Workshops and Courses


We intend to build a small, timber framed, strawbale house this summer to move into by late fall and in doing so, turn our current large log house into guest accommodations for those looking to visit the farm. Our intention is to document this process, showing perspective builders and those interested in Permaculture and natural building methods, stages from development to the  building techniques used. In this video series (I expect it will take a least 2 if not 3 DVD’s to cover it all), you will see (and hopefully learn) about how and why we designed certain systems a certain way and specifics on things like rocket mass heaters for warmth, earthen floors, straw bale walls, timber framing, sawing logs, natural plasters, solar PV and microhydro electrical systems for off grid living, gray water and composting toilet systems, passive solar heating, and more!

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We want to show that building like this is possible for anyone! That you can live mortgage free and build with materials at hand.

If this sounds like something that you might want to see or better yet be a part of, support us in our goal of making this happen this summer! We would love to have you be part of the fun.

The Workshops

We will be hosting several workshops all summer long. These will all be a part of the finished DVD series. If you are interested in taking part here is what we offer; 3 organic (mostly) vegetarian meals plus snacks. The lake with a beach to swim, boats for fishing and even to sail at (we have a 16′ sailboat moored at the lake all summer long!). Surrounded by wilderness and wildlife, there are endless trails and forests to explore. Every evening there will be bonfires around which we can host talks, hang out and have a bevvy or two before bed. There are old mining relics and ghost towns scattered around the area. Bring your bike and explore the area. For those participants with children, child care will be included. And now for the list of workshops.

Rocket Mass Heater workshop – This 1 week course will focus primarily on retrofitting the existing log house with a large rocket mass heater. You will LEARN by DOING! We will be installing some timbre frame supports under the floors and then get right to it. This segment will show that anyone can design and build for very little money out of recycled and free-cycled materials a highly efficient heating system in any home. If we have enough time, then a second one will go into a greenhouse that we will be framing at the same time.
May 25 – 31, 2014

Timbre Framing and Natural Construction – In this 2 week workshop, we will be using the excavator to prepare the site, learning to mill lumber harvested from the property with our sawmill. We will be erecting the timbre frame for the house, taught and led by expert local timbre framers and natural builders. Traditional joinery will be taught and put into practice. You will also learn to and actually build a cob pizza oven at the site of an outdoor kitchen and bakery – something that anyone can build in their backyard.
July 06 – 19, 2014

Strawbale building, Cob works and Natural Plasters – In this 2 week course we will erect the walls, finish framing, install windows and plaster the bales preparing for finishing. We will learn and build a rocket mass heater and interior walls from wattle and daub/ cob and begin interior finishing. We will mix cob and earthen plasters, and build on various parts of the project, putting what you learn directly into action. As with all the workshops the food will be first rate.
August 17 – 30, 2014

If you are interested in being a part of any of the course, get in touch with Oliver at oliver.newsreel@gmail.com

We want this video series to teach you how to:

  • Find the right site to build on
  • Design a small naturally built home using Permaculture principles
  • Source building materials for minimal $
  • Build with materials from the land – wood, clay, sand, stone, water, etc…
  • Design and build a rocket mass heater that will fit in any home
  • Design and build off grid energy, water and waste systems to enable you to live comfortably, with modern conveniences
  • Build with various techniques, from timbre framing and stacking stone, to cobbing and straw bale construction