Cass Hazel

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since Nov 06, 2016
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My partner Genevieve Jones and I are nature enthusiasts! We run our own small horticulture and landscaping company, we also keep bees and have a pot belly pig named Theodore!

We have in the past built our own passive solar house, we are currently staying in a tiny house/shed that incorporates passive solar design as well.

Although we live in Saskatoon at the moment we just purchased our own 160 acres of aspen/fescue parkland which we are working toward off-grid homesteading on one day.
Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada (Zone 3)
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Recent posts by Cass Hazel

Thanks Andrew! Yes we have a good half kilometre of trees to our north to keep the winter winds off of us luckily. We have a 20 acre pasture in front of the cabin site that faces SW with a SW slope (perfect for keeping warmer than the surroundings), warm winds come from that direction for us. The property is well wooded with about 30 acres of pasture and open areas, which is rare for the prairies and is what attracted us to the site. Concerning the massive size (160 acres) I think we will do the homesteading thing closer to our zones 1-4 ,with the forest areas being used for forest farming, wildlife habitat, gathering, hunting, hiking and fuel wood. We are super close to a biosphere reserve called the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve, which attracts wildlife from pelicans to blacks bears to moose and deer so we are always watching and enjoying the diversity that travels and lives through our plot.

1 year ago
Gen and I purchased our own 1/4 section (160 acres) of land in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada late last summer. Since that time we have made many observations from the land. After a long winter of watching the suns path we decided on a site for the cabin/shop. We also decided to move camp closer to the work site, make a couple small gardens, and plant some trees.... for biodiversity and privacy sake.

Last winter was spent researching and coming up with a rough plan of our first goals.. those being: starting the cabin, planting some annual gardens, planting some evergreens and other varieties of trees, hand digging a well (hand auger style), starting a small mushroom farm and getting a basic idea of how our zone 1 will play out. After reading through most of Rob Roy's books I decided on a post and beam style, cordwood masonry cabin, and with his plans and some modifications we came up with our design. Early this spring we broke ground!

I also took to heart a lot of what Ben Falk had to say in his Book The Resilient Farm and Homestead, wow did that book help me get an idea of how to plan and design such a big project!

With my own knowledge of construction and landscaping combined with permies, books and family/friends, I believe we are off to a good start to the summer ahead! Here are some photos and such of our spring projects this year.

cordwood stacks in winter

future pond down from cabin site?

breaking ground while it was barely thawed


gravel and elevations

forms, rigid foam and rebar

the big pour with fam and friends

the curing floor

three cuts per end.. got em close to perfect after much practice

My lady building her cabin!

Did the side walls ourselves

Happy Me!

Working it in the rain!

With friends anything is possible! even 15' up haha

figuring out rafter details

sod cutter rural annual gardens? experimental of course

"sod cutter swale"

planted with pines, larch, lilacs and field peas

new camp and first try at a junk-pole fence windbreak

wild oysters everywhere!

wild strawberries!

hanging out on the cabins new ridgepole

Stormy days

Our Provinces flower! the prairie lily

Our mini guard pig Theodore

Thanks! more to come from us as the prairie summer unfolds!
1 year ago
costs me 2 cents Canadian! clicked purchase and all worked just fine
1 year ago
Fencing is on my mind haha, we love our wildlife out here but I will surely build a moose proof fence eventually! Based on the Joel Salatin and abundant permacultures books and vids I am really excited about solar powered  electric fencing.

After working in organic horticulture the last couple years I have enjoyed good soil more then ever, when we found our place I really appreciated the soil quality! I really did.

We have camped out many many weekends and we do have a camper, we have paid pretty close attention to the sun's patterns. If we do chose to plant down in the northern treeline we would have great solar exposure and a wind barrier from our cold northern  side. With these pros and a great view of the pasture it is hard to not chose it. I am now waiting to test for water in that area and make a decision from there. Our north winds here are of arctic quality.. very nasty sometimes around this time of year.  I will get the RMH going one day.

Great to hear you like the area, we of course like it very well too!   Cant wait for the green to come back right about now!
2 years ago
Perfect thanks again
2 years ago
Ya I totally understand why you guys say to let the zones happen organically as time goes on! Been reading lots of permaculture design books and sometimes they get pretty set on a person figuring out zones right off the start. I like the idea of having the zones happen as they should.

R Jay: I will have to look into the Highland cattle, we are very interested in exotic hardy breeds for our place one day. We have seen what Geoffrey Lawton has done with goats in wooded areas and I am impressed with his results!

We do have small market garden plots in the city where we are living, we actually got our inspiration from the Market Gardener what a great resource Jean is. We may just move our tiny house or build another one out there to get started, my goal is to have a house to live in one day that is naturally built. I do love the cord wood masonry approach but I need to get some serious cord wood curing. In time I will be ready for some natural build but I want to get out there next year living half the year on my land.

Anyways your map links worked great thank you! Finding true north is on my list of priorities, will have to do before I start any build. Seeing as you have figured out we have plenty of water to work with if we use permaculture methods, that is what we shall Do! I will make note to check on the old well next time I take a day out there.

Peter Ellis: thanks Peter we think so too! We will be doing so,e well tests and hopefuly have water through hand pump this spring, we plan on doing earthworks soon into our design schedule. A pond or two will be a high priority for us.

I will take a look a John haits work for sure, thanks!

2 years ago
Awesome video, we have tried a method quite similar using PVC pipe and water pressure. I will be trying your "hand auger and extensions" method this spring since I believe we have some shallow springs under us.

Thanks for the info
2 years ago
One more thing! In our area and circumstances, we noticed that smaller plots of land tended to be zoned differently and cost a lot more. This is because they had buildings, utilities or were within close proximity to the city. Our land cost half as much as some 20 acre plots we looked at. Venturing farther from "civilisation" and choosing raw land that is heavily wooded should yield cheaper results. Anything that is open or cleared will cost more because of its agricultural value. Try searching for: "Recreational land" "Hunting land"

2 years ago
I forgot a very important point! Where ever you look for land: check the bylaws!! These tricky laws can smash your hopes and dreams real fast. Make sure that you can build whatever you want, however you want, where ever you want. Make sure you can have animals, make sure you can live off grid. Check for minimal or maximum building sizes. Talk to people in the area and see if they have had any trouble with the local legislatures.
2 years ago