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Edna Fortner

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since May 02, 2017
My husband and I are 4th generation Floridians, who are overwhelmed by the population and traffic explosion in FL. So, we bought 15 acres in AL with a long range mountain view from 2 acres and across a gravel road we are about to build a passive and active solar home. My husband is a site guy (dirt, drainage, roads, ponds, storm water management, septic, etc), and we have built and remodeled many homes and one houseboat 25 years ago! I design, and look for deals on materials. He oversees and manages subs and budgets. He makes structural decisions and I make decorative/color/material choices. I am Certified in Alternative Energy; specializing in Solar Design.
FL Native - bought land in NC and on Lookout Mountain in AL
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Recent posts by Edna Fortner

Me again, got pushed out. Would love to talk with those on similar paths. Interested in Aging in place Design, masonary heaters, tubes in floor heating( you can tell we are from FL), Passive Solar, gardening, Solar, wind-power, dogs, cats, livestock, looming, foraging, medicinal plants, pottery, welding, hunting, home-building, swales, timber frame, old trucks, rock-climbing vehicles, rocks, etc. Thanks, Edna
2 years ago
Hello everyone; especially Sand Mountain/Boaz-
We bought 15 acres on Lookout Mountain - Zone 7B, about a year ago. Went back to FL ( we are all 4-5th generation Floridians) and sold our home, packed up, designed a house, and moved up on the mountain Sept 2017. We are living in a camper while building a house and metal shop, and starting a Forest Garden and Hulk. We are building a Guinia roost and I’m getting a dozen Keyes in May. I have lived with the loud, silly creatures in FL, so I am aware, but you can’t beat their tick and bugeating ability. We love it up here, and am looking forward to having mainly edible landscaping around the house, which should be completed by July. It is passive solar in design, and has other design features I’d love to discuss sometime. We harvested our red and white oak trees that were in the house and shop pads and in a driveway system we installed. We are lucky to have found affordable land with a Mountain View, city water and fire hydrants, 2 gravel roads that are well maintained for $250/year, with no HOA and very few restrictions, and the only permit we had to buy is $250 septic, but we perked for 4/b and 3/Ba and no problem. Guy said we had multiple choices. Property taxes and insurance are low.
2 years ago
John Raines, you mentioned the Collinsville Trade Days Sale being a place you bough PawPaws; how did they do?
We bought land up on Lookout Mountain, and I’m trying to do some permaculture and Forest Garden areas on our property. I’ve never tasted PawPaw, but would love to buy some from you, and maybe a couple trees from that sale, if they grew for you. You should have fruit by now. Let me know. Thanks,Edna
2 years ago
Is there anywhere we can taste this famed fruit? If you partnered with someone that made small jellies to taste, for a larger donation, that would be fun!! I would donate $20 for a small jar!!
2 years ago
The only experience I have with bartering was with babysitting when our daughter was young. We were part of a pool of young parents. We would trade with others, based on # of children and hours. So, if you had 4 children for 4 hours, that was 16 points, and you had to earn those points by watching other's children at the same rate. You could watch 2 kids for four hours for two nights, etc. and the points could be used by any in the group.
But again it only worked in a local area!

I hope someone figures out the tracking/posting part of this, because I would love to do this. My only suggestion is that this needs to be for small transactions, not thousand dollar things. Those should be done directly!
2 years ago
I'm glad I read through entire thread, to understand you have history and skills.
I have camped from childhood on, and can tell you that true backpacking in every thing is tough. Some where around 30-40 lbs is about all you can carry in on your back; which makes you second guess everything!!
I'm a firm believer in hammock/ zip-in netting tents with a line over it to tarp a rain/ snow tarp over and a tarp on the ground to keep everything on the ground dry. All of that and the ropes to suspend it all weighs less than a lb, and your back will thank you. Because of when you are starting a cold weather sack would be nice, and double to use on your bed when you build a house.
You will need food in bear/ cat/ bandit (raccoon/mice) proof containers. Everyone should pack that in, so they understand how precious it is. A rocket stove is probably something your husband should practice making at home now, because it's easy to build; can be made quickly and you can bring some things with you and gather other parts and it uses small twigs that any can gather, as opposed to using firewood for everything, which requires work and is better not green wood.
If you are trying to do with out power tools, I'd bring a cross saw with 2 blades: rough and fine toothed, a large drill with spare bits, small 6 lbsledge hammer, bolts/nuts, nails, hammer. I get a book on timber-frame construction and read it now; it's the closest thing to what you are doing.
Are you trying do an organic garden? I'd read about a food forest now. I'd consider excellerated composting by using chicken feather meal and either leaf litter, sawdust, pine straw( whatever you have on your land and water, to develop your soil.
I have taken foraging classes, and have lots of notes/ photos from that to help on identification; things look very different from seedlings to maturity and fruiting. Be very carefull about identification. I would not risk mushrooms, until you are very sure. This is something maybe your daughter the herbalist would enjoy focusing on?
Let me know specific issues you would want info on.
2 years ago
We have land in N Alabama with several large boulders. They are about 6-8 ft tall and flat on top. They are about the same depth and width, too. I think they would be safe up there; or safer. We don't have many predators, except raccoons for eggs/ keetes. I'd like to follow the info on other threads re: a coop for them when young and feeding and water, but I'd like them to be more independent as adults.
I have lived at a home where they roosted of the roof, and most survived. Them getting in the road was more of a problem there. We have a spring fed pond that deer and others drink, so that would be an option they would have. And since we have 15 acres, and maybe adding an additional 15, I'd rather them spread out anyway.
I'm putting in a couple acre food forest, and we have some forest and open areas, so I'm looking to them for tick and insect control and as an early warning system, which I know they do both!!

I can build some perches or a roof over part of one of these if needed?

I'm planning on starting my keetes in the Spring, so they will know home by Winter.

What organic food do you suggest?
2 years ago
I want to put a natural pond in and feed it from runoff of two metal roofs on the house and barn/shop. Is this possible? Is it safe to have animals like dogs, chickens, and ducks to have access to the pond? Does there have to be special filtration for this application? How big would it need to be to be able to sustain itself? The house and the shop will each be about 2000sft.
3 years ago
I wrote a big response that has somehow disappeared!
So, short and sweet:
You need to consider the Sun and water; 2 things you can't control.
(See my bio)
It's easier and cheaper to educate your self and figure it out on paper, first!!
If you are going to go Solar or at least Passive Solar for your buildings, you will need to figure out first. I can recommend books.
The Sun goes where it goes. And you need to have a site plan; you can do it yourself, just take your survey. Mark your boundaries and pace off where things like ponds, forest, big lone trees and compass directions on your plan.
Water flow is also something you can change somewhat, but it's expensive and hard to do, so why not just work with the way your land is. So, note that on your plan too. Only improve your soil where there will not be buildings or ponds. Orient your home/barn with long axis facing south with windows there and solar PV units can also go on that side, too.
I planted nut and fruit trees first as the basis for my food forest, that way you give the trees time to grow up. Most bear well at 5-7 years with others to cross pollinate. Then when you are there you can add perennials, and vines, herbs and vegies. On open pasture you can go ahead and add legumes, etc to sweeten the soil, and I am also considering away of pasturing chickens in around the food Forrest areas to fertilize, cut down on bugs, and vary the diet for the chickens, so less/no feed and healthier birds. I have more info on that too.
3 years ago