This week we started Phase Three of our Lake House project - Having a home built. We met Bob McCain out at the lake to discuss our plans and to walk the property and discuss placement. We also got reminded how much the cost of a home has risen since we last bought a home. I guess all those Californians moving to Texas are starting to affect housing costs. Add to that fact that everything costs more when building around or near water. So I'm sure a lot of trade offs will occur over the next couple of months as we start to figure this out. Hopefully we'll have house plans finished within the next couple of months.
Once the house plans are complete, the next thing that should happen is demolishing the existing structures. It'll be sad and most likely shock the island but someone else's dream house is definitely not my dream house. Shortly after razing those houses, construction should begin. Needless to say I'm a little nervous about building a home at my age but I'm also excited. I hope all this turns out great because the lake property really is a nice, quiet and peaceful place to live and entertain friends. I hope it'll attract more members of the family to visit Texas, especially the ones that live where the winters are cold.
The construction of the bulkhead is almost complete and it's looking really nice. We've recovered quite a lot of real estate that had been taken by Lake Limestone through erosion. It's nice to finally know exactly where the property begins and ends and will be extremely helpful as we begin the next phase of this project.
As you can see the water's really low this time of year. In fact I've never seen it this low. When the rains start next month and continue through the spring, I expect the lake to fill up rather quickly.
I'm glad this part of the project is coming to a close and I look forward to next year's project designing and building the new home. The end product is going to be beautiful if I don't go completely broke first.
Construction of a new Bulkhead for our lake front property has finally begun. We've been preparing for this for the last few months as the construction company has been working other projects around the lake. But now things are moving in earnest.
When we bought the place it was obvious that the lake had eroded the property along the shoreline. The only true idea we had of the outline of the property was the platt we got from the county. So we had it surveyed, and sure enough, we actually owned more area than the land occupied. So the next step was constructing a bulkhead and establishing the limits of the property.
As you can see from the photos, we expect to bring in between 75 and 100 truckloads of dirt to fill in behind the bulkhead. There'll be a serious expansion of the land into the lake as the dirt fills in behind it. This is important because we eventually plan to build a new house on the property and establishing the limits of the property will allow us to correctly position the new home.
This current phase of the project should be finished in about 6-8 weeks and we can't wait to see what the new yard will look like. We'll have a nice flat yard with 460 feet of Lake Limestone waterfront.
This property continues to be a work in progress as we begin to dream about the next phase of this project - building a new home. We have plenty of ideas and plenty of time to think about it. With luck, we can begin the next phase next year.
Wish us luck.
Robert sitting on one of the two piers located on the property.
My wife and I spent the day at the lake doing lawn maintenance and relaxing by the water. We're also trying to decide which project to tackle first. We have so many things to do and now that it's almost summer, it's time to get those projects started.
While we were there we met a few of our neighbors out kayaking. Our neighbors are a nice mix of full-timers and week-enders. They've also moved here from all different parts of state.
Every time we go out there we seem to like it just a little bit more, despite all the things that need to be done.
A few of our neighbors out kayaking.
A view of the property from the pier.
Update 21 June 2016
Work continues on the cabin but we're starting to get into the hot summer season. Work will probably continue at a slower pace for awhile. We have reattached the pier to the shore but we haven't been fishing yet. And we're still hoping to be able to contract for a new bulkhead/sea wall in the spring of 2017. In the meantime, I just wanted to add a couple of photos so I could log into this site from anywhere and simply dream a little longer.
This year is going to be exciting and filled with brand new challenges that will keep me busy for a long, long time. The biggest of these challenges is going to be the two new lake front properties on Lake Limestone. They're wonderful homes but there's also a lot of work and expense involved before everything is the way we want it to be.
And then there's the fishing. There needs to be plenty of time for just fishing. Off the deck. Off the pier. And hopefully one day I'll be able to afford a boat, a kayak, a canoe, and some jet skis. This should be a great adventure!
A very relaxing view of the Bay and the Shoreline from my Front Yard.
Despite all the rain that's fallen on the State of Texas these last few months, Lake Buchanan is still only about half full. Luckily more water is coming down the Colorado and Pecan Rivers from Lake Brownwood, so hopefully the lake will soon approach full. Lake Buchanan is the "donor" lake for all the other Highland Lakes of Central Texas. It's also the largest of the lakes so it's the most difficult to fill completely.
Lake Buchanan is also the least popular of the Highland Lakes simply because it's the farthest away from the city of Austin. While most people would consider the distance from a big city a negative aspect of living on a lake but to me it's a positive aspect of lake living. The other five lakes that make up the chain of Highlands Lakes are so overly populated that the crowds tend to distract from the beauty, tranquility and peacefulness of the lake. Maybe one of these days I'll be lucky enough to own some lake front property.
I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in the Hill Country of Texas visiting with friends and family and attending my daughter's wedding. It was a special time for all of us and except for a little rain, the weather was great and my daughter was absolutely beautiful. Her father-in-law built this pavilion especially for her for her wedding. He's such a great guy and has such great talent for both his profession (construction) and his hobby (autos). My daughter is a very lucky lady.
The Essentials for any trip to the Hill Country
But no visit to the Hill Country is without a visit to HEB for those most important vacation essentials -- chips and beer. But that also creates that difficult decision of determining the correct beer to chips ratio, and the trick is always having enough beer so that you don't waste the potato chips. I personally think the proportion of three 12 packs and one of those large party size bags of chips is about the right ratio to strive for. But in the end I discovered that there just might have been a few extra chips left over. That shouldn't have happened. Next time I'll have to get more beer!
Liquor and Gun Store, Uvalde, Texas
Another one of the great things about traveling around the State of Texas is seeing the different sights. On a trip to Uvalde (to get more beer and a piñata) I noticed one of those unique two-in-one stores so prevalent around the state. Usually you'll see a laundromat and a bar, or a gas station and a restaurant, but here in Uvalde I saw one of those bizarre combinations of a gun shop and a liquor store. The first thing that comes to mind is "Why?" It obviously would provide the opportunity for some criminals to steal a gun and hold up a liquor store in one location. This was probably not the best idea ever, but it's one I've seen several times in Texas.
Overall the best part of spending time in the Hill Country is just sitting around on a porch on a warm evening and spending some great quality time with my son. He's turned out to be great friend and a most interesting person. I'm so proud of both of my children and who they've become. I'm more grateful for them every single day and I'm glad I have been able to spend part of my life with them. I'm convinced the world is a better place because of them and that their futures are almost unlimited. I cherish every day I'm able to spend with them.
My favorite farm in all of the US is located in the Northwestern part of the State of Alabama. I have some very fond memories of spending time there with friends and family and a couple of us want to take possession of the farm so that it stays exactly the way it is today. The first photo below is a photo of the front yard. You'll notice that this could easily be a photo of almost any State Park in America. The second photo is a view of the wheat crop that was planted earlier this spring and it shows only one small corner of a farm that is many times larger than what's in the picture. Hopefully by this summer or fall we will take possession of the property so it can be preserved and operated exactly as it was intended - a rural functioning farm.
The front yard of the farm could easily be mistaken for any State Park in America. (Click to Enlarge)
One small corner of the farm where wheat has been planted this spring. (Click to Enlarge)
Last night my son was attending the final game of the season at McLane Stadium on the campus of Baylor University to see Baylor beat Kansas State and win the Big 12 Conference Championship for the second year in a row. It's also the last game he'll see as a student because he'll be graduating in just a couple of weeks. What this ultimately means is that if he wants to attend another game, he'll have to buy a ticket! Congratulations to my son on his upcoming Graduation from Baylor University. We are anxiously waiting to see where he'll attend Graduate School.
McLane Stadium on the campus of Baylor University (Photo by Robert McCain)
I am an amateur photographer and I have been actively taking photographs most of my life. My primary camera is the Nikon D7100 with an 18-135 mm lens attached, but I'm also known to use other lenses as well as the camera on my iPhone 5.