Tuesday, December 14, 2010


The holiday season is upon us. All who know me know that I don't like to start even talking about Christmas until December, and we don't usually get out the decorations and put up a tree until mid-month. Well, that time is here! We've already been to several holiday parties and have several to look forward to. After one day of snow, we've had cold days but sunshine to make it not seem so dreary.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


It snowed last night. We watched the sky as a cold front came in from the northwest but really did't expect it to snow -- and suddenly there it came, starting at around 7:30 pm. It is just a light dusting but does look nice (and cold).

We are deep in the middle of the holiday season -- get togethers and/or parties scheduled throughout the month. Tonight is a Christmas program at the Liberty Theatre that will include choirs from the churches in town. The downtown main street is decorated with lights. "It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees. They're hanging up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace." Every year at this time I hear Joni Mitchell singing those words in my head.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Nov 25 2010 - Drew arrived from Austin last night, late. Traffic was heavy getting out of Texas, and then there was construction on I-35 on the outskirts of OKC. It was a bad day to be traveling by any means, but he got here safely. He brought art and his cat, Petey. They are sleeping in the Oklahoma room. We visited for a while in our room, so we all got to bed very late last night but got to sleep in this morning.

The leaves outside are falling like snowflakes! Yesterday Andy and I spent time raking some leaves off the walkways and Andy cleaned out the gutters. I moved more plants into the house, as we were expecting a hard freeze last night. This morning it was around 30 degrees when we woke up, and will hopefully reach a high temperature of 50 during the day -- so not a warm day. It is supposed to freeze again tonight. I have way too many plants and need to get rid of some, but can't just throw them away -- anyone who wants to give a plant a good home is welcome to some aloe vera plant, or sansivarius (mother-in-law tongue), or that inside climbing vine (I can't think of the name of the plant at this moment)...

Andy is baking a pecan pie for tonight, and I made some pumpkin creme brulee -- a new recipe I just made up. I made a "test" batch yesterday and everyone said it was good, so I'll make some more for dessert tonight. We are having a pork loin for dinner, along with the traditional sides - garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, fruit salad, and cranberry sauce. I am sitting here remembering last Thanksgiving, when Drew brought his friend Tracy for the weekend and my friend Sandi drove up for the weekend. We had a bonfire . . .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Here is a test, to see if anyone if reading this blog.

I am looking for a new job, that will allow me a little flexibility and no weekend work. I'd take fulltime or parttime during the week. When I was hired at the bank, I didn't have to work on Saturday, but management has changed. So with the B&B business picking up a little, I need to be home on Saturday mornings to prepare breakfast. Weekdays aren't a problem, as Andy is home and with advance preparation he can handle weekday guests by himself, and we rarely have weekday guests right now. If anyone knows of a secretarial or administrative position in the Blaine County or Kingfisher, Thomas, Fay, or Canton area, please let me know.

ALSO - fyi -- we have a Facebook page for Chaparral Retreat. I am not in the habit of checking it regularly yet, but hope people will check it out and that will encourage me to check it more often. I am eager to hear from everyone . . . .


We've had a few nights with temperatures under 50 degrees, and even in the high 30's the last two nights. But daytime temperatures have been in the low 70's. I think it's time to bring in the aloe vera and sansavarius plants for the winter but I need to find room for them. IF ANYONE WANTS TO GIVE A PLANT A GOOD HOME, PLEASE CALL ME - 580-623-4269! I don't have room for all of my babies in the house.

Andy saw a bobcat out front on Monday afternoon. It had something small in its mouth, like a gopher, and was walking through the redbud thicket on Coot's side of the lane. Fortunately, our kitty cat and Skeeter were in the house at the time.

We "adopted" a cat off the street in town back in August, and she is getting bigger day by day. She has caught a mouse in the garage and dug up a mole in the front yard. She gets along great with Skeeter and Blake's little dog, Itzel. Kitty and Itzel chase each other and play together and are fun to watch. Ah, between the pets and watching the wild birds play, we have all the entertainment we need!

But man does not live by bread alone . . . so we went to a Halloween costume party this past weekend and had a great time. Good food and drink, new friends and fun costumes, and a magic show to boot, in an old rock house in town that was a perfect setting. We are already looking forward to next year's party.

I miss going to Dallas, as I haven't been able to drive since my last visit there at the end of July. I've only had a couple of "small" seizures since August, but no unconsciousness, so if my condition stays the same I should be able to drive again in February. Andy plays the role of chauffeur patiently, but I do miss driving and being able to just get out and run to town by myself.

Monday, October 25, 2010

We're having a wonderful Fall

WOW - the time has gone by since my last writing. Since then (August) the temperatures have dropped to the 40's overnight and we are having high temperatures in the high 70's and low 80's during the day. This past weekend was beautiful. We had rain on Friday, so that didn't interfere with our weekend activities. We had a great visit with our friends Chuck and Danielle from Dallas. We grilled steaks and roasted broccali with garlic, and had leftover birthday cake for dessert. On Saturday, we got the Desoto out and drove to Canton Lake, and then had a bonfire after dark up by the barn. Even the animals had a good time, sitting on laps, chasing grasshoppers, and begging for scraps. It was a lovely clear evening and we watched the moon rise behind the trees. I am always inspired when friends come to visit and we talk about different ideas for things we can do on the property.

Watonga held its 34th annual Cheese Festival over the second weekend in October. Andy and I were both very involved and the weekend went well. We even had "Watonga cheese" though it's not made here in town anymore. But it is the same family of owners using the same recipe. Andy was the Entertainment Commmittee chairman and arranged for two stages to be going all weekend. I was the Art Show Committee chairman and had approx 16 booths, with a wide range of art, from oil paintings, turned wood bowls, photography, pottery, basket weaving, and glass jewelry. I am eager for next year's show and hope to get more native american artists to participate.

The vegetable garden is still producing peppers, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes, and a cucumber here and there. I have some parsley and spinach growing, but the grasshoppers have destroyed the okra, though we did get enough to pickle a few jars. Local farmers tell me that some years are bad with grasshoppers and some years aren't so bad -- I am hoping next year will be "not so bad", as this year they were like a plague. And they are still feasting, this late in the year. They don't go for the herbs, but they have definitely eaten a lot of the ornamentals (even monkey grass) almost down to the ground.
Chuck showed me that the Turk's cap plant produces edible berries this time of year, so we will put some into a salad this weekend. The nasturtium hasn't bloomed this year, but I planted those seeds kind of late in the season so I have no expectations -- the leaves are pretty to look at by themselves.

Friday, August 27, 2010


It's Friday, Aug 27. The last few days have been nice and cool -- 60's in the morning and high temperatures in the high 80's to low 90's. There has been a fall chill in the air in the mornings. Andy and I drove south to Quartz Mountain State Park and we were very pleasantly surprised when we got there. The Lodge is a large conference center with over 118 room and cabins. It was rebuilt in 2001 after a kitchen fire caused the original lodge to burn down. The center also includes an Oklahoma Arts Council facility . The center sits on the edge of Lake Altus and really is a beautiful area. We brought back with us some ideas for mosaics and outside benches made of granite.

Monday, August 23, 2010


We've put up several quarts and pints of bread & butter pickles from the garden this year and gotten good "reviews". The cucumbers are about played out from the heat, but we may get another harvest. We've also gotten lots of cherry tomatoes. I made an antipasta salad for our church potluck lunch, with our tomatoes, basil, onion, capers, garlic, some goat cheese, and summer sausage. Very easy and delicous. We've also made pesto with the basil we've harvested. The regular tomato plants haven't produced anything, but I think they have suffered from the heat and lack of rain, even though we water the garden regularly. We know the garden area is getting plenty of water because the castor bean plants are thriving and blooming. We are also finally getting a good crop of okra and plan on pickling some today. Andy also made some wild sand plum jelly that turned out good.

In the front garden we have rose of sharon blooming, crepe myrtles, white hostas, black eyed susan, some canna lily, and 4 o'clocks. The grasshoppers have been voracious and have eaten some plants down to the ground, but then there are areas where I've got the same plant and the grasshoppers leave them alone. I planted two burning bush plants and only one of them has survived.

Andy and I helped with the grape harvest for Whirlwind Winery last weekend. We haven't heard yet about the amount harvested but should get an email report this week. It looked like a good harvest, though it was earlier than last year because of the heat -- the grapes were starting to dry up. One of the best wines we like from Whirlwind is the Wild Sand Plum and we're looking forward to that vintage this year.

I am chairman of the Cheese Festival Art Show this year and am busy organizing that for Oct. 8-9. I'll write more about that later. In the meantime, September is a good time to come visit us. Give us a call -- /linda

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's hot, hot, hot

It's mid-august and the hottest time of the year here. We've had over a week of temperatures over 100 degrees. Yesterday's temp of 104 was a record. But we are looking forward to a break in the heat by Sunday evening. If we can just keep the grass and gardens and trees alive until then.

I saw a snake in our yard for the first time this year. It was just a baby, about twelve inches long, and was curled up in the dirt, not moving. Andy killed it quickly. I usually walk in the yard with a stick, and fortunately this snake was in a flower bed where there is nothing growing right now. I just happened to throw a banana peel into the bed and something caught my eye where the banana peel landed. This time of year we have to be extra watchful and careful. Where there is one snake, there are others . . .

We have been busy with guests off and on in July and earlier this month, but this weekend we have no one at the B&B. September is a good time for friends to come see us -- before the "busy" season of October and the temperatures will be cooler. We may even get a hint of fall colors in September.

Monday, August 2, 2010


This past weekend (on Saturday), the temperature got up to 100 degrees. On Sunday it was 102. We are expecting this entire week to be above 100 degrees, but they say it will be a dry heat most of the week, so it won't feel hotter than it actually is. We've had a little rain so haven't had to water daily, but we do have to water a lot!

We picked up a kitten from outside our church on Sunday. It is pretty young, is skinny, but otherwise looks healthy. It hung around the front of the church the entire morning, and when we left at noon, at the urging of many of the congregation, we took her home. We spent a little time letting her and Skeeter get acquainted. Skeeter wanted to play, but Kitty didn't want to have anything to do with a big dog. After just a short time, Kitty let her guard down a little and tolerated being in the same area with the dog.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


From the first of July until last night, we've had several rain storms that have really refreshed and replenished the yard and gardens. Andy and I have enjoyed sitting on the front porch and watching the rain fall through the trees. Water comes out of one of the gutters and falls like a fountain on some rocks below that corner of the house. As we watched last night, we both came up with ideas of how to place a small water feature at that corner of the house that would catch the water and be used as a bird bath in addition to a kinetic water feature.

Andy is finishing up on installing a wheelchair ramp for access to the New Mexico bedroom.

The grasshoppers this year are voracious. They eat everything down to the nub, and I'm really tired of it. They have nearly destroyed one of our wysteria, several basil plants, hardy hibiscus, and okra. They don't seem to get on the thai basil or cucumber vines. I won't say what I'm doing to get rid of them, but it's somewhat organic. The only trouble with using organic is that I have to reapply about every other day.

Since I've been "well", I've really enjoyed working out in the yard. I got so far behind in raking up leaves and pulling crabgrass while I was incapacitated this past spring. I think just about the time I get the garden beds cleaned out, it will be fall again and the leaves will start falling again. Oh well.

I had a visit from two good friends earlier this month. Jana works in a flower show/garden center and gave me lots of ideas -- too many to implement right a way but lots of wish lists! Sandi seemed to enjoying walking around and see all that was blooming. I have some "manicured" areas and some wild areas on the property. It rained most of the weekend they were here, but we did get some pleasant time to be outside. We drank coffee on the front porch and enjoyed the breeze and the singing birds.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


We've already had several days of temperatures in the high 90's and even 100 degrees, but this week it is cooler -- lows in the 60's (mornings) and highs in the upper 80's. We were hoping for rain this week but it looks like it all went south of us -- Drew said it flooded in some places in Dallas.

Once the New Mexico room was finished, Andy replaced the front door and raised the ceiling a little so that it would accomodate a transom above the door. Then he replaced the floor tile in the entry way, and put in a mosaic of our logo -- we are both pleased with the way it all turned out. The additional lighting and different tile really opened up the entryway and made it look bigger.

We are still working on getting grass to grow in the front and back yards, but overall the yard and gardens are coming along. Lots of things are blooming and the view from the front porch is lovely. Andy is starting on the handicap-accessible ramp leading to the New Mexico room, and when that is finished I can start landscaping on the south end of the house. We've enjoyed sitting on the patio off of the New Mexico room in the late afternoon and evenings. Last night the owls were very active -- it sounded like there were several out in the woods, hooting. Andy has also put up a bat house in a tree on the south side of the house.

I spent all of last weekend working in the yard, pulling weeds and raking up leaves and transplanting flowers -- the first time I've been able to do that in months. I finally got an answer to my medical problems and am on the mend, am feeling good and am so glad to be able to get back to doing the everyday things that need to be done and the things I enjoy doing, like working in the garden. I wonder how long it will be before I get tired of drinking a glass of wine, now that I "have to" have a glass a day!?!

We are looking forward to guests coming in July and in August, and we're trying to lure friends to come visit in September, before the rush of Cheese Festival, class reunion, Dr. Barrett's 90th birthday celebration, and all the other activities that come with October.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It is a HOT summer already! We've had a few days in the 90's already.

Andy finished the New Mexico room and we began unpacking things to decorate the room. We have lots of New Mexico "stuff". He also replaced the front door and raised the ceiling to make the entryway brighter. We had the entire house open and ready for a busy Memorial Day weekend. All three rooms were rented on Friday and on Saturday nights, thanks to the Watonga Alumni Reunion being held that weekend. We met new people and made new friends. The weather was perfect. The gardens are in bloom and I enjoyed walking through them in spite of my illness. Then, on Tuesday, we provided a breakfast for a group of ladies from church and we talked "gardening". Next week we are hosting a reception for our state representative, Mike Sanders, and looking forward to meeting many more people from the area.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


We are hosting a simple Cinco De Mayo "happy hour" at Friday, May 7, at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM at the RETREAT. Anyone who is in the neighborhood and would like to stop by, come on by. You can wear your sombreros and/or serapes (or not!) and enjoy some margaritas, pico de gallo, and whatever else we have on hand. No RSVP needed, but if you have questions and want to call, we can be reached at (580) 623-4269 or cell phone (214) 763-3823.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


It is finally spring here in NW Oklahoma.
They say that the average date for the last freeze here is April 10-15. Last week we didn't have any freezing temperatures, and so I am hopeful we are finally going to get spring weather. The temperatures last week were very pleasant. Even though it was pretty windy, we had some nice days.

Last week the redbuds broke out in color, the daffodils and jonquils were blooming, and then the creeping phlox bloomed and gave us a blanket of color at ground level. The vinca is blooming and spreading and the varigated vinca is coming up where I transplanted sprigs last year. Tulips given to me by Jana also bloomed. The henbit's green leaves look like the ground is green, and underneath that the grass is starting to green up. Andy has had to mow twice already!

Yesterday, a walk around the property showed me that one of our japanese red leaf maples survived and is putting on leaves. The ajuga has put out spikes of purple flowers. The columbine has buds that should open in the next few days, and I even saw a new baby columbine coming up. I saw mouse ear coreopsis getting ready to put on blooms. The rose of sharon is putting on leaves. I saw two buds on the irises in Marjorie's garden.

I started a new bed at the level of the front row of trees, that will be seen from the road when I get flowering shrubs and plants in it. So far I've only put a row of monkey grass as a border and a lantana at each end. . . .

We hunted for mushrooms on Saturday of Easter weekend, as we had heard from some locals that they had found mushrooms, and the weather conditions were right. Since no one will share their hunting grounds, we had to fend for ourselves and just go tromping through the woods. I got pretty scratched up, but it was a fun outing. We went to two different locations on the South Canadian River. The first trip was a bust, and on the second outing I spied one (1) single mushroom! Unfortunately, the area we were in looked like it had been overrun by armadillo or wild pig, and we didn't find any more mushrooms. But one of our friends from church was generous enough to share their mushroom bounty with us, so we had some morels for Easter dinner. Thanks, Dee and Kevin! Andy went hunting again with a couple of guys the weekend after Easter, but they weren't successful in finding any. Now the season is over, I am told. But I might still go out to our gully and look one last time.

With mushroom hunting season also comes the beginning of snake season -- but the critters are still moving slow, I am told. We just have to be aware and careful when in the woods. I have my trusty stick by the door, to grab when I go out hiking.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Andy is working on the sets at the local Theatre for a new children's play that will be staged in mid-April. Rehearsals are underway and, being on the theatre board, I will be busy for the next couple of weeks helping get things set up.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I'd love to know who is reading my blog, so anyone reading this is requested to Click on "COMMENT" at the bottom of this entry and send me your comment -- even if it is just "read it" and your name.

Our B&B is filling up quickly with reservations for the summer! We have some weekends booked for July and August, so April and May would be a good time for our friends from Dallas to come visit. The New Mexico room should be finished and furnished sometime in April. Both the Texas Room and the Oklahoma room are rented through March and possibly into April. We have some very nice guests with us right now. We hope they are here long enough to get to see the beauty of the grounds this spring, and enjoy sitting on the deck in nice weather.

Even though it is over 60 degrees today, there is snow in the forecast for this coming weekend. Fortunately, it isn't going to stay cold and the snowfall is only expected to be "flurries", so by Monday we should be back to nice weather.

Andy and I have strolled around the property and made plans for spring trimming, path clearing, and flower planting in strategic spots. I am excited to see some of the early blooming perennials starting to put on new growth: three varieties of coreopsis, coneflower, purple columbine, and shasta daisy are looking healthy. Irises and daylillies are sprouting. The quince and currant are about to "pop". Sadly, the forsythia we planted last spring isn't looking too good, though it does have some live branches. I can see that one of the japanese red-leaf maples we planted survived the winter but I can't tell if the second one did -- I should be able to see signs of life on that one by mid-April.

I planted potatoes, lettuces, cilantro, and spinach last weekend, and parsley is already growing from seed planted at the end of last season. I also planted some seeds for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant and put them in a covered shelf unit that will hopefully have the effect of a hothouse. I have to rake up lots of leaves now that the days are getting warmer and the sun is out. I haven't see any signs of bluebonnets yet, but am still hopeful -- maybe this next little wave of moisture will help them to germinate.

Monday, March 1, 2010


On Saturday, Andy and I walked around the property looking for signs of plant life. The temperature got up to 58 degrees and it was sunny. We found some flowering crocus, and buds on the flowering quince, forsythia, and the currant bushes. These are always the first harbingers of spring, and they will bloom while it is still cold. The daffodils and jonquils are sending up shoots but no buds are showing yet. They should appear in the next two weeks. The irises are sending up new shoots. I am hesitant to pick up the dead leaves that are acting as mulch, because there might be another cold spell, but I think next weekend I'll start on that job. I did cut back some of the dead from the chyrsanthemums and canna lillies. The Colorado spruce seedlings have survived and look healthy.

I sowed some Indian Blanket, gallardia, and bluebonnet seed in the front field. We'll just have to wait and see what comes up and where.

The weather was so nice on Saturday that Andy got the Desoto out and we took it for a ride.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I am now getting impatient for spring weather, as is everyone else I talk to. I would even be happy with 40 and 50 degree temperatures. The good thing is that we have had some moisture lately, and I am hopeful that once the temperatures rise we will have morel mushrooms!

On the other hand, I see that Dallas is getting its share of cold weather and snow this month.

It's time for me to sow some seeds for spring blooms (larkspur, bluebonnet and other wildflowers, etc.) and also start some vegetable seedlings in the house. We are still shooting to have the New Mexico room completed by the end of March.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I didn't see it, but the news reports were that the groundhog saw his shadow, so we'll have six more weeks of winter. I think we would have that much more winter whether the groundhow saw it or not. None of the critters saw their shadow here, as it has been cloudy and overcast and snowy for several days. The sun is just now coming out at the end of this week and the temperatures are above freezing. But there is another front coming through on Sunday/Monday. It doesn't look like it will produce much precip, but the temperatures will be below freezing. The cold temperatures (40+) aren't so bad when it is sunny and when it isn't windy. I have a touch of cabin fever and am eager to invite friends over for small dinner parties.

The freezing temperatures have prevented Andy from doing any tile work for over a week, but he's made some progress -- gotten the shower and the main floor done. We've picked up some sample colors for the bathroom and the bedroom and painted swatches on the wall. The New Mexico room is a bright room and I want to use a little bit of turquoise color in addition to the earthtones we've chosen.

We have guests coming next weekend (Feb 12), and have already gotten several reservations for August! We also have some guests staying during the week for the next few weeks. Everyone who has stayed with us have been very kind, friendly and interesting. This venture of ours is a great way to meet new people and make new friends and acquaintances. Our winter visitors are getting to see the property with snow and aren't doing any hiking, but are enjoying the fireplace and quiet solitude.

We have our current rates posted in a brochure and on our website, but we are still offering discounted rates through April. We have the local TROUT DERBY coming up the first weekend in March, a TRAIL RIDE, and an all-town Garage Sale that draws people from outside of our immediate town.

I still can't wait until Spring arrives. This coming weekend I plan on sowing seeds for spring blooms.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


We have come through one of the coldest cold spells in Oklahoma history. But now it is warming up -- temperatures this week will his the 50's and maybe even as warm as 60 degrees! It's only mid-January, so we will surely have more cold (I mean below freezing) temperatures at some point. I can only wish for temperatures in the 40's and higher for the rest of the winter. I went to Dallas this past weekend, and it was sunny and in the high 60's. It was green there. It made me eager for the spring here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


"When the sun turns traitor cold, and all the trees are shivering in a naked row, I get the urge for going but I never seem to go." - Joni Mitchell

It is a cold winter! We are having temperatures in the teens and twenties as high temperatures, with no break in the weather forecast for at least the next week. If it were any warmer in Dallas, I would head down there this weekend, but I'm hearing that it is cold there too. I am hopeful that next week we will at least get up above freezing! We haven't had any new snow since Christmas, but a light snow is possible later this week. The grounds are beautiful when covered in snow, but I am eager for spring to arrive and will be happy when I see some bulbs peeking through the blanket of leaves. The paperwhites I planted in the house are blooming. Skeeter doesn't seem to mind the cold and wants to be outside, running around, but he wants me or Andy to play with him outside. With his heavy coat, I think he is more comfortable being outside than in.