Thursday, February 11, 2010


It’s almost 9 am, and we are lounging around in sweat pants, fleece tops, fleece sox and slippers – not because we are feeling lazy, but because the outdoor world is a very cold and wet place this morning.  I would indulge myself in a little whine here, but can’t pull it off after watching The Weather Channel.  Washington, DC, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania…  now THOSE folks have something to whine about!

Yesterday was our travel day, heading west from Lovelady back to Austin.  We choose McKinney Falls State Park (click here to read our review), just south of downtown Austin, for our three night stay, hoping the weather would clear sufficiently that we could explore the park’s trails – but the forecast doesn’t look helpful.  Instead, we’ll knock off a couple of chores – a trip to Best Buy, a visit to the grocery store – and have a fun day planned on Friday: Odel will visit his friend Harry in Austin, while I wander the aisles of the 80,000 square foot Whole Foods headquarters store.  My short visit there (click here to read about it) a couple of years ago wasn’t NEARLY thorough enough!

Our five days in Lovelady passed in a flash.  We LOVE the Bartees’ new home.  Carefully positioned between mature trees, the house looks like it has been there for years.  The rectangular design houses a master suite on one end, a “great room” (combined kitchen/living room) in the center, and a guest room, bathroom, and exercise room on the other end, adjacent to the large carport.  Three sets of French doors on each long side of the rectangle open to wide, completely screened porches.  In warm weather, all six sets of French doors can be opened to the porches – no bugs, plenty of air circulation, almost unlimited views to the outdoors. 

The Bartees' New House Bartees and Prime Rib

View of the new house from the tree-lined drive; mature trees surround it.

Buddy and Jackie with the Super Bowl Prime Rib on the rotisserie.

Almost every room in the house has one or more overhead fans, as do the porches.  The front porch has a couple rocking chairs, a hammock, and a view down the long, tree-lined driveway.  The back porch?  That’s where the excitement is (for me): a full outdoor kitchen including a huge gas grill/rotisserie, and a hot tub.

The interior of the house is warmly inviting and comfortable, golden brown tile, handcrafted wooden cabinets, and stone.  Beautiful new stainless steel appliances, the biggest kitchen island I’ve EVER seen, a gas fireplace, windows everywhere.  It felt exceptionally cozy in the cold winter weather, and I would love to be there in springtime with the French doors wide open.  It is as close to living outdoors – in a bug-free, exceptionally comfortable outdoors – as any house I have ever seen.  Wonderful design, beautifully executed.

Front Porch Great Room

Front porch: French doors, fans, rockers, hammock, and invisible screening against bugs.

Great room: fans, tile floor, huge kitchen island, fireplace, handcrafted cabinets.

When we weren’t visiting, cooking, eating, watching the Super Bowl or working Jackie’s difficult jigsaw puzzle, we solved a number of little problems.  Odel scraped all the old caulk off the intersection between the shower skylight and the fiberglass roof and re-caulked the joint.  So far, no more leaks.  Odel and Buddy replaced our electric water heater “pilot switch” – the light indicating that the electric heating element was on stayed on all the time, even when we KNEW the electric element was off.  Status: fixed.  Our fourth (or is it fifth?) ShurFlo water pump arrived, so Odel removed the malfunctioning pump and installed the new one.

And the big news: my repaired laptop computer arrived, the faulty inverter replaced.  Thanks to our trusty, old, previously “retired”Toshiba laptop, I’d had a replacement, but the return of the new laptop makes our computing lives easier.  I’ll be spending a portion of today transferring photos, maps and documents from the old to the new, and backing up each computer in the household – a good use of time on a cold and rainy day.

Stay warm, y’all.  :)


  1. I think we picked the wrong time to be in Texas! What's with this weather????? Wish I could be there to go to the Whole Foods Store with you. I looked at your blog of your last visit & .... Wow, what fun!!!!

  2. Whole Foods: probably the only place that could tempt me into actually buying truffles, fresh morels, and a vegetable sprinkle that uses fennel pollen as a base.... but my taste buds think they've ascended into Nirvana.

  3. What a great house. Boy if you feel the need for a stick 'n' bricks, that house fits the bill!
    I hope we get to see it some day.

    -- jc&bev

  4. It is 70 degrees and sunny, with blooming bouganvilla and lantana, and snow on the surrounding mountains, here in Palm Desert, CA. We arrived after an 8 hour drive, and are going to the art show opening in an hour. Wish you were here!


  5. Wow we just missed you both and I would have loved to meet you! We just left Austin yesterday and we are now down near San Antonio ay a Thousand Trails park. Have fun, enjoy Austin and travel safe!

  6. What an amazing house, Is it for sale? you could easily make a great real estate agent ;)
    Hope you would get to see the park before you leave, I would hate to be in such a great place without looking around.

  7. Too bad about the weather. We enjoyed our stay in McKinney Falls State Park when we were in Austin. Have fun at the Whole Food. I know you will.

    Try to get out and enjoy some music while you're there. Nearly every bar and restaurant has local musicians playing in the evening.