• Starry Sky

    Starry Sky

    The night sky has always been an interest of mine since I was a young girl. I’d pour over astronomy books and magazines about all the different types of stars; Red giants blue dwarfs, red super giants, and yellow dwarfs just to name a few. Pictures of colourful galaxies would spark curiosity and wonder in my young mind.

    Once, for one of my birthdays, my parents bought me a telescope to help me peer deeper into the vast expanse of space. Dad would take me and my sisters out on warm summer nights and spend hours trying to see if we could spot anything interesting.  Sadly, the light pollution from all the greenhouses and cities in our area made it difficult to really see much. My interest soon faded becoming a distant memory of my childhood.

    That is, until I moved out here…

    In Nova Scotia we have a large area that is free of light pollution. You can see it here in the picture below. The big marker is Kejimkujik National Park. If you are ever in Nova Scotia, it’s definitely worth the visit! Great camping sites for star gazing, not to mention lakes for swimming and beautiful hiking trails.


    Now, I don’t live right in the middle of the dark area… more like one of the blue spots… but it’s still a big enough difference from where I grew up. It’s truly breathtaking to be able to see the milky way with my own eyes!

    It has been fun learning how to photograph the night sky. I only use a small camera– a Canon M50 with its stock lens. These shots require a long exposure to capture all the stars. The naked eye can only see so many stars at once, so when you use a long exposure, it captures the light from stars that are even further away.

    Here is how it works. First, I try my best to focus to infinity, then I click the shutter button and wait 15 seconds. Next the stunning picture pops up on the screen. I then check for clarity, adjust my focus a smidge and try again. It’s like opening a present every 15 seconds!

    Hope you enjoyed this post and the pictures. I plan to continue to practice and get better at capturing the stars. 😊 Until next time, keep on star gazing!

  • Summer Fun

    Summer Fun

    The past few weeks we’ve slowed down working on the yurt. We took time to celebrate Josiah and Peter’s birthdays. It was a big one for Josiah this year… 13! We officially have a teenager in the family!

    Peter has also started back up working again. This mean bigger projects around here only get done on the weekends now. We sure are missing him around here during the day. However, I think Otto misses him the most. He seems to think he should be going with Pete to work.

    We had a wonderful surprise the first week of August. The excavating company we hired to cut the road in came! They made quick work of our steep hill. It was a big project that we had been waiting for all July.

    Since the road has been put in we can finally see the sunsets. And boy, are they beautiful! Pete and I often sit here and soak them in. I still can’t get over how stunning it is here. The sky especially at night. The stars are stunning! One night I tried to photograph them. Something I’d like to get better at.

    This weekend we worked on the railings for the exterior stairs. We used milled wood from the local mill and up-cycled spindles from my father-in-law’s old railing. They turned out really nice.

    Well, that’s it for now. I hope you all are enjoying the summer. Signing out ’till next time!

  • We Have Power!

    We Have Power!

    Big things happened this week! Pete’s brother came to help us install the solar system. In one day they mounted the solar panels and batteries, then hooked up the inverter and charge controller. By the end of the day we had the batters changing. Two days later we had them equalized and ready to take on a load. First test was to see how the system would work while running a coffee maker. (Super important!) The last system we had years ago couldn’t handle making coffee in a standard coffee maker (heating elements and solar systems aren’t exactly best friends). I can happily report that it worked amazingly! Then we tried the toaster… and again; perfection! We are so excited to see our system working so well. Once we get all our wiring put through the house and have some better running data, Pete will make a video to explain it all. So make sure you are subscribed to the YouTube channel to catch that when it comes out.

    Meals are getting more and more exciting here at the yurt. The new stove is working wonderfully! We’ve made pizza and bread in the oven. Cooked all sorts of other yummy things on the stove top.

    This week we also had a bunch of gravel delivered. We rented a skidsteer to grade it all as flat as we could. Probably will need a few more loads. But for now this is 100 times better than before!

    With the gravel down now, we could finish building the front deck. Now we have two accessible ways into the Yurt. We will likely get to the railings next week. It’s all starting to feel like a home.


  • To Do List

    To Do List

    Hey everyone! It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update or even a video. We have had a bunch of things going on. Just to give you an idea of what we have been up to here is this weeks do list…

    1. Install the aircraft cable around the ceiling.

    2. Finish blocking.

    3. Build a closet for the electrical box.

    4. Make some steps for the doors.

    In between these jobs we got distracted with fixing something on the backhoe, multiple runs to the lumber yard or the hardware store, and friends popping in for visits.

    The back steps… so much better than a log!

    We do our best to remember to film things as we go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go as planned. For instance, this week our stove arrived (so exciting!). So we pulled out the camera and filmed an unboxing video. Sadly, it wasn’t until we got home that we realized there was no audio. Lesson learned… always check the battery in the mic before shooting anything!

    Even though the filming didn’t go all that well… I’m still very excited about my stove! It’s an off-grid range made by “Unique.” These stoves have a battery powered igniter for the stove top and pilate light for the oven. Ain’t she lovely???

    My new range!

    Now that it’s summer break, our whole family hangs out here while Pete works. We lend a hand when we can… or friends come and give us a good push (i.e. help build stairs). This week has its own “to do” list that will need to be balanced with family fun times. Trips down to the lake, bonfires, ice cream and coffee breaks, etc…

    Otto and his coffee mug double

    Until the next update… Keep smiling!

  • Finishing Up The Exterior

    Finishing Up The Exterior

    The past few days things have changed considerably. We got the exterior wall layers up on Saturday. It’s so nice to see the coloured canvas up again. Love this blue!

    Yesterday we mobilized the kids and moved a bunch of stuff into the Yurt. No, we aren’t moving in yet. There is still a lot to do! Things just needed to get shuffled around.

    Earlier this week Pete moved the container closer to its resting place. The backhoe could only get it so far. It still needs to move 20 ft. (If anyone has any ideas…. always welcome some input)

    Today we finished “buttoning up” the doors and windows. This involved stretching the canvas and screwing it in place. The canvas around the doors got stretched and stapled in place. Then we put the trim up. Very pleased with how it all went today.

    The next thing will be stairs and framing in the interior walls. Excited to see the interior shape place soon.

  • Roof Material

    Roof Material

    We had another busy day today! Our goal for was to get the roof material on and hopefully the tyveck before the rain was scheduled to come this evening. I’m thankful to say that we did it!

    In our Yurt we have 4 layers to the roof. The first layer is a thin white cotton fabric. Second layer is a reflective bubble wrap. The third is a white foam blanket. Then finally you put the (very heavy) canvas on.

    Now, we will be insulating everything to the “R” value for our region. So technically all the extra layers would be redundant…. but you can never have too much right? Lol!

    We were not sure if we could get the canvas on with only Pete, me, and his parents. The canvas is easily 300 lbs or so. Luckily, Pete’s genius kicked in and he was able to come up with multiple solutions. An engine winch helped get the canvas to the top of the scaffolding. Then his dad helped him get it up over the edge. We used rope and 2x4s to unfold the canvas. Lastly, Pete used a leaf blower to force air between the layers. This help us rotate the canvas into the right position. Huge success!

    I hope you all are finding our building adventure as fun as we are. With all the rain that’s in the forecast for tomorrow, Pete will have time to get another video together. So make sure you head over to the Clearly East youtube channel to see a more detailed look at how this elaborate tent goes up.

    Till next time!

  • Raise the Roof!

    Raise the Roof!

    Today we did so much and have a lot to show for it!!! The goal was to get the bones of our Yurt up… and we did it!!! A bunch of friends and family came to help us. We started early to get the bender board and scaffolding up before help arrived.

    Then we measured and cut the openings for the hard windows and doors. Pete and his dad set them in place making sure they were plumb. Once our friends arrived, the hard work really began. First, the lattice was meticulous put into place. Next, the cable around the top rim was secured. Then came the daunting step — raising the roof.

    The guys lifting the compression ring up to Peter.

    2 guys had to hold the top compression ring as the other 2 passes roof rafters up to them. These rafters have 2 steel pins in the top and a notch at the bottom. The guys up top have to insert the pins and secure the boards with screws while the guys below put the notch into the cable. It’s not an easy job. But these guys figured it out.

    Before the roof rafters

    After the roof rafters.

    Before we left for the day, Josiah took a moment to check out his “room.” He leaned through the lattice and I snapped this picture on the left. Was only 7 years ago he made the same pose the first time the Yurt was built. It’s fun to look back to see how much he has grown. We have come so far as a family. And not just in Kilometres… lol! Things change… little people grow up…(this year Josiah will be a teenager!) And we keep moving forward to whatever is waiting for us just beyond the horizon.

  • Sooo close!

    Sooo close!

    Phew! Today was long! We started at 9:00a.m. and stopped at 8:20p.m.. This morning we finished off the “corner” joists and one of the funny end beams. They went so smoothly! We were very optimistic for the day and had hoped we could get the OSB on the deck by the end of the day. We had some friends show up for a couple hours. They helped start putting in the closed cell foam boards. When they left, Pete and I took over and realized that we were short 24 sheets! We had paid for 52 but they guy only loaded 28 sheets. We didn’t realize until today! Thankfully our local hardware store fixed the issue and we were able to pick up the rest of the sheets with no issues.

    Thursday morning. Tricky end beam.

    We finally got back to the property by 4:30p.m. and got to work on the foam insulation. It all went together fairly quickly. We were happy with the results. Still need to finish cutting the circle into it. But that will be for another day. It’s such an important part of this deck build. So, it would be best to save that cut for a fresh day on the job.

    We are so close to getting the main structure up! If the weather cooperates… maybe one more week??? Stay tuned!

  • Hanging the Joists

    Hanging the Joists

    Hey everyone! Got another rainy day to fill you in on what’s going. Saturday we had a bunch of friends and family help us out with our deck. We built the rest of the beams and hung the middle joists. Pete took care of cutting the wood to length while the rest of us hung the joists and attached the hangers. Would you believe it if I told you each joist has around 35 nails holding it in place? First we us 3 nails to hold the joist in place, then each hanger has 16 spots to put nails into (the inspector will want to see them ALL put in). I can guarantee you that we were all pretty tired (and sore) afterwards. Pete and I were SO greatful for all the help!

    Saturday’s progress

    Sunday we rested….

    Today (Monday), Pete and I went together to see how far we could get. Our contractor friend has lent us his air nailer for the week. This is helping make the job much easier! Though, there was still a big majority that I had to do by hand. The hangers need to be tacked in by hand because the boards we have are actual 2″x10″. One has to bend it around the board and make sure its sitting right. Still, my shoulders and arms are happy that I don’t have to hammer ALL of the nails in.

    New framing hammer!
    Monday’s progress

    We finished off the day with picking up supplies and setting up a make-shift jig for the bender board. Last time we put up the yurt, the plywood we used for the bender board struggled with the curve. So hopefully if we can pre-bend the plywood it will make things easier.

    We hope to have the deck completed this week. Stay tuned for more updates! 😁

  • Deck Posts

    Deck Posts

    Hey folks! It’s about time I share an update on how the build is going. Monday, Pete cleaned up the build site as best as he could before the rental company came to pick up the excavator. Then we went into town to shop for brackets and nails for the deck. Sadly, the stores didn’t have enough of everything. We were told the shipment would be in by Friday. (No worries, we have been getting better at waiting these days…) The lumber that was meant to be delivered the previous week was finally dropped off by 4pm.

    Tuesday, the building inspector come to check out the foundation posts. He was pleased with our work and gave us the green light to keep going. Pete spent the rest of the day moving the lumber from thr front of the driveway to the site. (Too bad the Beast is out of commission.)

    Wednesday, Pete and a friend spent the day making sure the brackets were lined up right. They measured, cut and placed the posts that sit on the concrete piers. These posts will hold the main beams of the deck structure.

    Unfortunately, the weather decided not to cooperate. Rain started falling early Wednesday afternoon. This continued over into Thursday evening. Some might look at this and feel sad for the work day that was lost. However, it was good timing for us. The rain would help settle the posts and we could only get so much done before the brackets arrived.

    And now it is finally Friday! Pete picked up all the brackets that we were waiting for. He has started putting the big beams together for the deck. The weather looks like it’s going to be amazing over the weekend. Our hope is to get the beams and joists together by the end of Sunday (Rain is forecasted for Monday and Tuesday).

    I’m very excited to see this next week progress! Stay tuned for more updates…(hoping there is a lot this week!)