Footings Prepared, Yurt Delivery Scheduled

We have been working hard to get the footings in place and ready for the delivery from the cement company.  We are anticipating pouring the footings Wednesday the 22nd of October.  Bob, our general contractor, has done an excellent job of making progress with out water and electricity.  Both of which are our top priority.

Meter Base


















We have been blessed again with news from our Yurt builder ( not to be confused with my good friend Frank Smiley).  It turns out that another customer, who lives in our area is scheduled for delivery at the same time.  Thereby, saving us roughly half of the delivery cost of about $4000.  This will help offset some of the last minute upgrades which include a forest green colored external roof and a electric remote controlled skylight opener.  Currently, we are expecting shipment of the Yurt between the 21st and 24th of October.

We will heading to Eureka Springs October 22nd and are planning to go to Topeka Kansas for the Mother Earth News Fair the weekend of the 25th.  We will then head back to Eureka Springs for the next full week.

Well Pump
Well Pump
Yurt Footings
Yurt Footings

Working to get the construction order approved

We have been working toward getting site approval for the local electric company to initiate a construction order for the power lines.  The meter base has been purchased and we have the dimensional plans for the well house and the yurt base.  We are planning to build the well house using Cord Wood construction.  Here are some samples of some of the construction.

Many of these pictures are credited to Richard Flatau and can be seen at his awesome blog and Cordwood Construction Best Practices


This is a picture of the timber frame with about 4 inches of a mortar mixture on the exterior and interior walls with the center being a insect resistant insulating material.





paul-harney-cordwood-wall-5 luke-and-amy-metzger-spartanburg-sc-a-2012 Cordwood Education Center interior Richard Flatau blog

Moving Along With Water and Electrical Infrastructure

So as it stands we have the roads roughed in, 5 sites opened up for a view, Well drilled and state approved.  We have 2 building sites perked and approved by the state.

And on this trip we have gotten approval for the easement for the underground electrical installation, the trenches were dug half the length of the top ridge (1000 ft), junctions put in for potential expansion to the bottom area and the rest of the top ridge, pads built for the transformers for the well house, the first and second cabin.  We also installed all the conduit for the primary run of the electrical and buried it with a 1/4″ rope for use by the electric company to actually pull the electrical wire.

To Do:
1. Need to get written authorization to actually run the physical line across the easement for Carroll County Electrical.
2. Finalize the selection of the well company to purchase and install the commercial well equipment.
3. Research and design the well house.
4. Build the well house.
5. Install pump equipment
6. Trench and install water lines to the first 2 cabin locations.
7. Build the pad and deck for the first cabin (Scheduled to be delivered week of Oct 1)

Buck Prepares the Land for Electricity to be Ran to Property


Ready to dig our electrical line trenches.


Buck started digging trenches from the easement, close to where our entrance will be, to our upper ridge road.




Laying out the pipe for electrical.


Buck is in the trenches laying pipe. Blake is meeting with well company.
This is where the electrical company will put our junction box.This is where the electrical company will put our junction box.
We ran 1000 feet of pipe from the easement down to the location of our 2nd build site.  Buck ran rope in the pipes so the electric company could use it to pull their electric lines through the pipes. We sure are glad Buck is working with us, he really knows the best ways to do things.Now we have to get our water trench dug.  Too bad we couldn’t do it all in one trench!  We are thinking about doing 3′ wide trenches for the water lines from the well to our cabins.  Then we would have the option of going with geothermal for climate control in the cabins.We are trying to get things done every month to prepare for our cabin construction.  The kit is being delivered the first part of October and time is flying!

House for Sale???

It’s getting real now!!

We met with a realtor in Dallas to discuss what the process would be to put our house on the market.  She walked the house and pointed out some things that we needed to paint, replace, fix or clean. We mostly need to clear out cabinets, closets and counters… expecially since we are going from a 2,800 sqft house to just under 1,000 sqft!  When going over the comps for our neighborhood, she said that the longest that a house was on the market was 9 days and that most were selling in 1 to 4 days.  Let’s see, our yurt build materials dont arrive until October, so where are we going to live if our house sells in July?  We have prayed that God would open the doors he wants us to walk through and shut the doors that are not on the right path.  We had not planned to put our house on the market this soon, but we are stepping out in faith and know that things will work out.  Some of you may think we are crazy, but we are happy living in the moment.  Let us know if you want to move to Frisco, TX 🙂 – Hand scraped hard wood floors, slate floor, updated master bath, new kitchen appliances, lots of trees, sports court and stream water feature in backyard!!


Excavation Plans and Build Sites Selected for Yurt and 1st Rental Cabin

Only 2,073 residents! Good thing there are 700,000 visitors a year to the area!
Only 2,073 residents! Good thing there are 700,000 visitors a year to the area!

We went to Eureka Springs to try to get all the utilities planned and finalize the yurt build site.  It was a very productive trip.  We spoke with Smiling Woods Yurts to confirm our order, went to the tax office in Berryville to get an offical address and stopped by the electric company to get the specs for installing our underground electrical lines. Blake walked in both places and didn’t have to wait in line. In fact he ended up helping the tax office with their computers and then the tax accessor solicited him for a contract.  He said he wasn’t living there yet and she said to contact her when we relocate.

Before we made it back to our property we got a call from the Inspiration Point fire department saying they got a fax about our new address.  No waits and fast service, that definitely wouldn’t happen in Dallas!  The fire station is right down the street from our house lot so we stopped by to introduce ourselves. While there, Blake got recruited to be a volunteer. He told them he was too old and didn’t have any training.  They said, “you will probably be the youngest one here and we will pay for the training!”  He told them he wouldn’t mind volunteering, but he wasn’t comfortable making the life or death decisions of a first responder. They told him to get in touch when we relocate.

Blake and Buck going over excavation plans.
Blake and Buck going over excavation plans.

The next day we met with our excavator, Buck.  He is regarded as the best backhoe operator in the area. We went over general property organization and determined the locations for the underground electrical and underground water lines.  We discussed making the water line trench 3′ wide for a possible closed loop, horizontal georthermal installation. Buck will also clear out some dead trees and prep the build site so it is level. He told us he could also install the septic system and gave us the number for Ken who is the septic guy that Buck prefers to work with.  We contacted Ken and hired him to do the septic system perk test, design and arrange the state inspection.

Now we just have to finalize which company will do the well equipment installation so we can have all the utilities planned.  Right now it is just a capped hole in the ground. Hopefully we can get everything workded out so that Buck can do all the dirt work at one time.

We also went to the property to try to deside where the 1st yurt was going.  We put markers down 3 times before we finally settled on a spot. Jack, our realtor andfriend, helped us stake out the build site and spray paint the 35″ yurt dimensions on the ground.

After we marked the spot we flagged the general area for a second build site that is about 150′ further down on the top ridge.  We will be putting our first rental yurt at this location, hopefully by spring of 2015!

Blake and Jack marking the 1st yurt build site.
Blake and Jack marking the 1st yurt build site.
If you look closely you will see 2 orange flags that mark where the back yard will be. We will have a beautiful dogwood right by the porch.






Eureka Springs; dogwood
Panoramic view or our future backyard. I love the dogwoods in the spring.


We can’t wait to get there and have you come and visit us.

Blake, Melissa, Jenna and Bear

bear; jenna; great pyrenees
Bear and Jenna are worn out after a busy few days.

We have decided on Smiling Woods Yurts for our first cabin

We decided our first yurt would be from Smiling Woods Yurts. If all goes as planned, we hope to be having a yurt rising in October 2014!!! We are planning a trip to Eureka Springs to mark the build location and meet with everyone that needs to do work on the property to get the site ready.

Here are some pictures of Smiling Woods Yurts. The first one show the type of windows we are going to put in the living room. The yurt we are getting will have an exposed wood ceiling like the other pictures below.

Love these windows!
Another option for windows.
Exposed wood ceiling and 5′ skylight.

Exterior view. Ours won’t have a basement.

Attended the Mother Earth News Fair

After checking on the well installation, Blake and I drove up to Lawrence Kansas to attend the Mother Earth News Sustainable Living Fair. We spent two days attending seminars and finding out about a lot of green living products from gardening, aquaponics, heating alternatives, solar power and other green building alternatives. To some this may not sound like fun, but it was the best home and garden fair we have ever attended. You can find out about the 2014 Mother Earth News Fair here so you can make plans to attend!

For our cabins, we have been researching building with structural insulated panels (SIP), Apex blocks or insulated concrete blocks (ICF), compressed earth blocks (CEB), rammed earth, and maybe even cob construction. We also are researching all the different yurt manufacturers. We were glad that Colorado Yurts had a 16′ yurt setup at the fair. It is much better to see and feel the actual yurt instead of just looking at pictures. Most yurts are made with architectural fabric, like this Colorado Yurt, but there are also hard walled yurts. Smiling Woods Yurts makes a hard walled yurt that we really like. Too bad they weren’t at the fair. Deltec Homes was at the fair but didn’t have a miniture version of their prefab, panelized round home for us to tour. They even make a rotating home now!

Colorado Yurts makes Tipis also and had one setup at the fair. The one below is 18′ diameter with 24′ tall poles. It was very spacious inside. We were thinking about putting a yurt and tipi next to each other. Then the older kids can have fun sleeping in a tipi and the parents can have some alone time in the yurt! What do you think about having Tipis for rent?  

The Chickshaw chicken coop was on display!
Ed Begley Jr spoke on green living

We opted for a Commercial well, so full steam ahead.

After much debate, over whether to put in a well for each cabin or put in one well and water treatment equipment that will handle all the cabins, we finally decided to go for the gusto.  So now we have to either add 4 to 6 cabins or we will be the water company for our friends and family who buy a lot on our 30 acres!  Below are images of the well being drilled on October 10, 2013.

We hit water and have great water pressure.

See the water coming out the pipe by his feet.

It doesn’t look like much, but this is our drilled and capped well pipe.
Now we have to build a well house and get all the equipment installed.

Our own personal water treatment plant

Our vision for our Eureka Yurts property has always been to keep it small. We’re thinking a total of six to 10 yurts will give visitors a feeling of being immersed in nature and allow us to run it ourselves, with limited staff. On the surface, doesn’t this sound like a reasonable dream? A manageable undertaking? We thought so, too, but now we’ve run into a roadblock: the well.

We knew we’d have to drill a well. What we didn’t know was that it would have to be asemi-public water system. It is our understanding that if more than 25 people will be using it, you must have this level of a system. We’re talking three, 1000-gallon holding tanks plus a well-house! Call us crazy but it was never our dream to develop our own personal water treatment plant.

We’re still learning and trying to determine if this is truly necessary for our property. Not only is it an enormous project in itself, but it requires a large up-front investment that we were not expecting.

Other than scouting a location for the well, we haven’t started the process yet. When we were out there a week ago, we learned that the location selected previously won’t work – it’s too close to the property line.

Once the well location is finalized, we start by paying a pro to drill in three test spots – making sure to drill down below the limestone shelf – and send the three samples to the state for testing. How long will this take? If the samples pass, we can begin drilling the well in earnest.

In a way, the slowdown caused by the location is frustrating but it also bought us some more time to investigate. Is a semi-public water system really required for our property?

We see ourselves opening the property with, say, three yurts: one for The Proprietors (us) and two for renting out. It will be completely self-run and very low maintenance so we can keep our customers totally happy while we master all the details of running a great property. If we’re starting small like this, might it be acceptable to drill a personal well? Again, we do plan to grow to six to 10 yurts over time. We’re wondering if it’s possible to drill additional wells over time as the property grows, which would probably add up to the same total cost as the semi-public one, but they could be paid for from the property’s income rather than a huge up-front investment.

We love the area around Eureka Springs. And we love the idea of simple yurt living. We want to ready the property in the least complicated, most cost-effective ways so we can get out there and start helping other people enjoy it, too.

Eureka Yurts and Cabins