Jim Aldridge

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since Apr 22, 2017
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Recent posts by Jim Aldridge

supposedly, the average yearly rainfall in Crossville, TN is 55 inches. I would imagine that that would be sufficient, given what y'all are saying.
3 years ago
Thanks for the responses. I want to go on and plant some trees and begin working on building soil (after I get it analyzed), but I wonder if I need to figure out where the house, shop, barn, and fencing will go before doing some of that. The cleared land generally slopes in a gentle fashion from the highest point on the west to the lowest on the east. There is a fairly level spot just south of the cabin that we were thinking about using for the house. The soil in all the cleared area is supposed to be pretty good, though I am sure it can be improved. The people who sold us the land said that the old man who lived in the little cabin had a really productive garden just to the east of the cabin, which would be to the north of where we are thinking about putting the house.

Per the advice I have received, I will continue to watch the property through the seasons and try to get a better bead on what I am dealing with. The problem is that I am not terribly knowledgeable, so I might miss things that most of you would pick up on. I would love to be able to hire someone who does permaculture design to help, but I am in nursing school and just getting this land is maxing out the budget for now. Maybe I can do more when I get out and start working as a nurse.
3 years ago
My wife and I just closed on 12 acres in TN. The northern half of it is cleared, and is being cut for hay. It has a half acre, spring fed stocked pond and the spring water seems to have a lot of iron in it. We will probably have it tested soon. There is a small cabin of little value at the road, but the cabin has a well inside of it that gives drinkable water. There is public water and natural gas at the road and electricity on the property. In 5 years, I will retire, and my wife and I plan to build on it and start putting together a homestead that will include a food forest, goats, chickens, bees, at least one dairy cow, and maybe feeding out a couple of pigs/year.

I am new to the world of permaculture, I am open to any suggestions on how we should lay things out. I know that I need to watch the property for at least a year, but I thought some of you might be able to point out some of the more obvious things that I am likely to miss as a newbie. Here is an aerial view of the property with topo contour lines, power lines, well, pond, stream, etc. labeled. I will also attach a picture of the pond
3 years ago
I would recommend the area around the Tennessee River if you are set on Middle to West TN. Land in this area if pretty and affordable, for the most part. I am a firefighter in Memphis, and it is a very poor area ridden with violent crime. Not a good place to raise a family at all. My wife and I are currently trying to buy land in the Cookeville/Crossville area, between Nashville and Knoxville.
3 years ago
My wife and I are hoping to close on some land we are buying outside of Crossville, TN on the Cumberland plateau. It's elevation is 1900 feet and it is in zone 6a. We won't be able to move onto the land for another five years, so I was thinking about planting some trees and giving them a "head start." The problem is that we won't be there to tend to them until I retire in five years. Are there any fruit trees/bushes/plants that grow well if left untended for an extended period of time?

We haven't had the soil tested yet, but I think it will be pretty to very acidic judging from the broom sedge growing on it and the soil survey that is on this website. https://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/WebSoilSurvey.aspx

Thanks!
3 years ago
Thank you all for your replies. I just now got to read them (I have been studying for a nursing exam I just took), and it is a lot to process. It is clear that I have a knowledge gap that needs to be addressed. Thanks again for helping me towards that end.
3 years ago
Thanks for the reply, Tim. I started reading Redhawk's post on soil, but I have a nursing exam to study for, so I will try to finish it Wednesday (when I am out of school for the summer)

It just occurred to me that I only asked about the soil because I made the assumption that working on the soil quality was the only thing that could be accomplished in my absence. Are there other things that could be "done from a distance" as well?
3 years ago
I am a West TN firefighter who is in nursing school. I am married with four kids (the youngest has Down Syndrome and chronic kidney disease), and we have four acres. We also just put a contract on 12 acres in Middle TN with hopes of retiring on it someday. We home school our kids, and they help out a great deal around the place, especially now, while I am in nursing school.

I actually visited the forums a number of years ago, but I never could get my wife on board. That, coupled with the birth of our youngest. his health struggles, and my decision to go back to school, kinda took me "out of play" for a while, so I haven't been on the forums in years. We aren't doing permaculture right now in any real sense. We have a garden, a couple of fruit trees, a couple of beehives, some chickens, a couple of goats, and a cow that my wife milks every day, but we aren't "chemical free." I tried to talk my wife into it, but since I work and I am in school, she does most of the managing on our little place. She got very discouraged with the "chemical free" approach and gave up on it, largely, I think, because we just didn't know enough to "make it work." She came away thinking that "it didn't work." Once I retire in a five years or so, I would like to give it another try, this time with enough understanding to get better results.
3 years ago
R. Ranson, thanks for the encouragement. What sorts of cover crops work well in acidic soil? Do you have to "chop and drop," or can you just let it die in place?
3 years ago
Actually, we aren't 100% sure what our dream is. Right now we have 4 acres, a garden, chickens, a couple of goats, a cow my wife milks every morning, and a couple of beehives that are in desperate need of attention (I am a fulltime firefighter who is also a fulltime nursing student, so some of our endeavors are "behind the curve"), but I suspect that those elements (and more) will be incorporated into what we do in retirement. I am really, really interested in the idea of a food forest, but again, I am new to this and have no real idea how to pull it off.

A couple of things:

First, in the interest of full disclosure, my wife is not as "on board" with the permaculture stuff as I am. I am trying to convince her that "no till" gardening without chemicals is actually possible, but that's not the way her father (or anyone in our area, for that matter) does it, so she is skeptical. I am hoping that maybe improving the land in our absence may show her what is possible.

Second, I forgot to mention that the property we are buying has a 1/2 acre, spring fed (sulfur spring, I think), stocked pond (bass and bream) in the middle of it and a well on site, as well. It is fenced on two sides, fairly level, and has about 6 acres of woods on it.

3 years ago