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We Are Flying Solo

May 8, 2013

There Is More Than One World Class Feature At Southern Eighths Farm

I already knew I was lucky enough to have ridden and worked at an eventer's mecca where nothing is ever done halfway.  However, since I spent most of my time here...

The So8ths fire station, oh, I mean, green shed (this is only half of it)
...feeding our loyal volunteers and officials, I didn't get to see much of this:

Erin K. performs the Training & Novice tests  for the "What Dressage Judges Look For" clinic

Dressage judge and President of the Ground Jury Sue Smithson examines Goldie's bum in the 1st horse inspection.

Dr. Debbie watches a competitor jog on the evening prior to dressage day.
What I had noticed in my golf cart wanderings was a guy and a chainsaw, hard at work on a tree trunk in a field corner next to the "shed."  I drove by one morning and discovered this fallen log was in the process of being ressurrected as an exquisite work of art.  You can imagine my squeaks of delight as I found that it was just the most recent project in a wildlife sculpture collection the likes of which I have never enountered in all my art snob perusings.

I later learned that this marine panorama was born of the talents of Randy Boni, whose works of chainsaw prowess grace locations literally around the world.  He and his twin brother were both born blind due to cataracts and he only regained his sight through surgery in his late 30's, which makes these beauties even more unbelievable.  When I finally had a few minutes to stop and chat with Randy, I met an incredibly humble, thoughtful man and we proceeded to have an amazing conversation about art, passion, love, opportunity, and the magic of having animals in your life.  Even though he is afraid of horses himself, he has a deep appreciation for their poetry of motion and heart and his sister is a dressage rider.

It became a treasure hunt around the farm as my mule buzzed through the woods and I collected quite a basket of wonders, each more alive and fantastic than the last.  All of them were commissioned by the farm owner for the sheer pleasure of seeing them and each tree from which they were carved has a story of its own.  They fit perfectly into the rolling woods of the facility, as if they had always been there.

Ducks take flight above a school of fish on the hill above the water complex.

Each sculpture changes depending on your viewing angle.

My trusty mule gives you a sense of scale.

The detail is incredibly lifelike and there is a sense of motion barely paused.

Perhaps my favourite, this fantastical scene of lions and wild boar sits up by the shed.

On the off side, beautiful leaves shelter this emerging fellow.

The boars seemed ready to leap off running.

This large totem lives down by guest stabling.

Endearing details, like this hound and raccoon, bring even more to each work.

Eagles, owls, and a pileated woodpecker keep watch at the top.
Every piece has its own energy, including the fox and hound scene that graces the main barn, which I showed you before.  On the latter, the hounds were actually modeled after Jasper, the farm's own charming Walker hound.  Rather unfairly, I now want a piece of my very own, but short of the Prince of Nigeria actually coming through with his promise of millions in gold, I fear it will never be.  Despite my deprivation, though, I have a distinct feeling that my chance encounter and conversation with such a gifted, unique, and brilliant individual was a gift of its own.  Take a few minutes and watch this fantastic video of Randy at work and it quickly becomes clear how much love and pride he instills in each masterpiece.

Still to come:  another great individual you want to give money to!  The end of your lame horse worries!  And how to open a beer with a chainsaw (why wouldn't you?)!


  1. Wow! That is so amazing and beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. You're welcome -- they truly are incredible! I REALLY want one for my yard; I didn't dare ask how much he charged for stuff, ROFL!

  3. Holy cannoli, those are incredible! That is one talented guy. And the fact that he does such fine, detailed work with a chainsaw is pretty much mind-boggling.

    Oh, and I tried looking up how much they are, but couldn't find anything. My inner art appraiser says eleven billionty dollars per log.

  4. LOL, Frizz, since I am friends with him now, I might be able to get a discount -- only five billionty dollars per log!! Log not included, btw.

  5. Gorgeous!! I had no idea this was even possible.

  6. Those log peices are amazing!

  7. Wowza. I knew people did this, of course, but have never seen someone in action carving or even a sculpture up close. It was fascinating to see the small details he can achieve with a chainsaw! I figured he had to pick up a hammer and chisel for some of them.

    I am always in awe of sculptors in the first place. My brain just can't process the "take stuff away to reveal" school of art. Don't do too with leaving white space in watercolor, either! :-)

  8. Oh me too -- the finesse is amazing! When I was a kid I always thought I could make awesomeness in those "carve this bar of soap" projects. I would 'see' just the perfect duck (and he would float b/c he was made of soap, duh!) and then I would carve and carve and carve.....and end up with this horrible 2D roadkill silhouette with a vague avian resemblance, sigh.