Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

Whispering Oaks Ridge Upper Meadow

Can it really be May Day 2021? So soon? The date on my calendar confirms indeed it is, but the rumbling thunder overhead, and the raindrops pitter-pattering on the windows, gives me cause to believe April is lingering—hanging on—to rain on May’s parade.

What in the world happened to the past eight months since my last blog post? Where did those months go? Did I hibernate the time away? I chuckle internally as visions of myself curled into a tight ball comes to mind. Anthea, snuggled in a warm, cozy nest like a hedgehog. No, that’s so not me! Did I tune out those months to escape the craziness of a world gone mad? Well, the idea has been appealing at times, but no, that’s not exactly what transpired. Do you think I ran for the hills as I’ve sometimes expressed?

Actually, that is exactly what happened. Chuck and I ran to the hills—the Texas Hill Country. There, after much searching and a whole lot of patience, we found a beautiful 5-acre ranch halfway between Wimberley and Blanco, studded with mature oak trees. The modest 2-bedroom house is perched on a ridge, overlooking a sweeping meadow with views to the hills beyond. We found our perfect bolt hole, our run-for-the-hills escape, our little slice of heaven in the country, engulfed in nature.

Whispering Oaks Ridge.

Whispering Oaks Ridge the Lower Meadow

My soul sings at the very thought of the ranch and I thank God for leading us to just the right property. I am so very grateful to my late parents for providing the means. It was love at first sight for us, and I know they would love it too. The secluded location away from the busyness of towns was a major attraction, as was the layout of the small house, but it was the land itself that captured our hearts, and compelled us to take ownership.

Of course, the land needed some strategic manicuring, and the house some creative renovations, but we had a clear vision of what we must change to make it a perfect fit for us—a retreat where we can relax, renew, and restore our souls. So, after taking possession in September, we got to work.

We implemented our plan first by demolishing and removing an old metal storage shed. Next we cleared the land of undesirable salt cedars and shrubs that hid the majestic oak trees. The job required a professional tree removal and trimming team and took four days (and a bunch of huge bonfires) but oh so worth it when a spacious, green parklike setting emerged, revealing three varieties of mature oaks, four redbud trees, some “old” cedars and many kinds of shrubs, cacti and grasses. What a treasure to behold! And what a joy to watch deer in the upper and lower meadows—grazing in pastures previously hidden from view. The eye is delighted with a serene, pastoral scene from the front porch of the cottage.

Soon afterwards, we focused our attention to the ranch house interior. Bit by bit, one slow step at a time, we transformed the house into our little dream cottage. It seems everyone began kitchen and bathroom remodels during the lockdowns of Covid-19, so progress was slow. We gutted the kitchen and bathroom, moved a water heater from the hallway into the attic, repaired wiring and plumbing, tore out ceramic floor tile and replaced with new click-and-lock vinyl flooring throughout, keeping only the new carpet in the bedrooms. There were so many delays due to shutdowns and the scarcity of contractors, who worked overtime to meet the overwhelming demand for their services, but here we are now, eight months later, and we’re almost finished with the cottage interior.  It’s finally fully furnished.  

Here are some before and after pictures.

Kitchen/Dining Before and After

Living Area Before and After

Whispering Oaks Ridge is about eighty minutes from our Austin home so just a short drive to escape city life and immerse ourselves in the beauty of the hill country setting. We look forward to many moments there enhancing the exterior locations with a deck and gazebo—but all in good time—for now we plan to enjoy some down time there—simply being.

We will refresh our souls—and I will write again.

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.
—Jeremiah 31:25


  1. Oh so lovely to enjoy God’s creation! Thank you for sharing your escape place and your renovations!

  2. Anthea, your country escape home is just amazing!! Such incredible beauty!! My parents, 57 years ago, found their piece of heaven just 90 minutes from their Fort Worth home. Now it’s our piece of heaven but a six hour drive, which makes it tough this time of year when we need to mow more often. I know exactly the peace and beauty of an escape home! I hope to see you again one of these days! Miss you!! Time just seems to keep marching on at a fast rate of speed. Love & hugs!! Rita

    1. Thank you so much Rita. It really is a dream come true. I’m glad you like it. I’m so happy for you to have your lake house escape too. What a blessing, despite the long drive. Leet me know the next time you’re in Austin. We’ll grab a coffee or lunch 🙂 Miss you too.

  3. Ironic it took about the same time as it takes to birth a child, rebirth of a new life.
    Your new life looks like a posh London flat inside with a peaceful rugged county outside.

  4. One word WOW!!! You & Chuck have done a beautiful job. Can’t wait to see it. Have to get our reservation locked in right??? ❤

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