Yurt Raising Day: Unfurling the Dream

The yurt came! The yurt really came! Ken of Two Girls Farm & Yurts drove his truck up our steep hill in the southern Vermont woods, pulling behind him our new, as-yet unassembled home on a utility trailer, all ratcheted down in a neat little package. And after spending two full days building the platform, the seven hours it took to assemble the yurt itself felt like a breeze.

The entire yurt on the trailer, ready to be built. Skylight on top and the lattice walls all rolled up.
The entire yurt on the trailer: Skylight on top, canvas walls, roof, and insulation folded up, and the lattice walls all rolled up.

Lattice Walls

We slid off the skylight con chimney centerpiece, set it aside, and got to unloading. The frame — rafters and lattice walls — are made of New Hampshire-harvested, locally sourced hardwood saplings ripped in half. The lattice walls fold up and roll into a big bundle, five feet tall and about three feet in diameter, which took all four of us to heave from the trailer up onto the platform. It was a good thing we’d had coffee. We placed and attached the door to the front and screwed in the drip ring around the base. Then, with three of us working together and trying hard not to pinch our fingers in the several hundred-pound bundle, we unrolled the wall around the edge of the platform, little by little.

Sapling Rafters

After securing the top of the wall with a suspension cable (to prevent the tops from being pushed outward by the weight of the roof), we started work on the rafters. We donned our fashionable yellow hard hats, Kevin held up the skylight — balanced, quite precariously, atop two poles — while the rest of the team pushed and twisted and generally coaxed the tenoned ends of the rafters into the mortises of the skylight ring. The butt ends of the rafters have notches so they sit securely on the suspension cable.

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Inner Walls, Insulation, Skylight, Outer Walls

The innermost layer of covering is a thin fabric simply intended to hide the insulation, a fire-resistant foil-faced bubblewrap sheet. We unrolled the insulation around the outside of the walls and, inside the yurt (not very visible in the timelapse), we taped together pizza slices of insulation to create the piece that would fit the round and angled roof. Lastly, we hung the outer layer, a heavy duty waterproof canvas — think wedding tent material.

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While most of the team worked on hanging and securing those walls, we slid the skylight and chimney up the roof to be attached in its rightful place.

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The remaining work was battening the whole thing down so we don’t lose the roof in a Wizard of Oz wind. The thick red straps hold the whole thing tight around the walls and thinner white cords attach on one end to loops on the roof canvas and on the other to dock cleats screwed onto the underside of the yurt platform.

And then, with little fanfare and very much hard work, we had a yurt. Of course, that was really only the beginning.

The empty interior of our new yurt, with skylight, chimney, sapling rafters, lattice walls, and eastern pine floors.
Annie admires the empty interior.
Exhausted after yurt raising day.
Exhausted after yurt raising day.