After the Storm

The good news is we got 1.6” of rain. The bad news is there are trees and limbs down all over Country Place. I had a 7:30 a.m. doctor’s appointment at the Christus on Broadway and all the traffic lights were out. Traffic was backed up for a mile. Barely made it on time and then learned that there was no power at the hospital, either. On my way back to Country Place the line of stop-and-go traffic stretched from Loop 49 almost to FM 346. Kudos to the neighbors with chainsaws and pickups…they’re sure coming in handy this morning.

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Caring for Your Septic or Aerobic System

If you are new to the neighborhood, you may also be a first-time septic or aerobic system owner. For the first couple of years here, we tried caring for our aerobic system, regularly cleaning or replacing the dispersal heads on the south end of our yard, and adding the special chlorine tablets several times a year. Then one night a strange alarm went off and we learned that fire ants had stripped the insulation off the wires leading to the aerator and it had shorted out. After replacing the wiring and aerator, we decided to enter into a service agreement with a company that services aerobic systems. We did an online search and talked to several companies, but were referred by one of our real estate clients to Randy’s Septic (Randy and his two sons are friendly and reliable.) We pay $250 a year which includes an extra $60 for chlorine. Josh comes by, checks the system, and adds chlorine. We like the fact that we get to recycle the grey water to irrigate our side yard, and the grass grows well there.

However, if you have a septic system, the dispersal is through buried field lines. Although there’s no annual maintenance, you will need to be mindful of a few things:

1. Regular Pumping: It’s recommended to have your septic tank pumped every 3-5 years, depending on the size of your household and tank. This helps remove accumulated solids and prevents clogging. (Because much of Country Place has a lot of red clay and iron ore rocks, regular pumping is really important.)

2. Water Conservation: Excessive water usage can overload the system. Be mindful of water consumption by fixing leaks, using water-efficient appliances, and spreading out laundry and dishwashing loads.

3. Proper Waste Disposal: Only flush toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items like wipes, feminine hygiene products, or chemicals, as they can damage the system.

4. Septic-Friendly Products: Use septic-safe cleaning products and avoid harsh chemicals that can disrupt the natural bacteria in the tank. Look for labels that indicate they are safe for septic systems.

5. Drain Field Protection: Avoid parking vehicles or placing heavy objects over the drain field, as this can compact the soil and hinder proper wastewater absorption.

6. Regular Inspections: Have a professional inspect your septic system regularly to identify any potential issues before they become major problems.

Remember, every septic system is unique, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional for specific care instructions based on your system’s design and location. Glenn Harris designed many of the systems here in Country Place and is very knowledgeable about our soil type.

Protesting Your Property Taxes, 2023

We have helped a number of neighbors gathering info in preparation for protesting their property taxes, which jumped considerably for many of us. Country Place published sales of four homes in 2022 (we don’t have access to private sales). You can click the link below to see detail of these sales, which you will need to do in order to compare your home:

2022 Country Place Home Sales

And here is a comparative market analysis showing greater detail of the sold homes. You can see the big swing in cost per square foot ranging from $127 to $184 a square foot; a lot depends on the home’s age, updates, and maintenance. Obviously, a forty-year-old home with no updates and a lot of deferred maintenance is going to appraise for much less than a newer, more energy-efficient home with up-to-date features. The spreadsheet below will give you a good idea of what Smith County’s appraisers are looking at in this current appraisal period. For specific information on protesting Smith County taxes, click here. If you have questions regarding your home’s appraisal, feel free to call me (903.714.7090) or Andrea (903.714.7091).

 

CPCA Lakes

Country Place Community Association owns and maintains four lakes and members are encouraged to use them. Our dues are used to keep the dams, piers and bridges in good repair, to stock and feed the fish, and to mow the shores and areas around the lakes.

The three largest lakes are all fed by the same stream, which begins as a spring on top of the salt dome to our east. There is actually another lake in this chain owned by a farmer. The dam on that lake broke years ago and the silt that flooded downstream choked our first lake for a long time after. The suspended clay has largely settled out now, but we lost a quarter of the lake’s surface area due to the influx of dirt on the upper end. This lake is the Old Lake, or #1 in the sequence. It covers almost three acres and has produced a double-digit bass and a 26-pound high-fin blue catfish, which apparently was mixed in with the fingerling channel cats originally stocked in all our lakes.

The second lake in the chain I refer to as Bream Lake (#2) and represents an experiment in selective stocking undertaken  by former Parks & Lakes manager Jerry Jones. His idea was to replace all the existing catfish and bass in this two-and-a-quarter acre lake with copper nose bluegill to make a kid-friendly fishery. Unfortunately, there is no way to control the fingerling fish that wash down from Old Lake (#1) and only a few years later there is a healthy population of largemouth bass along with some big bluegill.

The third in the chain is Long Lake (#3) and is the largest, with almost 8 acres of surface area. It has produced a number of double-digit bass, along with big channel cats and bluegill. There is a population of crappie, although overpopulation has most of these stunted in the 4-6” size range. Still, they make for great forage for our largemouth bass.  I caught my personal best out of this lake, a 10.5 lb December bass, and know of at least one 13.5 lb fish taken here. Both bass were returned to the water.

A lot of CPCA members get their exercise walking around Long Lake. It’s a natural walking path.

Hidden Lake (#4) is located halfway down our one-mile stretch of private road, Lakeshore, and sits 170 yards back in the woods. It is the smallest of our lakes, at only nine-tenths of an acre, but it is a wonderful place to enjoy the natural beauty of Country Place

If you’re a CPCA member and have children who like to fish or want to learn how, a beginner’s rod, a float, some split-shot, panfish hooks and some worms will catch bream off any of our piers. And you never know when one of those big channel cats will show up hungry!