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Yurts are fascinating structures. Originally made of felt and used by Mongolian steppe-dwellers as movable shelters, we’ve studied them quite closely in the last few months. I actually first learned about them during high school, as I and a small rag-tag band of folks rolled bundles of felt behind a car to simulate nomadic felting techniques for Janice Arnold. My, how far we have come…and yet somehow stumbled upon our past selves cloaked in exhaust fumes and lanolin. In our current international living experiment, Fede and I acknowledge the nomadic nature of our lives but also long for some sense of a place to call our own. Buying a house in Olympia didn’t make sense because we know we’d really like to end up in on the farm in Italy. We seriously considered ancient examples of what other nomads have tried and, just like the shifting moods of the steppe, life had other plans. (Speaking of the shifting moods of the steppe, our friend Walker is now in central Asia passing through the oil-driven “Dubai of the Caspian.”)
For one, despite their charm and deceptive simplicity, yurts are freakin’ expensive. Don’t expect to get a comfortably set up yurt with platform, insulation, flooring, heating, and other necessary accoutrements for less than $10,000, even used. On top of that, just as many nomads still struggle with the laws of the static world, yurts still defy the narrow legal parameters of shelter. Is it a tent? yes! Is it a house? yes! Is it likely to collapse or generate any money for Thurston County? No! So we schemed and planned, plotted and prepared ourselves and eventually just gave up. For now. We have bigger fish to fry.
But spring is upon us and we are busying ourselves with other pursuits, including our next big project: The International Living Fruit Experiment! Check out some of the results so far!