I haven't written about the upcoming chapter in my life, partly because so many of the details are uncertain. But big things are coming, so I thought I'd start to share what I know...
For the past year, we've been experimenting with integrating my weaving business into our newly forming spiritual community up in the mountains. Well, it has not been entirely successful. The amount of work that is required and the amount of focus that it takes has proven to be more than this fledgling community can handle.
It's not dramatic, but we've decided that I will create a new life for myself elsewhere. The good news is that it's giving me the chance to act on a dream I've had for years: to live off the grid in a yurt of my own design and construction.
There are many pieces of the puzzle that I need to fit together.
- Structural Integrity
- Ample Light
- Sacred Geometry
- Functional Space Use
Believe it or not, the image above was created using all free software. I used Google Sketchup for all of the modeling, and the free version of Indigo Renderer for the lighting analysis. (Yes, I have years of 3D graphics experience and yes, it helps, but I swear that anyone can learn to use these tools for free.)
In the lighting analysis, I was trying to determine whether a 7'6" roof ring would give me the amount of interior light that I want. I have intentionally modelled only two windows to see how much light is brought in by the roof ring. The answer is: lots!
Here's an overview of the platform with the yurt on it.
And here are the measurements for the yurt itself. I made this drawing to send to people who know more about yurt design than I do. I need to know whether the 12' roof timbers are sturdy enough for the job they'll be doing or whether they need to be heavier. And then, if they are heavier, will the walls be able to hold them up or do they need to be heavier, too?
And today I worked up a design sketch of a way to raise the center of the platform to make space for insulation and ensure that water won't run under the yurt. Here are some of the sketches that I sent off to the contractor who's helping me to build it...
One point of the raised center platform is to ensure that the floor of the yurt stays dry despite the fact that I'll be using the whole thing as a 30'x30' rain catchment system. My calculations show that I'll be able to reliably collect 10,000 gallons a year with this system, making a well unnecessary, even if I irrigate a small garden.
And, as a bonus I'll have 900 square feet of dry storage space underneath the platform.
This is a huge project with multiple concurrent design and construction phases. I'll definitely be sharing more as it comes together... The goal is to be living and working in it by early summer and to have it ready for rain by the time it comes this fall.
I *do* like a challenge.