Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Features · A Circle of Comfort: Yurt...
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A Circle of Comfort: Yurt Living Offers an Affordable Alternative Close to Nature

Danielle Horvath - February 20th, 2003
It‘s like stepping into a circle of warmth in the middle of winter. Large windows bring in bright light, even on a gray day. The steel support beam dIrects your eye up to the skylight dome in the middle, and then down the wood trim that completes the circle to the wood floor. Open, airy and inviting, the yurt home of Karen Coussens stands out in a field overlooking an 80-acre valley in Benzie County.
“I wanted a home that was as close to being outside as I could get, and this is it,“ Karen explained. A retired career preparation specialist, she discovered the property while visiting friends in Cedar and quickly fell in love with the area.
“I knew I wanted to build a new house, -- one that would fit the property -- where I could see out of windows everywhere. I laughed the first time I heard of a yurt, but then I started doing some checking and found Pacific Yurts in Oregon. The more I learned about them -- energy efficient, open, designed to bring fresh air in, could be built anywhere -- the more I was sure that‘s what I wanted.“
The traditional portable home of the shepherds of inner Asia, the yurt is the equivalent of the American tipi. It is ingeniously constructed with light poles for a roof, sapling lattice for walls and a thick felt exterior skin. With the rising cost of house building in the early 1970s, many young people turned to unique, inexpensive, do-it-yourself construction methods. Pacific Yurts has been manufacturing a modern yurt for 21 years and was awarded the U.S. Senate Productivity Award for excellence in manufacturing and an international Achievement Award for design excellence.
Considered a “soft“ structure, the yurt reacts more readily to climatic conditions than do “rigid“ structures, so the site must be considered for wind patterns, over-head tree limbs, water runoff, etc. For yurts set up for extended periods, a deck is recommended.
It took a little longer to complete the project because the local contractor and excavator had never built a yurt before. At first, the excavators didn‘t know how they would do a round cement basement.
“There was a lot of cell phone calls between Roger Pierce -- the contractor -- and the yurt company,“ Coussens says. “But Roger was great; once they got the idea, it all came together.“
Yurts come pre-fabricated in a kit, ready to assemble. Coussen‘s design included a sma}ler- yurt for the bedroom, with the two connected by a closet and front entryway.
Coussens has made it through her first year in her yurt and so far she loves it. “It‘s so easy to clean, a little Pledge on a rag, a couple of turns and I‘m done. There‘s no outside maintenance. In the spring, I take off the plexiglas on the inside of the windows and let the air in through the screens and lattice. If it rains, I go out and lower the flaps. The canvas is guaranteed for twenty years; the roof for 25. By then, I won‘t really care!“ she says with a laugh.
Coussens heats with a pellet-burning stove and has electric heat for back up. She estimates the cost of her yurt is about the same as a traditional 2,000 square foot house with a basement. “There was more ttime and labor, and the windows had to be insulated and drywall had to be installed on the inside walls for it to pass the county building codes.“
For more information, check out www.yurts.com.


 
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