Yurt versus blizzard

For context on what this weekend’s blizzard was like for us, there are a couple of things worth mentioning about a yurt in general:

1) Josh can be outside at the wood pile and I can be inside making the beds and we can carry on a conversation. No need for shouting. We can just talk right through the yurt wall as if we were standing in the same room.

2) Have you ever tried to fold a tarp? If so, this will give you an idea of the sound of any amount of wind blowing against the side of the yurt.  Not quiet.

I mention these two tidbits so you understand why blizzard=zero sleep, for Josh and I anyway. Somehow the children sleep right through it, oblivious to the wind roaring through the trees and pelting the sides of the yurt. Meanwhile, my blood pressure is zooming, listening as each wind gust builds from a new direction and flies toward us, then away. I picture giant snow-breathing dragons zooming through the sky. Nothing makes me feel so tiny, so vulnerable, as these powerful winds. Josh and I spent Friday night in hushed talking, as if the sound of our voices might wake the children when the blizzard does not…

It is not that we feel unsafe. We’ve now been through several windstorms and can see firsthand what we were told – wind doesn’t have anything to grab onto with a round yurt, nothing to push against. It just slides right along and off of it.  We’ve heard tell of a yurt in Japan that survived a tornado when all nearby homes were leveled. I have worried about trees, and have a sister who worries twice as much as I, but I’ve also read several accounts of very large trees, larger than any we have close enough to our yurt, falling on yurts (example) and the yurt structure holding up quite impressively.  If I didn’t feel safe, my children would most definitely not be sleeping in this space in the blizzard. It is just that you really feel the power of the storm. There is no buffer from it.  You are on the bed, and the blizzard is at the wood pile having a conversation with you.

I found myself thinking of the deer that sleep on the edge of our clearing every night, wondering what they do during a blizzard…  Usually I am thinking “oh deer, ticks.”  Or “oh deer, I’m going to need a really high garden fence.”  But this night I am thinking “oh dear, where are the deer in this?”

Finally Saturday morning came.  The blizzard was still going.  Eventually there was a bit of a lull and we all bundled up and tumbled out.  Might as well get a start on the shoveling!

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Aria was less than impressed with the blowing snow wind and not being able to walk anywhere without falling down, and quickly tucked onto my back.

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When the wind and snow picked up even more, we all went back inside.  Only to hear the sound of a motor and look out to see a neighbor from a mile down the road zoom up through the blowing snow on his John Deere, outfitted in a full snow suit and goggles, snow blending into his white beard.  He’d come by to remind us to bring an instrument to their potluck and tobogganing gathering later that night.  When Josh expressed surprise that they were still having it, the neighbor said:

Pshaw!  This is nothing!

He got back on his tractor and zoomed off into the snow.

Caden was inspired by the neighbor’s goggle idea and got out his own as we headed back outside to get water and laugh into the blizzard…

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When I went out late that night to dump out the dish water, I could see the many sets of green eyes on the edge of the clearing that told me the deer were still there, blizzard and all.  I had half hoped they had some warm, cozy, tucked away place that they went to in inclement weather…

The snow and wind continued on until midnight Saturday.  We woke on Sunday (thankfully having gotten some sleep), to a beautiful, clear day.

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And then life here became much like life anywhere post-blizzard.  Fun in the snow!  Great for those of us who were still feeling a bit sleep-deprived and really needed to keep moving…

There was sledding, with and without sleds…

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There was snow eating…

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There was shoveling, in our case to a water pump, a wood mill, a compost bin, a wood pile…

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There was chainsawing to trim out some of the dead trees on the edge of the clearing.  Okay, so maybe that one isn’t exactly typical post-blizzard activity…

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And finally, there was strapping on snowshoes to climb snowplow mountain and head for an explore in those 17 acres of woods…

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Aria quickly ended up on my back again.  As soon as we entered the woods we could see the tracks of the deer that had been out exploring before us…

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The trees…those glorious, fascinating trees… Cedar, white birch, yellow birch, maple, cherry, spruce, douglas fir, ash…

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And the elusive cedar-in-birch…

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With a bonus at the end of finding out where the woodpecker we hear many a day has been hanging out, and realizing why it had sounded so near…

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Finally we’d come full circle, back to the back of the yurt.  Home again, home again…

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Just in time for one tired old dog and one silly child from trudging through that deep snow…

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As I finish writing this, here comes more snow.  A blessedly quiet snowfall this time.  Pshaw, this is nothing!

9 thoughts on “Yurt versus blizzard

  1. How exciting and beautiful! I love reading your posts. We were off the grid and self sustaining for a time ourselves and it was magnificent. Your blog brings back fond memories! =D

    • Thank you! I’m always fascinated by the cycle as so many people come and go from this kind of lifestyle. Very glad to bring those good memories back for you. I admit it’s a big reason I write about it, so I can look back on it myself someday too!

  2. So happy to have found your blog, and most importantly, this entry! We are t-minus 15 months away from starting our yurt adventure in Maine, and I’m eagerly soaking up all winter weather related material I can find 🙂

    • Love your repurposed woolens! We’ve been experimenting with old wool sweaters lately and it is great fun. That is really exciting about your Maine yurt! Best winter advice I can give is to make sure you have a BIG wood stove… 🙂 It is such an adventure and great to hear of someone about to start down that path!

  3. Melanie,

    So glad you found my email! I love your writing and fun pictures keep it up. Do I join word press to get postings? I love yurts and yours is high on the list. And what a blizzard it was! See you soon.

  4. I just found this after I Googled ‘how to survive a windstorm in a yurt’ haha! With a little anxiety, humor and a level head, it seems. I’ve been in my yurt for over a year now just east of Fritz Creek, Alaska. I love it so very much, but the wind still makes my blood pressure soar, even though I know deep down that all will be fine. I have recently strapped down the outside as a big storm last January caused my wood stove to lift off the ground in the middle of the night and swing from side to side. These days, if the forecast is for 40 mph or higher, I drive into town and stay with a friend. 🙂 I love your site. Keep up the good work. Take care.

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