I thought the Coila garage looked like a portal to another time, and I was right. This afternoon I walked inside to see what was there and I ran into Fred Bovie, the proprietor of the Coila Garage. I love where I live for many reasons, one of them being that when I walk into a place like the Coila Garage and ask if I can take a photo, Fred Bovie smiles and says, “sure, where do you want me to go?” No one ever asks me they always ask in New York: “what is the photo for? Where is it going?”
Fred, as it happens, knew all about me. That I was living in Florence Walrath’s place, that I had put up a fence and fixed up the house, that Rocky the pony had been put down. It was as if he was waiting for me to walk through the door. Fred opened the Coila Garage in 1951 and he is still going strong, fixing almost any thing on the earth with an engine in it. I was mesmerized by his office which has not changed much, he volunteered, since he first set it up right around the time of the Korean War. It was, in fact, much more magical and wonderful than I had imagined it to be, and I will be back as often as Fred can put up with me. I took some photos of Fred and the Coila Garage and I am putting them up in an album on Facebook.
A farm consists of chores, moments, images, all running into one another like a stream. I am privileged to try and capture some of these moments with my much loved Canon 5D, which rarely fails me and makes me look better than I am. Today, two strong-willed women of Bedlam Farm ran into each other by the side of the barn. Maria was bringing back a water bucket she had just emptied into the heated water trough in the barn. In the winter, the animals drink to quench thirst but also to keep warm. We fill it up several times a day. Lulu was heading the other way, towards the hay feeder I had just filled. The two of them met, and Maria, instinctively reached out to touch Lulu and Lulu stopped and put her head in Maria’s hand and the their eyes met. You can see the connection. One of those moments that make it so precious to live on a farm. In the back of my eye, I saw the shadow and moved to get it in the photo. I was aware from the beginning of the wonderful red backdrop for the photo.
The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm and I love and know one another well. The dogs were sunning themselves in front of Maria’s Studio Workshop and I got the camera and yelled out “photoshoot” and they all took up different poses. They know where the biscuits come from. Red, like Rose, doesn’t like to look at the camera. Frieda is always watching for intruders, our Secret Service Dog. Lenore is always looking for food, which she knows might come after the photoshoot.
In the morning, carrot time for the donkeys. Maria understands that food is part of the universal language of animals, the foundation of much of their communication with us. Every morning, they are waiting at the gate. Every morning, they chew their carrots, approach for some attention, show some affection. This is part of listening to animals, learning and sharing their language.