Behind the many gates of East Texas you'll find private, semi-private and almost private communities that provide a standard of relaxed and easy living far removed from the hecticity ( we like to make up words that fit) of life in the medium to large cities in the state.
If you like private security and you like wild life more than you don't care for home owners associations, then you'll do what we do. We stay away from the politics, while being glad there are those who do the opposite, and we enjoy everything from the animals and small garden to the quiet, clear dark nights that can engulf you and leave you momentarily all alone with your thoughts.
Several of these gated communities are within easy reach of Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston and others like Holly Lake Ranch, where we live in East Texas, are still only two hours away from Dallas by normal travel.
And if you care... you can take Amtrak from one of two stops in East Texas to Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and even Alpine in the Davis Mountains. Aw shoot, you can take other places too but then you'd be leaving Texas and you might end up in Los Angeles or Chicago.
Holly Lake Ranch, were we live north of Tyler, is what we are most familiar with, so it's HLR where we'll take you on a brief photographic journey we hope you'll enjoy.
Slow down... everywhere we look, there is wild life. From the migratory birds that visit now and then to the wood peckers, blue jays, cardinals and others that remain year round, to the turtles, gators, ducks and deer.
Obviously there are homes but those are everywhere, so we'll photograph what's around those homes rather than the houses.
If you like deer, you'll love the gated communities of East Texas for deer are everywhere. Doubt that? Plant some flowers and see how long they last!
They'll eat your blackberry and blueberry bushes, munch on your strawberry plants, shorten your peach trees and venture into your yard and chow down on your shrubs. They'll bed down in your yard at night and as the first rays of light appear in the early morning, the deer you fed last night will be ready to eat again. And if you enjoy brief glimpses of red foxes, many locations in East Texas are home to those beautiful critters too.
Traffic jams... those paralyzing monstrosities of the multi-lane roads of the metropolitan areas of the state... well our traffic jams are more likely found on logs in the lakes, where the turtles and water fowl compete for space, than they are on the country roadways.
And we almost forgot, most of the gated communities, HLR included, have nice, well-kept and challenging golf courses.
If you don't play golf there's plenty to do from cards to wood carving.