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Friday, July 8, 2011

Puppy Eggs

Can you believe that dogs love to eat raw chicken eggs?  I guess it isn't that surprising.  At Deauville, it is a tradition.  Sam and Cinder get this reward for their work in the chicken houses.

One of the great sequences I think I got for the film this past weekend was Sam and Cinder doing their ratting work.  These days (because there are quite a few rats) they can't wait to get inside the chicken yards, and they immediately get to work, trying to startle a rat or mouse so that it makes a fatal mistake. They focus, nearly obsessively, on the rafters of the house, attempting to capture a rat using sheer, determined will.

Once Gail finishes her morning routine feeding and watering the birds, she usually picks up a rake and starts banging on the walls of the chicken house.  The rats run and sometimes scramble to the ground where these feisty hunters await.  One bite and they kill the rat, drop it on the ground, and focus on getting another.  It's just amazing to watch.  Dust flying everywhere, Gail banging and yelling "over here's another one!!!", and through all this excitement, perhaps the funniest thing is that the chickens just happily go about their business, disturbed not in the least.

The problem with rats in the chicken house is that they compete fiercely with the hens for the expensive organic chicken feed that Gail provides. As Gail yelled to me over the commotion, "I refuse to claim rats as dependents on my tax return, too!!!"

So, after the dust settled, I shot a lovely interview with Gail as she sat on the steps of Chicken House #2 (where the new birds live).  Sam is still hard at work in the background.  During the entire interview, she's sitting just behind Gail's shoulder, nose pointed at the ceiling, fixated on the rafters.  Her concentration is extraordinary.  Every so often she casts a sideways glance at Gail, though, as if to say "Boss... can't you see?  We've still got work to do here!"

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Whirlwind at the farm

Gail feeds deer a sunflower plant
I invited my friend Javier Sagredo to come out to my lake house this past weekend with his girlfriend Isis, and her brother Alberto.  So we experienced two incredible days of exposure to Gail's early summer garden, and rich, seasoned wit.

Javier is a dear old friend and a talented still photographer (his hobby, he says, but he is sufficiently talented to succeed professionally).  He is responsible for many of the photos I have of Gail's farm, since he has visited there several times and loves it (and Gail) as much as I do.

Two fawns above a sea of spots
We have often come out with our kids since our sons, his Pablo and my Aidan, were best friends at Haycock School.  Pablo lives back in Spain now with his Mom, so when they visit their Dad in the summer, we always try to get them together, and often that wonderful reunion takes place at my lake house, and Gail's farm.

Gail:  what the heck does she want from me now?
So... I asked Javier to come out while the fawns were young and the garden is so new and vibrant.  It has been difficult for me to keep up with my still photography of the farm in addition to videography.   So this weekend, while I ran around with my video camera, Javier shot stills -- I think probably somewhere around 2500 of them.  Thrilling for me.

Sunday was a feast of fantastic experiences -- which I hope I managed to capture.  Since the stills are more readily available to view, I've included a few for you to enjoy.  In my future blogs, you can assume the stills are Javier's work, unless I indicate otherwise.