Friday, May 28, 2010

School's out for Summer?

With most schools closed for the summer, where might one reasonably expect to find a group of college students on this, the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend? The pool or beach? Cruising around town with their friends? Nope. Try Andalusia. This morning we welcomed a group of 15 students and their teachers from the University of West Alambama. It is gratifying for us to see so many young people who are tuned into Flannery O'Connor and read her stories so enthusiastically. Talk about devotees! After arriving in Milledgeville last evening and taking in some of the other O'Connor sites, they headed out to Andalusia to tour the farm. After a picnic lunch under the shade of the oak trees, they will be on their way to Savannah to visit Flannery's childhood home tomorrow. With temperatures climbing into the low 90s the next two days, that's what I call real dedication. We wish them and you safe travels if you are going anywhere this holiday weekend. In observance of Memorial Day, Andalusia will be closed on Monday.

- Mark

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fecund Fowl

A heavy thunderstorm this morning has kept me from going outside to check on the peafowl. As noted last week, one of the hens has begun laying eggs and is now doing so at the rate of one every other day. She continues to drop them indiscriminately and remains clueless about what she's to do next. To encourage her, we put together a nesting box on Thursday and filled it with wheat straw. It's usually not a good idea to move eggs once they've been laid, but we moved one (the others were discarded) to the nesting box anyway. The hen seemed curious at first, but so far has not gone into the coop to set on her nest. Our visitors are excited by the prospect of little peachicks running around the aviary and so, apparently, is the peacock. To the delight of all, he now fans his tail feathers just about every time you turn around and cries out in jubilation Lee-yon lee-yon, Mee-yon, mee-yon! Eee-e-yoy, eee-e-yoy! Eee-e-yoy eee-e-yoy! Craig and I sometimes wonder what the noise level must have been like when the O'Connors were here with Flannery's flock of 40-50 peafowl. With that many birds running around the place surely she would know what to do to help us with this brooding dilemma.
- Mark

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Barnyard Buzz

What a big surprise I had on Monday morning when I went out to feed the peafowl. One of the hens had laid an egg! Then yesterday, when Craig went out to the aviary, another egg was discovered on the ground. The hens seem clueless about what to do now and have largely ignored the eggs. Ironically, the male demonstrates more curiosity than they do. Since the eggs are sitting on the ground abandoned, they will have to be discarded. Hopefully, Mary Grace's and Joy-Hulga's maternal instincts will kick in soon. Not that we want to breed peafowl mind you - at least not yet. The aviary in its present dimensions can only accommodate the three birds we already have.

In other news, it seems that summer is fast approaching. The Chinaberry trees have lost their blooms as our daytime temperatures approach 90. It's warm enough that we've had to turn on the air conditioners in the house, yet it's still pleasant enough outside and the humidity remains comfortably low. All in all, a perfect time of year to visit this picturesque farm.

- Mark

Thursday, May 6, 2010

GCSU Commencement

On Saturday morning, May 8th, the 2010 graduating class of Georgia College, accompanied by faculty in full academic regalia, will process across the front lawn of the school to receive their diplomas. Of course this is all dependent on the weather, which in recent years has been quite cooperative. When Flannery O'Connor graduated from the school in 1945 - then it was known as Georgia State College for Women - the commencement exercises were held indoors in Russell Auditorium. To get a feel of what graduation in Flannery's day might have been like, readers of this blog are encouraged to read one of her most underrated stories, "A Late Encounter with the Enemy." Georgia College is a beautiful campus and it's worth visiting the school simply to see it. However, of special interest to O'Connor fans, is the Flannery O'Connor Room, a permanent exhibit in the GCSU Museum. There one can see the author's desk and typewriter as well as a number of other artifacts (her christening gown, walnut bookcases, letters, etc.). Also at the college in the Special Collections of the Russell Library are O'Connor's manuscripts. Access to these is limited to scholars and others doing research on Georgia College's most famous alumna. For more information on Special Collections, call Josh Kitchens at 478-445-0982.

- Mark