Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer fun

We had a great evening at the Whirlwind Winery on Saturday night, painting a landscape with a lesson by Kelly from Oklahoma city.  Most of our attendees were from Oklahoma City (other than our "regulars").  We'd love to see more locals join in the fun! 
Mid-evening we had visitors who were bicyclists going cross-country from South Carolina to California and had a nice visit with them. Overall it was a fun Saturday night.
I am getting ready to start work on the former Sweet Shop on Main Street, to get it set up as an art studio where we can give art lessons and have a place to display art.  Watch for updates on that. 
We had guests at the Retreat this past week from Arkansas, a friend of Vicki Williams from Weatherford, a young couple from Lawton who found our place on Tripadvisor, and a young man from Yuma, Arizona, here to do some work with his church. I enjoyed visiting with all of them over breakfast.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ready for summer guests

The Retreat grounds are looking good after three weeks of spring cleaning work by Andy and a young man named Travis who has been helping him.  They've trimmed trees, pulled out dead wood, cleared walking paths, and raked dead leaves off of the gardens.  The daylilies are blooming thanks to the additional sunlight that's getting in.


We've had two bonfires over the past two weeks to burn the excess brush. 
It's been a good time of year for guests to be here.  We've had pleasant weather this past week, so it's been perfect for hiking and just sitting out on the front porch.  The birds are going crazy with their songs.  We love to sit on the porch and watch them fly through the trees as they stealthily make their way to the birdbath. I'm not good at taking bird photos, but I'd love it if someone with that talent could come and take pictures that I could post here.  The number of different voices I hear is amazing.  I know I've spotted at least six different varieties of birds that I can recognize and know there are more that come and go regularly.  We've had two rooms occupied this week and have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with our guests.   
Not too much work has been done on the Oven these past two weeks, as Andy has been concentrating on the spring cleaning while he has help.  He is ready to start constructing the cooking dome with fire bricks.
This Saturday the Whirlwind Winery in downtown Watonga is  hosting another "Liquid Art" event.  We will be painting a picture of vases with flowers.  ANYONE can do it!  Plus, we'll have a real ARTIST present to give hints on how to paint with acrylics. 


Come join us on Saturday night BUT PLEASE CALL ME TO LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE COMING so that we are sure to have enough supplies on hand.  We provide a canvas, paints, brushes, easel and apron for you to use to create your work of ART! 


Sunday, June 16, 2013

6/16/2013 Father's Day

Last weekend Andy went to Tulsa to visit his dad and take him to an Army reunion.  This weekend we are taking it easy at home.  Blake went to church with us this morning and the UMW made a very nice breakfast in honor of all of the fathers.  It was also the first weekend for our new preacher, Steve, to preside over the Sunday service.  Lots of volunteers from the congregation have been working hard on the parsonage home to get it ready for the new minister and his wife to move in.  There is still more work to be done this week, but it should be ready by Friday for them to move in.  Steve preached this Sunday (today) and he and his wife should be able to move in completely this coming week.  We miss Larry and Kelly but are confident in the District's choice of Steve and his wife B.J. as our new minister and wife. 

Andy has been working hard on the parsonage to get it ready for the new minister, so no work has been don on the oven.  BUT, this week he will be able to install the cooking dome.  I am excited!

This week should also be decent temperatures to work outside in.  Last week was hellish (not compared to Dallas!!), with temperatures in the high 90's all week.  The grasshoppers have  reappeared, but not to the extent they invaded last summer. Today I sprayed a bug killer that is supposed to keep them at bay, but it has to be sprayed every seven days or after a rain.  I'm not giving up on the garden yet!  Lots of things have been blooming and the yard and grounds are beautiful after Andy and his helper Travis have worked for two weeks on clearing dead brush and tree limbs.  The daylilies have just started to bloom, along with the creeping sedum and tickseed coreopsis.  I also have some Mexican hat coming up in two places and hope they reseed themselves.  They are a wildflower, so who knows what they will do.  I have not been successful in getting gallardia (Indian blanket, the state wildflower of Oklahoma) to come up, but I'm not giving up on that yet.  The natives are coming up all along the roads right now.  I have transplanted quite a bit of blue spiderwort (native to Oklahoma) and will have a good showing of blue flowers throughout this summer and next spring. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hot June

Looks like our cool Spring is over. The temperatures this week will be in the mid- to high 90's.  We've had plenty of rain but that doesn't mean we wouldn't welcome more.  The height of the tornado season is over, I'm told.

Andy and a young man from Geary have been working like dogs on cleaning up the property:  raking leaves, trimming dead wood and cutting up firewood for the oven, snipping off suckers from trees, and generally cleaning up after a tough winter.  I've worked on transplanting flowers around and keeping things watered and fed.  I'm ready for an outdoor party! 

We did have our neighbor Coot,his daughter, granddaughter and husband over for dinner on Sunday evening.  It was a beautiful day outside but just a little too warm and windy for al fresco seating.  We had a good visit sitting around the dining room table, drinking wine and sweet tea, and reminiscing. 

The Watonga Cheese Festival Committee is working on lining up ENTERTAINMENT for this year's festival. There are lots of talented people in our area and this year we want to highlight that talent on our stages. I'm asking that anyone reading this contact me or Andy Barrett (580-623-4269) to tell us of a musical act, band, soloist, or other entertainment who may be interested in performing during the Cheese Festival. We want lots of LOCAL TALENT to show off our town! Thanks!!

Watch for more news -- gotta run now to help work on cleaning out the parsonage to get it ready for our new minister and wife!

Monday, June 3, 2013


This coming weekend, June 8, Rick Larson's father is coming to visit from California.  He is an artist and an Art teacher there.  He has agreed to come to our Liquid Art session and give us some pointers.  We are having it at the Library this weekend, and hope to get a bigger crowd.  We are planning on painting a landscape or a still-life -- final decision will be made by Mr. Larson.  We won't have wine at this event, but will provide Sprite and water and a dessert snack.  As usual, all painting supplies will be provided.  I hope you'll join us!!! It's always fun.


June 3, 2013
The last two weeks have brought devastating tornados and flooding rains to the Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. After the record tornado hit Moore on May 20, several smaller tornados hit the El Reno and Midwest City areas this past Friday and caused severe damage and deaths. We feel fortunate that we were not affected by that weather here at the Retreat, neither with physical damage or by knowing someone who personally suffered damage or injury by the weather.  We are grateful to have gotten some rain that has suddenly brought spring to the area.  I know the wheat farmers are also happy about the rain, even if it is late in the year. 

Suddenly the property is overgrown and green.  Andy has been busy cutting out broken limbs from trees and cutting them up for next winter's firewood, and for the oven.  He is taking a break from working on the oven while he waits for the latest layer of cement to cure.  We have firebrick stacked up, ready to use to build the actual oven part of the structure. 

I've been working on transplanting spiderwort around the property.  It is abundant and a perennial, very tolerant of the weather here. It will bloom all summer so it is nice to have around.