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

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paco writes The Sun...again

Paco has been known to write The Sun from time to time–mainly in the early days of spring like we are in now, where we get lots of sun, but then days more of rain, with sun breaks. It can get to a guy, even a poet like Paco.

So when I was cleaning up an area in the donkey paddock, Paco slipped me a sealed envelope, addressed to: "Sun, c/o Sky, Universe, zip code unknown". Like before he trusted me to put a stamp on it and mail it. Why not? Why can't the Sun get mail.

But as usual, the Lucy Ricardo in me took over and I held the envelope up to the light to read the contents. I am not sure what is more endearing, that he trusts me with such tasks, or that he is on a first name basis with The Sun.

Dear Sun,

It is me, Paco. I am hoping you will be out
this weekend. It is my annual gathering of mice
and the other donkeys where I read one poem.
Last year it rained and my paper got wet.
I can not memorize. 
Please come out at 1pm on Saturday.
Thank you.

Fondly, Paco, Apifera Farm

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Special Pre Order Book Rate on NOW

I was so excited to get to see the color proofs of the book today from the printer! It is going to be so wonderful-I am so thrilled, and so happy this book is finally being born after a very long gestation, and labor.

Through the last day of May you may pre-order the book at a discount{Kickstarter people take note, you got the same price rate, just so you know!}. The prices in the drop down Paypal menu INCLUDE USA shipping. I have also set up a separate page/site for Donkey Dream the book so you can share it with friends or read excerpts and see sample pages.

Note: International orders may email me and I can tell them the extra shipping.

If you order the 2 book rate, books must ship to one USA address. If you want them shipped to separate addresses, it will be an additional $7 which will be invoiced separately after you buy.

Delivery Date: Books are expected to arrive mid June. So I will ship by end of June or first week of July.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Eating machines and something always goes wrong sometime

They eat, they sleep and their old bodies never stop needing some kind of care, be it routine or emergency. I love working with these guys, I love helping them-it's rewarding, it's purposeful, and all in all, it is fun. There are days of peace an days of chaos. But it is just the way it is on any real small working farm-and this small working farm has an added group of old Misfits.

So a day or so ago I posted a link to a fundraiser via GoFund to hopefully raise money for the spring maintenance of all the various Misfits. But I took it down. I felt in my gut it wasn't the way to go. I was feeling liked a used cars salesman.

But, at the same time I must face facts. It takes a lot of time, and money to care for these animals-many were neglected over years so there are always going to be chronic issues, often requiring me to determine if a vet call is necessary-or a 'come out now' vet call such as happened today with one of the equines who appeared to be choking. It passed, and normal behavior ensued, so we dodged a bullet. I have a vet coming out this week for pig shots, llama care and to do a herd overview of Misfits and Matilda.

I think I will gather some sketches and old art pieces and do a little art sale later this month. Stay tuned. In the meantime you can support the barnyard here, with gift levels of books, or you can choose to give without a reward at that same link. There is also a monthly subscription option. We are not a 501c, but rest assured each dollar is used on a helping a Misfit.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bucket kicking afternoon

Iris and Matilda shown here on a calmer afternoon.

Marcella was able to squeeze through the center gate in Old Barn, a boundary break that was bound to happen. While it might sound like no big deal, it set off a series of things that made my afternoon barn feedings what we call "bucket kicking".

1. Marcella enters the old barn, leaving the gate wide open. Meanwhile, I had just walked through the old barn to feed Matilda in the donkey paddock and left the gate open down there, since no one is usually behind me.

2. Marcella spooked Matilda who scattered from her feed I'd put down.

3. Meanwhile Little Goose had entered the old barn. I saw him coming.

4. Stella and Iris were onto to the entire thing and were now at Matilda's food, just as Goose was trying to eat it.

5. Stella head butted Goose-no contest- and Goose went flying out of there to escape, but chose to flea into the donkey paddock, the opposite end of where he should be.

6. Paco enters. Paco is portly. Paco eats the food.

7. Marcella was up close to the donkeys for the first time-trouble. I threw a bucket near her to try and scare her off.

8. She grabbed the bucket and fled, "Hey! Great, this is fun!" dragging a bunch of stuff with her not knowing it was caught in the bucket handle.

9. Ernest heard it all and came to check it out. So did Moose. And Raggedy.

10. There are multiple escape routes for goats in the old barn, but only one for a human-unless I begin to fly or leap.

11. I began to try and fly and leap anyway to get everybody out of the barn but they were doing the 'Run fast-in circle-stop-run opposite way in circle-wait for farmer to trip or grab her sore hip" maneuvers. Highly successful.

12. They all finally fled the old barn.

13. But I forgot to shut the donkey gate and as I walked to the goat barn I heard familiar hoof steps. I chased the donks back to their area but Goose followed.

14. Stella and Iris chased Goose down a ways in the pasture and then he refused to come back, afraid of their size. So I faked him out with rocks in a bucket to sound like feed, donkeys following. Carried him 150 feet back, holding him like baby Jesus, and his little face was looking up at me with, "I'm still so cute, aren't I? This is fun"

15. Back at the goat barn it looked like a bad day care center. Marcella had taken about 10 buckets and scattered them and then pulled ropes and halters off the wall.
She also looked up at me with, "Gee this was fun, wasn't it? I'm still so cute, aren't I?"

That is the bucket kicking episode for the day.

What we see isn't always

I love this photo. I hesitated to put it on–anyone who comes here regularly knows I love blur in photos, for it shows the living quality of the moment it was take–that's my way of thinking of it anyway. It would make a great arty statement if I ever got interviewed about my images, don't you think.

But when I took this photo I obviously didn't intend to cut the head off, or have the entire thing blurry. Still I liked it, and keep looking at it. There is something really lush and emotive about it, to me. This is Henrietta who has the most beautiful chocolate brown coloring and the way the shadow mimics here fluffy chicken underpants profile-lovely.

I was thinking, if this were a painting, with a tile like, "Moment 2050" one might not worry about the blur or the fact the head has been cut off. I don't really know what my point is, I just thought I'd give an audience for this lovely blurry brown headless chicken.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The annual chicken egg prank

There was snickering as I entered the coop this morning.

"She's making pie today for Easter. Let's play with her head a little bit," I heard one of the hens say, with a cluck chuckle.

I knew it was Alice, named after Alice Waters–every year she likes to play the same little trick on me, always timed for Easter.

I entered and began to gather eggs.

More chuckle clucks. If you've never heard a chicken laugh, it sounds just like the way you say, "chuckle cluck" but you have to say it fast.

And there in the roost was one teeny egg, green in color. They had hid the other eggs but later after chores Edmonia Lewis told me where they were–Edmonia hates pranks and always feel they are a bit cynical. I appreciate this, but must say, I've grown to love seeing a little egg every now and then.

I left with my eggs and walking back to the house heard Alice laughing in her huge Chicken Guffaw Laugh,

"She probably thinks it's one of those store bought chocolate ones and will bite into it."

More chicken snorts.

But I could feel Edmonia Lewis rolling her eyes even though I was already in the house.

{ I'd like to assure everyone there are no Samuelle Noel hairs included in the recipe.}

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Annual Pig Sunscreen Drive is here!

Contrary to some chatter, I did not use styling gel on Rosie, she does her own hair and make up, thank you very much.

It's time for the Annual Sunscreen Fund!

Every year in mid summer, Rosie loses all her little bristle piggie hairs and is bald–all over. Besides the fact that she has very scaly skin even with hair, without hair she becomes burned and her skin suffers. She often rubs it and it scabs. I have kept the scabbing at a low with the help of Destin, a diaper ointment with cod liver oil [a wonderful product for many skin ailments I must say!].

My regime with Rosie is to massage her with baby oil at night. Then in morning I add Destin in, and the left over baby oil on her body helps spread out the thicker Destin. I use spray on sunscreen all over her throughout the day. I also find the Destin doesn't tickle or sting her. The spray on screens are great for coverage and is much easier to cover the worst bald areas of her piggie body.

If Rosie is in a grumpy mood - a 90% possibility - covering her in sunscreen can be quite a challenge- but she is much more accepting of it now that I do it all the time.

How to help:
Either donate a small amount to the sunscreen fund - or scroll down for "Buy" button.

Send Sunscreen:
Rosie is accepting spray on sun screen this year. The spray on is much easier to get good coverage on her grumpy body, and as you can see from these photos where she was somewhat burned, she needs sunscreen!

Desitin Ointment - accepted year round
Rosie's skin chafes and I use this year round to soothe her skin and keep her scabs from rubbing to a minimum. "Desitin" is a diaper rash ointment found in the baby section at the store, made with cod liver oil - I also use it all the time for the other animals when skin issues arise.

Rosie appreciates your help. And no, the working pigs of Apifera do not need sunscreen because of their skin and their hair doesn't blow out-so rest assured your sunscreen is all for little Rosie.

Send your sun screen to:
Rosie McDonald McDermot
c/o Apifera Farm
14710 NW Tupper RD, Yamhill, OR 97148

or donate a small bit here:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

She recomends the book with all her heart

I was so pleased with this book review of "Misfits of Love" that I had to share it. Perhaps better than anything I'll ever see in The New York Times, this reviewer seems to really understand the essence of the book. This isn't just any reviewer-it is from a savvy reader who happens to be in 5th grade. It made my day to get an email from her Aunt, who wanted to share it with me, and I asked permission to then share it here with you.

As I read through it and I came to the paragraph on me and Old Man Guinnias and my father, I choked up, as she hit the nail on the head.

So thank you, Lili, I could not have asked for a better review of my work. And I am also pleased to see you received an "A". I hope you and Misteltoe continue to have conversations, and perhaps you will write your own book someday–if so, I will be sure to read it.

Dear Mrs. G,

Recently I have been reading a most amazing book.It is a collection of short stories, all of them true, written By Katherine Dunn of Apifera Farm.

This book Misfits of Love has no main character. In fact, the characters are mostly animals. There's no plot, story line or protagonist. What happens between one cover and another is purely soulful. The animals in these stories are amazing to think about, to wonder about. My favorite tales are "Hospice of a Lamb" and "Conversation with Old barn".

Mrs. G, I apologize if this is a short letter essay but this book is so powerful that my eyes are watering up reading it. My writing, though not nearly as powerful as Katherine's, is quite similar to hers. We think the same way about animals and their lives and passing. My favorite quote is,

"To say the souls is not a physical entity could be disproven by looking into Matilda's eyes."

I will explain who Matilda is later, but so powerful was that statement, I actually get teary just thinking about it.

Katherine shows a lot of similarities between the animals and humans around her. For example, when she took in an old goat named Guinnias, she would often talk to him and, as she did, she realized she was also speaking to her father who was dying several states away. I think it gave her comfort to have those conversations with someone, even it was an old goat.

Another example is Frankie, the Head Troll, a funny, bossy goat who arrived at the farm and immediately took charge of everything going on. Katherine's comments are that some animals–like people–"leave a bigger mark on one's daily life." Katherine said she could hear Frankie's voice in her head when she writes. Amazing to know that animals can have important voice when they don't speak at all. Or maybe it's that we don't listen?

Unfortunately, to truly understand the miracle of the book, you have to read it yourself. What you can understand without reading it is the impactful creatures that live or float along in our very real world. An example of this is Mother Matilda. She was originally kept as a brooding jenny, and then came to Apifera a neglected donkey. She is loved and cared for to this day.

Mrs. G, experiences with animals are not frequent, but are always incredible. I have a question for you: if you have ever experienced anything like the powerful connection I have made with my dog, Mistletoe? Please tell me if you have ever had that sort of a feeling, since I find it wonderful when humans and animals think together.

And that, Mrs. G, ends my essay. I hope that, although it may not have been as detailed as my others, you are curious about reading this book. I recommend it with all my heart.

Sincerely, Lili