Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yurt Living

I thought I'd post something about what it's like to live in our little round house.

This 24-foot diameter Pacific Yurts tent is a wonderful, though sometimes loathesome, experience. I mean, most of the time it's great. It has a lot of light, since we oriented it with the bulk of the windows facing south, and the skylight lets in a column of warmth and brightness into the interior. We are cozy burning a fire in the woodstove on all but the coldest of winter nights and days. It has a light, airy feeling, with it's 11-foot ceiling (at the peak), and the functional kitchen is a pleasure to cook in. We are never far away from each other (which can be both a blessing and a curse), and in general, we have finally arrived at a point where the things we need are here and have a place, while things we don't need aren't here. We often refer to it as kind of like living on a boat. It IS small, about 450 square feet, so placement and organization counts.

It is also a great treat to hear foxes barking while lying in bed at night, or listening to the great horned owls, the coyotes yipping and barking to each other, echoing through the East Mill Creek canyon, or waiting for the dawn chorus to start on the mornings when I wake up for whatever reason, before the sun is up. The membrane between the inside and outer world is very thin, and the yurt almost amplifies outdoor sounds. I feel very connected to what happens outside, even while cozy in my bed.

But then, there is the WIND. And I don't mean light breezes, I mean serious, gusty, probably 30-50 mph WIIIINND, howling and whistling through the cracks and crevices of our very secure tent. We DO live in a tent, you see, and wind while in the tent is, well, LOUD. Wind here is a seasonal thing, occurring in the spring and summertime, it seems when the Pacific high pressure and interior low pressure dichotomy sets up. When it's happening, as it is at this moment, it is downright unpleasant to be outdoors. Yet it is difficult to be indoors, listening to the flapping and slamming of gusts into our fabric walls. Sleeping is difficult, for while it sometimes calms down at night, other times it doesn't. Sometimes, it blows consistently, day and night, for several days at a time!

The same holds true with winter winds, but at least these are less frequent, and predictable as to when they will stop. The dramatic, several-inch-an-hour rainstorms are equally difficult to sleep through, let alone relax through. Here is a video of what it sounds like in the midst of a big storm.

For all these reasons, we are pushing to try and get this house built sooner rather than later. Therefore, we are building a fort of a house, that wind will never touch. On the FasWall company's website, they have a testimonial letter from a customer in Lousiana, who weathered Hurricane Katrina in a FasWall house. They said they were surprised how much damage there was after the storm, cuz from inside the house, it didn't seem all that bad. Well, sign me UP! We are readY!

The other thing about the wind is that we are serious about getting a wind generator to make a lot more electricity. At least then we could really appreciate the wind, and maybe even have enough juice to power an electric car, like the ZENN.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the lovely post.It seems so wonderful to be so close to the nature. I am thinking about building a yurt in northern CA myself and wondering if you could give me any advice on insulation. My question is if we need it (I want to avoid blocking that lovely soft light from the wall and ceiling if we can). Do you think it helps to the noise level down? Sorry I am asking too many questions and thanks again!