Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chickens lend their charm to London Farm scene

I was asked to add another facade to my Stevestonlife heritage building collection.

London Historical Farm is a sprawling 4.06 acre site that includes gardens, a barn, a small museum, a sprinkling of chickens, and of course, the stately farmhouse itself.

Behind the front gate, this white structure is graced with ornate pillars, tall windows, and a porch that suggests warm conversations over tea and freshly baked scones. In my imagination at least.

I arrived on location on a cold spring morning, to scout the area and take some photos.I trudged back and forth and around the building, trying to find the best angle for my pictures and avoid trampling on some terra cota pots littering the ground.

Moisture from the rain-soaked grass soon seeped through my shoes and socks. My hair grew damp. And it was only with great reluctance that I peeled my right glove off so I could press on the shutter button.

And press I did.

Snap, snap, snap, went the camera, as my nose and fingertips edged ever closer to total numbness and paralysis.

Back at home, a few weeks later, I finished applying the last dots and dashes and stepped back from the picture for a final inspection. Yes, the farmhouse appeared complete, with all the details in place. But, for some reason, it appeard dull and lifeless.

I cycled through all the photos I took that day and the answer leapt out at me. Of course, the chickens!

With renewed vigor, I added the clucking, pecking, and jostling group of hens and the proud rooster that kept on giving me the "What in tarnation are you doing?" look. To show that I bore him no resentment, I graciously pencilled him in, in the place of honour no less - perched prominently and authoritatively on the porch railing.

Only then did the London Farm scene come alive - with colourful blossoms springing up in the tidy flowerbed and chickens huddled over spilled seeds in the front yard. Charming!

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