We're here. We've started building. Phew.
I am a person who loves routine so the past couple of weeks of packing, moving, and celebrating left me craving a shift back to some kind of regular schedule. Of course, now that we make our own schedule we have to figure out what “regular” actually means. At the start of the week, I attempted to sit down and mark on the calendar what days we would order seed, work on the yurt, etc. etc., but it turns out I need to loosen up (surprise? I think not) for many reasons and most of all the fact that working on the yurt is somewhat dependent on the weather this time of year. For example, our first step (cutting rafters and platform pieces) required the use of my father's sawmill which will not run if it is too cold outside. Also, even if we were super tough and willing to cut and assemble yurt components in subzero temperatures I think that it might be dangerous to operate power tools when you can't feel your fingers.
Lucky for us, the weather warmed up a bit toward the end of the week and on Saturday we started cutting!!! Here are some pics of my dad and I (Jean-Paul was there too, but was the photographer so didn't get in any of the pictures. We'll have to trade places next time) milling and moving around 2x2's for the rafters and 1x4's for our yurt platform. Which reminds me that I should mention something about our yurt design (after the pictures).
So after much talk, sketching, and engineering brainpower (thanks Dad, Pat, and Dave!) we came up with a design for our yurt platform that involves 13 standalone 4” thick insulated pie pieces that we can transport apart and then put together to form a basically circular platform that is about 2” bigger than the yurt all the way around. We'll be sure to take lots of pictures once we start assembling the pie “slices” to you can get a better idea of what I mean.
As for the yurt itself, we decided to follow the instructions for a 16' diameter traditional Mongolian ger (their word for yurt) found in “The Complete Yurt Handbook” by Paul King. This seems like a good idea not only because it will be neat to make a yurt that is more traditional than the design we were originally thinking to follow, but also because it is kind of nice to have some basic guidelines to follow especially where measurements are concerned.
OK. Enough about business though. At the top of the post I alluded to the fact that the transition has been a little rocky (as all transitions are), but what I didn't mention is how it has also been really amazing and has made me once again reflect on how incredibly lucky we are. I mean, first of all here we are embarking on this incredible adventure which could never happen if not for the generosity and support of Jean-Paul's parents on whose land we will be housing our agricultural pursuits, and we get to spend our first month with my parents, sleeping in the little cabin that my Dad and I built (see below), taking over portions of their house for office, etc., and having a professional carpenter (Dad) spend his time (and his lumber) helping to build what will be our portable house. Can somebody pinch me please?
Plus, I know that I am biased because I grew up here, but Newark, VT is a really awesome place. Some friends of the family had their annual Twelfth Night party last night and each year this event ends up feeling like a reunion of sorts. Almost everyone there was a huge influence in my life, whether as friend, teacher, co-worker, or neighbor and at Twelfth Night we have a chance to reconnect, reminisce, and celebrate together. It always gives me an overwhelming sense of love and pride for the place that I came from and the people that made it so special. I guess, Twelfth Night, more than New Year's Day is when I find myself reflecting on past year's and thinking about the new one to come. And man, I am so psyched.