June 1999 – Ava, Missouri
The sun rises early in the summer, and I can feel Daegan beginning to fidget in the bed next to us. All four windows of the yurt are open and the door is wide open as well, providing a cool breeze. It also relieves me of the need to wake up several times a night to let one or more of the eight cats in or out. They come and go as they please with little drama save the one time when Shelly decided she wanted to bring a mouse inside to chase.
I roll over and look out the window. It looks like another beautiful sunny day. It’s been a while since we’ve had rain and the ground and trees are getting dry. We will have to be careful making breakfast and be safe with our fire.
Daegan’s fidgeting gets more and more frequent and soon he is awake and asking to nurse. This is my cue, the day has begun. I get out of bed and head outside while Daegan has his breakfast. I want coffee, and no doubt, after Daegan has his breakfast, Sage will want hers. I wander around outside the yurt picking up small and medium sized sticks, grab a few newspapers from the bin under the yurt, and start the fire. I put the kettle on. Then, squatting on the ground, I chop an onion and a little jalapeno peppers and put them in a small pot with some oil. Once those have started to brown, I add “chili beans” to the mix along with a can of habanero pepper-laced tomatoes. In a bowl, I take a bit of masa (corn) flour and water and make a dough for corn tortillas and using my hands make a few small tortillas and put them on a plate.
Once the kettle is hot I pour the hot water in to a single cup coffee maker and prepare my first cup of the day. In the space on the fire where the kettle was, I place a cast iron skillet and use that to make my corn tortillas. They’re a little thicker than what I get at the store but delicious with the beans.
From inside the yurt I hear the radio turn on. Trading Post is on now and people are already calling in, offering to sell everything from livestock to homes, to guns. Every morning like clockwork at 8:15, an old woman calls in to tell us she still has her food dehydrator (she pronounces it “Food de-hy-duh-rate-er”) available for only $35 and would really like to find some more canning jars and a VCR for her eldest daughter.
Sage and Daegan come outside and join us. Sage puts Daegan down on the ground and he goes crawling after a cat. I dish up a bowl of beans and a tortilla for Sage and one for myself. Soon Daegan is on his way back and is really interested in our food. We tell him it is extremely spicy but he not only tries it, he continues to eat a bunch, dipping his tortilla in it just like we do.
With coffee and breakfast done, Sage heads down the path to our friends’ house where she’ll be doing some web design work on the computer there.
I put the kettle back on to heat water for doing dishes and bring them over to where we do the dishes – a spot on the ground where we’ve laid out some old blankets to keep the area clean. I pour some soap in the dishpan, water from our water jug, some hot water from the kettle, and start the dishes while Daegan explores the yard. I watch him out of the corner of my eye as I do the dishes. I work quickly because it seems some red ants have also discovered this area and are not happy that we are using it for our own purposes. Their bites aren’t terribly painful – just painful enough that they’re distracting and later they will itch like crazy.
With dishes done, I have most of the rest of the day free mostly to read to Daegan, wander through the woods with him and play. In between the fun, though, there are a few chores yet to be done. Meals will need to be made and wood cut and gathered. Fortunately, Daegan will be able to come along for the ride. When Sage comes back from the house she’ll bring some more water with her for washing and cooking. If I’m lucky, as I walk through the woods with Daegan in the sling, he might even fall asleep. And if I’m really careful, I can put him in bed without waking him, giving me the option of taking a nap of my own or enjoying a book.
As the summer progresses, the temperatures heat up and our days slow down, but our mornings almost always go the same comfortable way.
Want more stories about our adventure leaving suburbia and moving with our baby to a yurt in the woods? Visit this page.