Posts

Customer Experience and Testimonial

​​When I say “Groovy,” you say “Tour”

Groovy!  – “Tour”

Groovy!  – “Tour”

Hey Groovies!

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

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

 

Daphne’s Testimonial:

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

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

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

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

With love,

Daphne

 

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

Have a great day Groovies!

 

Additional Links

Tour Updates

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

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

More on Mongolian Yurts, Impermanence and Buddhism:

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

 

Yurt Permits and Building Codes

Our Journey with Yurt Permits and Building Codes

By: Laura McLeod and Meredith Rush-Inglis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

 

 

Naadam Festival Archery Games

Celebrating Mongolia’s Naadam Festival

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

Naadam Festival Women's Dance

Naadam Games

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

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

Naadam Wrestling 

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

Naadam Festival Wrestling Games

Naadam Horse Race 

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

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

Naadam Festival Horse Race

Naadam Archery

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

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

Naadam Festival Archery Games

Naadam Ankle Bone Shooting

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

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

Naadam Festival Ankle-Bone Shooting Game

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

_________________

Sources:

Logistics Issues

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

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

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

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

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

Warmly,

Yves and the Groovies

Delivering Groovy Yurts in the USA

USA Yurt Set-Ups

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

Alaska Yurts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snowy Groovy Yurt in Alaska

California Yurts

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

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

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

28 Palm Ranch Groovy Yurt in California, USA

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

Massachusetts Yurts

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

Groovy Yurt in Massachusetts

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

Eco-Mongolian Yurt in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, USA

Texas Yurts

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

Groovy Yurt in Texas, USA at the Yurtopian

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

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

The Land of The Eternal Blue Sky

It’s been 3 years since I’ve visited Mongolia due to COVID. A lot of things have changed. In the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, people seem to be busier and have more money. The cars are in great shape and everyone seems to own one. Even at Naraantuul, the black market, you can pay with a credit card or e-transfer – the days of carrying around large amounts of cash are almost gone. Restaurants, bars and trendy coffee shops flourish and supermarkets are experiencing skyrocketing prices because the country is landlocked. While one used to be able to make spontaneous appointments with the prime minister, today it becomes hard to find time with friends – the hustle and bustle is starting to feel like every other large city in the world. 

Mongolia is landlocked and shares its borders with two neighbors. During COVID, borders were closed with China. They still have not fully opened yet. For a variety of reasons, China is not letting many goods in and even fewer goods out, which did not make our export of Mongolian gers any easier – if a nation wanted to strangle another, it would resort to similar tactics. We were forced to turn to Russia for the shipping of our precious dwellings. However, this neighbour’s president, who has everything in his power to help make the world a better place, has recently decided to invade his Western brothers. 

This leaves us with limited solutions as a friend to Mongolia; the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.” We will not be shipping our yurts by air but will have to come up with equally creative solutions – these unusual circumstances will force us to develop our offer yet again. To prevent last year’s crazy delays, we started stocking much earlier, but there was no way to prepare for a war. That being said, we are so grateful to have roofs over our heads and our hearts go out to the Ukrainians who have lost theirs. There will be more delays this year and we know our customers will understand the circumstances. We thank them warmly. 

As the price of imported vegetables and other goods continues to increase, some predict severe inflation in Ulaanbaatar. As tough as it will be for the middle-class, who have just begun to enjoy Western ‘pleasures’, I believe that Mongolia will sustain itself thanks to the millenary nomadic culture and the extreme resilience and independence of the Mongolian people

Gratefully, 

Yves Ballenegger 

 

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