Well I just had to turn the music I was playing off because it’s thundering and raining so hard I literally couldn’t hear it, but– mostly, there aren’t any leaks through the canvas roof, and I seem to have a correct enough assemblage of shower curtain and vinyl tablecloth and 2x6 and so on at the door to keep that from pouring water in across the floor, so all is well in yurtville at the moment. The thunder and lightning are mildly terrifying but fortunately I’m not particularly afraid of that sort of thing. 

Let’s hope I sleep okay. It’s another slaughter day tomorrow. I cleaned the whole area today, and since the Assistant Livestock Manager wasn’t done washing eggs when I got out there, I lavished a lot more time on the kill room than I normally do. (The evisceration room is the one that’s all stainless steel and plastic walls, and I always scrub the bejesus out of it and bleach it super good, because I eat those chickens too. But I like the kill room to be spotless too, it’s just harder to do.) 

I got back to the house after much longer than I’d meant to spend, but had consoled myself by nabbing a pitcher full of ice out of the ice machine, and made margaritas. And then, since it was 90, and Farmbaby wanted to go in the sprinkler, I grabbed my swimsuit and went out and joined her, to her very great delight, and we had a fine time, and I didn’t have to take a shower after all. (I hate to shower right before slaughter day; slaughter night is like, my one guaranteed day I’ll actually wash on the farm. The rest of the time, the policy is only to wash if someone’s going to see us, OR we’re so offensive no one can stand to be in the room with us. I was approaching the latter category after all my scrubbing– I put on a rubber apron to keep bleach off my clothes, and then sweated through my clothes from the inside, of course– but a trip through the hose sorted that acceptably. A trip through the hose is fine for human odors, but not for chicken-internals odors. Soap must be employed, for those.)

So. Margaritas, and then a lovely dessert (local-harvested blueberries, in a pie! a neighbor is ill with Lyme disease so his crop is going unharvested, and he has called upon neighbors to help him out, and we’ve obliged; he gets a slice of pie in return, and wouldn’t take any more than that)– and then I sprinted out the door as the rain started, so I could get out here before it. Not just to avoid walking in the rain, but also in case I’d left anything unsecured. Which, somewhat, I had, but it was mostly fine. 

Anyhow. I thought this thunderstorm was going to pass on, but it’s lingering. I ought to look at the radar but I’m resisting. 

Sleeping in the yurt is like… one night I lie awake the whole night for no reason, the next night I lie awake a lot because there’s a leak or sound or mosquito or something, the third night I sleep twelve hours like I’ve been tranquilized, the next night I get a totally normal 7ish hours of sleep, the night after that I sleep like the dead again and almost miss my alarm, then I lie awake staring at the rafters the night after that for no reason… It’s annoying. Clearly, I can sleep out here just fine. Clearly, the space is comfortable and to my liking, and even the shitty air mattress is comfortable. (It’s developing some… quirks, but it holds air for the nonce, so I won’t complain, but my next one will be a futon mattress or something.) But I’m just a miserable middle-age-approaching cuss, and my sleep is apparently Delicate.

I can hear the stream now, over the rain. It’s lovely but not all that restful. At least I know, 1000% certainly, that this bank of the stream literally never floods. (It didn’t flood during Irene or Sandy, it didn’t flood last month when a random thunderstorm higher up the mountain dumped 2 inches in 2 hours and almost took out the culvert by the granary… we may lose the opposite bank, and the basement, and the picking garden, and the yurt might blow the fuck over, but this bank won’t flood.)
I was kind of a lazy piece of shit today but honestly it was glorious. It was 92 today, and brutally bakingly sunny. I spent a solid ten minutes out in the sun, felt a prickling in my skin, and beat feat to the shade, telling Farmbaby that she could keep harvesting wild strawberries on the hill but I was going to be just at the foot of the hill. (I put sunscreen on both her and me, but I still have that inexplicable sun allergy. If I stay in the shade, I’m okay, but it’s not always possible. Ugh.) She understood and was chill, and after another fifteen minutes, joined me. “It’s hot,” she said. 

She then proceeded to effusively thank the Vegetable Manager for telling her that there were strawberries on that hill. (He’d discovered them, and told us we should go look; I’d noticed the leaves but figured they wouldn’t bear fruit, and also wasn’t that confident I’d ID’d them correctly.)

She had a fever of 102 last night, and it kept recurring in little spikes throughout the day. She was so cheerful, and chipper, and would play, with us cautioning her not to overdo it, but then she would demand “snuggles” (and always from her mother), and crash sort of hard for a bit. She never had any temper tantrums or shed any actual tears. She seems to rather suddenly be almost entirely over the years-long phase of having screaming weeping tantrums about things. Not totally, but often. 

She was so clingly. But Sister knew that was inevitable, and did not make any serious attempts to get into any tasks. Did some flower harvesting and light weeding, and I did the intermediate herding of Child when she was well enough to allow those things, and then Sister just sat in the shade and let 100 degrees of child cook her organs. Farmbaby took a nap of over an hour pressed against her mother’s chest, in a chair in the shade with the cat melted on the grass next to her.

Meanwhile, Brother-in-Law spent the entire day setting up the swingset his father had sent, unsolicited and without much warning, as a gift. It was lovely, but somewhat unexpected. Farmbaby was an angel; she asked a half-dozen times how much longer it would take, but when firmly and repeatedly told, a long time, she willingly let herself be distracted, for hours on end. 

I did cook dinner. (Sauteed kohlrabi greens and kale with scallions and a little broccoli raab, with a coconut milk and peanut butter sauce, over rice. Bonus: sauteed in a pan that had been used to cook homemade bacon, so it was coated in lard and bacon crumbs.) 

That’s about all I accomplished today. I fucked around on the Internet, but basically read-only. Not productive, but sometimes the brain needs to lie fallow. I didn’t think of much, but I think it was important rest time. We’ll see. 

I am overjoyed, by the way, at having power to the yurt, because 90 degrees with an electric fan in a yurt is actually pleasant. No fan, and you won’t sleep, but a fan means that crucial extra bit of air circulation that takes it from bearable to comfortable.

I’ve taken down the blanket fort and dropped the sidewalls and put up my lace “curtains”. It’s really nice in here now. 
uh i wrote a whole long thing and was like in this photo you can see– but i only took the photo, i didn’t post it.

i might be more tired even than i realized.

yeah you can’t see shit in that pic, but it’s nicely atmospheric. 


Oct. 15th, 2015 09:22 am
Sleeping in the yurt all week. Tonight’s low is 40. I have a kerosene heater but am leery of leaving it on while asleep. Also it’s too big for the space, makes it too hot in here. Woke just now at 4:30 too cold, have fired up the heater… Mm, maybe it’s not too big after all, it’s sure not getting all that hot.
Gonna be 30 on Friday. Considering moving indoors by then…

My feline roommate has started making herself at home by leaving corpses on the floor. It’s disconcerting, but I don’t know why I was surprised. This is the cat that seldom comes inside, she’s gotta be feeding herself somehow.
YURT! Not my usual quality of photos, these were mostly taken very hastily on my phone as i tried to direct setup. I’ll take proper camera pictures once I have some more time. I’m sorry, this is long, and photo posts don’t let you insert a read-more. :(

Friday I left work slightly early so I could get to the yurt-maker’s house before dark, and there, in the slight drizzle, he spent about an hour taking down the ger (as it’s more properly called, I guess; yurt is a slightly-offensive foreign word if you’re Mongolian, and so the sorts of people who appreciate Correct Terminology prefer to call them ‘gers’, so I try to respect that but most local people know what a yurt is and not what a ger is so it’s more locally-useful to call it a yurt, so I mostly do. Not to be offensive to those who prefer correctness, but it’s hard enough to explain what I’m doing, but I do understand there’s an element of cultural appropriation here and I am sorry for that.)

Anyway, he took down the ger and showed me all the parts, explained what was important and what was only important over the long-term and what was critical to adjust correctly and what was only cosmetic and could be changed according to preference. So, above, the hands taking apart part of the door frame are his; I took some reference photos of how he tied things in case the knots were important, as neither of us knew what the knots were called.

It fit into my car, though some of that was because I am very, very experienced at loading this car in particular– my old Impreza had precisely the same proportions inside, so I know exactly how far the seat goes up and so on. So a couple times, I knew things would fit without further disassembly if I just wiggled things around. 

I managed to get the entire yurt, plus a duffel bag, my camera bag, three pairs of boots, assorted small items, a sleeping bag and a pillow and an industrial coffeemaker salvaged from work into my car. I declined to bring any of my copious amounts of awesome glam-camping gear (I’ve done Pennsic for years, people, I have everything from outdoor carpets to hanging lanterns to collapsible storage chests that double as seats) or any of my great cold-weather gear due to a combination of space concerns and just plain absent-mindedness. (I didn’t bring long underwear or even a winter hat!)

So Dad and I got a platform built, out of scavenged timbers from the fallen barn on my sister’s farm, and some plywood Dad had, and some scraps, and then everybody got home from the farmer’s market and we came out and set up. 

The issue we had was that the platform was built to be a 12′x12′ square and the yurt was… bigger than that. I feel like a 12′ diameter circle should fit pretty nicely on a 12′ square but it Did Not. So we had to… squish it, and tighten the bands down correspondingly, which you can do to an extent– it makes the roof a little higher, you just have to stay within a certain angle for the roof rafters so they don’t pop out– and it then made everything a little bit wonky from there on out. So today I have to find some more timber and shim out the platform to be a little bigger, wiggle the whole thing around to see if i can get it to settle better, and then try to tighten up the canvas everywhere. I also had bought rolls of radiant-barrier bubble insulation that I didn’t bother fussing with when I had all these people standing around waiting for me to tell them what to do, so I’ll put that on.

As soon as we got the thing all the way up, one of my sister’s cats came and investigated, including going inside it. Another of her cats came and there was some mutual stalking going on (they aren’t enemies, but they’re not soulmates either), including a romp through Dad’s Jeep and over its roof. We persuaded the shy, claustrophobic family dog that it was okay to come inside, and there was much wagging. 

And then the child came, and had to be talked into going inside (I think she thought there was some kind of trick), but then she had to play hide-and-seek in it, which at her age is mostly going and standing in a spot and waiting for someone to feign surprise. 
At some point during this process she filled her diaper, so my ger is officially a home now, having been pooped-in. Relatedly, the farm’s interns (the two farm-hands are interns who are paid a stipend and given room and board and their labor is structured to a curriculum designed to teach them organic farming) have been working on building projects, since a large part of farming is building things and working with tools. One of them has been constructing an outhouse, to hold a composting toilet to serve the fields and greenhouses– and my yurt. So that’s going up soon, close but not stinky-close to me, and I’m very pleased. 

Anyway. That’s my yurt story so far. 



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