Because of my interest in felting, I was doing some research on the topic of wool and it’s many uses and this was the first time I had read anything about a yurt. The Wikipedia definition is as follows: A yurt is a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. A yurt is more home-like than a tent in shape and build, with thicker walls. They are popular amongst nomads. In Europe and America, different groups and individuals use yurts for a variety of purposes, from full-time housing to school rooms. In some provincial parks in Canada, and state parks in several US states, permanent yurts are available for camping. Continuing with my wool research, I found this video on You-Tube about Mongoalian felt making (using goat’s wool to make the felt for a yurt), which I found interesting: Mongolian Feltmaking.
We were visiting our friends, Bella and Yossi last weekend and imagine my delight when a found a yurt in their back yard. They ordered their yurt from a Mongolian yurt importer, with colors to their specifications (the Indian OM sign on the outside panels was also their request, as this would not be the norm for a Mongolian yurt). I walked into the yurt, expecting something rather rustic and was very surprised to find a quaint, modern- looking bedroom. There were hardwood floors, several pieces of furniture and lots of space. The screened-in hole in the ceiling lets in most of the light and helps with the airflow. There is a big front door and two small windows on the side with panes of glass. The door handle was my favorite part of the yurt, the metal handles were shaped into an ox on the outside and a lizard-horse? on the outside. The walls were layered, behind the inside wooden lattice structure was painted canvas, then a layer of insulation and wool and the outter layer was a water-proof canvas.
A traditional nomadic family would build a fire in the middle of the structure and the smoke would exit through the hole in the roof. Being inside the yurt felt like being in a play house to me.
It looked like fun, but why would someone go to all the trouble to import this yurt and assemble it themselves in the backyard of their lovely home (where they already have a nice bedroom)? I asked Bella “why” and she gave me this very poetic answer:
In a beautiful rainforest, close to Byron Bay, Australia, a beautiful wooden yurt was our home for many years
Living in our yurt was one of the happiest times of my life!
Living in a small space is very tribal, doing everything in the yurt, sleeping waking, cooking, eating and playing
Living in a yurt is being closer 2 nature, it’s so beautifully dark @ night looking @ the sky & the stars (& occasionally the moon) through the open top, feeling the fresh night air, hearing the sounds of nature outside, insects & birds & animals
Living in a round space is beautiful, i love the way the energy flows, it’s great having no walls, easy to heat in winter, cool in summer, such joy in living simply
Living in an organized manner as there is not much storage, hoarding is not encouraged, it’s also mostly a very affordable way 2 live, much less expensive than a regular home
After her answer, I’m wondering why more of us don’t have a yurt; it sounds like a mini-vacation in the backyard!