Amber Perry

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since Jul 08, 2021
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Recent posts by Amber Perry

Hello all, I have put a 30' yurt on a stone foundation and am in quite the pickle..
The yurt seems to have settled and is overhanging the stone wall foundation in the back.

The foundation in sitting on 8inches of crushed stone, wrapped in filter fabric with a 4inch perforated pipe in the center. The stone wall sits on this rubble trench sort of deal, the stone wall is about 20-24" wide at the base, and narrows up to 8inches at it's smallest at the top in a few spots. On general the tops 10-12inches. The wall is 12inches above grade and probably 2ft below.

There are many things I wish I'd known to do differently. There is no water barrier or break between the stone and wood. I literally just construction glued wood pieces to the wall and set the yurt on it. The yurt is at least held down though, I tied the top of the walls aircraft wire to 13 loops of rebar embedded in the middle of the stone wall.

It's been up for a year now, and everything appears to be holding together. But the overhang is clear to see. I can jump around on the wood that's overhanging and nothing budges but I'm worried it'll continue to move.

Suggestions? Is there anyway I can stop it from getting worse? Or reinforce the overhang?

There’s currently no floor tying it together. The floors about a door lower than the yurt wall/top of the stone wall. It’s just foam over sand and a vapor barrier. We thought maybe we could frame a wood floor across what is basically a hole in the ground, to tie the walls all together. I’m sure that would help but not necessarily solve the problem.
1 year ago
I am located in the north east.
The town won’t allow any type of living structure, portable or not, without the 2 acres. It is a decent town to do natural building in though, we have very minimal actual building codes. I would be able to have road access installed and utilities if I wanted but at least for myself I’d prefer to stay off the grid. I could have a well installed if I chose to.

After thinking last night, maybe I am over thinking worrying about where and what my family could be up to decades from now. If they all left maybe I’d decide to pack up and travel. Who knows.
Right now the time I have left with my grandparents is invaluable to me. Being next to my sister with her chronic health issues and my brother who is autistic and may need some extra help in the future will be important to me.
Maybe it is worth giving up the extra acre for those things, and to be relieved from the debt.

The smaller land piece isn’t necessarily wet, but the yurt property is high and dry…but I could never have a basement..decisions decisions
1 year ago
I will definitely have access even after my grandparents are no longer here. Their property and home would most likely be left to my mother in name, but she’d have it open and available to be shared between my younger sister and brother, and myself. They’d currently allow me to plant on their land and probably even have small livestock in certain areas.

Long term I know I could create shade at the yurt property, and possibly control the ticks with hundreds of birds.

My goal is to have a property that can meet the majority of my families needs, being as self sufficient as possible. Gardening is obviously a huge part of that. The smaller lot has dappled sunlight with some bigger openings that I think could work for a small solar set up.

Being close to my family and debt free makes me lean towards the smaller lot. But I worry that someday my family may not be near me anymore and I could regret not keeping a piece of land with more space, possibly no sink hole, and so much available sunlight. The cons of the yurt lot worry me though, particularly the ledge with trying to plant an orchard.
1 year ago
The yurt could potentially be taken down and moved, however it was a huge endeavor getting it up. Getting the canvas roof on was very difficult. I am surprised we were even able to get something so heavy off the ground and onto the roof the first time.
If we didn't move the yurt we would stay in my grandparents home while we built a small cabin/cottage on the smaller lot. Preferably from natural materials and resources on the land.

I should mention we know if we stay in the yurt where it is, a lot will need to be changed to make the heat and cold tolerable. We would essentially have to convert the whole building into something else.
1 year ago
Hi all,
I was hoping for some of you to share your thoughts and opinions on the potential for a permaculture focused homestead between two pieces of land.
About two years ago I purchased 1.5 acres directly behind my grandparents home, where I grew up, with plans to start my homestead. Unfortunately the town requires a minimum of 2 acres to build a home. A neighbor who had previously agreed to sell me the other half acre changed their mind. At the time no one else was willing to sell.
A year passed and I purchased a 3 acre lot, in the same town but about twice as far from "in town" (about a 22 minute drive) It is also 5 miles from my grandparents (about a 10 minute drive).
This 3 acre lot is where I had a well drilled and put up a 30' yurt. The yurt is not livable by the towns standards yet, it's still under construction inside.
I had been considering selling this property for a few reasons, but had been going back and forth on it. Yesterday a neighbor who has property adjacent to the lot behind my grandparents offered to sell me a half acre.

I realize I am in an extremely privileged position to even be able to decide between two properties. I want to make the best decision for my current and future self and my family. Here are what I can currently list as pros and cons of each lot.

1.5 acre (possibly future 2) behind grandparents:
- A wooded lot, last clear cut about 60-80 years ago for cattle. Has now grown in with trees. No current water source besides grandparents nextdoor. No driveway but can be accessed by our yard truck. Lot is approximately 150' wide and around 400' long.

Nextdoor to my family home. I want to be available to my grandparents to help them as much as possible as they get older. My sister also lives with them and she has health issues that mean she needs assistance.
Trees provide shade and moderate temperature. They are also aesthetically pleasing. My partner and I love the trees there.
Selling the larger property and buying a half acre more here would allow me to be debt free.

Less space than other lot.
People hunt on land behind this lot.
Lot is long and narrow.
Large trees blow over during big storms fairly often.
No well or "driveway"
Oddly shaped, with possible large sink hole. My grandfather says he thinks people a long time ago took dirt from a hillside for fill, but I worry it's really a sinkhole. It's about 50' by 60'.

3 Acre Lot with yurt:
- Lot on the north side of a hill, gently sloping NE for about 3/4 of the lot. The eastern corner is a steeper slope down into the corner. The higher half of the land is completely cleared meadow (once used for sheep pasture), the other half is wooded.

More space
500ft well with lots of stored water
Already has a driveway
Yurt in progress
Lots of sun for solar and gardening
Currently 28 orchard trees I planted spring of 2021
Private, only 2 neighbors who are fairly distanced from us. The driveways 500ft long right of way, 700ft to the road.

Ticks. The ticks are crazy. I realize there are things that can be done but if you go outside you easily can get 10+ ticks on you in minutes. They are on the inside walls of the yurt daily. Mostly dog ticks, some deer.
Direct sun means a lot of heat. I have health issues, dysautonomia, and extreme heat intolerance. It means I can't go outside when it's 85 or over. And at this property it is always about 10 degrees or more hotter than at the wooded smaller lot. I don't know how we will be able to cool the yurt.
Being on a hill side, we are also very close to granite ledge. The ledge varies from 6inches to 4ft down in the soil. The soil is sandy loam. A lot of work must be done to retain water. The ledge makes planting difficult. I am not sure how my orchard trees will fair with such shallow soil?
This property has put me $34,000 in debt. Which may not seem like a lot but I am unemployed do to my health problems and am not sure when I will be able to work again outside of odd jobs when my health allows.
Having the yurt up is good, but it is huge. 700sq ft and 15' tall ceiling. It is way bigger than we need and it has made it difficult to finish the building. It will cost more resources to heat and cool.

I feel like the yurt property has more potential and I've put a lot of work into it. But it is tempting to be next to my family and not be in debt.
For anyone willing to read such a long post, thank you. Opinions? Thoughts?
1 year ago
A lot to catch up on, but here are the progress photos from the past few months. We started getting the walls up in mid October. What a process. Myself and two others got everything put up, we needed the help of two more to get the canvas on the roof. Many road blocks along the way, but here we are. In picture 'yurt 44' you will see after bad wind over night, our progress from the day before was ripped off of the structure. All of the insulation and liner had to be redone.

I will soon be posting photos as we work on the floor, which will be an earthen floor. You can sort of see where I have started laying brick in some of the photos. I am trying to make a natural curve along these bricks, and the floor in the front of the yurt will be higher than the floor in the back. We just finished building our front door, which will be frame in tomorrow. Then the woodstove will be cranking and we will be able to lay the floor in and keep the place heating and dry, for the floor to dry. Fingers crossed we can do it at this time of year.

Looking back at this, I think it could have been better the have it the other way around for heating/cooling purposes, but alas. Our hope currently is to live in this yurt for the next 5-8 years while we get our farm going and work on building a straw bale/cob home. The yurt will be turned into a permaculture nursery in the future as of now.

2 years ago
We had calculated how much rock it would take, approximately, but we ended up building the foundation up higher than we originally planned. We have finally finished the rock, aside from a small opening we left to be able to bring loads of road base in. Now we have attached pieces of wood on the top of the stone wall. This will serve as an outer ring of floor, and a surface to mount the yurt's plywood band too.

Today we are transporting the yurt to the land, and continuing to bring in road base. Hoping to put the yurt up this weekend provided it isn't raining too hard...and I need to somehow find scaffolding or something...

Next week it'll be on to the earthen floor.
2 years ago
Do you guys ever find that something you think will take a week takes you 3 weeks? We are on our third lap around the circle, the circumference is just under 95'. I think after today we will be 1/3 the way around with this top layer, which is turning out to use a lot more rock than I expected. Here are some progress pics.
2 years ago
I ended up using the stone dust in the mortar mix and so far it feels very strong! I did consider a rubble trench foundation with earthbags above grade, but ultimately I went with the stone wall both to gain some masonry experience and because a yurt is going on top of the stem wall. Typically yurts are screwed to a wood deck but we happened to have huge piles of field stone on the lot we are building on, so the rock was in a sense 'free' and we had the stone dust lying around.
We plan to build a straw bale home in the future, on a rubble trench foundation. The yurt was to house us for 5-7 years while we build our permanent home and allow us to quickly get out onto the land to start planting and building other structures. Honestly, if I were to do it all over again I would probably get a cheap camper and live in that while we built the straw bale home. Maybe my mind will change though once we actually have the yurt up and move in...right now it's just a big circle in the ground. In the future the yurt will become a work space and center for a future permaculture nursery we are working on getting together.

As for the well being drilled, I think if I could go back I would have also not had this done. I was pretty heavily persuaded by my family that a well was a necessity, we have been in a drought for a few years and after carrying jugs of water to every one of our fruit/nut trees this summer the well sounded like something we needed. We will still utilize rainwater catchment and are setting up swales to help retain water. Hopefully the well will be a secondary source of water that is only needed during certain times of the year.

If you are interested you may want to check out a post I made to keep track of our progress on the structure as we go -->
We are planning on having the yurt up in a couple of weeks.
2 years ago
Working at it slowly with this heat, but we finally got the plywood band together today. The plan is to finish the top layers of rock over the weekend and shimmy the band up into place. We are essentially using the band as a form to make sure our circle is 30 ft across and that the yurt will fit inside. My hope is that Sunday night the foundation will be done and drying, so we can start putting the yurt up Thursday.
In the meantime we will continue bringing in road base to raise the floor up in preparation for the earthen floor. We have brought in about 250 wheel barrow loads of gravel so far. A long way to go for sure, but it is good to finally see something there besides rocks rocks rocks
2 years ago