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Volume Zero
(or, The Stuff That Preceeded Volume 1)

These two e-mails preceeded the creation of YIPPEE but are an important part of the project history. In the interest of openness and historical accuracy they are replicted here.

Defeat, Yurts and Hope
Saturday, October 10, 2003

Hi everybody!

The Adventures of Cass and Chris is reaching the end of another chapter.

Forget everything we have ever said about this house; we've experienced many fleeting and false notions of acheived safety. As it stands now, this house is 1) still causing me to get ill, 2) quite moldy and 3) very difficult to heat. After a year of intense work, we are ready to concede that this house will not get any better. Hence, our decision to admit 'DEFEAT'! and move on.

The next chapter will be YURT living! (www.yurts.com)

Here's how it came about...

It was a cold grey and dreary day one Saturday in August (...really, it was). Chris & I were sitting outside in our bug-protecting screen cube, bundled up and sipping hot tea. We were discussing housing, formulating a game plan. As Chris & I are bound to do, we were musing jovially about all sorts of options. One, which highlighted that we'd be signifigantly warmer living in a tent, lead me to say, "yeah,... we could put a yurt up in the meadow over there". To which Chris said, "yurt!?!", with a scrunched up, confused yet inquisitive expression. I replied, "Yes, a yurt. Write it in your Palm to look up next time you're on the web". Instead, he jumped up, exited the screen cube, disappeared into the house and upstairs. When I next heard from him it was to hear him exclaim, "Cool!!".

Basically a yurt is a round building... A large tent but better. They can have plumbing and electric, anything a regular house can have, or be rustic.

Why yurts?

First off, we feel quite confident now that the 'normal' housing options (renting a house, renting an apartment or purchasing a new house) are incompatible with getting me healthy. While it is wholly conceivable that a safely constructed house could be done, it would be a several year project and demand resources we do not currently possess. Yurts are 1) incredibly fast and easy to construct (2 days), 2) constructed with materials that are safer for me (wood, fabrics and metal...no glues, paints,etc), 3) inexpensive, compared to what we're paying for a year's rent and/or would pay to build a safe house, 4) warm! (Or cool, as needed), 5) deconstructable, therefore transportable and thus, would be ours for life, 6) absent of any prior tenants' unsafe chemicals/substances to eliminate, and 7) last but not least, yurts are just so neat!

The fact that yurts are so much cheaper than houses will enable us to buy more land; another good point since we need a large parcel to buffer and ensure safety for me.

We are balancing our needs for my health safety and improvement, getting up and running as fast as possible (because this house is detrimental to my health and winter is fast upon us), and our long held desire to live 'off-the-grid'.

Living on a bunch of land, in an alternative house with renewable, sustainable energy is something we've looked forward to doing. We are being pushed in that direction a bit sooner due to my health, but flowing with the love of the Universe. It will be interesting to see what we end up with. Exciting prospects!

A truly wonderful success in my health is enabling us to move forward with this plan. I have successfully been treated with NAET so that automobile and truck exhaust no longer debilitate me. For the first time in almost a year, I have been off this property. What a treat! Chris' truck is now safe for me (our cars have not gotten safe yet). We have been driving that to go look at a few land parcels. Unfortunately, because we cannot filter all incoming air while driving the truck, I occassionally get ill from some unsafe area we pass. Fortunately, since we're looking at largish undeveloped land parcels, I don't have to contend with neighborhood chemicals on the land plots themselves. It's actually been really nice to be outside hiking around.

We also looked at a year-round, fully functional yurt this past weekend, in Hartland VT (1.5hrs away). I got the reference from Pacific Yurts. We figured people who were willing to live in a yurt fulltime might be likely to live a more friendly-to-me lifestyle, and that at least Chris could see it. When we arrived, Chris went in first to meet them, let them know my condition, assess if I should even try going in and ask if they'd mind me bringing my O2 tank in. I did go in; wore my mask and used the O2. I did still end up getting ill and having to cope with the ill-effects for this whole week after. But, it was worth it. The couple was quite informative and super nice, with a little girl who was born in the yurt this past winter. They explained everything they had done, and gave suggestions for what they'd do different. I'm glad we went even with the illness issues; it was worth it to see a yurt 'in action'.

We will keep you posted as our plans progress. We're hopeful that we will be in a yurt of some sort by the end of the year. At the very latest, by spring.

Love and Cheers!,

C++ (Cass and Chris)

[*To recap preceding chapters, the Baltimore chapter closed in November of 2001. The House-sitting in Lyndonville Vermont chapter closed in April 2002. The chapter, 'HELL' (alternatively, 'Apartment in Concord Vermont'), was thankfully short. In May and June of 2002, we transitioned to living in both Walpole and North Walpole, New Hampshire. Simultaneously living in the 'Remote, rustic cabin-without-power' and another hellacious apartment, where neither was safe, lead to closing that chapter in October 2002. We then began the chapter here, in Westmoreland, NH.]

Yurt/Land Update
Sunday, November 11, 2003

Greetings Friends!

Update on our Yurt/Land project:

-We're still in process of locating a land parcel; we have a few of interest that we are investigating further.

-Everything got stalled because Chris was gone almost the entire month of October. My lack of ability to use computer, read magazines/papers/phone book and/or go visit places myself, requires Chris' involvement.

-The plan is to have our land purchased and ready for yurt installation by April (or after end of mud season)

-We will have two yurts. One for main living (30'), and a second smaller one (14') for everything that must be kept separated from me; Chris' den, computers, mail, etc. We will install both yurts on a deck, with a walkway/room in between.

-As you may recall, we are actually living in a summer house. Last year, we struggled constantly to get warm. For months, the interior temperature was hard pressed to reach 40-50F. I spent the entire winter in my snowpants and hat, sleeping a few feet in front of the woodstove. My health was adversely impacted by being so cold on a near constant basis. The landlord was unwilling to offer any assistance for the winter months.

-To address our problem of surviving the winter, we have purchased the smaller yurt now; it will be delivered around the end of the month.

-Chris will be building the yurt's wood platform. He purchased new tools for the project and is very excited about using them.

-We are doing a portable type setup of the smaller yurt out back on this land, behind the house, to protect from the winter winds. In the spring, we will be able to take this down fairly easily and move it to our own land. We will live here in the smaller yurt, using the house for running water, until April/May when we setup on our own land.

-We will be much warmer in the yurt! Yeah! As an added bonus, this will give us a chance to fine tune our plans for the big yurt.

That .... is the update. We'll keep you posted. And hopefully have some pictures for you when Chris gets some time.

Have a very Happy Day of Thanks Everyone!!

Cassandra & Chris

Project YIPPEE - An Adventure in Safe Living
Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & - gods when will this end - 2011