Welcome to the premier edition of YIPPEE, the journal of Chris and Cassandra's Adventure with Yurts.
YIPPEE = Yurts In Progress (Pretty Exciting Eh?!)
YIPPEE picks up where Chris and Cassandra's (C&C's) email of 11/23/03, "Yurt/Land Update", left off. Since more than a month has passed, this first edition of YIPPEE has a great deal of catching up to do; future editions will not be so lengthy.
To read the journal online and see photos, go to http://www.noworldorder.net/yippee
Throughout the journal the following insert (*pic*) indicates that a photo is available for viewing on the website.
There are also notes regarding MCS, indicated by [MCS Note: ...]
For further information on any part of YIPPEE, please contact Chris or Cassandra. Enjoy!
The YIPPEE "Version for People Who Lead Hectic Lives and Don't Leisurely Read Lengthy Emails" version:
Yes, the 14' yurt is up. Cassandra and Chris are living in it. Well, mostly Cassandra. Chris is back onsite in Vancouver.
The YIPPEE "Version for People Who Leisurely Read Lengthy Emails (Regardless of Their Hectic or Non-Hectic Lives) or are Doing This at Work Instead of Doing the Job They're Being Paid to Do" version:
First, some background. The Adventurers Chris and Cassandra decided to erect a 14' yurt in the backyard. They had purchased supplies and tools for the deck platform and were expecting delivery of the yurt by the end of November. Since this particular yurt is a temporary structure for them, to be lived in for 3-4 months while they search for land to construct a permanent residence, they opted to forego plumbing and permanent electrical installation. Two contractor grade electrical extension cords, run from the house on two separate circuits, will provide power; one for the electric kettle, toaster oven and space heater; the second for all other smaller items such as lighting, audio/visual equipment, phone & Palm Pilot chargers. The main house will not be kept heated, except for space heat turned on during showers and for Chris' upstairs office procedures, which will not change. Trips into the house are required to do laundry, obtain foods and ice from the freezer, collect fresh drinking water and use the bathroom. In the older days people would use a cold outhouse; C&C will be using a cold inhouse. Amazingly, the temperature inside the house now remains at 40-50F, despite the lack of heating. Sorta makes one wonder if they were wasting their efforts trying to heat the darn place, when it remains at the same temperature without any effort.
For food, C&C will keep a heavy duty cooler in the yurt and consume foods requiring limited preparation that can be done fully in the yurt without running water or sink workspace. To that end, Cassandra worked like a squirrel prior to yurt move-in, stashing away healthy finger foods. Most store-bought convenience type foods are unhealthy for her and/or still require a pan. Much to their chagrin, the two opted to use paper products rather than dishes. They feel somewhat consoled by the fact that they use only non-chlorine-bleached products which are, and will be, easily composted.
And now, to the story...
11-22-03: Chris arrived safely to the Poocham Road house from his jobsite in Vancouver. Errands and regular tasks were completed over this day and the 23rd. This included the hot-syncing of Cassandra's Palm Pilot, which also sent the "Yurt/Land Update".
11-24-03: Chris had a few more supplies to pick up and then delved into platform construction, which took place in the garage. Both would have liked Cassandra to help, but as the garage makes her severely ill for weeks, they chose to keep her safely in the house, squirreling away foodstuffs. Most people might choose to hire a contractor to build the yurt's platform. C&C's decision to build it on their own was based on the need to control what went into the platform's creation and to ensure that the platform itself was not contaminated by various unsafe substances encountered in the normal contracting world.
11-25-03: A mid-day break from platform construction to look at land was much longer than planned. The destination, a 31 acre parcel of land in Alstead NH, was off a rough and unkempt logging road. In previous trips, success traversing this road was achieved through careful maneuvering and skillful 4WD application by Chris. This was not a "daily travel" worthy road, say, if one had a residence there. The purpose of today's trip was to investigate the alternate route provided by the realtor. However, a horde of construction trucks and a huge chunk of missing road blocked that route. Having already traveled 40 minutes, C&C decided to turn around and get to the land via the route they already knew. This land has wonderful southern exposure, an important factor to C&C since they hope to incorporate solar power into their homestead. After a quick stop to affirm this, they kept driving on the rough and unkempt logging road, hoping to backtrack into the alternate route. This is where things went awry. They soon became stranded between a snowmobile bridge (wood slats over a few telephone poles) and a hill which proved impossible to return back up. Every effort to do so resulted in deep muddy tracks, up to the truck's axles. After situating the truck on solid ground, they got out to assess the bridge again and hike further down the road. With the bridge as their only option out, and a seemingly solid road further beyond, they hopped back in the truck, did some centering deep breathing and... went for it. Thankfully, the bridge held and the truck safely traversed over and up the hill across, without damage to either truck or bridge. C&C eventually found their way back home. However, a factory they passed en route caused Cassandra to spend much of the ride home keeled over and to suffer ill after-effects over the next two weeks. The trip was a success in the regard that it enabled them to rule this land out. The snowmobile trails were far too close and potentially going right up to the land. [MCS Note: Snowmobiles are greatly detrimental to Cassandra's health, even if they pass by a couple miles away. C&C are looking for a place to live that does not exist near snowmobiling.]
11-26-03: The yurt was delivered this day! To save Cassandra from undue illness, C&C asked Chris' uncle Wayne, who lives about an hour south, for assistance. He graciously agreed, and to the stipulation that he'd not be able to come into the house. Wayne had to get back home after helping Chris. So, for such a short visit, it was not worth making Wayne go through the MCS safety procedures. [MCS Note: All visitors to C&C's residence must shower thoroughly after arrival, with C&C's safe products, and wear the safe clothing provided. Generally, after this and running the air filter on high for a while, Cassandra is able to safely be around these visitors.] Instead, Wayne and Chris walked around outside until the delivery truck arrived. After unloading the packaged yurt parcels into the garage, Chris delivered some homemade baked goodies to Wayne from Cassandra, and got back to work on the platform.
11-27-03 through 11-30-03: A friend visited C&C for the Thanksgiving holiday. No yurt work was done these days. Chris and the visiting friend returned to the airport Sunday mid-day.
11-30-03 through 12-12-03: Chris was back onsite in Vancouver. While there on the 6th he compiled some land-for-sale listings, from online sources, that might be of interest and sent them to Cassandra in an email. The two hoped to go look at a few parcels over the upcoming holiday break. Meanwhile, the platform in progress and packaged yurt parcels remained in the garage; which again, Cassandra could not enter. However, aside from shoveling about several feet of snow, collecting firewood, and surviving the cold house, she was busy making foodstuffs in the little workhorse of a toaster oven. [MCS Note: C&C have not had a safe oven to use since her diagnosis, and relied on the toaster oven. Thus, baked items have for the past few years been created laboriously in tiny little batches.] Cassandra planned a surprise for Chris by coordinating completion of the platform by her brother Jeremiah. However, this plan was foiled due to a massive snowstorm which dumped several feet of snow on Friday, 12-5, the day he would have made the two hour drive down. Thus, the platform remained in its unfinished state until Chris arrived home again. When Cassandra subsequently revealed her plan to Chris, he thought it was a great idea and urged her to reschedule for the next weekend. She did. She also kept a circle in the backyard shoveled, for eventual yurt placement. (*pic*)
12-12-03 (Fri): Chris arrived safely home after his two weeks away, caught up a little with Cassandra, and then completed errands and regular tasks. The plan to have Jeremiah arrive Friday evening was foiled again, this time by Enterprise rental agency.
12-13-03 (Sat): The glitch with Enterprise was worked out and Jeremiah arrived safely at the Poocham Road house around 1:30PM. Better late than never as it was very helpful to have him helping Chris. He and Chris worked late into the night. (*pic*) [MCS Notes: 1) In spite of the MCS safety procedures, Cassandra did get some exposure to rental-car-air freshener after Jeremiah's arrival. 2) Since the garage and a few materials used were unsafe for Cass, Chris and Jere had 'garage clothes' which were worn over their safe clothes (providing extra warmth too), then shed and left outside before entering the house. Jeremiah's boots also had to be left outside at all times.]
12-14-03 (Sun): Chris and Jeremiah worked until around noon on the platform construction, getting it to a point where the parts were ready to be sealed for weather protection. They, along with Cassandra, moved the bedroom furniture into the living room, brought all the platform pieces into the house and into the bedroom, then shut all bedroom doors.(*pic*) [MCS Note: Cassandra wore her mask and gloves during this phase, but still encountered unsafe exposures such as to the garage clothes and boots, and to the plywood pieces.] By that time it was 1:30PM and time for Chris to get ready to leave. Cassandra and Jeremiah said their respective goodbyes to Chris and went snowshoeing so that Cassandra would be protected while Chris left. [MCS Note: Cassandra normally 'hides' in the bedroom when Chris or any guest arrives and leaves to protect her from his unsafe travel bag, etc., but the bedroom became unsafe after the platform parts were put in and heat was turned on there.] Cassandra and Jeremiah were back from snowshoeing, enjoying a hot chocolate and contemplating whether he should venture the drive north, when Chris called to say he was turning around and heading back home. "The roads are bad and Jere should stay put". The snow had come down that hard and that fast!
12-15-03 (Mon): After a warm breakfast and shoveling everyone out, Jere and Chris got off safely. Cassandra shoveled out the yurt circle again, and finished shoveling the driveway. [MCS Note: She should not have tried to help with shoveling the cars out, as it exposed her to car-rental-air-freshener and adversely affected the remainder of her day. Also, every time she shovels near the garage, even with the door closed, she gets ill. But that cannot be avoided as delivery persons leave packages in the garage and Chris is not home during the week.]
12-16-03 (Tue) through 12-19-03 (Fri): Cassandra worked each day to seal the platform parts. The bedroom was not big enough to seal all parts at once so she had to work in batches, allowing each batch at least 24 hrs to dry before rotating parts and doing the next batch. [MCS Notes: The house's baseboard heater in the bedroom, which had to be used to get the temperature up for drying purposes, was not safe for Cassandra. Most wood pieces were safe, but the cheaper plywood used on the bottom was not. Cassandra was consequently made ill from doing this work on a daily basis, despite wearing her mask and running the air filter. The sealer she applied to the wood was safe; made by AFM, using vegetable oils. Incidentally, Cassandra used to be reactive to most woods and a mere two years ago would NOT have been safe for any of these woods. NAET solved that and now she can handle most woods just fine. If you cannot handle wood, a yurt may not be the housing for you as in addition to the platform (which undoubtedly could be fit with tile if need be), there are wood parts to the yurt itself. Another item used in the bedroom that would have caused Cassandra ill effects previously was the heavy plastic sheeting laid down on the floor as a worksheet.]
Perhaps now would be a good time to briefly describe the platform C&C built for their yurt. They utilized a portable platform design provided by Pacific Yurts for a 12' yurt, modified to for a 14'. The design is essentially eight wedges. Each consists of a 2x4 frame, cheap (unsafe before sealing) plywood sheet on bottom, maple wood sheet (safe for Cassandra) on top, with insulation and air filling the space in the middle. There is a triangular top of each wedge left open, so that after the wedges are cinched together, an octagon of maple sheeting can be fit and screwed in place, completing the floor area. This is the gist of the design.
12-20-03 (Sat): Chris arrived safely home late the night before. Cassandra got pretty sick. They both slept on their bed-in-the-living-room, woke not-nearly-rested-enough, but completed regular errands and tasks.
12-21-03 (Sun): Chris created the 4x6 beam octagon upon which the platform would rest and leveled it. C&C carried the platform pieces outside. The trapezoid sections for the topside, middle section of each wedge were measured, cut, fit and nailed in place. (*pics*) The fit was more difficult than one might imagine, as each top sheet is meant to overlap the next wedge on one side, providing an interlocking join. Headlamps and a light brought from indoors were helpful, as this portion was worked on after dark. The frigid outdoor temperatures were definitely an uncomfortable factor, if not a hindrance, for this day and the entire project. Nonetheless, once this portion was finished, the wedges were brought back inside to the bedroom for the night around 11:30PM. C&C didn't actually go to sleep 'til 4AM, having several other non-yurt related matters to attend.
12-22-03 (Mon): Chris was out the door by 11AM, delivering C&C's packaged holiday stuffs to the post office and getting some supplies at the hardware store. By 3:12PM, he was still working on getting the octagon support leveled for good, and secured in place. (*pic*) Next, C&C once again carried the platform pieces outside. After cinching these in place, the topside outer pieces were measured, and once again, the tricky fitting ensued. Finally, 'fit' was achieved and each anchored in place with two nails apiece. The entire arrangement was covered with plastic, for protection and left for the night. C&C went to bed past midnight.
12-23-03 (Tue): Chris awoke, ate and got outside right away; then, nailed the end pieces onto the wedge frames from 8-9 AM. (*pic*) When he came inside to get Cass for the next step, he unfortunately brought in some unsafe substances with him and Cass spent the next 45 minutes getting stabilized enough to carry on. From 10 to 11AM, the two got the outer edge of the 14' circle marked and ready for cutting. Fortunately, Cassandra was safe around the jigsaw. She and Chris took turns cutting the outer edge. (*pic*) Getting the center octagonal piece to fit proved to be just as tricky as the other fitting sessions. Instead of going back and forth to the garage, as he had been other times, Chris brought the circular saw to the worksite. This saw was not safe for Cassandra. She went inside after fit was achieved; then took a shot and recovered a bit while Chris screwed the octagon in place. Then she cut Reflectix strips for the edge, and stapled them in place. By this time it was 4PM. C&C were listening to NPR for the weather report and attaching the drip edge over the Reflectix. At 4:54PM (*pic*) this was finished and the two began considering door placement. After a half hour break for dinner, they decided on this and cut the 42.25" section from the drip edge. Then, in a crucial moment that forever changed the project, they paused to make another decision. The information available to C&C at the time was this: The Pacific Yurt spokesperson said this size yurt would take a few hours to raise. The weather report called for precipitation the following day. So, they figured that, even with a generous allowance on top of 'a few hours', they should be done by 11PM. Given that they'd been working late into the dark and in the cold every recent night, and with precipitation expected, they decided to push on rather than to cover everything and wait. **It is now 6:03PM, Dec. 23rd. This is where the platform construction ends and 'YURT SET UP' begins!**
12-23-03 (Tue), 6:03PM: Having decided to carry on, C&C began Yurt installation by carrying the door and lattice wall roll from the garage to the yurt area. These were the only two parts heavy enough to require both C&C; Chris was able to bring future parts from the garage alone. Thankfully, the worst of Cassandra's reaction from being in the garage held off until the lattice wall was standing and unwrapped from its packaging. While Chris gathered packaging materials and carried them back to the garage, Cassandra took her third shot for the day and recovered a little bit. Then C&C unfurled, coaxed and positioned the lattice wall into place.
By 8:07PM, (*pic*) the lattice wall was stretched around the perimeter of the platform, inside of and up against the drip edge. It had also been measured for evenness of height. While doing this, Cassandra began losing her balance. The hardware box provided by the company, which Chris had brought out so they could obtain parts for attaching the lattice wall, was the culprit. This box was needed throughout the project, but henceforth kept away from the site a bit and Cassandra never went near it again. She took her fourth shot while Chris got pieces for the next few steps from the garage, and the two got moving again.
The tension cable was laid in place atop the lattice wall. The center ring was in position and raised by three of the rafters by 9:03PM (*pic*). Just as the instruction manual claimed it would be, this step was the most exciting. Woo Hoo! The center ring has holes for each of the 24 rafters along its outer edge. Each rafter has a bolt installed on one end that is inserted into the center ring hole. The other end of the rafter is angled with a notch for placement onto the tension cable. Three rafters are inserted first, to raise the center ring up. Then all the other rafters are fit into position, working in a balanced way, back and across the yurt. By 9:33PM, all rafters were up. (*pic*) The screws for the ends of the rafters below the cable were installed, and Chris threaded the safety cable. This was done through predrilled holes in the rafters about a foot from the center ring.
C&C read through the next step's instructions. Chris' exasperation was evident, "No! No more cutting; I thought we were done with cutting of wood!" Perhaps to cheer their spirits, perhaps simply because they were hungry, C&C took a dinner break next, from 10-10:30PM. An advantage to Cassandra's prior food preparations was that throughout the project, food breaks were kept quick. This dinner of nourishing hummus and rice wraps would sustain them for several hours.
The Snow and Wind Kit, C&C's next step at this point, is (amazingly enough!) needed in snowy and/or windy areas. Both are descriptive of C&C's locale. This kit shores up the structure and consists of twenty one rafter support beams, placed under and attached to all but the three rafters over the door. Since yurt erections vary, size does matter. Rafter supports are delivered long; each customer is required to measure and cut the supports to a length congruent with their construction. C&C judged theirs to be 80". After cutting one and rechecking it, Chris cut three more while Cassandra prepared the drilling template.
To get the hang of it before going forward, C&C first prepared only four of the rafter supports. Each was to have a mending plate installed on both sides of the top (for attaching to the rafter) and an angle bracket on both sides at the bottom (for attaching to the floor). This translates to eight pilot holes penciled and drilled, and eight screws installed while holding the plate or bracket in place, for each rafter support. According to plan, there would be nine more pilots and nine more screws per support, to secure each in place. But for now, working together inside the yurt frame on the platform floor, and using two drills, C&C got plates and brackets attached to the first four supports. Then, as they were positioning and securing the first support into place under its rafter, they realized that Cassandra was having problems. They removed her from the worksite and administered her fifth and last allowable shot for the day. After they determined that the orange power drill was the culprit, Chris decided to do the remainder of the supports himself, in the garage where he could use both drills safely. Cassandra remained inside to attempt recovery and make them each a much needed hot chocolate. By this time, it was actually December 24th at 1AM.
12-24-03 (Wed): Chris cut the remaining rafter supports to length. He came back in the house at 1:30AM to retrieve his hot chocolate, and share what he hoped was a better idea for continuing. He would mark and drill the pilot holes in the garage using the unsafe orange power drill. Cassandra would be in the yurt using the safe blue power drill to position and screw in the plates and brackets. Chris worked in batches of four, bringing them out for Cassandra to finish as he completed his phase. In one of these trips, Cassandra was adversely affected by exposure to unsafe garage clothes. Since all her shots were used already, Chris got her some baking soda and water to drink. They continued on.
When Chris was completely done his phase, he put on safe outer clothes and returned to the yurt to help Cassandra finish that phase. Thus, C&C were up screwing at 3AM for the second time that week. Pacific Yurts instructs that it is best to attach the support to the rafter first. Then, after getting the support plumb, level and flush with the wall, attach it to the floor. Having only one power drill for use in the yurt, C&C decided to mark and drill the four pilot holes per rafter first, all at once, before switching drill bits to screw the plates in. Thus, they worked their way around the yurt from rafter to rafter, moving the ladder along with them. Cassandra held each support while Chris scaled the ladder, with pencil, safety goggles and power drill.
By 3:45AM (*pic*) the two were regrouping to begin working their way back around; this time with screws. By completion of this step it was almost 5AM. C&C had been working on yurt set-up for almost eleven hours straight, a far cry from 'a couple hours'. They had no idea how much longer it would take to complete, but felt the pressure of weather conditions upon them. Stars had long been missing from the night sky and a thick fog had rolled in. Spirits were a bit damp as well, magnified by their lack of sleep. Cassandra's body was in survival mode, continually pushing onward despite the illness caused by repeated unsafe exposures. Nevertheless, C&C were steadfast in their commitment to push on; their ability to work well together never faltered. A short break was needed though and from 5-5:30AM they got some warm oatmeal in their bellies. Cassandra added more clothing layers. [MCS Note: Some reactions cause Cassandra's body to have difficulty with temperature regulation, making her either get cold faster and/or not be able to warm up. The exposures experienced in this project had such an effect. Thus, the cold outdoor environment in which the two had been working was taking a more deleterious toll on her than on Chris. Additionally, the house was not warm; there was not a good place to 'warm up'.]
As Cassandra was situating these additional clothing layers, Chris headed back outdoors to the project. He immediately returned to say, "[unprintable expletive], its raining." Rushing to get the wooden skeleton of their yurt covered, C&C stayed committed to completion. The rain was truly only a slight drizzle at that point, so continue they did, working under the plastic covering.
The next step, attaching the supports to the floor, proved difficult at best. C&C again chose to mark and drill pilot holes for all, prior to switching the drill bit. They cooperatively positioned each rafter support to be as plumb, level, and flush with the wall as they could manage before marking and drilling four pilot holes for each into the floor. They often felt that the force applied to get each support in place was too great. Many times it proved near impossible. By the time they got two-thirds of the way around, the sun had risen. They were entirely unsure of this particular step and exhausted. The rain was coming down very hard. C&C decided to stop.
Chris got some more plastic from the garage, which was definitely contaminated and unsafe for Cassandra. Nonetheless, they got all the available plastic situated as best they could and came inside. (*pic*) Cassandra took a shot to counter her exposure to the unsafe plastic. C&C both took showers. Chris had a bowl of cereal. At 9:30AM, they went to sleep on their bed-in-the-living-room, in their cold house, under their warm cozy blankets.
Around 3PM, a mere five and a half hours later, C&C woke up; sounds of rain and wind ceaseless against the house. Courageously, but with trepidation, Chris looked out the window. Yikes! The yurt was uncovered and wet; the plastic had blown off. Quickly, they formed a plan and put together a list of supplies. Chris downed some cereal and shot off to the Home Depot in Keene in his truck. Fishtailing up the hill, the stress of it all welled up in his eyes. Cranking the 'unofficial band of the 14 foot yurt project', he was reminded to calm down and promptly disengaged his foot a bit from the gas pedal. Having an accident in his truck would only have made things worse.
Back in early November, Chris had deemed 'Hatebreed' the 'unofficial band of the 14 foot yurt project' after cranking it on the way home, in a truck weighed down with wood. No, 'Hatebreed' is not a hateful band. Just hard-rocking, hammer-swinging, positive vibes. Jeremiah and Chris had also cranked it while working on the platform in the garage.
Now, as Chris more carefully made his way to Keene on the icy wet roads, the band's song 'Perseverance' fortified him. Back at home, as Cassandra was cleaning off snow pants and jackets, she got sick and had to use her second shot for the day. Chris returned with supplies and cheerfulness at 5PM. The two ate a meal, got organized and were outside working in the rain by 6:30PM. The enormous 60' x 38' blue tarp Chris had purchased was quite a chore to heave over, unfold and situate. Getting into the yurt after this blue tarp was in place was also a chore due to the piles of excess. Once in, C&C removed the clear plastic, some pieces still hanging onto the lattice wall and others lying crumpled amidst pools of rainwater. Using sponges, towels and a bucket, they soaked up rainwater off the entire platform and lattice wall. They situated an air dryer and a fan inside, tied a rope around the tarp outside the yurt and bungeed it tight.
At 9:45PM, finally finished, they went inside the house. The sponges, towels and gloves bought by Chris earlier, used to dry the yurt, were causing Cassandra to be sick. So, she took her third shot. As C&C cleaned up the house, which included organizing their crowded living room, Cassandra became ill from exposure to unsafe phone equipment. Fourth shot taken.
By that time it was almost 11PM. Together, C&C prepared and then ate a dinner of subs. They had some coffee while watching an episode of the Simpsons on DVD, then got ready for bed and went to sleep at 12:30.....technically the next day.
12-25-03 (Thu): Rained all day. The yurt remained covered in the blue tarp to dry out. (*pic*) C&C decided that the Snow and Wind Kit would have to be reassessed; taken down to do differently. They made notes of their progress thus far, but mostly did non-yurt things.
12-26-03: (Fri) Cassandra's body crashed from unsafe exposures throughout the week. She had an extremely hard time waking up. After C&C's breakfast of oatmeal, she was still extremely cold, very 'out of it' and having trouble speaking. Chris carried her to bed and tucked her into the blankets. He went outside to the yurt and unscrewed the Snow and Wind Kit supports from the rafters by himself, which took about a half an hour. Then he went to the store for additional screws to replace the ones with snapped heads. Cassandra remained sick most of the day but was able to function better by the time Chris returned.
At 12:30PM C&C went outside together, under the blue tarp and into the yurt, to work. They began reinstalling the rafter supports; this time working to complete each one fully before moving on. As they positioned each support to be plumb, level and flush with wall, they attached it to the floor first. Then, rechecking that it was plumb, level and flush, they attached the support to the rafter up top. This worked much better, but nonetheless took about five hours to complete all twenty one. C&C had taken only one short break to eat a snack and get Cassandra a needed shot. Thus, by 6PM they were done for the day and inside getting Cassandra another shot. She remained extremely cold for several more hours despite many layers of clothes and mounds of blankets. The rest of C&C's evening was very laid back with no yurt involvement.
12-27-03: (Sat) Health related unpleasantries prevented C&C from beginning the yurt project in the morning. Starting with removal of the blue tarp, at 12:30PM, the yurt project got back on track. (*pic*) The final step for the Snow and Wind Kit, installing a single screw through the lattice wall into each rafter support beam, was complete by 1:10PM (*pic*). Fortunately the wind had died down and getting the top cover lining in place was not impeded (*pic*).
Continuing to work with one ladder inside the yurt and one outside, C&C got the top insulation situated over the lining and connected with foil tape. An adverse reaction to the package which had contained the top cover lining forced Cassandra to stop briefly and take her second shot for the day at 2PM. By 3:30PM (*pic*), the top cover itself was in place over the insulation, after a difficult fit involving much maneuvering and climbing of ladders.
C&C stopped for a quick lunch. Next, back outside, they continued on by hanging the side cover lining and insulation pieces. These were hung temporarily from the tension cable, at the top of the lattice wall, with 's' hooks. At 4:30PM (*pics*) C&C were turning up the top cover valance in preparation for hanging the side cover. By 4:50PM (*pic*), they were beginning to check and adjust the hanging side cover for consistent positioning. The cord would then be secured tightly near the door. Repeatedly moving and scaling the ladders made these tasks more intensive than either expected. Cassandra stopped briefly, around 5:45PM, to give herself another needed shot. The side cover itself was pulled tight and secured into the door frame on both sides. C&C prepared to fasten the bottom side cover edge. They decided to install Reflectix strips between the side cover and drip edge, screwing both in place through the side cover grommets.
In hopes of warming up, the two took a dinner break from 7-8PM; starting a fire in the woodstove as well.
Once the side cover was fully fastened to the drip edge, they went inside the yurt. Side lining pieces were adjusted to match the window openings and then secured in place more permanently with cable ties; the 's' hooks removed. By 9:30PM, (*pic*) Chris was definitely cold having used ungloved hands for much of the previous step.
Back outside again, the top cover valance was folded down. Cassandra started threading the nylon cord through the grommets of the valance, but was unable to finish. At 9:50PM she was headed in the house, a wreck and shaking from reactions to the cord and a PVC pipe. Chris made sure she was alright, took the pipe back into the garage and then from 10 to 11:10PM finished securing the valance cord and got the dome installed. (*pic*)
Thus, on December 27th, at 11:11PM, (*pics*), the yurt was up. More hoopla might have ensued if C&C had not been thoroughly drained.
12-28-03 (Sun): Cassandra was still quite bad off in the morning. Consequently, C&C ignored the yurt and ate a breakfast of French toast around noon. Chris handled the remaining tasks: attaching the window straps, getting electrical cords set up, setting the nails in the platform, checking the platform' cable and cleaning up. He enclosed the PVC pipe in its casing on the top cover, which is designed as a rain diverter over the door.
The yurt project had consumed so much time that C&C's yearnings to go snowshoeing had gone unfulfilled. But finally today, in late afternoon, they went snowshoeing together. Though Cassandra had been going throughout December, it was Chris' first time this winter.
In early evening, C&C went into the completed but cold and darkening yurt to verify that all was OK and safe for Cassandra's health. It was. Hooray! The special chocolates which Cassandra was saving as 'celebratory chocolate', intended for post yurt erection, had been consumed days before under the adopted name, 'coping chocolate'. Only two pieces remained. So, just as champagne glasses are 'chinked' together in a toast, C&C stood side by side and touched chocolates together. They smiled and allowed the smooth melting chocolate to dissolve some of the previous weeks' stresses before declaring both yurt and chocolates good and hurrying back into house.
12-29-03 (Mon): By 2:57PM, (*pics*) C&C had cleaned and moved furniture into their yurt; a bed, bookcase, table, audio/visual center. The Good Moose accompanied. In the house, Cassandra did more cooking to use up remaining foodstuffs. That night, C&C slept in their yurt. It was the first place that Cassandra had ever slept or lived, in over three years since her diagnosis, that she did not need an air filter!
12-30-03: (Tue) Cassandra moved the rest of their desired belongings into the yurt and began organizing. She again created more foodstuffs in the house. Chris finally had his "computer day" upstairs and got to some related tasks finished.
12-31-03: (Wed) C&C cleaned in the house. They reviewed to ensure that all desired belongings were in the yurt, with whatever remained in the house being clean and out of the way. Chris spent two hours fixing the dryer; a much needed task. Cassandra did her last cooking in the house, before transferring needed kitchen and food items into the yurt. She made potato salad with the remaining potatoes, and tiramisu because it is so darn good and she had enough ingredients for doing so. At midnight, Chris' annual tradition involved running around their new home...the yurt!
1-1-04 (Thu) through 1-3-04 (Sat): With the New Year upon them, and their time together rapidly drawing to a close, C&C juggled a variety of tasks these three days. Progress was often inhibited due to Cassandra's intense pains; a result of the cumulative reactions she'd experienced throughout the past few weeks. Nonetheless, they planned for the New Year, laundered mountainous piles of clothes, completed regular weekly tasks and continued finalizing their yurt-house living arrangement. C&C's hopes to look at land over Chris' break had not happened. Given Cassandra's intense illness, they were not willing to chance looking at land and making her even worse. Rather, they reviewed the land listings, planned to go look on a future weekend and concentrated on remaining chores around the yurt. Pacific Yurts has insulated window coverings available that are attached outside the yurt. As most people apparently do, C&C planned on working out an indoor solution. The blankets, hung temporarily over the windows (*pic*), were replaced with insulated curtains from the house. Reflectix was cut and placed in front of the side and door windows, temporarily attached with tacks and nails. Chris purchased a longer electrical cord and installed it for good. A phone cord was run into the yurt for C&C's use in checking email via their Palm Pilots. After all cords were in place, C&C fit and attached Reflectix to the drip edge, as a 'skirt' between the ground and platform to provide more insulation. They started addressing the sealing of drafts around the perimeter. The heaters they were using turned out to be rather weak. Given time constraints, they determined that heater and draft issues would remain open until Chris returned home the following weekend. Chris built a small step for placement outside the door. With the fluctuating, warmish temps and muddiness, the two needed something to step on prior to entering the yurt. C&C assessed their project thus far and scheduled time for making notes and recommendations on future yurt assembly.
The yurt was holding up beautifully under raging winds. C&C were thankful they persevered with the Snow and Wind Kit installation, and glad to see their new yurt home standing strong and unaffected in the slightest. Periodically over these days, they would look up at the dome, or around the lattice walls to feel cheered by the brightness of their newly created space. This glimmer of appreciation helped counter in small part the heavy weight felt by C&C: contending with Cassandra's illness, pressure to resolve everything and spend quality time together before Chris' schedule resumed to its regular 48 hours-at-home-per-week pace. By the end of Chris' two weeks at home, C&C had not had relaxation time together as they desired.
1-4-04: (Sun) C&C sketched out YIPPEE. Cassandra would work on getting text written, using only her Palm Pilot and her creativity. Chris would gather pics, handle html coding and website creation using multiple laptops and travel time on the plane rides. They captured a 'status of yurt' photo (*pic*), prepared for Chris' departure and.....off he went. Cassandra spent her first night alone in the yurt. Snow fell on the yurt for the first time that night!
YIPPEE! Volume 1 is done.