Thursday, December 29, 2011

Living in Yurts.

Yurts were definitely not my first choice for shelter when I contemplated where we would live when we first arrived on our land. Discussions between my wife and I began quite some time before we had purchased any property - when she first asked me about where we would be living while I built a home, my initial thought was a large garden shed - indeed! I suppose in my mind's eye I could see myself stoking a tiny fireplace and sleeping on a cot, but then, the reality of having a wife and young son underfoot in even the largest shed (cabin?) quickly supplanted the romance of such a tiny space.

When my wife suggested "what about a yurt?" - I was internally hostile - visions of hippies and "new age" type people sprang to mind. I tried to be externally diplomatic and open though, which, in hindsight, is a useful attitude to take for such things. It allowed me to be able to take in more information, while not immediately dismissing something I didn't know much about.

As I learned more, it did make more sense. A yurt requires only the floor to be constructed, which would have been the case with my shed idea anyway. The yurt can be erected reasonably quickly, and is long-lived, if minimal care is taken.

With a little bit of coaxing, we took a family field trip to visit someone who actually was living in a yurt - David Masters of Lunatic Adventures and The Luna Project.  It was a really excellent experience, and subsequently, we have met David in other venues, and are always impressed with his enthusiasm and sincerity.

Once we had purchased our property though, it was time to really get serious about deciding upon our needs.  David recommended highly Pacific Yurts.  We tried to do our "due diligence" though, and also looked at yurtco.comgroovy yurts (interesting because they actually import genuine yurts from Mongolia), and yourte.ca.  

In the end though, we settled on yurta.ca - While the size of their yurt was worryingly small for us to contemplate (17' in diameter), the pleasure of working with Patrick Ladisa and his openness to our questions and concerns really set us at ease.  It's also comforting to know that Yurta places a very strong emphasis on using natural, healthy and sustainable materials in their yurts as much as possible.  As well, we were really relieved to see that their dome and three, large windows made the interior seem pleasantly bright, even on an overcast day.

Yes, the 17' yurt still seems to be too small for us, but Patrick had a very ingenious solution.  Yurta are considering manufacturing a 13' diameter yurt as well, and so he suggested that we could be one of (currently) three "guinea pigs" who all wanted or needed more room than a 17' yurt could provide.  Yurta will manufacture a door frame that can link the two yurts directly together - kind of like two soap bubbles kissing.  It will allow us to use the larger yurt as our main living quarters, and then go on to use the smaller yurt as our family "bedroom".  Due to the Yurta's designed-in ability to be quickly and easily dismantled and relocated, it should be possible to separate the two structures, if and when they are no longer needed in that configuration.  It's win-win-win for everyone I believe.

After a minor hiccough with our deposit cheque being refused at the bank (don't get me started on a rant!), we expect to take delivery of both of our yurts in the spring, just in time to transport them to the hundred acre wood!