Monday, June 20, 2016


JUNE 19, 2016  Happy Father's Day to all who have experienced the joy of being a father and of having a father in their life. 
We didn't do too much special -- Andy had to get on the road after church to do his "other job".  It was pleasant in the morning, but by the time we got out of church it was hot and humid.  We had a full house all weekend ('tis family reunion season) so after all of that fun we all needed a restful day.  I had full intentions of cleaning out my closet and bureau drawers and putting things in boxes and bags for Goodwill.  I did a little of that, but I started to do laundry and decided to get through that before sorting clothes to give away.  I'm sure you've guessed -- I didn't get much "cleaning" done, but I did pull out a few things.  In between going in and out of the house to change loads of laundry, I read, I wrote in my journal, and caught up on some TV and movies I had recorded.  I watched "A Walk in the Woods" with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.  It was a sweet movie; I recommend it for a Sunday afternoon respite. 

I made chicken mole and took some to our new pastor, Tracey Ivy, along with some Hawaiian rolls to serve it on, and that's what I had for dinner.  It brought back fond memories; I wrote a short story about it. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Summer 2016

June 9, 2016  - [I originally wrote parts of this as a "press release" and sent it to some regional newspapers.  Our local newspaper prints updates from several local organizations and covers events "in town" but does not cover what is going on out here unless it is a paid advertisement.] 

May was a very busy month for the Chaparral Retreat and Guesthouse.   Just this past week visitors have come from Edmond, Wichita KS, and Denton, TX.  Earlier in the month Watonga's local songbird, Katie Ballew, and her singing partner Kelly Potts, performed for a modest but very appreciative audience on a Sunday afternoon.  The Chaparral Retreat is the venue for Oklahoma House Concerts, and the second group to play there in May was a trio from Nashville called "My Politic".  Check them out on!  A honeymooning couple came to stay last weekend and experienced the beauty of nature at this quiet little paradise tucked behind fifty-year old trees.  If you don't know what you are looking for as you drive north from Watonga on State Hwy 8A toward Roman Nose State Park, you'll miss it completely (look to your right for a wood fence and a rock sign). The place is a hidden gem and has an interesting history to go with it.

The third wave of color on the property are just now blooming:  daylillies, coreopsis, canna lillies, moon flower, four-o'clocks, Indian blanket and other wildflowers.  Mrs. Barrett gives short tours of the property to show children what they can grow to eat:  basil, mint, rosemary, parsley, cilantro.  The larger garden hosts tomatoes, squash, and green beans.  Guests at the Retreat are able to hike along trails under the canopy of native trees on the property, or are directed to visit the state park just down the road where they can dip their feet in the cold natural springs there, learn about the native American history of the area, admire the amazing rock work of the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and eat at the recently-remodeled Lodge restaurant.  The temperatures have now turned "hot", spring is over and summer is upon us.  The swimming pool at the State Park is not yet open for the season but we are looking forward to it opening soon. 

This past week we were glad to get a visit from friends who live in Coppell, TX, where we raised our children. We caught up on what's going on with our kids, reminisced about band and Boy Scouts which both of our boys were involved in, and just had a relaxing time of it.  They explored the town, took pictures of some of the historic buildings, and spent a day hiking at the State Park. Drew and Jenna made pizza for dinner on the Carnes' last evening with us and we played Farkle (a dice game). 

The Barrett family is involved in establishing a new "Health & Hunger Community Garden"  in the town of Watonga, made possible by a collaboration between OSU's County Extension Service, the 1st United Methodist Church, and other community partners.  We have spent many hours during the past month  putting up fencing around the garden space and setting up four raised beds.  During the church's VBS we took children and their parents to the site and explained what was happening here, gave them information about composting and water conservation, and let the children plant the few tomato seedlings we had started.  There will be a community meeting at the Methodist Church in the next week or so where individuals and groups can get information about the project and sign up to "adopt a plot" or otherwise volunteer to work in the garden.  Everyone in the community is invited to participate in maintaining the garden space, growing and harvesting fresh produce, and learning about chemical-free gardening and composting.  For more information and to register to help with this project, contact Linda Barrett at 580-623-5269 or cell:  940-735-1065.  Check out the "Blaine County Community Events" facebook page for other things going on in our area.  /Linda Barrett