Saturday, December 27, 2008

Karin Slaughter is coming to Milledgeville

Karin Slaughter is an internationally bestselling crime novelist with over eight books to her credit, including the Grant County series, and the new Atlanta series. The latest book in the new series is Fractured, published by Delacorte Press in 2008. Slaughter will be at the Mary Vinson Memorial (public) Library in downtown Milledgeville on Monday, January 26, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Her presentation will be followed by a signing reception in the library with books available for sale. Slaughter is a long-time resident of Atlanta, and the books in her new series are set in the city. Her titles have reached the top of bestseller lists in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. I read Fractured a few months ago and could not help drawing the parallels with television programs such as CSI, Law & Order, and Criminal Minds. The main characters in this novel are GBI Special Agent Will Trent and Atlanta Police Department detective Faith Mitchell, who team up to solve the savage murder of a teenage girl in one of Atlanta's wealthiest communities. The story offers some interesting twists along with high tension and suspense with a kidnapping case thrown into the mix.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lord willing and the creek don't rise . . .

The southern states got more than their fair share of rain this week (not that we're complaining since we are in the middle of a terrible multi-year drought). More than four inches fell in less than twenty-four hours, which turned Tobler Creek into a raging river and placed a good portion of the Lower Tobler Creek Trail under water. I am happy to report, however, that both of the new bridges held up marvelously, along with their approaches. We have to close down the trail temporarily when we get flooding rains, but these occurences are quite rare. If nothing else, the rains filled the pond back to full pool again, which will make the fish very happy.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Eagle Scouts at Andalusia

We are very fortunate at Andalusia to be the site for several Eagle Scout projects, primarily focusing on the nature trail. Local scouts have constructed foot bridges and installed picnic tables and benches. Other upcoming projects will include birdhouses on the trail, landscaping around the trail signs, and more picnic tables near the main house. Andalusia is an ideal location for volunteer projects, and in fact, so much of what we have accomplished at the farm would have been impossible without our dedicated corp of volunteers. Cheers to our volunteers!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

A group of Altamont School students from Birmingham, Alabama, enjoyed a literary tour of Georgia during fall break in October. The tour was organized and conducted by Altamont teacher Juliet Hemingway. The students are devotees of Flannery O'Connor, so Andalusia Farm in Milledgeville was a primary destination. They also visited The Wren's Nest in Atlanta (home of Joel Chandler Harris) and the Childhood Home of O'Connor in Savannah. The students agreed to provide photos and their impressions for a page on the Southern Literary Trail website upon their return. They did a wonderful job!

The web page created by the Altamont students can be accessed at

These students obviously had a great trip, and our Trail's "sense of place" theme made an impact on them.

Special thanks goes to Juliet Hemingway and William Gantt for making this addition to the Southern Literary Trail website posible.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Bluegrass at Andalusia

The Foundation has been hosting a Bluegrass concert at Andalusia for the last few years, and it has turned out to be one of the most popular events of the year. This year the concert will be on Saturday evening on October 18, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The band is Redline Express, a group of talented musicians with quite a following in the middle Georgia area. The cost for admission is only $5 per person. The concert takes place on the front lawn of the main house, under the huge oak trees. People bring folding chairs, blankets, picnic baskets, wine, and flashlights, then set up as close or as far away from the band as they feel comfortable. The air gets cool after sundown, which adds to the whole atmosphere. Some folks get here early enough to walk the nature trail before settling in for the entertainment. The main house is open for tours, along with the gift shop. Bring a friend or the whole family and enjoy an evening out in the country, but only a few hundred feet from Highway 441. The concert is sponsored by Lynda S. Banks and Mary Anne Murray, two members of the Foundation's Board of Directors. Thanks ladies!


Friday, September 19, 2008

The Big Read

Andalusia will participate in The Big Read, a series of programs hosted by several organizations in Milledgeville and sponsored by Georgia College through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, all centered around Ernest Gaines's novel, A Lesson Before Dying. During the month of October, there will be celebrations, a keynote panel, oral interpretation events involving full participation for varied audiences, exhibits, movies, and more at locations all around town. The Foundation is hosting a literary nature walk at Andalusia at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 5. We are proud to be part of this wonderful collaboration to encourage the joy of reading.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is that animal in the pasture?

Believe it or not, this is a question that I hear from visitors at Andalusia as often as any other. They are referring to the beloved hinny named Flossie, the only full-time resident at the farm. She is actually a descendent of some of the animals that lived here during the time O'Connor was at Andalusia. So what's a hinny? Well, you might say it is the opposite of a mule. And what does that mean? A mule is a cross between a female horse (mare) and a male donkey (jackass). But a hinny is a cross between a male horse (stallion) and a female donkey (jenny). So you have a mixed breed of a horse and a jenny, thus a hinny. They are a sterile breed, and often have more horse-like features than a mule. Flossie is in her very golden years, probably approaching forty if she isn't already there. She is very cautious but will often come up to the fence when visitors stop to speak to her. She has become more curious with each passing year of the people who come from all around the world to this historic site. And here's an interesting tidbit: she is the subject for more professional photographers than anything else at Andalusia, including the main house! She has appeared on several websites, and her image has appeared in numerous newspaper and magazine articles. She was given world-wide attention in the three-page spread in the New York Times on February 4, 2007 by Lawrence Downes. I am happy to report, however, that Flossie remains humble in spite of her international fame.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Andalusia in O at Home magazine

We were told several months ago that Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O at Home, was going to publish a story on writers’ homes and would possibly include Andalusia. Well, they did. The article is in the latest issue (Fall, 2008) and includes a full-page color photo of the hayloft in the barn at Andalusia and a brief excerpt from O’Connor’s short story, “Good Country People.” O at Home has approximately 361,000 subscribers. I am especially pleased that the article includes the Foundation's web address and the days Andalusia is open. The Foundation has been very fortunate to have incredible media coverage over the last four years, including articles in the New York Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, and in magazines such as Travel+Leisure, Southern Living, and Oxford American.

You can view the online version of the O at Home article on their website at


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bridge Work

No, I'm not talking about teeth. Louis Kaduk, supervising contractor for the development of the Outdoor Learning Center at Andalusia, has gathered his group of volunteers for another work day this week to construct a second bridge across Tobler Creek to complete the loop for the Lower Tobler Creek Trail. This bridge connects two raised berms leading to the creekbed, so it provides a more elevated view of the surrounding area than the lower bridge does. If you haven't walked the trail at Andalusia, the coming months would be an ideal time as the temperature begins to drop back to more comfortable levels. By the middle of September, the trail will feature new interpretive signs linking the landscape to O'Connor's fiction. You will also notice small tree labels along the trail, around the pond, and near the main house, identifying the various species on the property. If you love the outdoors and learning from nature, Andalusia is exactly where you want to visit.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Southern Literary Trail

Andalusia is one of many literary landmarks included in a new consortium of twentieth-century fiction writers' homes in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi called the Southern Literary Trail. As far as I know, our organization is the first of its kind in the U.S. that crosses three state lines. Programs and activities are planned for all the organizations in the Trail to be held concurrently in March, 2009. Check out the website at the link above and make sure to take advantage of the "Trailfest" next spring. We hope to see you at Andalusia.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Getting started

Greetings from the land of Misfits and Good Country People! My name is Craig Amason, and I am the executive director of the Flannery O'Connor - Andalusia Foundation. Our non-profit organization is responsible for the restoration and preservation efforts at Andalusia, home of the highly-acclaimed fiction writer, Flannery O'Connor. This certainly is not the first nor the last blog devoted to Flannery O'Connor, so we aren't breaking new ground here. In fact, I got the idea from Bill Dawers, the current president of the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home Foundation in Savannah, Georgia.

I will be posting entries periodically to report on activities, events, and "what's going on" at Andalusia. We believe this internationally significant site has the potential to be one of the most important literary landmarks in the country because it is more than just a place where an author penned her fiction -- it is a place that very clearly inspired so much of the fiction. If you have never been to Andalusia, I encourage you to make plans to visit soon. Check out our website for all the details, including directions. Don't hesitate to call us at 478-454-4029 if we can answer any questions. Thank you.