Other Initiatives – OARS’ First Home Base



With its great variety of growing options, this is an ideal site for current and/or future master gardeners; AND/OR a young, child-rearing family looking to function at home through home and garden production, writing, computer capitalism and home schooling while recognizing the value of natural settings and living gently in the woods; AND/OR an extended group interested in living in a natural setting. 15 miles to Interstate 79; 25m to Spencer; 60m to Charleston; 120m to Morgantown.

– Latitude – 38.717795724642166 Longitude -81.04468345642091

Primary Abode

  • 3650 sq.ft., two-story wooden great house – originally a 1920s Montgomery Ward package house; very significant interior and exterior additions and make-overs between 1976 and 2004;
  • living room, kitchen, pantry, full bathroom with composting toilets, and utility room plus 12 other rooms for use as bedrooms, guest rooms, offices, workshops, playrooms or whatever;
  • 11′ X 22′ attached greenhouse with gravity-fed waterfalls and 8′ X 18′ pond (half under living room), 2′-4′ deep, heatable with free gas;
  • 12′ X 14′ cut stone basement – opportunities for year-round mushroom culture;
    porches and balcony – sturdy rails for winter bird feeding with 58 linear feet of large growing boxes;
  • naturally air-conditioned;


  • 78.59 recently (2006) surveyed surface acres at the mouth of a 200+ acre watershed mineral rights separated in 1920s;
  • about 70 acres of forested hillside – mixed mesophilic forest – largely cut twice since Europeans arrival – much oak, poplar, some black walnut, cherry, beech, hickory – sustainable harvest plan initiated and significant harvest possible within 10 years;
  • about 8 acres of bottom cut for hay but ideal for industrial hemp;
  • nearly 2-acre bench with home, garden, barn and outbuildings;
  • gravel road right-of-way and creek running from head of holler;
  • 3 uphill water catchment ponds including blue gills, largemouth bass, catfish;
    incipient permaculture site several design pieces initiated and in place;
    100 yd. stone and gravel driveway leading to well-maintained gravel county road – 11/4 mile to the hard road;
  • several additional building sites. _


  • 2-story barn, 27′ X 32′, with 168 sq.ft. 2nd floor finished art/writing studio – electrified;
    11/2-story tool shed – 10′ X 13′, insulated and electrified;
  • composting outhouse and maturation bin;
  • 2 3-wall sheds – each 12′ X 32′, adjacent to driveway;
  • garden gazebo – 8′ X 8′.

Gardens and Growing Areas

  • well-fed garden soils, growing beds, and facilities managed almost entirely organically for 30+ years;
  • 70′ X 130′ primary garden – copious organic materials added over the decades;
  • many stone-walled house-and-garden growing beds;
  • 58 linear feet of porch and balcony growing boxes;
  • several used-tire-and-mortar raised beds;
  • kitchen herb spiral, based on permaculture design;
  • several small fish and amphibian ponds near house;
  • 6′ X 10′ in-ground bed in greenhouse;
  • hanging 2′ X 12′ greenhouse shelf for starts;
  • cookout firepit.

Water management

  • new (2008) drilled well with new pump, holding tank and whole-house filter;
  • modest but reliable, 80-year-old, hand-dug well providing fine-tasting water with no taste of sulfur or iron – currently not attached to house system;
  • ceramic and charcoal final filter;
  • gravity-fed waterfalls and 8′ X 18′ pond (half in greenhouse and half under living room), 2′-4′ deep, heatable with free gas;
  • full house guttering with rain barrels, outdoor shower and ponds;
  • 6′ diameter, rain-fed, wood-heated cistern/hot tub;
  • 2 up-hill catchment ponds, one connected by pipe to garden area (additional pipe available for connecting second);
  • a third large pond just above garden for watering and swimming;
  • 2 smaller garden ponds, one octagonal constructed of used tires and mortar;
    reasonably reliable rainfall supplied naturally,… so far.

Energy aspects

  • free natural gas for “domestic use” – due to 2 wells on the property – the second drilled in 1983 – far more than adequate for space & water heating, refrigeration & clothes drying [possibilities for electricity generation and/or compressed gas vehicles];
  • reliable inexpensive grid electricity generated from coal – current bill about $20/month;
  • good orientation for solar energy installations and a structure that can support additional roof weight;
  • ridge lines susceptible to local winds;
  • some micro hydro-electric potential through higher bench ponds’ connections to above-garden pond;
  • local coal seams too thin and/or deep to exploit and Marcellus shale lies far to the west.

Several used-tire installations

  • earth-turtle growing bed and moat in garden;
  • 12′ X 220′ driveway mat to above-garden pond;
  • three used-tire and mortar raised beds – worm volcanoes;
  • octagonal used-tire and mortar garden pond;
  • parking lot curb-stops.

Communication aspects

  • reliable phone with slow dial-up internet but STILL no DSL;
  • a satellite connection would seem to be the only reasonable option.

Tax considerations

  • very low local property taxes (about $300/year) [with public schools to match];
  • modest home business property and equipment taxes;
  • moderate state income taxes;
  • 3% sales tax on food – decreasing yearly to 0.