Summ-yurt Time


We’ll be on the move, soon!

Hey Farmgirls, it’s been a while since the last yurt check-in, and you’ve been asking for some updates.  As we’re (likely) finishing up our last few months of living in the round, it seems like it’s a perfect time to let you in on some of our yurt life findings…


Home, sweet home

We have been living in our yurt for almost two years–two years that have been filled with many changes!  To name a few: a new member in our family, the attainment of a Master’s degree for me, promotions for Evan, a taming down of our pup Moki (now that she’s approaching the magical three years old!), and many fun DIY projects.  At first, it seemed like the task of living in the yurt wouldn’t allow for much more; but as we all know, big life events have a way of squirming their way into all situations.  Ava baked away in my warm tummy even as we shivered in the early days of yurt life–it was a cold and rainy fall, the walls of the yurt weren’t properly attached yet, and we didn’t have a reliable heating source until well into October.  Lesson one: Sweaters, slippers and blankets are our dear friends!


Wood storage and protected project space. We are in the process of repairing our canoe.

The cooking situation at first was also a bit tedious–we only had a camp stove! We weren’t supposed to use it inside…but we reasoned that we weren’t really indoors, especially with the walls not properly attached.  We didn’t even have a proper table, we had some storage bins stacked up with a big hunk of plywood on top.  I guess you could say we were roughing it, but we were still living in a much better situation than millions (probably billions) of people.  Within the first few months we acquired what would become our kitchen– some small cupboards, a counter top, a really nice toaster oven, a “professional” (I think that’s a stretch) hot plate and a full sized fridge/freezer.  We have made some really great meals with this combo–I even made creme brûlée the other day!  This minimal set up allows for fantastic meals, we’ve entertained in the yurt, we’ve had holidays in the yurt and we’ve processed enough food for dry and frozen storage to keep us happy in the winter.


Toddler toys spruce the place up!

One of the most notable things I’ve learned about our yurt life is that everything is out in the open for others to see–we don’t have any closed off areas to hide our stuff in! We have too much “stuff” even though we’ve tried to pare it down a bit.  The “bedrooms” leak into the living room which leaks into the kitchen which leaks into everything because it’s a kitchen and we have a toddler who loves to rearrange anything she can reach.  Storage areas become any area that isn’t optimally used for anything else–The area behind the sink, the area in the loft where the ceiling is too low for anything else, between the couch and the book shelf, etc.  We also have our designated storage space in the entry way, but again, that is open for all to see our (my) organization deficiencies.


Welcome to our abode…

I’ve mostly come to accept that this is all just fine.  The dichotomy of living a fairly modern consumer lifestyle in a traditional structure has nuances that often allude me–but I know there is something there.  We are trying to live off grid, but we don’t fully embody the off grid lifestyle.  We have computers and techie gadgets, we have too many clothes, Ava has quite a few toys, we have stacks of dishes and kitchen appliances that are totally necessary (like a Vitamix).  We aren’t the family that monitors our energy and water consumption, we aren’t the people who wash our clothes by hand, we aren’t the family who bathes by sitting in the sauna and then rinse with ladles of water.  We succumb to the normative pressures of modern society because we like to think we are integral parts of it.  We can be stinky, but not too stinky!


Our entry way and coat rack–complete with axe, hatchett, canvass bags and various work clothes. And a baby towel?


Outdoor gear storage–backpacks, skis, boots, camping equipment, towel for dirty and wet dogs. This is the “hallway” to the sink.


More storage behind the front door. So many skis! Plus Moki’s fine dining area.

Sometimes I think about people living in little one room cabins with their six kids and wonder how in the heck they did it.  And then I think–Oh yeah, it was okay to only bathe monthly.  Dad wasn’t working for a multinational company in a shiny store and CPS wouldn’t come if the kids wore the same clothes for weeks.  There probably wasn’t a rug to collect dog hair (or a dog that lived indoors), and since the same pot was used for every meal it didn’t have time to sit around and get crusty.  Above all else, life was far from easy for them, and most were living in terrible poverty.  Luckily, life is easy enough for us and crippling poverty isn’t an issue. I get self conscious about either the lack of neatness in the yurt or our lack of simplicity once in a while, depending on who is visiting, but I’ve gotten a lot better at reminding myself that this is our life and we can do pretty much whatever we want! This reminds me of my mother who has a tendency to leave cupboard doors open after using them (it is commonplace that almost every door will be left open!).  My dad used to tell visitors, “and today we are displaying the inside of our cupboards!”  I guess, psychologically, this phenomenon is linked with people who feel they have nothing to hide.  I think I got some of that.


The Master Bathroom. We built a french drain off of the sink. Notice the boxes behind the sink? This is also where we our dish water after doing the dishes in bins.

You enter through the hanging tree tapestry, it serves as a room separator.

You enter through the hanging tree tapestry, it serves as a room separator.  The loft is on top, and the other tapestry is our feeble attempt to block the midnight sun from our sleeping space…it works well enough!


Our "Bedroom" areas--clothing storage, Ava's crib (she is now too big for it so it has turned into our treadmill that collects sweaters and odds and ends.

Our “Bedroom” areas–clothing storage, Ava’s crib (she is now too big for it so it has turned into our treadmill that collects sweaters and odds and ends. Our bed is up the stairs.

We are often asked if we would change anything about our yurt set up…and I always have a hard time answering that.  I can’t think of anything that really doesn’t work.  I love that we have a loft so that our bedroom seems like a different space, similarly it is nice to have the main storage area under the loft so it also feels a bit separate.  If we had more money we would change a lot of things!  Running water! a real bathrooom! solar panels! A second bedroom yurt! a deck/porch! But, with what we have and can afford, I think it’s pretty sweet.  I also think we would do some things differently if we knew we would be living here longer.  We would have some more finishing touches–there would be much less bare wood, We probably would have some more enclosed spaces for storage and more permanent structures in the kitchen area.  We would probably get a real couch instead of the college-era futon, and we might even consider a loft extension for more sleeping space for children.  However, for our temporary abode, it all feels pretty good.  It’s been feeling a lot better since I know our time is running short, too.

We haul water from our friend's house and filter it for consumption.  We go through about 30 gallons of water per week.

We haul water from our friend’s house and filter it for consumption. We go through about 30 gallons of water per week.


Ava helps with some beautification projects. The rocks and birch stumps outline the path to our front door.



Which one smells the best?

There you go friends!  Do you have any questions about yurt life?!  I’d be happy to answer any and all questions, send them my way!

I hope summer is treating you all wonderfully.

Sending peace and love from Alaska,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl.


  1. Denise Ross says:

    Thanks Alex for the insight into your yurt set up and life within it. It’s very interesting and I’m glad you are comfortable and happy with how it works for you and your family. Little Ava is a real cutie. Where will you be living when your time living in your yurt comes to an end?
    Denise – Australia

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Denise! We are most likely moving into Anchorage so my partner’s commute will be much shorter. He spends 10-13 hours a week commuting as it is. It’ll be great to have that time back!

  2. Susana says:

    Youth haa its advantage for yurt lifestyle. Ava looks…. contented.that’s all that matters.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Susana! Ava is very content, she doesn’t know any better and still gets everything she needs and plenty of the things she wants. Happy little lady, she is!

  3. Joan says:

    Great insight to your living!! I’m looking to downsize but – especially at my age a yurt won’t be IT – need a few more creature comforts but I love that you have done it and darling Ava is none the worse for it – it will be great to spend more time together, so hoping that all goes well. God bless

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Joan! This reminds me of my dad saying, “I like it–I think I could have done this when I was younger, but not now!” haha. It has been a good adventure, and one that we will look back on fondly…while taking hot showers in a future home!

  4. Dori Troutman says:

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks so much for writing about your Yurt life! I really enjoyed it. It reminds me a little of living in our travel trailer for the almost 3 years it took to build our house. It was really fun for the first year or so. Then, the second year we tolerated it. The final 6 months I wanted to burn the place down!!! 🙂 It made our house all the sweeter!

    Hope the fires have settled out some? I’ve talked to my sister in law (in Anchorage) a few times and always forget to ask her about the fires.



    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hey Dori! Yes, I’ve had those same feelings…now that we are facing the end of our time here it is much better, though. The fires near us have died down, but there are still plenty of fires throughout the state. It’s been a bit rainy for the last couple of weeks, but not nearly rainy enough! It is terrible for both fires and farming…We need some new rain dances to perform, any ideas?! 🙂

  5. Rowena Philbeck says:

    Thanks for sharing your Yurt and family. Such a special place and I know you have great memories their and alway will. Enjoy your new adventure of a new place and I’m sure saving the gas will be great and more time with family. Are you selling your place their? I have seen others that take theirs down. Very cool for sure. Thanks again.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Rowena! We will likely be selling the yurt at some point. We’ll probably leave it up for the next winter and into next summer as a “second home.” This is funny for me to say! haha. We will probably sell it then, although the possibility to keep it is always an option. They are intended to be nomadic homes, so if we sell it or if we keep it it will be moved.

  6. Rachelle says:

    What made you decide to move to the city? What will happen to the yurt? Thanks for sharing your life in the yurt. it has been very fun and interesting. I know I couldn’t do it for as long as you have.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      My partner works in the city, and it was getting hard to justify the two hours (or more) of commuting he was doing every day–especially since I don’t have class or regular work where we were living. We will ultimately sell the yurt, but it is still up right now as a “country house.” Plus, we still have quite a bit of little stuff in the yurt that needs to be moved/donated/tossed! It was definitely a fun and different experience. So glad we did it, but I’m also glad to be living in a place with more modern amenities!

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