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Christopher Baber

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since Jul 09, 2014
Blue Ridge Mountains, Western North Carolina, Zone 6b
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Recent posts by Christopher Baber

Ryan Hobbs wrote:

Thyme spreads like crazy in its third year. Might also consider a few wasabi plants as they love damp areas. Asparagus have crazy deep root systems and tollerate moisture. Considering the view, perhaps a Japanese maple on that little hill. The leaves turn a brilliant vermillion in the fall and provide a striking focal point for the view.

some good ideas, and timely advice, I almost have time to work on this project soon.

Thanks for sharing
2 years ago

Mike Jay wrote:Christopher, I'd suggest you look up Edible Acres youtube videos about living fences.   I attached one that is particularly directed at you.  He has multilayered living fences that are pretty narrow/dense.  One quick idea is a tall miscanthus grass that he uses.  It looks like it gives decent view blocking even in the winter.

A hedge of arbor vitae could do some good blocking and dust collection.  But deer love it.  Even so, they're somewhat affordable and stay cylindrical.  Planting a staggered row with 3-4 foot spacing could do wonders.  If you protect them until they're over 6', the deer will just nibble the lower parts.  And you could interplant with something shorter to fill in the deer damage and give a yield.

Thank you, I appreciate the link/advice, I'm looking at the videos now.
2 years ago
I don't want to sidetrack this thread, but my hedge needs seem a bit different than most here.  I'm looking to plant something to give privacy, visually, but don't want anything too thick, or thorny.  I live very close to a gravel road.  I just measured and it's 26 feet from my front door to the road.  My front porch is 6 feet, so my front yard is only 20 feet wide, and I don't want an 8' to 10' thick hedge as it will leave me with no yard to speak of.

With the road being gravel and so close, dust is a problem for me in the summer.  As is the lack of privacy.  My road is a dead-end road, and I only have a dozen or so occupied homes past me on the road, but still, I'd rather not have everyone looking into my house as they drive by.  I like to leave my front doors open in the summer because the weather is usually fantastic, but it's not ideal with the gravel road so close.

So, ideally, I'd have a 6-8' high border that's only a couple/three feet thick, which gives privacy all/most of the year, including winter.  Preferably one which provides me fruit or nuts, but that's not essential.  If it was taller and/or thicker, I could live with that, but I'd prefer something not too monstrous, if possible.

I've included a photo showing the front yard area and what's there already.  I have a couple of  peony bushes, rose bushes, some other bush I can't identify and a pine tree just out of the shot to the left.  I'm fine with relocating the bushes to another part of the property.

I'm in zone 6b at an elevation of about 3000 ft.  I get pretty consistent rainfall, but some months are pretty dry in the summer.  Blackberries are native here, but grow quite large and spread too easily to keep them under control in this location.

Ideas or pointers to other guides/threads/sites are most welcome.

2 years ago

chris florence wrote:

Kyle Neath wrote:
As a side-question, do you have any elevation change in your property? It seems like a bummer to have two tanks that both require pumps to operate.

We live on a steep slope so there's plenty of gravity to work with but digging a tank in above the grade of the house would be way more work than putting below grade. I'd have to build an access road to even get to a burial site. The tank in the house is already connected to a jet pump (1.5hp I think) to supply the house (with a pressure tank) but is plumbed in such a way that I can use the same pump to bring water in from an outside source to fill the tank as needed. Placing the tank below grade also simplifies the planned catchment system.

I live in the mountains, and dead hemlocks frequently fall on the power lines here, taking out power for hours, sometimes days.  I debated for months if it was worth it to dig a 300' trench in the VERY rocky soil up to the highest point on my property to bury my new tank.  In the end, I decided to spend the time and money to do it, because I wanted to get as much water pressure as I could, so that I'd have running water with or without power.

I couldn't be happier about the decision.  I've lost power a good dozen times since then, and I have had water every time, due to the elevated tank.  It's not great pressure, and it's not hot (electric tank-less water heater), but I can wash dishes, flush toilets, get a glass of water to drink etc no matter the power situation.  Once I lost power while in the shower, and the pressure was enough to rinse off the soap, which was most welcome.  If I'd lost pressure while all soaped up, I would have been very unhappy.

When I was without power for nearly 4 days, it was just awesome to have running water.  Totally worth the effort, in my opinion.
2 years ago
Well, I didn't end up getting what I was looking for, but I found a wonderful little place with 2 creeks, in a forest.  It's about an acre, but surrounded by lots of large tracts, so I feel like I own hundreds of acres.

One of the creeks, which runs right beside the house has a few steeply sloped areas, which are very soft, rocky soil.  Stinging nettle and another, similar plant are the dominant vegetation right now, but I want that to change.  There are lots of native ferns and hostas are common also, but I don't have so much on other areas of the land that I can dig them up to replant on the slopes.  I'm wanting something low and creeping/spreading, which will hold the bank in place, and also look good at least most of the year.  Ideally I can get somethings which flower throughout the year, but their ability to hold the banks in place are the primary objective.

I've thought about just buying several bags of native wildflower seed and just covering the bank in seed and see what sticks, but think Id prefer to be a bit more precise than that.

Any ideas for plants to consider?

I've attached a picture overlooking the creek and the hillside on the other side.  It's about 15 feet down from my feet to the creek in the picture.  (we've had very rainy week this week)
3 years ago

Destiny Hagest wrote:I checked and it looks like we just missed adding you to the list for that 4th video. Sorry about that!

I went in and added you, so that link should work for you now.

all working now, thanks!
I simply clicked on the links when I got the email, not thinking about logging in first.  I then realized I needed to login, so I did, and refreshed the pages and it all worked.  But...

then I realized I had not clicked the fourth link (, and now, this video is telling me not found.   I've confirmed I am logged in still, but no luck, it just keeps telling me video not found.  
Hi, I just came to inquire as to an update on the anticipated release date for the project because I need to get something started in my house before the cold weather is just around the corner (again).

I see that it's hoped to be done by the end of this month; which is actually today. Is there any further update on this now? I've read all the posts and explanations, and I understand that things don't always go as planned, and I'm not complaining. I just hope something can be released soon.

I will need to review all the videos and try to decide on what kind of system I'm willing and able to install in my house. I'm sure I will need to reinforce the floor joists/foundation under the floor where I think I might build a system, but without knowing exactly what I'm going to build, I'm not sure how big it will need to be, nor how much it might weigh. I don't have a lot of free time to dedicate to this project, so I suspect it will take me several months to go from planning to burning wood, and it will start getting cold here in September, so I'm worried that I won't have the information I need in time to get a heating system working before its' needed.

So, with all that said, can we maybe have some kind of preview of the videos so I can start on the learning curve and try to keep to my planned schedule? Surely they must be edited to a reasonable length at this point and something can be released to give us something for all the patience we've shown.

Again, I understand everyone is doing their best, but I expected something last year, and we're almost half done with this year already, so please light a fire (pun intended) to get your trusting backers something for their investment and patience.

4 years ago
Well, I don't think I could go 150 feet and remain on my property, but even if I could, digging out 150 feet of rock will not be fun, and will certainly result in me hitting at least several rocks at least a few feet in diameter. Even if I managed to do all of that, how long would such rocky soil hold or slow all this water?

Is there any other way, like using a holding tank or tanks, or maybe trying to terrace the land and filing with organic matter?

I'm really just trying to slow it down enough to allow plants to absorb the "grey" and releasing the cleaned water down to the creek.
4 years ago
I've got a small cabin that sits on the side of a mountain. The ground is mostly rock, and I'm wanting to drain my washing machine and laundry/slop sink out the back of the house, but it would come out at the top of a steep grade, and will flow down the rocky bank into a fast moving creek about 12-15 feet wide.

I'm not sure how to stop/slow the water to keep it from draining directly into the creek below.

I've attached a couple of photos, 1 shows the slope under the back porch. you can see the whitewater of the creek in the background of this photo. The other photo is of that creek looking back up towards the house.

I'm open to any ideas that don't involve thousands of dollar project/systems

4 years ago