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So as of tomorrow, it will be one year since we moved into the Yurt and began our sorjourn of rustic rural living, taking care of our good friends’ property and dwelling. So much has happened over the past year and I haven’t been very efficient at keeping record of it here at the blog. I thought I would take a little breath and reflect on our year as its been very transformational. So I bring you the top five outtakes of our Year in the Yurt.

1) Living this way has reconnected us to nature in a way that I never anticipated. 

The most amazing thing about living so far away from the towns and cities of our world is that we are living with natural light for the most part. We go to bed when the sun goes to bed and we wake up when the sun does. I naturally wake up without the need for alarms as does my family.

There is a frog that lives in the yurt wall that croaks to us over our dinner, every single night. We could set our watches by it, if we wore them. The neighbours roosters crow as the sun begins to glow behind the mountain. The full moon radiates like a giant lamp that was left on and the new moon makes the forest so very black that I feel as though I am blind.

I can hear the wind coming from kilometres away, well before it hits the forest around the yurt. The power of nature has been so very evident, especially this spring and early summer. There was a storm that came so suddenly and so violently that even the deer that lives near the yurt came running to us and gave us a warning call. It was a powerful message from Mother Nature one we will remember most likely forever.

2) Living without cell phone towers is liberating. 

So there are no cell phone towers around here, no cell phone reception for at least a 20 minute drive south and a 45 minute drive north. I simply love it. I love that when you are speaking with someone they aren’t texting their other friends. I love that when I am having a conversation or going for a hike that I am not distracted by the ringing of a phone.

I especially love that when you are out and about, say at the park with children, that the other parents aren’t talking and texting they are actually having conversations with each other, getting to know each other, being friendly, making eye contact.

I especially love that it takes effort, real conscious effort to be connected and this feels genuine and nurtures me on a deep level.

3) Yes we live without modern plumbing, aka the flushing toilet. 

So yes, its true, you have heard correctly, we currently live with an outhouse. Again, not to sound like a broken record, I love it. I love that I have to go outside every morning and do my business. I get to see the changes of the light, narrowing in the fall, growing in the spring. I get to observe the clouds rising or falling around the misty mountain tops. I get to breathe fresh air first thing, stretch my legs, take a walk and see what plants have emerged or what animal happens to be in the ‘yard’.

Most of all I absolutely love that we don’t flush away our waste with clean water everyday when the majority of the planet’s citizens live without clean drinking water. Our human waste is returned to the earth and composted naturally, safely, without stench or bugs or concern. And we don’t waste any water to do it.

4) Living with wood heat is hard, cheap but hard.

To heat the yurt each year we use 4 -5 cords of wood. We have an abundance of wood, especially on our own property where we have been doing the majority of wood harvest, hence the ‘cheap’ aspect. And when I say “we” I really mean Husband. Sure I can help spilt wood, but cut down a tree? With a chainsaw? Not likely. At least not yet. Through this wood adventure I have developed some brawny forearms and decent sized pipes and my strength as improved greatly…but I have also developed a burning case of some kind of ‘itis’ in my elbow.

Living with wood heat is effort simply put. Effort to get the wood, split and stack the wood, cure the wood, haul the wood to the yurt, store the wood etc etc. You get the drift. Plus waking in the middle of the night to load the stove, that’s another angle as well.

But, its so worth while. I hadn’t lived with wood heat prior to this and I must say I love it. Even though its taxing on many levels, the sound, smell and experience of wood heat well makes up for any effort put forth. Watching wood burn in the middle of the dark winter is like watching the sun shine brightly on a summer’s day. Its nature’s heat. I am grateful to have it.

5) Creation of Family. 

The size of the yurt is 24 feet meaning we have about 450 square feet of usable space. We were living in a small space in the city so we are pretty used it to it but this is a bit different. Living in this type of space doesn’t allow for many secrets, for much solitude, for an abundance of privacy. We have some privacy with curtains, wood partitions etc. Its not all communal space.

Our family life because of this has become richer in many ways. We have only a small amount of electricity so we use it wisely each day and have completely stopped watching tv. CBC pulling the plug on the peasant view has some to do with this but we had stopped watching long before they did that anyway.

Our connection to each other has deepened, we talk more, we connect more. We play board games and read chapter books together, out loud, to each other. We make time to have tea together as a family after dinner and discuss our days. There are so many opportunities to spend time together that we just didn’t seem to have in the city. We spent a lot of time being busy in the city doing stuff that I can’t even remember, sure it seemed important to me then but now, not so much. Here we spend more time together doing basic tasks, tasks that have to be done to ensure our comfort and survival really.

The single most rewarding outcome of this adventure is that we have become a tighter knit family. Its really that simple. Living this way has created a life: a rich and profound life experience.

And now, gratefully so, our year in the yurt has turned into two. The family that owns the yurt won’t be returning until December 2013. So our yurt care-taking duties have been extended. Stay tuned for upcoming developments on our own property which we will begin this fall starting with being the raw land teach for the permaculture intensive happening here in the fall.

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