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digging out a spring

Posted by appalachia TN (My Page) on
Fri, May 9, 08 at 12:16

I recently purchased some acreage in the Cherokee National Forest area. The property has a creek, old apple trees, and basically its an old "homeplace" that I think was in my family maybe 100 years ago.

We are going to build a home there, and I really want to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Anyway, does anyone know anything about a spring and how to "dig one out." ?? I've gathered that a spring is unreliable and could dry up anytime, but I've noticed that in this area, there are a lot of springs. I know my question is very vague but I'd just like some general info.


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RE: digging out a spring

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Fri, May 9, 08 at 15:46

Hope this isn't a dumb question, but what do you mean by "dig one out"?

Do you have a spring on your property? Is it providing water now?

BTW, it sounds like an awesome place! I've got a picture in my head from what my great grandparents farm in Virginia looked like. When I was little, it was WAY out in the country. The house was at the base of a large hill and they had a springhouse as well as a smokehouse and some other small buildings on a trail that wound up the side of the hill. A small creek ran around their yard and they had flowers and fruit trees in the yard. The nearest neighbor was just a little further than you could see down the road. Now I hear it's been subdivided and nothing is recognizable.


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RE: digging out a spring

One way to dig out a spring is find where the water is coming out, and excavate that area, going backwards until you hit the cracks in the rocks.
If you see 'some' water flowing out, take a look at the trees that could be sucking most of the water that would be going to that spring.
A friend in Greene County is in a valley with some springs; before they built, they had a bull dozer take out a huge tree for fear it would later fall on the house. Where the tree was, is now a spring that wasn't there before.

As to self sufficiency, if you've enough woodlands, you'll have enough trees falling each year to heat your home. Also look to passive solar (the basic books by Rodale are a place to start.)


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RE: digging out a spring

Brandon, it's funny you say that about "digging it out" cause when people kept asking me that, I just nodded like I knew what it was, but I was thinking "What does that MEAN?"
The spring comes out of a hill in a steady small flow, goes back underground, then reappears and goes into the creek. The soil above all of this is predictably soggy and water-logged. Someone suggested that we dig a trench and run a pipe through. I know you can't really imagine this unless you see it, but all i know is, the old timers around the property just kept saying, "Now what you need to do is bring in a backhoe."
I'm originally from Sevier Co, but you can't swing a dead cat there anymore without hitting a tourist, so I have found this beautiful, beautiful property in Del Rio where its still untamed and you can't hear ANYTHING but the birds and frogs. I'm just sick of seeing land with neighborhood developments popping up in them. I know, people gotta make money, etc. but I guess I wish more people would buy land to use it the way it ought to be used instead of cutting it, slicing it up and serving it on a platter, so to speak.

Sorry to get on my high horse there. But thanks, Ann, about the info. That helps cause there are a lot of trees around the spring.


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RE: digging out a spring

appalachia, I feel your pain. In the last year or so I have simultaneously become much more green and much less thrilled about my postage stamp sized lot in the middle of suburbia / urban-spawl-mania.

I'm starting to look for a 3-5 acre lot where I can build my own home - going with enertia home builders for the home design because of it's zero heating/cooling cost. These things are amazing and require no supplimental heating as far north as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to as far south as southern Georgia so I'm sure it'll work like a charm here in Tennessee.

The problem for me, now, is timing. I've only been in my current home for a year and in that year I've actually DEPRECIATED 2% of my home's value thanks to my zipcode and the current market.

So I bid my time and wait...and hope that I can find an area that isn't going to have stupid McMansion subdivisions built next door after I pull the trigger on the location.

In the mean time we've managed to get our landfill waste down to about two 13-gallon bags a month with the rest going into recycling and composting.


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RE: digging out a spring

I hate to think in just 100 years how little farmland, or parkland, or just acreage there will be. Sometimes it seems like we're just like a virus, consuming everything in our wake and eventually, very little of our beautiful landscape will be left.

Wow, i suppose that isn't very positive, is it? Sorry. But sometimes I just get so disgusted with people in general. And I AM lumping myself in there. Certainly not poiting fingers at others without including myself. Its like I have the tree hugger mentality but I'm too lazy to recycle, make my own granola, or drive something other than my gas-guzzling SUV.


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RE: digging out a spring

My primary motivation for the majority of my tree-huggin' hippie ways is to save money. If it weren't for my overwhelming desire to save some $$$ there wouldn't be much "in it" for me.

That being said, it's definitely working out for me so far on that front but I'm certainly not in for the sake of it or because of some kind of eco-guilt that seems to be ever so vogue these days.


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