Homesteading Skills Weekend Jul 2016

ducksSat/Sun July 30/31 2016, 9 – 5, at Mermaid Farm, Hal and Colleen’s off-grid homestead past the Open Air Market in Powell River. Exact directions will be supplied when you register.

This weekend will provide experience in a variety of outdoor, hands-on, homestead skills. From setting a fence post through dealing with humanure to off-grid water and power, you’ll get lots of ideas and information. Lunches together will help you make connections with other folks on the same wavelength as you.

Cob Oven Building

Cob Oven building has been cancelled due to low registration. We’ll try again another time!


Here’s the schedule as we know it so far: there may be some changes before the actual event. See below for more details of the individual sessions.

8:30 – 9:00 am Check-in and coffee
9:00 – 9:45 am Humanure: the good, the bad and the heavy
9:45 – 11:00 Solar Cooking
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 11:45 Lessons learned from holding a full time professional job and living off the grid
11:45 – 12:45 Off-grid water systems
 12:45 – 1:30 pm Lunch (extra cost)
 1:30 – 2:00 Setting fence posts
 2:00 – 3:00 Off grid electric fencing for protecting livestock
 3:00 – 3:15 Break
 3:15 – 4:30 Edible plants walk
9:00 – 9:30 Checkin opens, coffee & snax
9:30 – 12:00 Dry stone wall building
12:00 – 12:45 Lunch (extra cost)
12:45 – 2:45 Dry stone wall building part 2
2:45 – 3:00 Break
3:00 – 4:00 Milling wood on a small scale saw mill

This weekend aims to be zero waste and support local producers. Please consider composting and recycling potential when bringing items with you.


The site is located past the end of McLeod Rd (off Padgett Rd ). It is accessible only by driving across two other private homesteads, so to reduce the stress on the access road and to help us reduce our carbon footprint we’ll be offering carpooling.

Mermaid Springs farm is a non smoking acreage but we realize that some participants will need to smoke during the day. Please respect our request of only smoking in front of the woodshed and putting your butts in the can provided. This also includes not smoking around the campfire.


Full Weekend: Regular price $135 from Jul 9th to 30th
Special deal: 15-18 year-olds only $40 for the whole weekend!
Single Day: $75
Single workshop: $30 each

Deposit $20 on registration, remainder due by Jul 12
You can pay up to 50% in Powell River Dollars PR$

Click here to register

Work trades now full.
Skookum scholarships now full.
Part scholarships are available – contact Kevin directly: 604 483 9052 or

Cancellation policy
50% refund up to 2 weeks before.
No refund after that but you are welcome to send a substitute

Workshop Details

Humanure: the Good, the Bad, and the Heavy
Not flushing your poop and pee down a white porcelain bowl can be an act of revolution, of bodily function acceptance, of honoring every precious drop of water. In this workshop we will discuss the time tested, solidly researched system of composting humanure using the Joe Jenkins system.  The steps are simple, the ick factor overcomable and the freedom to have a toilet anywhere, without plumbing or water is liberating!
Instructor: Colleen Mudry

Solar Cooking
See a variety of solar cookers in operation, and sample solar-cooked food.
Instructor: Jack Anderson

Lessons learned from holding a full time professional job and living off the grid
Are you curious how to achieve balance in this kind of a life? Homesteading is a demanding, labour intensive and exhilarating adventure. So is holding a full time, professional career. Does one exclude the other? Let me share some key lessons learned while juggling the two contrasting and often competing parts to my life.
Instructor: Colleen Mudry

Off-Grid Water Systems: Hydraulic Ram Pumps and Harvesting Rainwater
The hydraulic ram pump is a very old system for pumping water uphill without electricity. Come and learn what parts are needed to build your own, what water drop is needed for the required water pressure and see our working ram pump in action. We collect rain water for watering livestock and gardens. View our variety of methods and learn what has worked for our water needs.
Instructor: Hal Ross

Saturday and Sunday Lunch
Optional lunch available, cooked in a solar oven if the weather cooperates. There will be vegan options, and as many ingredients as possible will be local.
Lunch cost: $5

Setting fence posts
Setting fence posts in our coastal environment can be tricky and expensive. Come and learn about our preferred method using free materials and a strong back.
Instructor: Hal Ross

Off grid electric fencing for protecting livestock 
Learn how to protect your animals from hungry predators by harnessing the power of the sun. Solar panels, chargers, batteries and types of fencing will be discussed and demonstrated.
Instructor: Hal Ross

Edible plants walk
Edible wild plants are everywhere and can be an important addition to your diet and a source of emergency food. Come and stroll our forest and learn to identify some useful edible and medicinal plants
Instructor: Colleen Mudry

Dry stone wall building
Learn how to set up for and build a low retaining wall using dry stone walling techniques.
Instructor: Ken McCullough

Milling wood on a small scale saw mill
Our sawmill helped us build our home, barn and outbuildings. Come and see a small sawmill in action. Learn about how to cut safely, change blades and sawmill maintenance.
Instructor: Hal Ross