I have friends that lift me up.
I've learned boundaries. I recognize boundary impaired people much more quickly now.
I don't deal with people who specialize in disguises, especially the ones who constantly smile.
I'm self entertaining, a very handy skill I acquired as a child.

When someone makes a suggestion, I am much better at silently asking myself, "Who says?"

I miss my pugs. But I had pugs. Not everyone can say that.
I still have hope to have a pug again, in time. Not everyone can feel that.

I live within my means. I don't feel comfortable with people that don't.

I have donkeys, and horses, and ponies and llamas and pigs and chickens and dogs and cats. I have a bunny.
There are many goats who make me laugh.
I have well made barns and fences.
I have a turkey who is a companion.

My body got larger but it is still able to climb fences and ride horses.
My belly is flabby. Once I realized it was like my child belly, I began to feel empathy for it.
I am not my face. I am not my appearance.

For now, I'm still here. Not everyone can say that.

~Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm~

Saturday, July 30, 2022

For anyone who has lost someone


This was what White Dog wrote about his death, for me. I've seen so many friends lose mates and others in the past summer, guess it happens more and more as we get up to the autumn of life. So maybe this will help someone.
"When you miss my earthly body,
and you need to feel my fur, touch the snow.
When you need to hear me, listen to the wind.
When you crave to see my eyes one more time,
Look at all the other eyes around you.
When you hear a coyote,
it is me guiding them away from the farm.
There is no place I won't be,
so there is no place you can't find me.
I am Here There Everywhere.
In the coming days, rest by the old apple
where my body will be buried in my return to the womb.
It will comfort you,
until you fully embrace my new way of being
in the Here There Everywhere."
~White Dog~

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Baby elephant

I'm working on a new doll, a baby elephant...a crooked baby elephant. She was stepped on by accident at birth and is crooked. The quilt hanging behind her is one she was helping her mother make, but her mother died, and so it sat unfinished–so I told Baby Elephant I'd help finish it somehow. [The quilt part of this story is inspired by my own mother, age 8, who was helping her mother make a quilt but her mother died suddenly...the quilt sat for years in pieces. I remember seeing the squares as a girl tucked into a sewing chest. I have the quilt now.]

At some point Baby E. will go on the online shop. Contact me if you want to be notified of that. It will be a few weeks. I'm moving slowly.