So thank you to Linda for pointing out the very important fact that you can't legally live in a tipi in most places on the east coast of Canada. Actually no place. Having always been from the west, I assumed that like here, if you drive far enough away from civilization you can pretty much live how you want and people will leave you alone. In the east, you really can't drive very far from civilization. If you've ever seen a photo of North America from space at night, this becomes very apparent.
I forgot to give credit for the photos I posted of the tipis, they are from the Colorado Yurt Company website. That is an excellent company with an excellent website, but for the sake of shipping and to support Canadian business, we've decided on Arrow Tipi, which is located here in British Columbia. We are going to pay for delivery so that these nice people will come help us set it up for the first time. Since we are going to be spending the winter in it we estimate that setup must be one of the most important aspects of living in a tipi.
We've decided to live in a tipi. We will be purchasing an 18' foot tipi very soon and we found a local campground that will let us camp there monthly for a very reasonable price probably starting in September. This will be a kind of testing ground for us, to be able to spend the winter in a tipi, and we will be collecting whatever equipment we will need for our move to the homestead. To do this we will scout Freecycle, garage sales, thrift stores, antique stores, Craigslist and whatever else we need to do. I will post our list of items when we've worked that out.
The next step will be transportation. We currently have a tiny two door '92 Geo Metro, which is excellent on gas but may not do so well with 20' poles strapped to the roof. For this we will be getting an older diesel Suburban. We decided diesel is a requirement so we can make biodiesel if we so desire.
After that we have some educational requirements as well. We need to learn about horses, and drivinig a draft team and how to use harness. Fortunately we have a few connections that way. I will be working on cooking everything from scratch over a fire without sugar. Whatever we need that we can make, we'll make.
After we've saved a bit more money, we'll be buying the land, most likely in New Brunswick, Ontario or Nova Scotia. This will happen by March or April 2009. At that point we'll buy a second tipi, a permanent 30' one that will be built on a wooden platform. Our 18' tipi will also be put on a platform, and at that point we'll have a woodstove in one as well. We are working on a master plan for our priorities with developing the land so we can be self-sufficient, and I'll post that here as well. Here's a couple of pictures of what I ultimately want (that someone else has done already):
"True simplicity consists not in the use of particular forms, but in foregoing over-indulgence, in maintaining humility of spirit, and in keeping the material surroundings of our lives directly serviceable to necessary ends, even though these surroundings may be properly characterized by grace, symmetry, and beauty."
~Book of Discipline of the Religious Society of Friends, Adopted by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1927
Before I get into the grand plan of what is going to happen to my family this winter which will lead to our renunciation of electricity, the first step is to discuss portable, affordable housing. The reason for this is that we plan to live in our portable house before we get to the land, and then take our house with us. The options are interesting:
Ebay Travel Trailer from the 70's: This is the easiest option. For about $1000 you can get a 12-16' pulling travel trailer in the US or Canada, and haul it with most vehicles with a tow hitch. It will sleep 4-5. It may not have a toilet or shower, which means you'd have to find access to an outhouse and take Japanese baths or campground showers. You can get heat by installing a marine stove like these adorable little Navigator stoves. The drawback is that at that price, it's probably a fixer-upper.
The Tipi: This is my favorite. For under $2000 you can get an 18' tipi and poles from any number of companies (here is a huge list of them), weatherproofed for winter camping. What's nice is that the fire can go inside when you camp, or you can put a small woodstove in them like these reasonably priced tent stoves. You won't have the maintenance problems with this option, but it is definitely colder in the winter, and you don't have running water or propane lights. There's more room than a camper, as it will sleep 6-8 people.
That's all I have at the moment.
Note to self:
Reread two of my favorites, The Education of Little Tree and My Side of the Mountain (by Jean George).
As the purse is emptied the heart is filled.
It's been a difficult summer and I am not going to post about my personal life. Like Zorba the Greek, "I am the catastrophe." Suffice it to say that events both within and beyond our control have forced my family to take an extreme look at our own lives and truly 'suck out the marrow' and live deliberately.
The old website is on backup right now, and I will be taking those old articles and posting them here for easy reference, as well as ongoing updates on my quest to live deliberately which will finally happen this year. It will be a somewhat gradual process to moving into the wilderness which I hope will happen by next spring if all goes well. This is now a journal documenting that process.
The Deliberate Life book is still available via Lulu.com, Amazon and Barnes & Noble among other places. I will be giving up electricity within a couple of months, so please return to see how our adventure continues.