I took an aptitude test at the age of 20 and it said I'd be good in advertising or agriculture. I have checked the advertising box as the owner of an Austin ad agency for almost 20 years now and have loved getting in touch with my agriculture roots more recently with the purchase of Rancho de Vida. It's been a great place to get away from it all, bring people together, enjoy the therapy of manual labor and the restorative power of Momma Nature.
Mary Pat purchased this farmhouse in 2008
About 10 years ago I went to a retreat where we talked about getting back on track with goals and pursuing your dreams. One of the exercises was to write your obituary. I'd been thinking about it a bit as I had just finished chemo for breast cancer when I was 44. I wrote this obit almost joyfully, describing how I had a special place in the country where friends and family could gather, listen to music, eat great meals and enjoy being out in nature and dancing under the Texas stars. Later, I shared with a couple of friends and forgot about it. Several years went by and then one of my friends, a real estate broker, said 'I found your place.' I'd forgotten about the obit and the description of my ranch-a-rita. Well, fell in love with the place at first site. Friends and family have gathered there and created some great memories. Just coming over the rise to the entrance of the ranch, my blood pressure lowers and the connection to nature takes over. Life becomes simpler and more beautiful. The giant oak tree right outside the house, is a place where people gather under for meals and draw strength from that big, wise oak. It's estimated to be 300 to 400 years old. There are lights in the tree and a bird cage 'chandelier' over the table. Life is good. And it brings me happiness to share with others.
History of House
Under the sprawling old oak (now 350-years + old), the Weirich family built this house in 1910 of shiplap construction. Shingle siding was put over this in the 1950s. The house was originally a dogtrot-style house, with a breezeway running down the middle of the house. There was no front door to the home then. The stairs leading to the upstairs bedrooms were on the outside of the house, in the style of a Fredericksburg Sunday house.
The original wagon road came right by this house (now the driveway) and was rerouted in 1980. This was the same year improvements were done to update the house with modern conveniences, but still maintain the integrity of the original. Indoor plumbing was established; as was the enclosure of the back porch at the foot of the stairs and the breezeway in order to add a bath.
Original wainscoting is evident throughout the house, as is the original window glass, doors and hardware. Nine-foot ceilings and transoms above the doors are special features of this pioneer home.
The house had two wood-burning stoves, one in the front bedroom and one in the kitchen. Single-drop light fixtures were in each room. The parlor (the room on the south side of the home) was off limits to children, except on Christmas morning when the cedar tree was lit with candles in the German tradition.
Part of the cement hitching post can still be seen next to the road at the front gate and a part of the old lightening rod is still attached to the home in one corner.
The land is very varied over it's 67 acres. There's a hill top with forever views looking north west, a rocky ravine, seasonal creek that has a great limestone bottom swimming hole and waterfalls when it's running, beautiful hayfields, oaks and wildflowers.
Rancho de Vida is a great place to get away from it all, bring people together, realize the surprising therapy of manual labor and the restorative power of Momma Nature. Hope you have enjoyed your stay here!