I’ve been out of town, working in Charlotte on a job, and have had the opportunity to reconnect with some old friends while I’ve been in the area. My college roommate & best friend’s parent’s both live in the area and I have been granted the ability to spend time with both of them after I get off work in the evenings. Her father and his wife live in Clover, SC and operate a small homestead of about 15 acres. I went to visit last night once I was done on site, and I was not disappointed. Steve & Tammy are well on their way to a sustainable lifestyle and being off grid. They have livestock, bees, a thriving garden, as well as solar and water collection systems. I gained TONS of ideas for things to do on my own farm one day.
Clover is a quaint little town, close to Lake Wiley & Charlotte, but still in a very rural and farm-friendly location of South Carolina. Pulling into Morris Creek Farm, you immediately notice the double set of solar panels (that I forgot to photograph) as well as the wildflower patch and the gorgeous A-frame style house.
I was immediately greeted by the farm dogs, who I’m told love to roam, but do a great job at protecting the livestock. Chickens roam freely along the property, a mixed flock of about 20, laying a colorful variety of eggs. Steve’s coop has a solar powered door, opening at dawn and closing at dusk, very convenient for days when one can’t be there to open or close the coop.
First thing was first, we took a walk around the farm. We walked through the pastures, crossed the creek, and meandered through the woods. I found a few varieties of mushrooms, the orange ones I now believe to be red chanterelles, though this is unconfirmed. I’m still unsure of the tan/white variety, possibly a different chanterelle variety. There were also a multitude of ferns, I believe Christmas ferns primarily. I’m still working on my plant & mushroom identification skills.
Our walk of the property continued, with Steve & Tammy explaining their application for USDA grants (fencing to keep livestock out of the creek, watering livestock, etc.). We came up to their garden, which was brimming with various fruits & vegetables, including an absolute tower of sweet Jasper tomatoes, and the most fragrant melons I’ve ever encountered.
Nearby, I met their bees. Steve & Tammy keep multiple Langstroth hives of Russian bees. All of the hives I saw were thriving and seemed very busy. It was a warm day, so the majority of the bees were outside of the hive cooling down. I was able to approach rather close without angering the bees, they did not seem to notice our presence. Steve explained that this year he is letting his bees proliferate and reproduce, rather than harvesting honey. “You can grow bees, or you can grow honey.”
We continued up their hill to Steve & Tammy’s “water farm.” Steve explained that they collect rainwater off their home’s massive metal roof, store it in 2 large (~285 gallon each) IBC totes, and pump it via a sump pump up the hill to his ‘water farm.’ The facility consists of a homemade storage bank of 8 IBC totes, ranging from 285 to 330 gallon capacity each. The totes are interconnected so that water levels rise & fall in conjunction with one another. Since the water farm is located approximately 25′ above the grade of the remainder of the farm, he uses gravity to his advantage and has created a drip system to irrigate his garden and blueberry patch. They can also water their animals with this system. Since the system is closed, there is no worry of mosquitoes and the totes and plumbing are wrapped in black plastic to prevent algae.
After viewing the water farm, I had a glance at the wildflower patch, blueberry bushes, and the solar panels. Steve installed his panels himself, and expects the system to pay for itself in about 4 years.
Afterwards, we headed back towards the house for an encounter with the sheep & goat. Steve & Tammy have five sheep and a single goat which they keep as pets on the farm. The matriarch of their herd is a thick, sweet girl named Pansy. All of the sheep and the goat were adorable, adding to my desire to have them.
After the farm tour, I toured their house, which they bought as a fixer-upper, and are still currently remodeling. All of the work they’ve done so far is fabulous and the house is really coming along. I can’t wait to see the finished product down the road. They have done so much work to the place in the 2 years they’ve been on the property, I commend them for working so hard both on the house & the land. It is truly a homestead anyone would be lucky to have. Once my tours were done, we had dinner & caught up a bit more before I had to leave. I managed to make it away with some blueberries, a melon, and some garlic cloves, which I greatly appreciate. I truly enjoyed my time and can’t wait to go back!