For years I’ve wanted to just step back and live as close to the land as possible. People always just laughed it off as, “must be that hippy in you, being raised in Oregon.” Well, yes I guess to those who I told on the east coast it may have sounded like a crazy idea. But, really isn’t living in a congested, noisy, dirty, expensive city just as crazy? Ever read the book Your Money Or Your Life by Joe Dominguez? Well, my Dad had me read that book just out of high school and I think it changed my whole outlook on what’s important in life.
Born and raised in Eugene, OR (the epicenter for liberalism and relaxed living) I moved out to the east coast to attend the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating I ended up getting married, buying a house and settling in the area for a bit. Until that is, I realized I was just stepping on the treadmill towards that typical American lifestyle. All my dreams of someday stepping off and living off-grid (or close to it) in a yurt had never been understood by my then-husband. I was told even by him that it was ‘crazy nonsense’ to even think about living in a yurt.
So, I quickly moved back to the West Coast once the realization set in that I was signing up for a life of credit cards, gas guzzling vehicles, pottery barn furniture and 2.3 children. Whew. Feeling like I really dodged a bullet I moved on with my quiet, slower paced life in Oregon.
I have now been able to and decided to build a yurt on my family’s farm (more about that in another post). So, what’s crazier – Living in a yurt? Or, stepping on the treadmill to live like everyone else?
First of all, living in a yurt here in Oregon is a fairly accepted thought, yet they are technically illegal to live in! Explain to me why people can build those “McMansions” everywhere, guzzling down power and I can’t live in a yurt. Some of those houses are well over 5,000 square feet! Give me a break. The electricity used in one of those houses could easily power an entire town in a third world country.
So, I’m trying to live – legally – in a structure that is plenty big enough for two people (30′ yurt is a little over 700 sq. ft.) and it’s not aloud. I will be treading much, much lighter on the earth and living with less (not much extra, frivolous crap can fit in this thing). I have asked the yurt manufacturers and they claim that most people just build these illegally. So, why hasn’t anyone gone to the trouble to try and make these things legal?
The messed up part about this? They have them at about 18 state parks in Oregon for people to rent for the night instead of taking a tent! Explain that one! Not even the county can, they are completely contradicting themselves.
When visiting Pacific Yurts in Cottage Grove they have their demo yurts set up to look like houses. They have all the amenities that are needed; toilet, shower, kitchen sink, dishwasher, fireplace, etc. They have their 30′ demo set up to look like some kind of Vail ski house, really even those people building the giant, Martha Stewart houses would be impressed! Yet when you pay a visit to the county to try and get a permit to build one of these things they start off by saying they aren’t really legal to put up at all, let alone live in one. The one way they let you build it is as a “storage shed”, not one person may spend even one night in the yurt. Then even on top of that you have to have the plans for the base of the yurt engineered!
So, I can’t live in this structure. I can’t really do much except store my shovel and rake in there yet I have to go to the trouble and pay an engineer top dollar to be aloud to build this thing!
So these series of blog posts is about just that. My journey of going through the loop holes and all the county permit crap to just get this thing built. Then, of course I’ll have pictures and videos of putting the yurt up, and later living in the yurt – seeing just how far I can reduce my carbon footprint and still live a fairly normal life.