Sunday, November 19, 2017

#Givingtuesday -- My Giving Story

I have sent in an application for a grant through #GivingTuesday and published My Story, in hopes of getting some grant money for PHOENIX CIRCLE FOUNDATION.  Grant money will be awarded to the Story that gets the MOST VOTES on their website.   It WON'T COST YOU A CENT to help us get votes.   Simply go to this website:,  scroll down to the section "My Giving Story Gallery" and in the small search box, type in Phoenix Circle Foundation.  The story I posted will then pop up.  Read it and, hopefully, you'll vote for it.  Every person can vote once a day, every day. 

We'll be posting more about the contest and updates in the next week.  THANKS to all who support our efforts!!  /Linda

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Busy Month of October

Oct. 29, 2017  Here in northwest Oklahoma, the weather is moving toward winter and bypassing the moderate days of autumn.  We went from 90 degrees a couple of weeks ago to overnight temperatures in the 40's and close to freezing point (I don't know exactly what the temp got down to, but it was in the 30's and the windchill factor took it into the 20's.  And we do have strong winds.  I spent one pleasant day this week, when it was 53 degrees, bringing my  house plants inside for the winter.  Drew has lots of succulents and we need to find a place for them indoors.  The century plants from my dad's garden have thrived and gotten larger over the summer, and they will go into the garage.  I'll repot them in the spring. 

We've kept busy with guests at the retreat.  We held a fundraiser for Phoenix Circle Foundation, with an art auction and a house concert, and Andy and some volunteers worked to remove the front of the Arts Building in town and replace it with new frontage.  We wanted that done before the Cheese Festival on Oct. 13. 

 I am continually looking for money for economic development and am currently working on a grant application targeted toward Main St Beautification.   Our GoFundMe campaign is still up and running but I haven't updated it in a while -- hopefully will get to that today.  We appreciate all donations.

We hosted Brian Pounds and Grace Pettis, two fabulous singer/songwriters from Austin, on the night of our Art Auction.  We made a couple hundred dollars and still have art left for sale.  All art pieces were donated by some really good artists.  While driving around the state promoting that event, I made lots of contacts in the arts and music scene.

Gotta run...... will pick up when I get back from running errands.   /Linda 

Friday, October 20, 2017

New member of the family

After 13 years of devoted love and service as the Estate Hound and companion of the Chaparral Retreat, our very special rescue dog, Skeeter, laid down and said his goodbye.  We knew it was inevitable at some point and he lived longer than expected.  About two years ago he had to have two blood transfusions, his bone marrow was not making new red blood cells.  He was put on steroids by the local vet and his lab work sent to the OSU veterinary department for testing.  Nothing came back that would cause his condition of not producing red blood cells, no pathogens or other conditions, so the vet put him on steroids and an anti-inflammatory tabs for two years.  He continued to be active, made his rounds around the property every day, liked to chase the squirrels and the visiting lab puppy from next door.  He ate well, had a set routine of feeding, exercise, and rest.  Slowly over time, his hind legs began to give way - probably arthritis. But he still persevered.  We tried to limit his use of stairs when we noticed his back legs going out from under him.  It wasn't until the very last day that he decided he didn't want to eat, drink, or get up to walk around.  I've been through these signs before with my dad -- his organs were giving out and he was ready to let go.  Both of them, my dad and Skeeter, lived a full and happy life and left this earth on their own terms.  Skeeter will forever be a part of our lives and our property.

We had wrangled with the idea of getting a younger dog for Skeeter to mentor in the last year and weighed the benefits and pluses.  Skeeter was too old to tolerate another dog on the property a we had witnessed from his relationship with a neighbor dog that regularly came over onto our property.  We wanted a two-year old dog, one who would be a good herder for when we get sheep or goats, but we weren't in a hurry to get another pet.  Deep down I wanted a "lap dog" but one that would spend time outside and the evenings inside, small enough to snuggle with. We weren't actively looking, as we were still mourning the loss of Skeeter.  But Skeeter was irreplaceable and we accepted that and were willing to be patient.  

On day on facebook I saw a dog in Watonga available, an Australian mini Shepherd.  I knew the breeder, and arranged to visit the puppy, four months old.  JayC had been bought to learn from the family's existing pet, an elderly Chihuahua mix.  Evidently they didn't get along, the Chihuahua wasn't pleased with having a young pup who wanted to play around.  I visited the puppy twice, then called Andy to come see her.  She was a full-bred Austrailian mini, sweet as could be, though full of energy and a little skittish, but was crate-trained and we were told she was "partially" house trained.  Andy succumbed to my thought that JayC could be a good pet . Between visits to see the dog, we researched the breed -- they are intelligent, very social, likes lots of activity, good with other dogs and cats.  So I asked for her as an early Christmas present.  She was 4 months ago, had all of her shots but had not been neutered.  She rode in the car calmly but was skittish and even submissive, but we knew he was intelligent and we gave her lots of love and spent a lot of time with her both indoors and outdoors.  She runs like a greyhound and jumps like a rabbit.  We are crate training her for overnight and for when we are gone from the house.  We have found her to be a sweet girl, and a smart puppy. We changed her name to Sadie (from the Beatles Sexy Sadie), which has the same sound and syntax as JayC.  I can't help but call her Skeeter and Itzel every once in a while.  During the past three weeks she has been a good companion, does well in the house and likes to explore outside, gets along with the cats if they get along with her. I think Skeeter would approve of Sadie taking his place at the Retreat.   

Sunday, September 24, 2017

House Concert and Silent Art Auction

After the Cheese Festival is over, come back on Sunday, October 15, for something a little different!  

Wine Tasting, Watonga Cheese, House Concert and Silent Art Auction

Fundraiser at the Chaparral Retreat & GUESTHOUSE

Hwy 8A (Road to ROMAN NOSE STATE PARK) , 4 Mi North of Watonga OK 73772
email: * Cell:   940-735-1065



Tuesday, August 29, 2017


This is the tourism information I am submitting for a Rack Card to distribute to visitors to Watonga.  If anyone sees anything in any of the categories they think should be added, send me an email message at   (formatting, fonts, etc. will be done by the printer

gateway to
(See BLAINE COUNTY OK COMMUNITY on Facebook for events throughout the year)


 Chaparral Retreat & Guesthouse (B&B)   located 4 mi
             north of Watonga on State HWY 8A
             (road to Roman Nose  Park)

Noble House B&B  (

Roman Nose State Park Lodge –
           OK HWY 8A  - Lodging and Restaurant
          Campsites, fishing lake, 580-623-7281

Watonga Motel  1-888-854-5709


Applemarket Deli & Grocery Store –
                             W.  Main Street

Roman Nose Lodge Restaurant
El  Rancho Grande Mexican
         Restaurant-115 N.  Noble

Eagle’s Nest – 11th St. & Weigle

Sonic Drive-In  -- Hwy 33

Hi-De-Ho Restaurant, Hwy 33

The Oven (outdoor wood-fired pizza)
             Reservations Required- 580-623-4269

General Store in Roman Nose State Park

The Garden Spot-–W. Hwy 33

China King Buffet – Hwy 33

Hutch’s Gas Station & Grill

Pizza Hut (Hwy 281 (South)

Subway Sandwiches (inside Love’s Gas) 


Whirlwind Winery, 109 E. Main

Big Bobbins –quilting, notions
                   121 E. Main St., 405-537-9950

Country Home Antiques 580-623-2599

Hitek Designs – 119 E. Main St - Gifts

Watonga Floral &  Gifts – 108 E. Main

             June’s Plant Place – Hwy 33 – Gifts and
                    Watonga Cheese – 580-623-8579

            Dollar General – 100 S. Clarence Nash

Tractor Supply – 220 S. Clarence Nash

Do-it-Best Hardware – 120 N. Weigle

Swann’s Pharmacy and Gifts  (next to
                       Applemarket Grocery Store) –
                       W.  Main Street


     Oklahoma House Concerts (live music) at
              The Chaparral Retreat & Guesthouse
               580-623-4269  or 940-735-1065

     Lucky Star Casino – Hwy 281 (South)

     Liquid ART – art lesson + wine at the

      Whirlwind Winery  - call 580-623-4269

      Watonga Cheese Festival – 2nd weekend
              in October.  Contact the Chamber of
              Commerce for information --

      Roman Nose Hills Trail Ride

      Watonga Golf Course -  580-623-4674

      Golf Course at Roman Nose State Park  -
              Call 580-623-7281


     TB Ferguson Home & Museum
               519 N. Weigle, Call 580-623-5069

    Ferguson Presbyterian Chapel


© Blaine County OK Community  June 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

August Update

PHOENIX CIRCLE FOUNDATION continues to make strides toward the goal of bringing arts and other educational opportunities to our community.  We want to thank all of our Art Patrons - teachers, parents, friends, and business people who are supporting our efforts to open an Arts Center in Watonga with your donations and attendance at our fundraising events. We are trying to use our GOFUNDME campaign to reach out to a wider audience of philanthropists and hope all of our facebook friends will share those posts.  We also want to thank the Red Carpet Country tourism association, their board of directors and members, for their encouragement and ideas for how the Arts Center can bring more people to our downtown.

Earlier this month Whirlwind Winery hosted a live music concert by Dylan Stewart of Ringling, OK. Dylan has played at the Chaparral Retreat and said he enjoys the small, intimate audience. We had a good crowd;  Dylan played for tips and we brought in some $$ for Phoenix Circle Foundation.  Brad sold a few bottles of wine for visitors to take home.  It was a special evening of entertainment and fellowship.  

This past weekend was the Blaine County Free Fair.  Though it was smaller than in past years, it was exciting to see the 4-H kids' art projects and all of the other exhibits. I didn't enter anything in the Fair this year.  There was a great Barn Quilt workshop at the Foley Building on Saturday,  led by Lynda Latta from Arnett, OK  (Ellis County).  Lynda is a fellow board member of the Red Carpet Country tourism association and is spreading the idea of Watonga being part of a "Quilt Trail".  As she and I visited at the recent Tourism Conference, she suggested that our Arts Center would be a great place to host future barn quilt workshops, once our doors are open.  Lynda has also talked to our Chamber of Commerce director and to Terri Crawford, head librarian, about putting up barn quilt squares in the vacant lot on east Main Street, where a building was recently demolished. Painting Barn Quilt squares could be an arts project for older 4-H Club members. I will be attending a Rural Development Seminar in October in Woodward for training.

Speaking of the Oklahoma Tourism Conference held this month in Enid, OK ... we had great speakers who shared ideas on how small towns like Watonga can "reinvent" themselves to attract more tourism dollars without giving up their history, culture, and "small town" identity.  I was also given information by Jeanette Nance from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful about grants they have available, and one in particular that could help us with the renovation costs for the building at 111 E. Main Street.  I'm sending in our application today!!

I helped out at the Whirlwind Winery this past Saturday and we were busy all day with people from OKC, Duncan, Bethany, Winfield KS, and other visitors who came to the area to visit Roman Nose State Park or to stay at the Chaparral Retreat. As the representative for Blaine County on a state tourism board, I have to disagree with a local resident's comment that "people [tourists] only come to Watonga and the Park to camp and fish". Every visitor we had on Saturday asked "what else is there to do in Watonga?" This town has a rich history, like the TB Ferguson Home and Museum, we can share with tourists.  Two couples said they were going over to El Rancho Grande for dinner, and another couple said they were going to the Lodge to eat.  I try to keep a supply of "WELCOME TO WATONGA" rack cards on the stand at the Winery and on Saturday ended up giving away almost all that we had on hand!

Phoenix Circle Foundation gave out over $200 in school supplies this month, and still had more requests.  We didn't promote the school supply giveaway as much this year as in years past because we noticed several other "school supply drives" being promoted. We will continue that mission next year and maybe start a little earlier to let families know that supplies will be available.  

Carla Burdick, executive director of Red Carpet Country tourism association, is going to be the program at Kiwanis this coming Wednesday.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fundraising for an Arts Center in Watonga

Aug 17, 2017
Everything is going well at the Chaparral Retreat and I need to spend some time focusing on my "pet" project ....

 111 E. Main St., Watonga, OK   73772

My focus these days is getting the building pictured above transformed from the eyesore it is now to an inviting building, before the annual  Cheese Festival. in October of this year.
We've invested our hearts and souls and money, and many friends and acquaintances (many of whom don't even live here) have also contributed finanially in support of the the idea of having an arts creative space on Main St.  The benefits can be phenomenal and I continue to pray that the town's community leaders and businesses that are headquartered here will support our GOFUNDME campaign (search PHOENIX CIRCLE FOUNDATION and click on the Scissortail Creative Space picture, then make a donation.) PCF is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so donations from individuals are tax-deductible (businesses can deduct the donation as "promotion or advertising" but we recommend you talk to your tax advisor).

The second photo here is just an idea of what we intend for the new front to look like. 

We have applied for several grants and have found that they all EXCLUDE funding for "construction and capital improvements", and so we have to rely on the kindness and generosity of people and companies that are interested and willing to invest in an educational facility and an economic development project.  As a member of the OK Tourism Red Carpet Country association board, I have seen how a little "fix-up" to a town's Main St. can bring in tourism dollars + provide additional income from taxes and utilities.

I know in my heart that this is a "God thing", that this project is meant to be. I have faith that others' hearts will be opened and prayers will be answered. As the Barrett family and Phoenix Circle Foundation has supported programs and fundraisers for other organizations and causes in Watonga, we believe this community will come together to support this project.