The Farm is comprised of 106 acres straddling Lickskillet Creek in Western Yancey County, the county with highest average elevation in the eastern US. Spreading like wings from the bottom of the valley, the farm runs from the ridge on one side down the “holler” and across Lickskillet Creek (a registered NC trout stream), then up , around and back down a mountain on the other side.
Two creeks flow through the property, including Lickskillet Creek, which flows for 900 ft. between the two parcels. We hope to put a micro-hydroelectric system on this creek.
Lickskillet Road follows the creek, dividing the Farm into the two portions, which we call the Northside and the Southside. The property rises steeply on both sides of the valley, starting at 3,000 ft. above sea level, and rising to nearly 4,000 ft. at the peak on the Northside and the top of the ridge on the Southside. From most of the Southside of the farm, a dramatic view looking down the valley frames the Black Mountain Range and Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain in the eastern United States.
The Northside is primarily woodland with about three acres of tillable mostly flat land and another five acres of pasture along the lower slope of the mountain. A small portion of the Northside is a state- and globally-rare "Rich Montane Seep" wetland bog that will be included in a forever-wild conservation easement that is planned for the property. The remaining woodlands will be used for forest-based agricultural and selective timber production, with the lower hillsides used for pasture and/or orchard, and the tillable flat land used for crop production. An old heirloom apple orchard is located near the wetland bog. Harris Branch (also a NC registered trout stream) flows along the eastern boundary of the Northside for 1,400 ft.
A stone chimney and barn are all that is left of an old homestead, located at the very bottom of the Northside, adjoining Lickskillet Road.
The Southside parcel has more varied landforms, with a four-acre hayfield, about 18 acres of pasture, with several acres of reasonably flat and tillable ground. A portion of this parcel, located near the top of the ridge, has three overhanging grotto caves, a 65-foot cliff, three or four acres of old-growth forest, all included in "Montane Mafic Cliffs and Outcrops" and “Rich Cove-Boulderfield Forest” environments, which are classified as "rare" by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. According to the NCNHP, fewer than twenty Mafic Cliff environments are known in the Southern Mountains.
Many native herbs grow in this area, including Bloodroot, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Wild Ginger, Wild Licorice, Squawroot, Mayapple, Spiderwort, Chickory, Coltsfoot, and Ramps, as well as six state-listed rare plant species: Carolina Waterleaf, Large Waterleaf, Golden Saxifrage, Mountian Starflower, Southern Nodding Trillium, and Appalachian Joe Pye.
Woodland wildflowers include the uncommon Maidenhair Spleenwort, Mossy Stonecrop, Carolina Saxifrage, Squirrel Corn, Alumroot, Sweet Cicely, Largeflower/Wakerobin/Southern Trilliums, Crepping Phlox, Bee Balm, Giant Coneflower, Maidenhair Fern, Solomon's Seal, Appalachian Sedge, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and several varieties of Violets, Waterleafs, and Ferns. Many Moss, Lichen, and Sedge species are common in these areas as well. Goldenrod, Ironweed, Burdock, Pokeweed, Yarrow, Chickweed, Blackberry, Wingstem, and numerous Astor species are common in the pastures and meadows.
Tree species on the property include Sugar Maple, Black Walnut, Black Locust, Tulip Poplar, Buckeye, White Ash, Black Cherry, Basswood, Cucumber Tree, Northern Red Oak, Black Birch, Silverbell, Bitternut Hickory, Canada Hemlock, Dogwood, Crabapple, Red Mulberry, Sycamore, White Pine, White and Black Oak and Sassafras, as well as the largest known Eastern Hophornbeam in North Carolina. Mountain Laurel, Rosebay Rhododendron, Flame Azalea, Spicebush, Wild Hydrangea, Gooseberry, Elderberry and Buffalo Nut shrubs grow throughout the property.
We plan to include the rare Montane Mafic Cliffs and Outcrops, Rich Cove-Boulderfield Forest, and Rich Montane Seep environments in a forever-wild conservation easement, with interpretive trails leading from a second heirloom apple orchard located in a cove near the top of this parcel to the caves, cliff, and grandfather trees.
Over fifty species of birds have been identified on the property, including the Indigo Bunting, Pileated Woodpecker, Red Tailed Hawk, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, and several species of Warbler, including the Cerulean Warbler. Wild mammals include Black Bear, White-Tailed Deer, Raccoon, Eastern Chipmunk, Eastern Grey, Red and Flying Squirrels, and the ubiquitous Coyote. Spring Peeper and Green Tree Frogs live on the land, as well as several species of Salamander and the Eastern Box Turtle. Seventeen species of Butterflies have also been indentified on the farm.
The farmhouse is located near the bottom of the Southside along with a shop/garage and another barn. Across the road is the recently completed "Sugar Shack" syrup processing building.
Two more barns are located higher on the Southside, near an old cabin that we believe to be over 100 years old. We plan on renovating the old cabin into a guest lodge for eco- and agri-tourism use.