Living in the Round: Part 1

Hey Farmgirls! A few weeks ago (well, maybe more like two months ago…) I teased you all by saying that I would share some fun news with you in my next post. Welllllll, a few posts have gone by without any news of this news. However, I’m ready, now.

Are you ready?

Drum Roll, please!

Evan and I are moving into the round. That is, we are moving into our very own…


That’s right, we are moving into a semi-nomadic, traditional Mongolian style, all season dwelling. We made the first down payment back in March, but I didn’t want to break the news with all of you until we knew for sure that our yurt dream was going to become reality.

We have purchased a twenty four foot yurt from Homer, Alaska’s own Nomad Yurt Company. This company has been constructing yurts for the wider Alaskan community for twenty years, and we are excited to own a yurt made by them! The yurt that you’ve all seen in other pictures from my blogs is a thirty foot yurt that was made by the company about six years ago.

Evan and I have dreamed of living in a yurt since we moved to Alaska two years ago. After renting over-priced apartments and spending a few months looking at homes to purchase, we were becoming steadily discouraged with our options. We were sick of paying a monthly chunk of money with nothing to show for it, and we were finding that all of the homes we could afford in our area weren’t financible due to shoddy construction or other issues. We finally made the decision to go for a yurt!

Sometimes, I think we’ve gone off the deep end.

The yurt will be just under five hundred square feet, which isn’t too bad, really. There are plenty of apartments that are smaller than this. Plus, Evan and I love each other and all of that gushy stuff, so we don’t need to hang out in different rooms to “get away from each other.” We are perfectly able to have our own free time while still being within sight of each other.

At first, we were hoping for the yurt to be fully off of the grid. However, we have since reconciled with the fact that we are addicted to electricity. So, the yurt will be dry (as in no plumbing or running water); but we will still be connected to the city’s electric. The cabin that we are living in now is also dry but still has electric, so we think it is a great midway step to living in the yurt. We are already starting to perfect our water hauling and storing systems.

My great yogi friend, Amanda, and her gracious husband, Matt, invited us to put up our yurt on their land near Hatcher Pass Recreation Area. They have a bit over one acre, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is fully forested, so we can still feel like we are in a private location. We couldn’t be happier to live next to some of our favorite people in Alaska! We will be building an outhouse, and they have allowed us to get water from their house to store in our yurt! We are so excited!

The yurt is going to be heated by wood stove as well as some supplementary heat from electric space heaters when needed. We will have a fridge as well as a high quality toaster oven and stove top burners for cooking. We are hoping to create an entry way that will also double as some storage space, with the lofted area above this room serving as a space for a lofted bed. Do you any of you live in a yurt or otherwise small space and have any tips for living in tight quarters?

The yurt should be finished by the end of the month! And from there we will begin our adventures of living in the round in Alaska. First, we have to build an insulated platform for the yurt to be built onto, and from there, the yurt is supposedly an easy construction project. We will have a yurt raising party with some of our friends, and the whole operation should take less than two days from start to finish. We are more than excited to start this new endeavor into the world of home ownership, however small and impermanent the home may be!

I should also confess that I have lately been dreaming of our own adorable home somewhere with an indoor toilet and sturdy, sound proof walls, and perhaps even a water heater for hot showers. However, this yurt adventure will not be a super long one–we are anticipating about a year in it, and then we can use the yurt outside of a “real” home as a fun writing/music/yoga studio or as a guest house for visitors. Think of housing future farm interns in the yurt! How fun!

In the meantime, we are having a great time with some preliminary designs and ideas for the yurt. Evan has been brushing up on his carpentry skills and I’ve been reading and perusing the many yurt sources out there for some of the lessons learned by other yurt owners. Again, if you have any ideas or lessons learned from your previous living situations, let us know! We are looking forward to this next chapter in our Alaskan Adventure, and I can’t wait to share parts of it with all of you along the way!

Happy Fourth of July to you all, I hope you are celebrating with friends and family in the sun and rejoicing in our freedom to do nearly whatever we want (including living in semi-nomadic dwellings in Alaska!)

Sending you peace and love,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

  1. Sukochi Lee says:

    Sounds like "yurt" will have a happy home there! Enjoy. My niece lived in a two story 900 square foot house in San Francisco for years. Less space=less stuff!


  2. Shari Doty says:

    Congratulations! We looked at yurts too. We were living in our fifth wheel on my husband’s family ranch. In the photos they look so spacious, but when I measured it out on the ground, it spooked me. So we moved into a mobile home. Living in a small space is doable though. I used my fifteen foot travel trailer as my closet, and stored the bulk of my stuff. Good luck!

  3. Joan says:

    Oh how exciting and what wonderful friends you have – gee must mean you are wonderful friends too – for sure. I have had some experience with a small roundish cabin type facility – we put news paper up and decorative/very useful blankets at the walls in the winter – kind of like in a tepee that has a liner on the lower half to help keep warmer. We also invested in a inside portable/self containing disposal toilet – does that make sense – those cold mornings/nights were no fun running to LULU. Yes you are going to have lots of great times and I for one can hardly wait to hear about it all. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

  4. Chris says:

    Alex, I have always wanted to live in a yurt. My husband & I traveled from California to Oregon to visit a yurt manufacturer there. The models were so wonderful!

    I will enjoy living vicariously through your experiences!

    Best wishes in your new home, CHris

  5. marci says:

    I have always wanted to live in a yurt! I will love to see the photos and hear more about your experiences.

  6. Shadow Davis says:

    Try looking at Tiny houses . There are lots of ideas there for storage and living off grid. Even some plans for building that may give you ideas. Good luck!

  7. Sandi says:

    Hi.. wow, you are so brave. I’d like to visit a yurt.. we have a place in Marfa TX that has a campground with yurts, teepees, and refab’d trailors. Can’t wait to hear more of your new adventure.

  8. Lynn says:

    I lived in a 850 sq foot house with my husband 3 children and 2 dogs, and my daughter lived in about 500 with husband and 2 children. It can be done, especially if you have a plan to move out someday.

  9. crystal says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun, yes fun. Living mostly off the grid. Alaska is a beautiful state, my husband and I are hoping to visit there within the next year. He wants to live there, I’m not so sure because of the cold winters. Good luck to you two in your adventures.

  10. Brenda Cassady says:

    I am 61 years old and I love Yurts. Why? Because they are different. There is a dealer about an hour from us and I love to go by there. I would love to have one as a studio/playhouse. My husband thinks I’m crazy, and that’s o.k. Who wants to be totally "normal". Good luck and enjoy.

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