Property taxes and lawnmowers

On Thursday we went to the county tax office to protest our tax increase since it has increased so much the last 2 years.

We were not able to get it down that much due to the fact that homes in the area same age as ours sold for so much money. Why is everything based on what someone else did?

People are wanting land and it’s getting harder to come by because the subdivisions are taking it all up. They do not even mind the age of the homes because they want the land so badly.

Our daughter and her husband just bought a house on 4 acres so they can have their own mini farm. They want to raise their children in the country instead of being in a subdivision. They already had dogs but have now added 3 Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats- and 11- chickens.

There are more goats coming in a few weeks one which will be mine but I will keep it with theirs since they are herd animals. When I have my own herd they can come here.

In Manvel, the land values increased more than any other city in the county. An acre in the right area such as ours is worth $56,000 per acre. It has increased $22,000.00 an acre in the last 2 years. This is all great and good until it’s time to pay those taxes.

We have to have a riding lawn mower because we mow 2 acres you do not do this kind of yard with a push mower. Our current cub cadet riding mower is working fine is just takes a long time to get it all mowed.

Thursday we bought a 54″ Cub Cadet zero turn lawn mower to make mowing 2 acres easier. This mower is very fast there were no lines in the yard or the pasture. The pasture now looks like a golf course lol it’s amazing. We love this new mower it cuts down our mowing time to 1/3 of what it was taking.

Controlling a zero turn is interesting, to say the least, you have two handles instead of a steering wheel. I caught on pretty quick and was making those donut type turns in no time.

The moral of this story is when you go to the tax office and you can not get your taxes lowered do not get depressed. Instead, go out and buy a new zero turn lawnmower to make yourself feel better. After all, it’s about saving you some time and someone’s going to get your money anyway.






The wind

Every since the beginning of March, we have had a big problem with the wind.

Normally you can count on March being windy but then it goes away.

It seems like every day for the last few months for sure it has been super windy and whipping everyone and everything around. It dries out the plants faster than normal.

It means I have to water every day. The overcast days make you think it is going to rain and then all you get is wind.

It is a good thing we have our own water well at this rate of using water.







Country life is changing | Manvel, Texas Photographer

In the 1930’s my husband’s grandfather Valentino and his brother Angelo bought land in Manvel for $15.00 an acre. They owned a dairy farm and eventually owned more than 300 acres.

Today that same land is worth $45,000 and acre and the demand for land here is quite high.

We have called Manvel our home for almost 38 years. Life here is quiet. peaceful and relaxing.

The sun rises across an empty pasture and the view is breathtaking in the early morning.

We can go into our backyard and sit and look at empty pasture and listen to the cows Moo. There is no traffic noise here and no hustle and bustle of city life.

You know all your neighbors and their dogs and cats.

Our small town of Manvel,Texas is exploding and it just happens to be one of the fastest growing towns in Texas.

I know that development is a good thing but it is taking over, closing in and soon all the wide open spaces will be gone.

What will happen to our future generations when there are no more wide open spaces? What will happen when there is no more green space?

At our house, the noises you hear are tractors, cows, roosters, sheep and dogs barking but that has all changed recently. The rumbling of big equipment clearing land that was once pasture land for cows, making roads that will be part of another subdivision.

This not only affects us but it affects the wildlife in our area where will all the wildlife go?

We were hoping this would wait until after we retired in a few more years but it is looking like it will be sooner. This is upsetting to both of us because we are really not ready to move.

It will be a sad day when the developers offer to buy my mother in laws land and our home and property. Not too many people can say they raised their family in one house and never moved. We will miss this place we call Home especially since we have been here so long. It does not matter how much money we are offered for our property we will be losing our home and that is what means the most to us.

When you have to think about what you will do when this happens it’s hard. We have no idea where we will go or what we will do but most likely we will head for the hills probably the Texas Hill Country. There we can find some land in the country where it is quite and peaceful. A wide open sky full of stars that is not polluted by city lights. We need a place free from the noise pollution of city life.

Where ever we go I need to hear the cows moo and be surrounded by wildlife. I want to watch the sunrises and the sunsets without anything interfering and blocking my view.

Life is changing, we are getting older and soon we will be looking for a new place to live. All we really know is we need to live in a place that is free from all this development. We need a place that has wide open spaces, fresh air, and nature.




What you drink does matter | Manvel, Texas Photographer

If you are dieting you have to count the calories and carbs in what you drink just like when you count the calories and carbs in what you eat.
People tend to forget this and this can really slow your weight loss down.

On low carb diets, you need to skip the wine, alcohol, and beer.

My drink of choice is Iced Tea with sweet n low I drink iced tea every day along with water. I have no need to drink anything else.

16 oz of Iced Tea – has no calories
Sweet n Low 5 calories x 1 packets
1 grams of carbs per packet

16 oz of Iced Tea with sugar- 90 calories
22 grams of sugar

Coke 12 oz can – 140 calories – Very High in Sodium and Carbs
45 mg sodium
39 grams of carbs
39 grams of sugar

Diet Dr. Pepper 12 oz can – 0 calories – Even higher in Sodium
0 carbs
55 mg sodium

 Red Wine – 5 oz – 123 calories – High in Carbs and 2 – 3 glasses really do add up.
4 grams of carbs
1.2 grams of sugar

Premier Chocolate Protein Drink – 11 oz- 160 calories – Great protein source I drink these as a meal replacement when I am in a hurry.
3 grams of fat
5 grams of carbs
3 grams of fiber
30 grams of protein

Cardio and Weight Training | Texas Photographer

As many of you know last November I decided to make a change in my life. I wanted to get healthier, feel better, and look better. I started low carb dieting and walking.

After about 8 1/2 months of low carbs, my body got mad at me and I was not feeling so good. I had to change things up. For one week I ate plenty of carbs including fruit which I missed so much when I was low doing the low carb. I did this for one week only.

I try my best to eat healthy now and to keep my carbs below 100 grams a day. If you remember before I was below 30 grams a day so 100 grams a day really does seem like a lot to me. By increasing it to 100 I can have a piece of fruit every day.

Since I have been walking all this time I needed to add in some resistance training and weight training to my routines. When you lose more than just a few pounds  your skin will hang so you need do weights to tighten it up. Weight training and resistance training will help with this but ONLY if you are about 10 pounds from your goal weight. If you start this too soon it will slow down your weight loss.

My daughter and I joined a gym and now I have access to the weight machines again which I love.

I still use the fit bit I find the phone apps do not count correctly. Have you ever heard someone say “I went to the grocery store that should count for about 5000 steps” well going up and down every single aisle might get you 1500 – 1700 steps.  It takes a lot of effort to reach over 10,000 steps a day.

I can walk 2,277 steps in 20 minutes walking 3.0 – 3.4 mph. It is fast enough I am sweating while walking this fast.

In the past when I worked out at a gym I spent a lot of money on personal trainers teaching me what to do and what not to do. Lucky for me I remember what they taught me so I can use that now.

I am at a new phase in my healthier lifestyle with 10 months behind me I feel like a new person. Getting healthy and being active is only part one.