Just a short distance from urban Portland is one of the most beautiful rural areas I know. Yamhill county. A wine lover's dream full of scenic winding roads through rolling hills, and small hidden pockets of forest hiding burbling brooks and small rivers. Vineyards, lavender fields, woollies, horses, cows and chickens share this country with their lucky humans. Heaven on earth. And in a small corner, hidden just around a bend in the road, is Apifera Farm, where artist Katherine, and her husband, Martyn Dunn share their world with three small, but very wise donkeys.
Katherine is a well known artist of primitive and whimsical art which she creates from vignettes of her life at Apifera. An amazing life filled with creatures great and small - a one-eyed pug and a wild eyed chocolate lab. Naughty goats that flaunt their ability to escape through electrified fence, but who run for their pen when caught where they don't belong. Shy cats who run for the hills when they sight a human and old crusty cats that ignore you completely. Chickens chasing each other across the barnyard, as the horse waits patiently for a hug and a treat.
The garden is winding down for fall as the leaves yellow and fall. You can breath fall in the crisp air ripe with the smell of fallen leaves and wood smoke. The vegetables are in except for a lonely few tomatoes still nestled in the vines. The sunflower heads ready themselves to feed the birds this winter, sagging with the weight of their seeds. And the pumpkins glow orange in the gray misty air, lighting the nooks and crannies with the glow of an autumn sun.
Each time I visit this farm, I am reminded of the musical, Brigadoon, where once in a hundred years, a mortal could find and visit a magical town in the Scottish moors. When the day ended, the town disappeared again, but the memory of its beauty and charm were burned on your soul forever. As the day drew to a close, we said our goodbyes and exchanged promises of keeping in touch. The memories of my visit to Apifera will warm my heart through the winter and give me solace in my urban home that these magical places do truly exist.