Inspired 5/19/23

Inspired 5/19/23

Posted by Mandy + Steve O'Shea on

  Just before midnight on Wednesday, I took the old truck and picked up my brother and sister in law at the Airporter in Athens and we made the rainy drive back out to the farm.  We were all exhausted.  Mandy and I in the prior evenings, had gutted the two bedrooms, pulled off the molding, the doors, removed ceiling fans, ripped out carpet, rotted sub flooring, scraped ceilings, re-framed the joists, installed new sub flooring, and painted the walls and ceilings just in time for the wool carpet installer, who showed up late and finished at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.  We hurriedly hung doors, reinstalled ceiling fans, re-installed moldings, re-furnished both bedrooms, and caught a shower just in time to pick up our weary traveling loved ones, get home in the a.m. for a yawn filled chat and pass out for a few hours.

We took our first day off in god knows how long and sat around the kitchen table yawning more over eggs, tea and coffee and trying to solve the mysteries of life.  As I was grilling up tuna melts for lunch, the screen door to the mudroom quietly swung open and I peaked around the corner to see if Cotton had pushed her way in and was instead startled to see a human form coming at me through the dark room and found myself engulfed in a warm hug.

  Rebecca Wood, has single handedly changed the face of Athens and surrounding areas by fostering countless young artists over the decades at her famous R.Wood Studio, many of whom have gone on to start their own businesses and bands and projects that have made Athens a more inspirational, creative, and uniquely fantastic town. 

  3 Porch might not even be a thing if it weren’t for her.  She hired Mandy to be a potter when Mandy was in college and shaped Mandy’s understanding of how creativity, business, mentorship, and even life could be approached.  Mandy was not only given a job in a creative sphere by a talented and inspirational woman, but within that job, she was given freedom to explore and nurture her own creativity in the arts and a venue to sell them.  She was also freely allowed to take summers off to explore her interest in farming and was allowed to come back to pottery whenever she wanted.  In this environment, Mandy fully developed from youthful potential, to a full fledged creative, farmer and entrepreneur who had a well established role model who instilled in her a sense of joyful confidence and a desire to support others in the way Rebecca supported her.   I can’t say enough about how much this informed Mandy’s view of the world and has effected every decision we’ve made on how to approach this farm.  I know we aren’t the only lives who’ve been influenced in this way by her.

  Rebecca had swung by to pick up flowers for an art show at the Lyndon House and after giving her world famous hugs to everyone at the table, she proceeded to tell my brother that he looked like a cross between me and world famous hunk and pro surfer Kelly Slater.  Exhausted spirits were immediately lifted and we were now enthusiastically aiming for her art show in Athens that evening.

  We don’t own a passenger vehicle, so my brother Andy and I drove to Mandy’s folks to swap out our truck for their car and they lit up at Andy’s arrival.  The affection is mutual.  They all love each other and it’s such a joy to behold.  We walked through their garden, ate strawberries, then had a beer on the world’s greatest porch with the world’s greatest in-laws and just laughed a lot.

  Back to the farm to grab the ladies and off to the art show where I was pleased to see that all the artists were old friends and they were all there!  I was so wrapped up in the revelry of reconnecting with loved ones that I didn’t even consider who the artists might be.  Sometimes my brain misses obvious connections.

  I was preparing to shut my mouth and put my art appreciation hat on, but barely got in the door before there was a flurry of hugs and smiles and seeing faces of lovely people that we haven’t spent much time with in the last 13 years. I was taken aback in the best way.  These were all the people that Mandy worked with 20 years ago and this was all their art in the form of paintings, sculptures, photography, pottery and more.  It was so fun to see the evolution of everyone's art over the last 20 years.  Crazy to think that Andy and I drove through Georgia in our old veggie oil powered school bus and met Mandy and all these artists for the first time 20 years ago, setting the events leading to our marriage and to this this farm in motion.

  We popped over to Puma Yu’s for a delicious Thai inspired dinner and a bunch more laughs to round out the night.

  All this to say that yesterday started off rough and exhausted and ended up being one of the best days we’ve had in awhile.  We are incredibly fortunate to have such endearing family and friends and a community filled with creatives.

  Check out R. Wood Studio to see where it all started and where it still continues.

  In farm news, we are having a FLOWER SALE TODAY and TOMORROW in the farm store!

  It’s our last flowers of the spring y’all and we want them all to go to good homes, so we have cut prices.  All the plants are currently coming out of our tunnels and we are starting to plant cover crop to make the soil healthy for next year’s crops.

  Our dahlia tuber sale continues as well, so check that out if you want beautiful, productive,  heat tolerant varieties at low prices for your garden or farm.

  We’re updating our rooted heirloom chrysanthemum cuttings offerings and they’ll go on sale tomorrow (Saturday) at 10am!

  I’m off to have another day with family and to cook up a low country boil this evening for us and Mandy’s folks and our friends from Comer Coffee..…who, by the way, will be hosting a huge sale this weekend for Aslyn’s amazing clothing collection that she’s been curating for her side business for the last decade.  She’s moving on and closing out her clothing business at “everything must go” prices, so if you wanna look dazzling and save a few bucks in the process, come to Comer this Saturday…and then come get some flowers!