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3-018 Dolbear Retreat

3018 Dolbear Retreat : Ramer, AL 36069

Montgomery County, Alabama

Shown by Appointment Only

110 Acres
$3,864 / ac
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Farm Description

Dolbear PropertyGrady, ALThis 110 acre property was purchased by my Great-granduncle, T.S. Skipper, in 1909. He did not live here but raised about 50 head of Black Angus cattle and leased part of the property to sharecroppers. He owned a general store in Grady near the present day Post Office and lived in a house on Collier Road. When he passed in 1962 the property was transferred to his niece, my grandmother and her husband, Frances and Clarence Snell of Clarke County, AL. After my grandfather passed my grandmother transferred it to her daughter, my mother, Winifred Dolbear. Then in 2005 when my mother passed the land was transferred to me, Charles A. Dolbear, Jr.After the last sharecropper left in 1974, the fields were planted in loblolly pines and the land was leased for hunting purposes until 2005 when I declined to renew the hunting lease.My wife and I arrived in September, 2009 prepared to camp on the property while were building our house. We cut a path into our campsite and found a yellow jacket nest along the way Ouch. It became an adventure, setting up a campsite with an outdoor kitchen, shower and outhouse. My oldest son Josh arrived shortly after to assist with the construction. Tropical Depression, Ida paid us a visit in the fall and we had the coldest 11 day period on record in January 2011. Temperatures dropped below 20 degrees for 11 consecutive days. All this while we were in tents.I used construction techniques developed by Alex Wade in the 1970S to build the house. He developed a system of construction for the owner builder. He was a commercial architect who designed large steel buildings. His system was post and beam style using built up beams instead of solid timbers so that one or two people could construct the frame. This house was designed to collect water, have low energy needs, utilize composting/ recycling systems, facilitate food production, and incorporate passive solar and natural cooling. The walls of our house are 6 inches thick with fiberglass insulation overlaid with Prodex which is R15 so the walls are about R42. The ceiling has 8 inches of foam making the ceiling about R55. There are no supporting walls in the house. The frame supports the roof and each wall is contained between the posts. The floor is concrete to store solar energy provided through our large south facing windows. The house faces true south to provide passive solar gain. With windows on the north side of the house open, natural cooling is achieved by opening the windows above the large windows that are on the south side of the house. Air conditioning is only used approximately 3 months a year, June through August. Our electric bill averages $58 per month with the exception of the summer months when it averages $135 per month with the air conditioning. A wood stove provides additional heat in the winter, when necessary, which uses about a cord of wood per year. We collect water from the roof and filter it through a gravity filter for cooking and drinking water. The roof is capable of producing 75,000 gallons of water per year which is double the amount we use for both the house and the agricultural system. In addition to our water collection system we also have county water. The planned attached green house has yet to be constructed. One of our gardens is close to the house to provide our vegetable needs. We have a SunMar Composting Toilet and a gray water recycling system.Natural Resource Conservation Service Nrcs provided cost/share assistance between 2010 and 2013 for an agricultural water system with hardened water stations, fencing for 5 acres, divided into 5 paddocks for livestock where we have raised goats, pigs and chickens. There are 17 acres of longleaf pines that were planted under the rare endangered species program for Gopher Tortoises, a keystone species. More than 250 different species are dependent on this habitat and the Gopher Tortoise burrows for survival. The longleaf pine/black prairie system is also attractive to cottontail rabbits and Bobwhite quail. We have two garden sites, a small but growing orchard pears, figs, scuppernongs, Chickasaw plums, hazelnuts, pecans, elderberries and wild persimmons.We have an outbuilding for the tractor and implements, a utility shed with an attached wood shed, a small cabin for storage and a framed outdoor kitchen for canning purposes.The property has a trail system that follows along the fire breaks that were established for controlled burns. Food plots are planted on the power line right-of-ways and an old stock pond provides for wood duck habitat. Water oaks are the dominate species of oak which provide large quantities of acorns to feed the deer and turkeys. There are also some white oaks and red oaks for additional hard mast and persimmon trees provide the soft mast. Large yellow poplars are in the bottoms along with some large pine trees. Hickory trees are scattered on the eastern side of the property for the squirrels. There are several feeder springs that run into a single channel near the eastern side of the property, one of the eastern bottoms is the perfect site to create a 5-7 acre fish pond.Our dream of creating a sustainable, self-sufficient homestead is a work in progress. We have completed many of our goals but much is left to be done. This is where YOU come in. You can continue our plan or create your own dreams. Its your future with your dream.Chuck and Joanne Dolbear

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> Residential Zoning
> Paved Road Access
MLS / Other ID
Posted on FARMFLIP
60 Days Ago
Last Updated
43 Days Ago
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