Friday, May 27, 2011

An American Patriot

With Memorial Day just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to say a few words today about Flannery O'Connor's father, Edward. Besides being the loving and devoted father of the author, O'Connor was an American patriot who served our country with distinction in France during the First World War. He was born in Savannah and educated at Benedictine College, a military prep school in the city. Following graduation from St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, he enlisted in the armed forces of the United States. Between May of 1916 and August, 1917, O'Connor served in the Georgia National Guard, patrolling the New Mexico border under the command of General John J. Pershing. Between April 1918 and May 1919, O'Connor was stationed overseas as a member of the 82nd Division of the American Expeditionary Force, the famed "All Americans" out of Camp Gordon, Georgia. For his valor in combat, Lieutenant Edward O'Connor was awarded a World War I Victory Medal and Victory Button. Following his stint in the service, O'Connor became highly involved in the American Legion, serving as commander of Chatham Post 36 and chairman of the Veterans Council of Administration. As Commander of the American Legion for the entire state of Georgia, Edward O'Connor traveled a great deal and made speeches, which made his daughter's heart swell with pride. The feeling was mutual. When O'Connor would go on speaking engagements, he carried in his billfold some of Flannery's early artistic creations, usually drawings of chickens, which he showed off to his colleagues in the American Legion. For more detailed biographical information on Edward O'Connor, check out Brad Gooch's biography, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor as well as Sarah Gordon's A Literary Guide to Flannery O'Connor's Georgia. Finally, please note that Andalusia will be closed on Monday, May 30th, for Memorial Day. Have a safe and restful holiday.
- Mark

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PODS in Place

Since work will soon begin on the restoration of the Hill house, it is necessary for us to remove all the furnishings and store them on site temporarily during the construction phase of the project. Next Wednesday, a team from Allen Construction Co. will move the contents of the house into these PODS storage units that were delivered to the farm a few days ago. Architects from the firm of Lord, Aeck, and Sargent were also here this week to survey the house in preparation for the restoration work that will take place. If you are visiting the farm this summer, please be assured that visitor services will not be disrupted during construction.
- Mark

Friday, May 13, 2011

Unwelcome Visitors

The guy you see on the right is a black rat snake. These creatures are non-poisonous and fairly docile, unless disturbed. In fact, they are beneficial to have at the farm to the extent that they help keep the rodent population down. On Monday, I found one of these snakes languidly stretched out in the back of the peacocks' coop. Our birds were pretty wound up by his presence and so, with the help of a rake, I managed to get him out of the aviary. The next day one of our visitors (of the non-reptilian variety) told me there was another huge snake in the aviary. By the time I was able to go out to check on the situation he had vanished. Why are we now seeing these snakes? Most likely it's because one of our hens is laying eggs and, for a snake, a peacock egg is like filet mignon. If anyone out there knows how we might ward off these unwelcome visitors, we'd love to hear from you. This is a good time to remind our guests about the presence of snakes at Andalusia. In the unlikely event you should happen to come across one, quietly walk away and leave it alone since the snake is going to be more frightened of you than you are of him. Also, when you're here we encourage you to stay on the mown areas of the property. You will be less likely to have a close encounter with one of our slithery friends.

- Mark

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dr. Doolittle?

Besides writing this blog, one of my duties here at Andalusia is taking care of our peafowl. Every day I clean out the aviary and make sure the birds have plenty of food and fresh water. I usually finish up by giving them one of their favorite treats - cracked corn or spinach. For the last week or two the birds have not been all that interested since they have been getting their fill of the mulberries that have been dropping from the tree above the aviary. Today, as you can see, they were more receptive. Now, I'm no Dr. Doolittle, but over the course of the last year, the birds have gotten used to me and are comfortable enough having me around that they will actually take food from my hand. It used to be that only Manley Pointer (the male) was bold enough to do this. Lately, however, one of the females (Joy Hulga or Mary Grace - we can't tell them apart) has gotten up enough nerve to get in on the act, too. We're wondering if her sudden interest isn't due to the fact that she may be pregnant and needs the extra nutrients the spinach provides. I wouldn't be surprised if we don't find her sitting on a clutch of eggs some day soon. Stay tuned for further developments.
- Mark