[gardeners] cost of living-long OT

Allen and Judy Merten (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 01 Mar 1999 00:24:29 -0600

Hi George,
    Austin, Tx. for a metropolitan area is a fairly cheap place to live.
Grocery, utility, taxes, are reasonable. The rent on houses and
apartments on the other hand is high. We moved from the Gulf Coast of
Texas south of Houston to the Austin area 3 yrs. ago. The house we lived
in on the coast was a 4 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath, living room, dining room,
huge den, kitchen, utility room, central air and heat, fenced yard in a
preferred neighborhood across the street from the highest rated
elementary school in one of the top 5 rated ISDs in Texas. Rent was
    The house in nw Austin was 3 bedroom, 2 bath, living room, kitchen,
dining room, fireplace, 2 car garage, central air and heat, fenced yard,
preferred neighborhood, couple of miles from newer elementary school, 10
miles from highly rated middle school, top 5 rated school district in
Texas. Rent was $950. 6 months later it was $1000. 12 months after
moving in $1100. See ya! Bought land and moved to Bastrop County. Land
payment on 4 acres is $250. House payment is $450.  We have 3 bedrooms,
den w/fireplace, dining room, living room, 2 baths, kitchen, utility
room, central air and heat. Master bed room is the width of the house.
    Electricity is supplied by a rural electric co-op. Electric bill is
1/2 of Austin, 3/4 less than on the coast. Water is from a private water
supply co. Water rate is about half of the cost on the coast. Propane
cost at its highest in 2+ yrs. has been $1.05 per gallon. The cost has
been 89 cents per gallon for the last 1-1/2 yrs.
    The school district here is one of the worst in Texas. The
administration is the worst that I have ever had to deal with. Wanted to
knock out the Ass't Principle one night but Judy wouldn't let me. A few
minutes later she wanted to knock him out. Real wise guy. So we home
school our 15 yr old using computer programs. He's a pretty smart
cookie. Ranked in the upper 5% of his age group in the nation since
starting school.
    We are 13 miles from the nearest city. Four miles from the nearest
town, pop. less than 100. Got plenty of fresh air, great soil, lots of
wild birds and personal freedom.
    Gardening news: The 400 odd onions, 100+ garlic, turnips, lettuce,
mustard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots are doing great.
Dill is just sprouting. Potatos are breaking out of the ground 12 days
after planting. Low soil moisture delayed the potatos. Soaked the rows
good with a soaker hose and couple of days later up they came.
    Judy and I spent today getting more rows ready for planting peppers
tomorrow, also a short row of collards. She'll be heading back to the
grind in Austin tomorrow. I'll continue to row up more for tomatos,
corn, beans, squash, zucchini, sunflowers, gourds, and of course
cucuzzi. I have to find a place to plant tomatillos and cilantro too.
Meanwhile in my spare time I have to put 6 Emus in the freezer, get
ready for 4 pairs of Muscovy Ducks that I am going to try to combat
grasshoppers with this year. 1999 has been predicted to be the driest
year on record. I thought we had a drought last year!! Rainfall total
since the beginning of the year has been .21". Should be around 7". Here
we go again.
    Well, that's all the news that's news and some that ain't. Thanks
for listening.
    Happy Gardening,
    Bastrop Co., Tx.