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Yurt / Ger Diary

written by Rene K. Mueller, Copyright (c) 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, last updated Sat, January 3, 2015

27. 11. 2007: Winter - No Snow Anymore

Sunset of 27th November 2007
It warmed up, temperatures between -4°C at night to 8°C in the afternoon - I keep heating the stove around 10:00 for 2-3 hours, and then have 20°C at least til sunset.

Föhn kept the temperatures high (over 10°C at some days) even after sunset. Now we just have typical November weather, cold winds from north / north east.

20. 11. 2007: Warmer Temperatures, Very Localized Climate, Wood Usage

The last days I usally fired once a day, in the morning to reach 22°C inside, lasting til sunset. After sunset the temperature fell rather fast as outside it dropped below 0°C and finally -10°C outside, inside the yurt down to 15°C at 22:00 and next morning down to 2°C.

Yesterday and today "föhn" (see Wikipedia: Föhn ) occured, a warm wind which let the temperature rise to 6-7°C - the place I'm situated is exposed to föhn, which in the summer time can be very strong almost storm like, in the winter time it gives higher temperature than usual, and the location just 50m below my location, apprx. 500m away does not have this warm wind but fog, and lower temperature. It is very interesting to observe so localized climatic differences - and one thing worth to look at when a new place is reviewed. Anyway, the 10-15 cm height heavy and partially melted and refrozen hard snow is now melting slowly, the ground is soft again and not frozen anymore. The temperature drop isn't has hard anymore, through entire afternoon I had 21°C without firing the stove at all, after sunset and now 17:30 it's still 19.7°C, 22:00 still 16.0°C (3.7°C in 4.5 hours, apprx. 0.82°C/hour).

Until now I used 2 boxes of wood, hard wood predominatly beech which burns slower than fir, 17 boxes make up 1 ster (1m3 chopped wood), which is apprx. ~0.75 m3 compact wood. If I fire the stove once a day I use 1 box a week, 1/17 of ster the week. Five more weeks til end of year, plus apprx. 10 weeks til first mid of March when usually a warmer period comes, which makes estimated 17 weeks or 17/17 or 1 ster for the fall/winter season, but I expect, if this winter is colder than the last warm winter (one of the warmest recorded here), that I will use for sure more than 1 ster of wood, at max 2 ster I would say. Let's see.

18. 11. 2007: Chilly Temperatures, Fixing Pipe Insulation

Sunset of 16th November 2007
The night were cold, -5 to -8°C, inside the yurt 2-3°C in the morning, no matter if a fired the stove until late evening or not. In other words, the heat sources (myself, two computers) and the thermal insulation maintain a 10°C difference between inside and outside the yurt. Usually when I'm gone longer I turn off the server and my desktop computer, and then the temperature will fall to outside temperature.

Yesterday I also fixed the thermal insulation of the stove pipe, where the pipe goes between wall and roof outside - the junction has been a bit under tension as I used it to attached to fixate some of the cords over the roof. The junction, two pipes moved into each other, moved apart and leaked a bit smoke inside the yurt - which I had to fix, and finally I had to dismantle the insulation partially again in order to push two pipe parts into each other again. My pipe insulation looks like this: I use glasfoam, apprx. 2-3cm thick, 60cm wide, 1m long, and rolled it over the stove pipe 60cm wide, 2-3 times around - then I used stiff wire to fixate it, and then aluminium foil, which I taped with clear tape so the foil is not teared away when I move it between the lattice wall/roof junction. This is also a number one might think about when constructing a yurt, the width w (as mentioned in yurt calculator) of the junction distance of the lattice wall, keep it larger than your stove pipe plus thermal insulation, this way if you choose the pipe to leave the yurt by the wall/roof junction, you don't need to cut any part of the lattice wall.

16. 11. 2007: Deep Wintertime

Deep Wintertime
This morning just 3°C inside the yurt, I fired the stove yesterday at 11:00 through 14:00, and kept having 22°C max, and 18°C at 18:00. So I didn't fire the stove more, so it dropped in 14 hours from 18°C to 3°C, apprx. 1°C/hour - I'm aware it's not linear but it gives me a rough idea of the insulation. Outside the temperature drop to -4°C in the night. The ground is not yet frozen, but the snow remains, and it appears like late December or early January, and this in midst of November.

After 1.5 hours firing the stove I reach 15°C inside - and the sun reaches finally the yurt as well around 10:15.

15. 11. 2007: More Snow

Even more snow in mid of November
It snowed through the night, and the temperature fell more so the snow is rather dry and not as heavy as the day before. Since I didn't clear the roof yesterday night it built a frozen layer, on top now new snow - which doesn't slide as easy anymore as I noticed. It's now about 10-15cm high snow.

Later in the afternoon I cleared part of the roof which extends over the attached room, there two cords fasten the extension yet prevented the snow to slide.

Clearing the roof
2007/11/15 14:32
Clearing the roof
2007/11/15 14:53
2007/11/15 15:11

14. 11. 2007: First Lasting Snow of the Winter Season

First snow of winter 2007/2008
Just perfect timing that I put up the other two roof segments yesterday, as tonight it snowed, and this time the snow remained, apprx. 5cm only. It's still wet and therefore heavy snow - some snow slided down, except there where the cords stretch over the roof, used for the past days when we had storm for 3 days. One cord was pulled down almost off the roof with the sliding snow (lefthand side on the photo).

Maybe bands may pose less resistance to sliding snow, than cords - I'm not sure. As mentioned before, one of the main advantage of PE as rain cover is that snow just slides down, one has little to worry of snow piling up on the roof and risk breaking the entire yurt once 50cm or more heavy snow remains on the roof (e.g. as with cotton/polyester rain cover).

13. 11. 2007: Putting Up Two More Roof Segments

I just moved the two segments on the roof, balancing the overall weight of the thermal roof insulation thereby - with the sacrifice of less translucent bubblewrap section on the roof. On the wall I have apprx. 1/4 of the circumference with 4 layers of single layered bubblewrap, probably the last season as it disintegrate slowly due UV exposure.

Before putting up new roof segments
2007/11/13 12:41
Lifting up the rain cover
2007/11/13 13:22
Segment put or pulled up
2007/11/13 13:39
Segment lined up
2007/11/13 13:44
Putting 3 folded (4 layers) of double layered bubblewrap, not fixated - just laid in between
2007/11/13 13:53
Pulling rain cover over again & tieing all ropes again
2007/11/13 14:43
Final setup for Winter 2007/2008
2007/11/13 14:53
After putting up new roof segments, only narrow translucent section remaining
2007/11/13 15:04

It's now significantly darker as seen on the last picture, but the crownwheel already adjusted slightly, there is a slight remaining adjustment which will occur within the next days or the next storm, as I can't simply shake the roof that hard to bring it in balance. In such cases you realized how "alive" a yurt is, how the lack of hard fixations make it almost a liquid setup, for the lack of a better word.

12. 11. 2007: 3 Days Storm, Rain and Snow Fall

Sunset of 12th November 2007
There wasn't really a hour when the wind didn't blow - rain and snow fall, but no snow rested really on the ground as the ground is still too warm to hold the snow. Today the first day it cleared really a bit up, and the wind soothed.

I decided to make at least 2 roof segments of thermal insulation, and narrow the bubblewrap segment further, and balance the weight on the roof more even. As the storm titled the crownwheel even more, it's just 5cm maybe at most, but I like to maintain a horizontal crownwheel to have all vertical forces of the roof poles distribute the force at the same angle to the crownwheel.

For now I didn't put up the two roof segments as still hail/snow is on the roof which fell this afternoon, so I wait til the rain cover is clear and dry to partially lift it up and get access to pull the segments on the roof.

Sewing the jute for the roof segment
2007/11/12 15:02
Roof segment filled with open straw
2007/11/12 15:20
Roof segment quilting to stabilize the open straw (1)
2007/11/12 15:28
Roof segment quilting to stabilize the open straw, Close up (2)
2007/11/12 15:28
Roof segment quilting to stabilize the open straw (3)
2007/11/12 15:41

The roof segment have the same size as when I made them last fall, 50cm (top) - 180cm (bottom) wide, and 340-345cm long (empty) and filled finally apprx. 30cm (top) - 160cm (bottom) wide and 320cm long when filled. I used 1 1/2 bales of straw for the two segments.

9. 11. 2007: First Fall Storm

World Sunlight Map 9th November 2007
The storm kept me awake for 2 hours last night as it lifted up partially the rain cover, finally fastened the yurt further to withstand the stronger becoming storm tonight. I didn't fasten the yurt with additional cords over the roof before as the next days snow fall is expected, and I wanted to make sure the snow slides down and is not kept by the cords. So I need to adapt the next days and see how the weather comes.

The crown-wheel tilted further due the storm, unfortunately, due the one quarter of the roof where there is no straw-based insulation, but light bubblewrap layers.

Tonight first lasting snow falls, at 0°C - not really covering up the entire ground.

7. 11. 2007: First Snow Briefly

I was away for a few days visiting friends, and temperatures from 0° to 8°C, with N/NW winds, and some brief snowfall (750m above sea level) which didn't last, only a few spots the snow remained. And I had friends coming by and stay overnight, so I started to use the stove now - heating up to 25°C, with little wood fireing for 1.5 hours last evening.

The new roof extension over the door works well, it might not really storm proof as I just nailed the two jambs on the first step on front of the door - but the front door didn't catch any direct rain water.

I also catched the two mice which walked or eat themselves from my straw insulation.

Since the weather is cooler I also have more space to make again soy yoghurt and keep it stored for a couple of days. I refrained to make soy yoghurt during the hotter months due lack of sufficient cool storage space.

Soy Yoghurt Recipe: Use 1l soymilk, heat it up to 40°C / 104°F (not over 45°C / 113°F), easiest way is to put a clean finger into the soymilk and have the temperature slightly over your body temperature, or use a thermometer - use 1 or 2 spoons of "nature" (without additives and flavour) soy or milk yoghurt as "starter", and blend it into the warming up soy milk. Prepare a water container, which can hold the filled glasses of soymilk, fill that water container with hot water (max. 60°C / 140°F). Fill the glasses (previously with hot water sterilized) with the warm soymilk, and close it tightly - put those glasses in the water container with hot water, and cover it up with some towls so the warmth stays longer and no sunlight reaches the soymilk. After 5-6 hours you have soy yoghurt. For the following generations of soy yoghurt, use two spoons of the previously soy yoghurt - this will work 10-15 times. Add additives as you like to the "nature" (unsweetened) soy yoghurt, e.g. such as blended hazelnut, jams of different flavours (as I used the previously made bluebyrd jams). Note: don't forget to keep 1-2 spoon unsweetened soy yoghurt left for the next generation soy yoghurt. The quality of the soy yoghurt depends highly on the quality of the soy milk.

1. 11. 2007: Sunny Day Again, Passive Heating from the Sun

Sunset of 1st November 2007
Today we had a sunny day, it started with 7.2°C at 8:00, and climbed up to 19.2°C at 16:00 with passive sunlight, outside apprx. 10°C. I still try to not fire the stove to see how the insulation behaves, e.g. receiving heat from sunlight and keep it stored in the yurt.

Below a few photos of my winter setup 2007/2008 which I likely won't change through the winter, except maybe tighten some of the cords of the attached room once snow is falling. Will be interesting to see if the attached room behaves with sliding snow, I guess some will be withhold at the junction of roof cover and attached room roof cover.

2007/11/01 15:14
2007/11/01 15:18
2007/11/01 15:18
2007/11/01 15:19
2007/11/01 15:16

Winter Setup 2007/2008
On the sunset photo you will notice a slight tilt of the crown-wheel, it shows the side which is light with bubblewrap translucent insulation. I would say with heavy insulation maximum is 1/4 of the circle to keep lighter insulation, more would risk to tilt the crown-wheel more and apply unplanned stress on it.

I also noticed two mice which began to climb through the straw insulation, I will lay out a mouse trap again to capture them. As I wrote earlier, I wouldn't mind mice if their droppings and urin would be outside, but inside the insulation I don't want it.

Yesterday we had covered sky with a bit of rain, the temperature was 10°C in the morning climbing slowly to 17.2°C max in the late afternoon, I didn't fire the stove but weared more cloths.

29. 10. 2007: Sunny Day

Today we had a sunny day, direct sunshine reaching the yurt - now with thermal insulation and south-west quarter of wall and roof with multiple bubblewrap layers translucent, it warmed up the yurt from 10°C to 20.5°C - at 19:30 still 18.4°C (apprx. 2 hours after sunset), outside 5°C with a bit cold draft.

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