the weekend started with a bang, with a candlelight ashtana yoga workout (emphasis on the workout) with Wendeleh at Yoga Now, followed by a puja (devotional ceremony) for Ganesha, Ganapati, remover of obstacles, whom I have been welcoming into my life lately. the yoga teacher and puja leader, Cypresse, was completely awesome. The workout focused on breathing through the poses, but kept us cycling through a wide range of positions pretty quickly. my arms are still sore from it. She has a gentle and effective technique for correcting posture and communicating the core reason for why to do it that way. the whole thing was deeply spiritual, breath and heart. i would really like to go back, next time i have a free friday evening–which i think is august, at this point, but i will make it work.

we got up too early the next morning, to head out for breakfast with and her new beau, Todd. breakfast was lovely, and the food was surprisingly good. i was miraculously awake enough to only need a decaf coffee (which still has more caffeine in it than tea) and then i didn’t finish it. that felt like something of an accomplishment. from there we headed back to the valley to get ready for Dave & Leslie’s handfasting, which was simply gorgeous. came down and met us at the farm, and finished his bike race in record time (literally) and we all carpooled to the handfasting together. the ceremony was very beautiful, and the hanging out singing and dancing afterwards was also fun. Dave’s greenhouse is exactly as impressive as other reports had suggested. he has a 300 gallon pond in there, providing serious thermal mass, which keeps it above freezing all winter. his greenhouse is easily twice the size of mine, which suggests that 150 gallons might do the trick in ours. we are going to do something along those lines this winter.

sunday started scattered and chaotic. i managed to drop a wok on my toe (now featuring a lovely tricolour bruise, ow), set a potholder on fire, and have an egg explode (really) into the frying pan while attempting to cook breakfast. clearly, my lack of recent cooking experience has not been a good idea. i swear i do know how to cook. we eventually did end up with a large panfull of edible potatoes, which were tasty once salt was applied, and a sufficiency of fried eggs. did every dish in the kitchen while i bungled breakfast, an act of selfless devotion which did not go unappreciated!

after all that, the hot project was the New Yurt Cover. and we got it done! it took seven hours and six people (well, two people constantly, with steady help from one other person, who changed periodically, all day), a circular saw, so much work with the drill that my thumb is blistered where the weight of the drill rests on it, and about fifty trips up the ladder to the top of the yurt, but we got it done. and it is awesome! it is worlds apart from the previous canvas.

we started by untying and taking down the canvas walls. to take the canvas roof off, i needed to take the top three parts of the chimney off (the insulated pipe, spark-guard, and flashing), remove the guy-wire eyebolts, and unscrew the canvas itself from the hub. Here i am removing the flashing:

And here is Alan, demonstrating his clever ladder system to get me up there:

Jaime tossed me up a pliers when i needed to pry apart the crimping on the flashing:

i love this photo.

once all that was done, we rolled the canvas up and pulled it off. this revealed a number of worn patches in the insulation. we fixed the ones we had tape for.

most of the first half of the operation felt like me hanging out on top of the yurt with the drill, giving orders:

and all of us enjoying it.

and the whole weekend, between the yoga work and all this arms-above-my head lifting stuff, has been heavy on the bicep activity, which has me pleased with my body, and the sunshine, and the day. we work for play, around here, and a good thing, too. :)

Then up to the top with the new roof. walked it up to me and then removed the ladder.

I lined the appropriate piece of roof-burrito up with the door, and gave the first roll a shove.

Jaime caught it, lined it up with the door on that end, and i pushed the other end down the back for Rev to catch.

we unrollled the roof, and–huge sigh of relief!–it fit! we got it levelled out as best we could see without climbing it again, and centered it neatly over the door.

about this point, had to head north, and headed out to pick up some freecycled metal roofing material we will use in the barnyard. go, free building materials! suggested that was probably at a hardware store right that moment, and we could ask him to pick up some more insulation tape, which he did. they were on site working on RGL’s float for the Pride Parade this weekend, for which they are borrowing our trailer. that made for a more social morning. he graciously brought back a roll of insulation tape, and we mended a number of rents in the wall insulation. the new cover should help prevent more of that kind of thing, as it can’t flap in the wind, and is completely waterproof, rather than merely water resistant.


note the roll over the door, that directs water off to the sides, so that your door gets less dripped on. it might not be 100% effective in one of our crash-bang downpours, but it will certainly do wonders in a light rain, and it has to at least help all the time. it’ll also prevent snow from falling on the door, in the unlikely event of snow.

then we began to attach the walls. the attachment method is gloriously easy and effective, essentially a crochet of wall laces into roof grommets.

The purple is the gutter, folded up for the moment. note the part of the deck i’m standing on, which projects significantly beyond the walls, and is about to feature largely in this narrative.

this photo is in here because i think it’s awesome:

here’s the wall system:


it fits nice and tight, and then the gutter folds down over the top, effectively sealing it against weather.

and while we’re paused here on architectural deatils, check out my fabulous new windows!

zippered shut on two sides, they can be unzipped and rolled up to clip with camping-style plastic clasps at the top. then the window itself can also be un-velcroed and rolled up for a breeze:

We were put off at the start of the wall process, as the first roof grommet and the first wall lace did not line up properly with the door. but we went ahead and laced it on, starting with a smalled door-grommet, to line the wall up to my smaller-than-standard door. we got all the way around the far side, pleased with how smoothly and easily it was all going, to discover that–crash–it did not fit. We were short about a foot of wall. In spite of my clear specifications to CoYurtCo about the width of my door and the effect of that on the circumference of the yurt.

well. we were not exactly going to bundle it up and send it back. instead, we stopped to eat some lunch. (having returned with the roofing) went out for cheap mexican take-out, while Rev and i brainstormed our way through the problem. while we were still on lunch break, Jess & Ryan arrived for their chickens. They are one of the people who went in with us on this latest batch of day-old-chicks. so, in return for the cost of chicks plus cost of feed & electricity, we raised six hens for them so they can start a laying flock in their backyard. urban sustainability ftw! they came prepared with crates and Jess’s innate chicken-catching talent (she did a really good job in the henyard). we did a brief tour, and then caught their birds, hooked them up with feed & a bale of straw, and info on where to resupply themselves with more such things, and sent them off. it proved to be a fun and energizing interlude, the kind of mental break that lets you work better.

back at the yurt, Rev and I added more framing material to the door, in the form of two of the pretty shelf-boards we adopted from before she left for Spain last year.

they’re pine, and the door is oak, so they don’t match perfectly, but you know, nothing else in life does, either. it’s a damn sight better than any other alternative we could come up with, and was the prettiest wood we had on hand. that effectively extended the door a bit more than a foot, which took up the difference in the walls so that they fit.

while we were putting up the walls, we had decided that the pokey bits of the deck would have to go, a conclusion i had come to tentatively when planning this project, and then decided not to take a saw to anything until i saw how it all fit together. but here it was, requiring adjustment. we got out the circular saw. Rev sawed off the pokey bits sticking out beyond the footers while i put a coat of polyurethane on the selected boards.

then, because woodworking makes more woodworking, he and i put our heads together to solve the next layer of problems. when we initially built the deck, it turned out a bit short. i had built a quick-and-dirty extention on the deck to ensure that every wall-kana was touching the floor when we set the yurt up. this made some extra pokey triangles sticking out (of the octagonal deck) at four points in back. now these pokey parts were preventing the new walls from scooting down over the decking, for a smooth delivery of rainwater away from the yurt and into the earth. instead of under the wall and onto my rug, where it has been going. one of the major purposes of this change in yurt cover is effective rainproofing; this had to have a solution. if we took the extention off, the yurt would be unbalanced, its weight unevenly distributed, with parts not touching any support, which could be very dangerous over time, particularly in high winds. the structure works on weight distribution and oppositional forces. so we couldn’t take it away entirely, but it was in the way. we compromised, replacing one section with a 4×4 from the salvage pile, and then cutting notches in the ends of that to allow the cover to slip over and be screwed on to the deck. that worked. Rev worked magic with the circular saw then, and carved soft edges around all the rest of the pokey parts, until we could effectively tug the walls down all the way around the yurt.

then we removed the walls, installed the new boards flanking the door, installed the really incredibly clever metal bead-molding that attaches the walls to the wood, and re-installed the walls. we got all the way around the other side, lacing them together, and….they fit! there was even some slack. that turned out to be a very good thing, as the next step was scootching the wall down over the now-softened bits of protruding decking, which absorbed all the slack and then even bent the metal molding a bit. that had to be removed, rebent, a new hole drilled, and rescrewed. but it was fixable. i started screwing walls to the lower portions of the deck while Rev went ahead of me tidying edges and making sure that was going to work.

we got the whole base screwed down, every part of it tugged over the deck, so that rain cannot possibly seep between deck and walls; it is simply no longer a route that rain can take. success! we were going to take a break before starting on the gutters, but Alan reappeared, with Susan from IC Sphere in tow, and he and Rev ramped each other up into wild enthusiasm about the gutters and before i knew it, they were installing them. pow. Susan helped. so did i, when i caught my breath and finished stacking scrapwood cut from the deck extensions out of the way.

the view from inside the gutter:

here’s the finished front of the yurt, showing the gutter at the rim, and all:

next step is to line up the grommets in the edge of the gutter, right there by the door, with the grommets that line the roof above the door, and screw them all in. i’m planning that for tomorrow night. we were very tired and the sun was going down by this point. it had taken about seven hours.

the last step was to send me back up to the top to unscrew the roof canvas, come down again, scoot it three inches northeast where the gutters were not properly lined up, then climb back up again and put it back together.

see how nice that whole thing looks? and how huge the window? it’s a nice thick sturdy exterior, too. durable and very well fitted to itself. it doesn’t fit this yurt with absolute precision, but it is absolutely as good as i could have hoped for it to be, given the whole situation. i am very, very happy with it.

here it is in the last of the light:

i’ve tacked some plastic down over the chimney opening in case of rain. i’m not going to put the chimney back up until i have time to get a brush and clean it out. it’s already apart, after all; might as well not double the work.

in the foreground, also, you can see the new gutters on the pump house, which Matt finished friday. there are now gutters with downspouts on the house, yay!, the barn, the chicken coop, the pump house and the turkey coop.

long, fruitful, and very satisfying weekend. i am exhuasted. every muscle in my body is sore. i’m sure the yoga is only half responsible. but damn that was fun. my previous yoga experience, limited as it has been, was much slower and mellower and correspondingly much less interesting. i liked this style, and Cypresse’s approach to teaching it, a lot. , i think you would love this! and then i had my arms in the air all day yesterday. today i’m tired. but i feel strong, and happy, and enormously satisfied with my life and my work. it is all part of the path.