Quick Yurt Confession

Some time ago I started telling people that when we move back up north we are going to find our property and live on it – in a yurt – while we build our house.  For a variety of reasons, that seems impractical now.  There are a lot of details we can’t foresee, so I really don’t know what is going to happen.  But our vision is something like this.  We will find our property, (here it’s a little fuzzy…..) live somewhere – canvas prospecting tents on site? rental house? small, livable dwelling already on property? – and we will build a tiny house using some of the ideas we want to incorporate into our next house.  We are finding some inspiration for small houses at Balewatch.com.  This idea has grown out of my initial thought of living in a yurt temporarily, more recently by Graeme’s enjoyment of Mortgage-Free!: Radical Strategies for Home Ownership by Rob Roy, and by our living experience in this current house.  The square footage of the main floor is about 770.  Everyone spends the majority of their time – together – on this level.  Children like to play near parents, friends like to gather near the kitchen, everyone likes to be in an area with natural light.  The upstairs is used primarily for sleeping – nothing else.  The basement is used for laundry and not much else.  The kids always play down there when they have friends over, but otherwise it’s not used a lot.  Of course, there are things stored upstairs and in the basement that would all have to fit in a much smaller space!  The small house idea adds a new degree of challenge to getting rid of all unnecessary items in the next year!  I’m sure we would also put some things into storage for a while.  Every day I think of new things that could make a space this size better utilized.   There are too many unknowns at this point to know what we’ll end up doing, but this is our running game plan.  

I would love so much to be immediately on our land.  We want to start making trails, exploring, preparing gardens, planting trees, cultivating native edibles, building forts, raising chickens (and ducks for Noah!), listening to owls, feeding birds……..   so somehow we’d like to plant ourselves immediately  on our land and stay there.

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7 Responses to Quick Yurt Confession

  1. iris says:

    We lived in a 900 sq. foot house for 2 years (7 of us and a live in teacher/helper) while we were building this log house that is almost twice that size. That house was only 1 floor and you’re right, it was VERY cozy with LOTS of togetherness!!! I have to admit though that I could not WAIT to have some elbow room and STORAGE SPACE!!! (I always bring in cases and cases of food on the winter road and stock up for the summer when we can only fly things in. These boxes and cases were in bedroom corners, under beds, etc…) Moving into this (relatively?) “small” house (2 floors each around 900 sq feet) seemed like moving into a palace!!! (The basement is where the kids sleep in 2 rooms and half of it is a work shop for Arthur.) I LOVE our house!!! And I LOVE the setting on the lake with bush right around us. I often thank God for giving us our own little bit of paradise right here in Poplar Hill. =)

  2. Angela says:

    IF we do indeed follow through with this plan, I fully expect to be looking VERY MUCH forward to moving into a bigger space! I think the experience, though, will teach us a lot about living more simply, recognizing the things that we can live without permanently, and I expect it to influence a downsizing of our “big” house. (Already our plan is for the “not-so-big” house.) This small house seems like a more manageable first house-designing/building project, but it also has a longer term plan. It would become my husband’s office/clinic and a guest house/granny flat…. whatever. I have no doubt it will continue to be well used!

    Iris, I’m glad you have your “palace”. I can’t imagine having that many people in that space AND having to store cases of food everywhere!

  3. Andrea says:


    Confessions of the Yurt! (Had me really wondering how you were going to do that!)

    I have spotted a lovely piece of property near Huntsville, boardering on two lakes… and this is where I am presently planting my dreams there (but we could end up anywhere, really).

    We would be so foturnate in the fact that we would be moving with ONE suitcase per person… but my greatest challenge in moving the 7 headed family is “what to do with all those books”?).

    Where is the “growing boundary”– where can I expect my garden to NOT yeild enough food to heavily support my 7 mouths? (Yes, this is a subtle question: How far north can you actually move?)

  4. Stacey says:

    Hi Ang- very neat ideas. Have you ever heard of “Dwell” magazine? We pick up issues at Chapter’s, but they might have an online link too. It’s full of ideas on sustainable, purposeful living. Les also dreams about us having a “Cob” house someday.

  5. Robyn says:

    Have you read The Not So Big House, by Sarah Susanka? I picked it up at a used book sale a couple years ago and have really enjoyed looking at it. Although I think my idea of not-so-big sq. footage and hers are a little different! But it’s fun to dream and I love to think about how to use space well, without adding lots of unusable space.

  6. angie says:

    Andrea, my guess is you are VERY unlikely to live north of any “growing boundary” unless you are thinking you might live somewhere like Iqaluit, Nunavut! Even then…… you could probably still create a great garden using the hardiest of the varieties! You wouldn’t be the only arctic gardener. See An Arctic Gardener’s Delight

    Stacey, I’ve seen the Dwell magazine before. If I remember, it had some great ideas, but I found it ultra modern (which isn’t so much to my taste) and geared more to high end. Some of my favourite magazines along this line are “Natural Homes” and “Natural Life” (the second has articles related to all aspects of natural, sustainable living, not specifically houses). I also really enjoy Mother Earth News.

    Robyn, I have read “The Not So Big House” and we own “Creating the Not so Big House”. I agree… her “not so big” isn’t exactly my idea of “not so big”. Especially the 4,000 square footers! But I love a lot of the concepts: the idea of utilizing all space, building smaller but better quality, and building with character.

  7. Pingback: Sun for Saturday « Under the Sun

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