Modern Yurts vs. Traditional Yurts

Sain baina uu? 

Whether you’re new to the world of yurts, a yurt enthusiast, or for generations your family has been building and assembling gers from scratch, you have likely been made aware that there is more than one type of yurt. Yurts date back to more than 3000 years ago in Central Asia and have evolved a great deal since. Traditional Mongolian and Turkic yurts are most common in Central Asia, however, the rest of the world has seen growth in popularity for both the traditional and modern versions. But what is the best way to go? Well, this depends on your style, location, climate & municipal regulations. 

Traditional Yurts

Traditional yurts are nomadic tents that have been used by Central Asian tribes for centuries. They are made of felt or other natural materials and are typically circular in shape. The structure of a traditional yurt consists of lattice walls attached in a circle and supporting roof rafters that are radiating from a central dome opened to the sky (called toono in Mongolia). The wall and roof covers are made of felt and canvas and are held in place by horse-hair ropes. The floor is typically made of packed earth or a wooden platform.

Mongolian gers, in particular, are extremely efficient due to their compact silhouette that has been shaped in an extreme climate over the course of hundreds of years. They are fairly easy to move from one location to the other and leave little to no footprint.

Modern Yurts

Modern yurts, on the other hand, are a more recent development and are typically using more manmade materials such as vynil for the outer cover.  The structure of modern yurts are often higher to accommodate standard doors and a steeper pitch. Reflective bubble wrap is mostly used as insulation.  The flooring can be wooden or made of other sturdy materials. Some modern yurts can also be equipped with plumbing and electrical systems.

Durability

Mongolian yurts, which are still used today by about half the Mongolian population, were developed to withstand the harshest weather conditions – making them 4-season dwellings. Modern Yurts can also survive seasonal changes, which attests to why both are popular North America.

Doors

The origin proportions of the Mongolian yurt were tried and tested for thousands of years and are still honored throughout Mongolia to this day. Notably, the doors are smaller than North American standards. This is not because Mongolians are short, but rather, because of functionality and physics! The short doorway allows for a more aerodynamic shape, making it easy for the yurt structure to endure high winds. Additionally, it is also proven to be more efficient to heat during the winter season! 

Modern yurts were designed with higher doors to fit the North American building codes. It should be noted that this modification is not as effective at resisting high winds.

Materials 

Another main difference is the materials that are used to construct the yurts. Traditional Yurts are hand-made with natural and breathable materials, heavily avoiding the use of plastic to cover and insulate the yurt. Modern Yurts are mainly constructed with vinyl covers for the outside layer.  A big concern with the use of nonbreathable material is that the yurt consequently has an issue with fending off condensation, affecting ease of maintenance and comfortability.

About Groovy Yurts

At Groovy Yurts, we too have modified the yurt very slightly, with most respect for Mongolian traditions! Because of the moist climates we often face, we’ve added a layer of breathable membrane between the canvas and the felt insulation. This hinders the breathability of the yurt slightly but is the best compromise that we have found to prevent water from coming in, while allowing the humidity to escape. 

Additionally, for those with more minimalistic styles, we have partnered with Tuya and her team to provide our new line of contemporary yurtsThe Natural Wood Collection! These Mongolian gers allow the natural woodwork to shine. Be sure to check them out!

As one of the oldest dwellings in the world, the yurt never ceases to amaze us with its capacity to adapt to different needs and conditions. No matter how you compare them, they all share the same core value of roundness that brings people together! So, we’ve laid it all out. The pros, cons, and realities of living out of a traditional or modern yurt. Now the million-dollar question is, which yurt best suits you?

Next Read: Winter Yurt Tips  

 

Source:

Modern Yurt Image: https://zurl.co/IGG4

 

Who is the great Warrior Ruler, Genghis Khan?

Who is the great Warrior Ruler, Genghis Khan?

The Genesis 

Originally known as Temujin (named after a Tatar chieftain), Genghis Khan was born in 1162 along the border of Mongolia and Siberia, near Lake Baikal. This budding warrior was a member of the Borjigin tribe, and a descendent of the great Khabul Khan (Khabul Khan “briefly united Mongols against the Jin (Chin) Dynasty of northern China in the early 1100s”). He was born with a blood clot in his hand, which signifies that the infant is meant to become a leader in Mongolian culture. Many great leaders are born of great turmoil and unfortunately, Genghis was no exception. He was destined to live a life full of unpredictability and trauma. 

His parents were not united out of love, but rather, came together when his mother was kidnapped by his father, Yesukhei, who forcefully married her. Violence and sadness surrounded Gengis Khan as “dozens of nomadic tribes on the central Asian steppe were constantly fighting and stealing from each other.” Genghis was one of 6 siblings when his father died of poisoning, an attack premeditated by an enemy clan. What followed was a poverty-stricken widow & siblings, & Bekhter (half-brother) and Genghis fighting to be the head of the household. Genghis wins as a result of killing Bekhter and becomes the main protector and provider. 

What happened next?  

Genghis grew up and married Borte at 16 years old and together they shared 4 boys and an undocumented number of girls. Their marriage cemented a necessary alliance between the Konkirat tribe and his own. Later, Botre would be taken by the Merkit tribe and was forcefully given to a chieftain as a wife. Genghis sent out a search party and was successful in retrieving his wife. Along the way, they have another son named Jochi (from the kidnapping) and Genghis continues to have more children with other lovers. 

This is a little bit about Genghis’ early life. Although far from perfect, he goes on to wear many hats, and unite the people of Mongolia – building a strong and fortified Mongolian empire. Did you know that Mongol is the biggest empire conquered?  Victory took 3 generations (Genghis’ sons and grandsons) and was largely thanks to Mongolian gers. Because they were nomads, the soldier’s families would follow the soldiers allowing them to go on very long campaigns without feeling homesick. Amazing right!? 

The Warrior Ruler 

Later, Genghis Khan would be temporarily enslaved by the Taichi’uts. Through a string of events, he escapes and builds a fighting unit with clansmen and his blood brothers. Genghis naturally rose to command and the unit grew larger until he had assembled over 20,000 men. Each soldier had a few horses allowing them to advance very fast. Ultimately, he wanted “to destroy traditional divisions amongst the various tribes and unite the Mongols under his rule.” 

As the unit began to fight more battles, they gradually became stronger and more strategic through military tactics and their leader’s guidance. Overcoming one rival tribe at a time, Genghis was able to annihilate the Tatar tribe and avenge his father’s death. He then went on to conquer the “Naiman tribe, thus giving him control of central and eastern Mongolia.” The unit achieved victory after victory, rallying tribes under their feet.

Genghis was a wise and tactful leader that was able to create “an extensive spy network and was quick to adopt new technologies from his enemies.” His quick thinking and intelligence brought men together from far and wide. The fighting unit went from 20 000 to over 80 000, making them a powerful force. They had a lot of intelligent systems in place that increased their coordination and enabled them to carry loads of handy equipment for battle. It is believed they invented the postal system with a system of horse relays that allowed them to pass information extremely quickly from every corner of the empire. They had advanced and “sophisticated signaling systems of smoke and burning torches. Large drums sounded commands to charge, and further orders were conveyed with flag signals. Every soldier was fully equipped with a bow, arrows, a shield, a dagger, and a lasso. Cavalrymen carried a small sword, javelins, body armor, a battle-ax or mace, and a lance with a hook to pull enemies off their horses.”  

Proceeding a long string of wins against rival tribes, the warrior’s name transitioned from Temujin (his original name) to Genghis Khan, which translates to ‘Universal Ruler’ or ‘Warrior Ruler’.  Genghis Khan was a name that rang throughout Mongolia and “the title carried both political importance and spiritual significance.” The leading shaman declared Genghis Khan the representative of Mongke Koko Tengri (the ‘Eternal Be Sky’), the supreme god of the Mongols. With this declaration of divine status, it was accepted that his destiny was to rule the world.”  

In 1207, Genghis carried his honorable name and battle instruments on both shoulders, as he guided his calvary men to override the Xi Xia. Then, in 1211, he attacked North Korea in Jin Dynasty in northern China, then following in “1219, he waged a 3-prong attack against the Khwarazmian dynasty, and so on and so forth. Did you know that when the Mongols reached the doors of Europe, they entered cities that stunk so badly (because of the lack of sewage systems) that they decided to stop it there and go home? Crazy right?! Genghis khan would set up embassies (a word originating from the Mongolian language)  in the countries conquered and with no violence for those who surrendered. 

He was also fascinated by all the knowledge he picked up along the way and brought back to Mongolia scientists, artists and especially representatives of all religions (today all religions are still well tolerated in Mongolia and cohabit in relative harmony and great tolerance). Put simply, where ever Genghis and his men went, they conquered and brought the best from their conquest home. 

Mission Accomplished

Even the greatest of lives must come to an end. The Warrior Ruler died in 1227, shortly following the surrender of Xi Xia. There is mystery behind his death, however.  It is believed by some that Genghis “fell off a horse while on a hunt and died of fatigue and injuries. Others contend that he died of respiratory disease. Genghis Khan was buried without markings, according to the customs of his tribe, somewhere near his birthplace—close to the Onon River and the Khentii Mountains in northern Mongolia. According to legend, the funeral escort killed anyone and anything they encountered to conceal the location of the burial site, and a river was diverted over Genghis Khan’s grave to make it impossible to find.” 

From Temujin to Genghis Khan, he was truly an unforgettable conqueror. 

Next Read: The Intricate Symbolism of Mongolian Gers >

Sources:

 

 

tyvek wrapping for yurt to prevent condensation issues

Best House Wrap to Prevent Condensation Issues in Yurts

Because the cotton-based outer canvas of a yurt is water resistant and not waterproof, we add a layer of house wrap between the felt insulation and the canvas – this will help prevent condensation issues in yurts.

The house wrap acts as an additional barrier to block any humidity that manages to get past the canvas, while still allowing the yurt to breathe. This dynamic created by the outer layers is what makes the yurt so efficient, comfortable, and healthy (in a way). However, it should be noted that the house wrap is a compromise and does reduce the breathability.

yurt withstands low and high humidity levels

This solution can reach its limit in the freezing temperatures of winter, when the humid air inside the yurt runs through the felt, hits the cold layer of wrap and freezes, disabling the wrap’s breathability.

yurt withstands low and high humidity levels to prevent condensation issues

If too much condensation accumulates in the felt, it may drip down the yurt or leave humidity stains in the inner liner.

The same process can occur in above freezing temperatures when humidity builds within the yurt and is quickly followed by rainfall. This causes the yurt’s roof to cool much faster than the air does. In this situation, yurt dwellers are often confused and think that rainwater is coming through the roof.

The best strategy to continuously monitor humidity production and ventilate when cooking or producing extra vapour (ex. using propane).

Heating with a wood stove to dry the yurt inside (keeping an opening in the toono) is another options when the yurt was left unattended for a while or if water had found its way in.

A Better Wrap for Yurts to Prevent Condensation Build-Up

tyvek wrapping for yurt

But what if there was a better wrap?

Over the years, we’ve tried a few different brands.

In the beginning, we were using Novawrap Aspire, however, due to the fragility of the product, quick diminution of quality, and poor response from the company, we made the easy decision to turn back to Mento 1000.

We recently began evaluating other wraps and just did a comparative test on a 3-wall (14’ diameter) yurt. To do this, we made a roof wrap out of 4 different brands and installed it on a double layer of felts. Over the next few days, we boiled over 100 litres (over 25 gallons) of water inside the yurt alongside outdoor temperatures of -24C (-11F). We let the yurt cool down occasionally, but always kept it closed and tight.

The simple experiment showed interesting results.

On the bright side, one of the wraps was clearly superior and trapped significantly less frost under its surface. It remained relatively dry. Most of the vapour had escaped, following the path of least resistance, as the felts were mildly moist and showed few water stains in the ceiling. It seemed to prove the necessity for ventilation (vapor will follow the path of least resistance) and allowed us to identify a better option to use as a roof underlayer from now on.

What’s to Come for Yurt Humidity Control in the Future?

tyvek wrapping for yurt

We wish to keep the Mongolian ger’s original characteristics, as we have so much respect for this timeless dwelling and want it to remain as simple as possible. However, now that they are used in other climates and have purposes aside from nomadic life, we must understand how the dwellings react to new variables and relay this information to our customers.

The best first precaution: Monitor humidity and ventilate. Humidity stains can be removed by spraying a solution of bleach or vinegar.

The article mainly applies to Authentic Mongolian yurts. Modern yurts experience similar condensation issues, however the process is quite different.

Hammond Hill Yurt

A Conversation with Aaron Markel from Hammond Hill

Hey Groovies!

We had an amazing conversation with entrepreneur and part-owner of Hammond Hill Eco Resorts, Aaron Markel. We chatted about a plethora of topics, covering all things yurts, business, and so much more! Learn more about Hammond Hill, Aaron’s business journey, and our partnership below!

Tell me about yourself and your business! 

My name is Aaron Markel. I’m part-owner of Hammond Hill Eco Resorts, located just outside of the Hammond Golf and Country Club in Hammond, ON. We’re a 62-acre eco-resort that’s been hosting guests for about a year and a half now! We made the decision to build completely off-grid and we run solar power, water reclamation, compostable toilets, our own sawmill, and so much more. 

Why did you decide that your business needed yurts on board? 

We ended up with the traditional yurt model because it fits our profile perfectly. Yurts (or Gers) were developed by Mongolian nomads and therefore have low environmental impact, are portable (yet stable), and are designed to be lived in all year ‘round.

We previously had a modern yurt for a year or so, but it was lost in a big storm along with about 4000 trees. Afterwards, we decided to purchase 3 Groovy Yurts to add to our yurt village – we wanted to fill the space with different styles of yurts. Peter from Groovy Yurts and his team came out and installed them for free after hearing about the devastating storm. We are so appreciative that they showed up for us – taking time out of their day to come help us out. They have a very special place in my heart, and I have nothing bad to say about them at all.

How did you hear about Groovy Yurts? 

Through research! We purchased a yurt from another company at first, but ultimately found that they were getting too expensive and started looking at alternatives. We quickly discovered that Groovy Yurts was just 30 minutes away from us, and we loved the local, symbiotic feel.

Can you speak on a moment that encompasses your relationship with them? 

I was there for the yurt installation and spent a lot of time with Peter. Through our interaction, I found that the Groovy Yurts team is extremely informative. Their passion and love for Mongolian people and their way of life is so inspiring – you can’t help but leave the install date with an overwhelming sense of “this is how people are supposed to think about other people and cultures.” Learning more about people, how they live, and who they are is so important.

Overall, dealing with the entire team has been so easy.  They accommodated us because the storm was unexpected, and we couldn’t pay the full amount right away. A lot of businesses would have demanded full payment upfront, but they were super understanding of our unique situation and even gave us lots of time to ensure that our order was perfect. Through that experience, I know we made the right choice by choosing Groovy Yurts! 

Why would you recommend Groovy Yurts to potential yurt buyers? 

I run a construction company and I talk to many suppliers, so based on previous experiences, I know my interaction with Groovy Yurts was great. They are very well organized, and I’ve held on to their pre-setup and post-setup checklists. Something that really stood out to me is a time that we had some issues on our end – a lot of suppliers would just go dark – but Peter came onsite 3 other times to meet with members of my team and make sure everyone was on the same page. Their implementation process was amazing, and it was clear that they’ve done this many times as the yurts showed up on time, and their emails were very explicit in terms of what we needed to have ready and what we could expect upon arrival.

So, the beginning was great, and as a salesperson, I know that the beginning is usually great because a business wants your business. But the thing that I will always remember is the after-sale service. I know I can call Peter right now and he’ll answer the phone. These are the kind of people that I will continue a relationship with because when things go wrong (and they often do), we know they’ll be there to advise and support in any way they can. It’s truly amazing. For me, Groovy Yurts gets a check, check, and check.

What has been your takeaway from this relationship?

I think it’s affirmation. I’m not too sure if karma is the right word but as for what you throw out to the universe, you just hope that it comes back. I also hope that they felt their interaction with us was just as beneficial for them. 

After they came to help us out, we bought the steak dinners and gave them a tour of our facility. There were lots of stories being told, and a little bit craziness (of the best variety) – it was all a part of the awesome experience. Perhaps my favourite story of all is how they began selling Mongolian gers. Yves, the owner, was a truck driver for a not-for-profit organization called Globe Trucker, which was delivering school supplies to rural Mongolia at the time. After dropping of the supplies, they didn’t want to head back with an empty truck, so they purchased a few yurts from a local manufacturer and brought them back to North America. I give a lot of tours of the eco-resort, and I start off with that story every time because it paints a picture of the power of global economy – it’s great stuff.

What has been your experience with providing an eco-resort? 

Our interaction with the city and the county has been surprisingly positive and supportive. Typically, interactions with city officials can be quite adversarial and, in some cases aggressive, but the moment that we presented this property we were fast-tracked for approvals. We were able to show people that we didn’t want to cut down trees, but rather that we wanted to build within the envelopes, reuse nature (use the natural materials and pathways already laid out and provided by nature) highlight trails – we were fortunate to be backed by the community.

As a constructor, I can’t begin to tell you the amount of stuff that we end up throwing away. In the past, there was a 20% commitment to upcycling materials, but when you start talking to people, like the mayor, the city council, and RBC, it’s more about the feel-good component to upcycling. We started thinking that if we build a business, we want to do it better. We can build more sustainably; something that our kids can be proud of. As far as I can tell, what we’re building is the first of its kind and I find it inspiring because our story impacts everyone a little bit differently. The general response has been amazing. 

We’re not reinventing the wheel, but we are doing things better at different stages in the process.  So yes, Groovy Yurts fits right into that model – we like how their traditional yurts are authentically hand-crafted by a Mongolian family out of mostly natural materials. Additionally, 25 trees are planted with each purchase to replace the ones that were cut down. 

Is the construction of Hammond Hill a long-time dream?

So, Hammond Hill is a recent idea – less than 2 years old. What’s amazing about the idea is that it was very organic, and it just grew alongside the company values. I have a great team, so it was a very interactive process.  “Where do you think we should put the campsite?” “Hmm, how about there?” The excitement of the team, sharing the journey with my friends, and showing people how we accomplished cutting a trail through wetlands and built bridges are a few of the highlights for me!

Does Hammond Hills bring a sense of purpose or fulfillment?

Since the storm, we’ve recorded 3000 hours of footage. I do a weekly update of the progress that has happened on the Hill. The story is powerful, but the rebuilding process has been even more impactful. We were totally knocked down because of the storm – alongside many other people and businesses – but now I can see that we’re equally participating in rebuilding the community. We’ve donated logs, generators, and overall, helped everyone recover. For us, our vision of what we do next is even better than what we started with. That’s both exciting and fulfilling.

Why would you recommend getting a yurt to other resort destinations?

I’m going to approach this from the opinion of our customers that have come to stay with us. The resounding response is that it’s like walking into a 4000-year-old piece of architecture. With traditional yurts, not much has changed from when they were first conceptualized – you’re basically stepping into a historical depiction of how people lived a long time ago in other parts of the world, and, how they continue to live. So, I think when you get this type of reaction from your guests, it becomes clear why you would purchase something like this. 

Why do you love traditional yurts (or Mongolian Gers)? 

I actually got my wedding license this year (I jump around a lot), and I married three people on the Hill. For the first wedding it was raining, and I married them in the yurt. I was appointed to write a speech that dealt with the idea of family – I had to be accurate in my understanding of the Mongolian ger and its symbolism. We talked about the imagery of a circle, the completion of the ring, being at the center of your family unit, and making sure that the people around you are of equal importance. It made me realize that the yurt is beautiful because it promotes togetherness due to its simplicity – there are limited modern world distractions, which fosters building connections with your loved ones. 

As we are leaving COVID (fingers crossed), a lot of people really want to get back to the basics and into nature, and our eco-resort provides the perfect getaway for this. We have many types of accommodations, including, pioneer homes and campsites, but with the yurt, it’s the only structure that promotes togetherness. I simply love and value it so much.

Thank you so much again Aaron for such an awesome time and conversation. We wish you the best in all your endeavors, and hope to chat again sooner than later!

Be sure to check out Hammond Hill Eco Resorts!

Next Read: The Intricate Symbolism of Mongolian Gers >

secure yurts in hurricane

How To Secure Yurts in Extreme Weather & Hurricanes

Weathering the Storm

As we know, many thousands of people on the East Coast were affected by the tropical storm ‘Fiona’. This event was reported by BBC as ‘historic and extreme’, with winds gusting over 160km/hr. Homes, powerlines, and trees were ripped from the ground – and very likely, any yurts remaining were left in poor condition. There is some hope to secure your yurts in extreme weather, such as a hurricane, as we received this hopeful message from a customer:

“Thanks for all your help and advice! Our yurts survived 170+ km/hour winds. We lost our entire forest. Well over 1000 trees came down. Many were snapped in half, ripped out at the roots, or just blown away. Miraculously not one single tree fell onto those yurts in a way that would damage them. Some fell near the yurts or around them, but no direct hits no real damage! To secure our yurts, we tied three or four deck blocks together and then secured them to the centre Toono and that really seemed to help provide a counterweight against the lift from the hurricane. All in all, we feel lucky despite the destruction around us.”

In the same vein, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the US, Hurricane Ian, is currently devastating Florida. The storm has “swamped southwest Florida, flooding streets and buildings, knocking out power to 1.8 million people and threatening catastrophic damage further inland.” As Ian continues its path, we’d like to mitigate and manage the damages these storms can cause on yurts – now and in the future. Below, we’ve included some tips for securing your yurt in extreme weather.

Tips & Tricks to Secure Yurts in Hurricanes

The best way to tackle the damage is to look at the frame systematically.

  • Shifting Toono from High Winds: We urge you to check if the center is aligned with the door, and then work your way down from there. Are the huns in their notches? Have they cracked? The stress of the shift can create a ripple effect.
  • Saturated Yurt from Heavy Rains: Once the ‘skeleton’ of the yurt has been assessed, you must look for water damage. If the yurt covers are not too saturated, you can can heat it with a wood stove. The heat will dry out the air, and can be circulated by opening the toono, door, or window (or all the above).
  • Oversaturated Yurt from Storm Surge: If your felts have been soaked, the yurt will need to breathe. It’s best to hang the felt in an area that is circulating air. In the past, we’ve created a makeshift clothesline by tying ropes to multiple trees and placing the felts on the lines to dry. Of course, this is not the only way to hang the felts, and depending on the resources at hand, your solution may look a little different.
  • Collapsed Structure from Extreme Winds: A worst-case scenario is the collapse of your yurt structure due to extreme winds. If you find yourself in this situation, then the damage is severe. We urge you to take pictures and contact us – we will build a customized parts order for you as quickly as possible. We will be travelling to the Eastern & East-Central states at the end of October and can arrange delivery in some cases.

We hope you feel more confident to secure your yurts in hurricanes. If you’re having issues with any of the above tips, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are always here to help you. Otherwise, if you have the skills – Mcgyvering a solution is a wonderful way to honour the ingenuity and resilience of the Mongolian spirit. Their nomadic lifestyles often create scenarios that can only be solved through creative and inspiring problem-solving.

Sending you so much love, blessings, and good fortune.

The Groovy Yurts Team

Next Read: How to Control Humidity in Yurts >

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Groovy Note: We are always ‘at yurt service’ for advice and recommendations. And we love to hear yurt stories.

Contact us today if you have any questions, comments or anecdotes.

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Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/hurricane-ian-cuba-florida-1.6598339

 

Customer Experience and Testimonial

​​When I say “Groovy,” you say “Tour”

Groovy!  – “Tour”

Groovy!  – “Tour”

Hey Groovies!

We have been journeying throughout the U.S. and Canada in our “Très Spécial” Groovy Delivery Bus, delivering authentic Mongolian yurts right to your doorstep. On this awesome adventure, we’ve had our share of ups and downs (THREE flat tires! womp-womp), not the least of which, meeting fabulous Groovies like yourselves! 

We love hearing from y’all! Please read this review from Daphne & Mark in Hesperus, Colorado. It was a great pleasure delivering their Ger, and learning about why yurt living was integral to their lifestyle.

 

Daphne’s Testimonial:

“ I am a sustainable architect, Biogeometry practitioner and yoga practitioner from the east. Mark and I both really value both the history, heritage and also health benefits to living in a natural and radial structure like a Ger. As Buddhists who spend much time in the Himalayas, it brings great joy to have the decorated visual forms with us on the West.

Long story short, we are deeply grateful for Groovy Yurts for making this happen for us at Windhorse (our land in Colorado which is named after Lungta (the mystical flying horse you see on some Tibetan prayer flags). And also for Groovy Yurts making the process so easy and accessible.

So whatever we can do to support Groovy Yurts back, we’ll make it happen.

(I also have a gag reflex for the vinyl and random stick frame structures that call themselves gers or yurts so you can imagine my despair before I finally found Groovy Yurts) “

With love,

Daphne

 

Thank you so much, Daphne. We are elated to hear that you both value the “history, heritage, and also health benefits” of Gers. Buddhism and Shamanism continue to thrive in Mongolia and are heavily associated with traditional yurts. We are glad to aid in your spiritual journey by providing Mongolian Gers to your doorstep. Thank you for being so wonderful, and we can’t wait to work with you both again soon.

Have a great day Groovies!

 

Additional Links

Tour Updates

 https://www.instagram.com/p/ChKjpWGOWoP/

https://groovyyurts.com/delivery-tours-2/

More on Mongolian Yurts, Impermanence and Buddhism:

https://groovyyurts.com/mongolian-yurts-impermanence-and-buddhism/

 

Yurt Permits and Building Codes

Our Journey with Yurt Permits and Building Codes

By: Laura McLeod and Meredith Rush-Inglis

Thinking about building or purchasing a yurt? One of the largest obstacles for future traditional yurt owners is obtaining yurt permits and compliance with existing yurt building codes (or lack thereof). Sometimes this involves working closely with authorities to update building regulations. This change can be difficult and, in some cases, frustrating; you must adapt and become a change-maker. Here are some tips: 

  1. Determine Authority for Enforcing Building Code (Generally the Local Municipality) Before Purchasing a Yurt

In Ontario, Canada, the local municipality is the authority for enforcing the Building Code. Therefore, your first point of contact should be your local municipality to gain information about the Ontario yurt building codes and regulations. Get in touch with the municipal building department for information on the applicability of the Code and whether a building permit is required. If it is, prepare yourself to navigate the system skillfully and calmly. 

The process of permitting a yurt will take time, so it’s best to start as soon as you are thinking about a purchase. Please consult with your local municipality regarding building codes, by-laws, and permit fees before committing. For assistance with this process, you may wish to seek the services of a qualified engineer or planner. 

  1. Familiarize Yourself with the Municipality’s By-Laws, Challenges & Building Code

You may need to politely argue for common sense. When dealing with a municipality, some challenges to consider are: 

  • Municipalities are inconsistent in their handling of alternative structures. Some municipalities have categorized yurts as temporary or non-permanent structures that do not require building permits. However, some building officials take the position that a yurt fits the Ontario Building Code definition of a structure and requires a permit based on its size and usage. 
  • Yurts often do not fit neatly into any category under municipal building by-laws and can be subject to the same categories and fees as more expensive permanent structures. 
  • As in all areas of life, personalities can be challenging and pride can be an obstacle, especially with those in positions of authority. A building official may not appreciate having their authority challenged by citizens or elected officials! 
  1. Familiarize Yourself with the Definitions of ‘Yurt’, ‘Building’ & ‘Tent’ 

Depending on your jurisdiction, you may need to politely argue for clarity on these terms. The Ontario Building Code does not specifically mention the word ‘Yurt’, but common definitions exist: 

  • “A circular domed tent of skins or felt stretched over a collapsible lattice framework and used by pastoral peoples of inner Asia.” 
  • “Type of round tent with a wooden frame, used traditionally as a home by some Central Asian people, and now sometimes used for camping in Western countries” 

The Code does, however, indicate what a building is: 

  • A structure occupying an area greater than ten square metres consisting of a wall, roof and floor or any of them or a structural system serving the function hereof including all plumbing, works, fixtures and service systems appurtenant thereto,
  • A structure occupying an area of ten square metres or less that contains plumbing, including the plumbing appurtenant thereto 
  1. plumbing not located in a structure, 
  2. a sewage system, or 
  3. structures designated in the building code 

And the Building Code indicates when a permit is not required for a tent: 

  • A tent or group of tents is exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit under section 8 of the Act and is exempt from compliance with the Code provided that the tent or group of tents are: 
    1. not more than 60 m2 in aggregate ground area 
    2. not attached to a building, and 
    3. constructed more than 3m from other structure
  1. Don’t Give Up!

Try not to get fed up with the challenge of blending nomadic and settler lifestyles. There is still much work to be done around sharing what yurts are and what benefits they can provide for people seeking alternative lifestyles. Your love of yurts and conviction will provide good fuel for inspired and considerate interactions within your municipality. Be a change-maker!

Sources:

1.  “Yurt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yurt. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.
 2. Yurt. Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/yurt. 

 

 

Naadam Festival Archery Games

Celebrating Mongolia’s Naadam Festival

The Naadam Festival, traditionally known as simply “Naadam”, is the most anticipated and action-filled national holiday in Mongolia. Naadam is “inseparably connected to the nomadic civilization of the Mongols, who have long practiced pastoralism on Central Asia’s vast steppe.” From July 11th – 13th, the people of Mongolia come together to compete in traditional sports and games “using distinctive tools and sporting items”, while overall enjoying the pleasures of their rich culture. You’ll be able to spot men, women, and children dressed from head to toe in colorful-bold patterns, special costumes, and traditional Mongolian clothing. Main attractions at this festival include their traditional cuisine, singing (including long song & Khöömei overtone singing), the Bie biyelgee dance, Morin khuur fiddle, craftsmanship…just to name a few! Tourists also come from near and far to learn about Mongolian traditions and lifestyle, as well as to partake in the wide range of activities that Naadam presents.

Naadam Festival Women's Dance

Naadam Games

Naadam translates to the ‘festival’ or ‘feasts of sports’. This festival has been celebrated over a millenia and is still going strong today. Many Naadam’s are held across the capital, Ulaanbaatar, allowing for Mongols to participate in the neighboring games. Amongst the locals, Naadam is known as “Eriin Gurvan Naadam” which translates to “three manly sports”. 

The three sports include wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Years later, the traditional game of ankle-bone-shooting joined the line up resulting in 4 main sports that are played during the festival. Women and children also partake in sports (excluding wrestling) despite the name translation.

Naadam Wrestling 

Following the opening ceremony, the wrestling games occur over 2 days. These matches are a sight to see as the wrestlers wear special clothing highlighting their strength. Just like any sport there are rounds, rules, onlookers, and a winner! With over 500 wrestlers and 1 winner, it can get very competitive. All wrestlers are welcomed and treated equally, regardless of experience, so an onlooker may witness “veterans wrestle with young amateurs.”  Eminent wrestlers are awarded national titles by the Mongolian government and are highlighted in Ulaanbaatar. Wrestling in Mongolia is an annual crowd favorite during Naadam.

Naadam Festival Wrestling Games

Naadam Horse Race 

Mongols have a plethora of horse racing games throughout the year as it is a popular event in Mongolia. Races such as the Naadam Festival race, Tsagaan Sar Lunar New Year race, the spring horse race and the Ikh Hurd race take place and draw large crowds. One month preceding the Naadam Horse Race, horses are taken care of and trained for the games. Then, hours before the horse race begins, horses are left grazing in open fields.

Horse racing is mostly for Mongolian children aged 7-13 and “the racing distance differs depending on the ages of the horse. There are six racing categories in the Naadam festival according to the age of the horses.” Based on ancient tradition, children rode horses without saddles but due to new safety regulations, saddles are a must.

Naadam Festival Horse Race

Naadam Archery

Three kinds of archery are practiced in Mongolia, “Khalkha Kharvaa/Khalka archery, Buriat Kharvaa/Buriat archery and Uriankhai Kharvaa/Uriankhai archery.” The bow is made from natural wood, horn, sinew, leather and animal glue” and is well prepared before the games as it takes about 6 months to 1 year for it to be fashioned and formed. The arrow is crafted with natural “bone or wood and its shaft is made of feathers from birds of prey.”

Children and adults will alternate their days between participating in the archery games and spectating. Spectators must also help with co-judging the rounds. “The co-judging archers use gestures to indicate scores. If the co-judges raise their hand high, turning the palms up and singing “uukhai”, it means the target was hit and the archer has scored.”

Naadam Festival Archery Games

Naadam Ankle Bone Shooting

The traditional Ankle-Bone-Shooting game was added to the main Naadam games in 1998. It is now listed as a “UNESCO World Heritage game” and is known amongst Mongols as “Shagain Harvaa”. Before it took the Nadaam stage, it was enjoyed and loved by Mongolian Nomads.

 So, what is an Ankle-Bone-Shooting and how is it played during the Naadam games? The ankle bone is likened to dice in the western world and is the knuckle bone or ankle bone of animals. Several games can be in progress at the same time in the shooting tents or fields at the Naadam arena. Each team has 6 main players, plus two stand-by players. A player shoots target bones put in rows on a small wooden structure called “Zurkhai”. Behind the Zurkhai is an Aravch board, which helps the target bones and bullet bone not to scatter. The shooting target distance is 4.7m.

Naadam Festival Ankle-Bone Shooting Game

We hope that  Baata and his family, Tuya and her team and all our other Mongolian brothers and sisters have had a Happy Naadam! The Naadam Festival is truly an unforgettable event that Mongols near the countryside celebrate it for up to 2 weeks!  So with that being said…we are still wishing you all a Happy Naadam and hope you are enjoying or enjoyed it to the fullest!

_________________

Sources:

Logistics Issues

The reality is that some yurt parts are still being carried on horseback through Mongolia. They will then be completed in the capital city, shipped in a sea container, carried by train, and then shipped again by boat from China to Canada. This journey initially took 2 months but has since increased dramatically due to shipping determinants.

Last year everything was turned upside down in a worldwide shipping debacle. Containers could not be shipped from China anymore, and the ones that had already been shipped, took up to 9 months to arrive – this meant that the only other option was to ship through Russia to Europe. The containers were loaded on trucks or trains and then on a ship in Europe, costing 3 times the price, but ultimately, the gers did arrive intact. We decided to order them earlier this year to ensure we had what we needed for stock.

Then, a man who has all the power to help turn the world into a happy place, decided to do the opposite and invaded his neighbor. Our last container was on a train in Russia and began bouncing from place to place until it finally crossed the border with a few weeks delay. That was a huge relief. The container then arrived in Estonia, and then sat another few weeks in Germany until it was loaded on a boat. Alas, when the ship arrived in Montreal, the container was nowhere to be found. It is only one metal box amongst 10,000 others on a huge ship, however, we are waiting to start our annual delivery tour, making this an issue.

We have become accustomed to reshuffling but look forward to a certain normalcy. Right now, there’s a huge shortage of containers in Mongolia and therefore we have been presented with the most recent of logistics issues – sourcing shipping containers. In the meantime, Bataa and his family are still making gers. Thankfully, we’ve developed a brand-new shipping solution that uses special custom boxes being shipped in empty European trucks returning from delivering much-needed supplies to Mongolia. Bataa and his chaps again worked like crazy to make this happen. We are so grateful to work with such amazing partners. Our heart goes also to our shipping agent – Landbridge, who must find solutions in this insane market.

One way or the other, we’ll get you your Mongolian ger. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Warmly,

Yves and the Groovies

Delivering Groovy Yurts in the USA

USA Yurt Set-Ups

It’s the yurts USA yurt set-up edition! Groovy Yurts is gearing up for another big Groovy Truck Tour to deliver yurts throughout Western Canada and the United States. For July & August, we’ll be touring through Alberta, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas & Washington. This is one of our favourite routes as the weather is warm, the people are wonderful, and the set-up locations are as beautiful as they are variable – our yurts have weathered all types of landscapes and climates in the United States (yes, even Alaska). We hope you continue to read on as we reminisce about some of the awesome USA yurt set-ups we’ve had the pleasure of working on in past Groovy Truck Tours – many of which you can visit! 

Alaska Yurts

We often get questions about whether our Mongolian yurts can withstand the extreme cold temperatures of Alaska, and the answer is yes, we have many happy customers in this state! For these customers, we typically recommend 2 layers of wool felt insulation and an efficient wood burning stove. 

We love our trips to Alaska as the views are beautiful, the roads have been clear & the people are kind. The last time we were there we had the lovely surprise of meeting some gentlemen at the scale in Tok, Alaska, who had met Mongolian soldiers while posted in Iraq, as well as folks at Gabe’s Garage in Fairbanks, who took us in unexpectedly. 

One of our favourite yurt experiences is called the ‘Last Fontier Mushing Co-op’; located in Two Rivers, Alaska, just 150 miles below the Artic Circle. They offer guided dog sledding expeditions that capture the breathtaking beauty of Alaska, through both the landscape and rich heritage.  At the end of a perfect day, you’ll have the option to stay overnight in an authentic Mongolian Groovy Yurt beneath the northern lights. 

Groovy Yurt at the Last Frontiers Mushing Co-op in Alaska, USA

Although these millenary dwelling are great for withstanding cold temperatures, dwellers must beware of heavy snowfall! We were recently sent this photo from Carl in Alaska, and he’s accumulated quite a bit of snow on his yurt.

Tip: It is very important to stay on top of snow removal. Yurts can only hold so much additional weight. 

Snowy Groovy Yurt in Alaska

California Yurts

California seems to be a very popular glamping destination (and for good reason). The climate is Mediterranean-like with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. However, in the southeastern regions, the state experiences a hot arid climate – like that of the Sahara Desert. We’ve had the pleasure of completing USA yurt set-ups in both types of climates. Our yurts are being featured in luxurious, outdoor camping destinations across the state. 

In the Gold Country, you can escape to a small intimate yurt Airbnb located in the Sierra Foothills of California. The getaway features an Asian/Pacific fusion of ambiance, décor, body treatments, tropical foliage and of course, the authentic Mongolian yurts. 

Further South is the ’28 Palms Ranch. This is a glamping yurt village nestled in the foothills of the Copper Mountains in Twentynine Palms. If you are looking for a peaceful and unplugged desert oasis, enjoy the sweet scent of wild desert sage and relax under the magical starry night by your private fireplace. 

28 Palm Ranch Groovy Yurt in California, USA

Even in the dry heat of California, the yurt’s all-natural air conditioning (created by crosswinds from lifting the bottom of the outer layer of the dwelling) ensures that you won’t overheat. The Mongolians really thought of everything!

Massachusetts Yurts

We had the pleasure of helping set up Liz & Slava’s new ger in Massachusetts. They were wonderful to work with and we assured them that the Mongolian Yurt can even be comfortable in humid states. It is important to note that if you’re planning on living in an area with high humidity, you should be sure to annually seal the seams of your yurt, heat it from the inside out after heavy rainfall, reduce your use of gas appliances and be sure to reset your yurt in the springtime! This will prolong the life of your dwelling.

Groovy Yurt in Massachusetts

If you’re planning on visiting this region soon, we recommend checking out the Eco Mongolian Yurt in the Berkshires. You’ll have the opportunity to stay in an authentic off-grid Mongolian yurt with windows, skylight, and a wood stove for year-round enjoyment. The lovely 20’ yurt is in the owner’s ever-expanding garden, surrounded by seasonal greenery and flowers. All amenities are included and powered by renewable energy sources (which is extra cool)!

Eco-Mongolian Yurt in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, USA

Texas Yurts

Last, but certainly not least of the USA yurt set-ups is a Texas glamping destination called,The Yurtopian. This is a personal favourite for the Groovy Team as some of us have had the pleasure of staying here. They provide the most comfortable, luxurious glamping experience for those wanting to unplug and relax in a natural setting. Tucked into the hills, amongst the cedars, oaks, cacti, and birds, your troubles will melt away in the hot tub, by the firepit or watching the glorious hill country sunset from your rooftop deck. This is a must-do for both Texas tourists as well as residents! 

Groovy Yurt in Texas, USA at the Yurtopian

We are so excited to embark on our US tour this summer 2022. If you are a resident within California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas or Washington.

Additionally, we’re announcing a special addition Groovy Tour coming your way for the end of October & November, 2022. We’ll be touring through Eastern & East-Central USA. You can also ‘meet the Groovy Bus‘ for yurt parts (and avoid inflated shipping fees)! In order to secure a spot on this tour, full payment for parts will be required up front, as well a 20% yurt deposit. The deadline is October 15th. Full balance for yurts is due on delivery. | Learn More About Delivery Tours >