Monday, December 19, 2011

# 155 - Texas Roadtrip, Country Houses

Going down a few Texas country roads can bring a lot of peaceful thrills. Can thrills be peaceful? Yes, it sounds contradictory, but you can have peaceful thrills.

Deputy Dave and I passed by a few houses that we found appealing, so we do what any ordinary person would do...we pull over onto the side of the road so that Deputy Dave could jump into the truck bed and take some great photos. Or, I would stand on the truck's side rails to get more height so that I could have a turn at taking a few pictures.

We were the nutty people on the side of the road --- I'm sure the residents inside the homes that we were taking pictures of were loading their shotguns.

"Sorry to disturb you! We are simply a couple of crazy Houstonians!!"

That would pretty much explain our behavior.

But, we did get some nice shots of varying country homes near Dallas. The only difference with these houses that are closer to the Dallas area, well, it's a HUGE difference between land near Dallas and our that our land is truly smack dab in the middle of a lush forest. The area where we were taking these recent photos is Texas land, but this land lacks trees.

Most of the houses in these shots are surrounded by flat land with sporadic trees. This is not what we picture for ourselves in our country setting...we will be surrounded by towering trees and paths of pine needles.

The picture below surprised us in this Dallas area. The home-owner had obviously planted a line of pines for their driveway, but the rest of the property was mostly barren of trees. The soil here is rocky and not nearly as fertile as the land of our acreage. On our acreage, there are tree saplings growing everywhere because the land is extremely fertile. We won't have to worry about planting trees, we will have to be concerned with constantly removing new growth in places we do not want it.

Just so it is clear, the picture below is of a nice home that is in desperate need of some landscaping around the house because the house appears to be in the middle of nowhere. We liked the old style of the two-story white house, but we do not want to live in another large, two-story home. We want a welcoming, rustic style home.

The one story with the expansive porches and the metal roof is appealing, however it's still not the architecture that I would like, yet it is definitely a nice-looking, practical country home. We did like the distance of the barn structure from the house. Close enough, but not too close.

The older looking home with the cedar siding is the house that stuck with me the longest. I do like the cedar siding, yet again, the architecture is not exactly what I would like --- I want the long front porch, preferably a wrap around porch, and I would like a metal roof. But, cedar siding is close enough to country for me!

My favorite house in the shot below has wood siding and stone ends. It does actually have the architecture I love, but the entire house was nearly hidden by greenery! I tried to get a good picture while we were pulled over onto the shoulder, but it was impossible. The huge trees surrounding the house were blocking the view. It struck me as comical...there are hardly any trees on this property, except for the trees planted directly around the perimeter of the house. At least these people understand the value of environmental shading for living beneath the Texas sun.

To top off our tour of homes, our future son-in-law, Henry, took us driving around to see a few houses that he and my daughter are attracted to. We discussed the different kinds of architecture that he is drawn to and I think he was surprised that he admires the English Tudor is extra strange that the English Tudor design is one of my FAVORITE style homes, but not what I want to live in.

It was great to see these two young adults dreaming about the house that the two of them would love to own. I imagine that they'll one day build a Spanish/Italian style home. But, you never know. I would have never thought that I'd be so eager to live in a rustic country home tucked onto rural property. 

For now, my daughter and her fiance are enjoying their three bedroom home in the suburbs. However, they are so young, just starting out in life together and it's sweet that they dream about having the "perfect" home right along with us and it's a good thing because ACTIVE dreamers are the ones who make those dreams a reality.

And I will take the simple home with big character. I pretty much know what it is that we will build. Deputy Dave is eager to get the official architectural drawings so that he can start mentally aligning himself with all the preparations.

As for the above picture, Deputy Dave liked the metal fence, but not the rusting...if it were painted, it would have been a beauty.

There is so much to do for us to prepare for moving to the country. We are checking out barns and large metal buildings so that we can have a place to store all of our household belongings and a place for Deputy Dave to have for all of his wood working needs. This structure will be the very first to be built. Without a wood-working shop, there will not be a cabin.

Then, we will buy an RV for our temporary housing. Since it's just the two of us, we are quite content to temporarily live in an RV as we are building our cabin in the woods. There's no rush for the house to be built over-night. Between the RV, the acreage, and the barn/workshop, we'll have plenty of room for us to stretch our legs and stay busy with building a new kind of life for ourselves.

There's no doubt that we will have plenty of bumps in the road to confront, but I am looking forward to these kinds of bumps!

For us, 2012 will be full of lifestyle changes. This coming year, we'll be living completely different and our day-to-day routines will be vastly changed.

This weekend, Deputy Dave and I were getting ready to drink our morning round of coffee and I said, "I'm about to head out to milk the cow."

Of course, we don't have a cow. We're living in city limits, in a neighborhood with restrictions, so he cracked up. Then, I said, "I thought I might as well start practicing the farm talk right now, even though we're still in Harris County."

Can we pretend that we can see the stars at night while living here in the city?

After having a weekend full of Christmas is abundantly clear that our family thinks we are weird for wanting to live in the country. They can't comprehend WHY we'd want to live in the middle of the forest, far away from the city. They laugh when we talk about raising swine and cattle and chickens...they don't understand our reasoning for wanting to process our own farm meat for our table instead of shopping for it in a grocery store.

Bring on the bumpy weirdness of country life!

I can smell the home-cooked, farm-raised bacon and slices of ham on the grill right now. And, who will be laughing then?

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!


Anonymous said...

Greeeeen acres is the place to be....right Oleeeever??? Beth

Tombstone Livestock said...

the house with the red barn looks like it might have an upstairs or at least an attic. An attic would be a good idea because it would give you storage or room for expansion in the future should you want room for grandkids (lol). Good luck on getting on with life on the farm. I would not have it any other way. Hope you have a porch that you can watch the sunrises and sunsets on, an the moon rise over the horizon. Simple things in life are some of the best things in life.

LindaG said...

Our security light (at the farm) is on a pole just like the one in your last picture; except the power line runs above ground from the street and here, it looks like it might run underground.

I can actually understand the rusty fence. It fits the house and property more than a shiny silver fence would. ;-)

Our travel trailer is just 29 feet. Hubby has often said if we didn't have the farm, he would consider full-timing in it - except for the bathtub. He is not the fan of showers that I am. That is why we are going to enlarge the 'master bath' to include a whirlpool bath tub. :-)

I hope we will not be far behind you in moving. Right now I am jealous!

We can always pretend. That's why we have a Google Earth shot of the farm on a printer piece of paper (18x25 or some such) hanging on our living room wall. And I have a Skin It photo of the farm from the 70's on the top of my laptop. :-)

Your paragraph about family and the country reminds me of when I asked blog readers to point me to the person who showed how to make butter by shaking cream in a jar. My brother commented why would I want to take all that time making butter when I could just go to the store and buy it....

Merry Christmas, y'all! :-D

Dreaming said...

I enjoy looking at homes and deciding what I like or don't like about them. I'm loving our new home. It's a cape cod design with the master on the main floor. It's big enough for the two of us... and might be cramped if we had a passle of kids running around!

Our building codes require that barns be a minimum of 100 feet from the house. I think that is a perfect distance!

I laughed about the cow....but I'm thinking you'll be saying, "Save some coffee for me. I'll be back after I finished milking Bossie. D'ya want some fresh cream for your coffee?!"

Vickie said...

Let them think you're wierd, Lana. My family looks at me funny, and my nieces just out and out laugh themselves silly about what we're doing. But they all wanna come to the farm to see what's going on, or cook out, or shoot. And I guess when start getting horses, cows, and chickens, they're gonna wanna come see that, too! And eat all our good home-grown food! Let them laugh!

Lana at said...

Beth --- You've got it!!!!

Tombstone Livestock --- You are so right about an attic. We've always had our attics to count on for extra space and we will likely still have one in the country. But, I LOVE your suggestion about positioning the house to where we have views of the sunrise/sunset. You are on target when you say the simple things in life are the best things in life. We are trying to make sure we do have awesome views from the porch. We might also put in a lookout tower for star gazing. But, I'd be so happy to see the sun set from my porch. Wow.

Linda --- we have security poles with lights on our property and they are invaluable. As for the fence, I guess we could've pictured it with a coat of metal paint of white, black or brown, but it looked pretty old upon close inspection. Fencing will be an important issue for us, especially because we do intend to have livestock and dogs. As for the RV, we understand the bath issue...Deputy Dave and I are both shower people, but it sure is nice to have a good soaking bath to soothe those sore muscles. I sometimes can't believe how close we are to moving. I have so many things to think about and I dread packing. But, we are going to try to get that metal building put up as soon as possible and every time we make a trip, we'll bring some of our goodies to the land. Doing a little here and there won't feel so painful. But, I will be so THANKFUL to be out of this house before the HOT Texas weather gets here and the high utility bills follow along. And Linda, you'll get moved, just keep believing and making your plans, it will happen. And as for home-made butter, it is simply more fresh and tasty. What can we say? All of us country geared people simply long for the TRUE finer things in life!

Dreaming --- I bet your home is incredible! And your guess about what I'll be saying is more on target. I will be so happy to be out on that land. I'll definitely buy a few more pair of galoshes to have sitting on the side porch, ready for me to go tromping off toward the chickens or will be fun work.

Vickie --- Your comment struck my heart and made me feel better. I know that we can't help them to understand this country way of life because it is the thing they dread...they all want to stay city-minded. That's fine, but I sure hope they will be broad-minded enough to at least try to understand how deeply we love the country. And we will definitely have gatherings out there and this will give them a chance to see how the other half lives and then they can weep at what a beautiful, free life we get to live every day!!!!!

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Think about these two words as you make your choices: low maintenance. I have a lot of pipe fencing that I wish had been left unpainted. It doesn't stay pretty for long. Composite roof is the longest lasting and won't burn as easily. And a concrete based siding will also be longer lasting than wood. Just some unsolicited advice from a California country girl.

Lana at said...

Denise --- I've the advice!! On the house we live in presently, we have cement siding...Hardi-Plank. It is nice. However, in the woods, cedar siding is long lasting and it is also a natural pest repellant along with being authentic. And some of these metal roofs will outlive our lifespace. We've got a 30-year composite on our house right now, but we've been checking into the metal roofs and some of them are double the life of the composite --- they make them on an awesome level these days. And I know you're right about the painting of the fences, it will probably be a task that will keep us running in circles. We on the fences as far as fences go!!!! We will need a lot of them for the various functions, so it will be a huge learning experience!! Keep on sharing the advice...I always love to hear other people's opinions and experiences.