Hooray for Clarissa the Sheep!

In March, Mike, mother-in-law Kathy, and I packed up our car for a Trip to the Country. On the docket: shooting promotional video for Get Your Pitchfork On!. The weather was iffy at best, but it was the only weekend that we had our friend John’s camera and that would give Mike enough time to edit the video before the book came out at the end of April.

As we drove west from Portland to the country home of friends Shari and Joe, dark gray clouds hung in the sky. A bit of rain spattered the windshield. We had brought about ten extra layers for Kathy, who is notorious for under-dressing for the weather. She would doubtless refuse to wear them, but at least they were available.

We pulled into the driveway of our friends Shari and Joe, and were first greeted by their dogs, giant Harlequin Great Danes named Patch and Spot, and black Lab Bowman.

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Patch gives Joe some love

It felt good to don my country hat, which mostly lies fallow on a shelf near our front door. My plaid wool shirt felt better than when I wear it in the city. And I put on my knee-high rubber boots, which I wear to take out the garbage more from nostalgia than any actual need to wear boots.

Until the equipment was ready, I had nothing to do but get cold. While Mike carefully arranged cables and tripods, he caught sight of me, shivering and rubbing my arms together.

“You look miserable,” he said. “Go run around the field to warm up.”

When I returned, Mike had set up under a lean-to to keep the camera dry. I, however, was out in the yard. It was the kind of misty, cold Oregon day that seeps into one’s very marrow. Even the stalwart Kathy had accepted an extra jacket and gloves. In between takes I jumped up and down, and blew warmth into my cupped hands.

By the time we went to Shari and Joe’s neighbors’ house, it had cleared and warmed up some. Heather and Robert have three sheep, Mopsy, Flopsy and Clarissa. The animals were usual sheep, curious but nervous. They would come sort of close to us but, as soon as someone moved or reached out a hand, darted away. Being herd animals, they acted as one unit.

Being livestock, they were also easy to entice with feed. Robert had a trough at the ready while Mike and Kathy set up the shot. When Mike gave him the high sign, he put the trough down and jogged away from the shot.

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Key grip Kathy!

I began to deliver my lines, with Mike giving direction and prompts: “Where can one find this book?” “Do you have a website?” “Why is this book different from other back-to-the-land books?”

At one point, I delivered the wrap-up and Mike said, “Okay—fast! Do it again. There is a sheep standing next to you.”

I looked down and there was Clarissa, who had abandoned her sisters at the trough. I hadn’t even noticed her. What luck! I quickly ran through my pitch again and again, as many times as I could while she was there. She eventually lost interest and wandered off, but I felt like the luckiest person in the world.

View the video here!

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