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

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Monday, October 12, 2015

I dreamt of my father's shirt and I think it was the fog

Last night I had an unusual and moving dream. I dreamt I was in what was my mother's house, although like the sets of most dreams it did not look like any of the homes she had in her living life. In the dream, I was in a room where there were still items of my father's. I was alone. I was thinking in the dream how it must be hard to live with these reminders of him so fresh after his death [my father died in 2008 but in the dream last night we had just had dinner with him at a nice restaurant].

Then I came to a shirt on a hanger, hanging all by itself on the wall, almost as if displayed there like art. It was the shirt he had just worn nights before in the dream at our dinner. I held the shirt and cried, and as I caressed it it became very fluid, almost wrapping around me, or petting my head with the sleeve.

It has been seven years since I saw my father alive, and two and half since my mother died. While I do not weep about it any more, I think of them everyday. I still carry that quiet little sack full of inner feelings, sometimes sadness.

But the dream left me feeling rather melancholy this morning, ungrounded in some way. I sensed last night that Martyn was melancholy too-his father died a year ago, his mother was just placed in assisted living, his family is changing and evolving too in uncontrollable ways. We are in the stage of life where many people we've known all our lives are dead or soon to be gone. Elders who used to keep in touch through a parent or aunt are unable to do so-the family and circle of personal community begins to shrink. Things that seem to be rocks in one's life crumble-maybe a couple you thought would never part end up separated, or the teacher that gave you wings dies.

When each loss comes, another thread in our life's coat comes loose, tearing a should seam or pocket.  That coat that kept you warm so many times, or dry from rain or snow has a life too, and an unravelling like any life.

Melancholy is different than grief. It is the younger sister to depression. I know a few people who are really battling depression, and I would never what to say or write anything that might diminish the agony they are in. Depression separates a person from the living world I think.Depression must be the opposite of home. Melancholy still has many glimmers of hope.

I always feel I will work through melancholy when it comes. And I always do. But, some days, I can get stuck in it. I guess I feel that pull today.

I am blessed to have a routine that requires me to get outside, no matter what, and interact with Nature in all forms. It helps melancholy to be sent to the backseat of the morning.

The fogs were here when I awoke. It was almost like my father's shirt had come out of the dream from last night, and become the fog-both a comfort but also a veil in front of me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Breaking News! Raggedy Man on probation!

"Did you hear?" asked Professor Otis Littleberry over morning hay. "He's on probation."

"Thank the Barn Gods! It's hard enough walking on three legs without him banging into me all the time," said little crippled Sir Tripod Goat.

"I won't miss him," said Sophie, "He got way to big for his beard after Stevie died."

Meanwhile in the upper barnyard....

"I did nothing wrong!" Raggedy Man pleaded as I led him back to his former stomping ground. "I demand to talk to my representative!"

"I'm your representative," I told him, "and you have been too rough on Victor and Tripod and need a time out up here to remember how to have manners."

Along came Marcella and the Head Troll.

Raggedy let out some distress bleats, and then a long sigh.

"You again," he said to Marcella.

Marcella was delighted. She has another Misfit to romp with even when he doesn't want to romp. But between her and the Head Troll, Raggedy will get a taste of his own medicine.

Raggedy took a sudden behavior turn after Stevie died. He just got a bit pushy around feed time, smashing too hard into the crippled Misfits. This is actually normal goat behavior. There is nothing wrong with it. But I decided it was time to put him back in the main barnyard with younger charges-and some Misfits who won't take his gruff. I see this happen all the time–one animal dies and the hierarchy is shifted.

Raggedy is just a wonderful little chap. He came here skinny and stinky having been recently neutered, and as you can see he has added plenty of weight-which is another reason he is being moved, he eats too much of the feed. Back then you could hardly get him to enjoy a gentle touch or back scratch, now he understands the pleasure of it-cookies or no cookies.

Please know that the upper barnyard ain't too shabby. In fact, it has its benefits to the Lower Village, so do not for one minute think Raggedy is suffering. I wouldn't be surprised if he protests if I put him back int he Lower Village.

Earnest the pigs yearns for a....

...pumpkin flower. I explained to him big boys must accept the concept of delayed gratification or their lives will be one frustration after another.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Meanwhile, a pig named Cornelia expands her horizons

Cornelia is taming up and now sits for me. She also allows me to plop her on her bum so she is sitting up in my arms while I rub her belly. Day one of that produced much squealing, day two–less, and on day three she started figuring out that all this belly rubbing stuff was pretty nice.

Marcella seems to have an affinity for pigs. Just as she did as a pup, gravitating to the then young piglet Earnest who became her buddy in crime, she seems to enjoy the new piglets too. She came to sit with me the other day while I had a coffee break with the pigs and she sat down with all the piglets about her, sniffing, poking, and climbing on her. She just sat and took it all in like a doting auntie. I caught this image of Cornelia giving her what appears to be a kiss, and it is of sorts, but pig kisses also come with the question,

Is there anything to eat on your lips?

Festive aromatic lovelies

I put up some new lavender stuffed items in the store. I'm smitten by the Sweet Dreams with wings-so simple and perfect for bride, baby or any one walking this life who needs a respite. I won't say the "C" word...okay, Christmas is coming! There are plenty of art cards for all occasions too, including Santa times or peaceful wishes you need to send in the coming months.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

White Dog will speak, with rabbits I think-the new book begins

"Something told me that if I didn’t break free I would perish."
White Dog. 
The first sentence of my next book.

I have begun my new book. Its been rattling around in my head for many months. I'm not going to say much yet because it is just beginning and evolving. I always get excited to share new projects though. I guess that is true of many artists, especially ones like me who live in the middle of the country and communicate most of the day in a studio with gassy labs and a blind pug, only to be serenaded at lunch by pigs and small statured goats.

So I will share a teeny bit. I know what the book will look like on the outside at this point. I want it to hearken back to my childhood reads, with a linen fabric cover-one color ink drawing on the front. Inside will have mysterious little black/white images, and maybe a center color insert. There will be mystery in this book. Is it non fiction? This is hard to explain. I suppose tot he traditional publishers it would be called fiction. But I prefer to say it will be Apiferian-real stories with eccentricities and possible magic mixed with Nature's spirit.

The physical qualities described above will help begin the initial feel of the writing, and White Dog, aka Benedetto, seems to have the lead voice right now.

But rabbits! Rabbits have entered into me and I have been seeing them all around. So I think they will be pivotal to the story somehow.

This is why writers tend to go mad, I guess. I'm lucky, or maybe cursed, to have to see things in images and words. I sometimes think it must be such a relief to be a writer who never gives images a second thought-in that they know their book will be all text without art to worry about. I thought about making this all text, no art, and who knows...we shall see. Maybe rabbits will do the art for me.

I'm playing with drawing styles as I have time, but must focus on the writing.

Focus? But there is so much glory in the fall air, so many beautiful distractions all around me! I am lucky to be able to have a mid day coffee break amongst so many Misfits, white dogs, wandering pigs and eccentric llamas.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sunday Smile Parade with Victor

Victor just smiles, all the time, I can't explain it. But considering his past, it is inspiring that this very crippled goat puts on the best smile voguing show every day for me. I spent time this morning with him, he loves to have my company away from the maddening crowds.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Paco's wings

I don't really feel comfortable explaining what paintings mean-but, I do understand that people like to hear if their is a story behind them. The painting shown here is 'Paco's Dream'.

I have lived with Paco now 9 years and watched and helped him go from misunderstood and non confidant donkey to a little poet. He arrived with a pushy side stemming from lack of handling, and no confidence as he lived in a huge herd of Jacks. Arriving here, he pushed everyone around–me, the animals, the farrier and vets. But I knew there was something yearning to be touched and understood in there. It took a long time, but Paco grew wings. He found his place.

To me, Paco has always been a poet-he writes up in the hidden loft room-The Barrow of Love- of Old Barn that only me, Martyn and two others have been allowed to see. It is wall papered with 1950's pink rose petals.

So his poetry is in this painting  {currently available through RiverSea Gallery.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pumpkins! And a pig is named.

There is nothing quite as wonderful as a pumpkin. A glowing orange orb complete with a carrying handle-so impressive. The Pumpkin Patch of Old Souls is ripe with them and I've harvested some for the season's first pumpkin party. Soon we will be celebrating Halloween, and like every year, the largest pumpkin brings out stories and visits from Old man Guinnias and other souls that are buried underneath the pumpkins.

Today the Lower Misfit Village had their party. As you can see from the short video, it was very well attended.

It was Birdie's first pumpkin party in her life-I think she was a bit confused.

Do we roll them around or fight over them? she wondered.

I have been watching one of the black and white spotted gilts [a gilt is a female pig that has not been bred], and I have decided to keep her as a possible therapy pig to join us on the Magical Misfit Mobile. She knows how to sit now [an easy task with pigs] and seems to be the most personable of the group. Eleanor is sweet but very different than Earnest and never really lays for belly rubs-she's a doer, busy, not a relaxer like Earnest. Earnest would be great on the Misfit Mobile but I'm afraid he's just a bit big for it, where as the gilts will stay smaller.

I met a woman artist online and I am in love with her work. Her name is Cornelia O'Donovan and she is British. I told her I might have to name this pig Cornelia and she was very pleased! In my family, having an animal named after you is an honor, but you never know. I tread lightly, especially when I'm telling a person,

"I want to name a pig after you."

Today I spoke to the pig and called her Cornelia O'Donovan, and it seemed to fit. I am not sure how Cornelia O'Donovan the woman will feel about her last name being used, I will ask. But it just has such a British flair, and I even suspect this particular pig has a bit of an accent. I know I did when I spoke to her.