Monday, October 28, 2013

October weekend

We have a full house this weekend, plus guests during the week.
My best friend from Dallas came to visit last weekend (and brought lots of goodies to share!).  Even though rain was predicted, the weather turned out pretty decent, at least good enough to sit out on the back patio in front of the fireplace one evening, and take a tour of Watonga on Saturday. Unfortunately, neither of us were up to walking the four miles we used to walk every day.  After the driving tour, we stopped in at the Whirlwind Winery and she got a taste of our "local fare". She liked several of Brad's vintages and took some back to Dallas with her.  Other than that, we just relaxed and talked and ate and caught each other up on goings on here and there. I am eager for her to bring up some of the old "gang" in the spring.

One of the things Mary brought to me were some century plant babies that came off of a plant I have given to her several years ago.  The plant I gave her back then was from my dad's garden in El Paso.  When Andy and I moved up to Oklahoma, I brought three young babies from the original I had gotten from my dad and planted in my yard in Coppell (the original was too big to dig up and move so I left it in Coppell), but because I planted them and left them out over that first winter here, two didn't survive the wet winter and I only had one left, which has been kept in a pot and brought into my bedroom every winter since 2008.  Mary also brought me a couple of agave plants from her garden and they will definitely  have to come into the house in the winter.  I think I need a winter greenhouse for all of my plants that need to be indoors during the winter.  This month I'm going to try to give some of the plants away -- those that I have multiples of. 

Andy went to the OU/TT game on Saturday, and on Sunday we watched the Dallas Cowboys lose themselves in the last seconds of the game.  Nothing new there. 

This coming weekend is the annual Halloween Party we attend in town.  Two of our guests for the weekend are here for that event.  I hope of us is able to get up and prepare breakfast the morning after the party! This week Andy and I are making last minute decisions on our costumes for the party!!  I thought all year that I would be Medusa, but when it came down to actually getting a headpiece with SNAKES on it, I just couldn't do it.  Just looking at them on-line made me quesy, so that idea was nixed.  And I've spent ALL YEAR planning on that costume!!!  Of course, last year I went at Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist, and no one knew who or what I was. 

The Texas room will be occupied this weekend by a dad and his two grown sons who meet here once a year and bike at Roman Nose State Park.  This is their third annual visit.  We plan on making pizza in the outdoor oven on Friday night and Dave has promised to bring homemade libations. The weekend weather is expected to be nice,  no rain, in the 60's. 


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall weather

Saturday, Oct. 19. 
Yesterday (Friday) was cold and rainy and dreary. Temperatures got down to 32 degrees in OKC overnight.  But today is supposed to be bright and sunny, with temperatures reaching 65 degrees.  It's  a good day to get outside and work in the yard.  This coming week should bring us nice days and cool nights.  I will start bringing plants inside for the winter.  The trees are not yet turning colors, and I have a feeling it's going to be a couple of weeks before that change starts. I have friends coming to visit next week, but I think the gardens and trees are still going to be green so they will not get to see the beautiful color of our fall season. Oh well.  At least we should get to hike and enjoy the outdoors while they are here.

Andy is making banana bread while I keep up on my blog.  I am distressed about the story in the news about the Boy Scout leaders toppling a rock in a Utah national park, vandalizing a protected place, and then lying about it. I'm not bothered by the fact that the story has gone viral, but by the fact that some idiots not only did something stupid but then put it out there for everyone to see, AND THEN lied about it!  Who do they think they are fooling with their lie that they did it as a "safety" precaution.  Anyone who sees the video can see that they are taking great joy in their prank, regardless of what they say was (supposedly) on their mind.  They are bad examples of parenting, of leadership, of society not taking responsibility for their own actions.  I hope this story serves as a lesson of what NOT to do. Of course, there are and always will be people who don't know how to think or act.  I don't why I am especially bothered by this story when there is so much other ugliness going on in the world. Writing about it at least lets me get it off my chest.

The Watonga Cheese & Wine Festival is over and we are recuperating slowly.  There is lots of follow-up work to be done next week. The good news is that it was a successful festival. We had visitors from OKC and suburbs in addition to the local residents and from nearby communities.  The wine & cheese addition was an overwhelming success.  The musical entertainment and ZUMBA demonstration drew crowds, and I for one enjoyed all of it.  We surveyed the vendors after the festival and they were all (except one) happy with the crowds and their sales.  Andy and Mary had lots of help, but they and the Chamber Board can always use more volunteers.  This year's success gives them something to build on next year. 

Drew came to visit over the weekend and helped Andy clean up after the Festival.  We tried not to make him work too much during his short visit!  He went to church with us on Sunday, and we grilled steaks and zucchini from our garden, and drank wine and sat in front of the fireplace on the back patio in the chill of Sunday evening.  We missed Jenna, who had to stay back in Texas to attend a workshop, but we know she'll come the next time Drew drives up.  All in all, last weekend was very pleasant. 

Then we attended the City Council meeting on Tuesday, and I have lots to write about on the watonganews blog.  Just the facts, ma'am!  Well, maybe with a little commentary.  Someone has to do it!  We have a new editor at the Watonga Republican and he is doing a good job of reporting what he sees. I've been getting a lot of comments on the blog and the facebook page for Watonga News blog, supportive of reading about things going on in Watonga that they don't get in the newspaper. I try to write about the good and the not-so-good, even though some would prefer that only the "good" stuff is made public.  That's not real world and I believe it is important that the public get as much information we they can get, not just the kudos and halos.  As our new editor said, and I believe, a well-informed public is necessary for a democracy.  Thomas Jefferson said: "Ignorance and sound self-government could not exist together: the one destroyed the other. A despotic government could restrain its citizens and deprive the people of their liberties only while they were ignorant.

I'm stepping off of my soapbox for now.  /Linda

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

OGIC Wine Competition at Chaparral Retreat

OGIC Wine Competition - September 28,2013

Saturday was a busy day for a group of Watongans working on the upcoming Cheese & Wine Festival.  Andy and Linda, proprietors of the Chaparral Retreat & Guesthouse, hosted the first (hopefully annual) official Oklahoma Grape Industry Council wine competition at their quiet and peaceful place just outside of Watonga.  Brad Stinson, owner of the Whirlwind Winery, and Andy worked with Dr. William McGlynn from OSU to put  the contest together.  Dr. McGlynn along with Amie Hendrickson and Clayton Bahr  acted as judges.  They tasted and critiqued sixty-five different Oklahoma wines and graded them on a number scale.  It was a blind taste test, with the Judges not knowing what wines were from what winery. Entries came in from all across the state of Oklahoma. Local attorney Vicki Williams acted as wine steward, while Tanya Stinson and Maria Laubach helped with rotating wine glasses for the numerous wines. Lunch was served and it was a perfect day to sit outside on the patio and eat.
 The number grades for each wine were entered into a program and scores tabulated, and then forwarded to OGIC. The Best of Show and medal winners will be announced soon by the OGIC. 

The winning wineries will be represented at the Watonga Cheese & Wine Festival on Oct. 11 and Oct 12, and the public will have an opportunity to taste the wines and choose a "People's Choice" by popular vote.  Watonga is getting lots of publicity for  the Cheese Festival this year, so if the weather holds out it may bring record crowds to Watonga. The Chamber of Commerce wants to thank the advertising agency StapleGun for all of their help and guidance in promoting our festival  [in addition to the article in the Tulsa World, I even heard the guys on 96.9 FM radio talking about the Festival! -- that's a first for Watonga!!]   Andy Barrett and Brad Stinson will be appearing on Channel 43 on the morning show (Rise & Shine) on October 8 at 8:15 a.m. to promote the festival.