2022 Summer Garden Tour: Inside Our Chicken Coop

It has been one year with our cozy chicken coop (click to learn more about the process)! We have adjusted, we have learned, and we have made some adaptations to the coop. While I answer a lot of questions over on our Coop FAQ page, below I am highlighting a few more questions and sharing pics of our beloved chicken coop to date (with some winter decor and all because life has been a little too hectic to worry about changing our coop decor)!

This may contain affiliate links

As always, be the first to see updates on my Instagram: @theroostingplace

I’m wearing some of my favorite overalls and they are linked HERE.

Why chicken wire and not hardware cloth?

My chicken wire is extremely sentimental to me: it was on the chicken barns of my family farm. My father and grandfather were commercial chicken farmers; and when my father passed, my sister and I decided to liquidate the barns. I salvaged the rolls of wire from the debris and to me, it feels like a piece of home.

If you have large predators, yes hardware cloth will be a more secure option. We do not have large predators and I have found that on the rare occasion we have had a snake (once) they prefer to enter through the open chicken door.

What type of siding did you use?

Multi-Use Primed Grey Engineered Panel Siding (0.34-in x 48-in x 96-in) This is pre-primed, so ready for paint!

What type of bedding do you use?

We use pine shavings inside the coop and untreated local or cypress mulch in the run.

How much did the coop cost to build?

We did not keep perfect records of the receipts for the coop-bad practice on our side. But, after tallying it up we roughly spent $6000 on our coop, (give or take) not including any decorative lighting or electrical runs. We saved on a lot of costs by doing a majority of the labor ourselves and salvaging windows, wire, and doors.

Most of the cost came from our cement base and the standing seam metal roof. (We also built during the height of cost increase, so give or take on today’s cost).

What does maintenance look like?

Personally, I think chickens are extremely low maintenance as long as you are able to keep their coop clean of dampness, most bacteria or fumes won’t accumulate. While everyone’s cleaning schedule will vary based on flock needs-you can find a more detailed outline of my cleaning schedule HERE!

What are your favorite coop features?

I absolutely love our coop, so it is hard to pick just one! My personal favorite features are:

  • the walk-in ability for easy cleaning
  • cement floors (easy cleaning)
  • storage space
  • electricity for lights and fan
  • easy access to nesting boxes
  • AUTO CHICKEN DOOR

If you had to change/add anything, what would you do differently?

One of my biggest regrets was not finishing the ceiling-which I recently completed. My hens would roost in the rafters and poo into the storage side-making it difficult to touch anything without getting flakey poo on myself. That problem is now solved!

If I had to “change” anything, I would have made the run even larger. But now that we have the lama crew, my chickens are safe to free-range with added protection.

To learn more about our coop, click HERE.

Thinking about adding chickens to your home? Tap HERE for some things to consider!

Want to see more of the Summer 2022 Garden Tour? Check out the posts below!

Introducing the Tour

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna


Mudroom Design

While our future home is still well under construction, I recently shared on Instagram the design board for our mudroom and decided to share links to all the pieces that have inspired this room in our home!

I have to first include some honorable mentions that inspired my mudroom design: (you can find these and more on my Pinterest)

I love how all these spaces meld together with warm tones to give the most inviting spaces!

Click through below to find my sources! I’m super happy to have found most of my tiles at local discount stores over the past year and all that saving allowed me to buy the brass fixture of my dog wash dreams!

BRITTANIA MATTE PORCELAIN TILE

CLOE 5″ x 5″ CERAMIC TILE IN WHITE

ESMER INFINITY GLASS WALL TILE

GOOSENECK TUB-WALL-MOUNT FAUCET AND HAND SHOWER

Fiore Florence Slate & Sage Power-Loomed Rug

My thin brick pavers are coming from Stone Farm Living and I cannot wait to install these Reclaimed Chicago Bricks in my home! Stay tuned for more details because I will be able to get my hands on this space very soon!

Talk Soon.

xx, Lanna


7 Day Makeover

My sister has had a really tough year. She fractured her spine playing volleyball this past September and has had to be in a giant brace for the majority of the year. On top of the brace, complications of physical therapy, and the potential for back surgery at the age of 13, there were a couple of outside factors that added tremendous emotional strain. While I won’t go into those details because it is not my story to tell, I can say that there is light at the end of the tunnel and most of the large hills have been climbed.

Now that she is going into high school this fall, my mom and I wanted to surprise her with something special to “reset” the trajectory of 2022. My sister and her scholastic team qualified for nationals which were held in Nashville, TN so for the past couple of months my mom and I planned to give her a complete room makeover while they were gone. That meant I had 7 days to tackle a complete room project that included: paint, closet demo and revamp, custom desk build, accent wall, new light fixture, and all the details in between.

You can watch the whole process on my Instagram: @theroostingplace

I consulted with my mom and sister to gauge exactly what they needed from this room. My mom wanted to ensure she had plenty of storage space and my sister wanted a modern boho vibe with greens and neutral bases. I also wanted to make sure this room was age-appropriate but would grow effortlessly with her over the upcoming years.

This post contains affiliate links.

The initial design:

The Before

This room used to be my mom’s craft room. My sister had outgrown her old room (built-in loft bed) and so they are using her old room as the office, and turning the craft room into her bedroom.

This makeover was challenging and I ran on fumes most of the week which peaked anxieties about not completing it on time. But when I say my husband is a rockstar, I mean it. He was willing to spend our weekend finishing the heavy lifting and fine-tuning to make this dream a reality. I’m so thankful for partners like Framebridge and Boutique Rugs (use code ROOSTINGPLACE for an additional 5% discount) for gifting some products featured in Lyndsey’s room. Those finishing touches really make a difference!

You can watch the whole process on my Instagram highlights.

The After

Links

Headboard

Vinyl Accent Wall

Sun Pillow (similar style)

Comforter

Sheets (super soft Amazon sheets!)

Throw blanket (similar)

Storage Trunk

“Let your light shine” Sign

Side Table

LED Strip Lights (these were having some issues sticking)

Light Fixture “Fandelier”

Rug

Gallery Frames

Desk Base

Baskets

Light Bulbs

Light rope

Curtains

Curtain Rods

curtain clips

Closet System

Closet drawer add-ons

Paint Colors:

SW Coastal Plain

BM Swiss Coffee

This speed makeover was so fun to do, and the joy that it brought will be a memory I will cherish forever. I cannot wait to watch her grow into this space and give her own creative touches over the years to come.

Talk soon.

xx, Lanna


Coop Maintenance

Because we built our coop on the larger side and allow our birds to free-range, my maintenance schedule is very reasonable and easy to incorporate into our lives. Note that chickens are animals, and no coop will be clean all the time, but keeping a coop clean and free of moisture is vital to your flock’s health. Chickens poo where they roost, so keep this in mind when building a coop/placing roosting bars.

Everyone’s cleaning schedule looks a bit different based on their flock’s needs, but below I have outlined what works for us:

Daily:

My chickens have an auto door that opens and closes on a timer to allow them to free-range during daylight hours.

Remove eggs

Check Water in run

Fill feeders in run

Monthly:

Add a new layer of shavings to the coop (or as needed). Replace any nesting pads that are spent.

Scrub any poo-covered “touch” surfaces- now that I have added a ceiling to prevent my hens from roosting in the rafters, poo should stay out of the storage or contact spaces.

Add in dried herbs to freshen the coop. Or apply a coop spray.

Sprinkle First Saturday Lime and/or diatomaceous earth on surfaces to prevent unwanted buggies.

Bi-Annual:

I completely remove the shavings, leaving behind a small amount of the old so any existing good bacteria stay incorporated.

Add a new layer of mulch in the run

Annual:

Deep clean the coop with a pressure washer to remove any unwanted substances from walls, spray with a white vinegar/dish soap spray then scrub, rinse, and allow to completely dry.

Sprinkle First Saturday Lime and Diatomaceous Earth on surfaces

Apply a thick layer of new shavings

Replace nesting pads.

Remove mulch from run (I place it in my in-ground beds) and lay a new, thick layer of mulch.

I find this schedule pretty easy to follow, and adapt as I see fit for the health of my flock-but I hope this helps give an insight into what to expect when owning chickens!

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna


Thinking about Chickens?

I personally think that chickens are extremely easy to maintain and super fun additions to a farm! Besides eggs, chickens can provide meat (if you choose) soil aeration, and compostable droppings (more on composting chicken manure here) to utilize in your garden! And you don’t have to have a fancy set-up to own chickens (although, it definitely makes chicken owning more appealing!)

Here are some things to think about when considering adding chickens to your farm:

Breed Selection:

I often get asked how you know which breed of chicken is right for you and that’s important to ask because not all chickens are made the same. The answer is simple: do your research and ask:

  • What is my climate? Do I need cold-hardy or heat-tolerant breeds?
  • How many eggs do I need? Some breeds are higher producers, others lower.
  • Do you care about size of the egg? Bantam and other small breeds lay smaller eggs.
  • Are you looking for a particular color of eggs? Egg color is determined by the genetics of a breed.
  • What size of coop do I have available? This determines how many hens you can keep (rule of thumb is 3-5 sq ft/bird).
  • How much run space can I provide? (Rule of thumb is at least 8-10 sq ft/bird-the more, the happier your chickens).

Shelter

Chickens need a clean place to roost that is off the ground, nesting boxes (preferably off the ground) to lay eggs, and to protect from the elements/predators. This space also needs to be well ventilated to prevent the buildup of dangerous fumes which can cause respiratory issues in your birds.

We put a fan in our coop to help circulate air in the hot Texas summers, but when it comes to the cold, the majority of the time chickens will hold their own without additional lamps due to the creation of air pockets under their feathers that will act as an insulating jacket!

Maintenance

Because we built our coop on the larger side and allow our birds to free-range, my maintenance schedule is very reasonable and easy to incorporate into our lives. Note that chickens are animals, and no coop will be clean all the time, but keeping a coop clean and free of moisture is vital to your flock’s health. Chickens poo where they roost, so keep this in mind when building a coop/placing roosting bars.

Everyone’s cleaning schedule looks a bit different but click HERE to see my yearly schedule.

Feeding

Primary feed, once chickens have reached laying age, is a layer feed. (we use Purina layer pellets). This will ensure your flock’s nutritional requirements are met.

You can supplement their diet with treats or fruits/vegetables but avoid potentially poisonous foods like:

  • citrus
  • rhubarb
  • avocado
  • uncooked beans
  • green potato skins
  • onions
  • nightshade leaves

My flock has access to pellets and fresh water at all times, and since allowing them to free-range/forage, I notice they don’t go through the feed as quickly!

My Flock

You can read about the breeds/temperaments of my current flock HERE.

Hope this shed some light on those questions to ask when preparing for chickens!

Talk Soon,

xx, Lanna


Introducing the Summer 2022 Garden Tour

The garden is finally at a stopping place. A state of rest for the hot summer months. Now is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the last 18 months of projects that have made the garden what it is today.

In reflection: I cannot believe it has been 18 months yet only 18 months since we began staking out the chicken coop that started it all. It was bitterly cold and windy, but on New Year’s day 2021, the garden was started with stakes and string- the beginning of a dream come true. But dreams are not handed to us-they require work and often growing pains. Hard lessons learned and time traded-in. I have no regrets because the garden process has been filled with so many memories and sweet lessons in both skill and life.

I’m excited to launch my Summer 2022 Garden Tour. I will be highlighting the following spaces week by week here on the blog and on my Instagram using a mix of static photos, and video content. I cannot wait to take you along.

Overall Layout and Components

The Greenhouse

Our Cozy Chicken Coop

In-Ground Landscaping

What I Grow in Zone 8a Summer

This week: We dive into the basic Q&A of the overall layout and garden components.

To explore ideas that inspired my garden, click HERE

What Growing Zone are you in?

I am Zone 8a!

To find out what growing zone you are located in, click HERE for a link to the USDA Plant Hardiness Map and input your zip code.

What is the overall dimension of your garden area?

Our garden is approximately 45 ft x 45 ft

What are the dimensions of your Greenhouse?

While I will go into more detail regarding the Greenhouse in a further post, it is approximately 10 ft x 16 ft plus some for the entryway.

What are the dimensions of your Coop?

While I will go into more detail regarding the Coop in a further post, the enclosed Coop is 10 ft x 10 ft. The Run is 12 ft x 9 ft.

The new duckling run addition is approximately 10 ft x 10 ft.

What is your ground cover and what did you use underneath?

I chose crushed limestone for my groundcover. Crushed limestone compacts better than pea gravel and I personally liked the color variation more. Underneath, I used tar paper (for roofing) and landscape fabric to assist with run-off or drainage near the in-ground beds. I will say, the landscape fabric areas are where I have to do the most weeding-something to consider.

To read more about our groundcover… click HERE

What color are your stepping stones?

These are Oklahoma Gray flagstone

Did you build your raised beds? Will you add more?

Yes! Each box is 4 ft x 6 ft.

You can read more about the raised boxes HERE. And YES I plan on building 4-6 more boxes in the future for more edible crops growing capacity. Little bits at a time.

How did you make the arch trellis?

Using a cattle fencing panel and some t-posts!

Tap your 4′ t-posts in (I only needed two because we secured to the box side with metal strapping (as you can see in the image above) and then bend the fencing into an arch-securing with wire or sturdy zip ties!

Our fencing was already on property, so we used what we had. But, I would say this 12′ fencing builds about a 6′ tall arch if placed on the ground with the ends approximately 3′ apart.

Did you build the fence?

I did! And you can read more about them (and snag a tutorial) HERE.

What stain color do you use in the Garden?

Thompson Waterseal Timber Oil in Transparent Teak

The fence is Olympic Mystic Black Solid Color Exterior Stain and Sealant

What direction does your garden face?

The Greenhouse door faces North.

The Garden gets 6-8 hours of sun in the summer, with morning shade until about 11 am in the summer due to surrounding trees.

Do you have a dripline or automatic watering system?

Yes! Without an automatic watering system, my plants would not survive. I will cover this more in my segment about the garden boxes. 😉

Any other questions about the garden layout? Send me a message or DM on Instagram and I’m happy to answer them!

Want to see more of the Garden tour? Check out these posts:

Inside Our Chicken Coop

Talk soon,

Lanna


Nuetral Pots & Planters

If you’re like me, you have a hard time passing up a good, neutral, textured pot. I love the way a plant pops out of a neutral pot, begging for attention. But subtly, the planter still demands attention due to its unique surface. I rounded up a few of my favorite planters of the week-tap the links if you see one you like!

Post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission when you purchase from my link at no cost to you.

Instagram saw it first: follow along to stay ahead of the curve.

Black Terracotta Cachepot

Red Terracotta Multiple Sizes

Kante Lightweight Modern Flared Square Planter – Rosemead Home & Garden, Inc

Sullivans Patterned Round Pot

‘I Love You’ Etched Stoneware Planter Pot Tan – Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia

Textured Ceramic Planter White – Project 62™

Outdoor Textured Stoneware Planter – Project 62™

Better Homes & Gardens Alexander 6/10inch Nested Planters, Gray, 2-Pack

Sand & Stable Kehlani Resin Pot Planter | Wayfair

Large Geo Handled Planter – Threshold™ designed with Studio McGee


Greenhouse Sink

I have a functional greenhouse sink! With running water and a drain and it’s beautiful! Below I answer some of the FAQs and go over some of the steps I took to transform the free stainless steel sink into the pearly white sink of my dreams!

You can find videos of my Q&A on my Instagram highlight: Q&A Greenhouse

This post contains affiliate links.

How to Paint a Stainless Steel Sink:

Materials (click for links):

Brass Faucet

Brass Drain

Stainless Steel Sink

Primer

Appliance Epoxy Paint

Tile

The Process:

1.) Begin by cleaning the steel sink- I used Bar Keeper’s Friend and 0000 steel wool. Rinse and let dry.

2.) Scuff the sink with 180 grit sandpaper

3.) Lightly coat with primer. Once dry, sand with 220 grit sandpaper then apply another light coat of primer. (This gives a smooth finish). Repeat until the sink is covered evenly.

4.) Lightly coat with appliance epoxy paint, sanding with 320 grit between coats. Apply as many coats until evenly coated.

Most common question: How does it hold up? So far, it has held up great. This is epoxy paint similar to what would be on a refrigerator, so it is pretty durable. I did have to touch up some spots after we dropped it and it scraped on the asphalt…so it will scratch if you drop it.

Q: How did you run the plumbing?

We connected our faucet to a garden hose! This works in an extremely similar way to your indoor plumbing-the faucet stays on and the water flow is turned on/off from the sink handles! (We only hooked up to one handle because there is only one water temperature). Designs By Studio C has a great blog post showing step by step on how to hook the sink to a hose.

Materials I used:

Teflon Tape (seals the threads)

1/2″ male to 1/2″ male nipple

1/2″ female to 3/4″ female connector (this connects the hose to the faucet connector line)

Faucet connector line (1/2″ to 1/2″)

Q: Where does it drain?

We ran the drain right out the back of the greenhouse, and down an exterior pipe that waters my trees! (There will rarely be anything that is used in this sink that is not garden/plant safe).

Q: What materials did you use to make the drain?

I wanted so badly to use brass drain pipes, but life got in the way and I used PVC then spray painted the pipes gold to coordinate with the sink faucet! (sand pipes with medium-fine grit, clean with rubbing alcohol or acetone, then apply spray paint in light coats).

Keeney 1-1/2-in Plastic Slip Joint End Outlet Continuous Waste

Charlotte Pipe 1-1/2-in x 1-1/2-in Hub x Hub 90-Degree Schedule 40 Elbow

Charlotte Pipe 1-1/2-in x 2-ft PVC Pipe

Oatey Handy Pack 8-fl oz Purple and Clear PVC Cement and Primer (only use on parts that do not have threads)

I absolutely love my greenhouse sink. This space gives the option to rinse off after an afternoon in the dirt and gives easy access to a water source for all those newly potted plant babes. And to think that my sink was FREE! it was already on the property when we bought it, and I’m so glad I was able to give it new life.

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna


We Bought Lamas! (and here’s why)

Our new farm additions are finally home, and I am so excited to share them with you all! Lama’s (alpaca and llama) were not originally on our radar. I had llamas growing up and to be quite honest, I didn’t like them. They weren’t interacted with and always seemed a little too rude for my taste, so when we made the decision to get a llama (and consequently 2 alpaca) I was a little apprehensive.

But as soon as they unloaded the trailer I knew this was right and that they were home. Everyone: meet Cleo (white alpaca), Calliope (brown alpaca), and Hercules (llama).

Cleo and Calliope are huacaya alpaca and are approx 4 and 6 and have the possibility of being pregnant due to running with intact males on the farm. Hercules is a 2-year old gelded male llama (which means he cannot sire any babies) and will be great at his job.

You can follow along with our journey and see more videos/photos on Instagram: @theroostingplace

Hercules

Why Lamas???

Here’s the big question: why lamas? Well, it’s storytime ladies and gentlemen:

Our property has a one-acre pond that is fed by a creek. Because of this, during the winter months (Jan-Mar) we are frequently visited by a lone coyote that travels the creek, probably to travel to his breeding grounds. Usually, it’s fine, we had a mutual understanding to leave each other alone. Except for this year, Mr. Coyote decided to break that understanding and started to linger a little too much. While he never caused any tangible problems, he began hovering closer to the little house and eyeing our barn cat Kissa.

So we decided to look into a guard animal before we added any other small friends to our little farm. Personally, we aren’t in a place that warrants a large guard dog (LGD). Apart from hawks, our main predator is the lone coyote, so we couldn’t rationalize purchasing a puppy and putting it through training right now-we just aren’t in a place for that.

Our next thought was a donkey. Which was honestly my husband’s first choice. But after researching we decided against a donkey due to the fact that the suggested grazing space per donkey (remember you need at least 2 for companionship) was 1/2 acre. Our massive pond lies smack in the middle of our property, and at the moment we can only fence off 1/2 acre for grazing and felt like even if we supplemented with hay that 2 donkeys weren’t in our cards.

So we researched further and learned that llamas are amazing guard animals- their natural disdain for unwarranted dogs and innate loyalty to their herd make them a prime candidate for our little farm. And you can graze up to 6 llamas (or 8 alpaca) on a 1/2 acre of land!

After a lot of searching, we found a small farm northeast of Dallas that raises llama and alpaca for sale. Originally we were going to get two llama and call it a day, but when we were informed that this particular farm also had alpaca, AND the female alpacas were cheaper than the female llama (plus the possibility of being pregnant due to running with intact males) we were sold.

We spent a little more than we intended-but their faces are too adorable and hopefully the presence of a large animal roaming will allow us to range the chickens (remember, we have hawk).

Cleo and Calliope

Lama Fun Facts:

Llamas are amazing protection animals.

Llama and alpaca take up less grazing space because they have padded toenails. These are more gentle and do not tear up the root systems as quickly.

Llama and alpaca are excellent foragers and help clear brush.

Lama only need a shelter large enough to protect from inclement weather, they mostly will sleep outdoors

Lama pee/poo in a community toilet pile.

Shop this look on LTK: Link HERE

My workboots are from Xena Workwear nad

“But what about the spit!?”

Lama spray/mist as a form of communication, typically this act will be a way for one to show dominance over another member of the herd. It’s a very common activity and warrants saliva which is similar to what you or I would sneeze.

What many people “fear” is true spit. Lamas are ruminants, which means they have 3 stomachs. This allows them to regurgitate the contents from their first stomach and “chew the cud” to further break down the nutrients. The cud then moves into their second and third stomach compartments, which will contain the acids used to digest the foliage they ingest. True spit is regurgitated from these compartments, which is why it is so disgusting. (stomach acid, broken down grass, saliva…eww.)

However, as nasty as it is for us, it’s also extremely unpleasant for the lama to perform this action, and only happens in situations of extreme distress or threat. Typically, the abuser will receive a warning spray and body language that suggest a change in action before they resort to the act of true spit.

Hercules

Maintenance

Llama and alpaca need to be shorn once per year and have their toenails trimmed

Be aware of deworming schedules (this differs by owner and area)

Supplement with hay if there is no grass/foliage to forage.

Provide minerals (NO COPPER)

Overall, these animals are timid, kind, and extremely simple to care for. You can build a bond over time, but they are not known to be “cuddly” animals and equate to having cat-like personalities. We are extremely happy to add them to our little farm and excited to see how their personalities shine over the next few months.

Cleo and Calliope

Talk soon,

Lanna


West Texas Road Trip (March 2022)

Hello hello! It has been a while since I have updated here on the blog (you’ll find me most active on Instagram these days as we bounce around in our day to day…but recently we took a break from all the “hoops” life has us jumping through and ran away to South-West Texas for 10 days. Below you will find everything about our trip from our destinations/itinerary, stays, packing lists, and restaurant suggestions! So buckle up, it’s time to explore!

What to pack:

West/South Texas is a desert, but don’t let that fool you. During the “spring” months, the weather can vary from mid 80’s to 30’s in a day. with that being said, you want to be prepared for whatever the day will throw your way. I like to pack in “capsule” style wardrobes, which allows you to take minimal items that can be mixed/matched for the weather or daily activities. Below you can find some suggested packing lists and links to help you prepare for your trip.

Casual Wear:

Everything is pretty casual in the desert, and expect to get dusty! I opted to wear a lot of light, flowy clothes that can easily get me from brunch to dinner. Linen is always a good option, and think about packing items that can layer when the evenings get chilly.

  • linen pants
  • hats
  • tank tops/short sleeve
  • shacket/layering items
  • jeans (and jean shorts)
  • comfortable walking shoes
  • lightweight skirts/dresses

Click HERE to shop links

Shackets, Jackets & Pullovers

Below you’ll find some of my favorite options for layering! Click HERE for the links to these!

Outdoor Gear

We ended our trip at Big Bend National Park and did several days of hiking, so if that’s up your alley be sure to pack clothes you can sweat in:

  • hiking boots/sandals (don’t forget tall socks if you pack boots)
  • hiking pants/leggings/shorts (I prefer the kind that zips into shorts)
  • lightweight long sleeve-if you are prone to sunburns
  • tank top/activewear shirt
  • cooler pack (with lots of water!)
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • neck scarf
  • snacks 😉

Click HERE for links

DON’T FORGET THESE ITEMS

  • LOTION. I cannot stress this enough no matter how hydrated you think you are staying your skin will suffer.
  • CONDITIONER. If your hair is picky, take your own. As stated before, it’s dry.
  • Extra hair ties (I always manage to forget those and lose the ones I have).

Itinerary

We have started taking a much more relaxed approach to our vacations, and find we have the best time when we have an extremely loose schedule and explore when we get there-I highly encourage yall to try it! This is the best way to avoid vacation burnout and truly enjoy your time wherever you go! But below you will find where we ended up.

Day 1: Drive from Dallas/Fort Worth to San Antonio, Texas (approx 4.5 hours no stops)

  • Stay at St. Anthony Hotel
    • In the heart of Downtown, this hotel was perfect walking distance to pretty much everything we did. It’s a gorgeous hotel that was built in 1909 and has been designated as a national historic site with Italian marble, Corinthian columns, and beautiful chandeliers. We used our points to book this stay but it is definitely worth a splurge.
  • Dinner and drinks at Playland
    • WOOD-FIRED PIZZERIA BY CHEF STEFAN BOWERS.
      • “Secret” bar downstairs with drinks and moody vibes.
      • The pizza was really good, I would recommend it.

Day 2: Explore San Antonio

  • We slept in and then grabbed an early lunch at Schilos (German food): the oldest restaurant in San Antonio.
    • Hands down the best food we ate in San Antonio. Homemade root beer, pretzels, schnitzel, and sausages. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it! Get there early and be prepared to wait- they only serve 8:30a-2p.
  • Walk over to see the Alamo
    • Tickets are free but you have to reserve a time in advance to go inside the church.
    • If you’re lucky you’ll catch some street performers in the plaza!
      • There are also plenty of tourist attractions in this area friendly for children.
  • Go take a riverwalk boat tour! Pre-book your tickets online and you can get on your tour boat any time of the day. Highly recommend stopping into the Thirsty Aztec for a frozen margarita before you board your tour!
  • Dinner at Maverick Texas Brasserie
    • This was a recommendation from our hotel and I have to say it was not my favorite. It’s a French restaurant and the decor is cool but I did not enjoy the food.
  • Post-dinner walk on the Riverwalk.
    • We caught some mariachis playing and took in the nightlife on the riverwalk.

Day 3: San Antonio, TX to Marfa, TX (approx 6 hours no stops)

  • We stopped halfway at the Caverns of Senora.
    • The Caverns of Sonora is internationally recognized as one of the most beautiful show caves on the planet, and it did not disappoint. Allow about an hour and a half to walk through the caves led by a tour guide and learn about all the beauty Texas has to offer underground!
    • You can buy tickets ($20) online, or when you get to the headquarters.
  • Snag a late dinner at Dickey’s BBQ on your way in (everything closes around 8 on Sundays, so be aware of the days your are travelling) and Stay at Marfa Garden 2 (Airbnb)
    • Relax under the stars and Milky Way and enjoy this contemporary casita (2 of 2) in a quiet, private garden (1.25 acres) filled with native plants and walking trails
    • New, modern, clean, You have the whole house equipped to sleep two

Day 4: Marfa

  • Sleep in and eat lunch at The Waterstop.
    • Food and drinks here are good and you are surrounded by eclectic decor. Worth a visit.
  • The weather was pretty cold and extremely windy this day, so we opted to stay in bed and watched The Last Kingdom on Netflix pretty much all afternoon. I can’t even give a dinner recommendation because we ate packed sandwiches and sat out to look at the stars.

Day 5: Marfa

  • The weather was much better, so we ate brunch at The Sentinal- “A Marfa Restaurant Serving Coffee, Cocktails and News”.
    • Take some time to shop the local goods you can find in the foyer, then grab a Mexican latte, a newspaper, and some tacos (whether you fancy breakfast or lunch, the tacos are great) and spend a relaxing morning in this cute coffee spot.
  • While there aren’t a ton of shops open on Mondays or Tuesdays (again, be mindful on which days you are traveling for activities), you can still go walk the downtown strip by the courthouse and pop into what is open!
  • Next, we headed to the iconic Prada, Marfa.
    • Prada Marfa is a permanent sculptural art installation by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, located along U.S. Route 90, about a 30-minute drive north of Marfa.
    • Perfect for getting those “Instagram” shots or just setting your eyes on the art piece-and yes, there are products and a security system .
  • Head back into Marfa and stop in at the bar at Hotel Saint George for some ranch waters and a charcuterie board.
  • Make sure to take a tour of the Marfa Spirit Co, a fairly new distillery specializing in Sotol.
    • You’ll get a one-on-one tour of the up-and-coming distillery that is putting the old train store to use! Then get a complimentary flight of sotol, rum, & gin, as well as a drink (the ranch water was perfection) paired with chips and salsa.
  • We hung out here chatting with the locals until it was late enough to head over to see the Marfa Lights at the official viewing area. These mysterious lights can appear anywhere from 11pmto 4am, and that being said.. we did not stay long enough to see the lights.
    • “Accounts of the strange spectacle just east of Marfa began during the 19th century and continue to this day. Ranchers, Native Americans, high school sweethearts, and famous meteorologists alike have reported seeing seemingly sourceless lights dance on the horizon southeast of town, an area that is nearly uninhabited and extremely difficult to traverse. The mystery lights are sometimes red, sometimes blue, sometimes white, and usually appear randomly throughout the night, no matter the season or the weather.” -www.visitmarfa.com

Day 6: Marfa, TX to Terlingua, TX (approx 2-hour drive no stops)

  • If you’re into burritos larger than your face, grab breakfast at Marfa Burrito before heading out-they’re huge!
  • We stopped about halfway and took a private horseback tour of the Larremore Ranch. (Click HERE for Airbnb booking)
    • On horseback, you will be guided by a 4th generation rancher through sections of the Chihuahuan Desert in Far West Texas. This 1/2 day tour offers a rare opportunity to visit a 3,200-acre private ranch, operational for over 100 years. Learn about the history of the Native Americans that once lived in this area, and take in the beautiful scenery.
    • Be aware: you have to put the GPS coordinates into your maps before leaving cell service-or you will get lost.
  • After our tour, we kept driving and stopped for lunch at a local cafe: the Chili Pepper for some Mexican/southwest style eats.
  • We then headed to our final Airbnb of the trip: The Local Chapter
    • “The untouched desert landscape of The Local Chapter sits high above neighboring Terlingua and Study Butte on Maverick Mountain and is densely filled with native ocotillo and cactus plants. Unobstructed 360° views from each private yurt begin with the Chisos mountain range and extend to the famous Rio Grande. The Local Chapter is located in a designated International Dark Sky Area, which provides a distinguished quality of starry nights that can be seen from the comfort of the bed through the center dome of each yurt.”
  • Pick up a pizza at Long Draw Pizza then head back to stargaze the night away.

Day 7: Terlingua/Big Bend National Park

  • We woke up early and headed to a half-round of golf at Black Jack Crossing at Lajita’s Golf Resort (8:30a tee time).
    • You can only book a week out at a time and tee times do fill up, so be sure to plan for this one!
  • Lunch at Candellia Cafe
    • The Carne Guisada was AMAZING
  • After changing, we headed into Big Bend National Park ($30 car fee but it is good for 7 days)
    • Hikes we did:
      • Lower Burro Mesa Pour-off Trail
      • *Santa Elena Canyon
      • The Dorgan-Sublett Trail
*Santa Elena Canyon follows the Rio Grande and is stunning right before sunset
  • Dinner at the Starlight Cafe
    • They are “open” until midnight but they stop seating at 10p. Get there early to ensure seating!
    •  ‘Texas and Mexican cuisine with a full bar and frequent live entertainment. The Starlight is the center of the local community around Terlingua. If there is no live music inside, the adjacent Terlingua porch almost always has a group of pickers and players doing their thing and enjoying the great view of the Chisos Mountains”

Day 8: Terlingua/Big Bend National Park

  • Sleep in and have lunch at DB’s Rustic Iron BBQ before grabbing a self-guided walking tour of the Terlingua Ghosttown which used to be home to more than 2000 miners in the early 1900s.
  • Head back to Big Bend National Park for some more hiking:
    • We opted for a longer hike called Lost Mine Trail. This took us about 3 hours with a 45-minute break at the top. (4.8-mile round trip)
  • After your hike, you’ll be ready for dinner. Before heading down the mountain, stop at Chiso’s Mountain Lodge Restaurant and catch a sunset before heading back to your stay and cozying up for an evening by the fire and under the stars.

Day 9: Terlingua to Odessa, TX (approx 3.5 hours no stops)

  • As we made our way home, we stopped at two state parks:
    • Balmorhea State Park
      • “Dive into the crystal-clear water of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. Swim, scuba dive, or just relax under the trees at this historic park in arid West Texas”.
    • Monahan Sandhills State Park
      • “Out west lies a mystical place where the wind sculpts sand dunes into peaks and valleys, sometimes over­night. Mon­a­hans Sandhills State Park offers a Texas-sized sand­box for kids of all ages, as well as a close-up view of a unique desert environment”.
  • Once we got into Odessa and showered off all the sand we grabbed dinner at Flair Taverna.
    • High-end, high-quality food with an extensive wine list. Great appetizers.

Day 10: Odessa to DFW (approx 5 hours no stops)

On our last day, we hauled booty back home, and it took about 5 hours because there aren’t many places to stop from Odessa to Dallas.

Overall, we needed this trip badly. We had become overly stressed, and honestly, I cannot remember the last time Harley and I had a conversation that wasn’t revolving around the house build. It was a much-needed getaway that gave us the opportunity to reconnect with each other and relax away from all the loops and hoops of life.

As much fun as we had, we are so excited to be back home! We have a lot of prep to do before our new farm additions come in and I cannot wait to share.

Talk soon,

Lanna