Building Oak Haven – What’s next

The house is mostly finished, but we’re still working on it. Still a “punch” list for us to complete, mostly detail work, caulking trim and touch up painting.  A closet with shelving needs to be painted and Jon’s studio has window sills also needing a coat of paint. And I haven’t finished sealing all the grout yet. See why we’re still working on it? Tedious, kind of boring work, but it needs to be done, all the same.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my study. Outside, five deer parade by. Two mommas, one with first year twins as big as her and another with an early summer fawn still growing.  The other day, when the sun made her brief appearance, (she has been too scarce this winter) they sat on the tall grassy hillside in the back yard, out of the wind and basking in the warmth.  They drive my dog crazy, but I love having them as neighbors. We’ve had other gatherings, with two-legged neighbors, for dinner and Bible study. We’ve had several get togethers of friends and family since moving in and its a joy to see a sketch, a concept, an idea, come to life and rooms filled with laughter and friendship. My heart over flows with the blessing of living here.

What’s next, you might ask. If you know me well, you know I have a list for that, too.

The outside landscaping still needs a lot of work. We’re scheduled to have a tree company come and trim/prune our beautiful oaks before the weather turns warm. Our property has some amazing trees and we want to keep them healthy and strong.  I also have a sweet friend who is a horticulturalist and she has offered to give me some advice on plants and placement. Living in the Hill Country, we need heat tolerant, drought tolerant, deer resistant (varying opinions on that one) and of late, a bit of cold weather resistant.  It’s a challenging climate. The beautiful flowers and bushes that do so well up north and come back year after year, can’t handle our summer heat and require more water than is environmentally friendly.  And some of the lush tropical plants can’t handle the cold snaps our winters sometimes bring and also require too much water.  Native is best. And thankfully there are plenty of gorgeous plants to choose from.

The other thing keeping me busy (distracting me from writing!) are my projects. We have some great pieces of furniture that no longer fit with our decor. A few too many Pinterest photos and I’m out purchasing paint and setting up a work station in the garage. The first victim is our china cabinet, oak with a light stain. It’s a great piece but needs updating. I’m experimenting with making chalk paint (rather than pay for the overpriced cans of it) using baking soda. So far, it seems to be working out. I’ve done the prep work, of course. Sanding, priming and then painting. I’ve started with the hutch and it’s waiting for the second coat. Then I’ll give it a light, smoothing sand and a coat of furniture wax.  The next step will be a bit scary and require a touch of artsy-ness. I hope to mix the right color of stain with the wax and add another coat to soften the color and give it a bit of antiquing/interest.  Once it’s done, I’ll empty out the base, bring it out to the garage and get started on it. If I’m successful, I have a bookcase in the entry, a small end table and two tables on the front porch lined up. Oh, and I’ve also asked Jon to build two headboards for our guest bedrooms out of the pallet wood I saved. Pinterest inspired, too, of course.

What’s next? Lots. Some tedious. Some fun. But really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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