Our Journey to Yurt Life

During the winter months of 2014, we decided to build (and live in) an off the grid yurt. Days later, we found a woman selling her Shelter Designs yurt on YurtForum.com that lived only 15 miles from our home. We put down a deposit immediately. We spend the next few months helping to disassemble the yurt, carefully labeling each piece so that we could reassemble it again on our property. 

Throughout the summer of 2014, we re-built the yurt on our property. By September, we were living in it full time and off the grid. In 2015, one of our sponsors, Goal Zero, came out to film a video about our life that we think is pretty sweet. Enjoy!

Stories from Yurt Life

A Chick named Tiny. Starting a Microfarm with Strawbale Gardening. Building a Tiny Home. (Sensing a trend here?)

May 9, 2016
It all started: January 3rd — the day Sean broke his ankle.   His family had just left town for the New Year holiday, and we headed out to ski/ride. One loud POP and a failed attempt at a hand plant, Sean landed himself in the Urgent Care. The first doc didn’t see anything problematic on the X-ray, and so Sean implemented a lot of rest and relaxation, thinking things would be fine.   Long story short, Sean snowboarded on a broken ankle (even believing it was healing while in Iceland) until he went back into the doc and had it re-X-rayed, and...

The What Why How Theory: Yurtlife Unpacked with Goal Zero

April 28, 2015
Stoked to have my guest post up on Goal Zero’s Solar Life blog this week. Ryan and Andy from the GZ team came and filmed Sean and I a few months ago at our yurt for their series, En Route. We are so honored to be a part of this community. Preview the post below (which pays homage to our buddy Chris’ theory – What Why How), and click READ MORE to see the rest on the Solar Life blog! THE WHAT, WHY, HOW THEORY: YURTLIFE UNPACKED   When my husband, Sean, and I tell people that we live in...

Daily Journal: Our Blaze King Off the Grid Yurt Wood Stove

December 8, 2014
You may be noticing something a little bit different in our yurt. For those that don’t — we replaced our Rocket Mass Heater with an extremely efficient wood stove by Blaze King. Our new stove also has a 30 hour burn time which is huge for yurt living! We switched stoves as we found that we needed a much larger mass for our Rocket Mass Heater and that it was not ideal for our current yurt setup. It would be great in another setting such as a greenhouse, shop, or a place that can provide a much larger mass (thus...

Why our yurt was a marriage booster

October 27, 2014
When Sean and I set out to build a house together, we got a lot of raised eyebrows from friends and family. Neither of us had any building experience; Sean knew how to use a power drill and I had taken wood shop approximately 18 years ago. Who needs experience, right? To everyone’s surprise (especially ours!) we found our Shelter Designs Yurt to be the ideal 7-month team building exercise for our marriage. Let me unpack: Sean and I are both very competitive people. And stubborn. With unending amounts of pride for what we do. When we set out to teach...

The stove that keeps on giving. [And taking.]

October 14, 2014
If you follow Two Sticks on Instagram or Facebook, it’s likely that you saw this: It’s no joke — Sean got carbon monoxide poisoning. While I was out of town, per usual. The universe must decide each day that all things dramatic need to happen when I’m gone. That one time the brakes went out in the Travel Queen? Yep — I was gone. Every time Sean gets the flu? Yep — I’m gone.  In short, we had a Rocket Mass Heater/Russian stove hybrid custom-made and installed in our yurt a few weeks ago. (More on how that works later.)...

Homesteading Win: DIY Lip Balm

September 18, 2014
When Sean started using the adjective “homesteader” to describe what we want to be someday, it made me feel nervous. Who are we to call ourselves homesteaders compared to people who have bees and chickens and trap their own meat and maintain entire farms supporting their family with veggies and all of life’s growable things? We’re just a pair of fresh, materialistic converts living in a used yurt and driving vegetable oil powered cars and — yeah. Ok. Nevermind. But seriously, homesteading in the traditional, full-blown sense seems far away—so, I’m taking baby steps. My herb garden (with three herbs in...

Our Yurt DIY Plywood Floors

September 4, 2014
“DIY” has never felt so amazing. Without being modest, I’ll just say our yurt DIY plywood floors look amazing; they are the perfect fit. Handcrafted by us (and a few talented friends), the floors began as many sheets of plywood, which we cut, sanded, drilled, stained and sealed. But before I get into the details of how, I want to reference why. Why exactly did we choose — quite possibly — the most difficult flooring route for our first flooring experience? Hm, that’s funny — on a whim! Our friend, Russ (super handy guy—mastermind behind the Travel Queen / Our Greasecar / etc.),...

An Artful Home — Kyrgyzstan Yurt Art

July 8, 2014
I remember the day we purchased this wall hanging in Kyrgyzstan. Wanting to acclimate a bit further before hitting the snow, it was our third day in the country after over 40 hours of traveling to get to Karakol. We had hired Azamat, an English-speaking guide from the area, to drive us around and show us the local culture of the Issyk Kul region. Local kids playing on a sheet of ice: Me, walking from one of the sights… for the life of me, I cannot find a name for this strange, deserted museum/shrine. It was massive – with tributes to...

Yurt life, continued

June 25, 2014
Things have been good. Slow, but good. After you have a 1-day yurt raising, it’s hard to go day after day without making GIANT leaps and bounds. Plus, we’ve had a couple work trips — and our jobs in general — that keep us busy. Each night we schlep up to the yurt after work with charged power tools and try to make progress, bit by bit. When we can’t keep our eyes open anymore, we fall into bed – literally – because we nabbed a great new mattress on craigslist this week that we’ve set up in our yurt bedroom. Our favorite part of this process...

Our Yurt Raising, Unpacked.

June 10, 2014
Well that was one crazy weekend. My knuckles are swollen, I wake up nightly to myself unconsciously scratching the mosquito bites on my legs, and I’ve got a handful of cuts and bruises that will last me a few weeks. But at the end of the day, you know what? We have a yurt! (See our progress as it happened on my Instagram account, here.) I will say the whole experience was, for the most part, smooth. It was hard — yes. It was time consuming. But it was fun! And SO AMAZING that we had friends come out and...

The Yurt Raising is Upon Us

June 5, 2014
As we begin to prepare for the yurt raising this weekend, anticipation courses through my veins. My thoughts are consumed with, “What will this be like in the yurt?” and “What do I really need for the yurt?” and “How can I downsize even further before the yurt?” The thing is: We are consumed with so many things. We work all day to make money… to buy things that we don’t need… because we’re trained to think “This Feels Good Because I Earned It.” We’re trained to think that the size of our homes and the value of our cars are...

Yurt Deck Framing Complete — How to build a yurt deck

May 19, 2014
About four years ago, I awoke on a Sunday night to a massive crash in my apartment in Madison, Wisconsin. Having lived with roommates my entire college career, I was used to noise… but this one really startled me. I blinked through the darkness in my room, trying to think through my drowsiness. I looked to my left and realized something was exploding through the doors of my closet. You see, that was the day my closet bar collapsed under the weight of my hanging wardrobe; my clothes literally exploded out of the closet doors in the wee hours of...

Yurt in Montana Update – Demolition Complete!

April 29, 2014
During the past few weeks, Sean and I (along with a number of extremely generous friends and neighbors) finished the disassembly of our yurt from it’s former home, just 15 miles to the south of where we live. It currently resides in six parts: the first in our basement, the second in our home office, the third in our living room, the fourth in our storage shed, the fifth in the other storage shed, and the sixth in a storage container on our property. It’s hard to believe we finally own it, and it’s also hard to believe that someday...

Life in the Round: Building a Yurt in Montana

March 24, 2014
After three months of relatively constant travel, life has finally slowed down enough for Sean and I to breathe, ski our local mountain, walk our property with Daisy in tow, and reflect on the next journey we’re about to take. So it’s with great pride that we announce our next adventure: We’re building a yurt! I’m willing to bet you have some questions. Like, what the heck is a yurt and how did you decide to build one? Well. The answer is two-fold. This story starts at the end of 2012. Sean and I had just begun our journey as Greasecar owners with...