Yes, I will tell my dear friend Amy how living in a yurt affects my sex life. But first, a few things that are not quite that interesting, modeled after the questions my 7yo niece pummeled me with when I arrived at her house this morning.
Yes, we live without power or running water. Here’s what that looks like, so far.
Light Without Electricity. One time I put my hand on the wall near the door, reaching for a light switch that isn’t there. But generally this isn’t a big deal. We have a circular hole in the roof of the yurt, which is covered when precipitation requires it. But when it is open, and it’s daylight, there is plenty of light. At night we put one candle in the middle of the room, which lights our movement, and we just don’t do things that require a lot of light. Reading and washing have to be done before nightfall. After nightfall we talk to each other, play the guitar, eat snacks, and watch the trees sway. Also, we have flashlights, and a battery operated lantern, which is on a very low setting all night over Sadie’s crib. We hang up the lantern at a full setting when it rains and we have to cover the top.
Warmth without Electricity. 55 degrees is the new room temperature. Seriously, it’s the new way. If it goes below 55 the kids start complaining, but up to there we’re good. When we do need to heat the yurt, we start a fire in the pot-bellied stove. When we first moved in, it was freezing at night, and we set an alarm to stoke the fire every three hours at night: 12am, 3am, 6am. We didn’t really need the phone alarm, though, Sadie did a pretty good job of waking everybody up when the fire went out. And on that one cold morning when we didn’t have a stove, the kids and I just got in one bed together until the morning warmed up the air.
Cooking Without Electricity. This is pretty much the post I wrote when we first discovered the wood stove. We eat as well as the time we’re willing to put into it. Sometimes that’s canned soup barely warm. And sometimes that’s a multiple-course meal. But wow that stove does well with pancakes and bacon. Or maybe that’s my husband who does well with pancakes and bacon…
Entertainment without Electricity. My kids have been screen-free before, so it isn’t a total system shock. I wish I could tell you that it turns them into little angels and they’re super intelligent and have great attention spans, but of course that isn’t the case. What is true, though, is that nature and outdoor play occupies them just as fully as the screens did. It’s like a clean swap. They still fight. They still hang around me when I want to be working. But not more of the time than the were before. All that time that they used to watch TV, they are finding other things to do, mostly things involving sticks and frogs and dirt. Yesterday Milo was playing “farm Star Wars” in which all the characters were animals. Luke Skywalker was a chicken. So…that’s good for his IQ, right?
Dishes Without Running Water. I can wash a meal’s worth of dishes with about a gallon of water. About half of it is heated in a kettle, then I mix it with cold until I can put my hands in it. I use a bowl with soapy water to wash. And a tub with clean water to rinse. Then I stack it on a towel. It’s pretty quick, actually. And SO much less water than I was using running water over everything in a sink.
Cleanliness Without Running Water. We ARE going to make ourselves a shower of some kind. And in the meantime, we go into town for showers. But only once a week. For quality of life between the weekly town trips… I use a dry skin brush. I also use the oil cleansing method for my face. I wouldn’t do this much unless I was actually getting dirt on my face. But I am actually getting dirt on my face. And oil is a great way to clean it off without damaging my skin. My hair still gets dirty, even though I only wash it with baking soda, so at the end of the week I put my dirty hair up in a hat or in scarves. And we wash the kids with a rag and a bowl of warm water.
Also, we all live in one room. The baby has adjusted in just three weeks from falling asleep in a dark room by herself to falling asleep in, well, NOT a dark room by herself. She’s a pretty mellow baby, though. The two big kids are sleeping at opposite ends of the top bunk, with their toys where the bottom bunk would be. The middle one actually falls asleep, because she’s tired. But the biggest one watches us, sometimes for hours. Especially if we’re eating snacks that he likes. So we have to watch what we’re talking about.
And, for Amy… For better or for worse, yurt living is NOT natural birth control. Kids sleep. And the dark is really dark, if you don’t light it. And that…is all I have to say about that.
Any other embarrassing or not embarrassing things you want to ask me?