Yurt + Dome = My life in a yome

June 13 | Guest post by Dori Mondon offbeatariel

Dori and her daughter Paloma
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.

  1. This is so cool! Thanks for sharing your beautiful home.

    Are you a WWOOFer? How long have you lived in your yome?

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  2. nope, not a wwoofer :) i mean, i never have – but i guess that's kind of what i'm doing without actually doing it… we've been here since january and we'll be here until around november or so, probably. :)

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  3. This is absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing.

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    • i was curious too, a very quick google shows that its an organization that helps those wishing to work as volunteer farm hands?

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      • That was AWESOME Ariel. Can you post a tutorial for how you make that happen? I'd love to send it to my kids, who seem to think I know everything (which is cute and flattering, but they are in their TWENTIES now, it's time for it to stop.)

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      • Yes I made you do that!!! :-P
        but I was on my phone and opening multiple windows gets tricky on my crappy android.
        AND it was a strange abbreviation that I've never heard of

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    • WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It's basically a global network of farms who offer work exchanges: visitors contribute their labor in exchange for room, board, and hands-on farm experience. The farms, arrangements, etc. vary widely. I've visited three U.S. farms for short stays and had incredible experiences!

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  4. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed peeking into your home/life. You daughter is so lucky to experience the life you created. Enjoy.

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  5. That is really cool! If I had guts I would try it out too!

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  6. I love everything in this post! An amazingly beautiful and happy home and life. =]

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  7. This is exactly what I want for my family!! I would love to hear how you got into a place like that :)

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  8. krista – honestly? prayer (not a christian, just… intention i guess) and a firm faith that i deserve the things that i ask for.

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  9. I'm doing a similar experience, but only temporary. I'm currently doing a work exchange for Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village in Northeastern Missouri for three months. I don't have a bitchin' yome to live in while I'm here, I just have a massive tent. All of my food is provided for and they teach me cool shit like permaculture, natural and sustainable building, a lot of stuff about solar and wind power, and a whole bunch of other stuff about what it takes to live in a eco-conscious and sustainable way in exchange for 30 to 40 hours a week of work. It is very similar to WWOOF-ing except that the minimum stay has to be two months and instead of working for a single farmer, you are working with an entire community.

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  10. I love this, beautiful! I respect the way you are living and raising your family. I had to subscribe to your blog and look forward to reading about your journey!

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  11. I have had a six sided yome in my backyard for five years. It is my meditation space and I love it. I have only one triangle-shaped window… and one whole side is a screened opening too. In a month or two I am going to make it my bedroom and rent out my bedroom to a friend inside the house. It looks like you got the roof insulation kit–has it helped moderate the temperature for you?

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  12. Awesome! We live part of the year in our traditional Mongolian yurt with our two young daughters and it is the most beautiful place. Built with wood, sheep felt insulation and hand painted by a Mongolian family it is truly a sacred home. I hope to be able to live there year round in the future, but we have to work out some kinks as we live in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks that have very long, cold, wet winters. But my girls love the yurt too and we are planning some winter weekends in it so we can figure out how to do it. The summer and fall have been beautiful! I always dreamed of living in a yurt! I am glad you are getting your wish too!

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  13. Hi happen to see your Dome request on pintrist.
    I have lived in my dome for 30 magical years on the eastern end of long island.
    Please contact me if you have any questions .
    I will send photos as well. Bye, Barbara

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