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

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

All images

©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Map fo all things Apifera

Instagram: Farm stories, animal photography, art news, and more

Facebook farm page Mainly farm news. I rarely post art there unless it is for a special reason. Sometimes I write a post without images on the FB farm page, and you might not see it on IG. I'll post ponderings about things - more like the old blog.

Patreon Free to public, membership and support are optional [and greatly appreciated!]. Story telling including my newest passion-working with felted creatures and miniature room sets to make stories and movies. Patreon is a way for followers to show their support financially, for as little as $2 a month, for my art and story telling- and you can leave anytime. Paying members get perks throughout the year, including free access to flip books and discounts on product.

My main art site: my portfolio and a place to see who I am, full bio, and what my work is all about. Also has an overview of our elder work.

My online shop: buy books, art, prints and more

The blog: Archived history of Apifera. Stories from our beginnings in 2004 through our move to Maine in 2016. Also can donate here to the non profit

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Everyone can meet them now!

I want as many people as possible to read [and share] my stories and see my new felted creature stories/movies. Sticking them behind a paywall without a larger audience was feeling wrong and counterproductive. 

After researching with other Patreon creators on this, I was encouraged to keep all Patreon posts public, and let readers come to their own decision on supporting as a member or a paying member. This made sense to me, and felt more 'me'. So you can now join as a free member, see all posts...and you can upgrade to a paying member for as little as $2/month...if you feel like it.

So why should I be a paying member, you might ask?
1] it is a voluntary way to show support for my work. It makes me feel valued, to be honest.
2] Only paying members get free access to flipbooks and items found in the Patreon store. Paying members also get surprise pop up discounts or perks.
3] Paying members also accrue a credit at my Big Cartel online shop [expires every 12 months and starts over again]. So if you are a $10 a month member, after a month you have $10 credit at the shop, after 2 months, $20 credit, and so on.
4] Pickles keeps track of who is a paying member. I have no idea what she does with that knowledge, but you do all know she has Pickles Power on her side.

Thank you to my first, loyal members! And to everyone who joins in in any capacity!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

In case you were wondering....

The blog has evolved over the past fifteen years. It has become more of an archive. I post daily on Instagram and Facebook for the farm. People ask which they should read...well, I guess it depends, but it all meshes.

The blog: stories from our beginnings in 2004 but now it is more of an archive-how I can keep track of animals coming and going [as in dying]. I usually post important news here but it all gets posted on social media anyway. I have fewer readers here-they want to be on IG and FB.

Instagram > Daily photos and happenings of the farm and our lives, new art, videos of the animals, and peeks at what is happening on Patreon.

Facebook farm page > Pretty much 100% farm news of the animals. I rarely post art there unless it is for a special reason. Sometimes I write a post without images on the FB farm page, and you might not see it on IG. I'll post ponderings about things - more like the old blog.

Patreon> where my art and stories are blending, including my newest passion-working with felted creatures and room sets to make stories and movies. There are also over 100 posts of stories and such from when I first started the Patreon [I paused it for a few months but am back with zest!]. Patreon is a way for followers to show their support financially, for as little as $2 a month, for my art and story telling- and you can leave anytime. Paying members gets perks throughout the year, including free access to flip books and discounts on product. While I show snippets of the movies on IG, Patreon members see the entire movie.

My main art site: my portfolio and a place to see who I am and what my work is all about.

My online shop: buy books, art, prints and more

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Harry has sage advice

I heard deep sighs as I walked to the barn. There sat all The Goofballs with their little goat faces looking glum.

“What is wrong?” I asked.

Pickles pushed something towards me-it was the farm calendar that had just arrived from the printer.

I think I know where this is going, I thought.

“Harry always gets picked for everything,” Pickles said, as she pointed at the calendar cover.

“Well, I am quite handsome,” Harry said, strolling by.

“But I’m so stinkin’ cute!” said Pancakes, the baby of the group.

“We didn’t even get to vote,” said Puddles the goat.

“The chickens didn’t get any coverage!” said one of the hens, and then the entire flock broke into loud clucks.

“The Goose made it in, twice!” said another hen.

Earnest the pig happened in on the discussion.

“Mrs. Dunn, I think you did a fine job. I especially like the October spread,” the pig said, beaming.

Everyone turned to October and there was Earnest and his pumpkin.

They let out another collective sigh.

Harry the llama retuned to the conversation. “The calendar sales help all of us. You should be thankful, not jealous, especially as we are entering the season of thanks and giving,” said the llama. “Just the other day, I was visiting the elder home and so many of our friends there wish they could just be in their own homes, but they can’t. And here are all of you, safe and happy, in your home.”

Everyone grew silent.

Hannah raised her hand, “Harry, why do the old people leave their homes then?”

“They can’t care for themselves anymore. They don’t want to leave their homes,” said Harry.
“I feel their sadness when I’m there, they carry their old homes inside and I can feel their sadness.”

Hannah started to cry. Earnest the pig put his arm around her.

“We have to bring the old people here, to live in our barn!” Hannah cried.

“Hannah, they can’t live here, they would fall and trip and they would be cold in your barn,” said Earnest the pig.

“It’s not fair,” she said.

“Life is not for sissies, Hannah,” said Poetry, the stoic old goat. “And neither is getting old.”

Hannah raised her hand again and asked Harry, “What do you do when you are with the old people?”

“I stand honourably by them, and listen,” said the llama.

“Do they talk to you?” asked Pickles.

“Yes, some do, some just pet me or watch me.” Harry said. “My job is to make them feel noticed. They are not invisible to me as they are to many people.”

“This is why Harry’s on the cover–he understands that sitting with an old person and listening is often more helpful than all the medicine in the world,” I said.

“I hope to play Bingo with them soon,” said Harry.

And everyone, including me, yelled, “Bingo!”

{The 2024 Apifera Farm calendar is now available at the online shop and all sales go to Apifera}

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

My bunny died

My bunny died. 

I had been hospicing her for almost two days. I thought she would release last night but on arrival this morning she was still alive but near the end. Last night I awoke around three thinking of her and took it as she had died. Now in the this morning and got her back on her blanket. She reached a paw up and turned and looked (but I knew she was blind these past days). Then she resumed her deep state and was gone in a short time. 

I’m grateful I got there so she could feel my presence. 

She was my studio/ office mate since 2017. I was at the shelter picking up two elder cats and there she was. Someone found her on a lawn. She was friendly and sweet. I always worried a child might be missing her but she came to live with me. I would bring her out in the morning and she’d hop around and then settle under my feet. 

I loved her. And I will miss her. It was dreary and rainy so I left her in her blanket for a day. Right now she just looks like my sweet little bunny asleep on her blanket. I named her Isabelle Noir but she will always be my Bunny.

Saturday, November 04, 2023

The lump of love turns ONE

 Visit our IG page or the FB page to see a video honoring Lumpy's first birthday. I required a hankie.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Introducing...Old Donkey

Old Donkey lives alone but has much to enjoy in life. In fact, I predict he might be making some new friends has winter comes. You can meet him here.

I am having a wonderful time making sets, learning about lighting the sets, delving into the magical [and addictive] land of miniatures. In the next weeks many things will be arriving to help create the world of Old Donkey and his friends.

Also, this coming month, Patreon members will be getting discounts and free. shipping on certain items in the shop.That will be announced soon.

Monday, October 23, 2023


Today is a sad day for me and Harry the llama. I’ve shed some tears.

We lost a dear friend. Her name was Margaret and she was 92 years old and until about a month ago she was living independently in her little house on the farm of her daughter in Virginia. I had known her daughter for some years after ‘meeting’ in blog world some 15 or more years ago. When Margaret turned 90, her daughter asked people to send cards. Well, of course Harry and I rose to that occasion and sent her a card and a Harry t-shirt. She swiftly posed in it, beaming into the camera.

Soon after, she and Harry became pen pals. I of course helped but it was all Harry’s words-telling Margaret of the goings on of the farm. Margaret would share stories, weather reports and she had a wonderful sense of humor. And she knew how to write a proper letter, something many in today’s modern world don’t. I’m old enough and went to a grade school where we were taught how to write a proper letter.

Getting Margaret’s letters in the mail also brought me great joy. And while I considered Margaret a friend to me, and Harry, I also felt like I had another mother for a brief time. I told her that seeing her lovely handwriting gave me a jolt, because it brought back all the letters my own mother had sent me during my days at college or away in NYC or where ever I was living at the time.

About a month ago, Margaret took a fall. She needed surgery. She was placed in a rehab facility near her home so her daughter and family were able to see her regularly. And of course upon hearing this, Harry immediately began his Harry the Llama Letter Campaign. I’m so glad he did. He wrote her every day the first week, short little cards. We all prayed that Margaret would be able to go home. But the fall and surgery take a toll on an elder. Through those days in rehab, she never lost her sense of humor, and never turned dour. At some point, I sent her a llama doll, and she had the doll placed on her basket of letters and cards, and told everyone Harry was the Protector of the Cards. She loved to tell people about her pen pal, Harry. She had sent Harry a red knit scarf for his outings into the village and in time, I drew her a piece of art of Harry wearing his scarf. She cherished it.

In the last couple weeks, Margaret developed bleeding and they could not determine what it was and more surgeries were out of the question, and Margaret was having none of it. But she remained her true self. After a couple bouts in the ER, she returned to rehab last week. We all hoped she could continue to grow strong enough to go home.

She died this morning. I had just been thinking as I did chores, giving hay to Harry, what should we send Margaret today, Harry? Harry did not respond. I think he probably knew before me.

There is a part of me that would like to drive to Virginia with a llama in a red scarf, to walk on her farm in her honor.

No matter how old you are, or how young you are, or what species you are-you can make impactful dents in another creature’s heart. I don’t think Margaret knew how much her letters meant to me, I told her daughter often. Margaret loved the letters but she initially didn’t want Harry to be overwhelmed and feel obligated to write. But Harry, and I, do everything we want, and we loved writing the letters and imagining a sweet, elder woman on a rural cow farm in Virginia getting an envelope from Harry the Llama.

I have saved all the letters. I will send them to her daughter as a memento of the beautiful friendship her mother had with a llama. I am not sure what Harry and I will do with ourselves without our pen pal.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

We lose Roscoe

Roscoe, one of the elder goats, showed signs late yesterday of having stones, a serious situation. I gave pain meds and this morning was able to get my emergency vet here. I knew it was probably going to end like this, but he was in dire pain.The x-ray showed his bladder was 6 ml wider than what is considered a bad enlargement, and showed signs of multiple stones some large. Even if I had wanted to do surgery [I did not due to his age and chronic issues] she could not have opted to because his electrolytes were already messed up. As she put it, even with surgery many continue to have these, and the smaller goats are problematic for recovery. We talked about my feed and I wasn't really doing anything wrong, but for the boys I'm going to switch to more hay and as little pellet as needed and only if they lose weight. I'm so glad he could die here. My vet agreed, and she said the 2 hour ride to the clinic would have been horribly painful for him. I'm a firm believer in letting them die here, and am also a firm believer in not over-vetting - that is a very personal choice for every sanctuary and animal owner.

So this is one of those things that has ended in relief for animal and human. It is always hard to see them in pain, so when he went under, I was so relieved for him. His belly was way extended which she noticed right away which was from him pushing out trying to get relief.

I buried him with a polk-a-dot blankie.

It was a tiring day. We got a lot of stall pre-winter clean up done which was tiring. Ready for a fire and a glass of wine.

When he went under, he turned his sweet little ol' head towards me, and kind of curled it over, like a swan. He looked so peaceful.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

I'm simply an emerging happy crone playing with stuffed animals and dolls

I have been learning stop motion animation these past couple weeks and am having fun. I'm giving myself time to learn the app and am experimenting with the whole process. I have much to learn.

For this reason, I reopened my Patreon site and you can follow along there and see me leap and stumble. For some reason I can't load videos here anymore so I hope you might check out Patreon. Right now, you can see my first attempts at this process, for free. In time, as I evolve, the videos will be available to members. I of course will post other creations there too.

I've also added some perks for members depending on your tier: free books and prints.

Working in new mediums is good. It expands one's thoughts. I saw this young woman artist on IG do a post about how she will always follow her heart and muse and even though she grew her following on one medium, she likes to play in other mediums and she often hears followers tell her they came to follow her for that first medium. She gave them a little message: I do what art I want and am moved to do.

I feel the same, especially at 65 and a HALF. I once had a semi well known painter tell me I should focus on painting if I wanted to be in 'serious' galleries. It made me ponder, are there 'funny' galleries? I was somewhat taken aback as I was relatively new to painting and she was more well known than me. She also thought being in Sundance was a bad idea. Sundance has done for me and my continued ability to sell my art and make a living than any gallery and I have no interest in being in a gallery again. I'm grateful for Sundance, I've been with them a long time.

So playing with my art creatures, experimenting with little sets, how could I not being having a wonderful adventure?

If you venture over to Patreon today you'll see two baby elephants meeting.

Friday, October 13, 2023

It happens every year...the making of the Halloween costume chaos

 “Mrs. Dunn! Mrs. Dunn!” I heard as I finished the dishes one morning.

Arriving at the door, there was Pickles, and her sidekick, Puddles.

“Mrs. Dunn, we’ve run out of needle and thread!” said Pickles.

“And my scissors are dull,” said Pancakes.

Oh Lord, please help us all, I thought. And then I remembered...Halloween was not far off.

“You aren’t supposed to make costumes requiring sharp objects, remember?” I asked.

“But I need the scissors! I’m going to be a real pancake, with syrup and butter!” said little Pancakes the baby goat.

“Why don’t we see what everyone has going on,” I said, dreading to see what awaited me.

When we got to the barn, little Hannah was sitting alone and looking quite glum.

“I don’t want a costume this year,” she said.

“And why not?” I asked.

“Because the peoples wouldn’t let me enter my pumpkin into the Pumpkinfest,” she said.
“They said they only take whole pumpkins, and Ollie ate most of mine,” Hannah said.

“It was a wonderful pumpkin!” said Ollie the goat as he crashed through the room.

“Well Hanna, maybe you can be a pumpkin this year then,” I suggested.

She sighed. I moved on to look at the mess before me­-cardboard, scissors, ribbons, paper, cloth, and seed bags.

In the back corner, I could hear deep sighs and a bit of cussing. It was Helen, one of the elder goats, trying to thread a needle.

“How in the world does the fashion industry ever get any clothes made? I’ve been trying to thread this needle for hours,” she said. I stepped in and helped her, although I struggled too.

“What are you making?” I asked.

“I am making a fish, so little Puddles can say “I am a Puddles with a fish.”

, I thought.

Earnest the pig ventured over.

“I think it’s better when you make the costumes. There is quite a bit of chaos, and soon we have to prepare for the nativity scene,” the pig told me.

“Let’s just get through Halloween first,” I said.

Pickles came rushing through the scene.

“Does anyone have anything that looks like long, brown hair?”

“And your costume is?” I asked.

“I am going to be Sophia Loren,” she said. “What are you going to be, Mrs. Dunn?”

“Terrified. Terrified until all the sharp objects are back in a box,” I said glibly.

As I walked back to the house, I remembered that months ago as a lark I got a little wig for the pug– don’t judge me. I found the wig and returned to the barn.

“Pickles, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but maybe this will help with your Sophia Loren outfit,” I said.

Pickles was thrilled.

I returned to the house and went about my business.

“Mrs. Dunn,” said Lumpy the pug, “have you seen my wig? I need it for my Three Stooges costume.”

Oh dear me. I thought. Now I’m in a real pickle.

{You can support my art/writing if you wish at this link. You can also become a member of my Patreon page where stories, art creatures and more are shared. Members get perks}

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

The lone turkey...are there lessons?


I had just turned to toss some manure and suddenly a turkey flew up and roosted about twenty feet from me. I chatted with her. Within seconds another adult and about 7 youngsters arrived. They began roosting in the fence too. It’s just special to have them visit right now.

The turkey stories have continued all week. One morning I headed out to the driveway to get something in my truck and turned, stopped in my tracks,

“Did I leave a hen out?” I thought. 

There 10 feet from me right under the house window was not a hen but a young turkey. I told the turkey I was friend not foe and I gave it space. The slider gate to the Goofball barnyard was open, the animals were still in the barn, and the roosters were crowing. I had seconds thinking that this was some divine gift and Ruthie or God had sent me a lone turkey to care for. But the turkey flew up into a snag about 20 feet up. It fled to the back wood. All morning I heard it making calls to the flock and when I went to outer barn I began to answer back in my best turkey sounds. It worked for a bit and then went silent. A turkey most likely knows a fake turkey. So now I can’t stop thinking about the lone turkey. I’m hoping he or she finds the flock. I could hear them in the lower field where they often roost. 

Later that same day, I had to go to store and when I came back the turkey was back by the house in the same spot. It (I don’t know the gender) likes the cover of the quince. I got it some chicken pellet and sprinkled it around-thinking to myself this is probably a bad idea-but I did. My last toss sort of spooked it and it fled back to The Wood.

Well…the turkey came back late day. As I walked to barns for chores there it was in the orchard. It must feel some attraction with the sounds and creatures. I had looked for it before I started chores tonight in the front road where it has been coming. And now it entered our sanctum. I refrained from getting all squirrelly and greeted it and sat about 20 feet away to take a photo. It is pretty calm. It flew up and went over into Ruthie’s old field. I hated to see it go down to lower field but maybe it will find its flock. Maybe it’s a male they kicked out but I’m not sure turkeys do that like coyotes. Well I told it that barns are safe and open to it. 

I’m enjoying the delight of the visits but also feel that maybe the real lesson here- for myself- is despite all the loss of the last 20+ years of this work and despite knowing I have no control over this creature’s life or death …that my heart is still open to it.

No matter how brief the interaction, the turkey has or had an impact on me. Not having Ruthie still hurts and seeing the turkey walking about just helped.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Mrs. Dunn frets about weather but then let's go


I hope I'll see some of you at our October 7 event! I learned that you have to get to at least 5 day forecast before you really worry about weather report and actually 2 days out is the most accurate. Looks right now like a few 'sprinkles' at 'some point' in the day. Come on Universe can I catch a break this year with my timing?

But then I thought, no, we shall just have Plan B's in action-we have The Lovey Mobile ready, the barn will be open, and the trailer whicjh I might make into a Peso love hut and put Harry elsewhere so we can sit in trailer.

I still think the weather might just be fine, overcast and 65 and maybe a sprinkle but i am going to remian excited and optimistic.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Available now...a hay barn by the sea


"Hay Barn By the Sea" is now available at the online shop. It might go elsewhere so if you have interest act now.

30 x 40" on canvas.

 I tried adding a woman and pony, but I covered it up. I find with abstract pieces it is always tempting to put something recognizable in it-like a bird or tree, and sometimes i do, only to cover it. It's almost like it takes courage not to add a bird or animal, I don't know how else to say that.


Monday, September 18, 2023

Mrs. Dunn has a garden hose in her body

 Today’s post is graciously written by Earnest the Pig. Mrs. Dunn edited his copy to ensure it was accurate. This is her latest from her monthly column Tails & Tales.

It felt like a usual morning. The sun rose, the rooster crowed, the dogs barked. But when I heard the front door of the house open, and close, I didn’t hear the sounds indicating Mrs. Dunn was coming with my breakfast.

And in fact, my breakfast did not come as usual. Nor did anyone else’s.

“Earnest, where is Mrs. Dunn?” asked Pickles.

Hannah came running out to the conversation.

“Is she dead?” she cried.

“Oh child, she’s not dead. I saw her leave early this morning with Mister Dunn,” said Poetry the wise elder goat.

“Maybe she found Her Imaginary House By The Sea and she’s left for good,” said Puddles, always one to create some angst.

“Mrs. Dunn would not abandon us,” said Auntie Bea, another elder goat.

Just then, we heard the familiar sound of a truck pull in, and then the front gate slid open and there was Mrs. Dunn. We all ran to the gate to greet her.

“You really are alive!” said little Hannah, near tears.

“It seems I am,” said Mrs. Dunn. “I had to go the hospital to have a procedure, but everything is fine,” she said, as she began to get our breakfast.

I put my arm around her, and said, “Mrs. Dunn, are you really okay?”

The animals all stood in silence, waiting for Mrs. Dunn to answer. “Earnest, I’m fine. I had what they call a routine screening colonoscopy.”

The newly arrived baby goat, Pancakes, jumped up on Mrs. Dunn and asked, “What is a color house copy?

“Colonoscopy. Well, it’s like a hose that’s coiled up in my body, and it takes the food I eat out of my body,” Mrs. Dunn said. “They use a magnifying glass to make sure it’s healthy.”

I grabbed the garden house and coiled it up on the ground, and then drew a body. I explained to everyone how our food is digested and the leftovers have to come out.

“A human colon is about five feet long,” I told them. “That’s a little shorter than Mrs. Dunn.

Everyone gasped, including Mrs. Dunn.

“But where does the food go,” asked Pickles.

“Well, it gets made into poop, and then you poop,” Mrs. Dunn said.

“So let me get this straight,” said Puddles. “Mrs. Dunn has a five foot long garden hose inside her body and it makes poop?”

“Yes,” Mrs. Dunn and I said in unison.

Hannah screamed.

“But your color house copy is okay, it’s not sick?” Hannah asked.

“My colonoscopy was normal, and it’s okay,” Mrs. Dunn reassured Hannah.

Mrs. Dunn returned to the house and we all enjoyed our breakfast. We were happy Mrs. Dunn was in fact alive and that her garden hose was healthy.

“So, if Mrs. Dunn has a garden hose in her body, does she have other stuff, like shovels?” asked Puddles.

And Hannah ran to the barn crying.

Monday, September 04, 2023

The Barn protects

 I wrote this awhile ago, but came upon it and liked it...

The barn is an anchor to every creature that lives here. And it is an anchor for me too. I can think in there and just feel very much of me. Like the animals, the barn does not judge my appearance, weight, mood or flaws. It forgives a mistake such as leaving a hose bib run and flooding her side wall. It blocks out the wind but feels so safe when you are inside her listening to the wind-like my old sumac fort I had as a little girl. The barn holds baby birds in her arms and has bodies of importance buried under her and around her. I know exactly where I am walking above my beloved Birdie the llama and Cornelia the pig. Raggedy Man died on her side wall, sunning in the vegetable garden.

I don’t worry about saying the right or wrong thing in the barn. There is no social media available there. The Hungry are not invited in. The Hungry are people in the outer world who project their expectations on to other people, and are always, in the end, crushed that their expectations aren't met. The Hungry that I have encountered in my life never seem to have healthy boundaries. Some of them give fall in love with you from one encounter online…”I love you so much,” they say. Beware of quick I love you’s. Love is important, and to love is a compassionate human. But my experience has always shown that a direct I love you after not even knowing someone always comes from the boundaryless person seeking something. The Hungary give lots of doting attention, but in the end, they are never satisfied with what they get in return from you because they don't think they are getting back what they deserve, they seem to always think they have not been appreciated properly. And if you try to explain your boundaries to The Hungary, they are hurt, or mad, or both. The Hungry seem to swoop into your life, and can often just disappear silently, and never speak to you again. I'm learning to recognize them more quickly but not always.

So, that is another wonderful part of a relationship with a barn. She respects boundaries, and has gates-sometimes they are open, sometimes they are closed, and she and I choose which. {You will notice the symbol of the gate is prevalent in my art}.

The barn has no expectations of what our relationship is going to be, or should be. But she gives back so much, without asking-shelter from wind and snow, dappled sunlight for old and young bones, a sandy bottomed floor to sit down on and just listen to the cud chewing meetings. The roof creeks a song and the big doors when opened might reveal a myriad of surprises-life, a death, or  a wandering cat come to stay…or turkey eggs.

I'm sticking around to be with the barn. She's not of The Hungry.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

It begins! Help Apifera bring in the hay and more!

 UPDATE: We have raised just over $5,000 of our $20000 goal so we are 1/4 of the way there! Thank you!

So...I was going to wait until Sept to start fundraising but have decided to start now and will be attempting some new efforts to do that. I want to raise hay money which is double this year, and more to cover the costs we incurred over the summer. So a minimum of $20,000.
I normally put a fundraiser up on FB, but I can't add offline payments. I'm doing posts on Facebook and Instagram asking for money as we go along. I'm not sure if followers have a preference, but thought I'd try it that way for the first month. Of course, if you read the blog you can donate here too on the blog.
-Also, if all 2700 followers gave $10...imagine that
- if 100 people raised $100 on FB imagine that
I plan to do art giveaways, photo giveaways...calendar gifts too and will treat each post I do to raise money as a new pitch.
For starters, everyone who donates today or in coming posts, will have their name put in a bucket and Pickles will be in charge of it. This is a bit risky but she understands the importance of her role. Puddles is banned from being near the bucket. 
The first give away you might get for donating is this art print below retailing for $195 [©Mrs. Dunn]. [Somehow Pancakes is in charge of picking the winner which won't happen until late fall]
Here are recent cost incurred: vet costs from summer $4,000; Lumber for Bigg's winter mini barn $2,000; each ton of Canadian hay we are bringing in is $525, and we are bringing in 17 tons [$9,000]. But I just found out it is going up a $1 a bale so that is $700 more]. We buy about $300 a feed a week. That doesn't include cat food/supplies which are 75% donated.
I hope to make the give aways enticing. And if you can do a matching donation, message me!


Friday, August 18, 2023

A message from Ruthie

Good morning. I have something very intimate I'd like to share about Ruthie and from her. I have to tell you I did not want to get up this morning, the vision of finding the body and all that it all seemed like a waking nightmare. But something really helped me this morning and I thought it might help others.  

Back in the late '90's I began working with a healer/intuitive in Mpls. I still work with her when I need to. She helped me immensely in my younger years to learn how to stay grounded, and not always float away which I had done since I was a child. She taught me so much-about boundaries, about asking 'who says' when someone tells you something, about putting on my pink bubble suit when I need it. She taught me about how to navigate a human world in an intuitive body. I continue to learn about myself with her guidance when needed. She is a gift to me and she is the real deal. 

So yesterday I reached out to her, asking if she might reach out to Ruthie. Before I tell you what she said, I should also mention that yesterday morning before I went to the outer barn, I was in the cat room, and looked down and there was a white feather. Probably from The Goose. But another friend of mine always looks for a white feather after one of her horses dies, to let her know they are ok, and one always appears, eventually. So I took note of that. I thought it was from the duck that disappeared. 

So here is what my healer heard from Ruthie. 

 "She knew it was coming and wanted me to reassure you. I was gifted two turkey feathers, found on the ground outside where I was teaching: one yesterday and one today [note from Mrs. Dunn, this was before my healer knew of Ruthie's death]. First time ever. She wants you to know she met her death like a warrior and that you gave her the best friendship ever. You opened one another’s hearts even more. She really thinks of herself as as samurai. Sitting on the nest gave her such beautiful dreams, and peace… her life ended in a poem. This was all from her…what a beautiful being. Her head is high and she was not afraid. She was waiting for the inevitable day." 

The photo posted here is one I took a few days ago. I was so pleased she was off the nest and out and about, running to me when I arrived in the pasture, following me about. That day I sat on a rock, a beautiful breeze. The duck had disappeared that day. Ruthie just was taking it all in, the breeze, my presence. It was a quite, beautiful communion we had that day. She looked up at the sky, over and over, and I took this photo. I remember wondering if she was looking for the owl or knew something was in the sky [at that point I thought an owl had taken the duck]. But hearing my healer's conversation with her...I see this photo in a different light. 

I love thinking of her as a samurai. I think we humans think so differently than our more intuitive animals...even though we have our intuitiveness...but this idea she knew it was coming, is so, Indian, so...part of what it is to live within and amongst nature-not on top of it but WITH nature. I continue to grieve this one hard. I think in some ways it is one of the hardest death-acceptances I've faced since starting this work in 2004.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Ruthie the turkey's great egg dream


My latest from the Tails & Tales series. If you like my writing which is always free to you, you can support in any quantity when at this link. 

“Mrs. Dunn, it’s day 25! Did the turkey have any chicken babies yet?” asked Pickles.

It all started back in late spring. Ruthie, the resident turkey, had been laying eggs as usual, and I collected them each morning. After weeks of laying, she stopped laying, which is normal, but there was one egg left in her nest and she wouldn’t leave it. I decided to let her set on her egg. I knew the chance that a passing Tom turkey had stopped in for a romantic evening was highly unlikely, even though we do have them passing by in the back woods. Knowing the egg was likely unfertilized, I played along, thinking she’d eventually leave her nest to return to normal life. But part of me wondered, maybe she knows something I don’t.

After 30 days, I said to Ruthie, “There’s no baby in your egg. You need to move on, Ruthie. I’m sorry.”

She said not a peep.

The next day, I arrived at the barn, and there was Ruthie, sitting on her empty nest. Except it was not empty, she had dragged a graham cracker into the nest to set on.

“Oh Ruthie,” I said. There’s no baby in the graham cracker either.”

She seemed unfazed and sat tight.

This went on for days. I had hoped she would give up on her nest but she didn’t. So I visited the hens and politely asked if I might take some of their eggs, knowing they were possibly fertilized.

“Excuse me? You want to my prodigy to be raised by a turkey?” asked one of the roosters.

The hens flocked together in an uproar of clucks. Everyone gathered to see what was going on.

“Rooster! Only I have control over my eggs!” said the lead hen. More clucking.

“Ruthie seems so intent on being a mother,” I said.

Earnest the pig stepped in. “Hen, I can vouch for Ruthie, I think she would be a fine mother.”

“I will get you more mealy worms,” I told the hens, as I knew they swooned over them.

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” said the hen, and she gave over some eggs. Earnest and I took them to Ruthie and placed them under her in the nest.

“Thank you, Mrs. Dunn. Earnest, would you like my graham cracker, Mrs. Dunn says it has no chance of becoming a baby,” said Ruthie.

“Thank you,” and he ate it in one bite.

Well, 35 days went by, well past the usual 21 days to hatch chicks.

“Ruthie, it wasn’t meant to be this time. I’m sorry,” I said, and I took the eggs away.

The next morning as I entered the barn, Earnest the pig sat with his arm around Ruthie as she sat on her empty nest.

I reached under her and there were some rocks. “Ruthie, rocks can’t have babies,” I said gently.

“I know, but I’m practicing for spring,” she said.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Goose Visits Mrs. Dunn's House By the Sea


Today, The Goose took a trip on his own to Mrs. Dunn's House By The Sea...a place you can only find in her head, and heart. Don't worry, he is already back at the farm. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Have you read "Pig & Bucket"?


This is an illustrated story I did last fall. It originally was only available to Patreon members but I shuttered Patreon and now anyone can read it, for free but if you like it feel free to share a tip here The story takes place in present time, with Earnest the pig meeting an old abandoned bucket, named Bucket, who was freed from a debris pile by a Nor'easter. The two become friends and eventually are joined by Mrs. Studley, a rat with a very unique past. The story meshes historical facts form former owners of our farm, with Earnest and Bucket's story.

Monday, August 07, 2023

Just let me be old. I merged into it. It's fine.


This photo is us back in Oregon farm, I was maybe 50 I think. Recently, I realized that I have been slipping my age into certain conversations, such as, "Well you know since I turned 65..." and I realized I am growing into that new identity. I am no longer young [do not call me young, as I am not, I am older now] and I simply want to be what I am, older. I just want to be 65, naturally. Why do we post old photos? I think it is two fold-to show ourselves where we are now and try to merge with what we see in a mirror versus a photo from what seems like yesterday, but also to kind of wave to the younger set "Hi, it's old me, I was you once, I'm fine here though but I was once a young something."
I read where the beautiful actress Addie McDowell was critiqued for not dying her beautiful silver hair because it made her look older [she is stunning] and she said, 
"I do think there is the importance of seeing beauty at every age and it's not limited to a certain age," said MacDowell, adding, "Every once in a while, I'll say to someone, 'I'm old,' and they'll say, 'No, you're not!' Like it's some horrible thing to say." MacDowell continued, "And I'll say to them, 'But what if I say I'm young? Don't have a problem with that, do you?' The truth of the matter is, I'm old and that's OK. That's what I really want people to think about. We're towards the end," she explained. "We have no time to waste feeling shame."
Nor do I have time to try to look young. Think about it, why should I try to "look" young. I'm old. When I was 20 nobody tried to make me look older, why do we create products called anti aging. Why is anti? We are evolving bodies. Do we tell the little sapling in the yard, 'Please don't ever get old".
At some point in this whole aging thing I thought, I'm not ashamed of my aging, but I have to keep it to myself, I don't have to declare my age-because if I do people will start watching...is she still okay working with those animals? Oh, she fell, she said, is it getting to be too much? I wondered, maybe people won't donate to the non profit because they wonder how long I can do this.
Then I came to my senses. It took a bit of merging into the entire age of 65 though.
I am not young, but I'm living as I am until I won't be alive. I'm actively living, which means I'm aging. I am not young. I am no longer pretty but I'm not ugly, I'm just like the old animals, I am what I am. I shine really brightly, so much so that that is why I'm looking older now-it takes energy to shine. A flower shines and shines but it can't be the same flower as when it bloomed.
"You can't do everything forever," said Bob Dylan. 
And I'm smarter about many things-like what I will and won't tolerate, what I just don't care about and what I do care about. I don't tolerate drama queens or kings, grifters or phonies. Gotta use my energy for my healing, my animals and my art. Most of the time, I know what I am supposed to be doing and I do it.


Monday, July 31, 2023

Harry the llama and lovey will be spreading flower power


I’m going to take Harry out in the Lovey Mobile and like I told you earlier I’m going to park at the hospital campus by Cove’s and Harry and I will give out flowers to share love. Lots of medical staff take walks around lunch and it is supposed to be nice that day so I hope it stays that way. I’m aiming for Wednesday this week at noon. Just look for the handsome llama. I will try to take photos!

Friday, July 28, 2023

The In My Head Vacation To The House By The Sea

Harry and I made it to The In My Head Vacation To The House By The Sea and with today's high heat, Harry sat out in his little boat. I sat on the shore under a canopy and slept with my toes in the water that came to shore. That's about all we did but it was what we wanted to do.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

In My Head Vacation To The House By The Sea...with the llama


Today on my In My Head Vacation To The House By The Sea I decided to take Harry the llama to the house. Despite the fact we know nothing about boats, we managed to get in, without tipping and the sea air feels good on this muggy, hot day. This is Harry's first time to even see the sea and I imagine now I will have to take each animal to the house by the sea...or get a bigger boat but the latter is problematic. Martyn works at large estates on the ocean and some of them have full time Captains that take care of the boats. Perhaps that is what we will do...but it sounds a bit too much, and interfering with our private time at the In My Head House By The Sea.

Acrylic on watercolor paper, 12x12" protective varnish, signed on back. 

Available at shop >

Monday, July 24, 2023

Conversation of benches....my mother is around

I’ve had so many conversations on this bench. My parents had these two teak benches in their garden in Mpls. At the time I was single and would have coffee regularly with my mom. So many fun chats, or teary ones. In time my parents moved and gave me the benches. They would come to my house and we’d chat away time. We jokingly named the benches Bob and Kelly, their names. The benches went with me to Portland and the to the farm where again my parents would visit and we’d sit on Bob and Kelly. And now they are in Maine and Martyn and I sit in them nightly. I often can see my mom on one-with her striped bucket hat with sunflower. I still talk to them on those benches.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The animals discover The Lupine Lady


Mrs. Dunn, can you read us a story before you go?” asked Hannah.

I was just finishing chores on a very hot afternoon and was looking forward to a shower.

I don’t have a book out here,” I said as I tried to escape to the house.

Pickles the goat suddenly appeared before me, with a book.

We really like this one, Mrs. Dunn,” she said. “Miss Rumphius.”

Where did you get this?” I asked.

We have hidden library bucket in the hay loft,” she said.

Who knew?

A circle formed around me of goats, chickens, Earnest the pig and of course, The Goose.

Donkeys! She’s going to read Miss Rumphius!” Pickles called out to the pasture.

Running hoof steps were heard, and they joined the circle around me.

And so I started to read the story of a little girl who promised herself she’d travel to far off places, and someday live by the sea. And she made a third promise–to make the world a more beautiful place. The girl grows up and travels to many places, and eventually she finds a house by the sea. In time she finds the way to make good on that third promise-by spreading lupine seed all around the land and on the roads nearby. People began to call her the Lupine Lady.

I closed the book and asked everyone, “Did you know the Lupine Lady lived not far from here, in Christmas Cove?”

Everyone gasped.

Can we visit her?” asked Hannah the young goat.

Earnest put his arm around her, “She’s not alive, Hannah.”

The Lupine Lady is already dead! I just met her!” Hannah cried.

Such a sensitive sprite,” said Poetry the old goat.

Mrs. Dunn, have you been to far off places?” asked Pickles.

As a young woman I travelled all over,” I said. “But I always wanted a farm. It took a lifetime, but I got one, and all of you.”

Will you ever have a house by the sea, like Miss Rumphius?” asked Hannah.

We could all have boats!” said Pickles, “and row about all day.”

It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, summering on the sea? But there’s no money for a house by the sea. Sometimes dreams are just dreams, and how could I leave you all while I was in the house by the sea?” I asked.

We would all come with you! Could we have bunk beds?” asked Puddles.

There will be no bunk beds because there will be no house by the sea,” I said.

Let’s focus on Miss Rumphius encouraging us to put beauty into the world,” said the pig.

Is leaping off rocks beautiful? It’s mainly what I do,” said Pickles.

I put my poems up in trees for the birds to read,” said Paco the poet donkey.

I am simply beautiful just standing in the wind,” said The Goose.

Hannah started crying again.

Child, what is it now?” asked Earnest the pig.

I still can’t believe Miss Rumphius is dead,” she wailed.

She lives in the lupines,” I said.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Fog comforts after a death, I think

The fog after death always feels heaven sent to me-like all the departed souls who left come together to cover us in comfort. We had very loud thunder storms the nite after Luci died. I was upset Luci was not in the grave but we had to wait until morning to dig a proper grave–it takes time. Everyone was out grazing and observing the grave digging. She’s in her grave now near the sunflower patch. All is well.

Farewell, dear old lady

I found old Luci cast yesterday afternoon about 3pm. I had stepped out of the house and saw a cast black animal in the distant granite dust. The animals like to roll there, so I called out and the mound did not move. Then Peso came running out of barn, and he was agitated. When I got there, Luci was cast, exhausted, and somewhat stuck, her feet in the sand. I was able to roll her up into the cooch position, and began massaging her throat-upwards- in case it was choke. But I knew it was more. I didn't have my phone, ran to house and was able to talk to the vet on the road. She dropped everything to get to me, as we both knew this was most likely a case of putting an old animal out of suffering asap.

There were many, spiritual and beautiful moments that would come in the next 30 minutes while I waited for the vet. You must understand, Luci is a survivor, she is independant and not prone to letting anyone in, not wanting attention of pets or small chit chat. So the fact that while I sat with her, the birds chirping in Old Apple, the fact she laid her head into my chest, I knew she was so ready to go. I did not have one ounce of regret, not one bone felt uncomfortable knowing we would put her down. She was ready. I've been at many euthenazias and this was the most ready I've ever seen.
The vet came, and agreed. The swollen nodes in her upper neck could have been thyroid issue, but could have been other issues too. It was not choke. Luci arrived here 4 years ago, having been bred all her life, including in her 20th year, even though she was very thin. We got some weight on her, but she never put much on. But she was strong. I knew the coming winter would be problematic, and just the other day was thinking that as I fed her.
Did she hear my thoughts?
All the donkeys had gathered at the nearby fence. And Peso and the sheep were nearby, looking, then grazing. I took a small daisy and put it in her hair. For that one photo, I thought, she looks happy in that photo. But she was tired. She went immediately. I was so grateful for how the afternoon unfolded. I had decided to not go to Coves with Lumpy due to humidity, and if I had, I would not have been here for Luci. The fact the vet was 30 minutes away, and got me so fast was a blessing. Their were thunder storms coming, but they passed over us. I was there to hold her and keep the many horse flies off of her. The vet, at her own expense, later would take a sample out of the two neck lumps. It was clear and she felt that showed it was not a thyroid issue. But she will get back to me -as an educational point for all of us.
Luci, I will miss your teethy smile. But more than anything, I'm so happy for you, that you could go out with dignity and that I was there for you, and your mates were all around, and birds sang you to the heavens. Luci was 25.