With all the present-day conveniences and technology, you’d think that nomadic travellers nowadays do things differently than their ancient predecessors.
Surprisingly, modern nomadic travellers continue following the original nomadic principles, having no set destination and centering their lives around the places they visit. A few modifications are required to fit into the times, but other than that the main concept remains the same.
Mongolian yurts are known for their versatility and durability, having been used for centuries by nomads and even used by Ghengis Khan to command armies that later gave rise to the Mongolian empire.
Setting up or taking down a yurt can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, allowing travellers to move easily from one place to another.
Despite all the modern methods of travel, nomadic travelling with a yurt continues to be a favourite among many.
Take Advantage of the Roundness
Not only is the round shape of the Mongolian yurt symbolic, but it’s responsible for making the structure flexible and durable.
The round design of the yurt allows the building to withstand harsh climates, making travelling much more effortless by removing the concern of the weather. Harsh winds are deflected easily, preventing any damage from befalling the yurt and its inhabitants.
Without straight walls to tuck things away in and store furniture against, you’ll be forced to design the yurt in a much more organized and efficient manner.
Anything that is not necessary will have no space in the yurt. This way, you’ll avoid bringing any unnecessary clutter and bring only the items you absolutely need.
Although this may seem obvious, it’s important to clean your yurt regularly, especially if you move from one place to another frequently.
Having a clean yurt will help you feel calmer and more productive, and keeping all your belongings organized and in the right place will make packing up and moving much easier.
You’ll have no trouble finding a certain item and the chance of forgetting something behind when travelling is significantly decreased.
Use Multipurpose Items
In addition to only bringing the necessary items, consider bringing along objects that have several purposes.
Items such as a dining table that can double as a desk will save a lot of precious space and make the yurt feel less cramped and more organized. Try finding objects that have storage in them, which will help keep small items safe and out of sight.
Embark on Your Journey With A Groovy Yurt
Nomadic travelling is great for people who want to explore the world and crave a sense of freedom and adventure. What better way to tour the globe than with a Mongolian yurt?
The most important tip to nomadic travelling with a yurt is to simply relax and enjoy the adventure. Getting caught up with unnecessary details will take away from the beautiful experience of living and travelling in a yurt.
Downsizing and constantly moving may be overwhelming at first, but with the endless possibilities of where you can go, any concerns and doubts will seem greatly insignificant.
At Groovy Yurts, we’ll provide you with the perfect yurt for your travels, equipped with all the necessary additions and amenities you may need.
Reach out to us today to learn more about the different yurts we offer and get one step closer to starting your journey.
https://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/shutterstock_1939649680.jpg9001200The Groovy Yurts Teamhttp://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/groovy-yurts.pngThe Groovy Yurts Team2021-08-25 14:26:312021-08-25 14:36:32Tips for Nomadic Travelling with A Groovy Yurt
Yurts have been around for centuries in Central Asia, practically in the same form they exist in today.
These structures have been providing the Mongolian nomads with a moveable yet sturdy home that allows them to relocate whenever they want.
The design and structure of the yurt make it possible for its inhabitants to withstand any type of climate, whether it was extreme cold or extreme heat.
Although several countries claim that the yurts originated in their lands, it’s still mostly associated with Mongolia, since the famous Genghis Khan led his entire empire from a yurt.
Today, over 60% of Mongolia’s population still live in yurts, choosing to have a more communal lifestyle rather than traditional city life.
The Structure and Design of the Yurt
Each part of the yurt was designed with efficiency and durability in mind.
Because the Mongolian nomads moved frequently, the materials that made up the yurts needed to be light and easily taken apart, all while not compromising the safety of its inhabitants.
The main yurt structure is designed using a series of intricate wooden frameworks.
The wooden lattice structures are divided into sections called the khana, which is a collapsible sequence of crisscrossed wooden poles. To make moving easier, the poles are made out of light wood, such as birch or willow.
The most complex part of the yurt is the roots, which are referred to as the crown.
The crown is the ring found at the top of the yurt and holds together the roof poles. It’s partially open which allows air to circulate and the chimney to penetrate the structure.
The material that is secured over the wooden latticework is made out of felt. Sheep wool is crushed and made into wool, forming a solid cloth to cover the yurt. Most yurts have three to five layers of felt, with the outer layer being waterproof.
Yurt Maintenance Tips
Yurt homes are relatively easy to care for, and with the proper maintenance, you can have a yurt that lasts decades.
The life of the yurt canvas can be prolonged by having proper heat and ventilation sources. Excess condensation can cause mold to start growing on the damp canvas, so be sure to allow fresh air into the yurt regularly.
You can also heat your yurt a little more to avoid having condensation buildup on the canvas during the colder months.
To protect the appearance and integrity of the fabric, remove any dirt or soiling that you notice immediately. You can clean the canvas by either brushing it with warm water or using a power washer.
As for the wooden framework, consider painting a coat of oil on the wooden poles once a year to keep the wood in good condition, especially in areas with harsh climates.
When You Should Consider Replacing Parts of Your Yurt
Sometimes, the cost of repairs of yurt parts surpasses the cost of a complete replacement.
If you notice that your canvas has become dirty or turned green, you can either brush the fabric with water or power wash it, followed by a treatment of water repellent.
However, this procedure can end up costing more than a canvas replacement if done several times in a span of a few years.
Keeping your yurt dry is incredibly important, so be sure to check for any leaks coming from the toono, doors, windows, and the base of the yurt. If you notice any water leakage, it’s best to replace the caulking and seal the tops and slides of the windows and doors.
Depending on the region, you may need to have the door of your yurt replaced every few years. Areas with extreme weather tend to take a toll on your door, which can cause leaks and let in cold air if not fixed or replaced.
Another yurt part that needs to be replaced is the dome. Although the acrylic used is tough, it can crack or get damaged under certain weather conditions. The good news is that the dome only needs to be replaced every 9-10 years.
Mongolian Yurt Parts at Groovy Yurts
Taking care of your yurt and performing the necessary maintenance helps ensure that your structure stays in great condition for years to come.
Whether you’re looking to replace a small piece of your yurt or taking on a much bigger project, Groovy Yurts has all the tools and parts you need.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can make replacement parts for your yurt so that you can enjoy your new home for years on end.
https://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/shutterstock_1683373807.jpg8001200The Groovy Yurts Teamhttp://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/groovy-yurts.pngThe Groovy Yurts Team2021-07-16 10:58:182021-07-16 11:04:35When to Consider Replacing Mongolian Yurt Parts
The word “yurt” is an incredibly unfamiliar word, and for many people, no picture pops up in the brain when they hear this term.
So what is a yurt? A yurt is a large, circular tent that is made of wool stretched over a wooden frame. These yurts come in numerous shapes and sizes and are native to the nomadic peoples of the Eurasian steppe.
The yurts were used as a temporary home because it was practical and easy to transport when tribes moved to new pastures.
The Mongolian terrain is flat, harsh, and large, with climates varying from excessively hot to overly cold. There are three rudimentary elements for survival in this unique environment, food and water, shelter, and the yurt.
Although times have changed, yurts are still the primary form of accommodation in Mongolia, with over 50% of the population still living in them.
How Yurts Are Built
To outsiders, a yurt looks like a bigger version of a tent. But there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.
The main structure of the yurt is created by a collapsible collection of criss-cross wooden beams that are made of light and flexible wood such as birch, willow, and bamboo.
These wooden beams create a lattice framework that determines the shape of the yurt.
The material that is spread over the wooden lattice work was traditionally made out of layers of felt. The felt was designed from sheep wool that has been repeatedly crushed. When the wool is beaten, the microscopic barbs in the fiber mesh together, forming a solid cloth.
To accommodate for the heavy rainfall, sheep’s milk or fat was spread over each layer of felt, which waterproofed the tent and even acted as an insulator against the elements.
Once all alterations were made on the material, the felt is laid out on the framework and secured with leather strapping that’s held under pressure and surrounds the perimeter of the yurt.
A stronger type of wood is used to create the door and door frame, as well as the ring that’s placed at the top of the structure, which allows light to pass through.
The Evolution of the Yurt Throughout the Years
Yurts take up a big role in the Central Asian identity, having existed for centuries.
Because of the traveling nature of the Central Asian nomads, yurts have been documented throughout history by the Greeks, Italians, and even the Siberians, who claimed that their lands were the birthplace of the yurt.
The founder of the Mongolian Empire, Genghis Khan, commanded his entire empire from his yurt. Even after being offered the luxury of living in his palace, Genghis Khan refused to live anywhere else except his yurt.
As the Mongolian Empire continued to expand, reaching areas now known as Turkey, Hungary, and Romania, the yurt culture was introduced and later on implemented in these new regions.
Today, the yurt is mostly associated with Mongolia, where over half the population has chosen to continue living in these traditional homes.
Cities have developed “yurt quarters” that are located farther away from the cities and offer an opportunity for people to live a more conventional lifestyle.
Although many of the yurts are connected to the country’s electrical grid, many inhabitants choose to use coal for heating and cooking.
The great consumption of coal has placed the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, in the top ranks of most polluted cities in the world, since coal exhaustion contributes to 80% of the air pollution.
People in other parts of the world have spent years modifying the original design of the yurt and created a modernized version of the traditional building.
The modern yurt now features high-efficiency curved glass windows, vinyl skylights, and present-day insulation. Instead of the felted wool material that covered the yurts, a mix of marine-quality sailcloth and polyester fabric is being used to cover the wooden framework.
Discover the Yurt Life With Groovy Yurts
Looking for a break from all the chaos of city life?
A Mongolian yurt may just be the solution you’re looking for! The yurt’s unique shape and acoustics will immediately transport you elsewhere, even if your just 30 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Buying a yurt is a big investment, which is why Groovy Yurts offers you the opportunity to rent a yurt and test out the Mongolian way of life.
Contact us today to find out more about yurt living and how you can get started.
https://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/shutterstock_488841970.jpg533800The Groovy Yurts Teamhttp://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/groovy-yurts.pngThe Groovy Yurts Team2021-06-15 16:10:222021-07-16 11:05:05How Yurts Have Evolved Throughout History
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.
This 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
Current 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 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.
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.
Bataa’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.
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.
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.
Since 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.
Finally, 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
When 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
My 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
The 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.
https://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Beige-Blog-19.jpg15362048The Groovy Yurts Teamhttp://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/groovy-yurts.pngThe Groovy Yurts Team2021-05-10 06:00:272021-05-14 14:53:17Retrofits and Life Hacks for a Groovy Yurt: Insights from 5 years of Yurt-Life
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.
I 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.
In 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.
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).
These 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.
https://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Beige-Blog-18.jpg24483264The Groovy Yurts Teamhttp://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/groovy-yurts.pngThe Groovy Yurts Team2021-04-25 06:00:142021-05-14 15:44:33Biggest challenges to living off-grid 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.
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.
I 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:
Be diligent about cleaning up right away and discarding dishwater to remove food smells.
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.
Have 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
One 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.
One 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.
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.
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?”
Overall, 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.
https://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Beige-Blog-3-scaled.jpg19202560The Groovy Yurts Teamhttp://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/groovy-yurts.pngThe Groovy Yurts Team2021-03-20 06:00:582021-05-02 11:07:22Simple Life in a Groovy Yurt: Insights from One Person's Experience Living in a Groovy Yurt
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!
Their 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.
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.
Wood 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.
Humidity in cold regions is the largest challenge to overcome for permanent dwellers, especially when living in a yurt.
Over the last few years, the number of people opting to reside in their yurts has increased and now represents about 40% of our clients!
In this edition of the Groovy Yurts blog, we’ll discuss how humidity affects a yurt, and how yurts are built with protective elements to combat humidity.
Layer of House Wrap Between Yurt Canvas & Insulation
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.
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 it 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.
This solution sometimes reaches 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.
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 Control Humidity
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 TYVEK.
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.
It comes with a price, though: This product is about 3x the price of the TYVEK.
What’s to Come for Yurt Humidity Control in the Future?
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.
https://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Humidity-in-Mongolian-Yurts-Photo-5.jpg7681024The Groovy Yurts Teamhttp://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/groovy-yurts.pngThe Groovy Yurts Team2021-02-20 06:00:492021-03-28 17:29:08How to Control Humidity in Yurts
This is Part Two of a 3-part series on our Maritimes Delivery Tour
Wednesday, December 2nd
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.
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.
Thursday, December 3rd
By 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.
People 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
I 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.
Afterwards, 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.
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.
The 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.
I 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!
https://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Picture7.jpg263468The Groovy Yurts Teamhttp://groovyyurts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/groovy-yurts.pngThe Groovy Yurts Team2021-01-28 23:44:092021-05-06 14:29:04Canadian Maritimes Yurt Delivery Tour – Part 2