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. 

 

 

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 >

winning contest shirt

Vote For Your Favourite Pun in Our Annual Pun Contest!

During the first week of March, we had our annual pun contest. Our Groovy participants showed up with enthusiasm, creativity, and wit. All entries had to include either “yurt” or “ger”, and some of our Groovy family utilized both. We were informed that there were group discussions and brainstorming sessions that resulted in multiple entries from the same participants, impressive uses of the words ‘yurt’ and ‘ger’, and our hardest decision yet!

The prize winner has not been chosen because we decided that you all should help choose the winner. Everyone can cast their vote by “liking” a pun on any of our social media (Facebook & Instagram), and that will count as 1 vote. 

If you participated and think that you should win, you’re welcome to vote for yourself. If you didn’t get a chance to participate, this is your chance to take part and help us pick!

The winner of our pun contest will receive a shirt with their winning pun on it. If you become the winner, we only ask that you provide your address so we can ship your prize and a photo with your pun-winning t-shirt so we can highlight you on our social media pages.

Here are some of the first few entries:  

> What’s yurt 20

> Satisfaction GERanteed!” or “Now YURTalking!”

> Yurts are cool? Yurt ‘elling me!

> Yurt Reynolds

Want to get in on the action? Head to our socials to browse and “like” to vote!

Here are some past winning puns 🙂 
> Yurterrific
> Who’s Yurt Daddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all the participants for making this year’s pun content unforgettable.

Happy voting & happy yurting!

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yurts/

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GroovyYurts

two yurts assembled

The Trials & Tribulations of Delivering Yurts in a Pandemic

The global pandemic has certainly impacted our business.

On a positive note, it seems to have pushed more people to consider alternative housing options to escape city living.

yurt production team in MongoliaThis includes Mongolian yurts, as we have seen an increasing number of people opting for the traditional dwellings to reconnect with themselves and nature; either full-time or part-time. This is not only beneficial for their well-being, but also conserves energy, and overall resources, when compared to a more traditional North American home (or mansion).

The Logistical Challenges Many of Us Face

groovy yurts truck delivering yurt materialsCurrent events have also left us facing many additional challenges.

Shipping containers are taking almost double the time compared to last year, tariffs have increased considerably and there has been a drastic reduction in ship availabilities on the transpacific route.

Most noteworthy of the challenges with delivering yurts is the (often crazy) increase of prices, especially for lumber, both in North America and Mongolia. Although frustrating, this teaches us a valuable lesson on the importance of earth’s precious and increasingly scarce resources.

yurt production team in Mongolia

Restoration of biodiversity should become an absolute priority (and it should have been made a priority a long time ago).

The COVID-19 Pandemic in Mongolia

In Mongolia they have just started their fourth two-week COVID lockdown since January.

Getting supplies (lattice walls, felts, etc.) from the countryside has become quite the ordeal as quarantine laws are different from area to the next.

yurt production team in MongoliaBataa’s family, as well as our other suppliers, have recently transitioned from a standard 8-hour workday (5 days per week) to working around the clock between lockdowns.

In one instance, they were not able to get the usual khanaa (walls) from the Huvsgul province north of the country. To prevent further delays, they had to start making walls themselves overnight.

yurt production team in Mongolia

The final product is different, but clearly of good quality. Bataa and his family saves the day, yet again!

Groovy Yurts & the Road Ahead

At Groovy Yurts, we’ve traded in our yurt trucker hats for yurt logistician ones.

However, we still have high hopes to get on the road in May, June, and July for the largest of our yurt delivery tours.

Plans are being revised weekly (and in some cases daily), causing us to change the title of our tours from ‘Nomad Delivery Tours’ to ‘Mad Delivery tours.’ Rest assured, we will keep our customers informed of all developments via email, phone, social media and website blog updates.

yurt production team in Mongolia

Currently, it is difficult to provide clear delivery schedules. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Groovy Yurts team.

We thank you in advance for your support and understanding. We really look forward to meeting you all this summer and delivering yurts on time!

stockpile of wood for future construction

Biggest Challenges to Off-Grid Living in a 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.

Read Part 3 NOW!

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.

painting the touches on a mongolian yurt

Groovy Yurts February 2021 Update

Thank you for your patience!

Many of you already know this: Our yurts travel a long distance to get to us.

At some points, the yurt parts are even carried on the back of an animal!

groovy yurts mongolian yurt makingTheir journey (to the capital city, where our yurts are finished, and then by rail through the Gobi Desert to Tianjin, China, then by boat across the Pacific, and onto rail again to our yurt farm) takes about 3 months.

This involves significant travel logistics; however, we always try to source as many parts as possible from the Mongolian countryside. It’s the heart and soul of our company.

How COVID-19 Is Impacting Our Production & Logistics Timelines

Recently, the cards were mixed again due to the fun (and forever interesting) pandemic. Mongolia reacted extremely well when the infectious disease began in China. It did so thanks to a very strict lockdown.

painted red part of a mongolian yurt

The second wave brought more cases… and stricter lockdowns. Lately, it seems that the whole country goes into quarantine every 3 weeks for the duration of 2 weeks! This leaves a short window of time to finish our yurts.

Furthermore, the district where our yurts are completed has been locked down by police force. The truck coming from the North of the country with our handmade lattice walls has been stopped outside of the city, forcing Bataa’s people to head out of town with smaller vehicles to collect the precious load.

groovy yurts mongolian yurt makingWood cutting has been compromised for the season creating a lack of supplies. The good news in all this: dramatic price increases on that end have been minimized by lots of creativity and some financial engineering.

Aside from Mongolian logistics, another factor creating delays is the reduction of ships crossing the Pacific. For us, this phenomenon means more delays.

Overall production time and transit increases the lead time for our yurts by about 2 months.

The situation is mostly out of our control; however, we are doing our best to put logistics into place so you can get your long-awaited yurts! We are so appreciative of your understanding.

Should you have any questions or concerns about a yurt that you have ordered or are planning to order, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How to Control Humidity in Yurts

In cold regions, combatting humidity issues in yurts is the largest challenge to overcome for permanent dwellers. In this edition of the Groovy Yurts blog, we’ll discuss how you can utilize the natural features of the yurt, as well as make slight modifications to control humidity – even in the most cold climates. Here a few recommendations from the Groovy team for the best ways to control humidity in yurts:

Ventilation

Install mesh/mosquito netting on the toono (centre dome)We sell custom fitted mosquito netting for the toonos, but you can also do this yourself. We secure our netting with Velcro on half the toono (buy two halves for a full toono); that way it can be opened and closed from the inside of the yurt for access to the roof

installing mesh mosquito netting in the toono

Create cross-ventilation:

  1. Open your toono and lift the sides of the yurt (from the bottom) to create cross ventilation. Mosquito netting can be applied to the walls in order to keep bugs out.

    lifted canvas for controlling yurt humidity

  2. Create a ventilation trap in the door by removing the bottom panel and installing it on hinges. You can install mosquito netting or screens on the inside door windows for greater ventilation when the outside door is open.

    creating ventilation trap in door to control yurt humidity

  3. Create ventilation traps in the platform
  4. Some customers have been considering small air exchangers or solar fans

air exchanger to control yurt humidity

Location

Place your yurt in a well-ventilated area: This will ensure the yurt is getting as much sun and wind exposure as possible. Shade is great, but this could exacerbate a humidity or dampness problem. Since the yurt is highly breathable, the sun exposure should not mean it’s going to be hotter. It will, however, help to keep the yurt dry! Open grass land is to be preferred to the midst of a forest.

Reduce the Production of Humidity

Monitor the production of humidity: Ventilate the yurt if you cook or bathe inside, even at the coldest of the winter! Wet shoes, drying wood, drying clothes, human breath when many people are gathered etc… are all sources of humidity that will accumulate in the felt before evaporating through the canvas. If this vapor hits the cold house wrap and / or outer canvas, it can condensate and accumulate to the point of dripping back into the yurt. The only solution then is to remove all snow off the roof, opening the toono and heating the yurt until it dries out.

Day-to-Day Maintenance

Start a fire in the stove to dry it inside out: If your yurt is to become damp or wet for any reason, the wood stove radiates enough heat to dry the yurt from the inside out.

House Wrap

Install a layer of house wrap: If well installed between felts and canvas, the house wrap will keep the yurt waterproof and therefore significantly decrease the risk of mold. It slightly reduces breathability but it is so far the best compromise for humid climates! In winter the snow should be removed regularly from your yurt, otherwise it will thaw and freeze again and prevent your house wrap from breathing.

Storing

Take the yurt down and store it in a dry place: If you are planning to leave your yurt unattended for a longer period (more than a few weeks), especially during humid season, the yurt will loves being taken down and put back up! If you have to leave your yurt for longer periods of time in winter, place 2 additional (provisory) central posts (bagaans) to support the toono (for yurts up to 6-walls) and make sure the outside ropes are tight. Consider adding a ratchet strap around the perimeter at the top of the wall, outside the yurt.

We hope you’re feeling more confident to control humidity in your yurt. Don’t hesitate to ask us for advice, we’ve gathered a lot of experience over the years! #alwaysatyurtservice

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.