Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ladies Tea

May 28, 2015
Several years ago, a couple of ladies from Omega dropped by to see what we were doing at the house they knew as "Dr. Barrett's house."  They had come from Roman Nose Lodge after having lunch and saw the big rock with the roadrunner logo by the lane that leads to the house.  Andy had completed most of the work inside by then and we gave them a tour.  They were pleased that the house was staying in the family, and I think pleasantly surprised at the updates Andy had made while still staying true to the original character of the home.

Recently, we were called by one of those ladies and she wanted to know if we could host a Tea Party for her and a small group of her friends.  I was delighted!  Her daughter, who now lives in California, was going to be in town after Memorial Day weekend, and she wanted to include her so we set a date.

It was a lovely day -- not too hot, not rainy, and everything in the yard was in bloom.  I cut flowers from the gardens and made several floral arrangements for the tables in the dining room.  I put in some coreopsis, coral honeysuckle, indian blanket, purple salvia, and a few stalks of wild sage, for color and fragrance.  I made a chicken salad with craisins, pineapple and sunflower seeds; cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese sprinkled with dill; tomato sandwiches with a parsley/spinach pesto spread, goat cheese drizzled with fresh strawberry sauce, some lemon cookies, and I put out some chocolate covered almonds.  They had a selection of teas to choose from -- peach, red zinger, chamomile. They invited me to sit and chat with them.  I listened to stories from each of them. Some knew Dr. Barrett and Marjorie, one lady had been a patient of Dr. Barrett, and the younger women spoke of their families lovingly.  We talked about gardens and trading plants and what kind of plants grow in specific places.  They were genuinely interested in the history of the property.  I gave them a tour of the house and they enjoyed that.  Each of them commented on which was their favorite bedroom. 

We think of ourselves as stewards of this property and we love sharing the beauty and peace of it. We're always happy when someone wants to stop in and just visit! 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015


We've had a busy month of May!  The weather has been off and on with rain, storms, then a few hot dry days.  We're having the most wet spring weather I think we've had since we moved here.  Fortunately, our property is very sandy and the water soaks in pretty quickly.  The rain has been wonderful for the gardens! 

We have fish in the pond and lots of tadpoles.

Early this month we hosted a young singer/songwriter for an OKLAHOMA HOUSE CONCERT--Merry Ellen Kirk.  The weather was iffy that Saturday so she set up her keyboard in the family room and played for us.  It was wonderful.  If you get a chance, check her out on the internet, facebook, youtube, etc.  She and her brother were on a road trip, heading to California.  We hope they will come back through here on their way home. There are a couple of great things we like about House Concerts -- the musicians are usually on a "circuit" or on their way to another venue, so we can show them hospitality and get to enjoy their music in our unique setting.  The other thing I like is that we get to meet new people, usually make a new friend. 

Drew led a paint party fundraiser for a Relay for Life team, and one for the Watonga High School After-Prom party. We haven't had a Liquid ART evening at the Winery in a while but have been focusing on fundraising for other groups this month.  I really need to post some photos here!

For Mother's Day I pretty much relaxed.  The rest of the week was busy with graduation activities.

We had a "soft opening" for The Oven at Chaparral Retreat and had a great time with friends who came out for dinner.  We will be open generally on Friday evenings anytime we have reservations for at least 10 people.  I'm working on a press release to get out to some tourism media. 

Andy was mentioned as Chairperson of the Watonga Cheese & Wine Festival in a nice article in last month's issue of Oklahoma Today - tourism edition.  He really worked hard last year to get some publicity for the event, and it worked!  Neither of us are involved with the Cheese Festival this year, as we are focusing on our own efforts to develop the Retreat as a tourist destination in conjunction with Roman Nose State Park.  Most people come to this area for the park, and since there is really very little to do in the town of Watonga, we are going to take advantage of the traffic coming out our way. 

FUN TO DRINK WINE!  This past weekend we hosted the third annual OGIC Oklahoma Wine Competition, organized by our friend Brad Stinson from Whirlwind Winery.  Although the Watonga Chamber of Commerce and the Cheese Festival committee have nothing to do with the wine competition, it has been the tradition to feature the winners of the competition in the various categories at the Festival in October.  I have the list of winners but will hold off publishing them just yet.  They have been notified, I'm sure.  We had seventy (70) entries this year and five judges. Tanya, Drew, Jenna, Andy, Brad, and I were all busy all day but everything went smoothly. We invited anyone who wanted to come out and taste the wines afterward but no one showed up.  Andy lit a fire in the fireplace and we sat out on the patio. It was a lovely evening, nice temperature, no rain.  Good times with good friends!

We're having a Tea Party for a group of women today at the house...... I'll write more later!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spring 2015

May 14, 2015
I just realized that it has been almost a year since I posted an update here.  I've been focusing on Facebook and promoting the town of Watonga more than concentrating on our own place!  We have been following the premise that what's good for Watonga is good for us as a business. In the meantime, we've also been working on developing our property for activities that we hope will bring people from Oklahoma City and suburbs to our little piece of paradise. 

Andy has put in a pond!  The Oklahoma room and the New Mexico room both have a nice view of it, with a thick green backdrop of trees.  He has also built a wood-fired brick oven off of the back patio.  We have been holding fundraisers for the art center we are working on in Watonga on Main Street, with paint and wine parties we call "Liquid ART".  We are fortunate to partner with an excellent wine-maker, Brad, who grows his grapes in Fay, OK and makes his wine right on Main St. Watonga.  Several of the paintings we  and friends did last year at Liquid ART were entered into the Blaine County Free Fair last August and came home with winning ribbons in several categories.

Through our work with the Phoenix Circle Foundation and the support of many, many wonderful people here, we've been able to help the local Elementary School with their music program, helped with the VBS at the Methodist church, the 4-H kids, and the Live at the Liberty in Watonga.  I was excited to see some of the children's art from these efforts were entered in last summer's County Fair! 
 Our friend John Diamond has been bringing music acts to the Liberty Theatre over the past year and the program has grown significantly.  They are generally blue-grass, but the variety of musicians is ashtonishing - from a celtic group to a band named MilkDrive from Austin that plays covers with a touch of jazz as well as original music.  As an alternative to the Liberty shows, we've started having "house concerts" at the Retreat.  These are shows put on by musicians that are part of a circuit, some of whom will play for donations or just for the pleasure of getting to play somewhere unique.  We aren't competing with Live at the Liberty, but rather complementing it by offering an alternative venue in a unique setting. We have several local musicians scheduled for the summer months -- watch our facebook page for updates. 

[got to go for now, I'll be back tomorrow to write more -- There is so much to catch up on!]  /Linda