Country Retreat

My New Piece of Heaven

Around the perimeter, there are open pockets of grass. Whereas the interior is thick with vegetation.
Around the perimeter, there are open pockets of grass. Whereas the interior is thick with vegetation.

Located just outside of Saint Jo, Texas in what’s referred to as the North Texas Hill Country, lies 8.36 acres of paradise. The closing isn’t until November 25, but I’ve been calling this place “mine” for the past two weeks. Saint Jo lies in Montague County, but this acreage is in Cooke County. This area may not be fashionable for those looking for a country retreat, but that’s what makes it so perfect for me—an unspoiled weekend getaway. Plus, on a good day without road construction, it only takes 1.5 hours to drive there.

I caught this bug while visiting a good friend’s place up there. She owns 34 acres and is currently turning it into a retreat for school and church groups. She knows all the different contractors that would be required to install fencing, sink a water well, install a septic tank, and build a house. In other words, she’s done all the hard work for me.

In the next post, I’ll go into further detail about the location and terrain. And a third post will be needed to explain my ideas for a tiny house. So stay tuned. In the meantime, click the link below for more photos taken during my walk around this property.

(above) This is a screen shot of Google's aerial view of the area. I drew in the pink lines to show the property's boundary. The little buildings you see at the north east corner are no longer there. For a larger view, click on the photo.
(above) This is a screen shot of Google’s aerial view of the area. I drew in the pink lines to show the property’s boundary. The little buildings you see at the north east corner are no longer there. For a larger view, click on the photo.
(above) This a view of the far north east corner. The right side of the road is my acreage, the left side belongs to someone else. There are no street addresses for these parcels.
(above) This a view of the far north east corner. The right side of the road is my acreage, the left side belongs to someone else. There are no street addresses for these parcels.
(above) This photo is of the north boundary looking back towards the road we parked on. The current property owner has cleared the property's boundary with a bulldozer instead of using a fence. It looks like a road, but it's really not and is extremely rough in places.
(above) This photo is of the north boundary looking back towards the road we parked on. The current property owner has cleared the property’s boundary with a bulldozer instead of using a fence. It looks like a road, but it’s really not and is extremely rough in places.
(above) Trudging uphill west along this north edge, you can see a grassy opening that had been bulldozed at one time. You can see this carved line in my aerial screenshot. I think, since there's an electrical pole there, that someone had a home there at one time.
(above) Trudging uphill west along this north edge, you can see a grassy opening that had been bulldozed at one time. You can see this carved line in my aerial screenshot. I think, since there’s an electrical pole there, that someone had a home there at one time.
(above) This view was shot from the western edge of the property while looking back towards the northern edge.
(above) This view was shot from the western edge of the property while looking back towards the northern edge.
(above) This is on the western edge looking south. That's my friend Sarah, who owns property nearby.
(above) This is on the western edge looking south. That’s my friend Sarah, who owns property nearby.
(above) As we continue on the western edge, this uphill climb to the southern boundary becomes much steeper—really treacherous for this city slicker in her Nikes. With all the loose sand and stone, grading improvements will be required. Plus a pair of trekking sticks should help. I'll get it together, don't worry.
(above) As we continue on the western edge, this uphill climb to the southern boundary becomes much steeper—really treacherous for this city slicker in her Nikes. With all the loose sand and stone, grading improvements will be required. Plus a pair of trekking sticks should help. I’ll get it together, don’t worry.
(above) Looking east on the southern boundary, you can see Tyler Bluff. Some maps include my hill and this hill under the same name, while other maps label only this larger one as Tyler Bluff. From historical accounts, I understand that there use to be a small town up there. As of the 1960's census, the only remaining building was an abandoned city hall.
(above) Looking east on the southern boundary, you can see Tyler Bluff. Some maps include my hill and this hill under the same name, while other maps label only this larger one as Tyler Bluff. From historical accounts, I understand that there use to be a small town up there. As of the 1960’s census, the only remaining building was an abandoned city hall.
(above) The interior of this parcel is thick with vegetation. A very thoughtful plan is needed to design small paths and a small clearing for my house without disturbing what nature has created. I didn't walk through any of the interior, because there's a strong possibility of encountering snakes. I have since purchased snake-proof boots, and the first of December I plan to forge into this wilderness.
(above) The interior of this parcel is thick with vegetation. A very thoughtful plan is needed to design small paths and a small clearing for my house without disturbing what nature has created. I didn’t walk through any of the interior, because there’s a strong possibility of encountering snakes. I have since purchased snake-proof boots, and the first of December I plan to forge into this wilderness.
(above) This photo was included to give you an idea on the tree heights.
(above) This photo was included to give you an idea on the tree heights.
(above) This view is after descending the eastern boundary. We're now back on the road that only skirts a small portion of the property—the northern section of the eastern edge.
(above) This view is after descending the eastern boundary. We’re now back on the road that only skirts a small portion of the property—the northern section of the eastern edge.

3 thoughts on “My New Piece of Heaven”

  1. Margaret Downs-Gamble says:

    The pictures give a really good sense of the nature of the property. You said it has sandy loam soil. Is their limestone in it as well? Perhaps soil analysis is a future project. I’m just wondering. Beautiful, PA!

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Margaret, I don’t know if there’s much limestone or not. I do know that the sandy loam sits on top of clay soil which means that I will definitely need a soil analysis and a structural engineer to determine how deep the piers need to be to support the foundation of my tiny new house. I may have to go way down to ensure reaching something solid. I’m not planning on gardening or growing anything here, so what the soil is composed of isn’t important. I do know this area has two wonderful wineries, so the soil is fairly ideal for growing grapes.

  2. Edith Wright Bower says:

    Snake proof boots, oh my; were they in Tory Burch’s fall collection? Your pics are beautiful, looks like ticks a go-go. Interested in watching the PA developement plan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *