By February 8, 2008

Please, Hammer, don’t yurt ‘em

It probably seems odd that a guy who loves buying stuff so much wants to eventually move as far off-grid as possible, but it’s true. If I had a hojillion dollars I’d refinish a retired nuclear missile silo and make room for my bestest friends in case the Avian flu comes a-callin’ behind the wheel of a monster truck.

But I don’t have a hojillion dollars, so I have to think of less money-intensive ways to have a little patch of land to call my own.

Buying land and then building on it always seems extremely expensive. My father and his wife built their “dream house” in Colorado and drilling their well cost more than they budgeted for. Like, 200% more. Then they had to have their house built, a road cut, etc. etc. They wound up so jaded on their dream house that they sold it a few years later and moved to an even more remote location in Colorado. Their new home is a lot smaller, and they seem much happier. Dad has always been good at teaching me by example, so I started researching “start small” options.

Log cabin kits, stick home packages, mobile homes. Not bad, but by the time you get something you’d actually want to live in you might as well have built a regular house to begin with. I felt the best thing to do was — to borrow a development cop-out term — “take the phased approach.” Land first, then something semi-permanent to live in, then build more permanent structures. This approach may also allow me to bail out should my dream house become a nightmare.

So I started looking into yurts, circular, semi-permanent dwellings originally used by the Mongols. Pacific Yurts is one of the more prevalent yurt manufacturers out there (check out the gallery for some pictures. A reinforced, cold-weather capable yurt 20′ across with two doors, and six windows will run less than $12,000 before delivery. You still need to build a platform foundation and build it. A 20′ yurt takes an estimated two days to erect, which in my case translates to at least four. However, it is a lot more financially attainable for me while I keep my “real” house here in Richmond and put money away for an early retirement.

How serious am I about this? Serious enough to search out plots of land forty acres or more within an hour of my house. I am debt free except for the home and my Mazda, and thanks to the layoff I have a nice amount of cash. If I can keep my sanity long enough I just might have some dirt to call my own, with a Mongol pony or two tied outside of my yurt.

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5 Comments on "Please, Hammer, don’t yurt ‘em"

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  1. Ed says:

    Colin (from school) has a cabin in Maine.

    I like the Yurt idea. A place to store the warriors is always good.

  2. I like the yurt idea. It seems to me I’d read about cheaper ones, but maybe they wouldn’t stand up so well to the weather. OTOH what about emergency buildings — I think there’s been research on easily-constructed shelters?

  3. Your blog headline has set off several priority 1 alerts in our central HQ.

  4. Gangrene says:

    Oh crap, Mrs. G has been talking about cabins. Now you’ve got her jacked on this Yurt idea. Let us know if you want to start a Zombie free Yurt community in WV.

  5. I love to have enough money to converts a missile silo….Or any remote land really. Id like to be able to just hand my resignation in and go and live somewhere in the middle of nowhere for a few years, just as an experiment really, i recon i would get bored but you never know!

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