Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset

One of many beautiful sunrises (or sunsets?)
I likely would not have seen this if it wasn't for
living in a yurt.
From the beginning, I always knew there would be an ending.  It's just the way of the world, right? 
So I have been in Hawaii and built a yurt.  A success story.  It has been a great adventure, with many "ups" and a only few "downs".
I have spent important time with my brother.  I have made new friends and renewed older friendships.
I have exceed my expectations.
Yet there is more to come. 
The yurt is just in its infancy.  It needs utilities and furnishings to make it more comfortable.  Hopefully, these improvements will happen on succeeding visits. 
Until then I can continue to dream and possibly scheme. :)
And I am in my infancy as well, in regards to learning about Hawaii and how this phases of my life will unfold. 
For now, I need to think and let meaning reveal itself.
Three months has gone by quickly.  I have photos, poems and writings, and this blog to help me remember and reflect.  Perhaps it has interested some of you as well?
I appreciate beyond words all the help, generosity, advice, and encouragement that has been given.
What would I have done without you?
Don't forget to ring the bell when
you  come to visit.
So it is time to start buttoning-up the yurt and packing my bags.  A bit sad to be leaving so much behind, but gods willing, I will return.
Until then,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hello, I Must Be Going

With due respect to Groucho Marx, my time grows short. 
Much has happened, but it always seems to come down to a few precious days.
I have spent the past week getting my small PV power system working, cleaning up construction debris, planting a few flowers (sunflowers and impatiens) and thinking about what I will be doing in the yurt the next time I am here:  Upgrading the solar, furnishings, maybe a composting toilet, maybe cooking/kitchen facilities, water, shower etc. make the list. There is much to do.  Fortunately I do not need to rush into any of these; I still have the facilities at the main house.  But I would like to explore making the yurt more independent, more self-sustainable, more "green".
I am not certain of my schedule in the next months.  I definitely want to see friends and family back on the mainland.  I have a teaching assignment in the fall that I am looking forward to.
But it makes me a little crazy to have built a new home and then leave it for any extended period of time.
Like all of the past months, I will give the whole process a bit of mental space and see how it unfolds.
As a friend has recently said, "make plans but don't become too attached to the outcome..."
So for now, I need to think about how to carefully store away my Hawaiian things, and how to leave the yurt in self-sustaining mode.  My brother will look in on it, for sure.  I appreciate his care.
My heart flutters even now, thinking of leaving.
Doors close, doors open.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Number 61

Hanging loose with Melissa
by the front door.
 I had a nice visit with Melissa Fletcher of Yurts of Hawaii recently.  She has been my go to person since day one, helping me with the ordering, shipping, and all aspects of assembly.
We checked out my yurt and I got her seal of approval, as you can see from the photo.  As it turns out my yurt is # 61 she has sold and/or helped install.
If you are interested in yurts I bet she'd be glad to chat.  Check out their blog and website:
Melissa has just finished organizing and coordinating a big yurt manufactures conference here on the Big Island.  Congrats Melissa! 
Among things new in the world of yurts is the potential for yurt insurance, and with that can bank financing be far behind?
Thanks for your efforts in making yurts more recognizable and legitimate in the alternative housing field.  I know it sometimes is a struggle.
And, hang loose!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Night Moves

The last vestiges of night yield
to the energy of the dawn
I am learning to listen to the night, and in a yurt there are a concert hall of sounds:  Some of them subtle and nuanced, others uncompromisingly percussive, while still other might just knock you right out of bed.
First and foremost, the nights are wonderful.  I feel safe and secure.  But there are sounds, some new and perhaps a little strange, and in the immediacy and the intimacy of a yurt they are different when contrasted to the more traditional house or apartment. 
Take the tapping at the window behind my bed.  What might be rapping at my chamber plastic?  Searching a bit with my flashlight reveals a loose strap end fluttering in the night’s breeze off Mauna Kea.  Knock-knock.  Come in...
Or perhaps it is the drum solo that brings the crowd to its feet when the soft patter of rain is interrupted by a tropical deluge.  Thunder and lightning replace cymbal crashes!
A view from the crow's nest, aka the dome.  I needed to
re-adjust the dome slightly after the earthquake.
And perhaps most exciting to date, for a guy from the heartland, the rumble of the earth itself, teaching the Zen of change in a universe constantly in motion.  Even my beautiful bronze dome shifted an inch or so at that moment.  (Not to worry, there are strong safety straps attached.)
But I live in a yurt, because I want to hear real sounds.  I desire this contact, this re-connection.  Somewhere in my gut and yours too I bet, there is a desire for the sounds of water, air, and all other forms of elemental matter. 
Very primal, very real.
They are not to be feared but rather revered.
Funny how the night moves…

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I am in the yurt, at least for writing, resting, sleeping, and hanging out.  I have slept "here" for the past three nights.  It is very comfortable and comforting.  I keep a candle going until late, so I can see my way around.  Not much ambient light.  Stars, and the coming of the moon.
I have an inflatable bed, a couple chairs, my computer and a few storage bins.  Electricity comes from a battery charged by the sun.  The bathroom is outside for the moment, shower and kitchen are back at my brothers house.  These things will change, but for now I am in no hurry.
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy, finding beauty and function in simple objects, clean and uncluttered.  I hope to adhere to that approach in furnishing and decorating this round house/home.
For now I will enjoy it.
Let's see what comes next.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yurt Interiors

Hurricane Iniki devastated nearby Kauai with
winds up to 140 mph a few years back.  Adding
the high wind package seemed smart.

The floor required two runs of sanding;
A coarse grit and then a finer one.  Smooth.

Polyurethane adds  layers of protection
to the pine, and a nice finished look.

Shinin' pine!

Working on the floor, sanding, sweeping, painting, etc. for a couple days
raised a few blisters and led to sore knees.

But what price beauty?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Closed-up and ready for business, almost

Green plants reduce the amount of carbon as
they process it during photosynthesis.  Hey hibiscus
thanks for the oxygen!
Despite the current drought, it does rain here.  I understand that it can rain a lot!  We caught a break during the weeks of construction.  It barely rained at all.
Now that the yurt has a tight roof and walls, it can rain, permission granted.  And the past few days it has rained, some. 
If you are a believer in climate change, like me, you can tell by the conversations of long time locals;  the weather (climate) is changing.  So try to minimize your carbon output.  Plant a flower!
A glimpse of the waning moon.
Yurts are beautiful.  There is just something compelling about them, form and function.  So if you are a photographer, you may find yourself using them as a focal point, so to speak.
I am currently looking for the moment when the brilliant dawn lights up the dome. 
Yurts, another good reason to get out of bed in the morning!
Morning yurt

 I am fortunate to have a very sweet location.  The sunrises down the way, across a large swath of the Pacific filling the sky with some new eye candy every day.  Today was cotton candy.
Looking out and looking in.

People are especially impressed with the doors on the Colorado Yurt.  The wood is beautifully grained, sanded and finished. 
They also make a good mirror, which enables a moment of "self-reflection".

Jeremy and Scot easing an
insulation panel into place.

Even  though there were rain showers we were able to install the wall insulation. Most of the work was done from the inside.  Interesting material; a combination of plastic "bubble wrap" and reflective foil.  Almost immediately the yurt became cooler.  The insulation is lined with white fabric which brightens the interior.

I am happy with the quality and workmanship this company provides.  And as a bonus here on The Big Island, Yurts of Hawaii is nearby
If you're ever in Montrose

 providing sales support if needed.  Melissa Fletcher has been quick to return phone calls and emails.  I still wonder the caution NOT to attempt assembly on a windy day.  So, how windy is windy?

Things are growing and changing here rapidly.  I am looking forward to see how things grow up, around, and in my yurt of the next weeks and months. 
Next on the list, and almost last before I move in, finish the floors. 

-PS, short for polyurethane and sanding