Boot Ranch Chef Aaron StreitmaterBoot Ranch Executive Chef Aaron J. Staudenmaier wasn’t always counting bluebonnets in the Texas Hill Country. Aaron began working the graveyard shift at a truck stop at age 14 and eventually made it to The Mansion in Dallas, working under Chef Dean Fearing. For the 13 years prior to his escape to Boot Ranch, he worked under Chef Kent Rathbun at Abacus, Jasper’s and at the farm-to-table concept, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen in Preston Center. Now ensconced in the hills of Fredericksburg, he says nothing announces the change of farm season in Texas and the hint of warmer weather like that first delivery of creamy, nutty English peas just waiting to be cooked up. And so, over on SecondShelters.com, we are offering up his recipes…for vacation home “inner peas”…

 

Kirk's Rockin K extMaybe it’s because my butt is already sore from horseback riding, but I am obsessed, I mean OBSESSED with Kirk’s Rockin’ K Ranch in Celina, just a few miles north of Deion Sander’s place on Preston Road in Prosper. This 314 acre elite horse breeding property is amazing, overloaded, sexy, steroidal, fabulous, and honestly one of the most God-fearin’ TEXAN ranches I have ever seen. This is horse heaven with a capital H. I am guessing that Kelcy Warren might be looking at this ranch for ideas on what he is building in the Hill Country.

The main house provides all the comforts of a Strait Lane/Bel Air mansion and then some. You have a 15,000 square foot main house on the highest elevation in Collin County. But do not even bat an eyelash about storms: you have a subterranean wine cellar with more than 4,000 bottle capacity and a complete dining/drinking area. In fact, the space is large enough for you to bunker down in for days, weeks, probably even with some of the horses.Kirks' Rockin K wine cellar

The main home, which was built in 1995 but extensively remodeled by the present owners, has the most amazing master his and her suite ever, EVER. Basically, a whole wing was added and I do not joke when I say you can live in the master and never whimper. The actual bedroom is about 1200 square feet, but that does not count the wet bar, coffee bar, separate his and her baths, her’s large enough to have a central round seating pouf, fireplace, and vast sunken tub. His bath has a separate reading area, and both baths have closets with sub closets about the size of the bedroom. As if this is not perfection, there is a full office off the lady’s bath that is conveniently located next to one of the garages. Imagine the ease of shopping — you can practically DRIVE your purchases right into your closet!Kirk's Rockin K kitchen Kirk's Rockin K Living Kirk's Rockin K family.bar.antelope floor Kirks Rockin K master Kirk's Rockin K master hallway Kirks' Rockin K lady's bath Kirk's Rockin K guest bath

Kirk's Rocking K pool.master Kirks' Rockin K port cochereOutside, and within full view of the home, there is a huge cascading rock pool, and spa. The home has a grand total of four bedrooms, five full and three half baths, a gourmet kitchen, formals and casuals, porches and balconies. Is a seven car garage enough parking space for you? Oh, well, sorry: there’s room for 400 outside.

But here’s the real kick of Kirk’s Rockin’ K: it was once a cattle ranch that is now a world renown horse breeding and showing showplace. I mean, if Bobby really loved Anne on Dallas, he’d dump Southfork and buy her the Rockin’ K in a foal’s heartbeat.

There are 40 large mare stalls, foaling stalls otherwise known as a mare motel, even a high-end breeding lab. No tell at that mare motel. I guess when it comes to breeding high net worth horses, you don’t just let the stallion have his, um, way. The fanned/vented competition ready area is probably the biggest in the southwest. Bob Kiser himself consulted on the construction and every footing detail, and the ranch has produced countless famous champion mares and stallions in the cutting, reining and quarter-horse community. There is also a trainer and property manager who lives on site because there is a thee-bedroom, two bath ranger manager’s home, office and equipmenmt barn. Hmm, maybe I’ll apply for the job, though the current one says he will gladly stay with the house. Kirks's Rockin K stalls Kirk's rockin k arena Kirk's Rockin K horsies

Sold yet? Hang on, there is more. The grounds have three stocked ponds and breathtaking views of the one of the fastest-growing suburbs in North Texas. Should you tire of drinking wine, swimming, riding, breeding (horses, that is), training them, hiking on your estate or fishing, there is a full skeet shooting tower and rifle range. Talk about the best of what every Texas loves to do! You have it right here for a mere $15 million.

Maybe that’s what I liked best about Kirk’s Rockin’ K, besides the owners, Jesse and Milo Kirk. You are only 45 minutes from DFW and the TSA, ten minutes to the Dallas North Tollway entrance, but you can get out here and shoot like Jesse James with a four-station competition tower and a five-stand rifle range blessed by Peter Blakely.

Breedin’, shootin’, boozin’: I’m telling you, perfect spot for Cattle Baron’s!

Kirk's Rockin K extMaybe it’s because my butt is already sore from horseback riding, but I am obsessed, I mean OBSESSED with Kirk’s Rockin’ K Ranch in Celina, just a few miles north of Deion Sander’s place on Preston Road in Prosper. This 314 acre elite horse breeding property is amazing, overloaded, sexy, steroidal, fabulous, and honestly one of the most God-fearin’ TEXAN ranches I have ever seen. This is horse heaven with a capital H. I am guessing that Kelcy Warren might be looking at this ranch for ideas on what he is building in the Hill Country.

The main house provides all the comforts of a Strait Lane/Bel Air mansion and then some. You have a 15,000 square foot main house on the highest elevation in Collin County. But do not even bat an eyelash about storms: you have a subterranean wine cellar with more than 4,000 bottle capacity and a complete dining/drinking area. In fact, the space is large enough for you to bunker down in for days, weeks, probably even with some of the horses.Kirks' Rockin K wine cellar

The main home, which was built in 1995 but extensively remodeled by the present owners, has the most amazing master his and her suite ever, EVER. Basically, a whole wing was added and I do not joke when I say you can live in the master and never whimper. The actual bedroom is about 1200 square feet, but that does not count the wet bar, coffee bar, separate his and her baths, her’s large enough to have a central round seating pouf, fireplace, and vast sunken tub. His bath has a separate reading area, and both baths have closets with sub closets about the size of the bedroom. As if this is not perfection, there is a full office off the lady’s bath that is conveniently located next to one of the garages. Imagine the ease of shopping — you can practically DRIVE your purchases right into your closet!Kirk's Rockin K kitchen Kirk's Rockin K Living Kirk's Rockin K family.bar.antelope floor Kirks Rockin K master Kirk's Rockin K master hallway Kirks' Rockin K lady's bath Kirk's Rockin K guest bath

Kirk's Rocking K pool.master Kirks' Rockin K port cochereOutside, and within full view of the home, there is a huge cascading rock pool, and spa. The home has a grand total of four bedrooms, five full and three half baths, a gourmet kitchen, formals and casuals, porches and balconies. Is a seven car garage enough parking space for you? Oh, well, sorry: there’s room for 400 outside.

But here’s the real kick of Kirk’s Rockin’ K: it was once a cattle ranch that is now a world renown horse breeding and showing showplace. I mean, if Bobby really loved Anne on Dallas, he’d dump Southfork and buy her the Rockin’ K in a foal’s heartbeat.

There are 40 large mare stalls, foaling stalls otherwise known as a mare motel, even a high-end breeding lab. No tell at that mare motel. I guess when it comes to breeding high net worth horses, you don’t just let the stallion have his, um, way. The fanned/vented competition ready area is probably the biggest in the southwest. Bob Kiser himself consulted on the construction and every footing detail, and the ranch has produced countless famous champion mares and stallions in the cutting, reining and quarter-horse community. There is also a trainer and property manager who lives on site because there is a thee-bedroom, two bath ranger manager’s home, office and equipmenmt barn. Hmm, maybe I’ll apply for the job, though the current one says he will gladly stay with the house. Kirks's Rockin K stalls Kirk's rockin k arena Kirk's Rockin K horsies

Sold yet? Hang on, there is more. The grounds have three stocked ponds and breathtaking views of the one of the fastest-growing suburbs in North Texas. Should you tire of drinking wine, swimming, riding, breeding (horses, that is), training them, hiking on your estate or fishing, there is a full skeet shooting tower and rifle range. Talk about the best of what every Texas loves to do! You have it right here for a mere $15 million.

Maybe that’s what I liked best about Kirk’s Rockin’ K, besides the owners, Jesse and Milo Kirk. You are only 45 minutes from DFW and the TSA, ten minutes to the Dallas North Tollway entrance, but you can get out here and shoot like Jesse James with a four-station competition tower and a five-stand rifle range blessed by Peter Blakely.

Breedin’, shootin’, boozin’: I’m telling you, perfect spot for Cattle Baron’s!

La Belle Maison Paris TX

Paris is an excellent Texas town for your ranch getaway, as it’s a short drive from Dallas/Fort Worth, has some great shopping, and the scenery is just splendid. And you can tell everyone you have a second home in Paris! Oui oui!

Well monsieurs and madames, this lovely ranch with a total of seven — SEVEN!!!! — fireplaces is a place you can fall in love with. Check out Kathryn Roan’s writeup of La Belle Maison on SecondShelters.com today.

La Belle Maison Paris TX

Paris is an excellent Texas town for your ranch getaway, as it’s a short drive from Dallas/Fort Worth, has some great shopping, and the scenery is just splendid. And you can tell everyone you have a second home in Paris! Oui oui!

Well monsieurs and madames, this lovely ranch with a total of seven — SEVEN!!!! — fireplaces is a place you can fall in love with. Check out Kathryn Roan’s writeup of La Belle Maison on SecondShelters.com today.

YFZ Ranch

You’ll recall the hullabaloo caused by the raid on Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, which precipitated the arrest and conviction of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs on charges of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault. Women in long prairie-style pastel dresses with whole hoards of children and babies were loaded on buses by child welfare officials after reports of underage marriages came through.

While the 2008 raid and investigation cast a spotlight on the YFZ Ranch and the small West Texas town just south of San Angelo, it did more to uncover the foreign lifestyle the fundamentalist Mormon followers had on the 1,600-acre property, including the several log homes surrounding the 3-story temple on the compound, which housed many families (some of which were allegedly polygamist, though that is yet to be confirmed). It also cast a glaring light on the shortcomings of the state child protective services, but that’s a whole different subject entirely.

Polygamist Retreat

Still, we’ll have to see what will actually happen to the ranch, as some YFZ residents (a pilot who frequently flies over the site estimates between 10 and 80 followers still remain) have made efforts to pay the ranch’s lofty outstanding tax bills.

What we’re wondering is, if the state is successful in its attempts to seize the ranch, what will it become? I think it would be an interesting investment for anyone who wants to start a camp or commune, maybe even a self-sustaining farm. One thing is for sure: Thanks to the shale gas and domestic drilling boom, there’s a shortage of available housing in West Texas, and these units could be an interesting addition to the mix. Texas Monthly writer Katy Vine has a few ideas:

After the property has been vacated, law enforcement will begin taking inventory and the compound will be sold. This raises the question, Who will buy it? Oil-field companies needing housing? A group needing a religious retreat facility? Some in town have imagined a boy’s home or some other nonprofit purchasing the land—situations that would prove problematic for the local school district, which has grown to depend on the ranch’s taxes for 5 to 10 percent of its budget. A few, noting the original watchtower and the community-living structures, have even proposed a minimum-security prison. That would be one way to circumvent a marketing challenge.

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Kathryn Roan gets a frequent request from clients shopping for a ranch home:

“Searching for property, the land is way more important than the house, and I’m repeatedly asked by clients to find them a “tiny house on a big piece of land.” And, quite frankly, we do not want to clean (or pay for) rooms we just will not use.”

Sounds pretty logical, and you can definitely see that logic in this modern take on the dogtrot, with covered parking separating the main house and the horse stalls with attached run. A horse-lover’s dream, this is as close as you can get to your equine friends.

Find out more about this ranch and many more fabulous second homes on SecondShelters.com.

kujawski-family

(Portrait: Joe Garcia)

Full disclosure: I’ve known Jenna Kujawski (pronounced: KEY-os-KEY) since our days at Texas A&M University, and we’ve kept up with one another as we’ve both gotten married and had our first kids.

Jenna, now pregnant with her second child, is currently celebrating with sparkling cider as her family moves into their brand new home on the range in Franklin, Texas, just outside Bryan-College Station. It’s a dream home come true for Jenna of Lazy K Designs and her family, who live on 28 acres known as the Lazy K Ranch. Jenna and her husband Brady bought the acreage soon after graduating from A&M, with the goal of one day building their dream home – a home perfect for raising a family and teaching small town values. After 7 years, that dream is now a reality.

Read more about their real estate story after the jump!

Brady and I met while attending Texas A&M, and even before we were engaged, we would always talk about our dream home. I’m sure every couple has this conversation at least once while dating, but if you know me, you know that I don’t just have dreams; I have plans and goals. Plans and goals that I intend to achieve.

So after we were married in the fall of 2006, it was time to put our plan into action. Most young married couples get their first jobs and buy a starter home, but investing in a $150,000 home in Bryan-College Station didn’t make sense for us. No, our plans required a different approach.

We knew we wanted to stay close to Aggieland; it’s our alma mater, and as a communications and marketing professional, it afforded me the opportunities to advance my career. We also knew we wanted space – I had grown up as part of a farming and ranching family in El Campo, Texas, so I was used to living in the country, taking care of animals, and having room to roam.

Land was fairly easy to come by at the time, but location was extremely important to us. Even though we were just months into our marriage, we were making long-term decisions based upon our future. We wanted to be in a small town we could envision raising a family; we wanted a reputable school district; we wanted a realistic commute; we wanted a community with which we could be a part; we wanted a place where we could see ourselves grow old.

And we found it in 28 acres outside of Franklin, Texas, a rural community known for it’s high-achieving schools, and with a relatively short 35 minute drive to Bryan-College Station. And as an added bonus, a few of my college friends had married into the Franklin community, so we would even know a few people. We closed on the Lazy K in the spring of 2007.

home-front2

Since building a home wasn’t financially feasible at the time (or the right move to make), it made sense for us to try to live as cheaply as possible so that we could begin to save for our dream home. Since we knew this living arrangement would be temporary, it made sense to invest in temporary housing. So we found a used double-wide mobile home that we moved onto the property. It wasn’t anything spectacular, and we spent day and night for the first two weeks renovating it so that it was livable. Even though things seemed stressful at the time, it was one of the smartest decisions we could have made.

home-back

As a planner, I always had it in my mind that we’d be building our home within 5 years. Well, if life has taught me anything, it’s that ultimately I’m not in control. I had my first daughter in the summer of 2011 and changed careers in order to be closer to my family, which set us back some in our plans. Looking back, it was probably smart to postpone the home-building process a bit; it gave us time to continue to pay off a large portion of our land, our mobile home, and our two vehicles.

In the early spring of 2013, exactly 6 years after starting our lives on the Lazy K Ranch, the time seemed right to take that leap of faith. Keep in mind that Brady and I have always done lots of planning before beginning any process, and this was no different. In fact, Brady had drawn our house plans himself, starting completely from scratch. We had already talked to a loan officer to make sure that the house we had drawn on paper was a house we could actually afford. We had almost finalized our builder. Things were falling into place.

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We broke ground in early June 2013 on what I would call a typical ranch-style home. Early on, we had decided to downsize from a two-story house since we had the room to build a large single story, and I do not regret that decision. Not when you have little children. Even though this was our dream home, we still had to be smart in how expensive a dream home we would build. So we agreed on what we would compromise on (marble, porches, ceiling height) and made certain we were on the same page about what we were not willing to compromise on (kitchen, limestone, gabled entrance, outdoor kitchen, layout).

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And here I am, a little over 7 months later, enjoying my morning coffee on my new beautiful front porch, watching the sunrise over the treetops. My now 2-year-old daughter is still sleeping in her big girl bed in her new room, and my sweet husband is sitting next to me.

I want to pinch myself to make sure this is real because I feel like I’ve spent most of my life talking about “one day building our dream home,” and I’ve never dreamed what it would be like to actually live in our dream home.

master-bd2 master-bath1

And now I’m getting to live my dream. And all the sacrifices and decisions we both made years ago have been worth it. Because this home is more than a building — it’s a place where I will get to raise my growing family, throw fantastic summer birthday parties, entertain family and friends, host a Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering, and barbecue on the back porch while we watch our Aggies play … and win.

But for now, I’ll just sit next to my husband, holding hands and sipping our coffee, excitedly talking about what’s next in our future together.

To see the building process of Jenna’s Lazy K home, follow jennak04 on Instagram using the hashtag #lazykhome.

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