Archives For alabama

Lately we’ve been plagued by an obnoxiously loud mystery bird that we affectionately call the “koo-koo bird”. The racket usually begins right after the sun goes down, and it’s insanely loud. We learned last weekend that it has been roosting right outside my neighbor’s bedroom window and whooping it up at all hours of the night.

I’m calling out my bird-loving friends… What the heck is this bird?

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series My Big Fat Permaculture Design Revelation

In My Big Fat Obvious Permaculture Revelation – Part 1 I talked about how our lack of a specific vision was wreaking havoc with our decision making and emotional well-being. In Part 2 we’ll examine what we’ve got to work with at The Ant Farm and layout our plan for the next few years.

The Canvas

So what is our canvas like? After much deliberation with the other permaculture-minded folks at the earthworks course, I think I can safely say that The Ant Farm rocks. While twenty of my contemporaries described their particular challenges, it became apparent to me that we have it pretty good in Ashville, Alabama.


Many of the guys at the event were working with four to twelve inches of annual rainfall. We get around sixty with literally hundreds of acres of water catchment on the south side of the property.

As we chiseled into rock twelve inches down in Jack Spirko’s field, I couldn’t help but think that our soil is seven feet deep before we hit the bedrock.

Most of the guys were dealing with exhausted flat farmland or steep cliffs that present major problems for cultivation, and here we sit on gentle rolling slopes of old-growth pine and hardwood forest rated as prime farmland by the US Geological Survey.

To top it all off, I’m surrounded by the best neighbors I could hope for. Good men who look out for my family because it’s just the right thing to do.

If our goal is to create a masterpiece, our canvas is a pretty good start. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

In the previous installment of Buying Rural Property in Alabama, we covered 12 things you need to bring with you on your first visit to the property. In this article we’re going to make sure you make the most of your trip by laying out what you need to do while you’re there.

Walking a trail on the property

There are some aspects of walking a piece of property that will be self-evident, but to the uninitiated there’s a lot you can miss. If you’re serious about a property, you’ll likely visit it a dozen times or more before deciding to buy it, but you never know which property is going to be the one. For the sake of your sanity, you’ll want to make the most of each visit. There’s nothing like sitting down to review notes from the trip and realizing you have to return to pick up on some obvious, missed detail. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

In the last installment of Buying Rural Property in Alabama, I presented my five favorite online tools for researching property. In this article we finally get down to the nitty gritty. You’ve searched through the listings. You’ve found a promising parcel with the right blend of features and cost. You’ve done your homework, and now it’s time to see the land. What do you need to know to ensure that the first visit is productive and enjoyable?

Walking the PropertyWhat to Bring

On our first excursions to look at property we were complete amateurs. We’d pile into the van, armed only with a notebook, and drive out to the country. We were ravaged by insects, shredded by briars, starved and dehydrated on those early adventures. What’s worse is that we were so inefficient in the process that we exhausted ourselves tromping around and rarely came home with all the information we needed. If only there was a list of things to bring on those expeditions… we could have saved ourselves a lot of stress and spent our time productively enjoying our walk through the woods…

Continue Reading…

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

In the last installment of Buying Rural Property in Alabama, I talked about a number of factors to consider when determining if a property is even worth visiting. In this article I want to cover my five favorite free online tools you can use when evaluating those factors.

Tools to Help You in Your Quest

These are the online tools that I have found to be absolutely essential to evaluating property both prior to a visit and during the due diligence phase. It is amazing to me how much information can be amassed in a few minutes with these tools. I often found myself teaching the listing brokers about their property during my initial inquiries as a result of these tools. Continue Reading…

When you’re looking at buying land, there’s one question burning in the minds of everyone from the broker to buyer…

“Will it perc?!?”

It’s the single question that can render a potentially valuable piece of land almost worthless. The seller will tell you it will. The broker will say that it might, but one thing’s for sure, you need a good perc if you’re planning to build. So what the heck is a perc test? Continue Reading…