today we got the yurt set up! the frame is up, the deck is big enough and plenty solid, and the yurt is insulated. insulation took most of the afternoon, while repaired and installed the door, thereby finishing the frame and making him my hero. :) when i thanked him too much, he said, “this is something i can do that you can’t. i have woodworking skills, but i can’t write poetry. it only makes sense for you to ask me, for us humans to ask our friends for help, which is what we all used to do before the world got so corporate.” exactly true. i found a book of my poetry for him, a copy of the limited-edition water-poem chapbook i printed up for my Southwest Water class early this month.

so the insulation is up, and just needs a little more taping down here and there before we can hang the canvas (and add some more grommets to it), tomorrow. it looks like the mother ship right now, all coated in silver insulation. thanks to a brilliant bit of thinking on ‘s part, we acheived a very thorough double-coat of insulation over the top half of the roof, and pretty fair double-coverage over the bottom half of the roof—the most important place to have the best insulation being the highest part of any structure. so over half the roof is now R-20, which is going to *rock*. our *house* isn’t that well insulated. though it does have higher r-value in the walls, of course. and the other half the roof (the roof being a cone–see icon if structural detail is unclear) is mostly double-covered, in increasing triangles. we overlapped 6’ rectangles of insulation all the way around, acheiving a sort of scalloped appearance inside, like a dish of potatoes, only insulation. :)

when the canvas is up, we’ll install the wood stove and then i can move in! i hope to light a fire in the little stove and sleep in the yurt with beloved tomorrow night, even if it means i spend half the evening hauling furniture out back.

this has been quite a journey so far. part of which is learning how much work any given task is, and what four (or three, or two) humans can reasonably expect to get done in one six-hour day. what with the sun going down at 5, and the world beginning to freeze shortly before that–and failing to thaw adequately until at least 10, usually 11. wood heat, here i come! and part of this journey, always and again, is appreciating the value of working in and with community, with friends. other people have come to the rescue with time, energy and skills at every turn—in each place where we could eventually have figured it out or finished it or simply done a bad job of it but done it anyway ourselves, instead friends with time, energy and skills and the desire to lend a hand came forward to offer those things, and enabled everything to move forward.

so last weekend, i set the yurt roof up to measure canvas, and found that the hub had cracked, badly, in three places (all along joins). i swore at it, used the energy for beneficial destruction (cleared deadwood and elms out of the ritual ground), and called who instantly knew how to repair it, and invited me to bring the hub over so he could fix it. i did that, and he and i and had a lovely evening talking and soaking in the hottub, and he added a ring of 3/4″ ply to the bottom of the hub, and then sanded it fine and smooth and elegant and brought it over this morning. it’s beautiful, and will never crack again, because the 16 joins are sealed by a layer of ply on each side now, glued and screwed.

then thursday, i found out that the deck was too short. the yurt is 16′ across; the deck, an octagon that gave us trouble with triangles from the moment we started on the surface boards, was 17′ at the points—and 15.5 feet at the flats. not okay. i panicked, and kind of freaked out about it, and took thursday afternoon off work to start fixing it. and had to get over a lack of confidence about using the circular saw all by myself (got over it–i know how to use them, it had just been a couple years since i had to), and about my overall ability to add six inches to the deck, as a whole. but we brainstormed and sorted out the best approach the night before, and my dad called with useful suggestions and support–“honey, in a lifetime of working with my hands, i have made every kind of mistake there is, often more than once. and the only difference i have seen between a professional and an amateur is how fast a professional looks at a job and says, ‘well, shit. i fucked that up.’ and sets out to fix it.” which made me feel smart enough to finish the job, even having messed it up once.

and i did fix it, and and i sanded and painted the whole thing blue, and i got rained on, and so did the deck, and we were both fine. now instead of an octagon, it’s a complex polyhedron. and that bright blue paint soaked into the wood-grain as the deck dried, and it looks really lovely; it will make a gorgeous floor. and i complained about not having a compound mitre saw to cut the blocks with while blocking in new joists (i did it in over twice the time by making two complex angle cuts with a circular saw instead), and then i came home from Solstice to a most delightful surprise: my boys had gone out and bought me a compound mitre saw on the way to LongDance! did, specifically, and went in on it with him. delightful did research, found the best one for the best deal in town, and went all the way into Albuquerque to Harbor Freight on the way out to LongDance (which is outside of town a good half hour, or a straight shot down south 14 from Santa Fe–no need to go through ‘burque at all from that direction) to pick it up–and then stashed in in my car during the long night ceremony, since my car was up by the house instead of down at the roadside! he also got it back to the house before i got here–aided by my being the last person out the door, what with clean-up and all, and “wrapped” it in blankets off the bed so as to surprise me with it. most marvellous! it’s a wonderful piece of equipment. tomorrow i’ll finish figuring out how to set it up (some assembly required) and cut the blocks with which to block the yurt into place—though if tomorrow starts looking tight, that can actually wait for thursday or friday.

so having built and fixed the deck, we went to LongDance, and had a spectacularly lovely Solstice. and then came home and slept and slept; that’s about all anybody’s good for after a whole longest-night of drum and dance, and ceremony beneath the stars.

13+ hours of sleep later, today was Yurt Day. and tomorrow, too, because 3-6 people working together could get the yurt up and insulated and the door hung in one day, and that’s about it. hopefully two people working six hours tomorrow can finish the rest—there are bit projects to all of it that need to be attended to at the same moment. get the canvas roof on to the top, one of us screwing the folded canvas edge onto the hub while the other holds up the walls and measures for grommets, then setting the grommets, then we can tie on the walls. the chimney bits all need to be unpacked and put together, and it looks like that’s going to take a little wrangling. and i suspect getting the exterior parts of the chimney installed is also going to take some wrangling–getting up to the hub from the outside without being able to stand on a ladder directly under it and go through the hub is difficult. that’s a puzzle we can figure out, possibly by mounting some of the upper stuff first and then attaching the lower stuff to it. *after* measuring twice to make sure that will work! though we do still have to get up on top of the hub to screw the storm flashing down. it covers the hub entirely, which makes me very happy.

and on friday, we may get to see how it performs in a rainstorm. we’ll see. the weather is dicey all week, including a 20% chance of blowing snow tomorrow, which i plan on simply working in if it does come. at the very least we can go into the yurt and work on the stove until it calms down; if it’s simply wind-gusts all day (what the weather forecast is pleased to call “breezy”—erratic 25-35 mph gusts from all directions), we’ll just get the canvas on quite securely, since we’ll be battling the very forces it is designed to resist.

and then i’ll live in a yurt. and i’ll take january off to enjoy it!