Archives For ashville

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.

Sunrise-on-the-Ant-Farm

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 2 of 2 in the series All About Roads & Driveways

In the previous article about roads and driveways we discussed how to determine the pathway for your new driveway. In this post we’ll cover issues of drainage, the anatomy of a road and the cost.

Dealing with Drainage

Drainage is a huge consideration, especially with gravel or dirt roads. In the worst case, your road could wash out, but the prospect of constantly repairing an improperly build driveway is not a good one. You’ll first want to observe how water currently flows around the area. Notice where it pools during rain. Look for ruts or gulleys. These will be indicators of the volume of water you’ll be dealing with, and how it’s currently routed.

The most common approach in our area is to raise the bed of the road with chert fill, and then install ditches on either side to handle the wash.

A culvert is then installed in areas where the water builds up to allow it to pass down grade. A culvert is a metal or plastic pipe of varying diameter that is installed under the road. With the right placement and capacity, the volume of water collected during a heavy rain will be dispersed at a higher rate than it is accumulated. This prevents water from rising over the road. Once the road becomes submerged under moving water, it is only a matter of time before it will wash out completely.

Culvert

The key to managing water is to keep it moving slowly. Fast moving water has an enormous amount of power and can quickly erode soil. Slower moving water tends to just spill over without creating damage. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series All About Roads & Driveways

When you’re looking at property, access is one of the most critical elements that must be considered. The Ant Farm is located off of a chip & tar road maintained by the county, which is a very good thing. Unfortunately, the only access to the interior of the property was via an old timber road that hadn’t been maintained in years. After a cursory review of the property, we knew that we wanted our home site to be located deep on the property, which would require a significant investment in road construction. As a result, we had to consider the costs associated with adding a driveway when we determined a reasonable offer price.

There are basically four different aspects of road building that you’ll need to give some thought. Each one will require research in order to fully understand the repercussions of your decisions. While your excavator should provide a lot of expertise, no one is more interested in the success of your project than you are. Invest yourself in learning more about these issues, and your chances for success will multiply exponentially:

Continue Reading…

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Alabama Power

I have to admit up front, I’m not a fan of government-sanctioned monopolies. Part of the reason we chose to move to an unincorporated area outside of Ashville was to get away from as much government interference as possible. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to escape the nonsense entirely. So far things have gone pretty well. Getting city water has been reasonably straight forward and getting an address was a breeze. For the most part the county, state and federal government have left me alone, and I’ve been just fine. That is until I started the process of getting grid power to the property.

Getting Power

It’s ironic that a company dedicated to the generation and distribution of power can make its own customers feel so incredibly… powerless. For the record, Alabama Power has been a complete thorn in my side from the very beginning, and I can’t wait to be done with this process.

Continue Reading…