Monday, December 23, 2013


For those of you who happen Upon this Blog will notice, This is the first post for over 3 years! I can see that there is some interest in reading here, But I started a new Blog and write posts on it instead of here. If you are interested in reading that Blog you can find it here:

Life here continues in an erratic way and the only New Years Resolution I plain for this next year is to do a better job on posting about this Homestead. So come on over and give it a look see!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reunion, part 1

I have decided to make this a multi part post, because there is so much to talk about. Sorry it has taken me so long to get the pictures up and get a post done. But here thay are (at least some of them) This first one was taken Sunday morning after a night of rain. This is the view from my tent as I drink my morning coffee. Daisy and I left home about 9 am Friday morning and arrived here at 5:45 pm. Its a 456 mile trip and had to stop a few times for Daisy to do her thing. "Here" is "Coopers Rock State Forrest" WV. About 12 or 13 miles outside Morgantown WV. The campground where we stay is Reilly nice and well maintained. Its $23.00 a night and each site has power and there are hot showers and even a Landry room (added just this year). We got camp set up and got dinner taken care of (chili/cheese fries and hot dogs) and got a nice camp fire going. The night time temps got down into the 60's and it sure was nice to set and watch the fire and have a few beers! We called it a night around mid-night and went to bed. Daisy woke me about 3 am because she was frighten by the lighting and all the rain. It was beating on the tent and I lay and listened for awhile, and the next thing I know it's 7:30 am and Daisy needs to go out. It was still raining lightly and once she finished her morning routine, she dove under the table and that's where she stayed until the rain stoped.
But the rain did stop and we went to the reunion. There were not a lot of family there this year (about 30 or so), but it was fun and there was the normal good food. After the reunion, we went back to the motel where most every body was staying and that's when the real fun started! Charley (Board member and home beer maker) let me sample a new wheat beer he had just bottled. It was pretty good, altho I was more impressed with his wife's home made wine! (way to go Adrian!!!). But a good time was had by all. And even-tho we had eaten pretty good at the reunion, we ordered pizza to go with the beer. It was a late night and Daisey and I got back to the camp site around 1 am.
Part 2 coming.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rain......Its a beautiful thing!

Yes it is. When the rain does not fall for almost two months and the daytime temperature's are in the high 90's, IT SURE IS. Last week we had two nights of thunder storms and maybe 3/4 inch of rain. We would get up in the morning and the temps would be down and you could not tell that it had rained. No puddles or mud to speak of. The ground soaked it all up. But the frogs were making all kinds of noise and it just looked greener all around! But in a couple of day's the 90's were back and the sun was beating down. Then came this afternoon (about 2:45), The thunder storms came back and the clouds opened again and we had heavy downpours for about 20 min. Its 7:04 pm and the clouds are still here and we get a short shower every now and then.
On another note, I have one more work day and then I will be going on vacation (excuse me while I do a little dance!). Early Friday morning about 5:00 am I will be getting up and packing the truck and heading to Coopers Rock state park West VA. That's just outside Morgan town West VA. Where we will have our 102ND Stewart Family Reunion. That's consecutive sense 1908! I will do some camping for three day's and attend the reunion on Saturday and return home on Monday. I can not tell you how much fun this reunion can be! and the best part will be all the beer I will consume this week-end!
I found this side of the family while doing family history research back in 1998 and contacted one of the reunion board members and found out about the reunion and went for the first time in 1999 (the 93RD). And have tried to go each year sense then. Cooper Rock state park has a really nice camp ground (hot showers and electricity at each camp site!). And the cost is $23.00 a night! The other people that come for the reunion will stay at motels in town and pay for one night what I will spend all week-end long! Boy am I looking forward to this week-end!!!
Well the rain has started again and I need to get some work done. I know I keep saying I will get some pictures posted, But you can be sure that I will be posting some after this week-end. Talk to you later.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I know, I know!

I know its been awhile and I promised pictures this time......Well!
The weather has been nothing but HOT, HOT Hot!!!. Last week end the temps were in the 100,s and nothing is growing but weeds. And the things that have tried to grow are getting eaton by the bugs or the crows! Yes I said CROWS! I had a volunteer watermelon plant that had come up in a compost pile that I had not turned and I let it grow (watering it almost daily!) and it had 5 good size melons on it that were doing real well, Then yesterday afternoon the Crows found it and pecked opened 4 of them. I was able to salvage only a part of one of them and what was left the deer got to last night. There is one left and one cantaloupe. I put a milk box over them in the hopes that the Crows will not be able to get to them.
The rest of the garden is a total loss. As I said in an earlier post, we missed spring and went right into summer with the temperature's in the mid to high 90's and no rain. The water bill has doubled from what it was last year. And still we will not get very much if anything out of the years garden.
The only thing that has worked for us is the CSA. We get a bag of produce each week and that has helped to fill the gap. We have gotten corn, green beans, Lima beans, egg plant, new potatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, radishes and watermelon. Oh and tomatoes and peaches!
I am looking forward to August 20 th! I will be going on vacation to Coopers Rock West Vagina and to our one hundred and second Family Reunion! The reunion will be held on the 21st in Morgantown (about 13 miles west of Cooper Rock) and I will be camping for the three days around the reunion. I found this side of the family while doing some family history research a few years back and decided that I wanted to camp out instead of stay in a motel for the week- end. So it well be and Daisy camping out for three days. And I know that at least the night time temps will be down in the 60's!!!!! And I will have pictures for sure!
Talk to you then.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Yesterday was my day off and I needed to get a load of horse manure for the worms, They are eating their little tails off (and making lots of babies!). So I got up early (wanted to beat the heat) and took the truck over to Janets (Lady who owns the horse's) house. The reason I do this on my day off is it takes me a couple of hours to load by wheelbarrow. So I got there about 0900 and no one was home, So I drove Thu the gate to the area where they dump the manure. I had loaded about 4 loads into the back of the truck when Janet got home. She came out to talk for a bit and asked if I wanted her to load up the truck using her tractor (SCORE!). So she went off to feed the horse's (She has 4 Arabians) and that gave me enough time to move the truck and get the ramp I was using out of the way.
And what usually takes me upwards of 3 hours, She did in 20 minuets (Thanks Janet!!!). And she loaded allot more into the truck then I normally get loaded with the wheelbarrow. The springs on the truck were pretty low, But the truck was up to the challenge.
On the drive home I was thinking that I really don't like the fact of the grass and weeds encroaching into the manure before I get the chance to use it all. It sometimes hides the last of the manure and its allot of work to clear it away to get to the good stuff. So when I got home, I parked the truck near the garden area and went looking for the roll of plastic I knew was somewhere up stairs. Well I found it and went back out to the tractor shed (carport?) and unhooked the finishing mower and hook up the tiller. There was an area of the garden that had been planted with summer squash, But with no rain and the weeds taking over again this year (just like last year and the year before!. We will try something different next year, another post). I tilled that area and another area along side the garden and opened the roll of plastic. It was a sheet of 3.5 mil and I held it down with bags of cut grass and took the compost tumbler (last post) apart and moved it to one end of the new manure storage area. It was over run with weeds too!. So I emptied the barrels and moved everything to its new home. I got about two wheelbarrow loads of nearly finished compost from the two barrels.
By that time it was getting to hot to do much more (yesterday was 98 degrees in the shade, and as you know there is no shade on my place!). So I went in and took a shower.
After running my water bill up a bit ( wish I had a well!), I spent some time with the dogs and then went next door to Terri's house intending to get some laundry done. But she was taking a nap, So I went home and did the same!
She called me about 1600 (woke me from a great sleep!) and said that the laundry still needed doing. So up I get and back to her house. Got laundry started and we started talking about "Whats for dinner?". I wanted to fire up the grill and do a BEER BUTT CHICKEN, But no chicken in the house. So we decided to try a new recipe, "Oat and apple pancakes and homemade sausage". So....... You guest it, no apple sauce, So we used bananas instead. To use one of Terri's favorite lines "BOY WAS THAT YUCK'N FUMMY!. With fried eggs on the side and a big glass of ice tea. And chilled watermelon for desert!
So we settled down to watch the L.A. Dodgers beat the snot out of the Marlins (7 - 3, GO DODGERS!). Then home to feed and water the dogs and the cats and then walk the dogs and let them do the thing. Then bed (the game didn't get over until after 0100!).
I woke up this morning knowing there was something I had to do before I went to work. And after I sat down with my first glass of ice coffee and turned on Sports Center, It hit me! I have to unload the truck and do it before it gets too hot!
So up I get and get into some work duds and go check on the worms first. I opened the bed and pulled the cover layer of grass clippings away and was happy to see worms of all sizes working over the last of the food ( cantaloupe rind, banana skins and egg cartons). There wasn't allot left, so after checking on numbers, I took a wheelbarrow load of that nearly finished compost and put it in the bed, watered the whole thing real well. Closed it up and went to work on the truck.
Because Janet loaded my truck with her tractor (Thanks again Janet), there was allot more to this load then what I use too. This load nearly filled one end of that sheet of plastic (its 10' x 25 ') and the head of my manure fork started coming off the handle! But I got it done and went to Terri's to get their compost bucket and loaded the compost tumbler back up. There was a lot of watermelon rind in the bucket, so that went to the worms along with other things they seem to like. The rest went into the barrel to be turned every couple days until its done and can be used in the flower beds.
As you can see I had to come to work just to rest up.
So that's it for now, I promace pictures in the next post.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

That's what the days have been like for the past 4 - 5 weeks. Sorry it has been awhile sense the last post. But the good news is I now have Internet access at home and a newly loaded computer.
Mark did the work and wiped my hard drive clean and loaded a new Windows-7 onto the system for me. He even gave me a flat screen monitor to use (its on lone, as he isn't using it right now). Also he had me move my computer to my bedroom (its closer to his house) and we got a wireless mortem and hooked it up to my computer. Now I can pick up the signal fro his wireless system and surf the Internet all I want. So I should be able to make posts on a more regular basis and download pictures allot more. This was all a birthday present from Mark and Terri. Pretty cool!!!.
I think a update on the worms and the compost tumblers are in order.
The worms had me worried for awhile. As stated in a earlier post I have them in a bottomless wooden box (3' X 7' X 14 ") and I didn't see allot of action going om. So I E-mailed Bently Christy (his web site is for advice. He told me to continue to add bedding and food material to the bed and to add lots of water. The worm need a very moist inviorment (as they breath thew their skin) to thrive. Well he was right, I added lot of cardboard (egg cartons, pizza boxes and the like) and food materials (coffee grounds, tea bags, kitchen scraps and horse manure) and I covered the whole bed with fresh cut grass. And then I watered the heck out of it, adding about 10 - 15 gallons every other day. I let the worms get comfortable with the new stuff for a few days and then I did some digging around. The numbers have differently increased. Lots of newly hatched small worms and more adult breeders. Still do not see allot of eggs, but by the number of young worms, eggs are being produced. And food material is disappearing at an alarming rate! Egg cartons and toilet paper rolls disappear in a day or so and the amount if horse manure keeps going down. That's a good thing! Tuesday is my day off and I will spend it trucking loads of horse manure to the farm so it can age a little bit before being given to the worms.
The compost tumblers have be in operation for about 3 weeks now and I have harvested the first batch (Three 5 gallon buckets each barrel) and gave that to the worms (let them eat it and turn it into worm casings for me). The barrels get quite heavy as they fill with materials, but I have found that this is due to the water that the materials release as the break-down and if I let it dry for a day or so, its not too bad on the back.
Well that's about it for now. Check back in a few days for more about the farm.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

DIY compost tummbler

As promised, here is my DIY compost tumbler. As you can see I made a double barrel tumbler. I had gotten 4 barrels to use as rain barrels, but I need to get rail gutters on my house, So I used two of the barrels to construct this set up. I had all the rest of the materials on hand, so it was pretty easy to assemble. I used an aluminium pipe as the turning point and I used banding straps to fasten that to the 4 X 4 posts. I ran cross supports both directions at the bottom of the posts.

This is the finished tumbler. I have had it in operation for about a mouth and have gotten the first load of finished compost. I place kitchen scraps in each barrel and add a couple fork-fulls of horse manure with a little water and spin the whole thing every couple of days. It works pretty well. Alto the load can get to be pretty heavy when the compost gets to the level of the pipe!.
As you can see from this picture, I have the whole set-up near the garden and that is where I stock pile the horse manure, grass and other stuff I put into the mix. And the main thing is I don't have to turn the compost by hand! Just turn the barrels every couple of days! And the price was right! FREE (mostly). So what do you think?