How we’ve been spending our weekends (a land update)

When I first introduced y’all to the property we are building our house on it was the middle of winter and nothing was green. Well, I’m happy to say that is no longer the case!


(these were taken before all the crazy flooding here in Texas)


creek in spring

The creek is gorgeous. There are SO MANY ferns that you can’t even get to the water, and the trees are huge and provide lots of shade. We’ve been working hard to clear out all the cedar trees (aka “trash trees”), and if your turn around 180 degree from the creek, this is what you see.

fern gully

It’s basically Fern Gully up in here.

The cedar trees were are getting rid of (they’re actually Ashe Juniper, but everyone just calls them cedar) are water hogs. I’ve heard that they can drink up to 35 gallons of water a day, per tree. That’s an insane amount, especially when we are in a drought (which is pretty much the norm). They also choke out and kill all the good trees, prevent grass growth, and give me some wicked bad allergies. Just for comparison, here is the cypress tress vs the cedar…

cypress vs cedar

We’re thinking that once all the cedars are cleared out the other trees will flourish, grass will grow, and it will look pretty darn park-like. That’s the dream.

Here’s another view of what we’ve done so far…

creek view

and the same view a few months ago.


The top of the property – where the house is going – has been the other area we have been concentrating on.

clearing land

(That fire is in my future living room.)

We have a TON (many, many years worth, I’m sure) more clearing to do, but around the home site it’s fairly clear and we’re now trying to figure out exactly where the foundation will go. Here is my dad helping us string it out.

house outline

All we really know for sure is that the big group of oak trees in the pic below are going to be in the back courtyard area.

courtyard trees

Those trees have completely dictated where we are putting the house, since they are right in the middle of the property and there is no way we are cutting them down. I’m excited to have a nice shady backyard in the future…especially since at our current house we only have ONE oak tree on the entire property. We’re sun-baked over here.

So, the timeline on the new house….

Currently Adam and I are in the middle of getting our construction loan and will start breaking ground after that is closed. So maybe two months or so? I’m happy to say that the blueprints are finally complete, stamped and sealed by the architect and everything. In a couple of weeks I’m going to start digging into that, laying out the process we went through to design it, our inspiration pics, and the floor plan and elevations. I’m so super excited to start sharing everything will y’all! I can’t believe how fast this is all happening, since we originally hadn’t planned to start building until the middle of next year or so.

Anyway, that is pretty much how we have been spending all our free time these days. And big props to my husband, who has basically done this all on his own. I try to help, but when I come out to the land I bring three small kids with me, which means the whole time I’m really just trying to keep everyone alive and not slow him down. That’s life these days.

The kids are really excited about the whole process as well, mostly Elijah (5). The very first day we started clearing Adam was getting out his chainsaw, and Elijah says “Dad! Where’s my kid chainsaw?” I was like “Yeeeeeah…no. That’s not a thing. Here are some loppers, your job is to cut down all the baby cedars.”


And cut he did. I’d say we get about 20 minutes of solid work out of him each time we go, then he and Levi just kinda hang out, eat every I snack brought, complain, and get really creative with sticks.

eating peanuts

Judah is the easy one, I don’t have to bring him a single snack or constantly wonder where he is. Heck, I don’t even have to dress him.

shady and bug free

(Mom hack: a fitted crib sheet over a pack ‘n play makes for a shady, bug free zone with plenty of fresh air.)

The recent flooding here in Texas has been crazy, and our creek (from what I can tell) got huge. There is a low water crossing to get to our property and it’s the only way in or out, so we couldn’t go see it at its peak. Here it is after the water receded enough to get there…

flooded creek

You can tell from the line in the leaves exactly how high it was.

flood height

Really, really high. The good news is that the house is WAY up the hill and isn’t ever at risk of flooding. The water was also a few feet short of reaching the plateau where I want to put a future creekside hangout, which means we’re safe to build one of these down there and not have to worry about it washing away.

swings around a fire pit

Awwww, yeah.

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  1. Gee you guys are moving fast… well, it feels quick for me! I can’t wait to hear all the ins and outs of designing and building your own home. How you’re doing it all with three boys is beyond me, but I can’t wait to watch it all unfold! All the best with it x

  2. So exciting! Building our own house is a ways off for us yet but it’s the eventual dream, can’t wait to see your plans for the new house!

  3. It is just gorgeous. Now I see your rationale of removing the cedar trees, too. I can’t wait to see it come to be. Btw, that mom hack is brilliant! I will be using it with my grandbabies. The kids look so happy and the hangout is going to be wonderful. Many marshmallows may be toasted there!

  4. So happy to see things coming together for you and the family. Nothing but great things should be fallen upon a family such as yours. You have a beautiful family. The land looks like it is going to become everything your ‘hearts desires’. I can not wait to follow along as it plays out. God Bless All Of You.

  5. Looks just like a forest. beautiful and peaceful. Such fun! Looking forward to tagging along with the building process :)

  6. Thanks for sharing your plans and progress with us. Love that the boys are so willing to help dad out (ha!)

  7. Oh those mountain cedars are icky – I have 7.5 acres between Blanco and Wimberley, and thankfully a portion of my lot was cleared by the people who lived here previously, but I still have way too many of them. I have been working periodically at clearing more of them out (as well as the other prickly, thorny, icky underbrush) so I can see more of my beautiful oak trees. One word of warning – I didn’t realize how much poison ivy I had until I started clearing this year. I don’t know if the drought suppressed it, but I had only seen little bits of it previously – now it’s in almost every single little grove of trees! So be careful as you clear (and burn) that you don’t run into some nasty rashes! I look forward to seeing your little piece of heaven take shape, and I bet your boys are going to love living in the woods!

    1. Thanks for the heads up! I have been noticing ivy on our property, but it didn’t even cross my mind that it might be poison ivy. We’re going to go do more clearing tomorrow, so I’ll check. Last thing I would want is to have my boys get into it!

  8. We live in Helotes,tx. My husband and I are wanting to buy some land and build our dream home too!

  9. Can I ask…where in the SA area are you building? We are currently in NB and want land with trees, creek/pond, etc. Love the topography of the land you found.

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