After acquiring an additional 18 acres next to the 8 we already owned near Park Road 1C in Bastrop County, Karen and I have decided that we will apply the name Dusty Boot Ranch to the property at 139 Pines Park Road in Smithville, TX. There are no cows (yet), but we’ve got the barn and a brace of buzzards that have been calling it home.
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Included on the property are a 750 sq ft cabin, a large barn, a pump house and a potting shed. The original 8 acres includes a small pond and the whole of the land is covered in Loblolly Pine and oak trees. The land adjoins the western edge of Camp Wilderness Ridge and our goal is to use the cabin as a base for our service at the camp. The previous owner was also a board member for the camp. Prior to that the owners raised goats and deer, along with mules they kept around to protect the goats from predators. The land was overgrazed during that period – but the property has recovered from that with the benefit of having very little undergrowth. It is much more open than most of the surrounding properties and it has better airflow than areas that are not cleared of the underbrush. I have already begun working to keep the land cleared of cedar and yaupon, hoping to keep the pines and oaks healthy in addition to keeping the air flowing through the hills. There are still sections of the property I haven’t walked through and I am excited about once again having the opportunity to care for a piece of land.
The barn is still full of property from the previous owner, the best of it donated to the camp and the worst destined for recycling or landfill. We’ve come across numerous hidden treasures and I look forward to discovering more as we work our way through the layers of storage. This is my third barn (Gaston, Crystal Falls, and now Pines Park) – I love having the ability to store lots of “barn stuff”.
The cabin is much smaller than the house at Mesa Pinto that we used as a base until now. Karen is greatly disappointed at losing the abundant storage and shelf space at Mesa Pinto, but the convenience of being next to the camp and the importance of keeping the property in the hands of camp supporters mitigate the sense of loss in selling the other property.
Long term plans include building an additional cabin with a large kitchen and a laundry room, along with a loft sleeping area. We also hope to find a good used 4-wheeler or two to make the trips back and forth to the camp a little easier. I’d like to improve the tank on the property and find a way to keep the water level higher year-round. Although it does not dry out, it would be nice to improve the quality and volume of water during the dry spells using water from the pumphouse.