Thursday, December 11, 2008

Living in a yurt. In Alaska. In the winter.

Some folks probably think she's crazy. I mean, anyone who lives in a yurt (aka ger) in warm weather gets used to strange looks from "normal" people, but in the winter? In Alaska?

Niki Raapana aka The Tent Lady ( at Living Outside the Dialectic) is one of my absolute favorite bloggers. She is one of the most intelligent commentators I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and whenever the tripe which is repeated from rote memorization by those for whom rhetoric replaces reason (and who ironically claim a monopoly on reason) starts to really get me down, simply reading and ruminating on Niki's writings renews my faith in man as a thinking creature. Well, some members of the species, anyway.

But while reading Niki's philosophical thoughts, it is easy to forget that she lives a quite interesting life in the physical realm too, and is quite capable of conveying interesting and useful information on homesteading and alternative housing in what most would consider a quite harsh (at times, anyway) environment; as this excerpt shows:

"It was 20 above inside when I woke up today, and that may seem cold to non-arctic people, but in the Alaskan interior on Dec 10, it's almost perfect winter weather. Still fairly easy to crawl out from my worn-out 30 degree sleeping bag and go start a fire. I use homemade wax filled egg carton fire starters so I can have radiating heat in about 15 minutes. I'm keeping the chainsaw inside so it starts no problem, even though I do have to work myself into the mood to get out there and saw it every day. Got fresh water from the well yesterday and caught enough in pots along the walls where the drips are to do another load of dishes."

I also found interesting, this list of items she uses every day:

electric laptop computer
electric portable phone, mainly for the dialup modem
electric extension cords, power surge protectors
LED headlamp (sunset's at about 4:30pm)
Sleeping bag, felt insert
Lighter, matches
Pull dump cart
plastic pull sled
Snow shovel (cause it just keeps snowing)
Chainsaw (needs sharpening, gas, engine oil and chain oil)
3 axes (splitter, regular and small)
Woodstove, using about 3 12 foot long, 5 inch round logs a day, cut into 18 inches for the stove
egg carton wax fire starter (eliminates need for kindling)
pot holders (dirty for the stove, clean for food)
Chamber Pot
toilet paper
electric Coffee pot (sometimes electric bean grinder)
Water jugs
electric refridgerator
2 large metal pots of heating water
electric lamps (candles and oil lamps too)
Camerons Little Smoker (it's my oven)
Stoneware pots with lid (for rice and beans)
coffee cups
electic skillet (a real help when you have no stove)
metal wash bins
dish soap
hand soap
toothpaste, brush
hairbrush, hairties
hand lotion
cotton towels

Go there to read the entire post. It is a worthwhile read.


The Scavenger said...

Tracy, thanks so much for the link. It is a great read, I really enjoyed it. Beats the heck out of drafty cabin.


Anonymous said...

I like yurts and have lived in one myself. If you think about it

yurts => Mongolia => bitter cold.

So why not?

Rod Freeman said...

Great find - thanks for the link!