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.)
- make a preschool area (easel, chalkboard, activities, etc.) —> aside from the extra windows, this is what I’m most excited forschool area
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:
Trying to figure out the angles
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!
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.
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.
Yurt in the Summer
Yurt in the Winter
Yurt in the Summer
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.
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
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
The old floor
All our furniture was outside for a day
The kids enjoying the new floor
Loading it all into a truck
Putting up the walls
Putting up the tono
Tweaking the roof and the walls
Putting the felt on the roof
Covering the roof with canvas
Ready for the wall felt and canvas
Putting up the walls
Everything but the skylight
Working on the inside
Building the bathroom/kitchen wall
Wall is finished and stove is pumping hot water to radiator
Slowly becoming more of a home
Skylight is up!
Checking out the neighbourhood
Feeling more and more like a home
A calm day of reading
Up next: Christmas in a Yurt
We ordered 60 yards of wool felt from Yurta. It came on a six-foot roll.
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.
It only took a day or two to sew the felt which was wonderful compared to the weeks of sewing canvas.
It was, however, quite heavy and therefore more of a pain to sew.
We both took naps on the felt during this process.
Up next: Putting it all together
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.
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.
Starting to sew
An overwhelming amount of fabric
Trying it on for size
It took a couple week of sewing to get it all sewn together.
Sewing late into the night
Stuffing the roof canvas through the tono required a few extra pairs of hands
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
The yurt started to feel like a reality once the canvas was up.
Our little circus tent
Up next: Sewing the wool felt
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.
A few trees were cut down and peeled for the base of the platform.
We used 2×6’s to build the frame.
Double-layered bubble wrap with a reflective shield was nailed to the frame and taped together.
We nailed down a plywood floor…
…and took a little break.
The Floor Part 2
Up next: Sewing the canvas and installing the stove.
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.
He laminated and doweled three layers of birch together for strength.
After a bit of grief, Mike drilled holes at an angle of thirty-something degrees.
The tono was sanded and oiled.
We started to assemble the roof.
With help from friends, we got the whole thing up.
Up next: Building a platform.
After reading about and researching yurts, we calculated that we needed roughly 120 saplings to make a 24 foot yurt.
We cut down forty 12 foot saplings for the roof and eighty 7 foot saplings for the walls.
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.
Each pole was then oiled two or three times with linseed oil.
Once all of the poles were cut, peeled, and oiled, we drilled holes in them and attached them to each other with nylon rope.
We assembled the wall in the middle of a field to check that it was what we wanted.
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.