Category Archives: building the yurt

Still Renovating

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We have our stove up and running again! With the addition of a second radiator, we are really enjoying the coziness of the yurt. Mike finished sewing the walls this weekend, so our yurt is back to normal (almost). My brother-in-law plumbed our shower while he was visiting (he’s a plumber and graciously worked on our bathroom despite being totally confused as to why we would want to live in a yurt). I’ll write about the changes soon. For now, here is our to-do list.

Pimp my Yurt 2014 (wish list):

  • sew a new outer layer of canvas 
  • add a few more windows

    windows from yurta.ca – I’ll have pictures of ours soon

  • refurbish the Rayburn (wood stove) with new fire bricks

    a blue version of our stove

  • add a second radiator
  • build a closet –> two rails (one for us, one low one for Alma) and a few shelves (for sweaters, towels, etc.)

    a branch for a rail – we will use an old yurt pole

    low rail and shelves for the wee one

  • build another counter for the kitchen
  • build ‘pantry shelves’ in the kitchen
  • fancy up the bathroom and make it more toddler friendly (lower sink/step-stool, etc.)

    toddler bathroom

  • make a preschool area (easel, chalkboard, activities, etc.) —> aside from the extra windows, this is what I’m most excited forschool area

Renovating

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We are knee-deep in yurt renovations this week and are using the time to “camp” in our front yard in our heated trailer (so not really camping at all).

All of our things are packed into containers or boxes; it is easy to see that we still have too much stuff. Hopefully more downsizing will happen as we unpack. Hopefully.

Mike has been on the roof quite a bit lately:

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Trying to figure out the angles

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Working on the roof

Here is our to do list for the yurt:

  • re-insulate and re-brick the inside of the Rayburn 
  • add another radiator to the system and hook everything up
  • sew a new roof
  • sew new walls
  • attach a giant zipper to the roof and walls
  • winterize the yurt with carpets and rugs

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Winterizing the Yurt

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Winter in the yurt has been quite cosy in comparison to last year. We have a “sunroom” which blocks out [most] the wind, carpets that keep our feet warm, and a newly-sewn breeze rejector (sounds like a superhero, does it not?) that keeps the wind from gushing in under the the canvas/felt.

Last winter can be summed up by this image of a very bundled new mother nursing her tiny infant near the stove.

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The drying diapers were daily art pieces in the yurt last winter.

This winter, so far, is quite the opposite. Although I continue to be quite well-bundled I am much warmer now that I am not restricted to life in a chair. Alma runs around most of the day, so she is always warm, and if I fulfill the day’s quota of cooking, cleaning, and playing, I also stay quite toasty.

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Yurt in the Summer

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Yurt in the Winter

 

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Yurt in the Summer

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Yurt in the Winter

 

Our weather has been strange and yet completely normal for a Canadian winter. We have had snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, rain, sun; snow that feels like mashed potatoes, snow that sounds like styrofoam, and fluffy snow that hides the menacing layer of ice hiding just beneath it. 

The yurt has been as warm as any “normal” house most days this winter (even when it is -25 outside); however, we have had a few chilly mornings that warranted enough extra layers of wool that we looked as if we were about to climb a mountain. 

Our Very Own Shower!!

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Great improvements have been made to our yurt as of late: a new floor, and a shower to call our own.

After a year of showering at my in-laws’, friends’, and the gym,  I am LOVING having my own shower again. The trick to our shower is to wait until at least 1pm and to turn the shower off while shampooing so that the water is warm the entire time.

Building the shower

Building the shower

Outdoor Shower

Outdoor Shower

The new floor, like the shower, has made my life wonderfully easy. Food thrown on the floor by the wee one is less of an issue now that I can clean it up so quickly.

Good friends made for less work

Good friends made for less work

The old floor

The old floor

All our furniture was outside for a day

All our furniture was outside for a day

The kids enjoying the new floor

The kids enjoying the new floor

Putting It All Together

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All the poles fit into the back of a friend's truck

Loading it all into a truck

Friends helped put up the walls

Putting up the walls

Putting up the tono

Putting up the tono

Tweaking the roof and the walls

Tweaking the roof and the walls

Putting the felt on the roof

Putting the felt on the roof

Covering the roof with canvas

Covering the roof with canvas

Ready for the wall felt and canvas

Ready for the wall felt and canvas

Putting up the walls

Putting up the walls

Everything but the skylight

Everything but the skylight

Working on the inside

Working on the inside

Building the bathroom/kitchen wall

Building the bathroom/kitchen wall

Wall is finished and stove is pumping hot water to a radiator

Wall is finished and stove is pumping hot water to radiator

Slowly becoming more of a home

Slowly becoming more of a home

Skylight is up!

Skylight is up!

Checking out the neighbourhood

Checking out the neighbourhood

Feeling more and more like a home

Feeling more and more like a home

A calm day of reading

A calm day of reading

Up next: Christmas in a Yurt

Wool Insulation

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We ordered 60 yards of wool felt from Yurta. It came on a six-foot roll.

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Making a mini roof out of paper

The felt is made from sheep wool and has reflective thread on one side to help contain the heat.

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It only took a day or two to sew the felt which was wonderful compared to the weeks of sewing canvas.

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It was, however, quite heavy and therefore more of a pain to sew.

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We both took naps on the felt during this process.

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Up next: Putting it all together

Sewing the Canvas and Installing the Stove

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Sewing the canvas was both fun and terrifying. We ordered 150 yards of canvas from Traders of Tamerlane (http://www.tradersoftamerlane.com/) who shipped it to us on two 3-foot rolls.

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Rolling out the canvas

We used an intense industrial sewing machine to sew the canvas. Never before have I seen a sewing machine with half a horse’s worth of power. I was afraid of sewing my fingers to our walls, so I was thankful that Mike did all the sewing.

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Starting to sew

An overwhelming amount of fabric

An overwhelming amount of fabric

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Trying it on for size

It took a couple week of sewing to get it all sewn together.

Sewing late into the night requires good food, drink, and friends

Sewing late into the night

Stuffing the roof canvas through the tono required a few extra pairs of hands

Stuffing the roof canvas through the tono required a few extra pairs of hands

The roof was just about finished at this point

The roof was just about finished at this point

Mike needed a break from sewing, so he and a friend of ours decided to install our stove (a 400kg Rayburn).

The tractor has come in handy more than a few times throughout the building of the yurt

The tractor has come in handy

The yurt started to feel like a reality once the canvas was up.

Our little circus tent

Our little circus tent

Up next:  Sewing the wool felt

The Floor

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The first step to building the floor was figuring out how we were going to do it. Crayons, sticks, and lots of sketches were involved.

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A few trees were cut down and peeled for the base of the platform.

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We used 2×6’s to build the frame.

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Double-layered bubble wrap with a reflective shield was nailed to the frame and taped together.
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We nailed down a plywood floor…

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…and took a little break.

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The Floor Part 2

Up next: Sewing the canvas and installing the stove.

Building a Roof

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Once the wall was up, we were able to figure out that we needed 32 poles for the roof. Mike built a tono (the centre ring) to hold everything together. He made a template, planed some planks of birch, and started cutting.

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He laminated and doweled three layers of birch together for strength.

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After a bit of grief, Mike drilled holes at an angle of thirty-something degrees.

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The tono was sanded and oiled.

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We started to assemble the roof.

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With help from friends, we got the whole thing up.

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Up next: Building a platform.

Saplings Become Yurt Poles

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After reading about and researching yurts, we calculated that we needed roughly 120 saplings to make a 24 foot yurt.

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We cut down forty 12 foot saplings for the roof and eighty 7 foot saplings for the walls.

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After cutting the saplings, we let them sit for a few weeks to dry out. We peeled each of poles using a draw knife and rounded the ends with whatever knives we could find.

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Each pole was then oiled two or three times with linseed oil.

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Once all of the poles were cut, peeled, and oiled, we drilled holes in them and attached them to each other with nylon rope.

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We assembled the wall in the middle of a field to check that it was what we wanted.

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We ended up using around 75 poles to make the wall frame (some were cut out to make room for the door) which gave us a circumference of about 76 feet. All of this took a few months as we worked on it on and off throughout the spring and early summer.

Up next: Building the tono (centre ring) and putting up the roof frame.