Daily Journal: Montana Winter Challenges

The last week has been one adventure after another in Busby YurtLife. An epic powder day led to a handful of snowmobile issues (Read: our primary access to the yurt digging itself into our road’s new massive snowbanks). I resorted to one mode of transport up that never breaks down. 

 
Meanwhile, Sean was busy cleaning out our chimney after the swinging temps blocked it entirely! He writes, “Yurt life = DIY. Maintenance on our chimney cap after record breaking snow and a freezing rain event. Over the past two days we have noticed our highly efficient stove was acting sluggish and backdrafting smoke into our living space. A sketchy ladder climb up the side of our chimney revealed a gummed up chimney cap caused by mixing hot fire gasses with cooled air and precipitation. A call into one of our chimney cleaning friends revealed the same situation for many other people across the valley. This photo reveals all the creosote that built up from this recent weather event on our chimney cap. I will now clean it all out before reinstalling. If you notice drafting issues - it is wise to seek out and resolve the problem immediately. Creosote buildup can lead to devastating and potentially deadly chimney fires!”
 
 

Daily Journal: Alpenglow in Glacier National Park

Our evening light at the yurt can be spectacular. I love how the alpenglow lasts longer and longer each day as we move closer to winter. This shot was taken from inside the living room of our yurt looking directly at Glacier National Park’s Mount Stimson - the second highest peak and one of the most remote and isolated peaks in the park. Termed one of the hardest major summits in the continental United States to climb from a standpoint of remoteness, effort, and non-technical challenge, it is a true monster that towers over this part of NW Montana. Hard to be uninspired by such raw beauty of Alpenglow in Glacier National Park. So humbled and thankful for moments such as this and to be re-grounded each day from the simple sight of it.

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Daily Journal: Northern Lights in Montana

This has been my latest northern lights viewing setup on the south end of our yurt looking up to the northern sky. It is one of many locations to catch a good solar storm on the property. Though the northern lights in Montana can be frequent for this area, clear night skies can be few and far between through the dark winter nights. 

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Daily Journal: Yurt Living at its Best

From a few weeks ago…Staying up past 2 am for a strong solar storm because it was highly likely of viewing northern lights over our yurt. Instead, a layer of high clouds rolled in on a forecasted clear night, snuffing out any showing of the lights. Nonetheless, our dog Glacier and I enjoyed each other’s company in the cold Montana night listening to one of our local resident owls hoot in a tree surrounding our little round home.

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Daily Journal: Our Blaze King Off the Grid Yurt Wood Stove

You may be noticing something a little bit different in our yurt. For those that don’t — we replaced our Rocket Mass Heater with an extremely efficient wood stove by Blaze King. Our new stove also has a 30 hour burn time which is huge for yurt living! We switched stoves as we found that we needed a much larger mass for our Rocket Mass Heater and that it was not ideal for our current yurt setup. It would be great in another setting such as a greenhouse, shop, or a place that can provide a much larger mass (thus it is now for sale). Sad to see it go but stoked on our new heat source! 

Daily Journal: Prepping Yurt Life for Winter

With each trip home, we will fill our utility sled behind the snowmobile with our remaining firewood and transport it to our wood shed, allowing the wood to season for quality spring burning. We now have full winter conditions up at our yurt and can only access our round home with skis/splitboard or snowmobile until late spring. This now marks a new point to our life off the grid adventure as we learn to transition with the seasons.

Daily Journal: Seeking out the Snow

The temperatures have been telling us that winter is surely here in NW Montana. However, for some of winter’s prime activities - you still have to actively seek it and really earn your turns. It was a great day of finding winter in the backyard and being able to see our yurt across the lake in the distance.

Daily Journal: Share the Sun

Another fine ending to a day here in NW Montana with another beautiful crystal clear big sky which brought plenty of solar power to our Goal Zero solar panels and Yeti 1250 generators and batteries. We will now have enough power in our yurt for nearly two weeks as long as we remain conservative. Feeling refreshed - WooHoo!

 

Daily Journal: Montana Larch Trees

This photo is shown looking up to our yurt through the golden needles of our Larch trees (also known as Tamaracks). Last Sunday, we were completely fogged in as frigid arctic temperatures and heavy snow approached. That Sunday—November 9th—marked the last of our beautiful fall-colored Montana Larch trees until next year as our temperatures dipped into the teens and negatives. Winter has arrived in NW Montana.

I used to call the Aspen my favorite type of tree because of the brilliant colors their leaves produce in the fall - but not anymore. My new favorite tree is the Larch which is a conifer tree that goes through a similar cycle that the Aspen does each season with its leaves. However instead of leaves, the Larch has needles that change colors. Their needles fall off before winter and regrow into a brilliant bright green color each spring before transitioning into the beautiful yellow and gold color each autumn. Will surely miss this color, but it’s time for snow now. 

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Daily Journal: Montana Sunrise

The Montana sunrise peeks over the Bob Marshall Wilderness each morning, lighting up the east-facing side of the yurt, illuminating the yellow larches, and warming the earth for a new day. Finding beauty in our surroundings grounds us daily into this new life.

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