Yurt Living in Alaska - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-06-2010, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! I posted on the Alaskan mamas chat thread, but wanted to post here to see if anyone could help with yurt info for me. We want to buy land somewhere within an hour or so of Fairbanks in the next few months, and build a yurt on it. We also want to build a log cabin on the land eventually too, but that's another thread. We shall start with a yurt.

There is tons of information online about them, but I'd love to hear some first-hand experiences any of you might have about actually living in a yurt in Alaska. I know we'll be able to do it, but since it will be such a new experience, some ideas or thoughts about what you have done and what kind of power, toilets, necessary tools/items, meals, groceries, garbage, etc, that you need and deal with each day would be very much appreciated. Or any links with this kind of info to read about would be great! Anything at all will be helpful to me. I just want to know how life actually goes living in a yurt in Alaska.

This reminds me of the time before my dd was born, when I was asking folks online a million detailed questions about how -exactly- one takes care of a baby, heh. It's just nice to hear experiences about big things like this!

Thank you for any help

 
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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Did you pm mckittre? Her yurt was the one in the article that was discussed in the ongoing Alaskan mama thread.. I think there is a yurt company in Homer somewhere..

http://www.nomadshelter.com/

http://nikiraapana.blogspot.com/2010...ts-in-nyt.html

http://www.yurtinfo.org/yurtkids.php

I think this Alaskan yurt sold, but still has some cool pics.

http://www.mushingdogs.com/blog/
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:41 PM
 
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I've lived in a home-built yert in Montana and Alaska over the course of a few winters. I froze my ass off in the winter of 96 above Palmer... glad it wasn't Fairbanks. I honestly slept with 4 hats on my head. Always it was an outhouse, no water, no power- except a little solar. Arctic entryway is an absolute must, IMO for a yert. Love, lvoe, love my round houses... its a beautiful way to live.

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Old 01-06-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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There's a cool mama on my DDC who lives in a yurt in Alaska. Her family was just featured in a beautiful photo essay in the NY Times.

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Old 01-06-2010, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pinoikoi, Thank you so much for the links! We are probably going with Nomad Shelter for our yurt. The mushingdogs yurt is beautiful! I pm'd mckittre; thanks for reminding me.

mtn.mama, thanks for letting me know about your experiences. I don't know what an Arctic Entryway is yet, but I'll look it up. Thanks for mentioning it. Did you have a woodstove or something for warmth in Palmer? I've loved reading your posts on off grid living and such; you're obviously very knowledgeable. Where in Montana did you live? I'm from Seattle and would go to Flathead Lake to visit my grandpa and go fishing in the summer when I was a kid. Montana was the runner-up to Ak.

starling&diesel, thanks for the link; I saw it in the Ak mamas thread too. I've looked at the pics many times! Love them.

 
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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I have never lived in a Yurt but I have done the cabin thing in the Interior.
Both cabins had little insulation but were very small (20x22) (20X30 A Frame)
It is COLD with a Capitol C O L D! Water freezes on the floor kinda cold. I most certainly dont want to turn you off the yurt living cuz people do it all over the world and in very cold climates but I'm not sure that even at -55F it will be all that warm. However, small homes are so intimate and cozy in a different way.

We spent many wonderful years in small homes, we are a very close knit family and all enjoy each others company. We also homeschooled and stuff like that.

As far as LIVING in a yurt, well aside from the Outhouse, most everything else is pretty much like anywhere else. how you cook depends on what you have. Do you have a propane range? Or will you be cooking off your wood stove? Will you have power on your property or run off a generator? Will you have a propane fridge? Or electric? You can dig a hole in a snow drift and make a "freezer". If you live by water (lake or river} you can dig a hole in the ice and make a Freezer that way. In the summer, you can keep things fridge cold in the water as well (just nothing that will get damaged if it gets wet!)

in the interior it is common to burn your garbage. I would recycle what I could, compost, then burn the rest.
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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I don't know what an Arctic Entryway is yet, but I'll look it up. Thanks for mentioning it.
An artic entryway is a room basically attached to the front door. There is a door and small hallway and then the "other" front door and then you enter the home. Artic entryways are found on all kinds of homes here. Some people have slightly larger ones and can use it for some cold storage (they aren't usually heated but some are). Other people use it as a kind of mud room.. the main purpose though is to have a room that prevents heat loss when the door is opened.. You open the one door, and close it before opening the door to the home basically... (there are even many businesses that have them here although they aren't called "artic entryways" I think they are called heat loss buffers or something technical.. but grocery stores, hospitals, some schools..)

I will see if I can find some pics.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ExP4G-bCaG...20+(Large).jpg

This one the door is open, but you can see it is just a small walkthrough room and then there is the real front door.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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Here is a picture of my partner, Jan's yurt. The handler lives in it, shares the kitchen and bathroom in the house. It has a toyo. Jan says it is good till about -30 but I tell the handlers if they get cold, go on in and crash on the couch. They normally do well before it hits -30.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v4.../Jans%20Place/

If you plan to heat with wood you are going to need at least 10 cords of wood. That will require a full time job of cutting or lots of money to purchase. If you plan on cooking with propane, better have a back up system as propane freezes at the temperatures we get here and wont flow several times throughout the winter.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Danidama View Post
mtn.mama, thanks for letting me know about your experiences. I don't know what an Arctic Entryway is yet, but I'll look it up. Thanks for mentioning it. Did you have a woodstove or something for warmth in Palmer? I've loved reading your posts on off grid living and such; you're obviously very knowledgeable. Where in Montana did you live? I'm from Seattle and would go to Flathead Lake to visit my grandpa and go fishing in the summer when I was a kid. Montana was the runner-up to Ak.
I had a woodstove in Montana, and a wood/cookstove in Alaska. Neither stove was good enough, not airtight or with big enough woodboxes. I lived in Bozeman for a few years, but my Dad grew up near Flathead. PM me and I'll link you to my blog. Good luck with your endeavor! Oh, and an arctic entry insulates the warmth of the cabin from the cold of the outside. Its an antechamber, like an airlock. The key to the warmth of any structure, yert or treehouse or whatnot, is an insulated floor and an insulated roof. Practically everything else is expendable.

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Old 01-07-2010, 06:43 AM
 
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i'm also thinking maybe a yurt in fairbanks..... but i just thought about this though the folks up at calypso farm lived in the yurt that is now the main office, they even birthed their oldest daughter in it.

i bet they would be happyto talk about yurt living in fairbanks.!

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Old 01-07-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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I had a woodstove in Montana, and a wood/cookstove in Alaska. Neither stove was good enough, not airtight or with big enough woodboxes. I lived in Bozeman for a few years, but my Dad grew up near Flathead. PM me and I'll link you to my blog. Good luck with your endeavor! Oh, and an arctic entry insulates the warmth of the cabin from the cold of the outside. Its an antechamber, like an airlock. The key to the warmth of any structure, yert or treehouse or whatnot, is an insulated floor and an insulated roof. Practically everything else is expendable.
that is eerie! I grew up on Bozeman!
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:35 AM
 
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that is eerie! I grew up on Bozeman!
My son was born in Kalispell and we also lived in Polson on Flathead Lake.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:57 AM
 
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I'm in Ketchikan so we don't have the extremes that Fairbanks does by any means (we thought 24 degrees was cold last week). But that said, we looked into yurts and found that we could build a stick-built cabin ourselves (and pretty quickly) for the same price or less, get more square footage, and have a solid structure with whatever insulation and layout preferences we wanted. I'd suggest checking out www.countryplans.com Forums are a fabulous resource, they have ALL sizes of cabins, pictures of people's real-life handmade ones, and the plans are cheap with input and suggestions from the actual engineer/designer about changes, etc, on the forums. My favorite is actually http://www.coyotecottage.com/ with double insulated walls and a small living space.

Best of luck in whatever you decide!
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the thoughts and advice! We are thinking of building a cabin instead because we found out that it is much cheaper than we had always thought, plus it is what we've really always wanted. I like the idea of being as cozy as possible too. We've decided to buy land with power, and have a back-up genny, too. We will most definitely have it built with an arctic entryway.


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My son was born in Kalispell and we also lived in Polson on Flathead Lake.
I always went to visit my great aunt and uncle in Libby, and went to Kalispell often. My grandpa lived in Bigfork. My first memory of fishing (I love fishing) is being in a little blow-up mickey mouse kids raft somewhere on the edge of Flathead, and leaning over, looking into the shallow, sun-lit water at all the minnows checking out the big piece of hot dog I had tied on the end of a thick white string that was tied to a stick.

 
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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Thank you for all the thoughts and advice! We are thinking of building a cabin instead because we found out that it is much cheaper than we had always thought, plus it is what we've really always wanted. I like the idea of being as cozy as possible too. We've decided to buy land with power, and have a back-up genny, too. We will most definitely have it built with an arctic entryway.



I always went to visit my great aunt and uncle in Libby, and went to Kalispell often. My grandpa lived in Bigfork. My first memory of fishing (I love fishing) is being in a little blow-up mickey mouse kids raft somewhere on the edge of Flathead, and leaning over, looking into the shallow, sun-lit water at all the minnows checking out the big piece of hot dog I had tied on the end of a thick white string that was tied to a stick.
I believe that Alaska is just the natural progression for some of us. I spent many years in Colorado and that is where I went to college. A week after I graduated we moved to Montana. Then due to mother in law's health we had to go to Oklahoma for a few years but then came up here. If for some reason I couldn't live in Alaska any more, I would move back to Montana.
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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I agree. For me, Alaska was a given... as it was the only place I could go to with bigger mountains and bigger bears than Montana. Canada excepted, of course. I couldn't go back to Montana, its grown up too much in the last, gulp, 19 years. But Canada... oh, Canada...

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Old 01-09-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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One of the dad's from a hiking group I was in live in a yurt by the Eagle River Nature Center. The weather in Eagle River is quite different than Fairbanks though. Here is the blog. http://movingtoak.blogspot.com/ I saw it and I was suprised how roomy it was inside. I think they have the biggest one you can get.

Dianna environmentally educated tree hugging mom of dd 9/06 and ds 10/08 newbie dd 9/10
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I believe that Alaska is just the natural progression for some of us.
That is absolutely true. I've been wanting to move to Colorado for a long time too! (If I couldn't get all the way to Montana, Oregon or Alaska. ) It is pretty crazy how much Montana has changed. It doesn't really feel like a frontier kind of land to me anymore. But it's still awesome big huge sky country.

dmpmercury, thank you so much for that link! That area looks like a dream come true. The Year of Yurt time lapse video is super cool!

 
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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One of the dad's from a hiking group I was in live in a yurt by the Eagle River Nature Center. The weather in Eagle River is quite different than Fairbanks though. Here is the blog. http://movingtoak.blogspot.com/ I saw it and I was suprised how roomy it was inside. I think they have the biggest one you can get.
eagle river is soooooo nice its outside of anchorage and ft richardson

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