Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My First Real Tipi Experience

Please enjoy this special treat: a guest blog entry from my lovely girlfriend, Jill :)

Since Josh moved into the tipi I have only spent a night or so there, never staying more than one night at a time. Last week I finally got my chance to stay for almost an entire week! I arrived on Tuesday night and didn’t leave until Monday morning.

As Josh has described, life in the tipi is wonderful. It’s simple and relaxed and really does bring you closer to nature. Never have I experienced so vividly the sounds of nature: the sound of rain hitting the canvas of the tipi, the sounds of the wind rushing by, the sounds of roosters starting their calls at 4 am and not stopping ‘til 6pm, the sounds of endless geese migrating somewhere (it certainly did not appear to be south…), and of course the nonstop moans of nearby cows who sounded as though they were being tortured or mutilated or plagued by mad cow disease.

There are also a few perks to living in the tipi that Josh has failed to mention. The first is all-natural hair gel. I discovered this one night as I lay in bed (well something very similar to a bed) and suddenly I felt a little tickle in my hair. I instinctively whacked my head only to find that I had squished a golf ball-sized bug into my hair line (it MAY have been a bit smaller, but I was sleepy so it’s hard to say). This left a thick, sort of gel-like substance in my hair, giving me a nice cowlick, something I imagine looked similar to Cameron Diaz’s hair in There’s Something About Mary. The other little perk is something I experienced early one morning. As I squatted down towards the cold ground to relieve myself, I found myself immersed in a cloud of steam as my warm urine hit the frozen ground. Who knew living in a tipi meant you got your own personal sauna every morning!

But in all honesty living in the tipi is superb. It forces you out of your normal indoor living habits. No longer can you sit on your computer or cell phone for prolonged periods of time-they will die, there is no cable to be watched, you can’t waste precious energy by taking 30 minute-long, scolding hot showers (one of my favorite pastimes I will admit), and no more making a quick meal in the microwave. Preparing meals, washing dishes, reading a book are all more comfortably done outside beneath the sun rather than indoors. And of course, practicing your dance moves at 8pm is an activity best done outside the tipi, under the immense, star-filled sky.

-guest blogger, Jill Wagner

Monday, October 5, 2009

Testing, 123, testing

"I'm surprised that thing is still standing, those Indians really knew what they were doing." Those were the words of my neighbor, greeting me as I returned from a weekend away from the tipi. It appears the tipi faced its first major test this weekend, and passed with flying colors. There was trash scattered about, a few inches of water (which was presumably snow at one point) in the pots and pans I had left outside, and my canvas door had been ripped away from the opening of the tipi and twisted multiple times around the wooden dowels, the force of the wind causing the rope to rip right through the canvas.

But the tipi its self looked as if nothing had happened. The bricks had blown off of my tarp where I am storing my bike and kayak, but the tipi remained stoic and strong. Not a single stake was pulled from the ground, not a single pole had been shifted. There was about 2 gallons of water collect in my make shift Ozan waiting to be drained. The design was improvised after having earlier trouble with leakage. I cut out a 6 foot circle from a painters drop cloth and tied it to the poles inside the tipi, about 8 feet in the air, to create a sort of inner roof, that would catch any water that might come through the opening at the top. I wasn't sure if it would hold up in a big storm, sure enough it did.

So the tipi has been test, but I haven't. I'm sitting in the tipi, in my sleeping bag, wearing my winter coat and hat, listening to the snow fall onto the canvas, stumbling to find the right keys as my fingers are half frozen. My test will come soon enough. What's it like to live in a tipi in the Montana winter? I'll let you know.