Yurt Living

My dear friend Jen Stewart, husband Jason and 3 children are moving to Edmonton, Alberta. This is not unusual save for the fact that they've let go of most of their possessions and moving int a yurt in the woods. Here is an interview with her:
Annie: What exactly is a yurt?
Jen: At the most basic level, one might say a yurt is a glorified tent - but a yurt is really much more. The Mongols live in them year round and tend to prefer them to other forms of housing.The original designs of these structures involved five basic elements: lattice walls, roof beams, a roof ring, a door, and a felt or hide covering. When put together, it created a simple round wooden latticework frame with a combination of felt and sheep skin covering the outside depending on the season.

Annie: Where does one buy a yurt and are they expensive?
Jen: You would buy it online. We love Yurtco (so far so good). Our state of the art Yurt with all of the fixings and lots of extra windows and doors will come in at under $30 000. This yurt is the largest they make (over 800 square feet but there are ones for much much less money).

Annie: Are you building your yurt on your own? Is it difficult?
Jen: Yes we are building it. You need to build a deck to put it on if you are living in it full time so that will be a bit of an expense. (2000.00). Check out the online videos of putting up a yurt. They are easily assembled and disassembled. A distributer can usually be hired to give you a hand but a few handy folks is all that is needed. Should be all done and ready to live in within a week!

Annie: What process brought you from living to a 3 bedroom house to moving into a yurt?
Jen: We like to try new things, we aren't interested in building equity in a home. Rather, we are interested in building equity in ourselves. We believe that housing should be affordable and accessible to all. We are experimenting with old, new to us, ways of doing things. We like the road less traveled. We understand that the climate is changed forever and we want to understand what it will be like to live with fewer resources. We want more cash to enjoy. We do not want to pay interest on a mortgage.

Annie: What amenities will you be living without?
Jen: Running water, we will have to haul it from about 1 mile away. Rainwater catchment and conservation. Eventually a small Earthship Greenhouse. Flush toilets. . . We will compost our shit, which is a good idea. As I learn more, I see how disgusting and wasteful our method of handling urine and feces really is. Man, we are putting our shit into our drinking water! There are people all over the world dying for lack of water and we gaily use drinking water (which is what is in out toilets) (5 gallons of it per flush) to get rid of our poop. Which is actually a valuable resource that can easily and very safely be composted. Download for free the Humanure Handbook online. Washer and Dryer -I will not be as wasteful with my clothing. I presently have a bad habit of washing everything that has a little splash of food/dirt upon it. I will use the laundromat and hand powered methods. We will have outdoor shower and a Finish Sauna to clean ourselves.
I feel the sauna will be an important part of upcoming rituals and family life. Public showers and such will also be used. We will have a generator that we can use if we like. Heating will be wood from our property. Small propane stove.

Annie: How far will your yurt be from the city?
Jen:35 minutes from work.

Annie: What challenges do you expect your family to face?
Jen: Lack of Community at first.

Annie: How do you think your family will grow through this experience?
Jen: I have no agenda. I guess we will have to see! But I will say this. A wise lady once shared with me this bit of wisdom, "your actions must always be worthy of emulation," so for my children and my friends, I must be the change that I want to see in the world!!! N'est Pas?

Thanks Jen! Green blessings to you and yours.

I must admit that I have a yearning to forgo material things and move to be in the presence of trees and live off the land. I often wonder if I was born in the wrong era!

Annie Bananie

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