My Memory Wall (Tribute to My Mother)

Well – it has been one year ago today that my sweet mother, Margie Willene Reynolds (a.k.a. “Mimi”), passed away.  In ways it feels like it was just a few months ago.  But I am fortunate in that there are so many things around the farm that remind me of her that it helps ease the pains.  She is infused – embedded with this place.  Here on the farm whether it is seeing her poppies or Cox’s Comb flowers blooming everywhere…..seeing that old park bench in the front flower bed where she would take a “sitting spell” after working up a sweat weeding her flower beds….adding a new colored bottle to her infamous bottle tree (she had this bottle tree LONG before it was cool to have such a thing in your yard)…..watching her old fashioned climbing rose bloom…..when I see bluebirds at their birdhouses or the hummingbirds begging for more food at her feeder…..sitting out on her screened in back porch…..looking towards High Point which was Moma’s beloved view to which seemed to anchor her here……or when I give each tour through her “Mimi’s Guest House”.  Opportunities abound to remember ………………………….and to smile.


As most of you know, I did a major make-over of her home earlier this year so that we could offer it for on-site lodging and wedding day usage.  I often to refer to it as my “therapy” as I tried so hard to not only do this renovation on a dime’s budget (oh, Moma would be tickled to know that I kept it on a tight budget) but it also gave me a creative outlet.  Mothers and daughters are a complicated duo.  So much alike – so much different – how do you reckon those two?  I did want to put my spin on things – my eclectic approach but I did not want to totally remove her either.  For the guests who come to Mimi’s Guest House (named in her honor of course), little do they know that this was once an old lady’s home.  Little do they know that there are touches of Mimi everywhere.

Her kitchen strainer becomes a pendant light cover….her revamped bookcases displaying many of her favorite books and china…..her brass chandelier repainted and given new life…..her hope chest from her childhood as a coffee table……her father’s dresser and her teapots set out as decor items……her old quilt on the back of a porch rocking chair…….her bed frame repainted to take on a whole new vibe….the auction flier from 1976 where they purchased the farm framed and posted…..some of her heirloom pictures and many of her own pieces of art hung on the walls….and the infamous “American Gothic” pose of Moma and Daddy with the tattered and torn old farmhouse in the background….and more.

One of the most heartfelt projects on this house though is what I refer to as “My Memory Wall.”

As you enter the foyer you have stairs going up and stairs going down.  There was old torn wallpaper on both sides – chest high and down.  As I pondered the possibilities of how to redo this, none of the traditional options clicked.  I then remembered one of the neat memories of our first year at the farm (back in 1976…..I was 18).  The old farmhouse had decrepit steps going from the main floor down to the root celler.  To help add a touch of “old-fashioned insulation” to this area – they had glued old newspapers in-between the studs in this stairwell.  The cool part was that it was from 1939.  We had a blast looking at that (ooooh, I wish I had kept part of it now….).  Funny seeing how much a piano went for – what “modern” meant back then in regards to a refrigerator or stove – what unusual classified ads were included.  Anyway – being inspired with this memory, I set out to do the same, in essence.  My mother was just shy of a pack rat of sorts.  She kept tons of pictures, memorabilia, old magazines, old encyclopedias, old letters, boxes and boxes of them…….to which I needed (and did) sort through after her death.  What to do with all of this?  It all meant something to her but keeping it all was so not practical when there were many others items to ponder their fate as well.  Ah, a memory wall.

To the casual “passerby” it looks like a funky “vintage farm” wallpaper.  I did try to disguise my purpose a bit.  I used old encyclopedias and cut out old farm pictures – cows, old tractors, cowboys, old farmers and such.  But – I also infused much more.  Look closely and you can see some photos of my mother – when a child with her dog, out on her lawn ready for prom, plowing the fields behind the mule….and more. Vintage newspaper clippings – love letters from my dad to her in their newlywed years – a classified advertisement for our Chattanooga home when it went up for sale before moving to the farm – pages from her infant baby book – pages from her childhood reader.

I added some zingers too….fun things!  Like a drawing from my brother, Terry, who drew their new house sitting out in the field with embedded old tires as “landscaping edges”….with a broke car out  front and such (bottom left).  He had told my parents that they were turning into Green Acres (that 70’s TV show about a couple of New Yorkers moving to the country).  So he drew it on the fly – gave it to Moma – got a good laugh out of it – but she kept it stashed away for all of those years…and now….it lives on the wall FOREVER!!!  I added the newspaper clipping that she had kept of the “engagement announcement for me and David from 1980.  I added one of our horse pedigree papers and even one of David’s grandfather’s pig pedigree papers (who knew pigs had pedigrees?).  Most people know of “Where is Waldo?” but here at the farm… is a fun exercise of the wit to come sit on the stairs and do a “Where is Mimi?” investigation.  The grandkids have fun pointing to a bare-butted kid and saying “Is this Mimi????” to which I say “nope – that is not her butt,” but they keep looking and do find pictures of her.  It gives us an opportunity to talk about her – see her as a young vibrant woman – tell stories of the past – and smile.

Mimis Guest House


I am indeed fortunate.  A walk through my own home which reveals things of hers that I so cherish as well.  Toll painted cutting boards she made back in the 60’s, a cupboard full of her china painted plates and vessels…..and much of her paintings both oil and watercolor – most of them were of her beloved farm.

So you can see….my mother was a talented woman with a multitude of interests.  She is gone but not forgotten.  Yes – today is a bit melancholy but how blessed I am to have a mother like her….and as time passes on – I realize it more and more.  Her influence was broad, her loving attention to others is renown, and her legacy continues.   Thanks for this indulgence in the more personal side of things… me the opportunity to tout her helps me quite a bit today – it is almost like writing a letter to her to say “I love you.”

















A Bit of Multi-Cultural, A Bit International, A Bunch of Love (Photos from Kelly & Ken by Cooper and Co. Photography)

Unique weddings happen quite often here at the farm.  Some are high flutin’ and some are simple….some have a Bohemian flair and others are very elegant and chic…..some have 200 guests while some are intimate with 50……some have guests who are mainly local and some have guests from all corners of the world.  Ken and Kelly’s wedding certainly stands out in unique ways even beyond what we have seen before.

The two met while in college here in Georgia.  Ken’s parents are from Africa and have lived in Georgia now for quite some time.  The barn held guests with such diversity – many guest had flown over from Africa just for this occasion… on both sides of the aisle were intent in coming and showing support for this couple.  Maybe on the surface it looks as though this couple has many differences but just the opposite is true.  Faith – family – and love…..all the essentials were there…..and more.

There was such attention to detail at this wedding.  Turquoise painted bottles, antiques and heirlooms, peach and turquoise hints of color added here and there, varying shades of turquoise dresses, a hanging chandelier for the ceremony, hand-painted table numbers, cutesy straws, window pane seat assignments, and more.

Of course she had bridesmaids and him with groomsmen.  Yes – the men were all very dapper (so smart to let the groomsmen not have their jackets) and the women gorgeous (love, love the varying shades of colors of her bridesmaids dresses)….but what a solid group of friends Ken and Kelly have!  During the toasts, it was full of laughs and lots and lots of praise for the character of both of them.  What a rare thing to have such a support system to begin their new life together.

Oh, let me mention the cake.  Kudos, major kudos to Sugar Chic Bakery!  Wow…..what a beauty – how stunning.   I don’t think I have seen one quite like it before.  I didn’t get a taste of it – it must’ve been truly amazing taste wise too for it was all consumed.  I inserted this photo on a large scale so you can see it close up – and get amazed….and salivate.

shades of turquoise wedding cake, barn wedding,Photos by



The bride and groom were all game with pictures.  If Kelly wasn’t a model prior to coming to the farm – she should become one…and even Ken seemed to take naturally to all of this posing.  Maybe he just shines around Kelly.

And the families – oh what fun they were.  I went up and asked Ken’s dad, “So….have you ever been to a barn wedding before?” to which he replied, “Indeed –  weddings in my country (*** and so sorry that I cannot remember which country he said) most of the weddings are barn weddings.”  Of course I was so surprised….for I was just so positive that this whole farm wedding thing…in the barn reception thing…..was SO foreign to him…but NO!  He said, “Barns are the largest buildings so naturally they would host weddings.”  So – no fret – no sweat….they were having a delightful time.  Kelly even changed towards late evening into the traditional garb of her husband’s family…..and cut the rug on the dance floor.  Two families had become one.

Their photographer, Sonja with Cooper and Co. Photographers was new to the farm.  She was on cloud nine from the moment she arrived till she left at the nights end.  She told me, “I feel like I hit the lottery!”  She was so excited about shooting here at the farm and having this amazing multi-cultural and international flair wedding shoot.  She remarked how easy it was to photograph Kelly…..”she makes it easy for me…..she knows how to pose and change angles.”  And shoot she did.  She was so generous in sharing the gallery with us…many many detail shots.


So the night ended….as they do…..but this group – we just knew that they were one of the special ones.  Kelly and Ken – I hope you come to the farm again.  Grab your photographer again, visit the farm, and take those maternity photos when the time comes!…..we would so love to see you guys again and I hope you know how blessed we were to have you part of farm history!                                                                                                               ~Margie


Remembering the Sunflowers (Megan and Brett’s Wedding by In His Image Photo)

As fall embraces the farm and a few perennials lingers, it is fitting to look back at one of our mid-summer weddings.  Megan and Brett’s wedding took advantage of the massive sunflowers blooms that dotted our garden and fields.  These large multicolored sunflowers almost look photo-shopped here but of course were not.  Nothing quite sunflowers – that just know how to make a splash.

Megan’s mom……..was a very good friend to my own mother so when we heard that she was anxious to have her wedding here at the farm (and she has been wanting this for years now…..), we were happy to find a suitable date for her and her fiance, Brett.  There was a lot of “family and friends” involvement in this wedding and I think they did an amazing job.

I love the way they dolled up the rustic arbor.  That touch of elegance made a statement for this ceremony.  The guys were dapper in their vests – and so smart of Megan to not dress them in coats for this July ceremony.

Megan’s wedding gown choice was superb – and fit her to a tee – as you can see.  The lace and the open back – wow….very lovely.

This was a very happy and cheerful bunch as a bridal party.  I hope that Brett and Megan know how fortunate they are to have such a treasure…..of supportive family and friends… they start their new life.

It is always good to have In His Image Photography back again.  She has this talent for making her brides at ease…and she can find those sweet spots around the farm – those that can produce photos like this…..gorgeous!              ~Margie

Marissa and Cole – Vintage Summertime Wedding (by KC Photography)

I met Marissa and Cole when they came to do their engagement photos here at the farm.  We took some time to talk about how to decorate for her wedding.   I knew then that Marissa and her wedding would be a delight to plan.  …we love so many of the same things.  She had some treasures she wanted to infuse into the layout (love it when they bring some of their own things that are personal to them).  She wanted vintage – and lace – and turquoise – touch of deep orange – lots of vibrant color.  She had a great line up of vendors – and good plan – and for sure – a wonderful fiance who made Marissa laugh.  Just look at his expression (above).  She looks tickled pink and he struts with pride.  They were as cute as can be with their engagement pictures – let me show a couple of my favorites here.

So wedding day was no different than I had imagined.  Marissa had a smile on her from the moment she arrived till the final departure.  Her wedding dress was stunning…lots of layers.  Classy, clean lines, great fitting, and  it actually looked like it would be fun to wear and dance in!  It looked beautiful on the hanger………………..

and it certainly looked beautiful on Marissa.  Marissa looked like a perfect little china-doll…..beautiful skin, I might add.  She knew how to pose which made taking stunning photos much easier for KC Photography – new to the farm.

Marissa had very supportive bridesmaids as well.  Their pale smoky turquoise dresses really popped with her bouquet color choices.  Love it!  Not to overlook the handsome men….they were lookers too.

Her style was what I refer to as rustic chic…..a touch of vintage – no quilts or burlap……clean and elegant…..lots of color and lanterns and votives.  Fun fun!  Humphrey Florist did an amazing job on the floral urns, pergola garland, and bouquets – so stunning.  We dressed up her head table with lots of doilies, moss, unique vintage china pieces as bud vases, and colored goblets.  My goodness – she even had a piano brought in and set up in the grove for ceremony music.

Doesn’t this look like a fun wedding to go to?  It was!  Pretty sure that everyone had a grand time – I know that Marissa and Tyler did.

Colors were vibrant – dresses were stunning – food was delicious but most importantly – Marissa and Cole continually demonstrated their love for each other… sweet looks at each other during the day and lots of chuckles too. They glowed in each others presence.  Their love story was their past,  as well as their special day, and the beginning of their future.  What a cute adorable couple…..look at their faces.

Thank you KC Photography (and Marissa) for sharing these amazing photos with us.  It was easy to relive this special days.  You definitely made our farm look beautiful – and thank you for all of the detail shots too.  Come to the farm anytime.

Food Works Food Review

I warned – I threatened – yep, I did!  Food Works catered for the Sandy wedding last weekend.  What a big production it all was.  They hauled in a huge hot box contraption and even rolled in a smoker type grill to help “finish off” some of their entrees.  So as I finally made it to the buffet “wagon” right before they were going to break down for the night – I asked them if I could make a plate – to sample their delicacies.

I warned them that it had to be awesome before I would blog about them….but that I promised that I would sing to the hills if it was delicious.  The staff had no problem in offering me food and felt quite confident that it was going to meet with my high expectations.  I am not a gourmet connoisseur but I do sample most of the food that comes here to the farm – partly out of necessity after a long days work and partly out of obligation to make sure that our Vendor Suggestion Page is kept pure and legit.  The staff has to be professional – capable – and respect our property.  The food and its presentation has to dazzle visually but ultimately….food needs to delight…..Am I right?….or am I right?

Well – I now wish that I had taken a photo of my plate.  Prime rib, cheesy grits and shrimp, and asparagus….a wonderful menu selection by our bride -for sure.  Prime rib was tender – tasty – pink as it should be without looking raw – and served at a proper temperature.  Cheesy grits and shrimp – delightful and the asparagus still had a touch of crunch to it but sauteed to taste.  Too tasty not to sing about here on the blog….and actually…..quite a feat that at the very end of the line and towards the end of the day that the food still was as delicious as it should be.  Food Works was determined to produce a memorable gourmet feast….and they succeeded.  Guests were free with their comments of how impressed they were with the food in our non-restaurant environment.  We do allow our brides to choose their vendors but our recommendations are to use our resources with our vendor suggestions.  Food Works is on our list and in fact, they even partnered with us this year with the Hawthorne Publication brochure. (Thank you Food Works!) They are also a great option for rehearsal dinner dining.  I can verify first hand that they are still up to par and will please your discriminating pallet…..I am quite confident of that.


Now……hum……….wonder which caterer is coming this weekend!  Oh yes – Events With Taste…..another one of our favorites.  My work is never done – LOL!                                                                   ~Margie


(Here is our e-brochure.)

Those Bits of Flair – Here and There (Kennedy & Tyler by Imago Photography)

Tyler and Kennedy – what a couple.  This was just a fun wedding to witness from all sorts of angles.  The picture above is stunning – with the gorgeous skyline in the background and the loving couple kissing in the foreground.  Tyler in his cowboy duds and Kennedy like a Southern princess – this day was dotted with bits of flair here and there.  All of those personal touches is one of the things that made this wedding stand out.


As the photos attest, much thought was put into the vision of this day.  The family heirlooms on the church pews, vintage hankies for “happy tears”, and those gorgeous turquoise boots!  And Tyler – a good ole’ boy – who looked so snazzy in his duds – sure did adore his bride, Kennedy…it shows.

Imago Photography is one of our regulars.  Their work certainly speaks for itself but I must say…there is magic here in these photos.  I love this next one of Kennedy.

Another beautiful day – gorgeous wedding – barn full of happy family and friends – and a happy new couple started their new chapter here at the farm.  And look – she even got to kiss the goat………..luck is coming her way!


How Blessed We Are! Witness the Wedding of Kelsi and Josh by Caressa Rogers Photography

Oh what a week or two we have had here at the farm.  Somehow we agreed to host three weddings last weekend then two this weekend.  Add to all of that the fact that there has been over a foot of rain that has hammered the southeast.  Sometimes – we are just tired and wore out and Monday’s come around and we are thankful to sleep in and take a breath……slow down……..recover – body, mind, and soul.

Well – this  Monday was more exceptional than I imagined because the photo galleries from several weddings began flooding in.  I sat here at my laptop and just was in awe………….Awe not only of the beautiful couple that was before me in living color (for they are), and not only of the very talented photographer (Caressa Rogers Photography) who captured this special moment in time as if a magic potion was brewing in her camera (for she is), but…….also in awe of the realization (again) to know “how blessed we are!”  We are in the front row proverbially (in the back row literally) to a day that will live in infamy….a day that two people (and a host of family and friends) will remember and cherish forever.  Who gets to say that?  Not the accountant – not the secretary – not the truckdriver.  We are fortunate – may I remember this more vividly when my body and feet ache after a busy weekend.

So – enough delay.  Let me show you a bit more of this amazing wedding!  Kelsi and Josh – what a couple.  You can see it visually that these guys are in love.  No if’s and’s or but’s….you SEE it….you KNOW it.


There were so many decorating touches here and there that made this wedding so stunning….many of the items are available here at the farm – old funky windows, distressed turquoise table, our chandeliers, that gorgeous turquoise hutch and vintage wares, even our old blue mason jar collection…but with our policy of allowing our brides control of their decorating – they become so very creative in arranging our freebie decor items – with their decor items – and with any of our extra rentals….and it crafts a look specific to the bride.  Hang a window here – set the hutch out there – add this and that…Kelsi and her mom did a beautiful job with laying it all out.


vintage wedding, farm wedding, barn wedding

It was a beautiful sunny day and the sky an amazing color of blue.  The dots of turquoise here and there added some grand pizzazz to her color pallet.  The white picket fence adds that bit of vintage to this photo – I think it is a unique one….not sure that I have seen this angle before – kudos to Caressa Rogers Photography for finding a new angle.

Don’t you just love it when the guys go a bit whimsical and add a crazy batch of funky socks to their wardrobe!

We witnessed a foot washing at this wedding.  Both Josh and Kelsi took turns.  It is always such a reverent thing to watch.  I don’t want to fully assume I know why they chose include this into their ceremony but I will express my opinions on its intent and importance (assuming many may not know).  Jesus washed His disciples feet – an act of love (humble love) but also to show service to them.  It is a demonstration of love – not just words which are indeed part of the vows — but an “act” of love.  It shows honor and respect and demonstrate that humbleness as you kneel before your spouse and wash their feet.  Typically feet would be filthy and dirty (which of course they were not on this day) but the symbolism is that you love – you humble yourself – you serve – you honor your spouse even if they were filthy or dirty – no preconditions.  It demonstrates that no matter what – I will be there for you.  Even to sit in the chair and have your feet washed is an act in of itself.  It “receives” your spouses act of love which is often a challenge.  It shows you the love and reaffirms that you won’t go this road alone.  It acknowledges this effort and shows your spouse that you will allow “their help and support” which again…is often a difficult thing in a marriage – to agree to help and to agree to be together in thought and action.  As the two take turns with this demonstration – they each learn to submit and they each learn to serve even from a position of power.  It all seems so very powerful and yet so intimate.

One minor crisis arose.  Somehow the container for the seat assignment didn’t get packed.  Just hours before the guests were to arrive was the revelation discovered.  I went to Mimi’s Guest House and raided her kitchen with all of these turquoise vessels.  I am kinda a turquoise nut – can you tell?  My collection of knickknacks came in quite handy as well as some vintage glass dessertware.  We filled them each with sand and snuggled the letters and seat assignments into each and displayed them all on the vintage cupboard.  It all just looked “fittin’.”   Crisis averted – mother of the bride was happy – time for guest to arrive.

Does it just all seems magical to you?  The sunflowers blooming – the sparkler fog that creates this cool backdrop for the send off kiss?  This beautiful couple who seemed to have such a delightful time – all day long – with all of it!  Yes – what a day it was….and I got to be a witness to it!  I have to end with this next photo…it is truly amazing.  This should be submitted to a magazine or online wedding blog…it is that good.  Seems like this truck belonged to a grandfather and might have actually ended up with this groom – not sure on that story….but it did…………it definitely made for a stunning photo op!  Love it!….Can somebody find me one to keep – for the farm?  That just what I need….so gorgeous and TURQUOISE…my favorite color to boot.  Does a picture get any better than this?                       And for the many many followers of my blog…….time to begin hearing from you guys – please comment here or on facebook….it is lonely on the blog without comments.                       ~Margie



Awesome Wedding – Awesome Couple – Talented Videographers

I have already touted this wedding and their photographer, Blue Vinyl Creative, on an earlier post.  The whole gallery is amazing.  I swear they should be picked up by a wedding magazine – they are both beautiful and gorgeous as the eyes can attest.  Fortunately – this couple is both beautiful and gorgeous inside as well – a much more rare feature but one that is praised beyond the physical attributes.  So as you viewed the photo gallery – it was easy to be drawn to the visuals.  The day was perfect – the farm was in bloom from every direction – the bride looked stunning in her gown – the groom with his suspenders gave a fanciful touch to the event…..and….Charlie at Blue Vinyl Creative created some stunning art work.

But….to hear the words – see the reactions – listen to the quiver in the voices – see the wind blow in the trees – you can feel as though you were there when you watch a video.  Hampton Road Studios filmed the video for Kaitlynn and Brennan.  They are visual storytellers – they bring to life the memories of the day.  They have graciously shared their video with us and you today.  Grab your hanky and be prepared for a cry – and a maybe a laugh.  Jump back and time and enjoy a taste of the day – the special day of Kaitlynn and Brennan.

How fortunate we are to have been a part of that day – to see and hear such a testimony of love.  It has been stated (by A.J. Jacobs) that “Unconditional love is an illogical notion, but such a great and powerful one.”   Often logic is best tossed aside and we relish in the supernatural – of two souls becoming one….and we – are fortunate to be witnesses of two committed hearts vowing love to each other.

We are so tickled to have had Hampton Road Studios (Matt and Ashley) back to the farm again.  They are the talented artists who created our “Intro Video” several years ago.  They are a sweet and endearing couple themselves that we enjoyed getting to know a bit and now we are excited that they have moved from Alabama to “10 minutes down the road” …so are hopes is that they will be visiting the farm more often.  I will include the intro video here so you can see it too.  Many things have changed since then….it is rather nostalgic just to watch it myself now.  We have added the Dance Hall – more trees and gardens – many new features actually -so in some ways, the intro needs to be revised and updated.  But….as storytellers – you can see how well they treated us and our “new farm wedding venture” clip.  It feels as though they were able to touch the heart of our business – our intent.

I cannot say enough nice things about Hampton Road Studios.  They are on our Vendor Suggestion Page and we know you will be pleased with their services.  From a wedding expert (and….I can call myself a wedding expert now – right?…..), I will say that you get your monies worth when you acquire a professional videographer and have your wedding day captured “in motion – with sound”….it brings back the moments (and often refreshes your memories) unlike digital photographs can…so if you can swing it in your budget – I highly recommend it!                                                              ~ Margie


Showing Off a Few of My Favorite Pics from Lacie’s Wedding – by Taylor Fricks Photography

Stunning shot – likely the first one behind the farmhouse.  This brick patio area has these very very old “handmade” bricks that age wise are about 150+ years old.  This patio is behind the old farmhouse with purple Butterfly bushes and fuchsia colored Cox’s Comb flowers blooming right and left…..moss covering the bricks and old picket fence – all these little attributes help this photographer capture this vintage flavored shot.

This black and white photo of Lacie in the barn doorway – love it!  It surely helps to have a great  figure like Lacie has  but wow – what a great photo.

This is another amazing photo with the wild blend of colors from the browns in the patio rock and the crazy colors in the barn doors.  Great pose here and yes – great kiss!                                                                                                                                                        ~Margie

Gallery Pics from Kara and Josh by Angel Wings Photography

This wedding has a whole story behind it – most of it I don’t fully know.  What I do know is this is one of our many “military weddings” where Kara and Josh have been waiting for literally years for this event – to finally get married after his deployment.  Many family and friends have been anxiously awaiting this day.  There were a lot of little special touches here and there that helped make this day extra special.

What a beautiful bride Kara made.

And…………aren’t these just the cutest flower girls?  Boy – these girls know how to smile at the camera – great photo!                    ~Margie

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