This is the 1st installment 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 2016, my dog and I have been living my life in a yurt - the four-wall Groovy Yurt. Over the years, I have built a woodshed, and outdoor kitchen, and installed a 100-watt solar panel for a bit of electricity. I use wood to heat an 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.
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:
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!
Even though my yurt has been subject to a lot of moisture (my first platform wasn't exactly the right size, so the 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 them 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.
Overall my yurt has held up well, but there are a couple of areas where wear is apparent.
All in all, however, I am extremely satisfied with my Groovy Yurt.
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 life in a yurt to anyone interested in an alternative lifestyle, living close to nature and having more agency over their life.
Groovy Note: We love hearing from customers about their yurt experiences, and we're grateful to Beige for having shared their yurt stories, observations and tips.
Contact us today if you have any questions for us, or yurt stories to share!