Thursday, August 9, 2018

Summer 2018

WHOA!  It's been a very busy spring and summer at the Retreat and in the nearby town of Watonga. I see that the last time I updated this page was in March!!  I may not have written here during this lag time, but I've posted a lot on facebook pages for the Chaparral Retreat, Watonga Arts Center, Phoenix Circle Foundation, Oklahoma House Concerts, and Blaine County OK Community pages, so I'll just write some highlights here.

Our rooms were booked throughout the spring and summer with guests in the area for family reunions, school reunions, weekend getaways, the Roman Nose Hills Trail Ride, friends visiting us, and House Concerts. We held at least one concert a month this year, most at the Retreat but a couple at the Whirlwind Winery.  The Winery has turned into a good venue for live music and having concerts there has attracted new people that may not have come out to the house in the country. I also arranged for a band, John the Franklin out of OKC, to play at the Park on July 4th and that was a hit with park management and visitors.  We hope to continue that as an annual tradition.

 Chuck Dunlap

 Abbigale Dawn

Dylan Stewart at the Whirlwind Winery

                                                                             Gentry Counce @
                                                                        Whirlwind Winery

The Watonga Chamber of Commerce has a new director -Teresa France -- and she has lit a fire in the community, re-igniting the town's relationship with the State Park and bringing fresh ideas to the Chamber board.  She jumped right in and found an economic development consultant to spend a few days here and give suggestions to the community on how to "Flip This Town" -- revitalize the downtown, attract new visitors and businesses, and make available some new activities for both adults and children.  In the meantime, Andy worked on getting the front facade of the building we bought at 111 E. Main St., Watonga, redone with the help of a grant from KeepOklahomaBeautiful and we were able to have a photo op while Ron Drake was in town.  His visit and input got other people interested in renovating a couple of buildings on Main St.

After a trip to Las Vegas to see Van Morrison and the Beatles/Cirque de Soleil LOVE shows, Andy and I got to see David Byrne in concert in OKC, and James Taylor in Wichita.

 I loved the chalkboard at the JT concert venue!  We're going to have a chalkboard outside of our arts building for people to write and draw on. We can then take photos and erase and start again.  Andy is now busy working on the inside of the arts center, and he and Drew are working on a logo.  We (Andy, me, Drew, and Jenna) brainstormed and decided on a name for the center -- WATONGA ARTWORKS. 
Other things we've done so far this year:  hired a young man to help trim trees;
We planted a silver maple tree outside of the Texas bedroom;
Andy rescued some crepe myrtles that were being dug up and replaced by other landscape, and we planted them in our yard;
Drew and Jenna got 6 sheep and move them around the yard to eat the grass-helps cut down Andy's mowing time down front of the property;
We served wood-fired pizza dinner to a group of visiting mission students from North Carolina; 
I painted my first "Barn Quilt" and Andy put it up on the outside of our building on Main Street;

This month I led a painting class for 4H kids -- they will enter their art for ribbons and cash awards at the Blaine County Fair.  I included in the class a short lesson on the Monarch butterfly's migration, feeding grounds, and pollination -- our house is on the migratory path for the Monarch as they make their way from Canada to Mexico for the winter. If you've watched any Nature or Nova shows and have seen photographs of the Monarch in large clusters covering trees, believe that they are really that thick!  We've had them linger in our trees for a couple of days and they are amazing to watch as they flutter in and around the property and literally cover the tree leaves, making the branches of the trees look  like they are moving.  I wish I had a photo, but my phone camera isn't sophisticated enough to get a shot that isn't blurry.  I am looking forward to their arrival this year, usually in August or September. 

So, it is now almost mid-August -- temperatures are still in the 90's but we've had a little rain and the yard is green and everything is blooming.  I celebrated my birthday over a long weekend with friends at the house and then a day trip on Monday to OKC to visit the 21C Museum and eat sushi.  Can't ask for better!! Today has been a pleasant day to sit outside on the patio while I catch up on this blog. 

I hope this post finds everyone in good health and enjoying a good life!  /Linda




How Time Flies

It's already mid-March -- where did the time go?  Spring flowers are budding and blooming and it's time to rake leaves off of the gardens to uncover the new growth. 

It took me longer than usual to completely recover from my bout with the flu.  Even after I no longer had flu symptoms and thought I was well, I felt weak and tired for weeks and finally went to see my doctor. Lupus?  Thyroid?  Regular blood work all looked to be normal, but a series of specific blood tests revealed that my body was severely deficient in vitamins.We came to the conclusion that the flu had taken a dangerous toll on my immune system.  It has now been a month since I started a new vitamin regimen and I can feel the difference in my energy levels.

Austin-based musician MANDY ROWDEN will be at the Chaparral Retreat & Guesthouse  as part of our Oklahoma House Concert series on Friday, March 23.  We're developing a following of musicians and audience and have two house concerts already scheduled for April and May and one in June and one in July.  Even though we're located in the middle of Nowhere Oklahoma, we have been able to attract quite a few very talented musicians from all around the country.