I have been feeling it's time to give you a little life update. I won't lie, I've looked at my analytics to see what my readers enjoy most and it's: PERSONAL!
So when thinking of a 'life update' to continue on what I've shared personally already, I can't help but be overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to call the hill country home.
You may have caught a glimpse if you follow my Instagram accounts @arrange.studio or @christa_rainey but either way this post will hopefully shed some light on the good, bad and the ugly of the "wanna be" (although I prefer aspiring) farm girl I am.
In addition to a touchy feely update that some may not care about, I also want to share from a perspective that gives a good pro's and con's list in case you are considering your own patch of heaven in the Texas Hill Country. So expect a mix of my experiences along with what I believe the trade-off's to country living are.
Trading Conveniences for Quietness
Probably what comes to mind first when thinking of country living is how far away from well... everything! And we are walking distance from well... nothing!
Far for the Foodies
It takes about fifteen minutes to get to the main grocery store (H-E-B) and about thirty minutes from restaurants we like. And believe you me, for us foodies this is probably one of the hardest things to adjust to!
While this isn't surprising, however, what did shock me was the fact that our monthly food spending has been slashed in half without even trying! We now enjoy cooking at home for dinner almost every night. A total life saver for me and one of the first things I checked when we looked in to buying our hill country home was: GROCERY DELIVERY! I'm a huge believer in Shipt and have saved so much time by being able to have anything from the grocery store in two hours without ever leaving the house!
That being said, I gladly trade the city life conveniences for the peaceful dinners at sunset and the lack of bright lights and road noise. It has made us live more intentionally and be sure to really truly enjoy a night out instead of taking it for granted.
Trading Entertainment for Animals
You'd probably come up short if you web searched "things to do in Spring Branch" and while I miss being able to easily catch a movie or a live show downtown, the animals we have made a home for, just about give all the "entertainment" I can take! Although it was a long journey here, it still seems like one day I woke up responsible for the lives of more than a dozen animals, including: dogs, goats and chickens!
I Have "Chores" Now?
One of the biggest reasons we made our move to the the hill country was to be able to have room for livestock. I believe a huge part of my husband's grounded personality (in addition to all his amazing momma's homecookin') is due to being around animals and gardens during his childhood. Something I plan to instill in my children one day (that's definitely another blog post).
Before I can start my day as an entrepreneur, I joyfully (most days) ensure all the "chores" are done -- seeing that all the animals and plants have the food and water they need. It hits me all the time that not so long ago the typical husband and wife didn't "have a job," yet were always working. Because of how much I enjoy being outdoors I often envy the people who had/have that wholesome hard work and never ending list of farm chores. However, let me be clear, given the choice, I'd certainly choose my wifi, air conditioning and online interior design business every time!
Growing Equals Growing Pains
It wasn't long ago that I was being told "don't even look at the plants because you'll kill them" but fast forward to today and I have a successful producing garden and back porch full of thriving plants and flowers! It may sound like rainbows and roses, but it hasn't been fun learning what intrusive insects to watch for and that goats can (and will) climb great distances to break-in and eat your very best tomato plant... on multiple occasions!
Goat proofing is a serious task, my friend.
Animal Loss Stinks
Although I was warned that losing farm animals "is just part of it," my sensitive soul can't seem to be okay with it. Thankfully to date, fingers crossed, knock on wood, we haven't lost any of our goats, but the same cannot be said for our chickens.
A few years ago I decided that if I were to get chickens I'd want the craziest looking chickens ever. It didn't take long to learn of the fluffy-headed farm birds called Silkies and they are just what I had in mind. They look like they're wearing sweatpants and house shoes with a bath towel on their head. I declared that surely you couldn't stay in a bad mood if you walked outside and saw this.
Turns out I was right about that, but wrong in thinking I wouldn't grow too attached.
All it took was losing my first bitty (this is what Kyle's family calls baby chicks) to a heat stroke. Thanks Texas weather and immaturity as a new chick mom on my part; while that was plenty of loss for me, months later I woke up one morning to find a trail of white feathers outside the coop -- concluding that some monster predator (probably a house cat in all reality) had made off with my favorite hen, Babs.
Losing animals is indeed inevitable, but what totally makes up for it? Watching them grow and get their own personalities. It's what I call farm therapy.
Trading Self-Care for Nature
And speaking of therapy, I have to mention that being nearly an hour away from a gym or spa has certainly made me rethink self-care along with the minor trauma I experience when I see a tarantula or scorpion as a result of living in the hill country!
Lake Days & Leg Days
If you've never done water sports, you may not know the incredible workout it is! A good wakeboard run makes me aware of muscles I didn't even know I had. And who wouldn't want to be soaking up the sunshine on crystal clear water instead of sharing a Zumba class with that one girl giving you the stank eye?!
Living less than fifteen minutes from Canyon Lake has been a game changer and also "forced us to get a ski boat" where we've already made countless memories with friends and family and even provided an amazing place for networking and especially the perfect picnic date!
When blessed to have a healthy, fully-functioning body, there truly is no excuse for making time to move it -- including living in the hill country away from cycling and pilate classes. Because key word: hills! My typical "walk around the block" has my heart pumping in no time and gives an automatic "leg day" every time -- all while taking in beautiful scenery.
Trading Night Life for Wholesome Hosting
We just thought the number of requests to visit us sky-rocketed when we bought a boat (just before moving out here), but as soon as we settled in, who am I kidding we weren't even unpacked before I had friends and family booking their stay with us! I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Hosting has to be my favorite thing to do. It makes sense, since it combines all the things I love: bringing together family and friends, designing menus, trying new things, and using my home and serveware creatively to give everyone a good time.
Do I miss having easy access to dance halls and bar hopping? Plot twist: nope! Probably a big reason is living minutes from San Marcos shopping, New Braunfels breweries and wineries in Fredericksburg.
Home Sweet Hill Country
I would be lying if I said we lived a life where the goats never got out, we've never had a dinner disaster and our dogs don't bark incessantly at killer squirrels.
And so I tell you the truth: we've never worked harder, faced more challenges or been happier in our life in the Texas Hill Country.
The journey to simple is complex, but oh so sweet.
Updates go out first to my email list so if you want to join in, CLICK HERE.