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Saturday, May 17, 2014


This offering is a DIY prepper's dream come true. 40 acres of East Tennessee land that has the feel of being in your own park. Two building sites. One is down in the hollow and is ready for construction. The other is up on top of a steep ridge that is 60% complete. The ridge building site has a partially constructed earthbag house that is passive solar in design. The outer wall is 24” inches thick with a planned additional fieldstone outer covering, which will increase wall thickness approximately another foot. Owner can advise on construction method for completion. The ridge site also has a 32' foot pull behind trailer with 10X20 room addition that can be used for immediate living quarters. All it needs to winter over is a wood burning stove. Firewood is abundant. It is fitted with approximately 450 watts of solar panels which provide adequate power for the trailer. The ridge site has a 21X18 building with a working bathroom. It wouldn't take much to get this building to be live-in ready. Nice chicken coop with run. Raised bed garden filled with mushroom/manure compost. Watering system. Also has established a small muscadine vineyard. The property consists of two steep wooded ridges with a logging road/jeep trail. Abundant wildlife includes deer, turkey, and small game.


Below are several specific items that have received regular questions. If you have any additional questions or need further clarification please contact me. (details below)

                                          Sunset on the Knob.

                                          Earthbag walls of the Kiva

                                          Raised bed garden, Chicken Coup

                                Google Earth View of the Knob

WATER: The property has several springs. One is from the old 1800's homestead and it still produces plenty of water. It is down next to the blacktop. I've used a DC pump and my truck battery to fill plenty of gallons of water from this source. There is another strong spring at the driveway entrance that is untapped, but produced a strong and steady flow of water that currently feeds the creek. This could easily be developed. There are a couple of smaller springs along the creek and a seep springs up on the ridge line on the driveway cut. Neighbors had a well dug a few years back and hit good water at approximately 500 feet. The ridge building site is designed to utilize rainwater catchment and take advantage of gravity feed for water pressure, but you could add a well. 

LOCATION: Gobbler Knob is located in Union County, Tennessee. We're NW of Knoxville and the closest town is Maynardville. The county is lightly populated and has abundant natural resources and wildlife. Beautiful Norris Lake and the Clinch River are nearby. Chuck Swann Wildlife Area is just down Hwy 33 toward Tazewell. One thing about the knob is that it has the feel of being very remote and isolated, but is within 30-40 miles of all the conveniences of Knoxville. I can be at the East Towne business area (Mall, Walmart, Sam's, Lowe's, Home Depot, tons of restaurants, etc) in 25 minutes using backroads.

EARTHBAG KIVA: The Kiva is an earthbag house. Granted, many folks haven't heard of this technology, but it is a sound, proven and solid building process. There are plenty of pictures of it and the building process on this site. Feel free to check them out. I'll be glad to assist the new owner by spending a weekend teaching them the building method. The main building is over 60% complete and a two person crew working 8 hours per day could top out the walls in approximately a month. Then it would be just a matter of adding the roof and finish work. The kiva already has a septic tank and drain field.

OUT BUILDINGS: There are two buildings that are in addition to the main house at the building site. Westwind is a small stand-alone little cabin that is 85% complete. It has a three sided walk-around porch. Beautiful reclaimed poplar wood siding and a metal roof. It has a working bathroom with custom tile work. the main room is still unfinished, but wouldn't take long to finish it out. Our plans were to use this as an exterior office or guest bedroom. The other building is the 32 ft travel trailer with the room extension on the front. We lived in this structure for close to a year during construction. You could live in this while completing the main house.

SECOND BUILDING SITE: The main building site is situated on top of a commanding ridge that overlooks the Tennessee Valley to the South. There is another building site that has been approved by the county down in the hollow near the road. This could be developed or not. Would depend on what your vision or needs are for the Knob.

If you are interested in viewing this property you can contact Mr. Kevin O-Brien at 904-233-9002 or by email aries333 AT - This can also be viewed on John Wesley Rawles website

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Busy Bees

November 15th, 2011 - Again, I find myself in that sorry place of being one that fails to update their blog. I'll not make excuses... this time, but instead just attempt to get the ball rolling and keep it rolling.

Since this year has been blog update poor, I guess many of the smaller events over these last few months might slip my mind and never make it on the blog. I'll try to recall some of the more interesting ones though.

We're now in the second week of November. I had mentally projected that we would be done with the kiva at his point. We are not. Many reasons. This form of building is very labor intensive. So, if you are considering building with bags approach it with caution. It isn't fast. It is slow. It is hard work. Know that before you get started. Most of this project has been done by a one-man work detail..... me. Yes, there have been some very helpful folks along the way, but I can't count the days that I've spent solo on the Knob working away in solitude. Well, I did have my trusted four-legged friend and watchdog for company. Regardless of what I consider as slow progress the walls of the kiva are getting higher and the reality of the concept is starting to manifest. I find myself looking at a nearly completed wall when a few months ago it was nothing more than a mental picture. That feeling of accomplishment only touches on what it might feel like when this project is done. I imagine sitting in the main room and looking out one of the south facing windows watching a snowstorm blow across the Tennessee valley. I close my eyes and see the peaks of Clinch and House Mountains hidden with clouds and white fluffy snow falling... all while a warm fire burns in the nearby stove and bask in a sense of accomplishment that few will ever feel. A sense of having built your own home... piece by piece.... from the first little thought of the concept to its completion. I can place myself at that point mentally, but know that there is still a great deal of work to do before that day.

The focus of the last few weeks has been on the south side of the kiva. I've managed to raise the ways on that section to over eight feet high and close to having completed the roman arches over the entry doors. I'll cover that process in another post soon.

Earlier this year, I was contacted by a friend that had a friend with a bunch of rough sawed lumber that was free for the hauling. Several large timbers, tons of planking and assorted sizes of other cuts. I borrowed a tralier from a buddy and hauled it all on top of the Knob. The wood had been exposed to weather for a couple of years and some of it was in bad condition. According to the agreement I could have it for free if I hauled it "all" away...... bad included. No problem, as I figured that the bad wood would find its way into a nice bonfire. We do that on the Knob on a regular basis. To make a long story shorter, I fished out several timbers from the free wood and inspected them for rot and damage. Most of them were in the 18 to 20 foot range and 6" X 6" in size. I decided that I could salvage them (with a little work) and turn them into the headers over the south facing windows. The south facing windows will be 5' by 5'... so I cut the timbers into 8' sections. I then hauled them back to the place we are currently living and put them in the garage. On days that the weather sucks (like raining) I trudge out to the garage and take my orbital sander to the timbers. This takes off the roughed and weathered first few layers of wood and then I apply a nice redwood stain to them. Because the walls of the kiva are 24 inches thick it takes 4 of the timbers of span the top. So far, I've got one of the headers placed over one of the four windows and should have the other three in the next couple of weeks. They look awesome and the price was right, but again it was all labor intensive. It would have been much easier (and more costly) to have just bought 6x6 posts and used them. I like the idea of using the salvaged wood because I was able to get it at the right price and use something that was being discarded... and they turned out beautiful.

Inside the Kiva facing SW.
This is before the headers have been placed over the windows. Nov 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Song of the times

August 22nd, 2011 - Been awhile since we posted on this blog. Sorry to everyone that has been following us. A combinaton of things are the cause. Computer crashes, new jobs, and of course, spending time working on the Knob. Seems like taking that few extra minutes to write something on here kinda slipped through the cracks. Anyway, we'll try and do better.

This will be a first on here. I'm going to post a video to a song. I heard this song by Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks and Dunn fame, and it touched something deep within my soul. The lyrics speak to what many of us are experiencing right now. When I was laid-off from my job, I felt many of the same emotions that are represented in this song.

The wolves are still at the door.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Time for Bagging

May 11th, 2011 - It has started again! The labor intensive process of laying bags has begun once again. The sound of gravel, grunting and hand slaps has returned to the Knob. We did a fair amount of work last Fall. We really didn't get started on laying bags until September. The prior months were all devoted to site prep with fun stuff like septic system, water pipes, earth work and excavating... just to name a few. I can recall the day we laid bag number one. Steady progress through September, October and November brought us to a little more than the half-way point. The Winter was a harsh one this last year with little progress on the project. Once Spring broke we turned our attention on building our raised bed gardens and watering system, which are now both complete. We didn't want to miss out on the growing season.

There has been a couple of minor setbacks over the Winter months, but nothing that a little hard work won't solve. The freeze-thaw cycle caused a couple of locations on the wall to settle, which created a slight lean on about a ten foot section. That particular section isn't a priority right now, but will have to tackled soon. Initial plans for this month were to be on the project of enclosing the camping trailer with a wood frame and conventional roof. This project depends on getting the final resting place leveled. The excavator is a little covered up right now... so, rather that put things on hold and patiently stand around we've decided to start the bagging process.

We already laid over 400 bags and it is wonderful to watch the Kiva starting to grow again. My current guesstimate is roughly 1500 bags to go. That will be a major part of this project complete! Then we get to start on the roof. Does this journey never end? Nope, and that is what makes it so much fun. Besides, what in the world will I do once we've completed the house? Go trout fishing? Relax on the weekends? Hang out with all my former friends that stay clear of me now in fear of being asked to help? Seriously, this project is a labor of love. We try hard to focus on the journey and not the destination.... tho the destination will be nice.... it is the journey to get there that is important.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ready for the Growing Season!

April 25th, 2011 - It seems that once things (meaning work) kick into gear on the Knob that things (meaning this blog) take a backseat! These last couple of weeks and intensive weekends have yielded some serious results. Please pardon me as I attempt to catch things up.

Raised Bed Garden Project - One of our major focuses once the cold weather broke into spring was the completion of our raised bed gardens. Basically, we didn't want to miss another growing season. So, we took our entire focus off of the Kiva and on to getting the gardens ready for planting. No easy task and there is a fair amount of verbiage that covers the rigors of the project (just scroll down) - To make a long and laborious story short... they are done. All but one of them has been seeded and the results of all the work are little green things that hold the promise of food later in the season.

Garden Watering System - What would a garden be without water? Dry! Very, very dry! So, the solution to the problem was to develop a method to water all the raised beds, muscadines and chickens too. I had purchased a big 250 gallon water container a few months ago with this project in mind. The cost was a massive $35 off of craiglist (be sure to check it out for good deals in your area) and the problem of moving it to the building site. That was accomplished with the help of a friend named Billy. He has also helped out the last couple of weeks too. (Thanks Billy) Anyway, Billy and I dug out a roughly 5X6 area on the slope nearest the building site for the 250 gallon tank. After a couple of trips to the hardware store, I was able to get all the pieces to connect a water line to the tank. That water line then runs downhill and we installed three yard hydrants... one per tier to provide easy access to water the raised beds. This one is now complete along with a few cosmetic additions that adds to a little eye-appeal.

Should have some picture to follow in the next few days.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Another prosperous weekend on the knob

We had a wonderful working weekend on the Knob again last weekend. We got several large stacks of firewood cut from fallen trees. Cleaned up the site, finished the remainder of our raised bed gardens and got some more things planted. We piddled on each of the tiers adding little "happy's" as Cathie says. Whimsicals and flowers and a few wheel barrels of mulch. We had a bonfire, cooked on the grill and went for a walk. Again, regreting the time we had to pack it up and head back to civilization...

Our Japanese Maple has begun to sprout

We completed all of our raised bed gardens and got one more planted.

Nice view from the resting bench on Cathie's tier she calls "The Happy Place"

Our pups Xander (AKA Peanut) Sadie and Crockett keeping watch

Cathie was so excited to find these eggs in the chicken coop...until Rand identified them as Guinea eggs. We watched our "chickens" closely and determined as each of them let out a "cockle-doodle-doo" that we had 5 Roosters and not  one laying hen!

Tranquility is always found on the Knob

A view of our gardens. The round wire you see in the left background is our potato tower and the small box on the far left is our Asparagus which takes 3 years to harvest. No wonder it's so expensive in the stores.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Moments to give us reason to linger

When the weekend draws to an end, we linger on purpose just so we can experience another moment...
The sunsets are breathtaking
Rand and a leisure walk with the Guinee's

One of our mountain views

Simply perfect

How exciting when a bunny jumped into view
If one needs to cool off you just take a stroll down the driveway and along the way you will find a cool resting place where water seeps through the side of the mountain and cools the air...