Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 30, 2016

Dear friends,
If you've visited the Retreat in the past year, please go to and write a review! Thanks!

 I start my morning with the Lord's prayer and quiet meditation. Sometimes we have to look deep inside ourselves to find strength and comfort in dealing with the challenges of life.  Our philosophy is to keep on working, keep smiling, keep on hoping, keep on praying, and we know everything is going to be OK in the end.  We appreciate the blessings in our life and the opportunities we have to share those blessings.

The Retreat was booked up for the weekend of October 14-15, some  guests here for the cheese festival, some who just came out for a getaway weekend.  The weather was very nice other than a strong wind. For breakfast I made a frittata with a layer of hash brown potatos, eggs, sliced fresh tomatos, a light layer of cheddar cheese, garnished with fresh rosemary. Bacon on the side and fruit. We're still getting cherry tomatos from the house garden plants, basil, rosemary, and arugula. 

I spent that Friday morning in town and "interviewed" some of the vendors and some of the crowd, ate a smoked pork sandwich, and ran into several couples who had previously stayed with us at some point during the year.  You can take the word "wine" out of the name of the Watonga Cheese & Wine festival but that doesn't change the fact that Oklahoma wineries bring a huge crowd to the festival. What goes better with cheese (other than chocolate -- ah ah, there's an idea for a booth for next year)! On Saturday I worked the fundraiser booth for the Kiwanis Club, selling cheese.  This year the festival was spread out, with different activities at different locations other than Main Street, so I didn't have the chance to go to see quite a bit of the activities.   

This past week I decided to use some of the cherry tomatoes from the community garden for our dinner.  We've had a good crop and  I've given away two baskets of tomatoes so far.  We have some sweet potatoes planted in the beds there, and some okra, which is producing in spite of the late start.  Next year we'll get started  planting in the spring and hopefully have more young people come out to garden.  So, I used the cherry tomatoes, basil from our home garden, a little chopped rosemary, cubed mozarella cheese, garlic, a little pepper, some snips of green onion from my window "garden".  A splash of balsamic vinegar and some extra virgin olive oil, and voila, a salad to go with the spaghetti squash Drew made for dinner one evening.   We are blessed by the bounty of God's nature.

Our next house concert is Dan Martin, from Tulsa OK, on December 7.  I booked him to play at the cheese festival a couple of years ago, when I was in charge of entertainment for the festival, and we are excited to have him come out and play at our place.  We are currently asking for donations to Phoenix Circle Foundation so that we can continue bringing musicians out here (SEND MONEY PLEASE!!  See the Phoenix Circle Foundation facebook page).  This past week Andy and I went to OKC for an evening of networking with musicians and artists, and we toured the 21C Museum art gallery.  We made lots of contacts for future House Concerts, and got some ideas for our art gallery and studio space Andy and Drew continue to work on. 

Now it is Halloween.  The kids decorated the house and we plan on spending the evening reading  "scary" stories out loud. 

As for movies for the holiday, forget Nightmare on Elm St. and the Exorcist. Here is my list of creepy, scary movies:
Stir of Echoes (with Kevin Bacon)
Frailty (with Matthew McConnehey)
 Jennifer Eight (with Uma Thurman)
Suspect Zero (with Ben Kingsley )
Primal Fear (with Edward Norton and Richard Gere)
Seven (Brad Pitt)
The Cell (Jennifer Lopez)
The Gift (with Cate Blanchett)
The Skeleton Key (Kate Hudson)
and of course, Rosemary's Baby.  


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October House Concert

Wed. Oct 12.  My, how the time is flying by!
On Friday, I worked at the Whirlwind Winery in the afternoon.  It was a quiet day and I listened to the Glenn Roth CD "Welcome Home” while I got caught up on some writing.   
Thursday, Oct. 6,  was a busy day -- cleaning house, doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and getting ready for the House Concert with Merry Ellen Kirk, Ruth Acuff, and Drew Lance.  Everybody pitched in – Jenna offered to make a beet, quinoa, and spinach salad for dinner; Drew made hummus; we had cheese curds, pate, and dark chocolate with wine and champagne. The B&B and events we host for Phoenix Circle Foundation take all of our efforts, working together. 
The Chaparral Retreat was the first stop on the second leg of Merry Ellen and Ruth's "EARTH ANGEL" tour.   


One of our friends from Tulsa drove in for the concert.  I promoted the show via multiple venues: flyers posted locally in windows of businesses, and  posters distributed to  shops in Weatherford, Canton, Geary, and Kingfisher, and at the Student Union, University Press, and Music Dept. at SWOSU.  I set up a facebook EVENT and posted on all of my facebook pages (my personal page, Oklahoma House Concerts, Phoenix Circle Foundation, Blaine County Community Events, Red Carpet Country Tourism page) and shared with all of the groups I am a member of.  We promoted on the Chaparral Retreat website, TravelOK, and the KOSU radio events calendar.  I sent out email invitations.  The week before the show, I sent in a press release to the local newspaper -- since Phoenix Circle Foundation is a nonprofit AND we pay for a weekly ad in the paper, I had asked that they print a listing in their “What’s Happening” section.  Sadly, the newspaper has not printed anything about the House Concerts sponsored by Phoenix Circle Foundation.  We do, however, receive a lot of response to our social media posts.  
Even though it had been a beautiful day on Thursday, we decided to set up indoors for the concert.  It had rained the night before and the forecast for rain on Thursday night was uncertain.  As it turned out, it did not rain until the late evening.  The audience was small but that just made for a more intimate evening.  We did have one new visitor and he was excited to learn about all that we are doing in the community.  Everything works out as it is supposed to be! 

Though Merry Ellen Kirk has played here before, and I knew her music to be fresh and beautiful, I did not know what to expect from a harpist.   Ruth Acuff's  songwriting, storytelling, her voice, and the way she was able to transport me to another plane with her fingers on the strings of the instrument was not like anything else I have ever experienced!  Merry Ellen's voice and songwriting are like fairy dust .... Drew's percussion work perfectly complimented both singers' music.   Our time together and conversation after the concert made it a magical evening.  I didn’t want to go to bed!

Before the musicians packed up for their trip to Tulsa on Friday morning, we all took a walk through the woods, checked on the chickens, and “toured” Drew and Jenna’s building project.  The air was chilly but it was sunny.  Autumn keeps threatening to begin, but we’ve had temperatures this past week as high as 90 degrees and overnight lows as low as 45.  On Thursday it was 66 degrees in the morning; on Friday morning it was 50 degrees.  We all needed sweaters for our morning trek.   The trio planned to go to Roman Nose State Park before leaving the area.

After breakfast on Friday morning, Andy and our friend from Tulsa took off for Dallas, to go to the Texas/OU game on Saturday.   [AND OU WON!!]  The TX/OU game has always been on the second weekend of October, the same weekend as the Watonga Cheese Festival,  but this year the Festival was moved to the weekend of Oct 14-15.   That actually works out better for us and our business.  In past years when Andy and I were involved with helping run the Cheese Festival, we devoted time not only before the festival, but from Thursday to Sunday we were in town from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm setting up, making sure everything ran smoothly, and then cleaning up; we were not able to tend to B&;B guests and ended up turning down business during that weekend.  Last year Andy went to the game in Dallas and I stayed here, and we did have house guests.  This year, since the Festival is a week later, we have a full house booked and Andy will be home to help. 

This week is time to do some cleanup outdoors - rake some leaves, trim some overgrowth, sweep and pick up some of the billions of acorns that have already fallen. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Update for friends

I've been handwriting in my journal daily over the past couple of months as we've gone through many changes this summer.  The past month has been especially difficult but I've come to terms with it all and we are moving forward. We've had lots of guests at the B&B and are booked full for the upcoming Cheese Festival.
I turned in my resignation as church secretary and am now focusing on all the projects we've started at our house and in town.   Andy and Drew have been working on the arts building.  We hosted a house concert with Glenn Roth, a finger style guitarist from Connecticut, on Sept. 17.  It was a rainy day so we didn't have a lot of people come out, but those that did got to experience a very special show.  Glenn is a great musician and we were blessed to have him come out here.  One of the benefits of holding the house concerts is that we get to meet some really good people and make new friends from all over the country, not only the musicians but audience members too.  We've been promoting  the house concerts at the SWOSU campus and shops in Weatherford, as well as in OKC and suburbs.  On the evening of Glenn's show, Gentry Counce, an OKC musician, and her boyfriend came out to see Glenn perform.  While we were sitting around visiting after Glenn played, Gentry got out her guitar and graced us with a couple of songs.  She's a facebook friend and we are glad to be able to spread the word about where she is playing. 

It's been a bad allergy season and I got really congested in mid-September. That congestion turned into bronchitis and I ended up taking an antibiotic.  That was hard on my system and when it was all said and done, I was out of commission for more about three weeks.  All is well now.