Paint Rock Valley

Mountains

Fanning Cove

Hodge Mountain View

Hodge Mountain View

Fanning Cove is framed by Hodge Mountain to the North and Maxwell mountain to the South. Our Eastern view includes Round Mountain, Miller Mountain, Larkin Mountain and a portion of Brewer Mountain.  Indicated elevations are 1600 feet ASL on the Google Topo Maps.

[box color=”green” icon=”user_green”]The geologic formations of this area are remarkable. Caves and sinkholes catacomb certain areas. Blowing Cave is located about a mile West of us. Many cavers visit Russel Cave, which is farther North.[/box]

Beauty at Every Turn

Round Top Mountain

Round Top Mountain

The convergence of these mountain ridges makes possible the beautiful waterfalls. This valley also creates its own micro-climate. We receive more annual rainfall than Huntsville, Al and are generally 5 to 7 degrees cooler.

The combination of extra moisture and cooler temperatures makes for some really foggy mornings, hence the farm’s name.

In the space of an hour one becomes aware of the remarkable bio-diversity of the area. Within one-half of a mile of the farm we have seen snapping turtles, blue herons, deer, fresh water clams, crawdad, wild turkeys, foxes, coyotes, wolves, bobcat and teenagers.

How big are those mountains?

Miller Mountain

My West coast friends tease me that they don’t consider anything a mountain unless it exceeds 2,000 ASL. (Above Sea Level)

Our perspective is “how bad would it hurt if you fell off of this one?

There’s More to See Than You Know.

There are houses on the mountain in this picture and roads up to them. They are so well hidden that the camera could not find them.

Larkin Mountain Owns the Sun

Larkin Mountain

Larkin Mountain

The sunrise over Larkin mountain is such a powerful show that the people who invented “Stonehenge” have asked for rights to build something here.

Some days the sun teases its way through the trees. The effect makes one feel that there is “fire on the mountain”. On other days, the clouds dance over the ridge and down to the valley in a gossamer cascade that needs only Tchaikovsky’s music to be complete.

In Spring, Edvard Grieg’s “Mountain King” calls from beyond the trees.

 

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It’s a Place Where Serenity Escapes the Boundaries.

Rural Communities Share the Wealth, even if cash never changes hands.

Our hay fields yielded more than we could use during a past year. We thought about selling the excess, but decided to send it to a friend. There is an immediate benefit in that our friend has the food his cattle needed. However, there is also a goodie there for us. We expect to buy cattle from him. Since they have been eating food from our place, they will have already established a “rumen population” that thrives on what we grow. Cattle raised within 25 miles of their place of birth are more disease resistant.

How do you place a price on beauty?

Every year the beauty of the farm surprises me.

Sometimes it is through bursts of color, such as the ides of March, better known here as Virginia Bluebell time. At other times it seeps in through the subtle fall shadings of denuded trees and mown hay fields.

So, know what feels great after a day of mowing hay? A really hot shower with some Dr. Bronner’s Mint Soap. Yes, it’s the one with the eccentric sayings on the side. It was organic before there even was an organic label.

Click the picture to try some.

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Rivers

The Small Parts Matter

The Larkin Fork

The Larkin Fork

The Larkin Fork is one of two major tributaries that form the Paint Rock River.

On its banks we have found a myriad of flowers, fresh water clams, endangered snails, crawfish and a variety of “critters” that seem to be unique to the Paint Rock Valley.

Our friends at The Nature Conservancy have done extensive work on identifying the life that seems to be unique to this part of Alabama. They were also instrumental in preserving the “Walls of Jericho”. You can read about their work or contact us for more information.

The water that flows by our farm actually makes it to the Roy B. Whitaker Preserve.

The Larkin Fork jumps its banks on the North end, crosses the hay field and flows back into itself a quarter mile farther South.

The Larkin Fork Floods

The Larkin Fork at flood stage

The lesson one learns in this situation is to use high tensile wire for fencing, not woven wire. And, plan in a few “sacrifice posts to appease the river gods.

NOAAYou can always check on the flood stages for highways 65 and 72 at NOAA.

 

Waterfalls

Waterfalls in Estillfork, Alabama

Waterfall Foggy Bottom Farms

Waterfall Foggy Bottom Farms

Rain from the mountains feeds the waterfall year round.

Summer flows diminish, but never completely go away.

A more moderate flow allows the kids to play.

Although the picture may not show it, the distance to the top of the waterfall lip is almost 50 feet.

John Langlois

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