Monday, January 14, 2019



January is going by fast!  The weather out here in NEVERWHERE has been alternately cold (20's overnight, 30's and 40's during the day) and decently warm (50's and 60's).

I finished working with a local young man who needed community service hours last week--50 hours over three months time.  He was eager and willing to work, collecting recycling materials, picking up trash along roadways, helped with Fresh Paint Days project, working on a firebreak by clearing and moving dead wood and burning it.  He worked in Phoenix Circle Foundation's new "teaching garden", and helped with the Roadside Beautification project the foundation did last year.  He was a pleasure to work with and I was really happy to see him reach his goal. 

We attended a Friends of Roman Nose State Park Assoc. meeting to help plan the annual Trout Derby at Roman Nose State Park.  The lake at the park is spring feed and the water stays cold enough to sustain Trout all year around.  Then, at the end of February, the Fish and Wildlife stocks the lake with tagged fish. When caught during the Derby, the fish qualify for prizes given by the FORN and the Chamber of Commerce, collected by local merchants.  See the Watonga Trout Derby facebook page for more information.  It is one of the major events held in our area and brings lots of visitors, so if you want to stay at the Chaparral Retreat during that time, call for your reservation soon 'cause we fill up quickly ( Phone:  580-623-4269.   Fisherman can register through the Watonga Chamber of Commerce, 580-623-5352 or online.

We're still partnering with Whirlwind Winery for a Package Experience -- would be perfect for a Valentine's gift.  Purchase by phone to get a confirmation number and a reservation.  

Singer/songwriter Marcedes Carroll from Bozeman Montana put on a show on Saturday night at the Whirlwind Winery   worthy of a Ryman Auditorium audience. Sadly, only a dozen people showed up to see her. There's not much to do for entertainment in our little corner of rural Oklahoma, so having a touring musician stop in and perform is a real treat.  This is why we are constantly doing "Fundraising" -- to be able to pay the musicians a little bit.   We are developing a nationwide network of musicians who want to come here to play but the locals that support the live music program is a small group.  Half of the people that came on Saturday night were not from Watonga. that's great because the concerts series brings in "tourists", but one of the Foundation's goals is to have something in our town for locals to do. So, we are looking for corporate sponsors to fund some advertising in Weatherford, Hinton, Canton, and other communities close by.  These musicians play for tips and CD and Tshirt sales, so the size of the audience is important (we'd like to get 20-25 people -- right now we average 10 to 15 attendees).  

 Marcedes was awesome - strong vocals, expressive guitar work, sweet, tender storytelling. This young lady has a special talen - we're going to have her back here for sure. She played original songs that will be on her first EP and has a Kickstarter campaign launching on Jan 21. 📸: @chloenostrant
I'll look for some pics from last night to post.

The next Oklahoma House Concert will be at the Chaparral Retreat on Sat., Jan 26. , featuring DELIBERATE KIN, a bluegrass/ alternative folk duo from Kansas.  MARK YOUR CALENDARS and join our BLAINE COUNTY CALENDAR or OKLAHOMA HOUSE CONCERT group pages to receive notices of this and upcoming shows.  OR, we'll send out email notices if you'll send us a message at that you want to get notices. We currently have musicians scheduled through August!!

We'll be looking skyward on January 19-21 for the rare astrological alignment of planets that's supposed to be visible those evenings, and on January 20 for the "Super wolf blood moon eclipse."    We have the perfect location out in the country, away from urban artificial light pollution.  We have two rooms currently available at the Chaparral Retreat for rent for an overnight stay ( call 580-623-4269 for a reservation!  The nearby Roman Nose State Park is also a good place to view dark skies full of stars. 

I'm all set for the day .... did my morning stretching, had a cup of coffee, checked the calendar, wrote in my journal, paid bills. Checked my facebook and email. It' is sunny but cold today so I may end up staying indoors and catching up on paperwork.  Martha and Sadie wear themselves running around outdoors and then come in for a rest.  

 HAVE A GREAT DAY!!  /Linda Barrett

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


December 28, 2018

"Another cold December day, and there are no singing sparrows" -from my book of poems

Ah, time to catch up, before another year begins.  2018 has been busy.  Since my last post we've had several house concerts, got some ink in the state tourism magazine OKLAHOMA TODAY about our place as the home of OKLAHOMA HOUSE CONCERTS, had visits from friends, visited friends in Tulsa and in Dallas, and made new friends.  We opened the WATONGA ARTWORKS building in town, celebrated our 38th anniversary, won an Environmental Excellence award from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful for PHOENIX CIRCLE FOUNDATION, got through another Cheese Festival. I survived a brown recluse spider bite with only a small scar, and we have all stayed healthy through the year other than minor colds and viruses.  We had to replace the HVAC unit in the main house this past summer.  The gardens were lush and beautiful all spring and summer and into October, and the sheep helped cut down on some mowing down at the front of the property. I post updates and photos regularly on facebook (under Linda Barrett and  Chaparral Retreat & Guesthouse pages).   We ended the year on an "up" note overall.  Scroll down this page for photos. 

We finally opened the arts center, named it WATONGA ARTWORKS, and Drew has designed a logo for a sign.  The interior space isn't totally finished yet but the front half, the gallery area with a stage, is done and we have art on the walls from a local artist.  We hosted a musician one night during the Cheese Festival in the building and have a couple more shows already scheduled for 2019.  We get lots of referrals from musicians who have played at our place, and the article  in the tourism magazine gave us a big boost, so we are splitting shows during the year between our house, the local winery, and the ArtWorks stage.  I think 2019 is going to be a fun year. 

With the help of an author from Tulsa who happened upon our B&B, we organized an afternoon of readings from some books about Oklahoma history:  Cimarron,  Red Dust & Broadsides, The Town Herd, and A Catalogue of Common People.  Together with that we held a creative writing contest for high school students and gave awards to the kids who participated, thanks to donations from our local  telephone company, Pioneer Telephone.  Besides our work with the Phoenix Circle Foundation, we're still involved with Friends of Roman Nose State Park and have helped with a couple of events held out there. 

Drew and Jenna spent the December holidays with Jenna's family in Tennessee and Maryland, so Andy and I had a quiet December here at the house by ourselves.  The weather hasn't been too bad this winter so far -- cold and windy but no ice or heavy snow (yet).    

We hope everyone had a good year in 2018 and we look forward to another good one in 2019.   I hope all of our friends will keep in touch!!

January 2, 2019