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Dime Box, Texas.

We live 2 1/2 miles from Dime Box, Texas--pop. 300. This is between the beautiful rolling hills and piney woods of East Texas and the granite hills of West Texas, north of the rolling coastal plains and south of the flat plains. It's exactly halfway between Waco and Houston.

It's rough country, a hilly area of pecan and oak trees and scrub brush of "yapon, " cedar and mesquite. Pastures not maintained are quickly taken over by mesquite and post oak. Wild lemon vines spread like kudzu, making ideal habitat for deer, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, wild boars, turkeys, coons, possum, rattlers and all manner of small rodents.

About 12 miles northeast is Lake Sommerville, which in spring is a stop for sandhill cranes, whooping cranes, eagles, Canada geese and other migratory birds.

I dearly love the wildlife here. We keep two of our seven acres in natural creek-fed woodland so the wild life "highway" remains unbroken from neighboring wildlife sanctuaries and woodlands.

My only real gripe about the area is the extreme summer heat--around 104[degrees] from July to September--combined with extreme humidity (around 98% those same months). It causes grasslands to dry quickly and hay must be fed to livestock from July through March.

There are very few really cold days in winter: average is 55[degrees]. We might reach 32[degrees] two nights all winter, although in freak years it has gone down to 14[degrees] for a few hours. We get no snow here, although a small ice storm in January or February isn't unusual.

We have the world's best neighbors, in all colors--Mexican, Native American, black, white--even one native Alaskan. And we all get along just fine. Many of the people here are first and second generation settlers of the area. (I have researched the history and it is extremely rich.) We all lend a hand to one another whether it be barn building, hay hauling, chasing loose livestock or just loaning a hand tool or tractor. We share vegetables, eggs, milk, butter, pies, and just each other's good company. We don't lock many doors or gates.

There's not much in the way of employment except oil field work, and prices reflect the oil fields: business owners seem to think everyone owns an oil well. We're 1/2 poor and 1/2 millionaires here--but you'd never know who's who just by talking to them. It doesn't seem to matter.

Though it's not the most beautiful place in the world, it's one that is still a family-oriented, hard-working, God loving (seven churches for 300 souls) homesteading sort of place.

I wouldn't trade it for anywhere else.

About this section:

America is a land of migrants: only 20 percent of us have lived in the same place for more than 25 years. And for homesteaders, of course, "The Move" is the first and most important big step to a new lifestyle.

But where should we move to? Almost everyone has a general idea of what kind of climate, terrain, and social milieu they prefer, but after that... chaos. Pleas for information on places to homestead are among the most common requests we receive. Many seem to want an easy solution to a tough question.

It might be possible--even if a bit silly--to rank places according to certain attributes. Many magazines are doing that now. But there's a vast difference between classifying the "best" colleges on the basis of their party life or the best cities for small business based on local economics and politics, and the best place to homestead. Not only are homesteaders a wonderfully diverse group, but homesteading itself can't be neatly pigeon-holed. There are few common denominators, and there would be no rational way to rank them if there were.

Nevertheless,we can look at what some homesteaders like--and dislike--about their locations, as well as some other considerations. And that's what we're doing in this issue.

But bear in mind, the purpose of this section is not to sell you on any given area. Rather, we offer some suggestions, insight, and techniques that might help you conduct your own search more efficiently and effectively. As with most of homesteading, you're on your own: no one else can do it for you.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Finding Your Homestead: Some "Best Places" in the United States
Author:Moore, Thomas
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1994
Previous Article:How to survive coming hard times - and flourish in what's to follow.
Next Article:Bayfield County, Wisconsin.

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