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Spring 2014

There’s always a beautiful view at this lovely log cabin



Green Country Living


contents Picturesque


The Huffords — Part one of a three part series on the Arkansas River


The sunrises — and the recordbreaking fish — drew Stan and Lottie Hufford to the Arkansas River.


The fishing and birds drew Danny Lloyd and Janet Lynn Haley to the Arkansas River.

The friendly neighbors and town of Webbers Falls drew Lynn and Sandy Wright to the Arkansas River.


Wonderful Wine Think out of the bottle with these convenient wine packaging solutions.

The Cook’s Pantry

42 SPRING 2014

The Haleys — Part two of a three part series on the Arkansas River

The Wrights — Part three of a three part series on the Arkansas River



No matter who’s looking out of the picture window in Jan and Avery Snyder’s log cabin, it’s sure to be a spectacular view.

Nick Fuller shares some family history, and great steak recipes.


Historic Homes of Muskogee The Robb home.

Cover photo by Jerry Willis

on the cover

Spring 2014



editor ADVERTISING SALES Layout & Design

Issue 36

Jerry Willis Angela Jackson Amanda M. Burleson-Guthrie

Green Country Living is published quarterly by the Muskogee Phoenix. Contents of the magazine are by the Muskogee Phoenix. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior consent of the Muskogee Phoenix. Green Country Living, P.O. Box 1968, Muskogee OK 74402. email - Editorial: (918) 684-2932 email - Advertising and distribution: (918) 684-2813

There’s always a beautiful view at this lovely log cabin

Jan and Avery Snyder built their log cabin home in 1984 with Canadian cedar logs on five acres east of Fort Gibson.

Green Country Living


Lush Log Cabin Jan and Avery Snyder love the view from their cherished home Story by Cathy Spaulding


ne massive picture window gives Jan and Avery Snyder two different views of their world.   Jan’s view comes at sunrise, when the sun’s rays flood the Snyder’s main room.   “I get up early, and I get my Bible and I read and I pray,” Jan said. “Sometimes, I see the sun come up. I get my cup of coffee. It’s my favorite time because when you work, you’re in a rush.”   Avery Snyder watches for birds.   “When I look out the

Photos by Jerry Willis window, I’m waiting for my first hummingbird,” he said. “We got our first one last year on the 9th of April. I’m still waiting for one this year. I have two feeders ready for them.”   Avery said he has seen all sorts of birds, including cardinals, bluebirds, even a mother hawk.   The Snyders have shared views out that window for 30 years. The log cabin was built in 1984 on five acres east of Fort Gibson. Jan grew up in Fort Gibson. Avery came from Muskogee.   “The land was more or less part of an inheritance,” Jan said. “The log house was something I always wanted. I’ve always

been real earthy, and I love the outdoors. Avery loves to mow.”   She said she pored through magazines for ideas and drew up basic plans for the house.   “It’s a mother-in-law plan with one bedroom on one side of the house and the others on the other side,” she said. “When my kids were teenagers, we didn’t want them on my end of the house.”   Outside walls are made of Canadian cedar logs stacked atop each other.   “Like Lincoln Logs,” Jan said.   “Canadian cedar is very hard to get any more,” Avery said.   The Snyders said they chose

cedar logs because they do not shrink or lose color like pine logs.   The cathedral ceiling is made of tongue-and-groove pine paneling. The floor is hard oak.   Three of the Snyders’ four children were reared in the house.   “All our kids like the country life,” Jan said.   The Snyder children now are grown and have their own families.   “The house is paid off, and now we get to enjoy retirement,” Jan said.   She retired from Indian Capital Technology Center, where she did financial aid for the center’s four campuses. He retired from Georgia-Pacific, where he was an operator.   The Snyders find plenty of things to do at home, which they now share with their West Highland White Terrier, Taz.   “I do gardening and take care of the flowers, Avery takes care of the yard and the roses ... and the birds,” Jan said.   A Rose of Sharon bush

Left: Jan and Avery Snyder snuggle with Taz, their West Highland White Terrier, on the front porch of their country home.



Above: The Snyder’s front walk is made of native fieldstone and leads past flower beds to an inviting front porch.

spreads its branches over a front walkway. Avery said hummingbirds like to dart in and out of the branches.   “Two months from now, it will be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen,” he said, adding that the bush gets covered in violet or purple flowers with double blooms.   Jan said she once took a picture of the bush “in the dead of winter.”   “It had ice on it and it was laying flat on the ground,” she said.   She took another picture from the same spot in spring, “when it started to leaf out.”

  “Then, I took a picture in summer when it was completely covered with flowers,” she said. “I then took it in fall when it was turning golden. It was hard to believe it was the same tree.”   Jan’s garden features tulips, amaryllis, clematis, and a lilac tree.   “That’s usually what I look for on my birthday — because it’s in April — is a new plant,” she said.   The garden also features pots of oregano, basil and rosemary, which Jan uses for cooking.   “Avery and I did rock work for the pond,” she said.   The Snyders rest in a rustic Green Country Living




Clockwise: Jan Snyder wrapped these bottles in yarn and burlap and combined them with repurposed items to create an effective display against the planks of one kitchen wall.

A buffet is repurposed as a cabinet in the great room. Jan Snyder has painted the piece in a pastel kaleidoscope of coral, peach, robin’s egg blue and corn yellow.

One wall of the great room in the Snyder home is a bank of windows opening the room to their woodland home.

Green Country Living




wood porch swing. Visiting grandchildren like to roast marshmallows for s’mores in a wrought iron fire pit, Jan said.   The log house attracts plenty of wild visitors.   “We came home from church the other night and saw 11 deer,” Avery said. “We had little rosebuds, and we woke up the next morning and a deer came up and bit off every one of those rosebuds.”   Jan said she sometimes scatters her husband’s or son’s hair clippings across the yard to deter the deer.   “They don’t come up if it smells human,” she said.   The Snyders said they also have seen coyotes, possums and squirrels.   “It’s Taz’s job to keep the squirrels off the porch,” Jan said.   Jan spends a lot of time in a small shed, working on her crafts and other hobbies. She and a friend have a booth at Tahlequah’s Briar Patch Market.   “I’m a junker,” she said, defining junking as “taking

things nobody wants and you make it your own and it’s a masterpiece.”   A cabinet on one end of the great room has drawers painted in a pastel kaleidoscope of coral, peach, robin’s egg blue and corn yellow.   “That was just an old buffet,” she said.   Jan also painted and distressed red end tables and a coffee table.   “You paint it and get steel wool, scour the paint, then you seal it,” she said. “I’ve been known to take a hammer to something because it’s too perfect.”   She also has turned old windows into frames for photographs and painters’ drop cloths into elegant cream-colored curtains.   “If you can say what kind of style it is, I’d say shabby eclectic,” she said.   The Snyder’s creamy white master bedroom is anything but shabby. The bed’s padded headboard and footboard are made with cowhide and satin. A

white bird cage holds earrings.   Angel wings hover over the headboard, another Briar Patch find, she said.   On the other end of the house are a bedroom and what Jan calls the “toy room and TV room.”

  “Avery watches a lot of sports in there. I’m not into TV,” she said. “Avery is so funny. He’ll be in the TV room, where he lives, and I’ll be out here in the shed, where I live. He’ll call me and say ‘Could you fix me supper?’” 2

Clockwise: The wicker-and-glass table on the front porch offers a spot for al fresco meals at the Snyder home. A marble-topped work cart stands in the center of the Snyder’s efficient kitchen. Jan Snyder has created a fun display with a selection of finials around a “Home” sign perched atop a barnwood cabinet on the porch.

Green Country Living


Clockwise both pages: The “toy and TV room” has comfortable chairs and a couch, plus a window seat that doubles as a toy box. This barnwood cabinet offers a spot for Jan to store garden tools and do some potting. Jan and Avery Snyder’s bedroom is reflected in an ornate-framed mirror. This cozy guest bedroom is at the opposite end of the home from the master suite.



Jan Snyder combines potted plants with tulips to create a pleasing spring display in a bed near the porch. Jan Snyder has created a colorful grouping on a cabinet in the great room. Jan Snyder spends a lot of time on projects in this workshop. The Snyder’s master bedroom is elegantly appointed in white.

Green Country Living


They Flow to the River Three couples are at home on the Arkansas River Story by Cathy Spaulding Submitted photos by Lottie Hufford


ven in the earliest days of Webbers Falls, people came for the river.   They still do.   “The Arkansas River was the most important thing there in the early 1800s,” said George Miller, president of the Webbers Falls Historical Society.



  The swift, wide Arkansas River first drew French explorers, who dubbed the falls “LaCascade.” Then, in 1828, Walter Webber, a chief of the Western Cherokee, established a trading post just south of the falls, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society website.   “Rich Joe Vann, the richest

Cherokee in Indian Territory, hauled cotton back and forth on a steamboat called the Lucy Walker,” Miller said.   Eventually, the railroad, then the highways, then Interstate 40 took traffic — and interest — away from the river.   Webbers Falls historian Troy Wayne Poteete said retired farmers lived in small houses

by the river. However, those houses were not “oriented to the river,” he said.   “They’d have a garden, a place to keep rabbits or cows,” Poteete said. “They were mostly elderly people as I remember. I threw newspapers to them in the 1960s. By the 1980s and 1990s, the houses just got older and abandoned.”

The river now attracts a new set of settlers to Webbers Falls. Couples such as Lottie and Stan Hufford, Lynn and Sandy Wright, Danny and Janet Haley are building larger houses where those old farm shacks stood.   Their main attraction? Fish. Big fish. Stripers and catfish weighing 30 pounds.   “Lynn and Sandy are a huge asset for our town. They’re interested in our future growth,”

said Webbers Falls Mayor Jeff Carter. “Danny and Janet Haley took an old place and replaced it with a unique looking rock structure. And the Huffords have that view of the river.”   Their presence is helping the town grow, Carter said. He said the town recently put a boat dock by its park.   “It’s the only boat dock between Muskogee and Fort Smith,” he said. 2

Left to right both pages: Lottie and Stan Hufford, Lynn and Sandy Wright, Danny and Janet Haley have built homes along the Arkansas River to enjoy the fishing the river offers and views such as this sunrise.

Lottie Hufford sees scenes every morning such as this one she photographed from her home in Webbers Falls.

This winter scene inspired one of Lottie Hufford’s paintings. She and her friends have made their homes on the banks of the Arkansas River in Webbers Falls.

Green Country Living




The Huffords Story by Cathy Spaulding Photos by Jerry Willis


indows along three walls give Stan and Lottie Hufford a panoramic view of the Arkansas River.   Some of the best views come at sunrise.   “They are just awesome every time,” Lottie Hufford said. “You never see the same one every time. Even the river is different every time you see it. It changes so much.”   Lottie often takes pictures of these sunrises, then paints them. She showed one picture of the sun rising bright white over snow.   “We get yellow sunrises some mornings,” she said. “This is in the spring when the fog comes. We get pink, just every color of the rainbow, just about.”   Sunsets also can be spectacular.   “The sunlight will only hit the trees and not the river,” she said. “The sun will shine just in a strip along those trees.”   The windows and the river give the room a special feeling.   “It’s just the peace you feel when you come into the room,” Lottie said, estimating that she and her husband spend about 75 to 80 percent of their time in

the large living room.   Of course, the Huffords see plenty of action on the river as well. Barges pass the house nearly every day.   “The river runs almost north and south,” Stan Hufford said. “A couple of hours ago, our Baby Tug, what we call our local tug, was working with some of the barges that were coming through.”   The Baby Tug is docked on the river’s east bank, just south of the Hufford house.   The Huffords said they also get to see wildlife, including birds that sometimes hit their windows.   “We have what we call a ‘bird hospital,’” Stan Hufford said, adding that he sometimes takes care of and mends birds that hit the window.   Outside, a wire cage around a bird feeder protects little finches from larger birds, such as catbirds, cowbirds and starlings, Stan said.   The Huffords have been savoring their river view since 1997.   However, it was in far different condition when Stan, a chiropractor from Weatherford, first bought it in 1983. He said he had never been to eastern Oklahoma, where the rivers are

Old fishing reels Stan Hufford has had through the years line a window sill in the living room overlooking the Arkansas River. Green Country Living


much wider than they are out west.   Then he saw the McClellan– Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System and the size of the stripers people could catch.   “I came down here for fishing, and then I liked fishing so much, I was looking for a place to buy,” Stan said. “When I walked up on the front porch, when I found this vacant house, I fell through the porch.”   At the time, the house was a 500-square-foot building, overgrown with weeds, about to fall down, Stan said.   “You couldn’t even see the river then,” he said. “The river bank at that time was the city dump, so to speak. The Johnson



grass and the trees, car bodies, just about anything you can dump in a dump.”   He still bought it and cleaned up the property. He said that, after a major flood in 1986, the Army Corps of Engineers allowed him to put rocks along the banks.   “I purchased it just for a place to be out here,” Stan said.   “It took me 10 years to prepare the place,” he said, adding that Lottie came into his life around 1996.   After he retired from his medical practice, the Huffords moved to the river in 1997. Stan said he wasn’t sure Lottie would like it.   The Huffords added the

windowed expansion a few years ago. A sloping ceiling, done in knotty pine, adds even more brightness to the room.   A ledge under one slope stores part of Lottie’s massive collection of knick-knacks. It came by accident. The builder had put in a brace piece, which created a ledge, Stan said.   Old fishing reels Stan has had through the years line a window sill.   “One reel I had when I was a little bitty boy, the reel is probably 80 years old, and I’m 77,” he said.   The building has had other additions over the years.   “In the beginning, we had to go long because it was just a

narrow lot,” Stan Hufford said. “Just about every room has a view of the river.”   That includes Stan’s chiropractic clinic, which takes up one wing of the house.   “All our patients say it has such a peaceful feeling,” Lottie Hufford said.   Lottie Hufford has a special room where she paints, writes and plays music on a keyboard. She said she likes to sing karaoke every third Friday night of the month at Showtime at the Falls, a performance venue in

downtown Webbers Falls.   She also paints little angel figurines for children.   The couple’s garage is wallpapered with snapshots of fish Stan Hufford has caught since 1985.   “I caught two 30-pound catfish on a jug line,” he said.   An even bigger fish, a 33-pound striper, hangs on the living room wall.   But, Stan Hufford still hopes to catch that big one.   “The state record is 48 pounds,” he said. 2

Left: Stan and Lottie Hufford have made a home for themselves overlooking the Arkansas River in Webbers Falls.

Above: Lottie Hufford has turned one room of their home into an art studio for her painting and photography.

Green Country Living


Clockwise both pages: An oriole’s nest that the Huffords found made up of Easter grass and seed pods joins other items on display. Polaroids from years of fishing on the Arkansas River line the walls of the Hufford’s garage. A winter scene painted by Lottie Hufford hangs above one of the cabinets in the living room. Lottie Hufford uses her collection of rocks to prompt children’s stories in one of the books she has written.



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The Haleys Story by Cathy Spaulding Photos by Jerry Willis


anny Lloyd Haley has gotten so good at fishing the Arkansas River, sometimes he doesn’t even go outside.   “See that bench out there by the river? I just set my fishing pole on that bench and go sit on my recliner,” Haley said. “I get up when I see the pole move. It’s lazy man’s fishing.”   Haley has the perfect view from that recliner. The riverfront rock house he shares with his wife, Janet Lynn, features wallsized windows overlooking the river. Fishing poles lean on a backyard cottonwood tree, ready for constant use.



  “There’s a lot of fish out there,” he said. “In summer, I fish three or four times a day, take the pontoon out.”   Haley said he mostly goes for catfish, but also gets a good stock of striper and sand bass.   “My brother caught two 30-pound catfish right here,” he said.   “We usually have a fish fry,” Janet Haley said. “We get on the patio and start frying.”   Danny Haley said he has “never been where there is more fishing.”   The retired rural mail carrier knows the area well. He had been fishing from that property for more than 30 years before he and his wife moved there in

2011.   At the time, the Haleys lived in Newalla, between Oklahoma City and Shawnee.   He said he bought the property in 1978 as a place where he could fish.   “This house is really two houses over 100 years old,” Haley said. “The wood on the wall is from the original house.”   Janet Haley said they “put the two houses together. Both of them were about 500 square feet.”   The house now is about 1,700 square feet, she said.   She said she figured the old houses must have been sharecroppers’ houses in the 1920s. Danny Haley said they

found a scrap of newspaper, stuck on the wall, that had an ad from 1924.   “So, we know it’s older than that,” he said.   Janet Haley preserved the ad behind glass in a shadow box.   Danny Haley said he used many of the boards from the old houses for paneling in the main living room and an office.   “I ran the boards through a planer to make it cleaner,” he said.   The floor is made up of squares of mesquite wood.   “They say it’s the third hardest wood in the world,” Danny Haley said.   The Haleys also built a galley kitchen and an office space. Janet Haley said she keeps some of her karaoke equipment in the office. She said she hopes to find some space where she and her neighbor, Lottie Hufford, can do karaoke.   Other rooms have beadboard pine walls, painted sea blue.   Outside walls of the Haley home are made with heavy gray stones.   “They call it blue stem and it came from a Stigler rock quarry,” he said. “Darell Blocker did the stone work and Gary Shamblin did much of the construction.   Haley said a garage he’s adding also will feature the stone work.   While work continues on the garage, the Haleys bide their time in the living room and dining area, watching the river.   “We just love it here because

Left: The exterior walls of the Haley home are made of blue stem stone from a Stigler quarry. Above: Danny and Janet Haley love their back patio with its view of the Arkansas River.

Green Country Living


Clockwise both pages: The Haley’s galley kitchen is done with a black countertop, stainless appliances and white cabinets.

The wooden floor is made of individual squares of mesquite wood. Danny Haley says it is the world’s third-hardest wood.

The wood on the paneled wall of the Haley’s living room came from the two small homes that were originally on the site.

Danny Haley sometimes sets up a fishing pole on the river bank and watches it through the window of his living room, dashing down when he has a bite.



Green Country Living


of the river,” Janet Haley said. “Every day, barges go by. It’s just a different world out there.”   Danny Haley said he has seen Coast Guard patrol boats and buoy tenders.   “The buoys guide the barges,” he said. “If they get out of position, they move them with a barge-looking boat with a crane.”   Haley also sees visitors competing for his fish.   “If they have a bass tournament, you may see 40 bass boats go by,” he said. “They’ll go to where the river widens to Kerr Lake.”   The Robert S. Kerr Reservoir is between Webbers Falls and Sallisaw.   Sometimes a cat, or even a fox, crosses the Haleys’ view.   “We see deer, beavers,” she said.   The beavers are not always nice, though. Janet Haley said she had to wrap wire around one tree to keep them from gnawing

at the trunk.   “We see all kinds of birds,” she said. “Bald eagles, pelicans, sea gulls, those cormorant birds, all types of songbirds. Every bird you can think of.”   Danny Haley continued to the list: “Orioles, finches, hummingbirds by the dozen, Canadian geese by the hundreds.”   If they’re perplexed by one, the Haleys contact Lottie Hufford.   “She’s got a book and she can identify every bird she sees,” Janet Haley said.   The Haleys watch boats, watch wildlife and watch the weather. The couple received a weather station as a Christmas present two years ago. The station measures wind speed, shows wind direction.   “If the barometer is rising or falling, it would tell you if there is a storm or whatever,” Danny Haley said. “There’s also a selfdumping rain gauge.”

The bedroom in the Haley home displays blue and white walls, with aqua, turquoise and wood for accents.



Information gathered from the station is displayed on an inside wall monitor.   With so many artifacts making up the Haley’s walls, it seemed natural the couple would be interested in Webbers Falls history.   A 1902 plat of the town hangs in the office, as does a picture from the 1930s. The picture shows a steel truss bridge crossing the Arkansas. Janet Haley said the old bridge was where the city park is now.   “The town burned down in 1911, but it built back up,” she said. “It used to be a pretty booming town back in the 1930s and ’40s. Then, they built that newer bridge and bypassed it. You know, straight to Gore.”   The Haleys said they are trying to get people back to Webbers Falls.   “We have a nice park with a camping area,” Danny said. “And we have a nice music venue.” 2

Green Country Living


The Wrights Story by Cathy Spaulding Photos by Jerry Willis


ynn and Sandy Wright expected a slower lifestyle when the moved from Moore to Webbers Falls five years ago.   However, they found Webbers Falls can brim with activity.   “You get to know a lot of people here,” said Lynn Wright, who ran a construction company. “We’ve got more friends here than we had in Moore.”   Sandy Wright, who had a real estate company, agreed.   “The neighbors are really neighborly here. It’s like when I was a kid,” Sandy said. “If a neighbor sees Lynn out working

on something, they come to help. I haven’t seen that since I was a little girl.”   The Wrights quickly got involved with the town. Lynn serves on the town council.   “We decided if we were going to be here, we were going to be a part of it,” he said.   Sandy sometimes helps do computer work at town offices.   “There are lots of awfully good people out here,” she said.   Out-of-town visitors also stop by the Wrights’ house. It’s the only one around with its own jail. The Webbers Falls Calaboose has been sitting on what is now the Wrights property since at least 1895.

Inside are two jail cells.   The jail has a rich history, Lynn said.   “There were a couple of guys in here once and one of them was let out. He broke the other one out and they shot the sheriff,” he said. “Judge Parker hung them.”   Judge Isaac Parker, known as “Hanging Judge Parker,” was based in Fort Smith, Ark., and oversaw Indian Territory. According to the Oklahoma Department of Tourism website, U.S. marshals traveled back and forth from Webbers Falls to Parker’s courtroom.   “On Webbers Falls Day, they open it up and all kinds of

people go through it,” Sandy said. “You have people pull up out here all the time on I-40, and they come in and look at it.”   People also look at a historical marker near the Wrights’ home noting Webbers Falls as a stop on the Trail of Tears, Wright said. Lynn said there are travel projects in which people get stamps for places they visit.   “And a lot of times, people come here to look at the memorial of the bridge collapse,” he said.   A 600-foot-span of the Interstate 40 bridge over the Arkansas River collapsed on May 26, 2002, after a barge hit a concrete piling supporting the bridge. Fourteen people died in the collapse. A memorial was erected in Webbers Falls city park.   Lynn said Arkansas River fishing attracted him to Webbers Falls.   “We’ve lived here for four and a half years, but we had a smaller cabin for 12 years before that,” he said. “We’d come out here and spend weekends and holidays and stuff.”   Lynn said he didn’t care what

Left: Lynn and Sandy Wright have connected deeply to their new community since moving here from Moore five years ago.



Above: The Webbers Falls Calaboose has been sitting on what is now the Wright’s property since at least 1895. Below: The Bible, a vase and a family photo make a nice vignette in the master suite.

Green Country Living




Clockwise both pages: Warm tones, plants and family photos give the Wright home a homey appeal.

The Wright’s living room is comfortable and roomy.

This guest room centers on a classic iron bed.

Perhaps a harbinger of spring, a ceramic bunny strikes a thoughtful pose on the porch of the Wright home.

A countertop sink is built into the cabinet in this bathroom.

Half of Lynn and Sandy Wright’s large back porch is open, half screened.

The window in the master suite offers a view to the porch swing and the river.

Green Country Living


kinds of fish he caught, as long as they were big ones.   “A year and a half ago, I caught a 65-pound catfish,” he said, showing a snapshot of himself holding a catfish that reached his shoulders. “I usually catch a big one every year, but this was the biggest.”   The Wrights had to tidy up the property and add to the cabin before moving there permanently. He said his wife wanted it that way.   “She wouldn’t come out here the way it had been,” Lynn said.   The Wrights’ home is 2,400 square feet, twice the size of the old cabin.   “We came from a big twostory Victorian home in Moore,” Sandy said. “But I like this size better.”   The front door opens onto

a main room, warmed by a gas fireplace.   “The gas fireplace warms the whole downstairs,” she said. “It’s amazing. I never thought a fireplace would heat that much.”   Picture windows give the Wrights a full view of the river. A screened porch and an open deck run along the back of the house.   “In the summer, we sit out on the deck a lot,” Sandy said. “We sit on the deck during the day and sit on the porch at night.”   The Wrights have a great view of the Webbers Falls city boat dock.   “We laugh a lot,” Sandy said. “We see people put one foot on the dock and one foot in the boat and they fall in the water.”   “It’s not too funny when you hear them cuss a lot,” Lynn said.

Below: The kitchen offers a well-designed space for meal preparation.



“It’s nice to look out and see the tug boats on the river,” Sandy said. “It’s nice to see flocks and flocks of ducks fly north in the morning and south in the afternoon.”   The Wrights also can see a variety of geese.   A couple of cats like to hang out by the deck.   “The cats are good at catching mice,” Sandy said.   The Wrights also have two dogs. Abby, a 15-pound Japanese chin, stays inside. Rufus, a 150-pound French mastiff runs around outside.   “That’s why we put up a wood fence. It’s for Rufus,” Lynn said.   The Wrights’ four-bedroom house also is a home for Lynn’s 90-year-old mother.   A guest bedroom on the top floor also has a wide view of the

river.   “It’s bigger than it looks from the outside,” Sandy said.   A walk-in closet leads to Sandy’s sewing room.   “I do little things for my grandchildren,” she said.   Gardens outside the Wrights’ entry make the front view almost as appealing as the back view.   A Texas sage bush explodes with pink blooms.   “It’s blooming all summer, it doesn’t matter how hot it gets,” Lynn said.   Lynn calls a blue atlas cedar his “Charlie Brown tree” because it is so thin.   Other flowers include lantanas, roses, miniature boxwoods and pussy willows. The yard also has a plum tree and a peach tree. 2

Right: Ceramic birds look out on the river from the screened porch of the Wright home.

Green Country Living


Scene and Be Seen One Heart One Voice Gala The One Heart, One Voice Gala benefitted Kids’ Space Child Advocacy Center and the Native American Children’s Alliance. The gala featured an evening of dinner and dancing, plus the chance to win a diamond. Kids’ Space provides a coordinated response to victims of child abuse and their non-offending caregivers and victims of sexual assault. NACA focuses on the safety and well-being of all Native/Alaskan Native children and is known for providing annual training to develop child advocacy centers for Indian Country. Photos by John Hasler



Scene and Be Seen The Flying Fez The Flying Fez festival benefits Muskogee Bedouin Shrine Temple. The event showed wines from 10 Oklahoma wineries this year. The proceeds help the temple transport children and one family member to Shrine hospitals. Photos by John Hasler

Green Country Living


Scene and Be Seen Battle of the Brains The Muskogee Education Foundation’s sixth annual “Battle of the Brains” trivia challenge raises money to help students get a better educational experience than would have happened without the Foundation’s generosity and determination. Proceeds from the event, which includes a trivia contest, a silent dessert auction and a live auction, go into an endowment, the interest of which is used to provide grants to teachers in the Muskogee area. Photos by Mandy Lundy



food & drink

Thinking outside the bottle Special photo by Valarie Carter

Wonderful Wine By Valarie Carter


Spring is the season when we consider dining al fresco at picnics, outdoor parties, cookouts, and barbecues.

here’s nothing quite so fine as dining al fresco. I love patio dining at bistros and cafes, dining by giant heaters and fire pits in the dead of winter as well as picnics, outdoor parties, cookouts, and barbecues in the warmer months. And I do love a great glass of wine to accompany such an occasion.   But there are two major challenges with outdoor dining. Our sometimes extreme temperatures and wind make for fewer optimal outdoor dining experiences. Ask anyone who attended my outdoor wedding reception. It was 92 degrees at 9 p.m. with approximately 110 percent humidity and not one leaf stirring. Envision the bride sweating like a professional athlete and sopping her face with a giant beach towel. That was me. I don’t suggest planning the perfect outdoor party here in Green Country without a very good back-up plan.   Challenge #2? Those pesky wine bottles. Okay, they’re not that obtrusive but with all of the modern packaging options available, the need for corkscrew, re-corking equipment and even the glass are eliminated. You can swill your wine from a, Tetra pack container much like your post-workout Muscle Milk. And Green Country Living


food & drink when the party is over, you’re not left lugging around heavy, dripping wine bottles. Just need a single serving? Try Stack Wine and the Zipz glass. With boxed wine options you can pour just a glass or just a bottle. The 3-liter option is equivalent to four regular (750 ml) bottles. Vacuum-sealed pouches preserve wine much longer than merely re-corking a bottle. And you needn’t worry about broken glass while camping, boating, or poolside. The smaller glass and aluminum vessels allow for an easy tasting party and are perfect for a private picnic for two.   Be prepared for your next primo outdoor dining experience by being properly stocked. Try these creative packaging options that will make toting your wine easier.

Fetzer Zipz glasses

.187 liter, $10 — available in white blend and red blend.

Stack Wine

.187 liter 4-pack, $15 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Charisma red blend.

Cook’s California Champagne

Bota box 500 ml Tetra pack

- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Old Vine Zinfandel and Moscato.   We’ve talked boxed wine before, but add these to your list.   Big House wines, around $18, depending on the varietal: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, red

blend, white blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Zinfandel, and sangria.   “Alternative packaging boasts reduced greenhouse gasses by 75 percent and waste by 50 percent, cut fuel emissions due to its lighter shipping weight, and are produced primarily from paper which is a renewable resource,” Bota Box says. 2

.187 liter 4-pack, $8.

Lunetta prosecco

.187 liter, $4.

Banfi Rosa Regale

.187 liter, $6.

Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparkling

.187 liter 4-pack aluminum cans, $21 (with its own sipping straw, of course!).

Al fresco pairings   Stumped as to what to serve at your next summer soirée? Some of my favorite al fresco dining pairings are: • Hummus and pita, olives, roasted vegetables, and anything olive oil with syrah. • Take-out Chinese with gewürztraminer. • Classic cold fried chicken and potato salad with sparkling wine. • Barbecue and white zin or zinfandel. • Egg salad, crostini and chardonnay. • A selection of cheeses, crusty baguette and sauvignon blanc. • Grilled Porter peaches topped with creamy vanilla yogurt and sauternes.



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food & drink

Eat at Nick’s

A culinary legacy lives on in Muskogee The Cook’s Pantry

Photos by Mandy Lundy

By Melony Carey


uskogee real estate broker Nick Fuller knows his way around a Hasty Bake charcoal oven. The third generation Muskogeean learned from his mother and father, Katherine Fuller and the

late James Fuller, how to grill a perfect steak. But it was from his maternal grandfather, Nick Poulos, a Muskogee restaurateur known to Nick as “Pop,” that he learned not only how to craft a fine steak, but about how to craft a family legacy built on culinary memories.

  “Pop emigrated from Platanos, Greece all by himself when he was 10 or 11 years old, around the turn of the last century” Fuller said. “He came through Ellis Island where his name was changed from Efstathiou to Poulos. His proudest moment was when he

earned his U.S. citizenship.”   Poulos eventually made his way to Missouri where he met and married his wife, Irma Cruzen, before settling in Muskogee and opening the first of three restaurants in the Nelson Building at Second Street and Okmulgee Avenue.

Poulos and staff circa 1938 with Fuller’s mother, Kathryn, seated at left.



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Nick’s Café was a fine dining establishment in downtown Muskogee. Fuller recalls hearing stories about the restaurant’s linen napkins and sophisticated menu offering appetizer, grilled steak, salad, vegetable and a roll, all for only $1.75.   “Pop was a hard worker,” Fuller said. “He and my grandmother were omnipresent at the restaurant, putting in 18 hour days. My mom used to sleep under the counter as a little girl back in the ’20s.”   Later, Nick’s Café moved to a second location before settling at the corner of 32nd and Oklahoma streets, a thriving commercial area near where the Poulos and the Fuller families lived. At this location he offered a broader menu that included hamburgers and fries. Fuller

recalls walking from Mrs. Morrison’s Kindergarten on Oklahoma Street down to the café where he treated his friends to an after-school snack.   Today, Nick still uses his grandfather’s chopping block.   “Pop cut and aged his own steaks,” Fuller said. “He also loved hunting and kept bird dogs. One of the best family meals was my grandmother’s quail stuffed with sausage, fried in a cast iron skillet and then baked in the oven.”   Fuller recalls that his mother was a great cook, too.   “She used to top our steaks with butter,” Fuller said. “I realized later that was a trick she learned from Pop.”   Fuller has built his own culinary legacy as a master of the Hasty Bake charcoal oven,

Nick Poulos leaning in the doorway of his restaurant at Wall and Lombard streets in downtown Muskogee.

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updated version. Both then and now, it’s always a treat to eat at Nick’s.

Pop’s Steak Recipe Thick cut strip, filet or ribeye steaks Salt Pepper Fresh lemons Oregano One pat of butter per steak

The Fullers enjoy deck time while Nick grills steaks in his Hasty Bake.

having gotten his first hand-medown grill in college from his dad. Entertaining and cooking for family and friends with his wife, Laurie, has been a way to relax and enjoy life.

  “Grilling has been a great way to connect with our kids and their friends,” Fuller said. “I would be cooking, and the next thing I would know, six kids would be sitting on the deck, talking and laughing.”   That joie d’ vie accompanies Nick’s philosophy of life.   “My dad always said to get along with everybody and treat people right.”   Here, Fuller shares his grandfather’s method of searing and grilling steaks and his own

  Sear steaks hard over hot grill to seal in juices. Remove from direct heat and continue cooking until desired doneness. Top each steak with a pat of butter.

Nick’s Steak Recipe Strip or filet steaks Pepper Fresh lemons Soy sauce Oregano   Sprinkle steaks with soy sauce. Squeeze lemon juice over steaks. Add freshly ground pepper and oregano to taste. Over hot grill, sear steaks and cross sear to keep juices in, then set over indirect heat. Cook with grill lid down to keep in moisture and give steaks great charcoal flavor. 2

Fuller sears his steak well over a hot fire before moving them to indirect heat.



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Historic Homes of


The Robb Home Story and photos by Jonita Mullins


ne of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture in Muskogee is the Robb Home located in the 1300 block of Boston Street in the Kendall Place Historical District.   Queen Anne architecture was a popular style in America in the late Victorian era. This form is considered one of the most elaborate Victorian styles.   Queen Anne homes featured

wide wrap-around front porches, elaborately turned columns and spindles, towers or turrets, balconies and other exuberant architectural details. Favored by the newly rich bankers, merchants and factory owners of the industrial age, the style utilized pre-fabricated turned wood or scrolled metal.   Craftsmen building these homes used plenty of gingerbread details or elaborate

patterns in the brick or masonry. The style is known for its excessive attention to detail and is one of the most recognized of the Victorian styles.   The Robb Home dates to 1907 and was constructed for the father of what could be considered Muskogee’s first family. Andrew W. Robb is credited with opening one of the first businesses in town

when the railroad created Muskogee in 1872. He also built the first home that year, and he and his wife Martha Requa Robb were the parents of Jessie Robb, the first nonIndian child to be born in Muskogee.   The Robbs’ first home was located on Third Street and was a simple farmhouse for Andrew, Martha and their three daughters, Katherine

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(Kate), Mary (Mollie) and Jessie. For the remainder of their lives, Andrew and Martha would live in Muskogee and have a profound influence on the town’s growth and development.   Their financial support helped build the First Presbyterian Church, the Martha Robb Hospital on South Main Street, and the Martha Robb Dormitory at Henry Kendall College. Andrew Robb asked that these structures be named for his wife, rather than himself, to honor her. A daughter of early missionaries to the Osage, Martha died in 1898.   Andrew managed the Patterson Mercantile, one of the largest department stores in the region.



  The Queen Anne home on Boston was built for Andrew and his second wife, Helen Severs Robb. It was located at the northwest corner of the Kendall College campus and around the corner from the home of daughter Kate and her husband, college president Grant Evans. No doubt, the Evanses were frequent guests in the beautiful Robb house, perhaps with other faculty of the college, which would have included Alice Robertson.   One can imagine gatherings on the grand front porch of the home to include students at the school or fellow church members from First Presbyterian. Andrew’s daughter Mollie had married William Sanson, a department manager at Patterson’s

Mercantile who was the son of Presbyterian pastor, Thomas Sanson.   No doubt the Robbs also entertained Helen’s parents, Frederick and Annie Severs, in the home’s front parlor. Andrew Robb and Capt. Severs were both Civil War veterans, though they fought on different sides. Can you imagine the discussions they might have had over the dining table or a game of cards in the study?   These two men were also co-founders of the first bank in Indian Territory, along with other Muskogee leaders such as future Senator Robert Owen. Perhaps the directors of First National Bank met in the Robb home on occasion to discuss business or for social gatherings.

  After Andrew Robb’s death, his widow continued to live in the home until 1918 when she moved to a smaller home in the same block. Then, G.W. Walker and his wife, Estelle, occupied the house. Walker was the vice president of the Osage Cotton Oil Company with an office in the Flynn Ames Building.   Several other individuals owned the home through the years. Interestingly, the president of Firstar Bank, Michael Leonard, was an occupant of the home in later years. Today, the home is vacant, with out-of-state owners. It is undergoing renovations, hopefully to prepare it again for occupants who will care for this grand old home. 2

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Green Country Living, Spring 2014  
Green Country Living, Spring 2014