Sharing the Only One

Sharing our wooden yurt building experience and more.

#3 Why we moved to Vashon Island and built a cedar yurt!

cropped-p90312381.jpgOur response to the ridiculousness of how our world is today was to change our lifestyle.  We felt that was the most important thing we could do for the planet and for ourselves.  To be conscious of what we are doing with our time, our relationship to others, what we are buying, the resources we are consuming, the waste we are making. These are the things we thought about.  To do that we needed to create a new way of being for ourselves.  The first step was to move out of Seattle.   We wanted trees and wildlife, a slower way of being and less driving.  Being connected to the land and the sky.  I know that sounds hippy but it’s true.  There is a real difference in how you feel when you have these things.  Did we want to feel stifled and rushed or open and relaxed?  What would give us these things?  Vashon Island had everything we were looking for to create our new lifestyle.  We find being surrounded by nature makes us relaxed.  The energy on Vashon is like a whole other world.  One that we absolutely love.  Time seems different here.  The beaches are amazing and we are in love with the animals roaming the island.  Our friend Simon took this photo (and the deer) on his visit with us in August.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are currently going towards being semi off grid. (I say semi because we can’t have a well on Vashon and we have to be hooked up to public water and we don’t plan on growing all our own food – some but not all.)  We plan on doing DIY solar once we are settled in and know our energy consumption.  We are obsessed with using the least energy we possibly can.  We felt that building from the ground up consciously was a good thing.  To be able to use our research of healthy materials to build responsibly was a way to help others who want to do the same thing.  Going as off grid as possible is our response to climate change and trying to be proactive about getting prepared for when things will change.  We wouldn’t want to do it any other way.

In an ideal world, we would have built with cob.  It is the absolute best for the planet and they are our ultimate favorite houses.  They are illegal in our county as a residence so we couldn’t build one.  See how lovely they are.

images charlies house cohabitat net

Since we couldn’t build with cob, we found the next best thing.  A wooden yurt built by folks who care just as much about the environment as we do.  Bringing Smiling Woods Yurts and Matthew Smith together is a match made in heaven.  This photo was the one to really get me hooked on them.  Then I found out they were in Washington State and had the same values as we did.  That was it.  Problem solved.


At first we decided to build because we couldn’t afford a house in this area.  Then we realized we could build it the way it should be built – to last – without toxins, with the least “Made In China” products and plastic as possible and with as many reclaimed materials as we could.  The construction boom in Seattle showed us how bad things were being built.  The dreaded Hardiplank was everywhere.  It’s gotten so bad that we started saying things like crapitecture and frankenhouse (I’ve heard others use this term as well).  There was total disregard for how a house looked and all about cutting corners.  The almighty dollar rules all in the industry.  So we decided to look for land to build a healthy house ourselves.

Would you want to live in a house that looked like this?  Really Seattle?  Really?  They look like Russian prisons.

IMG_0563 images

We happen to find a plot of land that used to be a currant and strawberry farm, so it had been cleared of trees for a long time.  That was a big concern.  I did not want to cut trees down.  Now we get to put trees back in.  We can create a haven for wildlife right on our land.  And, we can walk to downtown Vashon is 5 minutes.

land land3

And we got to see this at the ferry terminal last week.  A double rainbow in one direction.  A freaky storm in the other.  So cool!



Changing the system of how we live is what is needed on a grand scale.  Buying much less, being conscious of where the things we do buy are coming from, how the production of those products impacts other lives and reusing the massive amount of stuff we’ve already produced is what is needed.  Being informed of what is happening to our planet, the animals and it’s people and responding to that by changing how we live. That is our goal.  Everything is connected.

*You can check out my links page for others exploring alternative living (No Impact Man, The Moneyless Man, Living without Plastic)

5 comments on “#3 Why we moved to Vashon Island and built a cedar yurt!

  1. c
    October 19, 2014

    I really respect and admire what you’re doing. It definitely makes me think about my own choices. Thank you for sharing!


  2. Sharon Bogle
    November 3, 2014

    I love, love, love it! We echo your philosophy. The consumerism and waste are near the top of my list of “things to dread” when we return to America. By necessity, here in Africa we have been pushed to the next level of what our American friends used to call “stingy” living…we call it “responsible” living. I think of you often when, for the first time in my life, I am cooking vegan meals simply because we can’t afford meat and dairy…and it’s awesome food! (Praise God for Google to give me great ideas.) We have gotten used to cool showers, candle-lit nights and walking everywhere, Praying the re-entry back to MN next summer doesn’t “ruin” us. Love to you, guys.


    • Sharing the Only One
      November 3, 2014

      Thank you Sharon! Our eyes have been opened for a while now, so it’s hard NOT to fight back on all this, despite being the odd ones out. It’s too bad everyone here couldn’t live in Africa for a while to get a different perspective. It’s certainly a touchy subject that’s for sure. John and I have admired the way you and Bill have lived since we visited with you in MN. We wish you a good transition back next summer. We understand how difficult it will be. It’s very frustrating to go against the grain but we take inspiration from others who are walking a similar path. The only way for things to get better is for more and more people to take a stand and refuse to participate in the way things are done. It may start small but it can be a very powerful force for change. One thing I realize is that we never know how we may effect others, both good and bad. We have to get the ball rolling at some point. I think globally, the ball is definitely rolling, even though it doesn’t seem to be on the surface.
      PS So glad to hear you’re enjoying your vegan meals. The interwebs is definitely a good resource. We just made Ethiopian cabbage & carrots last night! Yum!
      Much love to you all!


    • Sharing the Only One
      November 3, 2014

      Oh, also I forgot to say, I hope one day “stingy” living (as your friends say) or “thrift”, is realized for what it really is…using the resources and making do with what we already have. I have to say from experience it definitely fosters creativity in how you approach a situation.


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This entry was posted on October 17, 2014 by in Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , .
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