top of a yurt

Retrofits and Life Hacks for a Groovy Yurt: Insights from 5 years of Yurt-Life

This is the 3rd instalment of our customer experience blog series written by Beige, who lives full time, off-grid in a Groovy Yurt. 

 

The traditional Mongolian yurt is a beautiful structure made of natural materials and enhanced by hand-painted designs on the Huns and door.

I quite enjoy the rustic feel, the rawness of the materials and knowing that owning one supports the people overseas who are building them.

A Groovy Yurts kit is complete with all the pieces one needs to have a functional structure. That said, there are many things one can do to modify their Groovy Yurt to make it more suitable to their environment and modern life. Here are some of the retrofits I have made to my yurt.

Tension Ropes

Mongolian yurt componentsSince I live alone in my yurt, I have found it challenging to tighten the outer tension ropes myself.

To remedy this, I put a simple loop at one end of the tension ropes and used that loop to attach ratchet straps. The ratchet straps allow me to easily and quickly adjust the tension of my outer tension ropes.

Waterproofing the Toono

When I purchased my yurt, the Toono (center ring of the yurt) came with four inserts that fit into the openings of the Toono.

These inserts had a flexible, translucent plastic to let some light in but keep the rain and critters out. The problem with the inserts is that water still found its way to the inside of the yurt through the space between the inserts and the Toono.

My solution was to take the inserts out entirely and cover the outside of the Toono with plexiglass.

This task proved to be a bit difficult due to the curvature of the Toono, and I ended up cutting a separate piece of plexiglass for each of the sections I covered. I then drilled pilot holes in the plexiglass and into the appropriate spots in the Toono, then secured the plexiglass pieces with roofing screws.

other outside layer of a yurtFinally, I applied a generous coat of caulking around each section of plexiglass to ensure that water would not be able to find its way inside. I chose to install plexiglass on 3 of the 8 Toono sections because 4 of them were already covered by the canvas Urgh (the piece of canvas covering the Toono), and one of the sections has my chimney pipe coming from it.

Plexiglass was a suitable choice for this as it’s transparent and lets lots of light in, is flexible and can be bent a little bit to curve with the Toono and can be cut to any size.

If you are doing a retrofit similar to the one described above, you might consider covering all of the sections of the Toono with plexiglass.

The benefits to this would be: preventing water from entering the yurt when the Urgh shifts, holding heat better during cold months and providing the option to take the Urgh off to allow more light to enter.

Please note that Groovy Yurts now offers Top Covers for the Urgh with clear vinyl to cover the open sections of the Toono. I don’t believe this was an option when I purchased my yurt nearly five years ago, or perhaps I wasn’t aware of it.

Although this is a more straightforward solution to the retrofit just described, I think the plexiglass is an excellent choice because it offers an undistorted view, and I imagine it keeps the heat in better.

Securing the Urgh

inside layer of a yurtWhen tying the Urgh (a piece of canvas covering the Toono) to the tension ropes on the outside of the yurt, I noticed the Urgh was subject to a lot of shifting.

Most of the time, this wasn’t a problem as it’s quick and easy to readjust. That said, if I were away for several days in a row and the Urgh shifted while I was gone, I would sometimes come home to find wet contents in my yurt.

My solution for this was installing eye screws on both sides of the platform, which I used to thread the ropes to the Urgh through a more secure tie-down.

The eye screws are strong and unmoving, unlike the tension rope that would be pulled up when tying another rope to it. The eye screws allow me to tie the rope for the Urgh very tight, holding it in place for longer than when I tied it to the tension ropes of the yurt.

Plus, using the eye screw instead of the tension rope has the added benefit of having these two ropes be independent of each other.

Now I can adjust my tension ropes without the rope holding the Urgh to be moved.

Modified Chimney Design

chimneyMy Groovy Yurt came with a Toono insert that fits a 4″ chimney pipe, but the standard chimney pipe size is 6,” and the insulated ones are even wider.

So I created a customized Toono insert out of sheet metal that can fit an insulated chimney pipe and withstand a bit of warmth that the insulated pipe gives off.

Much like creating the plexiglass windows, I measured and cut the sheet metal to fit over one of the Toono openings. Then I cut a hole out of the center of the sheet metal to fit my insulated chimney pipe before securing it to the top of the Toono with roofing screws.

Finally, I sealed the sheet metal’s perimeter with caulking and sealed around the chimney pipe with heat-proof caulking.

Blankets on door and window

To reduce the draft from coming into the yurt, I have covered the door and window with blankets.

To hang the blanket covering the window, I tied some rope that spans the window’s width to drape the blanket over. Then I attached a carabineer to the eye screw attached to the window to clip through the rope to hold it up.

This keeps the blanket from sagging and prevents it from dipping down such that it won’t be covering the top of the window.

Similarly, I had a quilt made that ties to the Huns (rafters that join the walls, door and window to the Toono) that fit into the door.

I like having these in the winter to keep some of the cold wind out. They are so easy to put on and take down that I can still enjoy the added brightness of the window when I take the cover off during sunny parts of the day.

Screens on the inner folding doors and window

yurt screen windowThe location of my homestead is VERY abundant with mosquitos, so adding screens to the bay window and inner doors was essential if I wanted to open them for airflow.

It was a simple retrofit involving nailing little pieces of wood to secure the screening on both the door and window.

With a few simple retrofits, my Groovy Yurt has become much more comfortable and functional.

Completing these retrofits offered me the opportunity to gain some skills and to think outside of the box. Having the ability to conceptualize and carry forward modifications and repairs is a major part of homesteading, no matter what kind of structure you choose.

It’s essential to be aware of this to ensure you are prepared for the amount of work involved in maintaining a homestead.

Groovy Note: We now offer an acrylic finish option to cover the toono. All the improvements that are not typically made in Mongolia can be purchased or made at home. Detailed DIY instructions can be provided for many of our add-ons, such as the chimney flashing or the house wrap, and we’re always ‘at yurt service’ for advice and recommendations.

Contact us today if you have any questions for us, or yurt stories to share!

 

 

stockpile of wood for future construction

Biggest challenges to living off-grid in a Groovy Yurt

This is the 2nd instalment of our customer experience blog series written by Beige, who lives full time, off-grid in a Groovy Yurt. 

 

When I decided to buy a Groovy Yurt 5 years ago, I was a novice homesteader in every sense of the word.

I had never built anything, started a generator, heated with wood or used power tools. I quickly learned that homesteading was a lot more complicated than lighting fires in a woodstove and carrying in jugs of drinking water.

I learned that every decision I make has a ripple effect, either working for or against my well-being and enjoyment in this way of life.

Temperature

chimneyI have learned that my ability to stay warm started with the woodstove I decided to buy.

It then extended into the quantity and quality of the wood I acquired, how I stored it and how available I was to feed the woodstove.

Staying warm has been one of my most significant challenges while living in my Groovy Yurt.

During my first winter, I struggled with 2 different woodstoves that simply were not suitable for primary heat sources. The first one I had was a portable, ultra-light wood stove intended to heat a wall tent. Since the metal was very thin, it did not have the ability to hold heat and needed to be fed very frequently to keep the yurt at a comfortable temperature.

Then, in mid-December, I bought a potbelly cast iron stove. The trouble with the second stove was that none of the seams were sealed, so even though it had a damper, I could not really reduce the amount of air going into it.

I tried my best to seal the seams with heat-proof cement and epoxy, but the fixes were sub-optimal and temporary. This made it impossible to leave a bed of coals burning through the night or when I left the yurt.

Needless to say, it was very challenging to maintain a livable temperature my first winter.

Although some of my challenges with my wood stoves stemmed from setting up in a hurry, the main cause of this challenge was my hesitation to invest in a good wood stove in the first place. Had I been willing to invest in a quality product from the start, I would have saved myself a lot of suffering, hassle and effort.

Some projects are worth salvaging materials or skimping on; a wood stove is not one of them!

Since that time, I have purchased a much better wood stove and re-built my original woodshed; these upgrades have made a huge difference in my quality of life.

Moisture

tapestryIn all of my years of living in my Groovy Yurt, I never have figured out how to keep moisture out.

I had problems with the bottom of the fabric walls retaining moisture when I had my first platform because it was too large and the water pooled in some areas. Since then, I built a better platform that is just the right size, but the water still seems to be retained on the bottom of the yurt’s fabric.

Further, when there is significant rainfall, I end up with puddles on the floor in certain areas around the edges of the yurt. I can’t understand how the water is getting in, especially to the extent that it does. It’s not a huge deal for me, as I usually just dry up the puddles with a towel.

That said, this would be a problem if the water pooled in an area where there were items that could be damaged by water. My main concern with this is that having moisture on the walls’ fabric regularly will likely degrade the fabric over time.

During damp or wet days, I always light a fire in the woodstove to dry things out and have installed a bay window, which helps increase airflow to reduce stagnated moisture.

Bloodthirsty insectshole in yurt

My yurt’s location is surrounded by cedar forests on all sides and by wetlands on two sides. In the peak of bug season, I feel like there are millions of them buzzing around my yurt, bouncing off of the walls to try to find a little hole to fit through, and when they find one, they call in the rest of the troops.

This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but they indeed can and will discover tiny holes to enter the yurt through.

Despite my best efforts, there are small openings where the door and window meet the Brezent (outer canvas cover). Once they are inside, they seem to hide on the walls and emerge after the lights are out, making it difficult to sleep in the summertime.

A couple of solutions are to either put a bug net around the bed (but you can still hear them trying to find their way inside) or take 15 minutes before bed to find and squish all of the hiding mosquitos.

Lack of natural light

When purchasing a Groovy Yurt, the only windows included are thesmall openings of the Toono (center circle).

yurt screen windowThese openings do let some light in, but they are quite small and mainly let sunlight in during the times when the sun is high in the sky. As such, I have found that my yurt feels rather cave-like, especially in the winter when the light is already minimal.

If it’s getting dark in the yurt and I step outside, I always think to myself, “Oh, it’s still daytime out here!”. If you plan to be spending time inside your yurt during the daytime, best to be prepared for the lack of natural light the original design offers.

A couple of years ago, I invested in a bay window; a total game-changer in terms of the amount of light coming into the yurt!

I installed my window facing east because I love to wake up with the sun, and I could orient the window so it was the opposite of the door. This allows lots of beautiful morning light to pour in, and when I open my bay window, I have a nice cross breeze flowing through the yurt.

Although many of the challenges I listed are regarding things out of my control, I could have made many decisions differently to alleviate difficulty.

 

The most significant challenges I have faced have been from single-handedly building a homestead from the ground up with no experience, mentorship or tools.

Although I have no regrets, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend choosing to jump into homesteading the same way I did.

 

 

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.

groovy yurts customer yurt living experience

Simple Life in a Groovy Yurt: Insights from One Person’s Experience Living in a Groovy Yurt

This is the 1st instalment of our customer experience blog series written by Beige, who lives full time, off-grid in a Groovy Yurt. 

 

Why live in a yurt?

Since October of 2016, my dog and I have been living in a four-wall Groovy Yurt.

Over the years, I have built a woodshed, an outdoor kitchen and installed a 100watt solar panel for a bit of electricity. I use wood to heat and cook with, and I carry everything in and out of my homestead as it can’t be accessed by car.

People often ask why I decided to live in a yurt, but I think they are genuinely wondering what called me to live off-grid, by myself for the past several years.

groovy yurts customer yurt living experience

I answer like this: I love living close to nature. I’m excited by the sound of owls, coyotes and sandhill cranes. I enjoy being able to grow my own beans and I love having the freedom to sing as loud as I want.

Plus, I wanted an opportunity to get out of the hamster wheel and live an economically affordable life. I value being able to choose the type and amount of paid work that I do, based on my desires. I want to live for and with the things that bring me joy. On a practical level, I chose a yurt as a dwelling because it’s transportable and I can take my home with me if/when I move.

Before getting my yurt, I had never tended a wood stove, used a power tool or built anything. Needless to say, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into learning how to maintain a homestead.

groovy yurts customer experienceI believe that anything is possible when one has a positive attitude and perseverance. I have learned many lessons –some the hard way- and would like to share some of the insights I’ve gained.

Living Close to Wildlife: Encounters with Bears and Rodents

After building an outdoor kitchen a couple of summers ago, the yurt’s amount of rodent activity has dropped dramatically.

That said, I still find mouse droppings occasionally when I’ve forgotten about some food in a pocket or bag. Here are a few simple methods I have learned to deter rodents from coming into the kitchen and leaving scat behind:

  1. Be diligent about cleaning up right away and discarding dishwater to remove food smells.
  2. Have a secure box or barrel for storage of surplus food/ items that are not easily put into jars/ enticing foods (sunflower seeds, granola, nuts). Amazingly squirrels seem to be able to smell what’s inside a mason jar and knock it off a shelf to get what’s inside. Further, they can chew through the corners of plywood, so I had to reinforce my food box with wire.
  3. groovy yurts customer yurt living experienceHave a covering for your clean dishes so if they are walking around in the kitchen, at least they won’t leave droppings on your drying dishes. Rewashing dishes is especially problematic if you have limited water!

There are bears where I live, but I rarely see them because my dog keeps them away (homesteading with dogs for the win!). That said, last summer, one did pull a board off of the outside of my kitchen. Like rodents, bears are most attracted to food smells.

In short, having a consistent human (and canine) presence around your yurt and keeping food particles/ smells to a minimum is key to keeping wildlife out!

Managing Moisture: Avoiding Mould

groovy yurts customer yurt living experienceOne of the many benefits of insulating with wool is that it’s mould resistant!

Even though my yurt has been subject to a lot of moisture (my first platform wasn’t exactly the right size, so water pooled), the wool insulation never got mouldy. However, the walls did get a bit of mould on the bottom, where the water pooled. I cleaned them once with a bit of diluted bleach, which cleaned off and stopped the mould from spreading.

Having a lot of airflow through the yurt helps prevent mould too, so designing storage that allows for airflow is key. Finally, I LOVE having a bay window opposite my door to allow for a cross breeze in the summer!

Maintenance: How much time goes into caring for a yurt?

As long as everything is set up correctly, maintaining the yurt itself does not take much time.

Once a week I check the ropes’ tension attached to the urgh (canvas covering half of the toono) to ensure it’s secure and won’t shift in the wind. I also check the tension ropes to ensure they are tight enough.

dog at a yurtOne of the Groovy Staff recommended that I take down and re-assemble my yurt once a year to adjust the structure’s outer layers. Taking down and putting up a yurt is only a 1-day undertaking once you get the hang of it.

Durability: How Much Wear Occurs from Living in a Yurt for 4.5 Years?

Overall my yurt has held up well, but there are a couple of areas where wear is apparent.

  1. In some places, the insulation became damaged from pooled water (this could have been avoided with the right size platform), and there are a couple of small (~6 inch) patches where the insulation has deteriorated.
  2. Brezent (outer canvas cover). After nearly five years my brezent is ready to be replaced. Some damage is from my chimney’s sparks, which could have been prevented with a better design (I told you I’m learning all of this on the fly, right?). Additionally, the brezent has become weak in spots and ripped the last time I took the yurt down. I believe this is from exposure to the elements and could have potentially been avoided by setting up in a shadier spot and applying a weatherproof coat.

All in all, however, I am extremely satisfied with my Groovy Yurt.

Closing Thoughts: Would I Recommend “Yurt Life?”

groovy yurts customer yurt living experienceOverall, living in a yurt for the past several years has been very rewarding.

Homesteading leaves me feeling strong, empowered and humbled. I’ve gained skills that I had never heard of before living off-grid (need an electrical wire spliced anyone?!) while realizing that building confidence with a skill takes time, patience and dedication.

Living in a yurt has allowed me to spend less time working for money and more time volunteering in my community, learning how to grow food, play music, practice yoga, and enjoy life.

So YES, I wholeheartedly recommend yurt life to anyone interested in an alternative lifestyle, living close to nature and having more agency over their life.

 

Groovy Note: We love hearing from customers about their yurt experiences, and we’re grateful to Beige for having shared their yurt stories, observations and tips.

Contact us today if you have any questions for us, or yurt stories to share!

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

Canadian Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour – Part 3

This is Part Two of a 3-part series on our Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour

 

Saturday, December 5th

This morning offered a short meditation session and spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy.  I love my yurt trucker life!

The border crossing between New Brunswick and Maine was empty, and the young US officer asked me to show him where to stamp the unusual set of transit papers. Everyone is always super nice here.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

Maine is as wild as it is beautiful, even under the rain. Rain that quickly transformed into snow. After a short shower at a truck stop (I did not forget about the parrot’s advice), the ground is completely covered, and the driving conditions quickly deteriorated. However, I couldn’t stop as tomorrow’s customer could only get help for that date.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

It was 8pm by the time I finally got close to my destination in Vermont. Luckily, I found an open Scottish restaurant that served a fabulous haggis. It’s now the end of the day and I’ve almost 6 inches of wet snow on the bumper!

Sunday, December 6th

This morning I am woken by a strong wind shaking the truck; not good news when you have to set up a large yurt.

I prayed that the customer’s platform would not be raised above ground. Setting up a Mongolian ger is not difficult, especially with some experience, but wind, rain, cold, and height can drastically complicate matters.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USAThe roads in Vermont are very narrow and hilly (with up to 13% slope) to begin with, and I quickly found out that they’re also snowy. Luckily, they did a good job with plowing, but it’s still stressful when driving a near empty tractor trailer.

I managed to park on a side road in the forest – a big thank you to the Groovy truck for being so cooperative!

We began unloading onto a pick-up truck with Bruce, the client’s brother, who had just gotten back from a wild party night and had managed to break his truck’s back window. This first trip revealed our worst fear: the platform they built is a circular eagle’s nest, 8 to 10 feet off the ground… and with no catwalk around the perimeter!

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USADue to the wind and small team, we ended up staying for 2 days. I guess it’s human nature to be optimistic and believe things will be in order by the time Groovy Yurts comes; or a compliment to our superpowers. My mistake for not having asked a picture of the substructure prior to arrival.

Carl, the owner, built a catwalk, while Julie herded the dogs and helped with folding the massive felt pieces. Bruce on the other hand, went off to snooze after the second and last pick-up load.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USAWe finally got started after poor Carl received a heavy, 7-wall yurt door to the head while he was kneeling to finish his platform rim. Our troubles did not end there. We had just managed to get the entire structure, as well as the roof felts set up when I decided to go help install the wall felts on the catwalk.

My 260lb frame was just a bit too much weight and kRaAaaAak… all 3 of us fly to the ground, 8’ below. Amazingly, nobody is hurt, and while the repairs are being made, we begin installing the house wrap (which of course proves to be a bit too short that day and is difficult to install in the high winds).

The temperature had just dropped to around 0F (-18 C) by the time we finally managed to install the outer cover and circling ropes in the dark and called it a day. I was so grateful that night for an invitation to the pub, as each beer had the distinct taste of a 3rd half-time at rugby. Everyone certainly slept well.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

Monday, December 7th

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USACarl and Julie made it back from upstate New York where they had dropped-off Bruce. We successfully finished the yurt before noon with no wind and plenty of satisfaction.

Afterwards, I drove towards New York state, but not without first sponsoring Vermont DOT with some speeding in the sunshine. I was guilty, but the officer proved to be a gentleman and eased up on the verdict. We crossed the Hudson River and stopped at a Petrol station for the night (and maybe a cheeseburger too).

Tomorrow’s customer insists that breakfast and lunch will be provided, but I politely decline the first meal – it’s just too much (but very thoughtful).

Tuesday, December 8th

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USAWhile on the road, I missed a turn, which also happened to be a disguised Google Map error that would have forced me to back-up a few miles with the trailer (everything truly happens for a reason)!

Upon arrival, Aaron welcomes me to the Saranac Veterinary Clinic and I park the truck next to a beautifully made substructure. Heaven! However, closer inspection revealed that the substructure is not quite finished (really?!). This ends up being a silver lining as frees up time to get to know our customers/hosts!

This place is a little gem, inhabited by the kindest of people. Hanna and her daughter are both vets and run this clinic. Hanna seems to also be an amazing cook and when I see the breakfast plate come out on the job site, I cannot refuse my own. Without a doubt, this is the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time!

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USAWhile we set up the future waiting room/office, people continuously pour in to pick-up pets, bring birthday cakes for one of the workers, or even just to say hi. This place exudes good values and kindness. Aaron, the builder, had thought of everything prior to our arrival and not a single detail was forgotten. The entire day was pure pleasure, including the departure feast shared in the clinic before heading home. Thank you for your kindness and warm welcome, your patients and customers are lucky to have you.

We top off the day with more good news: home is only an hour and a half away (customs included). It’s time to get back to a sedentary routine, something that can take a few days to get used to again. Yurt trucking can be tough, but it’s an absolutely groovy lifestyle! Thanks for following along.

 

Until next time,

 

Yves

 

Groovy Yurts delivery tour Eastern Canada USA

 

the groovy yurts team standing in front of an assembled yurt

Canadian Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour – Part 2

 

This is Part Two of a 3-part series on our Maritimes Delivery Tour

 

Wednesday, December 2nd

 

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

It is rare that I stop for breakfast, but a restaurant on a pier on the Atlantic coast is just too good to be true.

Scrambled eggs with lobster was the treat this morning. It certainly helped to cope with the discovery of damaged belly boxes on the trailer during the morning inspection (I had more than likely hugged some hidden rocks when trying to exit last night’s spot in the dark).

Later, the worst downpour of the trip so far had forced the traffic to a halt and is yet another reminder of the extreme weather in this part of Canada.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

We did a small drop-off in the red zone, Halifax, before heading to the South Shore area.

At this point, I’m anxious to reach the next customer before dawn as I suspect her place is not quite as accommodating to an 18-wheeler as she might think. Sure enough, there’s no way I can back the trailer in, let alone even park close to the house.

I ended up driving 10 kms around a peninsula to find a spot where I could leave my trailer.

On the bright side, that spot happened to be the Bayport Pub parking, the only open establishment in the area. Before dinner, I managed to install a special structure on the back of the tractor unit – the ‘last mile device’ that we designed this past summer and had only used once. It enabled us to transfer two yurts, while their platforms were set-up on the short length of the Groovy tractor unit.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

Thursday, December 3rd

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesBy the time I arrived at Lara’s at 9am, I learned that their substructure was not finished.

I really need to praise our customers who are ready for our arrival and follow instructions. In Lara’s defense, her order was placed last minute, and it had been raining ever since.

This new Canadian resident has been living in the area for only a year. She managed to get together the most amazing team of neighbours and friends I’ve ever seen.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesPeople of all ages, backgrounds, and skill sets helped the entire day with such enthusiasm, kindness, and dedication that we managed to put up not one, but two yurts and their platforms. Kudos to these amazing people, and to Lara for assembling such a team!

I made my way back to the pub parking lot and still had to take my structure down and reconnect the trailer. The local beer that night tasted fabulous!

Friday, December 4th

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesI was sad to leave this beautiful area, but I needed to continue to my next stop in the Bay of Fundy. So, I crossed Nova Scotia from East to West to meet our next customer.

Gert’s sister is already the happy owner of a Groovy Yurt, thus inspiring him to leave Ontario and live in a yurt of his own in the Maritimes. He is not happy with the way the world is evolving and thinks that government and large corporations are slowly overtaking our private lives.

I understand his point of view, but I do not share its extreme negativity. We all create our own sense of reality and I prefer mine to be happier. I strongly believe that the world is slowly progressing. Unfortunately, we cannot debate much longer as Gert is not ready for set-up and we decide to store his yurt in his sister’s beautiful 300-year-old house.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesAfterwards, I drove over the nearby hill to get back to the coast and am once again lucky to find a small fish shack where I allow myself a lunch break.

The ferry from Digby, NS to Saint John, NB is expensive and only runs once a day.

I decide to drive around the bay (a 5-hour drive) and stop before Saint John to have a look at Dannie’s yurt, who supposedly had a lot of water entering above her door. We found the yurt in the middle of a swamped field and were very confused when it appeared to be vacant, however, things cleared up when her kind neighbour led me to her.

Upon arrival, I heard what I thought was a security alarm. The noise didn’t stop until I opened the door and realized that it wasn’t a security system after all, but rather a beautiful white parrot.

TGroovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimeshe bird politely greeted me with a loud, “Good Morning! Good morning!” I began to reply, but the bird proceeded to interrupt me and asked, “Do you need a shower?” Huh, do I really stink that badly? Note to self: bathe more often.

After looking at the doors, I realized that the back one had not been taped properly by our team in anticipation of connecting an outdoor structure, but the structure was never added. It was an easy fix, but it took a couple hours in the dark with a flashlight in my mouth and encouragement from half a dozen parrots and other feathered beings.

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian MaritimesI also noticed many humidity stains in the ceiling. The outer canvas was dry after a good day, but the under-wrap was moist.

This yurt houses a variety of birds and two dogs in a climate that is already very humid. Additionally, Dannie is cooking and heating with propane which produces more humidity and has also sealed her toono (dome), leaving no escape for the humidity produced inside, and causing it to condense under the colder wrap. This is an issue that we are continuously facing with those living in yurts in cold climates. Until we find a better solution, yurt dwellers must be very careful not to produce extra humidity and make sure to ventilate when they do.

At the end of the day, I am once again blessed to find a perfect spot at the gate of a closed holiday resort. I fell asleep that night to the sound of crashing waves.

 

 

Stay tuned for the 3rd and final installment of our Maritimes Delivery Tour, coming soon!

 

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

 

Groovy Yurts delivery tour in Canadian Maritimes

groovy yurts truck driving to a shipping facility ready to offload product

Canadian Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour – Part 1

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

We recently embarked on a Groovy Yurts delivery tour to the Maritime provinces of Canada.

It’s our pleasure to bring you a three-part blog about this wonderful experience – written by Groovy Yurts founder Yves.

Here is Part One.

 

Friday, November 27th

My journey began at noon after having loaded the Groovy truck with 12 yurts.

The snow had disappeared, but the cold had not, and that’s precisely when I realized that the truck’s cab had decided to no longer produce heat!

So, the first stop on my journey happened approximately 30’ down the road from where it began. Great start. I did manage to fix the system and continued through Quebec under light snow until New Brunswick.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

Saturday, November 28th 

This morning’s meeting was with two of our customers at a local café.

They are living in a local commune, where Banyon set up his yurt this past fall and Kerry will set up the carved yurt that she ordered in the spring. We discussed the pros and cons of living in a yurt and how to manage humidity. People tend to want to install all amenities in a yurt, just like a house, forgetting it is a sturdy tent. By the end, we were all on the same page and came up with some great ideas!

Afterwards, we were pleasantly surprised after stopping for a (rare) on-the-road burger at A&W and received the 25% discount that they offer to truckers, as we’re considered essential workers. It’s safe to say we’ve never been so touched from receiving fast food.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

Later, we crossed the Northumberland straight on the 13km long Confederation Bridge. My very first sight of Prince Edward Island was reduced to a great view of dense fog. At the scale, the officer welcomed me to PEI and thanked me for performing an essential service… and then told me that I am not allowed inside any shops or restaurant. Little did they know that I’m now royalty at the A&W drive-through.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

I loved discovering Anne of Green Gables’ island for the first time. I was thrilled to arrive at Heather and Jarrod’s early enough to make an action plan for the next few days, and still have time for a walk on an immense, empty sand beach. Day 2 was a success!

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

Sunday, November 29th

We started the day off early to unload 6 yurts and install the first structures of the new Nature Space Eco Resort. It will take another few months for the yurt retreat to open, as the local building authorities are being overly cautious in providing the necessary authorizations.

We accomplished the set-up of one Super Ger by sundown. It was tricky to keep clear of the beautiful PEI red soil that had quickly transformed into sticky red mud from the recent rains. We eventually emptied the truck and celebrated with a toast when the job was finally complete by 8pm. People often underestimate how heavy some of the parts can be, especially on larger yurts. Takeaway from today: Much like PEI, our team is small but mighty!

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

Monday, November 30th

We put up a second yurt in what will become a beautiful resort offering a special place for the peace and healing of…veterinarians. These practitioners are subject to some of the worst cases of depression amongst medical personnel, which is often not talked about. Heather, one of the wonderful veterinarians we met, knows this all too well and was able to elaborate on her experiences and the experiences of others in the field.

Despite the darker circumstances, we were blessed with two full days of sunshine. However, all good things must come to an end, and the weather forecast indicated that the sunny days wouldn’t be lasting forever, so, I booked a ferry online before heading to bed.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

 

Tuesday, December 1st

This morning I drove 140km to the ferry boat only to realize that it was cancelled due to bad weather. I had missed the text they sent 5 minutes after hitting the road. This news was bitter-sweet as it meant driving 140kms back to the bridge, but it also allowed me to finally get a good look at the beautiful island and its shores, white churches, and small farms. On my way back out to the ferry, I discover that the bridge is now closed as well for big trucks due to high winds. And I thought I had a simple day ahead of me… Finally, the bridge re-opens and a couple dozen trucks rush across before the next blast of wind. Living on an Island has its prerogatives.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

It’s a long drive to Cape Breton, so, I chose the coastal route. I’m in the Maritimes after all. I reach my next destination, Cabot Shores, at 3pm and meet Dr. Paul, the owner of a resort that offers 13 of our yurts (as well as other dwellings). Some are in rough shape, and it’s clear that the local climate imposes faster aging on the outer covers and ropes. However, this does not seem to bother Dr. Paul and his guests. I am bringing a few new yurt covers as it’s understood that their replacement every few years is a part of the deal for this climate.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

I hit the road back south and am extremely happy to find a good parking spot at a small-town pier. It should be noted that ‘The Old Freight Shed’ offers a great seafood menu, which I took full advantage of. At this point, I’m the happiest trucker on earth. I was no longer the happiest trucker on earth when I received an email from a local who got scared by the speed and noise of the Groovy truck passing by her house. I was extremely apologetic and invited the complainant for breakfast the next morning; the invitation was not taken. Oh, well.

Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020 Groovy Yurts Canada Maritimes Tour 2020

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the journey of our Maritimes Delivery Tour.

Got questions about yurts? We’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Groovy Yurts.

guest tents at good knights three hills alberta

Customer Experience: Good Knights Medieval Yurt Stay

Tucked away in the rolling plains of Three Hills, Alberta is an absolute gem called Good Knights Medieval Encampment.

The camp is run by a husband and wife duo, Sir Daniel and Lady Linda, who have a long-standing passion for re-enacting the middle ages.

Together, they’ve created an experience that feels just as authentic as it is fun and unique.

Let’s explore the story and scene of this one-of-a-kind medieval experience combined with a yurt stay.

The Story Behind Good Knights

your hosts good knights three hills alberta

Sir Daniel & Lady Linda, the owners of this fine establishment!

We learned that Daniel and Linda met long ago as teenagers and, while on a high school trip to England, they fell in love with all things medieval. Over the years they got involved in medieval re-enacting, medieval crafts, costuming, archery, and sword fighting.

When Linda and Daniel moved to the scenic area of Three Hills AB, they began hosting an annual medieval festival for their friends and family – with lots of fun activities like archery, crafts, sword fighting, and of course a medieval feast. This festival continues (13th year) and has grown to host around 100 people each year.

A few years ago they thought about turning their passion into a business.

They searched around for other medieval venues and similar encampments, and discovered that there were way fewer of these camps than expected – and none in North America (all in England or Western Europe).

Thus Linda and Daniel took matters into their own hands and expanded their facilities to offer the festival-like experience to the public. Building on what they knew worked this is a very effective way to become popular.

A Unique Experience for All to Enjoy – Including Medieval Yurts

guest tents at good knights three hills alberta

The medieval encampment with all the guest tents

Now heading into its fifth year, the ‘Good Knights Medieval Encampment’ offers a unique and fun experience for people of all ages.

The actual encampment itself offers guests their choice of several deluxe medieval tents, as a well as a Mongolian yurt for overnight stays. All the tents are built on wooden platforms, with electricity and attached bathrooms. Each has a comfortable bed, electric heater, bedding, and decorated with chest and rich tapestries.

We had the pleasure of staying in their medieval yurt – which they bought from Groovy Yurts in 2020.

It had a lovely queen-sized bed and a double futon bed, and was luxuriously decorated with wall hangings, furs, and rugs. They even built a private washroom onto the side of the structure and provided seating on the outdoor platform that made for a lovely breakfast setting (which they serve to you in the morning).

Linda and Daniel really liked the concept of the yurt but found other companies’ yurts were of poor design and low quality. A friend had one of these that they used for summer campouts, but they found that it would not hold up to being set up for an entire season’s use.

After some research, they found Groovy Yurts and liked the sturdy, authentic structure of the Groovy Lite – a simplified version of the traditional 5-wall.

Beyond the Yurt – Great Property, Wonderful Hosts

yurt interior

The property also includes an outdoor kitchen containing anything you may need to cook and serve personal food, a feast hall, a fully stocked costume closet, and an archery range.

Guests are never bored as there is a range of exciting activities to try; such as siege engine demos, sword classes, craft classes (such as lucent hand weaving, embroidery, leather craft, etc.), and long-bow archery (all included).

having fun at good knights three hills alberta

One of many activities offered at the encampment, archery.

Breakfast (served at your tent) is also included. Guests who stay on a weekend also get to experience a 5-course medieval feast – served in one of the two feast halls (no buffets – as this is not a medieval feast).

In 2020 some activities, such as the public feasts, were put on hold due to the safety concerns from COVID.

They hope to re-start the public feasts in 2021 as things begin to return to normal.

We did get the chance to try long-bow archery, which is not as easy as one may think. Many of the first few rounds of our arrows ended up in the faraway grass – rather than anywhere remotely close to the targets (we did get better).

However, we looked very fashionable wearing our medieval costumes (which they provide on arrival).

When in Calgary, Red Deer or Southern Alberta

yurt at good knights three hills alberta

The outdoor kitchen for guests to cook their own food.

We highly recommended that if you get the chance to head to this magical site, try out the archery, and while you’re at it, try all the activities you can.

We guarantee, you’re going to want to bring all your friends back to Good Knights, regardless of what age you are. Some would go so far as to say, “It’s better than Disneyland.”

You can find more information about the Good Knights Medieval Encampment on their website at www.goodknights.ca or on social media @goodknightscanada.