Tag: Family

Fall / Winter 2017

Fall / Winter 2017

Summer has come to a close and school has started up.  We are missing the sisters being away at school all day. Dog training season has began. Damon has started to put miles on the team after the temps dropped below 60 F degrees.  Tillie, our hunting dog, got to run with the team as long as she was having fun, but about a month into training, she started to slow.  Then she sat  down on a run, which in the mushing terms means, I quit.

Our old girl, Olive, still tries to hobble out to get hooked up, yet can’t even walk on her own most days.  But she still tries.

The team howls and howls to run.  They can’t wait to put on the miles. The amount of howling is almost ridiculous. They cry if Damon leaves in the dog truck without taking them with or for taking them for a run.  It’s really something to experience watching these dogs howl and howl to run.  It is so noisy before they run but the second that they start, it’s silent.

The training started at five miles at a time.  It increases no more than 10% a week to keep the team injury free. And  48 dogs started the training process.  Being in Minnesota, you would think that we would have plenty of snow to run on.  But no, it’s only been in mid-December that we have had enough snow to run the trails.  All the other training miles have had to be on the roads and with a 4 wheeler instead of a sled.  The gravel is really hard on paws, so Damon hasn’t been able to increase the miles like he wants. He’s only getting in 40-50 miles at a time. Crazy amount of miles to a newbie like me.  I can’t imagine going five miles with 18 dogs in front of me, in below 0 temps, on the back of a four-wheeler. Holy smokes, I got bored on the three-mile ride I took with them one day.

As the season has progressed there continues to be highs and lows.  Damon came home tonight excited to share that he put some of our young girl dogs up in lead for the first time and they were rock stars.  And you would never know it from their personality and size.  One is painfully timid.  The other surprise of the day was our “little sisters”.  They are two little girl dogs named Norma and Aurora.  Both are tiny and sweet, but they are some of the hardest working dogs on the team.  They keep the tempo fast and pull hard.  It’s been great watching them mature.

However, on the low side, the team had two cuts tonight.  Our Koyak just doesn’t seem to be pulling with intensity and Damon worries that he’s just not enjoying it.  It might be the roads/ four wheeler versus snow/ sled running. And he’s doing so-so, but they have to make seven cuts in the next week.  Also, our little Yettna seems to have hurt her shoulder.  I guess that it has something to do with running on the roads, but she probably won’t be healed before they leave for Montana.  It’s not worth pushing her too hard and ruining her experience or possibly hurting her for a longer period of time.  The next time they run and don’t put these two in, they are going to be heart broken.  The  mournful howl that follows sounds absolutely depressing.

So far it’s been the dog’s decision or an injury to cause the cut.  But now it’s the Musher who has to make the heartbreaking decision on who gets cut. The Musher takes into consideration the dog’s performance, health, and heart.  Like the little sisters, for instance, they are small but have lots of heart.  There are stronger dogs that do just fine, but heart and attitude carry more weight than size and strength.   A lot of decisions have to be made in the next four days.  I am not envious of those decisions that have to be made.

Well, for now, I better sign off.  I have another ten days of single parenting (not including the eight days before this), seven visitors coming for the weekend, packing up Damon and the dogs to leave for Montana a week before the race starts, and then packing up myself and the kids to leave for eight days in Montana.  I’m excited, but lots of work to be done.

Stay with me, I may need a hand to hold.

Why are we doing this?

Why are we doing this?

The first week was for sure the hardest.  There were many tears (from me).  Week one we experienced the coldest temps that we are going to experience that winter.  One morning it was -25 F.  The dome was completely frosted over.  Frost was coming through the door, on all the windows and creeping up the sides from the floor. Quickly, we found out that we had too much moisture trapped inside and it was freezing on the ceiling and edges.  Plastic was put on all the windows and dome and we got a dehumidifier.  We are dumping at least 1.5-2 gallons of water a day from it.  Since there aren’t any vents moving air out of the yurt, all the moisture from cooking, showers, and daily living doesn’t have a way of escaping.  The moisture rises to the ceiling and sides and freezes. Then the next morning the sun warms it and the indoor rain starts.  Huge puddles of water were forming on the floor.

Here’s the large mess after we moved in all of our stuff.  Let the unpacking and downsizing begin.

I panicked and cried while Damon calmly dealt with this and all the other first week issues that arose. Other than the indoor rain and skating rink, we had smoke backing up into the yurt from the new wood stove. We were able to remedy that with a few more feet of outside class H chimney piping. I also have learned so much about smoking products that you spray on your clothes to take out the smoke smell.  You would think by my web searches that I must smoke a few packs a day, but no, I just don’t want my kids to be the crazy kids that show up to school and have people ask, “Did you guys just come from camping?”

However, with all that being said, we had a number of blessings that first week. One, we found out that between our wood stove and furnace, we can keep up with ANY kind of weather and stay warm. We are feeling pretty fierce about this.    And second, our family was together and we are happy.  Since we have been working on this, we have only had a handful of days together as a whole family.  It feels wonderful for all of us to be together and enjoying the simple blessings of eating meals together and being under one roof.  Our children haven’t gotten along this well… Ever.  We aren’t sure if it’s that we are getting more family time, the close quarters, or if we are in the honeymoon period of this whole experience, but the kids are thriving.  They are working together, enjoying their little spaces they have carved out for themselves, and finding lots of crazy places to hide during hide and go seek.

Clarity has resumed in that we are going the right direction, along with windows we can see out of, and a dry ceiling, walls and floors.  You can see the stars at night while laying in bed and hear the rain pattering on the roof.  Laughs can be heard indoors and outdoors no matter where you are (because you can hear everything, anywhere) from the kids playing in their room or having ten puppies chase them outside.  As the issues decrease, the contentment naturally increases.

The rhythm of our days here has settled in and the knowledge that we are warm and content brings peace.  However, I continue to hear odd noises and see weird flashes of light at night. But I rest my hand on the empty pillow beside me and know that Damon is out doing what Damon does.  He’s working on something, building something, running dogs, or just playing.  He probably has a beer close to him, the radio is playing quietly to some country song, and he’s singing along with a headlamp attached to his head.  I sleep well knowing he’s happy and pray to our good Lord that I’ll be able to keep up with him for another day.

Stay with me, I may need a hand to hold. -Ky

Welcome to the Deep Root

Welcome to the Deep Root

Yup!  We are the crazy people that built a spaceship looking home called a Yurt and moved in our family of 5 on a week that reached -25 F.  We know how it looks, it looks crazy.  But we hope that opening up our adventure and family life will show that a relative mainstream family can succeed at something so unconventional.

This blog will primarily focus on our family changing their lifestyle to be better stewards of our talent, time, money and relationships. Through this experience we hope to be closer as a family, spend more time on the things that we hold dear, positively impact the environment, bring a fresh approach to mainstream housing options and continue to set ourselves up for financial success. Who wouldn’t want all those things?

For starters, I’m Kylie.  I am a coffee addicted, environment conscience, Jesus loving, mediocre long distant runner.  I am wife to a man that never runs out of energy and kindness, and I am starting up my own business all while attempting to raise 3 loving, balanced and responsible small humans.  And now, added to this, we are living in a self-designed, family constructed 700 square foot yurt.  However, in spite of all this, I’m actually very vanilla and conventional.

Damon, my husband, is far from vanilla.  He looks like a normal (but very hairy) guy on the outside.  He’s humble and down to earth, but has boundless amounts of energy. His energy allows him to dream big and to achieve these dreams. For example, he ran 54 miles one day to see how many miles it took before he found his breaking point.  It wasn’t a race, he didn’t get a medal or a shirt, he just ran it Forrest Gump style (without the tall tube socks) and just kept on “run’en.”  He lives carefree of what others think and is very true to the man God created and intended him to be.  And simply, he’s happy.

His energy and drive brings all sorts of “adventures” to our lives.  Instead of going on normal Mexico/Florida spring break trips in college, he was either snow camping and ice climbing with friends or convincing his girlfriend (me) to take a 100 mile canoe trip.  His dreams and energy have spurred us to hike, climb, and backpack all over the US and internationally.  Adventures have been had and memories have been made from backpacking desolate llama paths in Peru to swimming in hot flowing rivers in Iceland to name a few.

We did most of our traveling before children came into the picture, when we had much more time, energy and money.  So now our adventures are closer to home. We lived in Minneapolis for many years, but once we started to have children we wanted to be closer to family.  We are blessed with a huge family. My Father in law is #11 out of 17 siblings.  It’s truly an amazing family.  They mostly live within 40 miles of where they grew up.  There are TONS of cousins and the family is a tight knit group.  It’s been an adjustment moving from the city where you schedule play dates 3 weeks in advance to having 4 uncles unannounced stop in for coffee one morning.  Coffee leads to lunch and I’ve learned that you always should have something in the house to feed at least 6 people in 30 minutes. They always have great stories, can really jab at each other while loving each other deeply. Its genuine and simply one of the largest blessings in our lives. We want our children to be surrounded by such a rich blessing and prioritize family.

Ruby is our eldest child. She is one of the most kind,  giving persons you would ever meet.  A true beauty inside and out.  We are in awe of her maturity, work ethic, and the example that she leads as the big sister. She is completely good to her core and loves all.

Our middle child is bold and authentic.  Lucy has a personality that is fierce and strong.  She doesn’t enjoy conventional learning and songs, but loves to layer her clothes, make lots of experiments, and run as fast as her dragon shoes will take her.  She either doesn’t give a crap about you or loves you intensely. Once she warms up, she will hug you tightly and make you laugh by her genuine free spirit and deep throat laugh.

Walter, our third, is all boy.  He loves dogs, mud, tractors, bugs, his daddy and grandpa’s.  Playing monster and scaring his sisters gives him the biggest thrill.  He loves to work and having a job to do.  And oh his smile.  He has a crooked smile that will light up the darkness of days.  He loves to hug and give kisses. He has a very open heart to love and be loved.  He’s easy going and fun to be with.

So what made us decide that a Yurt was the way to go? Oh, such a good question!  Which I continue to ask myself at times,“why again was this the right answer?”

Stay with me, I may need a hand to hold. -Ky

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