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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Goofballs in the barnyard need your help!

Spring fundraiser! I usually do this in early March but the world is so upside down and I hesitated to ask for money when there is so much worldwide need and suffering. But life goes on in the barnyard because of your support. I will be giving away some prints and even if you share now before I announce those you will be eligible to win.

Costs are higher than ever, hay prices are expected to be high due to gas prices, our electric bill alone went up 20%, cat litter has gone wonkers, and fencing and building supplies are rising. 
Martyn and I do not take salaries out of the non profit. All money is put to direct use for the farm, animals, vets and maintenance. We do not charge our elders at Maine care facilities for our animal visits, and only ask for donations from private non medicare homes.
We love what we do. We've been taking in elder/needy animals since 2004. A lot of love, a lot of loss, a lot of beautiful moments-we are grateful for your support!
You can donate here on the blog, or at Facebook Fundraiser page, or by check [made to Apifera Farm Inc., posted to 315 Waldoboro RD, Bremen, Maine, 04551 Att: Katherine Dunn]

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The doves returned, with my mother of course

I had been working on this canvas, and it started with a more realistic dove, but I didn't like it. The thing is my mother came to me the day she died as a dove-she sat in a tree for over an hour not moving while I was inside the picture window painting the house. 

So when doves have come to me in the past 9 years since her death …nine times out of ten it is her. The dove returned that nested here last year and I was thinking of that dove as I painted, I was honored she returned tot he same nesting spot, but I think I was really thinking of my mother.

I am not sure if this canvas will go to Sundance or not. If you are interested in it, please contact me. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

I guess we need more Teapot & Teddy Days

I had gone to the outer barn to get The Teapot, to take her to Cove's Edge to visit Linda, and other elders. As I was standing there getting a halter, a large white puffball showed up...Teddy! He had jumped another fence, this time a pasture fence without wood. The wire was not hot since Buddy had recently chewed the ground wire.

I know he jumped the fence because he wanted to be there in that barn with me, since that is the same barn he goes to every morning with me. He was upset he wasn't going and wondered "why" is she going there without me?

I know a good rule of thumb in working with animals is, what is the motive behind the behavior? Is he jumping fences because he's scared, because he wants me, or because he senses he should investigate?  I don't think he's scared. And as much as he likes me, I think it is a combination of the latter two. He spends his mornings with me in that area and barn, so this is the first time he witnessed me go there without him.

And for the record, Martyn spent all weekend adding taller fencing and getting the wire running again. I spent the morning adjusting some areas too and now I feel good about that one goat paddock. It took a year or so before I really trusted White Dog out west [and before he trusted me, I guess].

So I walked The Teapot out and went to put Teddy in his safe spot, his stall with large kennel. But he refused entrance. I tried many maneuvers, but finally gave in, and said, "Fine, you can come too."

It's something I would have done sooner or later, but since I was on my own that day had intended to leave Teddy home so I could focus on The Teapot, and the elders. But Teddy came and he and The Teapot were both great. There was no trouble walking them together and it was a really good accident that turned out well. The Teapot does great when she is on hard ground and can't be swayed by grass. She seems to really like the attention - unlike sassy pants, Captain Sparkle, who gets fresh [but in the cutest way!].

So I was really happy about this.

Linda, our elder friend who is in hospice, and also went blind a few years ago, gets a lot out these visits. They help her anxiety and she simply loves animals, and was an avid horse person in earlier years. We'd both been waiting for a warm day and it was sunny and 66! Oh was that nice. I was also happy to see how well both of them did when I handed the lead rope to my Girl Friday-there was no bad behavior.

We will have to do more Teapot & Teddy Days!

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Pickles learns what peace is

 “What’s wrong with Mrs. Dunn?” I heard Pickles ask Earnest the Pig.

“She’s feeling upside down today” said Earnest.

“Upside down? That sounds dreadful,” said Poetry, one of the old goats. “It would give me gas.”

“Mrs. Dunn, what does it feel like to be upside down?” Pickles asked me as she jumped up on the rock next to me.

“Out of sorts,” I said.

“But it’s your birthday!” squeeled Pickles. Suddenly everyone broke out in a very disjointed version of the birthday song and despite my upside downess, it did bring a smile to my face.

“Are you feeling old, is that it?” asked Earnest the pig.

“Not really,” I said.

“How old are you, Mrs. Dunn?” asked Hannah, who was one.

“Sixty four,” I said.

“Oh my Lord, that is very old,” said Poetry the old goat. “You must not have long to go.”

“Humans live longer than goats,” explained Earnest.

“That’s even older than that ancient turtle that was in National Geographic,” said Pickles.

“I am moving as slow as turtle today,” I said. “Sometimes, you just have to be with your upside down feelings, even if it’s your birthday,” I said.

“When I get upside down, I close my eyes and think of the things that I can do to make it a better world,” said Earnest. “Like write a sonnet, or a poem of love.”

“That’s very nice, Earnest, and very wise. But the world needs more than I can give it right now,” I said.

The donkeys had slowly made their way across the field to join the conversation.

“Mrs. Dunn is upside down,” Pickles told the donkeys.

“Oh dear, being upside down is a dreadful state” Paco the poet donkey said.

“Just sit with me,” I said. And they did. “I am grateful we are all here, and not in danger in Ukraine. Those poor people, those poor animals,” I said. “If I could have one birthday gift today, it would be peace, and I would give it to Ukraine.”

Pickles leapt to action, and Hannah followed.

“Where are we going, Pickles?!” Hannah asked.

“We must find “peace” and get it to Mrs. Dunn,” said Pickles.

“Oh, little Pickles,” Earnest the pig said, “I’m afraid “peace” is not an object to be found, it is something one grows in one’s heart, and it goes out into the world through peaceful actions.”

“Why is that man hurting the people and animals?”  asked little Hannah.

“He has no heart,” I said.

“Then how will he grow any peace inside of him if he has no heart?” Pickles asked.

“He won’t,” said Earnest the pig. “He won’t.”

Hannah cried. Then Pickles cried. I cried too.

Old Matilda, the very old matriarch donkey cleared her throat to speak. Everyone stopped crying, as Matilda rarely spoke but when she did it was always with wise, motherly love.

“We must visualize the mothers and children and animals and elders surrounded with sunflowers,” she said.

And we did.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Teddy continues to share love

Teddy visited Cove's last week and we saw Linda, our elder friend who is in hospice care, and blind. She loves animals. We haven't been able to get The Teapot to her {she loves horses} due to weather but Teddy is almost as big as a pony so it helps her a lot. Teddy loves to be brushed too.

We also met a new resident and she was sweet as can be. Despite memory issues, she understood what an animal was and is and she enjoyed touching him and petting him. Next week Teddy will visit Lincoln Home for the first time.

He is doing well here. But we discovered he is capable of jumping very high fences if they are wood-he can propel himself over with his strong hind legs and claws. My farrier and I witnessed it and it was amazing. So we've had to adjust many areas so he can't get out. He wants to be with me 24/7! I knew he loved people and it is clear this is not an exaggeration. In fact, he's almost dismissive of the other animals, even Marcella. They get along but he clearly would rather be with me. I have been crating him in his stall at night [which Martyn reinforced for me this weekend] and it works well, as his crate is his safe harbor. I'm a firm believer in crate training. He is afraid of loud storms too and his crate will help him feel safe. I put Marcella in with him in the stall and then in the day I've got them together in a goat paddock. I thought Marcella would help him settle, and to be honest, I think it is more that he needs to know each day I will come out and be there. Once I leave the paddock, he cries for a few seconds, and settles. I've been putting him inside during rain because he's not that demonstrative with the goats and if it gets stormy I'm afraid he could panic.

So he is a very different dog than White Dog, and that is okay. One has to adjust to a new dog and we are. I just want him to be safe, and I also want to be able to sleep well knowing he is safe in his crate which he is. The crate we got is huge, made for Danes. He can stand in it and move around. It also means he can eat in peace, and Marcella can eat in peace. These dogs don't like interaction when they are eating, trust me. 

But he loves to know when we are going in the truck. He is going to be making lots of love visits.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

It's my birthday but I'm upside down

I turn 64 today. The sun is out. I saw my father at the window this morning-he came, as usual, as a single red cardinal. Moments later, my mother appeared, as a dove. So that was nice. I had made my mother's sturdy white cake with chocolate frosting a day ago, so I could take teeny bites all week. I just can't eat that much sugar and rarely do, but I thought of how many times my mother made that cake for me. 

Then the power went out and it made my day feel upside down, but it came back on two hours later. Note to self: you have to get confidant turning the generator on.

I just feel sort of upside down today, unable to make simple decisions, like what should we have for dinner on my bday. Or what should I do today. I guess its the weight of Ukraine on my mind and heart. I don't know. I did this painting this past week, in honor of the little child that died. I wrote about it back then when she died she was in her pajama bottoms that had little unicorns on them, she and her parents were trying to get food. She died in ambulance, with her parents bloodied and weeping. It was all just so sad, and unnecessary, and unfair. Fuck Putin.

The painting honors the little girl, and I called it "In heaven the unicorn on her pajamas came to life and her belly button grew a sunflower".

Maybe I'll drive to the ocean and looked out at her. I don't know.

My much younger and sweet farrier says I don't look older than 50. I think I finally look my age. I think I looked younger than many for some time, probably because I don't smoke and I take care of my skin. But in the last year, I see photos and what I see in the mirror, I think it looks 64. It feels like 64 is closer to the next decade than the last. That's sobering. I have a lot to get done.

Happy birthday to me. I don't have to worry about being killed by bullets today. I just wish I could put an end to the madness.

By the way, I treated myself to a beautiful robin egg blue linen scarf from a small company in Lithuania called Sand Snow.


Friday, March 04, 2022

One year with Buddy

It's the birthday of one of the biggest clowns on the farm, Buddy. He is one year old. The picture above was on the day he arrived, a quiet and somber little chap, but not fearful. Bear was more of 'hold me and don't let go' pup on arrival.

After Muddy died of bone cancer, we brought home a pup, Bear, and we watched him run around pretending The Goose was his dog friend. Bear played every day with Mister Bubbles, his large equine rubber ball. He loves Mister Bubbles to this day, proudly displaying it in his mouth at a fast trot.

Out West, we always had the two chocolates, Huck and Muddy. When Huck died, Muddy was getting older and he had our old pug, Hughie [still miss that guy to pieces, both of them]. But with Bear, it felt like we needed to not wait to get him a friend. The pandemic had hit, and Bear had a wonderful 3 months at Cove's sharing himself with elders. Once Covid hit, our outings were gone overnight, as was socializing him. I decided, what is the point in waiting to get another pup, we aren't getting any younger [we had waited five years the time before, so one dog would be mature when the pup came].  

Well, on came Buddy. He was much more independent than Bear, still is. Bear still feels more like my dog, and he still wants to be with me if I'm petting Buddy. But he has matured a lot and is now two+. In time, who knows, he might do elder visits again.

Having two younger dogs at once is a switch, especially labs, and with the four inside cats, a lot of bing bought bing boom. Everyone gets along but there are moments when I am clearly living in  a Booth cartoon [showing my age again].

There is just something nice about two chocolates.

We love you little Buddy, you are a good friend to Bear...and Franklin Muffinpants.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Would you be a brave Ukranian? Get the anger out of your body, she said, do art, write, speak

I think there is not a person in the world right now who is not distraught about the war in Ukraine. If you aren't, I don't understand. Coming on the heels of two plus years of the pandemic, civil unrest, political chaos....it all seems too much. But here I sit, not in a war zone–at this moment– so it is nothing compared to what Ukrainians are going through, the ones who haven't died that is.

It's wrong. I wonder sometimes if there is karma. I always believe the universal laws, invisible to us humans, always work it out and makes evil doers and crooks and liars pay, somehow. It often takes more time than we would wish. But you look at the evil that Putin has been doing for so long [please research this on your own if you don't know his career of atrocities], and you wonder why the universe hasn't stepped in.

So I'm devastated about the carnage, the plain unfairness of what Russia is doing, and gobsmacked by people in the political world in the USA who ally themselves with this deranged  dictator.

The images of the six year old girl, bloodied, wounded from gunfire or explosives while trying to get food with her young parents, that pushed me over an edge. But I had to look, and I did not glance, I absorbed it at length, caressing each of their faces, crying with them, praying for them. She was in her pajama bottoms, that had unicorns on them. She was trying to get food.

I feel we must not look away. We in our privileged places get to take breaks from the on the ground horror, but we must not look away. I have been studying the various links to how to help the people there, and eventually will pick one. I hope you will too if you are able. The bravery of these people, old and young, taking up arms. Can you imagine this? Can you imagine if Russia invaded Maine at the border of Canada, headed for Augusta, an hour away? Can you imagine being told to take up arms, make bombs and stand your ground? Would you do it? I asked someone the other day, all the people driving around with upside down flags, Confederate flags, or the people who brazenly stormed and destroyed the sanctity of the Capital, would they defend their state/country if this happened? Or would they join forces with evil, or become their own state and abandon what they had seen as corrupt government? I look around and I am not so sure that many Americans would be as brave in this situation. We have the privileged of not being on the border of such evil.

A friend sent me a quote from someone, I've since misplaced it. But it spoke about what to do with angst, anger or fear in such extreme times as this war is presenting. The gist of it was to not bury the feelings in your body, but to bring it out through art, poems, songs, creative expression, talking, shouting...One does not always have to go online with puppy dog photos and cats in hats. Sometimes even us happy people must shout through art. I noticed I lost a smattering of 'followers' on IG, most of whom I don't know, and i don't care. But there are people who just don't want to see it or hear it. They want the farm lady to just stick to the cute dog videos or magical goose pictures. I don't care about that, just as I would never do a painting 'that looks good with my living room furniture'.

I pray for Ukraine. But they need much more than prayers. I don't have the answers, and at first I felt we were not giving enough. The more I hear historians and military people I respect speak, I understand the dilemma we and other countries are in. Putin knew this. But he and his reptilian face [Madeline Albright's op ed was so insightful] are weakened by what he's done.