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"Nomadic" Homesteading  RSS feed

 
Doug Gillespie
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We're considering building a yurt as a temporary shelter while we build our permanent home on our 15ac in NE Georgia. While we were contemplating yurts, a radical notion occurred to us. What if we never moved beyond the yurt stage? What if, instead of building a permanent home, we continued to live in the yurt(s), and moved them around our land periodically. It's kind of a goofy notion, but it appeals to us in an odd way. We could try out different locations on our land (which is fairly variegated), optimizing for the season or our needs, and it might even get us around some building code provisions, since the "home" would by definition be temporary, even if it only move a few hundred feet from time to time. Anyway, has anybody tried such an approach?

Thanks,
Doug
 
Neal McSpadden
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It is appealing in a lot of ways. But how do you keep a yurt warm when we get two weeks of ice storms like last year? Maybe if you had a RMH in each new location that could work.
 
Jeffrey Hodgins
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Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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Looking in to the different tents used by nomads in Asia is a good idea. A design I saw one time was nothing but 6 polls, 4 large stakes, rope and a heavy felt blanket. Good in any climate. I might make one similar in Yucatan.
 
Doug Gillespie
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If people can live in yurts through winters in Mongolia, I'm sure they can handle the southeastern US, with the proper materials (although those felt yurt covers can be pretty spendy). I think our biggest problem with the idea would be the necessary lifestyle adjustment rather than the physical practicalities. We're already committed to giving up as much of our useless stuff as we can, in order to live in a more sustainable (economically AND financially) way. Doing the nomadic thing would take that to a different level. It's appealing in many ways, but also intimidating.

Doug
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I like it. I often regret not being able to move the house.
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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Yep, the idea has occured to me as well. Maybe a couple of good basic 'platform' sites. A few seasonal locations, winter snow access and windbreak.....summer shade. rocket stove at the winter site, and woodshed.

The nice part would be having a really thorough spring cleaning and downsizing twice a year.

The big drawback for me would be getting too far away from the water well for part of the year.


 
Andrew Parker
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Buckminster Fuller proposed building a trailer with a full kitchen and a bathroom to which a tent or other temporary structure could be attached, or used as a core to build a permanent structure around. Something like that could cut down on lifestyle changes. You could use the trailer to mount solar collectors (PV and/or evacuated tube, etc.), house a generator and batteries, water tank, fuel tank, or whatever.

You might be able to quilt some wool or cotton batt insulation, rather than use felt. Foil faced bubble insulation is very popular (and reasonably priced, if you look around) with yurts, but it won't breathe like felt or some of the other options.

Once you pick your spots, prepare each site to make sure you won't have any drainage problems.
 
Doug Gillespie
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Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote:Yep, the idea has occured to me as well. Maybe a couple of good basic 'platform' sites. A few seasonal locations, winter snow access and windbreak.....summer shade. Rocket stove at the winter site, and woodshed.

The nice part would be having a really thorough spring cleaning and downsizing twice a year.

The big drawback for me would be getting too far away from the water well for part of the year.



Platforms are what we had in mind, too. Either a wooden deck that can be disassembled and moved, leaving only the piers in each location, or permanent decks in each. I imagine that would depend on my ingenuity in making the decks as "kits." The water issue is a big one, on both the input and output sides. We plan on using composting toilets (which we refer to as Jenkins boxes), so black water would not be a problem, but we'd have to plan ahead for grey water in each location. Water supply we might be able to handle via the infrastructure we plan on running from our well house/water tower to the rest of the property.

Doug
 
Doug Gillespie
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Andrew Parker wrote:Buckminster Fuller proposed building a trailer with a full kitchen and a bathroom to which a tent or other temporary structure could be attached, or used as a core to build a permanent structure around. Something like that could cut down on lifestyle changes. You could use the trailer to mount solar collectors (PV and/or evacuated tube, etc.), house a generator and batteries, water tank, fuel tank, or whatever.

You might be able to quilt some wool or cotton batt insulation, rather than use felt. Foil faced bubble insulation is very popular (and reasonably priced, if you look around) with yurts, but it won't breathe like felt or some of the other options.

Once you pick your spots, prepare each site to make sure you won't have any drainage problems.


The trailer idea occurred to us, and might work for some locations, but I have a feeling that some of our preferred "homesites" might be inaccessible to a trailer. I like it in general, though. The bubble wrap idea for the yurts REALLY appeals to me. We plan on testing it on the yurt we build for temporary shelter whilst building whatever else we end up doing.

Doug
 
Gail Moore
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Location: south central Appalachia, southwest Virginia, US zone 6/7
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There are yurts made commercially which have insulation packages, some of which use the 'reflectix foil bubble wrap' for part of the insulation package.

Doug, for building your platforms:

Have you ever heard of Grid Beam? It is an Open Source Technology which allows for quick, efficient building of many things. Grid Beam was developed several decades ago. Parts can be used over and over for infinite projects.

Their website is

http://www.gridbeamers.com/

I hope this ignites creative sparks which make your platforms easy to build.

ANd many other projects.

As you scroll down their web page, there are numerous projects such are solar powered yard carts with their power tools on board. Maybe something like that could help to transport your solar panels and other goodies from one site to the other. In fact, it may even help you transport your yurt from one site to the other.

These folks have even built wind turbines with Grid Beam. And the world's first Solar Powered train, called the Sol Train.

Even a child can use this...Simple Easy and Fun.

They published a book on How to Build With Grid Beam with photos of many amazing projects. and how to drill your own Grid Beam
 
Doug Gillespie
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I had never heard of the gridbeam system. It's like an upscaled erector set, but better! Very cool!

Doug
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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doug, here is a platform plan for tipis that might give you some ideas you could adapt for a yurt...it is sectional for easy moving and could be insulated, i thought it was a clever layout.

I'm not a big fan of the bubble wrap. A layer or two of felt is really really nice. Not necessarily all that spendy (p.m. me if you'd like..), and bubble wrap isn't free either.

It would be a learning curve but i bet you could even make felt, if you get to know a sheep farmer they often have literally tons of fleece to deal with and it's not really worth anything. This is a fun video of mongolian felt making out in the country.

I don't know how long the yurt will serve for us, but when i think of all the time and resources we could free up if we never had to build a real house...well, there are a lot of other fun and good things in the world we could direct our energies towards..
 
Doug Gillespie
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Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote:doug, here is a platform plan for tipis that might give you some ideas you could adapt for a yurt...it is sectional for easy moving and could be insulated, i thought it was a clever layout.

I'm not a big fan of the bubble wrap. A layer or two of felt is really really nice. Not necessarily all that spendy (p.m. me if you'd like..), and bubble wrap isn't free either.

It would be a learning curve but i bet you could even make felt, if you get to know a sheep farmer they often have literally tons of fleece to deal with and it's not really worth anything. This is a fun video of mongolian felt making out in the country.

I don't know how long the yurt will serve for us, but when i think of all the time and resources we could free up if we never had to build a real house...well, there are a lot of other fun and good things in the world we could direct our energies towards..


Thanks for the link - that's a very cool floor design, and actually very similar to something we did years ago for floors for our SCA pavillions. Those were built more lightly, as we had to schlep them on a trailer from Florida to Pennsylvania once a year, but the same principles apply. I'd definitely be interested in finding a good source for felt. PM to be sent shortly.

Doug
 
Jeff Higdon
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Location: Idaho
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I live in Idaho now, but I lived in the south most of my life. Much of that time I was very strapped financially, so I could not afford air conditioning.

I think with a yurt, your biggest drawback is going to be cooling. The bubble/aluminum foil would help on that, but it would still be tough. It doesn't cool down appreciably at night there in the summer!

However, on the upside I think it would do fine there in the winter with a woodstove.

If it was me, I would go either underground or earth bermed.

Jeff
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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plus one for wool felt, again... build it trad. so that you can roll the sides up eight or ten inches and get a nice cross draft, and open the tono cover flap a bit... nice cool dark shady spot... well, we get heat here but not humidity so that might make a difference...
 
Andrew Parker
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Having spent some atrociously hot and muggy nights in East Texas, I don't know as I could survive without at least an air conditioner to go to sleep by.

If you don't have an air conditioner, the next best thing is a good fan. A whole house fan works best in a conventional home (14' ceilings also help a lot in Summer, kind of counter productive in Winter, though). I suppose you could put a fan (solar powered?) in the smoke hole of the yurt.

In very hot summer climates, the felt walls of the yurt are replaced with reed panels or screens that allow a breeze to pass through, but keep most of the critters out. Mosquito netting would be a prudent addition. I don't know how well that would work in a good downpour.

You may want to have a nice screened pavilion to live in during the Summer (a tall insulated roof is a must to keep the radiant heat at bay). Purpose built Summer and Winter dwellings were common in many cultures.
 
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