My 16-month-old daughter and I live on an herb farm (no, not that kind of herb farm, though we are in Northern California). I am a farm hand here, and in exchange for a certain amount of hours a week working the land, we get to live here and breathe the fresh air, learn about herbs, and watch everything bloom. My daughter spends most of her days naked and looking like the dusty feral hippie child that I guess she probably is.
We live in a yome here. Yep, a yome — it's a cross between a yurt and a geodesic dome — so while it's "round" in a sense, it's actually got flat sides. It's canvas and wood framed with windows all around. While it's insulated and watertight (the yome's creators, Red Sky Shelters, also offer a custom insulation package) and we have a wood stove, winter was still a bit of a hard go, as were the monsoons. Some folks like the sound of rain hitting canvas. I do too (in a tent, anyway) but in this thing a sprinkle sounds like a torrential downpour – and we actually had a couple of weeks straight of true torrential downpours.
Since spring kicked in, however, I have had all the windows open (this means I've got them unzipped, as canvas flaps can cover them during inclement weather). Like this, I am basically surrounded by triangular screens.
My daughter LOVES the yome, showing her appreciation by being an easy sleeper — napping in it for two hours every afternoon, and sleeping through the night. She sleeps with me, and our bed is on the floor for this reason – when we wake up, we are surrounded by trees and sky and birdsong, the chilly morning breeze passing over us. It is sheer pleasure, the only downfall being that everything, and I mean everything, that I own is covered in a fine yellow coat of pollen.
I'd always wanted to live in a yurt. I've done plenty of camping over the years but that right there was the turning point. While I do have dreams of someday building an earthen home, I've also come to realize that I really, absolutely cannot stand being blocked in by walls and stuffy air. Somehow or another I'll have to work a treehouse onto the top of it. I can't stand walls, and I can't stand staying in the same place for months on end, either. Home is where the heart is, says the ages-old cliché – I've got a huge one.
I'm working on a composting toilet and an outdoor shower, but in the meantime, we've actually got modern amenities in a building a couple hundred yards away, which makes bathing my filthy farm kid a lot easier. Nothing glamorous, just your average kitchen and bathroom with a goofy shower curtain from Target. We share it with other farmhands, which at this point is just my daughter's father, who has his own yome on the property.