the man, the yurt, the move:
how a happy little woodstove got a home
November 29 - December 5, 2005
there once was a man who lived in a house. well, sort of... he sort of lived in a house.
there once was a man who sort of lived in a house, but mostly lived in a yurt. and, because he traveled for his job, he usually slept during the week in hotel rooms. and darn, if most of those hotels weren't moldy too. but this is not a treatise on the dangers of moldy habitations. or is it? if the house that the man sort of lived in wasn't moldy, the yurt would not exist and the story that unfolds here would not have happened.
so, there once was a house that lived off a dirt road and enjoyed a lovely view of the northern mountains. this is not a story about that house. not exactly. though, if it was to be about the house, dark themes would emerge involving mold, horrible mold, aluminum foil, tape and abandonment. oh my.
there once was a mouse that lived in a house and he didn't give a whit about any lovely mountain view, northern, southern, or any direction. he scurried along... but, hold on. this is not a story about the mouse at all.
there once was a snake. there definitely was a snake. several in fact. but, this is not about the snake. though, if it was to be a story about the snake, there'd be a chase scene. and most likely, the snake would be the hero, at least in some people's viewpoint, since he ate the mouse that lived in the house. the snake and the mouse shared similar viewpoints (until the mouse expired) regarding lovely northern mountain horizons. horizon has a much different meaning when one lives so low to the ground.
there once was a yurt that lived next to some snakes who lived behind a house that lived off a dirt road. the yurt did not have a view of the mountains. maybe at first, when the two young people put it up, it had a slight northern view out of one window. but soon afterwards, the people had to keep the windows covered. the yurt didn't particularly mind all those logging trucks that traversed the dirt road. but, the people sure did. the yurt tried to protect the nice young woman, but she was too sick. so many things to protect her from and she was made ill by such tiny amounts too. the yurt liked the people. they had been dedicated and admiring. the yurt felt secure and loved. it had stood strong against windstorms and held up in the bitter cold. it had even survived the insane heat of the recent summer, with only a slight warping of the wood door. other than the horrid house next door, and the fact that the people inside were suffering, all in all, the yurt was having a good life.
there once was an xterra that lived in the driveway in front of the house that had a yurt out back and a few snakes patrolling the place. the xterra got out frequently, romping here and there and enjoying the fresh air (always oblivious to the fact that its operation inherently degraded the air quality). in its travels, the xterra saw all kinds of mountain views, and once upon a time or two, it had even climbed a few challenging terrains. a new adventure now lay ahead, one not offered to many xterras.
there once was a bag of chocolate chips. really good chocolate chips. creamy little mountains of dark chocolate lusciousness. they spent several uneventful months in a dark cabinet inside the house oblivious to the proximity of their strange, and significantly, larger cousins in the lovely northern view. and, they remained blissfully unaware of the adventure ahead, even after being combined with peanut butter and rice crispy cereal for a yummy munchy crunchy treat.
the man who drove the xterra and sort of lived in the house, but lived mostly in the yurt, was anxious to get the adventure underway. but work was work, and had to be done, and neither the house nor the yurt had high speed internet access within their realms. so, the man sat in the Borders bookstore in nearby Keene, typing away on his computer. meanwhile, out in the parking lot, the xterra waited, with a u-haul trailer hitched to its backside, giddy with anticipation.
the following day, the man, house, yurt, xterra and chocolate chips collided in a frenzy of adventure.
when a man's middle name is Adventure, this sort of thing is bound to happen. well, this man's middle name is not Adventure. and to the best of his knowledge no one involved in this story is so named. but, every day truly is an adventure when your name is Chris and you are the man who mostly lived in the yurt behind the house, and, alongside Cassandra, the woman who shares your life and yurt, you plan to take down that yurt and reestablish that yurt, in the winter, and live, or, um, camp, on land in New England, in the winter, without power or running water. and, when every day is such an adventure, by golly, chocolate simply has got to be involved.
so, there once was an adventure. an adventure with yurts. sometimes it was frenzied. frequently, exhausting. it was an adventure that began, once upon a time, with a man and a woman on a deck on the northern side of the house, overlooking that lovely mountain view. an adventure that twisted and turned and went on and on. and, within that adventure, there were six days. this is that. this is that one part of the man and woman's ultimate move (and final escape) from the house to the land of YIPPEE. this is that part involving the yurt, chocolate chips, xterra, u-haul rental trailer, man, woman, etcetera. this is a move to Park Avenue. and it began at 6am on Tuesday, November 29, 2005.
and, it required preparations. some only happened the night before, after the man returned from his work with the giddily anticipatory xterra and a trailing u-haul. others had been done prior. for example, the yummy munchy crunchy treats, complete with lovely chocolate chips, were wrapped and portioned out, with other foodstuffs and supplies, in separate bags for each of the days that lay ahead. to say that the man and woman went to bed early and got a good night's rest is not quite right. but they did make an effort, after preparations and other things were done.
the man is certain that once upon a time there was sleep. and, he's fairly certain there will be satisfying sleep upon a future time. but he will not sleep again behind the house in the little yurt. while he and his lover slept this last night there, the yurt watched over them. the yurt did this sedately, without even a hint of giddiness or anticipation. it was not that sort of excitable yurt. commendable, really. to some, pending disassembly is a rather unnerving notion and cause for distress. but the yurt was confident that a better location awaited, and that it would be handled with care and respect in the interim.
by Tuesday night, the little yurt would still be located behind the house. but, sleeping inside would no longer be possible. for the man or woman, anyway. technically, if the snake or the mouse or some other tiny creatures were allowed to enter the u-haul trailer and explore, some sleeping inside the yurt might occur. and, inside those rolls, bags and parts, it might even be comfortable.
sleep for the man and woman, Chris and Cassandra, was to take place elsewhere on Tuesday night, and the next several. they slept, uncomfortably at times, in a sleeping bag which was on top of a yoga mat, some reflectix and blankets, in the back portion of the xterra which was parked behind the house. preparations had taken place here, helping the xterra transform from mere hill climbing, rugged vehicle into so much more. it proudly took on new roles as a sanctuary on standby, mobile home, base of operations and, at night, makeshift bedroom. the house, which had long ago failed as any sort of sanctuary or home, would provide warmth to the sleeping quarters via an extension cord that traversed the width of the yard, ran up to and inside the xterra's window, and met up with an electric heater. before sleep got underway though, a whole day's adventures had to happen.
before the day's main adventures could get underway though, auxiliary adventures had to happen. these also happened afterwards too, and to say that these were adventures, is quite right. cassandra used the house briefly in the mornings and came back to the yurt (prior to its disassembly that first day) or xterra (for the remaining days) to take the day's first shot, stabilize some, drink coffee and water, take supplements and eat a bit. chris used the house in the mornings more extensively, to eat his breakfast, make hot chocolates and put those in thermoses, fill water bottles and pack for the day. then, at night, after a cold outdoor day, the house was used again. cassandra showered first and retired promptly to the xterra, where she took the fifth, final allowable, shot. when chris retired to the xterra after his shower, it was to find cassandra collapsed (not that a person has many options in the back of an xterra) and suffering. all day long, cassandra had pushed through illness. chris remembered to be supportive and caring. after some semblance of settling in, and some fogging of the windows, welcome warm (but not necessarily comfy) sleep happened. several hours later, waking up was attempted, eventually accomplished, and the basic routine got underway all over again.
so, once upon a time there was a Cold Tuesday Morning in a New England November. behind the house with a lovely northern view, the rental trailer was parked in position, away from the xterra which was closer to the woods and ready for its role as sanctuary and eventual makeshift bedroom. the little yurt saw itself emptied, cleaned inside and out and all around, dismantled, and packed and into the trailer. there was occasional drizzle, a struggle with the mattress, and some unsafe moldy clothes that made cassandra's eye's drizzle in the immunological struggle. there was an exchange of clothes and some twisty ties helped hold the larger attire in place. the xterra had occasional visits from cassandra as she took cover from passing trucks and also when she needed to take off her mask and eat. she had three shots available for the day's events, and the xterra witnessed each of these. the house saw cassandra step inside occasionally to avoid smaller passing vehicles. she did not take her mask off there. the house had also seen belongings from the yurt carried in, wrapped or bagged and stacked, and/or put in the washer for laundering.
so, after the first overnight stay in hotel ala xterra, there came a cold Wednesday, the Last Day of November. this morning saw the xterra repositioned and the trailer hitched again to its backside. some time later, over in Vermont, on Oregon Falls Road, at the bottom of the steep YIPPEE driveway, the xterra donned tire chains. well, to say that the xterra donned those chains is not quite right. chris actually got out and performed that function. cassandra stayed in, still sick from the trip over and now a bit sicker from xterra exhaust. eventually, chris would come up with a better routine for getting tire chains on and off with a minimum of unsafe exposures for cassandra. but that is not part of this story. if it was there would have been much less illness. the xterra was not happy about spewing out substances that made cassandra ill. but, whereas an embarrassed man with a flatulence problem has options, there wasn't much the xterra could do about its condition. smelly farts and petrochemical based exhaust fumes do both exit in the backside region, but otherwise, they are not all that similar.
the xterra, with its recently acquired chains, the trailer and all cargo, would make it safely up the steep main driveway, thru a right turn that was tricky with the trailer, to park at the top of Park Avenue. but some awful straining, screeching, slipping and a nasty smell happened first. the xterra, brakes, axle and loaded trailer revolted at chris' attempts to turn and back the trailer uphill onto Park Avenue. once this effort was abandoned, and repositioning accomplished, they all cooperated a bit better. chris drove the xterra forward up Park Avenue, with the trailer behind. he and cassandra would have a lot farther to carry some heavy yurt parts when unloading the trailer. but, at least they had all arrived in one piece and not rolled into or down any deep ditches or steep hillsides. and, to say this was possible is definitely quite right. after allowing some time for the xterra's exhaust to wander off and dissipate, chris exited the vehicle. this allowed cassandra time for taking a shot and commencing other recovery related steps. also, he wanted to clean the site up a bit and make sure all was OK. it was not.
once upon a Wednesday morn, upon a cold Vermont locale, upon a wooden yurt platform, there were mysterious spots. nearby, there was a Clearly Concerned Chris. the spots should not be mold, he thought. the wood tongue and groove boards had been sealed. but he and cassandra had such grave concerns about keeping the Poocham Mold from tagging along to their new home. hmmm. well, he had soldered copper plumbing pipes upon the platform. but, that had been done upon a scrap board. still, could the spots be related? but, if that's mold... well, mold is definitely not supposed to be part of the story in the new yurt homes! with a mournful "d'oh!" Chris walked back to the xterra and updated cassandra. she waited in the vehicle while he tried mold cleaner and, after that didn't work, some arm-powered sandpaper. when that didn't work, the electric powered sander entered the story and cassandra waited in the xterra even longer. this time she waited, similar to how she rides there during trips, with the O2 tank on, and oxygen delivered thru the tubes positioned under her mask. normally, the air filter is also on, operating off the xterra's engine through a small inverter. the window is always kept closed during her travels in the xterra. but, this was the part of the story involving an electric sander. eventually, electricity would be provided otherwise. but for this part, the xterra sat spewing out its embarrassing exhaust while chris set about sanding off spots with electricity delivered through the inverter and out the slightly open window, through an extension cord. by the time the inverter tripped and shut off, cassandra was really sick, the mystery spots were only partially removed and chris was quite frustrated. oh, what a glitch! while chris cleaned up a bit, cassandra took another shot.
and then, on this second day of the adventure, much later in the day than anticipated, Raising of the Yurt began. working around and under the blue tarp covering, chris and cassandra raised the door, lattice, center ring and rafters. at around 9pm, the xterra was driving down Oregon Falls Road without its tire chains, having left the unhitched trailer up on Park Avenue and now transporting a tired and sick couple back over to Poocham. there, the xterra would undergo nightly conversion to makeshift bedroom and the couple would shower, etcetera.
several hours after the month of December dawned in the xterra parked behind the house with the lovely snowy view, Chris and Cassandra's Third Day of the Adventure got underway. a few hours after that, the recently tire-chained xterra drove past Park Avenue. after parking up at the turnaround and waiting for the exhaust to wander off, chris left cassandra in the xterra. Mungo the Generator was brought out of hibernation, rolled up to the platform and used for powering the sander. chris removed most of the mystery spots while Mungo spewed forth fumes and cassandra remained sequestered away, in the xterra's sanctuary, with a sleeping bag available for some warmth. chris finished sanding, repositioned Mungo and did a bit of cleanup before returning to the xterra. this lengthy diversion behind them, chris and cassandra and the xterra drove down to Park Avenue and proceeded. by 8:30pm, the yurt's snow and wind kit was installed and the return to Poocham was initiated. to say that chris and cassandra were snuggled up sleeping by midnight might be about right.
there once was a little woodstove, sitting on a Vermont mountainside, on a cold December Friday, the fourth morning of an adventure. this woodstove probably would have enjoyed the southern mountain view if the xterra and u-haul trailer weren't parked in the driveway, blocking its line of sight. the trailer had been there for a couple days. the xterra was spending its nights parked in the snowy yard behind the house in New Hampshire. chris and cassandra had returned with it again this morning, after a successfully managed, perhaps even slightly enjoyed, third overnight stay in the makeshift bedroom. they had traveled back over, dealt with tire-chains, continued up and to the right, and gotten situated at the top of Park Avenue. the little woodstove was chris' first task. lingering manufacturing gunk was burned off. and then, with a happy little fire burning in its belly, the woodstove witnessed the wrapping up of its future home.
although the woodstove sat too low to see the southern mountain view itself, it could tell that cassandra was smiling underneath her mask. the difficulties of the past few days could not fully suppress her wonderment and joy in being outdoors in such a beautiful setting. throughout the day, the cold air had her making trips back to the xterra to remove that mask and wipe off condensation. she also made a couple trips to the xterra for a shot. both chris and cassandra savored their hot cocoa, snacks and meals in the xterra's sanctuary. this day was like others in those regards.
for the second time in their lives, but the first witnessed by a happy little woodstove, chris and cassandra removed a tarp hung over the yurt's framing and hung its insulation. a wet heavy snow interfered before the covers could be unrolled, cleaned and set in position. the supply of clean towels gradually became a supply of wet, dirty and frozen towels as the day progressed. bit by bit, the insulation was cleared of snow as the side cover was wiped and positioned. similar snow removal could not be maintained while wrestling the squeaky, tight fitting, top cover into place. so, with cassandra on a ladder, up inside the top opening, and chris on the ground at the perimeter, the little yurt experienced a good flossing. a long rope with towels attached to its middle section was pulled back and forth, and maneuvered all around the conical top cover. first, the rope and towels flossed between the cover and insulation to remove trapped snow and moisture. then, the rope towel floss was removed, the top cover valence turned down, and another rotation ensued; this time, on the top cover's exterior surface. wet snow was not a concern on this second task. would be ridiculous if the exterior of a yurt could not handle some wet snow! the top cover was given a bit of cleaning since, back at Poocham, just a few nights ago, it had been wrestled off and packed without one. and, snow kept on falling. a cardboard scrap was placed over the top opening while chris and cassandra finished securing the covers and insulation. at last, the dome was hauled up and secured in place.
and so, on a dark December 2nd, at the end of this fourth adventurous day, the little yurt, reassembled in its new location, heard a cold and tired "yippee!" it watched as chris and cassandra cleaned up, as the empty u-haul trailer was hitched to the xterra and as the taillights disappeared downhill. with a brief nod to the little woodstove, the little yurt contentedly drifted off to sleep.
on that same dark December night, chris and cassandra had work to do before those taillights could disappear downhill. given Wednesday's Monstrously Difficult Experience with the Steep Winter Driveway, Turns and Trailer, a new plan had been in chris' mind for tonight. after the xterra and hitched trailer were backed down Park Avenue, a continued backwards downhill turn repositioned them to drive upward and forward to the turnaround. the turnaround was wintry, had a few piles of dirt and gravel near one side, and was not wide enough for an easy, forward driving, turn around. chris intended a three point turn around. the trailer hit a pile of gravel and jack-knifed. the ensuing exhaust as chris dealt with this problem, jumping out and in the xterra numerous times, had cassandra quite sick. but, eventually, taillights did go downhill, following the vehicles that headed downward on the driveway's path. at the bottom, chris accomplished tire chain removal. after the return trip to Poocham, an unhitching of the trailer, setup of the makeshift bedroom and showers, cassandra had a more difficult time than other nights. chris and cassandra did drift into sleep, but perhaps not as happily, nor as comfortably, as the little yurt.
Saturday dawned, a fifth day of cold wintry adventure for the couple currently living in the back of the xterra. after morning auxiliary adventures, chris positioned the trailer similar to Tuesday's setup, away from the xterra. furnishings that had been in the little yurt prior to its disassembly were now carried out of the house, where they had been sitting for several days, and packed into the trailer. the audio/visual equipment was left in the house since Park Avenue was lacking electrical power. the stationary bike was also left in the house, on top of the large pile of flooring, where it had been placed several days before. the relocated little yurt's interior would accommodate more furnishings than it had at Poocham. sadly, there would not be room to keep accommodating the bike.
once upon a time there was a vacuum cleaner. it lived in the house that no longer had a little yurt out back. it was not acquainted with the snakes, expired mouse or the chocolate chips. nor had it gotten out front to form any opinion of the northern mountains. it had mostly only ventured out behind the house, making weekly trips to the little yurt. and now, on this Saturday in December, it made a much longer trip over to Park Avenue in the loaded trailer that was hitched to the xterra. chris, who was driving the xterra, specifically did not make any attempt to back onto Park Avenue. the trailer was instead pulled forward, parked and unhitched. the xterra was relocated, with cassandra safely inside, up on the turnaround. Mungo was carted up to the little yurt. and then, chris introduced the vacuum cleaner to Mungo. it was electrifying. even now, back in the house, sitting all alone, the vacuum cleaner wistfully recalls that afternoon meeting with Mungo; how powerful Mungo had been, the charge as their electrons connected, and how they had joined together to suck dirt and sawdust off the yurt's flooring. if only that guy, chris, hadn't been chaperoning the whole event...
but chris was in fact orchestrating the cleanup operation, happily oblivious to the vacuum cleaner's fantasies involving the generator. after clearing the flooring of debris, he replaced the paper and plastic walkway strips. Mungo and the vacuum were separated and put away. cassandra and the xterra were brought back down to Park Avenue. by nighttime, this fifth day was coming to a close with the bed up on its new posts and the belongings stacked in the yurt. the now empty trailer was hitched to the xterra and one more variation on turning-around-with-the-trailer-in-tow began. earlier repositioning had created some space in front of Mungo, over the driveway, opposite Park Avenue. chris backed the vehicles towards Mungo slowly and attentively; there is no room in this story for a demolished generator. there was just enough room in front to turn the xterra downhill, carefully, without landing any part in a ditch. or, jack-knifing anything. shortly thereafter, xterra, people and trailer were safely headed off towards Poocham. whew!
once upon a Sunday, long before dawn, inside a sleeping bag, in the back of an xterra that was parked behind the empty platform where there used to live a yurt, behind the house with a lovely wintry mountain view, there lay a loving adventurous couple. several hours prior they had collapsed in exhaustion, despite their intentions otherwise.
because, very long days of arduous and cold outdoor adventure exhaust a body. or two. and this had translated into an override of prior plans, night after night. one part of the original plan allowed for relaxing a bit after the day's adventures. as much as relaxation can happen when one's home is the back part of an xterra. earlier in the story, the tv and dvd player had been set aside for inclusion in the nightly makeshift living quarters setup, for possible movie watching. eventually, this tv and dvd player would take part in cassandra's weekly xterra stay, and eventually chris and cassandra would watch a movie in the little yurt over at Park Avenue. but those things are well after this story. and, in this story, chris and cassandra had gotten situated in hotel ala xterra much too late at nights, and been far too knackered, to do anything but get busy and on with the sleeping portion of the plans. and Saturday was like all other nights in that regard.
except that there was popcorn. Saturday night's in-house preparations included popping corn. because, after all these nights, chris and cassandra were going to relax and watch a movie, by golly. or so they thought. they stirred from sleep, on early Sunday, long before dawn, disappointed with the realization of their unfulfilled intentions and desires. but, this is an unconventional couple, and they saw no reason not to rouse themselves and have their last-night-in-hotel-xterra fun. and then, they nibbled popcorn while watching a movie. they went to sleep a second time, much more satisfied, cuddled up and cozy, around 4am. ahhh!
and so, the final day of this adventure arrived. out back of Poocham, inside the xterra, it sauntered into the story somewhat sleepy and late. across the river and up north a bit, the yurt and the woodstove sat waiting. with trepidation. after gazing upon one another for a couple of days, this was the day when they'd be properly introduced. whereas the woodstove was in parts, looking forward to being whole in a new home, the yurt was facing some surgery with risk of exposure to fire and smoke. oh my! but so dedicated was the little yurt that when chris and cassandra pulled up in the xterra, no hint of nervousness could be detected. later, as chris and cassandra began to cut a hole through the side wall, they might well have been psychically empathizing though, as they hesitated and took a deep breath.
this day nearly had its 'final day' status taken away. most of the day and evening was spent setting up the woodstove. it was positioned on flagstone on the yurt floor. the pipes were connected and positioned. where these exited to the outdoors, the yurt was protected from heat and fire. outside, the stovepipe was supported away from the yurt. in daylight, better construction could be done. but for this night, support of the pipes was not a problem. the fire presented the problem. on this cold December night, amidst a smoke filled and smelly yurt, chris and cassandra sat indoors, dressed in outdoor gear, drinking hot tea from thermoses, contemplating going back over the river to sleep in the xterra at Poocham. eventually though, they had cleared out enough of the acrid smoke that came from a few logs. they had unpacked the xterra. the sleeping bag was on top of the bed on top of its posts. they would not turn their backs. they would see this adventure through.
the man, yurt, xterra and others had collided. an adventure was had. it twisted and turned in places unplanned. the whole adventure with yurts has much farther to go. chris and cassandra will undoubtedly need lots more sleep. but for now, the man mostly lives in a little yurt without power or running water, on the side of a mountain, with the woman he loves.
and so, after midnight, the little yurt saw chris and cassandra, snuggled up in their sleeping bag, drift off to sleep.