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Summer Edition 2021

All-weather patio cover enables entertaining guests year-round Vacation, weekend home built on shores of Lake Eufaula Worldwide traveler, artist calls Tahlequah home Sisters love cooking on grill

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Summer Edition 2021 Issue 58

Publisher Ed Choate Editor Elizabeth Ridenour Contributing editor Angela Jackson Layout & Design Joshua Cagle WRITERS Cathy Spaulding, Melony Carey, Heather Ezell PHOTOGRAPHERS Mandy Corbell, Cathy Spaulding, Von Castor, Heather Ezell ADVERTISING Director Brenda Adams ADVERTISING SALES Angela Jackson, Therese Lewis, Krysta Aich, Kris Hight Green Country Living is published 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 eridenour@muskogeephoenix.com - Editorial: (918) 684-2929 Advertising and distribution: (918) 684-2804

O n t h e C ove r

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Featured Homes

Inside

6 West

34 Beyond the Listing

Patio allows family to entertain guests any time of year.

14 Stiles Couple builds vacation home on the shores of Lake Eufaula.

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Briley Warner farmhouse features space and dramatic sunsets.

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Summer Edition 2021

Shofners looking to leave two-story house, dock behind.

48 Art of the Matter Peterson an experienced artist, veteran calls Tahlequah home.

50 Cook’s Pantry Sisters share love of historic homes, cooking on the grill.

Photo by Mandy Corbell

All-weather patio cover enables entertaining guests year-round Vacation, weekend home built on shores of Lake Eufaula World-wide traveler, artist calls Tahlequah home Sisters loves cooking on grill

Heath and Rachel Briley enjoy farm living with their daughters, Kaya, 10, and Aubri, 8.

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;174(#/+.;Ō5*'#.6*%#4'%.15'61*1/'

As part of Saint Francis Health System, Oklahoma’s largest healthcare network, Warren Clinic offers an extensive range of high-quality primary care and specialty services in Muskogee and Fort Gibson. For more information about Warren Clinic or to make an appointment, please call 918-910-4306 or visit saintfrancis.com/muskogee. CARDIOLOGY/ CARDIOVASCULAR CARE 3340 West Okmulgee Avenue Debasish Chaudhuri, M.D. Satish Kohli, M.D. Tammy Stiles, APRN-CNP

101 Rockefeller Drive John Evans, D.O. Bryan Lucenta, M.D. Jackson Wong-Sick-Hong, M.D. FAMILY MEDICINE 108 Lone Oak Circle, Fort Gibson Charity Johnson, D.O. Alicia Childs, APRN-CNP Bradley Littleton, APRN-CNP

3332 West Okmulgee Avenue Sr. Gianna Marie Savidge, R.S.M., M.D. 3506 West Okmulgee Avenue Rebekah Kriegsman, D.O.

INTERNAL MEDICINE 3332 West Okmulgee Avenue David Kyger, M.D. Sr. Grace Miriam Usala, R.S.M., M.D.

OTOLARYNGOLOGY (EAR, NOSE AND THROAT) 101 Rockefeller Drive Edgar Boyd, M.D.

OB/GYN 3504 West Okmulgee Avenue Jonathan Baldwin, M.D. Edwin Henslee, M.D.

PODIATRY 101 Rockefeller Drive, Suite 204 Patrick Branagan, D.P.M. Kevin Dux, D.P.M.

108 Lone Oak Circle, Fort Gibson Sarah Poplin, APRN-CNM

PSYCHIATRY 211 South 36th Street Paul Matthews, D.O.

ONCOLOGY 300 Rockefeller Drive Fuad Hassany, M.D. ORTHOPEDICS AND SPORTS MEDICINE 2900 North Main Street Peter Fast, M.D. Ronald Hood, M.D.

RADIATION ONCOLOGY 300 Rockefeller Drive Selamawit Negusse, M.D. WALK-IN CLINIC 108 Lone Oak Circle, Fort Gibson Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

GENERAL SURGERY 101 Rockefeller Drive Richenda Herren, M.D. Sumit Kumar, M.D. Patrick Ross, M.D.

Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e W es t

Patio for any Season West enjoys year-round outdoor living

A

cold front didn’t keep Kim West’s guests from enjoying a New Year’s Day brunch on the patio. “It started out really warm, then a front kind of came through, and so we turned on the heaters, and it was fine,” West recalled. A new all-weather patio cover with heaters and fans

allows West to entertain guests — or enjoy solitude — outdoors any time of year. “It’s kind of rare when you can’t be outside,” West said. “When it was -10, we were not here. But unless it’s really cold, you can be out here with the heaters and the fireplace.” West said the idea came when a good friend of hers insisted she get a patio cover.

By Cathy Spaulding • Photos by Mandy Corbell

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A stone fireplace and a pergola featuring ceiling fans and heaters enables Kim West to enjoy the outdoors no matter what time of year it is.


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The back porch features a cozy setting around a stone fireplace.

“Johnny Broome is a master with working with metal,” West said. “I just kind of told him what I had in mind and he did it.... He just designed the whole thing and did it for me.” Broome built an arching metal frame over the patio. Clear fiberglass panels stretching over the arch let the sun shine in while protecting from rain and other elements.

Johnny Broome is a master “with working with metal. ” — Kim West

West said Broome ordered and installed ceiling fans for summer coolness and infrared heaters for winter warmth. Sconces on the support columns add nighttime light. The patio cover was installed about a year and a half ago, just in time for a Christmas 2019 meal and that New Year’s

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West’s backyard is expertly landscaped.


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Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e W es t

An evening on the West patio is sure to include wine and hors d’oeuvres.

West keeps a variety of herbs close by in raised beds.

Day 2020 brunch. Broome also expanded the patio’s stone fireplace, West said, adding that the fireplace originally was terra cotta-colored stucco with only a firebox. He doubled the width by adding a firewood box, then covered the fireplace with stone blocks, she said. West uses the fireplace often. “This is where everyone wants to come

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This is where “ everyone wants to come when it’s cooler. ” — Kim West

when it’s cooler,” she said. “You’ve got the fire and you’ve got the infrared heater.” She said she also enjoys coming out there

alone. She can press a remote and a wide screen TV rises from a cabinet behind patio chairs. Broome made that cabinet, as well. He also crafted a swirly metal sculpture that sits on West’s patio. West said Broome originally donated the sculpture for an auction benefiting Kids’ Space. “I was not the top bidder. A good friend of mine was the top bidder and she said, “I


Johnny Broome made a swirly sculpture.

ABOVE: Hydrangeas pop like colorful balls beside a waterfall. RIGHT: Raised herb gardens feature plenty of variety, including mint.

know that would look good on your patio,’” West said. “It was for charity and she paid a lot of money for it, and she let me have it.” The backyard had always been an oasis since Louie Mosteller custom built the house in 2004, West said. Parts of her backyard were landscaped in 2008. “At one point, we had a hot tub back here, but nobody ever really used the hot

tub,” she said. Nearly all the plants came from Blossoms, owned by Matthew Weatherbee and Lora Durkee, West said. In fact, she said she’s “babysitting” some of the plants for Weatherbee and Durkee. Part of West’s patio features the best of the desert — a bowl of succulents behind a love seat, various types of cacti including prickly pear. Larger plants are agave from

Arizona. “You don’t have to water them that much,” she said. Black vessels on the floor hold lantana. Hydrangeas with blooming purple balls surround a waterfall fountain, where West’s dog Myah likes to play. Kevin Randall designed the waterfall, West said. Crape myrtles grow along the other side of the fireplace.

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ABOVE: Succulents abound in West’s back patio. BOTTOM: A large agave plant spreads its leaves.

Myah loves the water in West’s backyard waterfall.

West enjoys growing herbs to enhance her cooking. She grows them in two selfwatering herb beds. She grows thyme, basil, rosemary, parsley, sage, sweet peppers, dill, marjoram, oregano and mint. “You can fill them up and you can be gone for two weeks,” she said. “That’s the best part of summer and being able to grow your own herbs.” And, yes, West said she often cooks outside. She has a Napoleon natural gas grill, where she grills steak, seafood. She uses a Hasty Bake for her charcoal grilling.

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we have bobcats. We have deer “allWethehavetime,everything, We have eagles because we’re not very far from the river, lots of raccoons and possums. ” — Kim West

“There are so many things you can use a grill for,” she said. Beyond the backyard, wildlife can be seen moving in from a row of trees. “We have everything, we have bobcats.

We have deer all the time, We have eagles because we’re not very far from the river, lots of raccoons and possums,” she said. “All those things that comes with living kind of in the country.”


ABOVE: Visitors can enjoy outdoor dining any time of year on the back porch.

RIGHT: A variety of plants provide a natural border between the back porch and backyard.

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Contact CEC today about enrollment qualifications.

918-453-5554 www.eldercare.cherokee.org Green Country Living

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Lake Eufaula spreads wide behind the shoreline home of Leonard and Donna Stiles.

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At home on

water

Vacation, weekend home awaits Stiles at lake

L

eonard and Donna Stiles found the right vacation home waiting for them on the shores of Lake Eufaula. “When I walked in the house, I pretty much knew that’s what I wanted,” Leonard Stiles said. “I like the exterior, but it was more about the layout of the inside.” He said he especially

liked how open the house felt. The Stiles, who live in Arkansas, have spent weekends and vacations at their white modern farmhouse for about one and a half years. Aaron and Natalie Tracy of Lakeside Resources built the house as a spec home in 2018. The house is located in Stone Ridge Estates, on a point south of Eufaula.

By Cathy Spaulding • Photos by Von Castor

Green Country Living

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An open plan features space for the living area, dining area and kitchen.

Counters and cabinets contrast in black and white on the kitchen island and along the walls.

The Tracys sought to create a light and open feeling in the house. The two-story main room, with a cathedral ceiling reaching 26 feet, exemplifies the openness. Quaker aluminum windows reaching 8 feet from the floor line both sides of the main room. Matching clerestory

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windows above the first-floor windows add even more light. “Even from the street, you can see almost to the lake,” Natalie Tracy said. “That’s part of the lake life with the water here, merging the indoors and outdoors,” Aaron Tracy said. “We see this requested from a lot of our clients

on convergent styles. We have black aluminum windows on these smooth white walls, but we’re also bringing in natural elements like distressed beams. It’s kind of a match-up of various textures and styles.” Distressed cedar beams form thin brown lines across the living room’s


The master bathroom features a freestanding tub and his-and-her sinks.

Distressed wood handrail and pipe accent the stairway.

Aaron and Natalie Tracy seek to create airy, open spaces in the modern farmhouses they design.

cathedral ceiling, the kitchen ceiling and the mantle. A massive, yet sparse chandelier hangs from the ceiling. Floors throughout the first story are 36-inch by 6-inch wood tile planks. “A lot of our customers here prefer the tile floor because of wet feet,” she said.

The kitchen features a patterned white quartz countertop on the 9-foot island and a black quartz countertop along the walls. The cabinets and drawers also contrast on the island and along the walls. Natalie said she likes to work with different textures. The kitchen features a walk-in pantry,

stainless steel appliances, and includes a separate bulk icemaker under the counters. “Everyone wants to have ice, and not go buy ice when they load their coolers,” Aaron Tracy said. Off the garage, a “mud locker” with shelves, hanging hooks and a bench offers

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RIGHT: An intimate fire pit offers a peek at Lake Eufaula.

BOTTOM: Deer are frequent visitors to the Stiles’ home on Lake Eufaula.

Lake Eufaula spreads in all directions in this artistic map.

a place to leave towels, bags and other gear. The master suite on the other side of the ground floor features a large lakeview window. “When you wake up in the morning, your first view is out there at nature and of the lake,” Aaron said. Bedroom and bathroom walls are

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the slightest of gray, a paint color called crushed ice. The master bath has a separate shower and free-standing tub. The laundry room, just off the master suite, features clothes racks and ample storage. A flex room by the master suite could be an office, audio-video room,

extra bedroom or separate living area. It has a built-in bench by the window and bunk beds. Leonard Stiles said he has three grown daughters and several grandchildren. A half bath near the entrance has a vessel sink on a hand-built distressed wood counter. The stairway has square distressed


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Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e S til es

A screened porch offers a breezy respite from mosquitoes.

wood handrail, accented by steel pipe going diagonally underneath. “You really have the contemporary farmhouse going on,” Aaron Tracy said. “We continue to reintroduce the different textures and elements with the steel pipe and the wood posts. Upstairs, two bedrooms feature

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vaulted ceilings and are connected by a Jack-and-Jill bathroom. The third upstairs bedroom has its own bathroom, and the bathrooms feature quartz countertops. A screened porch off the main area offers the outdoor breeze without the mosquitos.

“Even in the winter, they have their nice outdoor heater,” Aaron said. A back open patio looks onto the sloping back yard with a view of a community marina. “The Corps of Engineers has moved away from individual dock permits to community docks, and it helps keep the


ABOVE: The Stiles home features a cozy back porch.

ABOVE: The dining area opens onto a screened porch.

shoreline less littered,” Aaron said. Large stone outcroppings pop up in front of and behind the house. “God put those there,” Aaron said. “You see they have a nice little fire pit out there, they just use the natural rocks and made a nice little fire pit.” When the water’s right, the homeowners have a swimming beach. Aaron Tracy said the lake has a lot of bald eagles. “They like to use some of the trees nearby as a fishing perspective,” he said. “We see almost on a daily basis multiple bald eagles. We have a lot of deer that are almost tame. Lots of great fishing.” Leonard Stiles, a southeast Oklahoma native, said “just being on the water” is one of his favorite things about the house. “My brother-in-law has a home on the lake. My parents live 20 miles away,” Stiles said. “So it’s kind of like coming home for me.”

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S m a l l To w n W e l c o m e

Fort Gibson

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S m a l l To w n W e l c o m e

Fort Gibson

Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Bril e y

Briley builds farmhouse on

family land

Country home features personal touches

R

achel and Heath Briley can see wide spaces and dramatic sunsets from their white farmhouse near Warner. Such views are familiar to Heath, who grew up in that area. “This has been part of the Briley Farm, or Briley Ranch for 70 or 80 years or longer,” Heath said. “My dad grew

up on this place. We actually lived down the road, which is where I grew up.” He said the family always had cattle and recently got into horses. “We’ve been raising quarter horses for about 20 years,” he said. “About four years ago, Rachel and I decided to build us some chicken barns. So, we’ve got laying houses. And the laying houses is kind of what made this transpire.”

By Cathy Spaulding • Photos by Mandy Corbell

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Rachel and Heath Briley’s farmhouse sits on a broad 40-acre spread between Warner and Webbers Falls.

Green Country Living

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Heath and Rachel Briley enjoy farm living with their daughters, Kaya, 10, and Aubri, 8.

Heath said he had always planned to build a house on their 40-acre spread. “Just seemed like the time was right,” he said. Rachel Briley began looking through house plans until settling on a farmhouse plan she liked. “Our main thing was, if a farmer’s going to build a house, they’re going to do things straight and plumb, we wanted straight lines. We wanted everything clean and neat,” Heath said. “One thing about our contractor is that he’s very good about getting a feel of what we like. He has a knack for it.” Heath said the contractors were Chance Parker and Danny Eichling White.

One thing about our “contractor is that he’s

very good about getting a feel of what we like. He has a knack for it. — Heath Briley

“We had seen some of Chance’s other work,” Heath said. “I grew up with Chance and a lot of the subcontractors he uses, I knew several of them.” The house’s white exterior features flat stone around the base and wood beam trim around the windows, garage doors, back patio and entry. An 8-foot-tall knotty alder entry door opens onto a spacious living, dining and kitchen area. A cathedral ceiling unifies the areas. Old windmill blades find new life as ceiling fans. Ceramic tile floor

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A stone fireplace rises up to the living room’s cathedral ceiling.

throughout the house looks like wood. Eufaula bluestone surrounding the fireplace and hearth rises to the living room ceiling. Some of the furniture is custom. “All these dining tables and end tables and coffee tables and entry table, a guy by the name of Jamie Caudle built all these by hand,” Heath said. “This is actually maple that comes out of semi trailers. It’s got that distressed look to it. It’s very heavy.” Antique iron sewing machine treadle stands are the dining room table’s legs.

This is actually maple that “comes out of semi trailers. It’s got that distressed look to it. It’s very heavy. — Heath Briley

Caudle’s wife refurbished all the dining chairs, he said. A barn door slides open for a walk-in pantry. When weather threatens, the pantry becomes a secure safe room, Heath said. The kitchen island features two levels of granite counter tops. Four stools line the higher serving counter; food is prepared on the lower one. The counter along the kitchen wall is leathered granite, Rachel Briley said. The vent over the gas range looks like cast iron, but is actually treated wood. White subway tile lines the backsplash. Display shelves by the kitchen sink, the living room fireplace and in a

Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Bril e y

ABOVE: The kitchen island features a two-level granite countertop. Leathered granite is along the wall.

RIGHT: A barn door opens onto a spacious pantry that doubles as a safe room.

half-bath are supported by iron plumbing pipes. But no water goes through them, Rachel said. The inside doors are knotty pine with what Heath calls “farmhousy-looking square door handles.” On one side of the house, the two daughters share a hall that has a desk, cabinets, shelves and places to hang coats and stash boots. A blackboard has the girls’ schedule, including a lunch menu. They also share a bathroom. Aubri, the 8-year-old “princess,” has the pink room with dainty furniture, paintings of royal kittens, unicorns and flying horses. Kaya, the 10-year-old “cowgirl,” has the more rustic room, with square plain wood furniture and quilt-print bedding. A laundry room has shelves and cabinets, plus places to hang and fold clothes. The girls use an upstairs bonus room for playing, watching TV and hanging

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Summer Edition 2021


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Fe at u r e d Hom e Bril e y

ABOVE: The dining area looks out onto acres of farmland.

RIGHT: Refurbished chairs surround the dining room table.

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LEFT: The dining room table is topped with maple wood that came out of semi trailers.

BELOW: Old sewing machine treadles supports the bottom of the dining table.

Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Bril e y

A free-standing tub sits in a bathroom nook and has antique-looking pipes and faucets.

out. It, too has a cathedral ceiling. Like other parts of the house, the bonus room has storage spaces of various sizes. The office opens into the master bedroom, where the bed faces a big screen TV. The master bath features a sweeping free-standing tub. Antique-looking faucets come up from the floor. A massive window by the tub offers a view of the farm. The tile shower features dual rain

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Rachel Briley’s walk-in closet includes a vanity.

shower heads. Rachel’s walk-in closet features a vanity. Heath’s walk-in features room for his for his caps and cowboy hats. From the simple back patio, the Brileys can see acres across the farm, which turns many colors when the sun rises and sets. “Here lately, especially with the clouds and things, it’s pretty majestic,” Heath said. “All kinds of colors.” Rachel listed “pinks and oranges and purples and blues.”

“We’re up high enough we get a real good view,” she said. Heath said he especially loves how quiet the farm is. “And our neighbors, excellent neighbors,” he said. Those neighbors include wildlife. “When we first moved in, on a full moon, we would have probably 10 to 15 deer that would bed down outside our patio,” Heath said. “Lots of deer, coyotes, bobcats, a few turkeys.”


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Green Country Living

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Beyond the Listing

The Ray and Melissa Shofner home offers several levels to enjoy nature and the lakeside view.

FEATURES »» ADDRESS: 20653 Ranger Road, Fort Gibson. »» ASKING PRICE: $585,000. »» SQUARE FOOTAGE: 4,166. »» PROPERTY SIZE: 1.12 acres. »» BEDROOMS: 4. »» BATHROOMS: 3 full, 1 threequarter, 1 half. »» HEATING AND COOLING: Two units, heat pump, geothermal cooling. Fireplace with gas logs and Heatilator. »» APPLIANCES: Dishwasher, 34

Summer Edition 2021

microwave, refrigerator, disposal, range/oven. »» FLOORS: Tile, vinyl, wood, brick. »» OTHER FEATURES: Vaulted ceiling, cable TV wired, deck, patio, balcony, covered porch, waterfront access, boat dock. »» SCHOOL DISTRICTS: Norwood or Woodall elementary schools; Fort Gibson High School. »» CONTACT: Betty Blackwell, RE/ MAX & Associates, (918) 4413375.


‘Very

Peaceful ‘ Spacious home includes private dock

R

ay and Melissa Shofner savored the 17 years they lived in the sloping woods along Fort Gibson Lake. “It’s peaceful, very peaceful,” Melissa Shofner said. Now that their children have grown, the Shofners are ready to move on, leaving their two-story house, their private dock, their

towering trees behind. Part of the Ranger Creek gated community, the 4,166-square-foot house is on one of the winding arms of Fort Gibson Lake, just northeast of the Fort Gibson Dam. “It had been empty for three years, so we did a lot of remodeling,” Melissa said. “We’ve redone almost the whole house.”

By Cathy Spaulding • Photos by Mandy Corbell

Green Country Living

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Beyond The Listing

Several terraces lead from the lake to the house.

The driveway safely slopes down to the house and swings to a two-car garage and adjoining carport. The entry features a brick floor and opens onto a formal dining space surrounded by windows. The dining area features a wood floor. Brick floor leads to the newly remodeled island kitchen featuring granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a variety of white cabinets. Circle L Cabinets of Fort Gibson did the cabinets. “He utilized all the space we had,” Melissa said. “He figured out a way to make it all work.” Ray said the cabinets have “some really cool built-ins,” such as lazy Susans in upper and lower corners, narrow vertical drawers for trays, huge drawers for pots, and vertical drawers with shelves for food. There’s even a triangular cabinet, tucked under the stairs, that’s just right for small jars. Carpet One did the gray tile work, which includes a lattice pattern behind the kitchen sink. A vaulted ceiling with two ceiling fans extends from part of the kitchen to the living room. The Shofners replaced small

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Steps lead down to the dock and a quiet cove on Fort Gibson Lake.


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Beyond The Listing

A partial wall and window offer privacy as well as space.

The entry features brick floors, as does the kitchen.

No space is lost in these kitchen cabinets. There’s even a triangular one in the corner.

A wood floor adds elegance to the dining area.

windows with larger ones to offer a more dramatic lake view. A stone fireplace features a hearth large enough for a cozy place to sit. The Shofners extended the living room to include space for another dining table or game table. The extension features a built-in bookcase. Each of the three bedroom are on the

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first floor, and each has a bathroom. One bathroom features a walk-in shower. The others feature bathtubs. Upstairs, the master suite has a vaulted ceiling with a ceiling fan, The master bath has a walk-in closet, whirlpool bath and a separate shower. A wood balcony goes around two sides of the second floor.

Downstairs, a wood deck wraps from the entrance across the lake side to the south side of the house, allowing panoramic views. The Shofners added a concrete patio large enough for a fire pit. Ray piled stones around a tree and garden area between the deck and patio. He said he gathered the stones from around the


ABOVE: The master bedroom on the second floor offers lots of space and an upper level deck.

LEFT: First-floor bedrooms can be used in multiple ways, including as a music room.

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Beyond The Listing

property. A second, detached garage offers extra storage and boat space. A terrace supported with stones eases the slope toward the lake. There’s a little space for a bench. Tall trees on the slope can easily accommodate a swing. Concrete steps lead to the floating covered boat slip, which has a ladder into the water. “I like being able to walk down to the boat and take off,” Ray said, adding that the water is 24 feet deep at the channel. Although on a slope, the house was high enough to escape damage from the 2019 floods, Ray said. “At that point, it was spilling over the dam,” he said.

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A r t o f T h e M a tt e r

Watercolor Barn-home, studio, bakery

A display of art including an early work of Molly, the Muse. (pictured at bottom in blue)

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Chamber pots utilized in lessons harder to find than students.


Artist calls Tahlequah

home Army, CIA veteran, experienced artist shares work

J

erald Peterson has served in the U.S. Army, worked for the CIA, traveled the world and is an experienced artist who calls Tahlequah home. Peterson was born in central Oklahoma, was raised by his grandparents

and grew up in Edmond. After graduating high school, Peterson served in the U.S. Army for three years. After being honorably discharged, he met his future wife, Molly. Knowing immediately that he had met “The One,” they wed within a year.

Story and Photos by Heather Ezell

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A r t Of t he M at t e r

Jerald Peterson uses a brush to work on a project.

Peterson spent a year back in Edmond at Central State University (now known as University of Central Oklahoma) and continued on to Stillwater where he finished his degree in political science at Oklahoma State University. This is where his story turns from ordinary to extraordinary. After a missed opportunity at Oklahoma State University, Jerald traveled to Austin, Texas, where he interviewed with the Central Intelligence Agency. After a year of background checks and the usual red tape, he found himself with a position in

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at the CIA “isWorking difficult. I used painting as therapy. ” — Jerald Peterson

Washington, D.C., with the CIA. His first international mission was in 1967 in Benghazi, Libya. From there, various assignments took him and Molly around the world to such exotic locales as Morocco,

Mexico City, the Dominican Republic and Paris. Both he and Molly adapted well to each move and consequently, they adopted the language and customs wherever they were stationed. They fluently speak Spanish and French. International diplomacy and relations is difficult work. “Working at the CIA is difficult. I used painting as therapy,” he said. Not only did it ease the stress, but he was naturally gifted and was self-taught. At the age of 50, after 25 years with the


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A r t Of t he M at t e r Jerald’s art covers the walls in their home and studio

CIA, and their three children out of the house, he retired from government work and began another life. Exploring their options for the next chapter, the Petersons came across a list of best small towns in America. Tahlequah was on that list, and it was conveniently located halfway between where each of their mothers lived, so the decision to relocate was made. In the early 1990s, they bought a property

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I loved the Mexican lifestyle, the food, the “landscape and especially the people there. ” — Jerald Peterson

in Tahlequah, and Jerald pursued art full time. Watercolor and oil painting were his chosen medium, and his talent and skill radiated on each canvas.

Jerald and Molly traveled across the country to participate in national juried fine art shows to critical acclaim and outdoor fine art festivals where his work was very


ABOVE: Old world painting: peeling stucco, weathered wood, rust.

Spring is in the Air LEFT: Inspired by the people, culture and lifestyle of Mexico. 200 S. Main Hours: Tues.-Fri. 10-5:30 • Sat. 9-4

918-912-2280 Jon & Stacy Burns

well received. Ever the explorers, in 2003, they moved again, this time to beautiful, historic San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where Jerald offered oil painting lessons. “I started giving workshops in Mexico,” Jerald said. “I loved the Mexican lifestyle, the food, the landscape and especially the people there.” Jerald continued with his art and found inspiration everywhere, but was particularly drawn to the

grace of 16th century monasteries. Molly describes his style as “old world painting” — peeling stucco, weathered wood, rust. It is also evident in his paintings the fondness and strong connection to the people, architecture, culture and lifestyle of Mexico. In 2008, home beckoned and they returned to the United States. Children and grandchildren pull at the heartstrings. They are now rooted in Green Country

200 S. Main Hours: Tues-Fri. 10am-5:30 Sat. 9-4

918-912-2280 Jon & Stacy Burns Green Country Living

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A r t Of t he M at t e r permanently. Jerald offers watercolor lessons at their home/art studio aptly named the “Watercolor Barn,” and Molly bakes incredible artisan bread in the same space. Jerald has a rule of thumb for the number of students he has. “I only keep as many chamber pots as students. That limits the class size,” he said. He uses chamber pots in his lessons. Chamber pots, he says, are much harder to find than students. Artists aren’t always open to sharing, Jerald said. “Most artists keep what they know close to them,” he said. “I have no secrets, and I’m willing to share.” Slight in stature but dynamic in every other way, Jerald had a storied career in the CIA which could certainly fill volumes, but his second professional life as an artist has been equally intriguing. He is unpretentious, good-natured, jovial, intelligent and accomplished. Molly has served as his companion, wife and muse for the last 58 years. “We’ve had a good journey.” To learn more, visit: www.jeraldpeterson. com.

Grandson Dominic, also a talented artist, shows a work in progress

On The Menu Guide To Area Restaurants

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On The Menu Guide To Area Restaurants

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Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry

Jennifer and Gigi sport aprons showing the three generations of their family, all substantial cooks.

Two sisters grill and a

Getting creative with cooking Photos by Cathy Spaulding 50

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S

isters Jennifer Paige Gammill and Gigi Renee Webb share two loves – their historic homes in Founders’ Place and the art of cooking dishes on the grill. These bon vivants come by it naturally, as their father was a wine buyer who traveled internationally, and their mother The Cook’s Pantry worked in the wine department at Melony Carey Neiman Marcus. Good food and the joy of family meals were part of the natural order of things while they were growing up. Attesting to that are the aprons each wears, showing three generations of family cooks.


ABOVE: Jennifer at the grill with flames coming up: Jennifer’s motto is dive in and don’t be afraid of the grill. Here she flips the chicken and pork chops, moving some to the warming rack. LEFT & TOP LEFT: Jennifer insists that if a dish can be prepared in the oven, it can be prepared on the grill. Here ratatouille and focaccia bread take center stage.

When gas grills first became popular, Jennifer bought one and began experimenting with hot dogs and hamburgers. Since then she and Gigi have branched out into biscuits, brie with salt, pepper and olive oil, even focaccia. “We have worn out several grills,” Gigi said. “This one is relatively new to us.” Jennifer’s philosophy is, if you can cook it on the stove or oven, you can cook it on the grill. These intrepid sisters – Jennifer a retired Dallas law enforcement officer and Gigi an Army veteran and registered nurse – also have collected recipes from their many international trips. One such recipe is ratatouille, a French dish prepared with zucchini, yellow squash, onion and red peppers seasoned with Herbes d’ Provence. Gigi makes her own tomato sauce and prepares the dish in a cast iron skillet to place on the grill. “But we leave out the traditional eggplant, because some of our family members don’t like the texture,” she says. It does not phase the delicious dish. Both sisters are very creative and

agree that cooking is a different aspect of creativity. “While we are cooking something, we are always inventing new ways of doing things or coming up with a different take on a recipe,” says Jennifer. They both agree that the togetherness of cooking and working toward a common goal is gratifying. “And, food is always better with family and friends,” Jennifer insists. Jennifer regularly hosts cookouts and meetings for her historic neighborhood, graciously cooking up marinated chicken, sausage, and pork chops to grateful, eager family members and neighbors. “Dive in and don’t be afraid to use the grill,” Jennifer asserts. “Just experiment and enjoy.” Here the sisters share their recipes for a summer dinner party cooked on the grill.

Focaccia

Preheat your oven or grill to 450 degrees. Yeast prep:

Two teaspoons of yeast (two packets of yeast) 1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees) 1/2 cup half flour 1 teaspoon raw sugar Mix. Cover with plastic, set aside in a warm area, stirring occasionally, about half hour. Once the yeast is ready, mix it together with the following ingredients: 1/4 cup olive oil, add first to yeast mix Flour 2 1/4cups until blended not overly sticky or overly floured. Additional flour can be added if dough is sticky. SALT!!! Don’t forget the salt, 1 tablespoon Fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon minced

While mixing, if the dough is still too sticky sprinkle with more flour. Knead the dough in the bowl and shape into a ball. Oil an iron skillet with a generous amount of olive oil. Transfer the dough to the iron skillet. Using your fingers press the dough down and stretch out to the size of the skillet. Ensure good finger holes are left in the dough. Drizzle Green Country Living

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Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry LEFT & BELOW: Jennifer’s historic home in Founders’ Place creates the perfect ambience for the dessert course of sherbet drizzled with Moscato and served with short bread, and Laura Ashley Webb’s (Gigi’s daughter) famous Key Lime Pie.

TOP & ABOVE: Jennifer regularly hosts cookouts and meetings for her historic neighborhood, graciously cooking up marinated chicken, sausage, and pork chops to grateful, eager family members and neighbors.

the top with more olive oil. Cover with a towel for about 20-30 minutes or until the dough has risen. Place in the hot oven for about 20 minutes. It is ready when the bread is golden brown and has pulled away from the edges of the skillet. If you thump it in the middle and it sounds hollow, it will be ready. Remove the pan from the oven and flip upside down on a wooden board. Once it’s cooled a few minutes, flip it up right. Serve with a good olive oil dip and a great salad.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

Lemon Garlic Marinade: 1 cup olive oil

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1/3 cup of juice Zest of one lemon 4-6 garlic cloves pressed (may use more or less depending on your love of garlic) 2–3-inch sprig of fresh rosemary (may use more or less) Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and until well blended. Prep Chicken: 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts 4-6 lemons sliced in rings 1⁄2 thick Salt and pepper

Slice each chicken breast by placing

edge of knife parallel to cutting board. Slice completely through to create two breast portions, then pound each portion to 1/4-inch thick. With basting brush, stir marinade and cover bottom of large flat glass baking dish (I like to use a glass lasagna pan) with marinade. Place one layer of chicken in pan and brush on marinade. Then salt and pepper breast, add slices of lemons. Then add next layer of chicken, marinade, salt and pepper, lemons until all chicken has been coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill 2-6 hours.


Summer Dinner Party Menu Blue Cheese and Pecan Salad Greek Pasta Salad Ratatouille Marinated Pork Chops Lemon Chicken Amish Sausage Focaccia Sherbet with Shortbread Key Lime Pie Oliver Cherry Moscato Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Beringer Pinot Grigio

Jennifer lovingly refers to her outdoor dining area as “Reta’s Resort and Cabana,” named for her cousin, who insisted she keep the structure and pool. Guests sit down for a family-style meal under its huge wrought iron chandeliers and Italian villa charm.

Place chicken and lemon slices directly onto hot oiled grill and close grill cover for approximately 2 minutes or until chicken is opaque with very little pink and juice is floating of top the chicken breast. Using a large metal grilling spatula, flip chicken to finish cooking approximately 2 minutes and remove from grill. Chicken will cook very fast due to being so thin. Also continue to flip lemon slices until soft and charred, remove and place on platter with chicken. Rest 5-10 minutes and serve.

Ratatouille A French Provencal dish in which vegetables are stewed in a tomato sauce and French herbs. We make our own tomato sauce, which is based on an Italian Marinara sauce; yet, for this dish we trade out traditional Italian seasoning for Herbes de Provence, which includes thyme, basil, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, bay leaf and lavender. Pre-heat grill to 400 - 450 degrees. 12-inch iron skillet Tomato Sauce: 1⁄4 cup finely chopped onions

1⁄4 cup finely chopped carrots 1⁄4 cup finely chopped celery 1⁄4 cup browned and finely chopped spicy pork sausage (We use J.C. Potter hot breakfast sausage) 1 14.5 oz petite diced tomatoes with juice 1 6 oz can of tomato paste 1 cup hot water 3 tsp of Herbes de Provence – 2 tsp for sauce 1 tsp to sprinkle on top- and this is to taste, add as much as makes you happy 1 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar 2 Tbsp of Olive oil Salt and pepper to taste

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Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry Cook sausage until browned and then finely chop for a fine grind of sausage. Add olive oil to skillet leaving the fond of the sausage, and sauté veggies until lightly soften. Add back in sausage then add 1/2 can of tomato paste and continue to sauté until tomato paste darkens, about 1-2 minutes. Add can of petite diced tomatoes with juice, hot water, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Bring sauce to a simmer and reduce by half until a thick consistency. Remove 1/2 cup of sauce for topping and spread rest of sauce evenly over the bottom of skillet. The sauce can be made ahead of time and in batches and frozen for other dishes as well.

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Veggies for the Ratatouille:

2 yellow summer squash sliced 1⁄4-1⁄2” rings 2 zucchini squash sliced 1⁄4-1⁄2” rings 4 large shallots thinly sliced in rings 5-6 Sweet mini peppers sliced 1⁄4-1⁄2” rings 4-6 firm Roma tomatoes slice 1⁄4-1⁄2” rings

Stand rings in sauce in iron skillet until a labyrinth of color fills the skillet, top with tomato sauce and sprinkle Herbes de Provence. Cover with lightly with foil. Do not seal. Place in 400-450 degree grill (400 degrees if in oven). Cook until veggies are lightly soft, but still firm, approximately 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until veggies are just tender but not mushy. Remove and rest for 10 minutes, then serve in iron skillet for a rustic presentation. Note: Eggplant is a traditional addition as well, but our family prefers to leave it out; you may love to add it as well as other varieties of squashes and mushrooms.

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Scene & Be Seen

Beer Festival Crowds enjoy various types of craft beer at the Real Okie Craft Beer Festival. Photos by Cathy Spaulding

OMHOF Induction Mike Settle, a founding member of The First Edition folk rock group, was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame during a Muskogee visit. Photos by Cathy Spaulding

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Scene & Be Seen

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Honors Banquet Muskogee Public Schools honored a lifelong learner and students devoting their lives to learning at the Superintendent’s Honors Banquet. Photos by Cathy Spaulding

Chamber Banquet Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet celebrated The Castle of Muskogee’s 25th anniversary. Photos by Cathy Spaulding

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first car first date first job first steps

first home first business first vacation

We'll be here through all your firsts.

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