Sayles Ranch Guesthouses

SAYLES RANCH GUESTHOUSES Abilene, Texas Experience West Texas "John Wayne at Starbucks" Style

"Not your granny's B&B!" An innovative alternative to luxury accommodation needs in Abilene, TX! Our specialty is high end, West Texas style decor that stimulates an interest in the romance of our heritage and satisfies the craving for an interesting and thought provoking lodging experience.

Mission: To address the niche market of people looking for something more than the same-o, same-o chain hotel experience, when they visit Abilene, and to give them a level of luxury that is not available elsewhere in Abilene. And to involve others in the adventure of the Sayles Ranch Experience by staying connected with the ongoing process of designing, antique shopping and hunting for one of a kind objects to repurpose historic buildings that create that Sayles Ranch Experience. Come treasure hunt with me in "Nowhere America", otherwise know as West Texas!

Real Stories: Restoring a West Texas Historic District - C&I Magazine From Texas to New Mexico to California, folks are making it their mission to rejuvenate the places that represent their roots.

Our 2019 Christmas Blessing:

🎼”I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”🎼

🎼”And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! “🎼

Until our recent move last summer to a home that meets our needs of aging, it had been our great privilege to live in a home, only a short distance over the treetops away from the bell tower of the Church of the Heavenly Rest, an exquisite, Gothic church that was designed by the same architect that designed the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Most of our Sayles Ranch Guesthouses are there as well. Living in virtually the shadow of that bell tower, we often heard the bells, which many people do not realize can and are often rung by human effort. How magical and unique it was to live there and hear those bells on crisp, clear mornings!

A few years ago, on Christmas Eve, Laura and I were invited to join some friends in that third story, otherworldly, bell tower, as the Change Ringers, as they are called, rang the bells at the ending of the midnight service. I could not have been more thrilled if I had been on the surface of the moon! It was mesmerizing to watch this ancient ritual, so very unique and rare in this part of the world! Such a transcendent experience of a spiritual/aesthetic nature. For me, even New York City at Christmas a few years ago did not compare! It very likely will be carved in my memory as the “Best Christmas Ever!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the beautiful poem (now a carol) “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” during the dark days of the American Civil War. The sixth stanza of this poem is haunting as it reminds me of these recent dark days in our country. I’m pledged to be non political/partisan on FB, but ALL can agree, regardless of your position, that these times have been ugly and hate filled. Longfellow had lost his wife and son to the ravages of the Civil War, thus the sixth stanza:

🎼”And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said:
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"🎼

This verse is often deleted from the song because of its hopelessness....

In addition to national concerns, we like Longfellow, and YOU, have struggled with personal darknesses this year. We all deal with issues of death of loved ones, health and personal finance concerns and even things like forgiveness.

But we are not without hope and neither are you! We believe in God, we believe in the goodness in people, we believe in the healing of forgiveness.
We believe that right will prevail! So the seventh, triumphant stanza of Longfellow poem loudly proclaims;

🎼”Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”🎼

Our heartfelt Christmas blessing from Terry and Laura Browder and the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses:

May your heart find security and Hope, not in the material things of this season or houses or home, but in the Incarnate and Resurrected Christ! In your life, may Wrong fail and Right prevail! Merry Christmas!

🎼”Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”🎼

(Please, no political or partisan comments. They will be deleted)

Every year I post my No Fail method for cooking the turkey. If you are intimidated about cooking the turkey, don’t be! Trust me! This is so easy!

Sayles Ranch Turkey--Simple method to cook the perfect turkey! If you have ever cooked a turkey that ended up being too dry or not tender, try my way!

I'm sure that most of you are more expert at cooking the perfect turkey, than I am, but for those needing some advice and confidence, here is the method I have devised through the years to come up with a super tender, juicy turkey and it is so easy! It is basically No Fail!

(1) Sunday before Thanksgiving is ALWAYS the day the turkey goes from the freezer to the refrigerator to begin the slow thawing so it will be ready to roast by Thanksgiving. This is important. Do it Sunday. Don't wait another day. Saturday would be even better.
(2) While you are at the store buying the turkey, buy a disposable aluminum foil turkey pan. Get the sturdiest oval shaped one you can find. Also buy a box of roasting bags. These two items make it all so easy and they make clean up a dream too. There are plenty of dirty dishes to wash without having to wash a huge roasting pan.
(3) When you get ready to unwrap the bird, wash it and be sure and take the giblet bag out of the carcass cavity. I give you permission to throw the giblets in the trash if you like. My mother cooked them and used them in the gravy and/or dressing, but not me! Rinse it inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Rub it down with butter or olive oil. And season it as you wish. I use lots of salt and pepper and FILL the carcass cavity with quartered onion, whole garlic cloves, a quartered orange, lime or lemon and some celery and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. You can season any way you like.
(4) Read the instructions on the roasting bag box and put the bird in the bag per those instructions and in the disposable pan. I'm a big believer in using a roasting bag because it keeps your oven clean and it self bastes the turkey. So easy!
(5) WEDNESDAY NIGHT, before you go to bed, put the turkey in the oven at 250 degrees. This is very slow cook and guarantees that the turkey will be tender. When you get up Thursday morning, the turkey will probably be done! If it needs a bit more browning you can turn up the oven and brown it a little longer but I never recall having to do that. It's usually just perfect. Now, take the whole pan with the turkey still in the bag and set it down in an insulated cooler or ice chest, pan and all. You can bend the sides of the pan up to fit if you need to. Close the lid and your turkey will be perfect for carving when you are ready for it later in the day. It will have continued to cook a bit, rested, and still be warm but perfect for carving. The HUGE advantage to this is it frees your oven on Thanksgiving day for all the other last minute baking you need to do. I love that we get to start the day cooking with the turkey out of the way and ready to carve whenever you are! Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Office Decor Dilemma.....

Real, honest to goodness, working offices are a huge challenge when it comes to interior design. How does one balance all the technology, such as computers, printers, scanners, etc., with beauty, style and grace? We have had our business office in our home for literally 40 years. It’s a private space where Laura, I and our assistant, Jamie, work. We do not have any customers come and go here, and our clients are mostly out of town and some even out of state.

I spent some time this cold, wintery day styling our every day work space. Because the house and architecture are Pueblo style, I wanted the office to flow with the rest of the house aesthetic, so I used my collection of antique quilts and Navajo rug/weavings, along with a really cool, vintage, canvas, “Bison Glove Works” sign that gave a bit of a focal point to the main wall, when you walk in. The layering of all the luscious reds, blacks, browns and whites is rich and visually exciting. Some people might feel it is too busy, but I like the distraction from all the hard, mechanical office machines and the textiles are perfect for softening that feel. Layering the textiles also gives more dimension to the space. One note of interest is that the American Folk Art quilts and the Navajo Folk Art rugs are of the same approximately 100 year ago time period. Art and Business coexisting!

Morning coffee......

Just sitting here at the ancient plank breakfast table by the corner kiva fireplace in our bedroom. It’s still and quiet and I am pretending that Monday has not yet come. For a brief moment, I light the candles and hold back time...

On this cold, fall weekend, how perfect to “hole up” at the Hideout, our smallest but possibly the most charming of our guest house offerings. Admittedly, it’s a bit kitschy, but that’s intentional because we wanted it to have some authenticity—kind of like your grandparents’ mid century, knotty pine clad cabin in the mountains. The Mexican entry gates and secret, arbor covered courtyard make hiding out, all that much more enticing. Be hiding out......

Abilene is my happy place!

A lot of people in Abilene have little understanding of how significant “Tourism” is to our local economy. People joke that this is not the hotspot for tourism, but the numbers indicate a different perspective. Many think that grandma visiting the grands is about the only kind of visitor traffic we experience here and would be shocked to understand that Tourism impacts our local economy to the tune of 498 MILLION dollars annually. Folks that’s half a BILLION—every year! The financial impact is second only to Duess AFB. This last week at our Sayles Ranch Guesthouses, we had a couple here from Alaska. They loved visiting Frontier Texas! and Perinis and were fascinated by our history and the plains Indians story. Staying at the Falling Star Lodge, our Native American designed guest house, was an enrichment of their experience. The photo on the left is a picture of their home in Alaska, backdropped by the Aurora Borealis, taken only a couple of weeks ago. Our guests are sophisticated and well traveled and think that Abilene is worthy of their fascination!

As I walked through the house to the kitchen this morning, I noticed how dramatically the morning sun illuminated the “bouquet” of wild purple thistles I had gathered by the roadside recently between Albany and Moran. Simple. Natural. The world is full of beautiful things!

“the Abilene House Whisperer”
“Cowboys and Indians “ magazine
January 2020

Oh light and shadow how I am mystified by thee....
(Living room at our guesthouse, Mad Men)

Sayles Ranch

Our first attempt to bring West Texas Style Hospitality to Abilene in an innovative, “never been tried before” way. Inspired nearly 20 years ago by the promising Frontier Texas!, we felt that after experiencing the story of our romantic western heritage, and eating a steak at Perinis, Abilene visitors needed to sleep in a handmade Mesquite bed under a beautiful set of antlers, instead of in generic hotel room that looked like anywhere in America. We faced a lot of push back, and it wasn’t easy to survive in those early days. The local paper published an article saying the Browders had caused Santa not to come to Sayles Blvd that year! Now, with AirBnB everywhere, people don’t find it to be so threatening. I’m glad we took the risk and dreamed the dream! Thanks to all the believers who stood by us!

Finished the kitchen floor this weekend. If you don’t like SW style you might not like it...but you wouldn’t like any of the rest of this quirky house either!

Painting Kitchen Floors—In progress

A couple of days ago I posted the initial planning and taping stage of my project to paint the kitchen floors at our Pueblo Revival house we are working on. Here is where I have progressed to. I still have a ways to go and pulling the green tape off and revealing the unpainted wood portions is always a bit like opening presents at Christmas! But that will have to wait until tomorrow! If you don’t like Southwest Design, you won’t like these floors...but you wouldn’t like the house anyway because it’s the real deal, Old Santa Fe Style. My attempt with this design is to stay true to the architecture, but I have simplified the design to make it feel more modern to blend with other modern elements in the kitchen. There’s really no right or wrong to this kind of thing. Just trying to create something unique.

Sayles Ranch—West Texas tradition with a Nuevo Western vibe—we call it “John Wayne at Starbucks” Style!

Painting the kitchen floor—-

I’m showing the in progress photo of my current endeavor. On the hundred year old Pueblo Revival house we are redeeming, the kitchen floors are the original hardwood and were in a lot worse condition than the rest of the house because of years of wear and water damage. It is a galley kitchen that is long and narrow so I am painting a design on the floors with black and white paint and also leaving portions of the wood showing (where the green tape is) for the third color. I wanted something graphic and adobeish but also clean and contemporary. I am showing a rug from an Internet ad that has been a bit of the design inspiration. With the design, I am attempting to draw your eye horizontally instead of long ways with the length of the room to try to create the impression the that room is wider than it really is. I’ll post more in a few days when I get the design resolved and the painting started.

Before Tiny Houses were a thing.....

Cabin Fever, our century old carriage house. The antique ceiling tin came from the ceiling of the hundred year old grocery store in the little town in Oklahoma where I grew up! Many people wouldn’t believe this is here in Abilene, right under their noses, but it is!—just our little secret!

Falling Star Lodge....because who hasn’t at one time in their childhood secretly wanted to be an Indian?

Daybreak at Downton Abbey, our English library style guest house, part of the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses collection:

Most of our guest houses ooze West Texas aesthetics but not all! Imagine waking up just as the sun streams through a gothic, stained glass window while you savor coffee from a fine, English China teacup. Everything you encounter here suggests you are in another place and time. Old world art, Edwardian English antiques and herringbone plank floors convince your mind and heart.

This weather....this attic loft room....this magic!

A cup of tea from an English porcelain teacup, and a contemplative moment at morning’s first light streaming through the cathedral window at our English Library style guest house, Downton Abbey.

When vintage law books become wallpaper....

“Formidable Foe”

The Comanches were an imperialistic nation whose dominance boiled down simply to brute strength. They lived a violent, and brutal life but it was straightforward and relatively simple. They took what they wanted, be it land or horses, and they chose their leaders mainly based on who was the strongest and bravest warrior. Quanah Parker was a son of a Chief, but he was also the son of a captive white woman so being a “halfbreed” was a bit of a handicap for his future as a Chief and the main way he overcame it was strength. Man against man was the Comanche way and for hundreds of years it worked on the Llano Estacado. The most powerful men became the leaders and survival of the fittest was the solution against every advisory...until the latter part of the 19th century on the Texas Plains.

“Formidable Foe” depicts Chief Quanah Parker, futilely drawing the bow against the encroaching steam engine train. Man against man was no longer the option as the white men’s technology created new challenges that he was not equipped to defeat. I wonder if he felt very much like you and I do in this second decade of the twenty first century as we often face challenges the we have no answers for. What has always longer does. For years, many of his people believed that they could defeat the encroaching white men by power and bravery in battle, but Chief Quanah Parker had to change his world view and was more effective at it than many of his peers. He was visionary in his ability to see things differently and adapt. How frightening and bewildering it must have been for see that what had always been effective, no longer worked.

This latest painting is one of a series of paintings depicting Chief Quanah Parker, and the clash of cultures between the Comanche Nation and the Texanians. It is 48” x 48”. The painting is Acrylic on 120 year old, hand written deeds, glued to canvas, from Parker County, Texas. It is significant that Parker County was named after Isaac Parker, the Chief’s mother, Cynthia Ann Parker’s uncle. These deeds conveyed Land once controlled by the Comanches. In this most recent work, a large part of the picture plane reveals the historic documents and these actual relics from the time period of the event have become an important part of the artwork both visually and symbolically.

To inquire about price, contact Terry Browder at 325-669-6856

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