Resources for Residents

June 14, 2008 – 5:55 am

Grocery shopping. Commuting to work. Hiring a plumber. All of these are relatively uncomplicated tasks—that is, for those living close to urban centers. The fact is that these seemingly simple activities are amplified in their complexity the further one moves away from civilization. For those not accustomed to “living out in the country,” maintaining a comfortable lifestyle poses unique challenges.

In the Texas Hill Country, the time and distances involved with every undertaking are great. Whereas in the suburbs a “normal” trip to the grocery store might be completed within a couple of hours, it’s a full day’s affair if you make your home in the rolling hills east of Austin. Combine this with the high cost of fuel and you have residents who routinely combine trips, consolidating stops at the feed, hardware, and pet store into one excursion. Upon returning home, their cars and trucks look more like the loaded Conestoga wagons of yesteryear, stocked to the hilt with sundries.

But time and distance are not the only factors affecting country life. Once we are restocked with the provisions for survival, other challenges remain. One of the most problematic is the hiring of outside help, something you may need to do in order to haul in that side of beef you just purchased to restock the freezer. At one time or another, everyone who lives in the outskirts has experienced just how difficult it is to secure a professional who works in the building trades, be it arborist, electrician, plumber, roofer, fencer, or someone else who wears a tool belt. While there are a few good contractors that work this area, many roll their eyes and balk at the idea of driving “all the way out” to Hill Country Ranches.

Some might have you think that the boundary of Wimberley ends only a few feet beyond the community of Woodcreek. In reality, you can add another ten miles to that if your home is out near the Blanco border. If they agree to endure the hardships of driving out to where the cedars outnumber the human population, it’s more often than not that they never show up for their appointment, or they are days late (if they come at all). Of course, a trip charge is standard. With the cost of gasoline spiraling upwards every day, the situation only promises to get worse.

Commuting from Hill Country Ranches to one’s place of employment is also a challenge for those living in the hinterlands of Hays County. Unless you are fortunate enough to be retired, independently wealthy, or a recent lottery winner, the long commute is a part of your regular work week. According to American Community Survey (ACS) data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spend more than 100 hours commuting to work each year. Think about it: This exceeds the two weeks of vacation time (80 hours) frequently taken by workers over the course of a year. And—for those living in Hill Country, the trek is much more than that.

If your place of employment happens to be in San Marcos, Texas, you might count yourself lucky, as the round trip could be made in 90 minutes or so—that is—if you put the pedal to the metal and disregard traffic laws. Unless you own your own Bell JetRanger Helicopter, Austin is more than one hour away by car, one way (if you are fortunate enough to make the trip before the morning rush hour). Once the freeways become saturated with cars, a run in to the high-technology corridor to the Northwest of town turns into a crawl. Time wise, old San Antone isn’t much better: a pre-dawn commute to the central business district will put a real dent in your day’s allotment of free time and reward you with nothing more satisfying than time parked on the highway.

While the rewards and satisfaction of living in Hill Country Ranches far outweigh these difficulties, the fact of the matter is that much of our extra time is spent getting things accomplished. The question of the hour becomes “How can I get this done in the most efficient manner possible?” We have little time to waste, and like the Japanese Sumi-e master who uses only a minimal amount of brush strokes to complete his work, our goal is to facilitate our tasks with the same measured precision.

For that reason, Hillcountryranches.net would like to present to you our ongoing compendium of online Texas Hill Country Resources. Our aim is to provide you with articles and links that will keep you informed and guide you to the right person, place, or thing—the first time out. Our mission is to glean the information from people who have already figured it out and perfected the plan. Through a combination of personal experiences, hands-on research, and tips from our residents, we hope to assemble all the information that you need within the pages of this site.

As we kick off this new feature of Hillcountryrannches.net, please be patient. At first, the scope of resources will be limited. However, as the roster of resource recommendations grows, we hope that this area of the web site will become a valuable archive of information for all the residents of the Texas hill Country … and Hill Country Ranches community at large.

With that in mind, we invite your input and your contributions. Please send us an email using the contact form on this site and tell us about your experiences. Thank you for your contribution, and we hope to see you here again soon.

Best Regards,

Mike Witzel
Hillcountryranches.net Administrator

  1. 2 Responses to “Resources for Residents”

  2. Thanks for information. Friends reccommended to visit you. It’s very interesting. Subscribed! Wanna read you more!

    By Bob on Aug 25, 2008

  3. Mike:

    How do we get the people at 435 Plainview to stop the load all night parties?

    By Paul Bommer on Jun 6, 2010

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