If you keep at something long enough and hard enough, it will happen. There’s a fine line between persistent and stubborn, and I don’t toe that line well at all, but this time it’s paid off. What started as an April Fools joke several years ago has become something of a reality… I’m buying my place in Texas!

The contract is finalized and now just waiting for the legal beagles to run through the titles and such so I can close the deal. With the holidays on tap, it may be dragged out past the first of the year, but at this point I can handle a few more weeks. Hell, considering that I’ve been actively looking, and already went through the process of one offer almost six months ago, a few weeks is nothing. Bottom line is, barring some major malfunction, I’ll become a Texas landowner in 2012.

This is all just the first part of a bigger dream and a long-term plan.

The place I’m getting is a small (by Texas standards), 23.24 acre parcel out in Edwards County.  There’s currently a pretty nice, double-wide mobile home on the place, as well as a really nice barn. I’ll need to do some work, establish a couple of good pastures for the horses, and get some water sources in place to hold wildlife. The upside is, there’s already a ton of wildlife there, including whitetail, axis, turkeys, and (of course) hogs. I need to provide a little incentive for them to stick around, and I should have decent hunting within a stone’s throw of the back porch. (I’ve already had to promise that I won’t hunt from the back porch… but I didn’t say anything about setting a blind on the roof!)

This will become my base of operations, and will be my new home as soon as I can get all the necessary ducks in a row to make the move. I’m eager to get there full-time, but I have to wait until Kat can make arrangements with her job to relocate. She’ll also need to find something to do with her current house, which is something of a problem in the current real estate environment. These are, admittedly, steep challenges. But I’ve taken on bigger…

I had intended to get something a bit larger, in the neighborhood of 100 acres. However, finding something that size with a decent living space and realistic access to some infrastructure was tough. Since this will also be my office, I need to be able to set up reliable broadband connection. Kat sort of likes the idea of having a few neighbors around too, which is OK with me as long as they’re not too close. The nearest full-time neighbor to this place is at least a half-mile up the road. That’s a reasonable buffer.

The plan now is to settle into this place and take my time finding a larger parcel. I’ve even considered trying to buy up the undeveloped lots adjacent to mine, but I’m not sure if the owners will be willing to sell. Either way, it shouldn’t be a problem finding land that is for sale out there. I just need to find the one I really like. Adding this second property is Phase 2 of my plan.

Phase 3 is for my brother and his wife to get themselves relocated to the Hill Country. They have the intent, but they aren’t rushing into anything right now. They have property of their own to sell back in North Carolina, in addition to that little question of employment.

And that will take us to Phase 4, the culmination of a dream that I think my brother and I have both shared since we first went down to the Hill Country several years ago. Once we’ve established our households and had a chance to get involved in the community, we hope to pick up a fairly large piece of land (or two) and start running hunts. This isn’t a short-term plan, of course, although I hope we’re ready to make our move before the economy finally stumbles back to its feet and land prices climb out of reach.

I know, we’re hardly the first to come down to Texas with starry eyes and big ideas. Hell, Texas is the land of the grandiose dreams, isn’t it? A lot of other folks have come down and tried to make a go in the Hill Country hunting industry, and there are a lot of empty ranches and For Sale signs that are all they have left to show for it. There are no guarantees.

But hard-headed runs deep in my family, and my brother and I have that trait in spades. If it can be done, we’ll do it or bust our asses trying. There were a lot of times and a lot of reasons I was ready to toss this Texas dream out the window, but I stuck it out this far and it’s starting to come together. I’ll take that as an indication that the rest of the plan will work out too.

And if it doesn’t… nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’ll be out of California, living in a place where I can hunt to my heart’s content, and surrounded by lots of beautiful country and very few people. That’s a dream-come-true right there.