Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We had a very white Christmas at the Retreat. It began snowing and blowing on Christmas Eve and continued all night and day. There were blizzard conditions in Oklahoma City, with a total of 14 inches of snow, but we only had about 4-6 inches. Fortunately, Blake had arrived on the Sunday before, and Drew arrived on Monday evening. Andy picked up his dad in OKC on the Wednesday before the snow came in, so we were all snuggly warm in the house during the storm. We had a fire going in the fireplace and Christmas music on the satellite TV.
We spent Thursday cooking tamales and had both chicken in green chile tamales and the traditional pork in red chili sauce, along with fideo. We had invited several friends to join us for an early dinner, but got calls instead saying the weather was too harsh to get out -- and it was! Even the Christmas eve service at the church was canceled!
For Christmas dinner, Andy made a rib roast with horshradish sauce. We also had traditional side dishes, and creme brulee for dessert.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Andy continues to work on the New Mexico suite, even in the freezing temperatures.
Monday, November 30, 2009
We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. We will start decorating for the Christmas holiday in the next week or so.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The temperatures are still pretty moderate -- 45 in the morning, warming up to 60 and a little warmer. This weekend I cut all of the green tomatoes on the plants (there are actually still flowers on the tomato plants!) and plan on making pickled green tomatoes and relish this week. I also gathered seeds from the Cosmos and the marigolds. I am drying some of the marigold flowers to make a garland. I cut some of the still-blooming castor bean flowers and put them in a vase. I was inspired by my friend Jana's visit to bring in some more nature from outdoors. Skeeter loves to walk and run with me around the property, chasing squirrels and rabbits when we can spy one.
We plan on having a bonfire when Drew is here for Thanksgiving, and have been gathering dead wood and piling it up. We are looking forward to a chill in the air without snow yet!
Monday, November 16, 2009
"I woke today to find the frost perched on the ground. It hovered in a frozen sky, and gobbled summer down." - Joni Mitchell
The temperature this morning was 37 degrees as I left for work. This entire week will be overcast and cold according to the forecast. We had rain on Saturday night, and a light drizzle all day on Sunday, which was good for the grounds. Jana brought me some beautiful tulip bulbs that I will get in the ground this afternoon, after work. We had a fire in the fireplace last night and drank hot cocoa. She has a great eye for decor, is very creative, gave me some ideas, and said she will keep her eye out for "treasures" for our rooms. We walked around the grounds and collected some nature for her to take home. It was an inspiring weekend.
We still have rooms available for December (other than Christmas week) !!!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Texas Room -- $59.00
Oklahoma Room -- $59.00 (special rates through the end of2009.
Now is the time to come enjoy the fall weather and color! Each room has a private bathroom and second entry from a private deck. Call us at580-623-4249 or 214-763-3823 for a reservation.
The leaves have changed colors and the winds continue to blow them off of the trees, making a crackling blanket on the ground. But we've had nice temperatures of 55-50 in the morning and highs of 70+, so a lot of the flowers are still blooming. We returned from a trip to Mexico to find the salvia and cosmos in better bloom than during the hot summer! With Daylight Savings Time being over, sundown happens around 6:00 p.m. and we've had some fabulous sunsets. I continue to be amazed at the beauty of our surroundings. We had guests over Halloween weekend -- while we were out of town -- and received rave reviews.
Andy has pretty much finished the plumbing and electrical work on the New Mexico bathroom and is putting up drywall this week. The brick masons are here today to brick the outside. The air tub arrived and Andy will install that next week. We've chosen some terra cotta tile for the floor in the bathroom, and travertine for the walls, which we'll get next week. The goal is to have the room finished before Christmas.
Come see us and enjoy our little slice of heaven!
Monday, October 26, 2009
This past weekend, Oklahoma City hosted a "Ghouls Gone Wild" parade and concert event. We took our camping chairs and sat in a great location near the beginning of the parade route. It was great fun! There were lots of floats with live bands playing along the parade route, vintage cars, and "performance art" by theatre groups and local businesses featuring traditional characters (Dorothy and her companions on the way to OZ), along with zombies, ghouls, and monsters. Many in the audience dressed up. The parade ended with a "thousand flaming skeletons" -- skeletons holding torches as they marched down the street. The parade ended near Bricktown in a large tent where the musical entertainment would continue with concerts by several bands, including the Flaming Lips.
Rooms now available for November:
Texas Room -- $59.00
Oklahoma Room -- $59.00 (special rates through the end of
Now is the time to come enjoy the fall weather and color! Each
has a private bathroom and second entry from a private deck. Call us at
580-623-4249 or 214-763-3823 for a reservation.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Saturday was very cold. But we braved the weather and strolled through the buildings and tents at the festival, bought cheese and wine, saw the art exhibits, and ate carnival food. The wine tasting exhibits were popular, but the small crowds all through the festival was a reflection of the cold weather.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
This past week Andy had the foundation poured for the add-on on the south side of the house, the third bedroom's bathroom. He and Carl Matli would have worked on the framing had the weather not been wet, but they hope to get that done this week. He also had a cement foundation laid for a big rock sign we have ordered.
Andy and I are going to host his high school reunion the first Saturday in October, and one of his classmates is going to stay with us. We are also getting revved up for the upcoming Cheese Festival, which will be held Oct. 9-10. Andy is on the Entertainment Committee, and my friend Robbie and I will be hosting a booth to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen foundation, giving away pink lemonade for donations. Andy hasn't decided yet if he is going to enter the DeSoto in the vintage car parade or show. I know I need to get some pictures posted here, and hopefully will learn how to do that sometime this month -- that is my goal!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Andy is hard at work on the addition to the third bedroom, which was his dad's room at the south end of the house. He has taken the outside brick off the wall, had some cement brought in for wall foundations, and set some of the plumbing for that bathroom. He had to trim off several limbs of a big tree that overhung that end of the house, but we'll be able to keep the tree itself. Andy has also done other trimming of trees around the property to let more light in for the lawn and gardens. The weather right now is perfect -- it was 65 degrees this morning and the high will only be around 84-88 degrees. We are hoping for some rain on Sunday, but Saturday is supposed to be really nice. We've been invited to help harvest grapes for one of the local wineries, so if the weather is nice Andy and I will join in that activity this weekend.
We've done some canning of vegetables from our garden: bread & butter pickles w/jalapenos, and pickled okra. We've been living on fresh salsa from homegrown tomatoes and peppers and jalapenos. We made some pesto from the basil we're growing in the front herb garden. We have some eggplant coming on right now. I planted some castor bean seeds around the barn garden in the spring, which was supposed to keep the gophers away. I don't know if that worked, but the castor bean plants have grown up and are gorgeous, with large red and green leaves and exotic flowers on a six-foot tall stalk! They are annuals, so I can't wait to collect seeds and plant them all around the property for next year.
Friday, August 21, 2009
The vegetable garden is producing lots of cucumbers and we've canned some bread and butter pickles, with jalapeno. We are just now starting to get some okra production and should be able to put up some pickled okra this coming weekend. We've had lots of tomatoes and jalapeno and banana peppers, so Andy has made fresh batches of salsa about every other day. It's been fun to sit on the front porch and eat chips with fresh salsa and drink mojitos!
Our double oven finally gave in and stopped working. It is only about 35 years old and we knew it wouldn't last forever, but we were hoping it would last another year . . . oh well. We aren't ready to remodel the kitchen yet, so Andy will have to be careful and not tear things up too much when he replaces the oven. Actually, he found a new oven unit that will almost fit in the existing space, and since the space is enclosed by brick wall, that is a good thing. He will only have to do a little bit of cutting cement and brick to get the new unit to fit into the same space.
We have been busy cleaning out the living room/dining room space, going through packed boxes and either unpacking or moving boxes to the garage, as we still don't have storage space for everything we brought from Dallas. We're making progress and my goal is to have the living room and dining room set up by the end of September. We aren't going to replace wallpaper or carpet in that room for the time being (money, money, money) and the existing decor is in good shape, so that will be a project for down the road. I do want to get the dining room chairs re-covered (they are currently an orange fabric) this next month. As with all things out here in the country, it will take some research to find someone to do the reupholstery, and to find the fabric. I will probably have to make a trip to the City -- not much is available here in Watonga.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
We continue to work on the gardens, which is a long term project but coming alone. I have lots of things blooming -- crepe myrtles, rose of sharon, cosmos, hibiscus, phlox, calla lily, datura, , salvia, verbena, Turk's cap, and even cactus. Andy has trimmed more trees to let more sun on the yard so that the grass can fill in. We are looking forward to the time we can have a "concert on the lawn." We have only seen one snake this year, and it was in the mouth of a roadrunner! Skeeter, the estate dog, and Mel, the mouser, are really helpful at keeping the unwanted critters at bay, and sometimes even the wanted wildlife. Skeeter loves to chase the squirrels and quail.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Andy has finished building both decks, one outside of the Texas room with a boardwalk to the back patio, and one outside of the Oklahoma room. I have to say that I am very impressed with his workmanship and design. And the placement of each gives a different view at different times of the day.
We had our first real paying guest -- the guitarist Edgar Cruz from Oklahoma City. Andy had arranged for him to come to Watonga to give a benefit concert for the Cheese Festival, and we offered one of the rooms for him to stay. He stayed in the Texas room, and was complimentary when he left. He especially loved the roadrunner mosaic in the shower. After the concert, in the evening, we all sat on the back patio and drank beer and ate homemade salsa from our garden, and the salsa met the approval of both Edgar and Drew, who came to town to meet and see Edgar perform. Drew stayed until Monday, so we had a nice long weekend visit. While Drew was here, we drove to the Ringwood Winery to show him another part of this area. That winery is 40 minutes away, a pleasant drive, and is very picturesque. It has a very large building where the wine vats are kept and a separate bed & breakfast inn.
The gardens are blooming. We finally have some black-eyed susan and shasta daisies getting established. A pink hibiscus and purple verbena brighten up the front. The summer phlox and canna lillies are also in bloom. Red Turk's cap is blooming, and I planted a new pink Turk's cap that is just now putting on some buds. The Hostas will be blooming in another week or so, as they have buds on them now. And the Rose of Sharon have lots of buds just about to pop open, but the marigold are in full bloom in the bed where the irises and daylillies have already played out. I even have a single BLUEBONNET blooming in theI guess the big blooming season here is August and September! I still have lots of areas to fill up with color. I had a "vision" of where to put in a new bed in the front of the property, so I'll start on that this fall.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Andy has been working hot and heavy on building decks outside of the two bedrooms, and will finish up this week. We are very happy with the way they turned out. He is really getting to use his creative skills in addition to his building skills and is enjoying that. In the afternoons, the front deck is shaded and comfortable, even in the middle of summer.
I've begun unpacking boxes that have been stored in the living room for the past year. We've really needed to start finding some art and decorative items for the house. Some things will have to stay in storage for a while longer, but be moved to the garage. But I've even thrown some things away! Someone asked me if our house in Texas was that much bigger, that we have a household full of things unpacked already and still have the equivalent of two garages filled with boxes. That got me thinking, because this house is really about the same size as the house in Coppell. The problem is that we had an attic (which we don't have now), three bedrooms with big closets, and living room/dining room space there that we don't have the use of here, because we can't put all of our "stuff" in the three guest rooms! Even though we have a basement here, we don't want to clutter it up with stored boxes -- because we don't want to have to move them when we remodel and use the basement. So for now we'll continue to use the garage for storage and hopefully be able to unpack more boxes from there by the end of the year.
Once the decks are completed and the living room uncluttered, we will be able to "open".
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
We've had a couple of visitors in May: Donna and Richard Doherty spent a night, and then Andy's brother Sam and sister Jane brought their dad and spent a night. The feedback from the Doherty's was very positive. They stayed in the Texas room and said they were quite comfortable. We had steaks and polenta for dinner, with a lettuce, spinach and arugula salad from our garden. We made french toast and sausage for brunch on Saturday morning. We gave them a tour of the area -- Roman Nose State Park, Canton Lake, and the town of Watonga.
Andy's brother enjoyed the shower and the big bed in the Texas room. While the Barretts were here, we walked around the property so they could see all the clearing and trails Andy has done. And then he gave them a ride in the '55 DeSoto! On Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, Andy and I took a drive in the DeSoto, through Roman Nose Park and through the countryside. It was pretty cool! It is a big boat of a car (it reminds me of the lyrics to the song by the B-52's, "Love Shack" -- "I got me a car, it's as big as a whale...it seats about 20." We can get at least eight in it for sure! It has a hemi engine, so it has power. Andy drove it in the Pioneer Day parade with several of the bank directors on board on Memorial Day weekend.
The Oklahoma room is taking shape. I am ready to put paint on the walls of the bathroom this weekend. We've both been doing lots of yard work -- weeding, trimming trees, planting perennials, and keeping everything watered. We now have hummingbird feeders off the front porch and the back patio, and hanging by our private patio. We've seen at least one mating pair -- it's hard to tell one from the other but we definitely have both male and female birds. And yesterday I scared up a bunch of quail in the woods above the patio! We hear owl in the early morning and whipoorwills in the early evening, as dusk. We hear cardinals flying around and calling each other all the time.
We are eager to share our peaceful setting with friends !! We hope to have some "home concerts" this summer, and may have a local celebrity staying with us in July . . . keep posted for more news about that!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
We have spring! After several days of rain and chilly temperatures, today is sunny and warm. May be a good day for mushroom hunting, though we've been told by some oldtimers that the "season" may be over. Andy isn't dissuaded -- he intends to go hunting if the temperature gets up to 80 this afternoon.
Irises are blooming all over the property, even deep in the woods where sunlight can penetrate. Today we walked around during my lunch hour and surveyed the land, and spotted a dreamsicle-colored iris deep in the woods, among other purple and brownish/lavender colored irises. The cannas are finally peaking through the dirt -- I had been wondering if they survived the winter, but it looks like they did. I have to keep reminding myself that the seasons here are slightly different than in Texas. April is redbud season. First of May is iris-blooming season. We still need to rake up leaves and chip dead limbs that have fallen from the trees during the early spring rains and winds.
We've ordered tile for the Oklahoma bathroom. Andy has installed pocket doors, all of the plumbing and electrical wiring, and is ready to start laying tile on the floor this coming weekend. We have friends coming to visit in the middle of the month, and Andy's brother Sam and wife Paula are coming sometime over the Memorial Day holiday. Since we are still not "officially open", but have one room ready to experience, we are inviting anyone who wants to come for a visit during the next month (through June) to come stay for free! The construction won't interfere -- Andy won't work on the house while we have visitors. The Lodge at the State Park has not yet re-opened, so I am anticipating a busy summer season once we open "to the public". The weather from here through June should be perfect!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
We don't have any plans to go to Dallas until May, so we will be home for the next couple of weekends, to work on the property and to entertain anyone who wants to come visit. The trees are starting to bud out and the grounds are turning green. It is lovely to sit out on the front porch and listen to the birds, and watch the sunset in the evening.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I AM READY FOR FRIENDS TO COME VISIT! This is the best time of year for Oklahoma, weatherwise. Not too cold and not too hot. Wildflowers are starting to bloom. I even have a bluebonnet blooming in my yard! The Texas bedroom is ready for a guest and I would love to have input from guests so that we can make future visits here as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Last weekend we had about 7 inches of snow. It started on Friday afternoon. The forecast for was "blizzard conditions", and indeed the snow was blowing hard. By morning we had a winter wonderland and it continued to snow half of Saturday. Then it warmed up and began to melt. By Sunday it was half gone, and by Monday, with 70 degree temperatures, the snow was completely gone and the fields began greening up. We desperately needed the moisture. The current conditions mean the morrel mushrooms should start shooting up! But today it was 32 degrees in the morning and will be chilly all day. So we're looking for the next warm day to go out and hunt the mushrooms.
Andy's progress on the remodeling has been delayed -- he has been hired to work as a census worker and they are already starting their canvasing. He spent an entire week in training, and this week he will be out in the field gathering information. The pay is decent though. We are still hoping to have the second bedroom ready in April, but it may be nearer the end of the month at this point. Actually, that will be perfect timing weatherwise. The gardens are sprouting, and I even saw a bluebonnet blooming in my garden just before this past cold front came through. Now that we've had some moisture, I'm sure everything will pop.
Friday, March 13, 2009
SPRING FLOWERS ARE COMING UP -- JONQUILS, CROCUS, FORSYTHIA, AND THE QUINCE ARE BLOOMING. THE CURRANT ARE PUTTING ON LEAVES AND YELLOW FLOWERS. THE IRISES ARE COMING UP BUT NONE ARE IN BLOOM QUITE YET. ANDY AND I WALKED AROUND THE PROPERTY LAST WEEKEND WHEN THE WEATHER WAS NICE AND SAW SEVERAL PATCHES OF IRISES COMING UP IN THE WILDERNESS.
WE'VE PUT IN A GARDEN SPACE UP BY THE BARN, WITH FENCING TO KEEP THE CRITTERS OUT, AND LAST WEEKEND I PLANTED SOME POTATOES. I'LL PLANT ONION AND MORE POTATOES AND GARLIC THIS COMING WEEKEND. THE PLANTING SEASON FOR COLD-WEATHER VEGETABLES IS SUPPOSED TO BEGIN ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY HERE, I AM TOLD, BUT I AM EAGER. WE COULD HAVE A FREEZE AS LATE AS EASTER, EVEN MID-APRIL, BUT I FIGURE THAT ANY FREEZE AT THAT TIME WON'T BE LONG-LASTING AND AN OVERNIGHT FREEZE WON'T HURT THE COLD-WEATHER PLANTS THAT ARE WELL-MULCHED.
ANDY IS TEARING OUT THE "OKLAHOMA ROOM" THIS WEEK. HE WAS DELAYED BY HIS DAD'S VISIT BUT IS BACK AT WORK TODAY. WE HAD GOOD REVIEWS ON THE "TEXAS ROOM" -- FROM DREW AND HIS GIRLFRIEND MCCALL, WHO CAME TO STAY WITH US LAST WEEKEND. HE COMPLIMENTED US ON OUR CHOICES OF COLOR AND HOW WARM THE ROOM FELT. WE STILL HAVE SOME DECORATING TO DO IN THAT ROOM, AND HAVE WINDOW SHADES ORDERED, BUT IT IS USABLE. ANDY IS ALSO IN THE MIDDLE OF DESIGNING THE DECK FOR THAT ROOM BUT WON'T START BUILDING UNTIL WE HAVE SOME WARMER WEATHER . . . PROBABLY IN APRIL.
Friday, February 27, 2009
We've also had some shelving built in the area outside of our suite, and Andy has put up some shelving in the garage, so we are ready to unpack a lot of stuff this weekend.
The past week has been really nice outdoors -- sunny and warm. But this weekend it will be chilly. We'll probably have a small bonfire in the back to cook hotdogs while Drew and McCall are visiting.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
This past Saturday we worked on laying out the vegetable garden up by the barn wellhouse. Andy put up boards, then tilled in some manure, and then leveled the ground. I have a compost pile started, so by planting time we should have some good organics to mix in. I bought seed potatoes, red onions, and garlic to plant, even though it is still early -- best to buy them when the stores have good stock on hand. I have also bought a couple of blueberry plants and rasberry plants and have scoped out what I think is a good sunny place to plant them south of the house.
The weather today is sunny and warm -- will hit 68 degrees -- but its very windy. We had a power outage overnight, but the electricity was back on by 8:30 a.m. An electrical outage affects us more seriously here in an all-electric home, because it affects the water pump from the well-- so we not only don't have light, but also no water when the electricity is out!
Monday, February 2, 2009
This past weekend Andy and I went to "the city"--OKC-- and bought a bedroom set for the Texas room. It won't be delivered until we get the carpet in, which we just ordered. That should be in about two weeks. In the meantime, Andy is starting to texture the walls in the bedroom in readiness for paint . . . everything is one step at a time.
We've had cold weather (20's in the morning, warming up to high 40's and one day in the 50's)but no more ice or snow. In fact, it is unseasonably dry and there is a burn ban on around the state. The farmers really need some rain; there is a chance of rain in the forecast for this coming weekend.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Andy is working on cleaning out the Texas room so that we can proceed with carpet and paint. He plans on texturing the walls this week, and I am ready to look for carpet. I would have gone to the carpet store yesterday had I been able to get out. So that is on the agenda for Wednesday. I've been told by an interior designer friend that I should pick out carpet first, then pick out the paint color.
Wed. 1/28/09 -- We still have snow on the ground, but the sun is out today and the temperature is supposed to get up to 36! I picked up some carpet samples to take home and get Andy's opinion on them. The carpet will have to be ordered, so that will take approx. two weeks. The carpet guy is coming out to the house this Friday to measure.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I will be in Coppell next Saturday, Jan. 24th, for the Annual Champagne & Chocolate Southern Living at Home Party at Mary Schueler's house. She was very gracious to offer to have the party on Saturday when I could be in town and hopefully see a lot of friends at the party -- kill two birds with one stone! For anyone who didn't get a written invitation and who reads this, you are certainly welcome to come by Mary's house on Saturday, between 3:00 and 5:00, if you want to come visit. I'll have some pictures of our project. But mainly I want to see friends and visit a little.
The weather is still cold here, but we haven't had any snow or ice lately. As long as there isn't wind and the sun is out, the cold temperatures aren't intolerable. But when the wind comes up, the cold is biting. I am so, so, looking forward to spring!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
I can't believe it's been an entire month since I last wrote an update. But it's been a busy month. Both Blake and Drew were here for Christmas and we had a nice holiday. With cold weather came several days of no work for Andy on the remodeling, but he's still made some progress. He's finished the tile work in the Texas bathroom (except for the final grouting) and did indeed install a "surprise" in the shower. You'll have to come visit us to see what it is! I've chosen wall paint colors for that room and we should be able to paint this week, then install the vanity and lighting. We have the granite for both the bathroom and the coffee bar, so that will be the next installation. Look for photos at my next post . . . .