Spicewood couple rents out casita, "glamping" tent to raise money for foster children

Jim and Dawn Madigan.

Jim and Dawn Madigan.

Image description
The patio outside includes a hot tub, outdoor shower, fireplace, grill and seating areas tucked throughout the deck that wraps around the tent.
Image description
Swings outside the casita.
Image description
The inside of the casita.
Image description
The bathroom inside the tent.
When Jim Madigan met Dawn, he asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She replied, “Help people,” and that is when he fell in love.

Now they are celebrating 27 years of marriage and have launched a new endeavor to raise money for foster care organizations in Texas.

The couple has lived on their 15 acres of land in Spicewood for the last 17 years. They have two children, ages 22 and 16.

“Recently we went to a foundation event that was raising money for the Texas Foster Families Association,” Dawn said. “I immediately wanted to jump in and bring home foster babies to help out, but Jim said we were too old for that.”

Shortly after, though, Jim came back to Dawn with an idea.

“He said, ‘I know what we’re going to do to help,’” she said, “and that’s when Firesong Ranch began.”

The Madigans decided to start renting out the casita on their property and to give a portion of the income to local foster care organizations.

“He’s a builder, and I love to decorate and host,” Dawn said. “We updated and redecorated the casita and added a big deck.”

They had also recently stayed in a “glamping” tent in Wimberley and fell in love with the concept, so they bought a luxury tent and added it to the property as an additional rental.

Dawn said they market the two rentals on Airbnb and on their website, and that it has been a “revolving door” of renters since opening four months ago.

“It feels like we were meant to do something with this property, but we never knew what,” Jim said. “This seemed to be the perfect idea: We can stay here, manage it and keep adding to it.”

The next addition to Firesong Ranch will be a “barndominium,” a barn-style building with a large game room, wet bar and kitchen on the bottom and rooms to rent on top.

“It’s another piece of the puzzle,” Jim said. “It’s all about giving back. We’re starting off with giving a portion, but eventually we hope to let all the proceeds go to foster kids. It’s a progression, but that’s the end goal.”


The City of Rollingwood met July 21 to approve a proposal designed to automate its wastewater system, which failed during Winter Storm Uri.  (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rollingwood to use federal relief toward wastewater infrastructure improvements

During storm Uri, Rollingwood public works staff kept the city’s water system in operation by pulling a sole generator on icy roads to seven neighborhood life stations, which are facilities designed to move wastewater.

A rise in COVID-19 cases has Travis County back in stage 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin reverts to Stage 4 guidelines with rising delta variant cases

As delta variant COVID -19 cases are sending more young people to local ICUs, The Austin-Travis County Health Authority has moved the area back to guidelines that require masks indoors.

The Reserve at Lake Austin is a senior living community under construction off City Park Road in Northwest Austin. (Courtesy Solera Senior Living)
Northwest Austin senior living community looks to January 2022 opening

New complex to have 120 living units and an outdoor memory garden.

Lakeway City Council voted July 19 to amend its budget and accept a grant to restore Liebelt Cabin. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Restoration of Liebelt Cabin has new source of funding

Grant will reimburse city for repairs made to the historic Liebelt Cabin.

Leander Marketplace PUD would be located at the northeast corner of Hero Way and US 183. (Screenshot courtesy city of Leander)
Leander eyes development with restaurants, retail; Bin Drop opens in New Braunfels and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Dozens of Austin residents spoke virtually and in person July 22 to share their thoughts on the city's proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Police funding again takes center stage in public hearing on Austin's proposed FY 2021-22 budget

Dozens of city residents calling into or appearing at City Hall on July 22 shared their thoughts about policing and the city's spending plan.

student learning
Leander ISD's virtual learning program exceeds capacity after recent interest

The program waitlist began July 21 with 101 applicants in its first day.

Mortgage purchase applications are down year over year, but the Austin housing market remains hot. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin housing market still hot but showing signs of slowing down

Experts say that a decrease in mortgage purchase applications points to “a reversion back to norm” in the Austin housing market.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

The Lake Travis ISD board of trustees reviewed plans for distributing federal COVID-19 relief during a July 21 meeting. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lake Travis ISD to spend $3M in federal aid to meet students’ academic, emotional needs

Among the stakeholder input, students’ social and emotional health emerged as the top priority for the funding.

Todd Dodge, Westlake High School athletic director and head football coach, announced his retirement the morning of July 22. (Courtesy Westlake Nation)
Todd Dodge, Westlake High School football coach, announces retirement

Dodge—a three-time National High School Coach of the Year recipient—will officially retire from the district at the conclusion of the 2021 football season.