Category: Texas

Lesser Known (but Great!) Texas State Parks To Visit

The vast landscapes of the Lone Star State can leave visitors wondering just what to do with their time here. Some aspects of Texas don’t hold true to the saying “bigger is better,” and some of the best kept secrets across the state include some of our lesser known Texas State Parks.

Goose Island State Park – Aransas County

Along the Gulf Coast in Arkansas lies Goose Island State Park, a smaller 320-acre recreational area that beckons birdwatchers, nature-lovers, and anglers from across the state. Those accustomed to mere sandy beaches on the coast might be surprised to find the shoreline here comprised of a bulkhead, oyster shells, marsh grasses, and mud flats, and although the waters look inviting, swimming isn’t advisable. Fish from the massive pier or rent a motor boat to get onto the waters for endeavors that are more exhilarating. Hiking is plentiful along groomed trails where you can spot rare birds and other native wildlife.

Don’t miss stopping by the Big Tree on Goose Island, a 1000+ year old Live Oak that’s in contention as one of the oldest and largest in the nation at 44 feet high with a 35-foot trunk circumference. Often referred to in Native lore and Texas history alike, the Big Tree is a rumored site of the Karankawa native’s cannibalistic rituals, where coastal pirates would make deals, and the Comanche also rendezvoused beneath its branches.

Village Creek State Park – Lumberton

Dubbed the “biological crossroads of North America” by ecologists, this amazing national preserve nestled along a Neches River tributary can only be described as unworldly. This is truly East Texas Big Thicket country, where backwater sloughs and primitive forest converge and support a host of slithering reptiles, carnivorous plants, more than 200 intriguing bird species, and blankets of flowering plants. Hike Village Creek’s 8 miles of trails or paddle thought this riparian wonderland with a rental canoe or kayak. Fishing in the park is license-free, so take a chance and dip minnow or two in the stream along with your toes.

Inks Lake State Park – Burnet

This gem surely isn’t unknown by Texans who flock to one of the most popular Highland Lakes parks, Inks Lake State Park. Although word of the park’s spectacular granite outcroppings, generous camping sites, gentle waters, and abundance of wildlife has yet to go nationwide, many locals come here to relax next to the lake’s tranquil waters and hike the Pecan Flats Trail.

This constant-level lake attracts scuba divers, water skiers, and anglers seeking the generous crappie, bass, and catfish amid the waters. The park’s tackle loaner program will hook you up with fishing essentials like rods, reels, and bobbles – free of charge. Kayak motorboat, and canoe rentals complete with life vests, paddles, and even instructional guidance if you like, with ranger-led paddling excursions being offered on many weekends. Proximal to numerous other Texas State Parks and sites of interest, you won’t regret stopping by Inks Lake.

Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site – Val Verde County

Submerge yourself in 12,000 years of Texas history as you gaze upon the stunning Native rock art at Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site. Pictographs of animals, shamans, and fantastical figures grace the walls of Fate Bell Shelter dating back to 4000 years ago. Discover the park’s connection to the Seminole scouts of the late 19th century and the Transcontinental Railroad, or view the primitive Lower Pecos artifacts on display at the Visitor Center.

Hiking and biking opportunities abound, with ten miles of groomed trails and a newly opened segment that skirt the massive canyon rim offering breathtaking views of the canyonlands below the Pecos and Rio Grande Rivers. Camping here is limited to about 50 sites, so make a reservation if you want the full outdoor submersion experience.

There is something special about spending time in nature, and even more so when it’s a hidden gem. Enjoy these Texas park treasures that are off the more well-traveled trails.

Author Bio: Not a native Texas by birth, Ms. Mastic moved to Central Texas in 2006 and has really enjoyed working and exploring the state, especially its outdoors. She actively writes blog posts about the Highland Lakes region in Central Texas. Visitors can learn more about the area at Facebook and Twitter.

Fall Floods And Soggy Soil: Texas Home Foundation’s Enemy

flash flood

Everyone fears a hurricane’s gale force winds and flash flooding rains. When a these natural disasters happen, Texans can see the damage. What about the damage that goes unseen? Often this is the bigger enemy to the average home. Fall flooding and soggy soil can slowly, but surely, damage a Texas home’s foundation. This may happen over years with each passing flood and many lesser rains. Unfortunately, it can also happen suddenly with enough flooding.

Homes on Flat Grounds

Texas homes tend to be on flat ground, and the water has nowhere to go. It can stand in one place, puddling above ground. However, it can also seep away and puddle underground. This is more dangerous to the house foundation because it means that there is a gap within the ground itself. As the sink hole forms, gravity starts to pull the ground above downward. This is gradual and the force is just enough to unsettle even the best homes.

Sandy and Soggy Soils

Texas is made up of many regions, but it’s safe to say that most Texas homes are built on a soil that does not hold moisture well. Aridisol, a common Texas soil type, is dry and sandy. This does not hold water well. As a result, water can cause a disturbance underground leaving the house above to sink and settle. Another common Texas soil type, vertisol, contains clay. In Texas, this is often recognizable in to its black or red form. The clay composition means that it can absorb quantities of water, growing as it does so. Then it can dry out, shrinking and cracking as it does so. Again a house built with enough vertisol in the soil is not on truly solid ground. Clay is often the subsoil and it is not always visible to someone walking the grounds. It exists below several layers of better dirt, but the clay is still there, shrinking and swelling with every rain.

Pay Attention to the Signs

Getting to the foundation before it actually sinks is always a good idea. The key is to spot the tell-tale signs before the foundation sinks enough to become troublesome. The doors and the windows often tell the story before the floor starts to sink or wall cracks start to appear. Doors that suddenly seem like they don’t hang right may be a signal that the house is shifting. The door frame isn’t quite right anymore and the door is indicating it.

Know When to Bring in the Pros

If a Texas home is subject to constant flooding, even for a short period of time, it is a good idea to have a foundation inspection. Home owners can’t always recognize the signs, but an expert can locate any trouble spots. An expert has the equipment to check for sink holes, soil composition, and other indications of trouble. A home is often the family’s biggest investment. Assessing it for damage regularly should also include a check on the foundation. After all, if the foundation sinks, the interior damage can be catastrophic. Then the home’s value will sink catastrophically as well. It’s just smarter and more forward-thinking to assess regular after fall flooding.

Peter Wendt, native Texan, found that recent flash flooding had caused his home’s foundation to need repairs. He contacted this foundation company in San Antonio for help.

How The Energy Rates In Texas Compare To Other States In The US

In this article you will learn more about the average prices of energy rates in each state as it compares to Texas. These numbers will show you just how much is typically spent on energy in each state; with these numbers you will get a better understanding of just how much each household spends on average.

Entering Texas Sign

The Numbers Do Not Lie

In 2011, the statewide average price for all sectors from all of the electric utilities based on the latest federal figures in the numbers below, Texas really does not come close to what some of the other states offer at lower prices per kWh. With the national average being $9.00 per KwH, it is clear that there is not much of a savings according to the numbers just 2 years ago.

  1. Idaho 6.44
  2. Wyoming 6.58
  3. Washington 6.78
  4. Utah 7.13
  5. Kentucky 7.17
  6. Arkansas 7.43
  7. North Dakota 7.50
  8. Iowa 7.56
  9. Louisiana 7.68
  10. Oklahoma 7.80
  11. Nebraska 7.88
  12. West Virginia 7.88
  13. Indiana 8.01
  14. Oregon 8.04
  15. South Dakota 8.05
  16. Montana 8.23
  17. Missouri 8.32
  18. North Carolina 8.64
  19. Minnesota 8.65
  20. New Mexico 8.74
  21. Mississippi 8.78
  22. South Carolina 8.80
  23. Virginia 8.84
  24. Kansas 8.89
  25. Illinois 8.97
  26. Nevada 8.97
  27. Texas 9.00
  28. Ohio 9.03
  29. Alabama 9.10
  30. Tennessee 9.28
  31. Colorado 9.39
  32. Georgia 9.61
  33. Arizona 9.71

National Average 9.90

  1. Wisconsin 10.21
  2. Michigan 10.40
  3. Pennsylvania 10.45
  4. Florida 10.61
  5. Delaware 11.48
  6. Maryland 11.93
  7. Maine 12.58
  8. District of Columbia 12.81
  9. Rhode Island 13.04
  10. California 13.05
  11. Vermont 13.80
  12. Massachusetts 14.11
  13. New Jersey 14.30
  14. New Hampshire 14.74
  15. New York 15.89
  16. Alaska 16.08
  17. Connecticut 16.35
  18. Hawaii 31.59

What does this mean for you?

Electric Meter

Comparatively speaking, the price is on the higher end by looking at the lower priced energy providers but it is still lower than those states that charge $10 plus and higher; look at Hawaii, that just leaves a very bad taste in my mouth for a place that is supposed to generate thoughts of paradise and relaxation overall.

While you may not be able to overlook the fact that Texas is not as good in price as one might have thought without the knowledge of the numbers above, there is not a case of having sticker shock.

Although, the numbers do not lie and they speak loud enough, I think there is still much more to this than the numbers. One thing that Texas has in comparison to some states like Maryland and California, they have the option of picking their energy provider; essentially finding your own provider allows you to have some say in how much you spend each month on your energy bill. This is an advantage that can outweigh the cost of your bill each month; it all depends on you and how you look at the whole scheme of things.

Author Bio: Jason is a chemical engineer working in a firm in Dallas Texas. He occasionally writes about his political views and how prices has gone up over the years for various day to day products. He recently moved in Texas and was comparing Energy Rates in Texas over other states which made him write this resourceful article.

Five Reasons To Buy A Ranch In Kerrville, Texas

Texas Ranch

The Texas ranch setting is one of colossal imaginations and unbelievable realities. A state with such natural beauty leaves no shortage of ranch land properties to scoop up for your own slice of Texas paradise. However, there are stretches of the Lone Star State that arguably offer the most ideal spaces for a ranch property. Located in Kerr County, Kerrville makes for a prime spot to look for a ranch property. Here are just a few reasons why you might want to consider buying your ranch in this hamlet of Texas.

  • Location, Location, Location: Kerrville is in the heart of Texas Hill Country. While it includes remote stretches of ranch land, the buyer is not too far from civilization. Kerrville is just a one-hour drive west of San Antonio. From the Austin area, you can reach Kerrville in about a two-hour drive, depending on the route that you take. Many ranching real estate companies have a number of ranches for sale in Kerrville and Kerr County.
  • Wild Wildlife: For those in search of a Texas game ranch, Kerrville might just be the place. The area is known for its wildlife, specifically its abundance of whitetail deer and rare birds.
  • Natural Beauty: If you envision yourself on a property that causes your mouth to drop in wonder, Kerrville fits the bill. Its natural scenic beauty is defined by the rugged and rolling hills of the Guadalupe River Valley. This corner of Texas fits in effortlessly with the rest of Hill Country. It also features a wealth of sparkling spring-fed creeks.
  • Wide Range of Ranches: Among the Kerrville ranches for sale in Texas, you will find a wide range of acreage catered to a buyer’s needs. If you are seeking more of a Hill Country oasis, the settlement boasts ranch land for sale complete with finished homes. If you are looking for just the acreage for perhaps a game property, there are a number of ranches to choose from in the area.
  • Endless Activities: Life on the ranch can be quiet and serene, but sometimes you need a dose of civilization to keep things lively. Kerrville boasts a number of festivals and fairs during the year, such as the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Texas State Arts and Crafts Fair.

Deciding where you want to purchase a piece of Texas land can be a difficult task. A state this size affords plenty of areas of natural wonder that make for ideal ranch lands. However, Texas Hill Country has become a coveted spot for hunting and recreational ranches. Kerrville more than fits the bill. From its location to the sheer natural beauty, if you are out of ideas as to where to begin your ranch search, this town makes for a worthy contender.

Mary has been interested in buying land in Texas for quite some time now and recently she came across texasranchlandforsale.com. Here she found many places worth looking at.

Is Texas The Land Of Success?

Texas sign

For the past decade, more and more people have been moving to the major cities of Texas. San Antonio, Houston, and Austin have all seen an influx of residents from all over the country. Even New Yorkers are deciding to call Texas home in greater numbers. What is it about the Lone Star State that makes it so attractive to people from the far-flung sections of the country? If even professionals from the tech and media bastions of the coasts are looking to call Texas home, there has to be some kind of lure that can’t be ignored. Are you thinking of changing your status from Brooklynite to San Antonian? Here are some of the reasons floating around in major publications as to why Texas has become the hot spot for people looking to relocate.

The Taxes are Lower 

Texas is one of those states with no state income tax.  That means if you are indeed relocating from a place like California or New York, you understand how big a deal that is. The coastal states have the highest state income taxes in the country. Saving another 12% (let’s just say) or so of your income could be life changing. That money could go towards car payments that you can now afford or you could spend a little more on rent every month. Whether you decide to spend it or save it, the reduced tax burden is probably very attractive to you.

Cost of Living is Lower 

Everything from the price of goods to housing is lower in Texas in comparison to the coastal states. So, let’s say you decide to relocate here; reputable San Antonio, TX  Dentists and lawyers aren’t the only ones that can afford to live in the nice houses in great neighborhoods. With relatively low home prices, you’ll be able to come in and find a great deal. If you’re interested in living in a hip, young city, Austin is perfect and cheaper than its counterparts (San Francisco, Brooklyn, etc.) If you’re moving to Texas and you’re already established in your career, you’ll find that your money will take you further.

It’s Exciting 

It’s never been more exciting to relocate to Texas. The state is practically changing before our very eyes. Demographics are shifting, industries are moving in, the economy is robust, and new faces are constantly appearing. Experts agree that being able to lure in a diverse, creative class of residents will determine how successful an economy will form. Texas is becoming more diverse and that trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Professionals from all over the country can call Texas home thanks to advancements in telecommuting. Now professionals can keep their jobs in New York (if they so choose) and benefit from the lower cost of living in Texas. Job growth has also been huge in Texas. Everything from food service to energy production has seen a huge boom in success and, therefore, is hiring. No matter what industry you’re in, Texas has become more attractive.

Who knows; San Antonio or Houston may be calling out to you. If you’re looking to relocate for more opportunities, then Texas may be just the place for you.

Texas Retirement Communities: The ‘Independent Living’ Option

UNDER THE TEXAS SKY 

Texas ranks 7th in the nation as a choice location, among retirees, who wish to spend their ‘Golden Years’ in a state that offers plenty of warm weather and sunshine.

‘Independent Living’ in Texas is as popular as Texas is large!  Throughout the state, a multitude of Independent Living facilities are available.  In the Arlington area, for example, there are 22 Independent Living communities to choose from.   Dallas has 25 locations, San Antonio and Austin have 18, Corpus Christie and its surrounding area has 30– the list goes on!

What Is ‘Independent Living’?

‘Independent Living’, as it pertains to retired individuals, refers to retirement communities designed, specifically, for seniors 55 years and greater who maintain good health and do not require assistance or supervision of their daily activities.  Many Independent Living facilities offer housekeeping and laundry services; and on-site medical-staff are often available to attend to the health needs of residents, if needed.  For individuals who have chosen an Independent Living lifestyle, self-sufficiency is still a very important component in their lives!

These fortunate retirees live in attractive, single units, resembling apartments, and are in charge of their own schedules and daily care.   Each complex is occupied by like-minded adults who enjoy the freedom to come and go as each one pleases.   Since the residents are close in age and share a history of many life experiences, a true sense of community emerges and, for many, close friendships develop and become cherished and appreciated.

A variety of planned activities within the communities are enjoyed; and shuttled transportation is often provided so residents can take in the festivities within the surrounding communities.

What Amenities Are Offered?

Independent Retirement Communities are self-contained and though each community may be managed slightly differently, each facility will offer niceties, which could include:

— hair salons

—libraries

— fitness/ game rooms and spa treatments

— live entertainment

— private movie theaters

—outdoor gardening and craft classes

— walking trails

For the more spirited residents, Poker games and ‘Movin To The Beat’ dance and exercise classes keep  minds strong and spirits high.

Discover the many other programs and activities that are available from any number of Independent Living Communities within the many metropolitan areas of Texas!

Who Qualifies For Independent Living?

If a person is 55 years or better, he or she should be able to easily perform a variety of daily tasks, such as:

— Using the telephone:  Being able to dial numbers, look up numbers, etc.

— Managing medications:  Taking correct dosages of appropriate prescriptions

— Preparing meals:  Planning and fixing meals, safely, and making appropriate, healthy food choices

— Housekeeping:  Maintaining a safe, hygienic living area or being able to arrange hired staff to provide the service

— Shopping:  Ability to purchase needed items, including groceries, and making arrangements to transport purchases from store to home.

— Transportation:  Being able to drive safely or use public transportation for errands or visits to local family or friends

As the passage of time dictates, assessments of your senior’s functional abilities will be on-going to determine any modifications that might be necessary for his or her care requirements.  Assessments will help tailor the care plan to best meet the needs of your loved one.

Independent Living Retirement Communities are dedicated to enriching the lives of their senior population with signature services for those who value their freedom and independence.

Independent Retirement Communities provide an atmosphere for young-minded seniors to develop friendships, maintain a continued feeling of security, feel empowered with a sense of autonomy, and enjoy life to the fullest with others who share common interests.

Miss Carlson is a retired school teacher and grandmother who now writes on the topic of independent living.

 

 

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