Our rooms were booked throughout the spring and summer with guests in the area for family reunions, school reunions, weekend getaways, the Roman Nose Hills Trail Ride, friends visiting us, and House Concerts. We held at least one concert a month this year, most at the Retreat but a couple at the Whirlwind Winery. The Winery has turned into a good venue for live music and having concerts there has attracted new people that may not have come out to the house in the country. I also arranged for a band, John the Franklin out of OKC, to play at the Park on July 4th and that was a hit with park management and visitors. We hope to continue that as an annual tradition.
Dylan Stewart at the Whirlwind Winery
The Watonga Chamber of Commerce has a new director -Teresa France -- and she has lit a fire in the community, re-igniting the town's relationship with the State Park and bringing fresh ideas to the Chamber board. She jumped right in and found an economic development consultant to spend a few days here and give suggestions to the community on how to "Flip This Town" -- revitalize the downtown, attract new visitors and businesses, and make available some new activities for both adults and children. In the meantime, Andy worked on getting the front facade of the building we bought at 111 E. Main St., Watonga, redone with the help of a grant from KeepOklahomaBeautiful and we were able to have a photo op while Ron Drake was in town. His visit and input got other people interested in renovating a couple of buildings on Main St.
After a trip to Las Vegas to see Van Morrison and the Beatles/Cirque de Soleil LOVE shows, Andy and I got to see David Byrne in concert in OKC, and James Taylor in Wichita.
Other things we've done so far this year: hired a young man to help trim trees;
We planted a silver maple tree outside of the Texas bedroom;
Andy rescued some crepe myrtles that were being dug up and replaced by other landscape, and we planted them in our yard;
Drew and Jenna got 6 sheep and move them around the yard to eat the grass-helps cut down Andy's mowing time down front of the property;
We served wood-fired pizza dinner to a group of visiting mission students from North Carolina;
I painted my first "Barn Quilt" and Andy put it up on the outside of our building on Main Street;
This month I led a painting class for 4H kids -- they will enter their art for ribbons and cash awards at the Blaine County Fair. I included in the class a short lesson on the Monarch butterfly's migration, feeding grounds, and pollination -- our house is on the migratory path for the Monarch as they make their way from Canada to Mexico for the winter. If you've watched any Nature or Nova shows and have seen photographs of the Monarch in large clusters covering trees, believe that they are really that thick! We've had them linger in our trees for a couple of days and they are amazing to watch as they flutter in and around the property and literally cover the tree leaves, making the branches of the trees look like they are moving. I wish I had a photo, but my phone camera isn't sophisticated enough to get a shot that isn't blurry. I am looking forward to their arrival this year, usually in August or September.
So, it is now almost mid-August -- temperatures are still in the 90's but we've had a little rain and the yard is green and everything is blooming. I celebrated my birthday over a long weekend with friends at the house and then a day trip on Monday to OKC to visit the 21C Museum and eat sushi. Can't ask for better!! Today has been a pleasant day to sit outside on the patio while I catch up on this blog.
I hope this post finds everyone in good health and enjoying a good life! /Linda