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.

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.