The New Mexico high desert is closer to heaven.  This proximity has drawbacks.  Canvas rots quickly in our sun.   This is not urgent knowledge… unless your home is canvas.

Wooed by the romance of the notion, (or something I smoked)?  I put up a Tipi and moved in.  I live (creatively) within my means and a very large Tipi is beer budget housing.    It was a deluxe Tipi.  In truth it was the roof over my “pit”.  I dug down inside for warmth and headroom.  My pit had running water, electricity and a brick floor.  I installed every possible comfort.  In spite of my religious upbringing, I never learned to delight in deprivation or suffering.  I am doomed to have an unbuilt character.

The Tipi was enchanting.  It floated on the land like it belonged.  Those years were a slice of heaven.

As I have pointed out heaven has drawbacks.

The windy season brought sand, sand and more sand.    It ate electronics alive and found it’s way into everything.  I Pollyanna-ed up and decided sand in my sheets was free dermabrasion and explained my growing more lovely each day.  I never did get used to the sand in my food.   A Fennel and grit marinade is not gourmet.

It was loud at times.   The wind rustled and shook and swayed our nest.  The Little Bear dog cuddled with me under the comforter many a stormy night.  I tired of phone conversations.  “Sure is noisy on your end!  Are you in a bus station”?  I soon fell into explaining I was on a three masted schooner rounding Cape Horn (in a gale) and left it at that.  It was more believable.

Wind is a spring weather staple in New Mexico.  We have breezes that come and go and dry incessant wind that can hit 60 miles an hour or more.  We have dust devils and sudden kapow bursts that throw an adirondak chair 20 feet.  We have wind.

One May an unexpected wind blast slammed into the tipi like a  Gay Veteran bitch slapping Fred Phelps.  It unzipped from top to bottom.  My neighbor was home and together we lashed a bright blue tarp over the new wound and wrapped the whole in rope.  But I knew it was a temporary fix.

I had warning.  The previous fall the frisky dogs who loved running around the circle and wrestling up against the Tipi had put their feet through the canvas.  I had not realized it was getting so weak.  I called the troops and we took it down and patched all the weak spots.  It bought me six months.

The math was not difficult.  Remaining in a Canvas home would cost about a thousand dollars a year as it would need to be replaced every 4th year…  Two months later a sturdy new straw bale covered my pit house.  It was a good decision.

It was the end of an era.  It was the beginning of a new one.  It was a beauty.

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21 Responses to Tipi-Terminus

  1. Cindy says:

    You are so right Lynden. You HAVE gotten more lovely each year!! =)

  2. Check! Sir Lyden, Ye of such great importance…. 🙂 Great blog about Great living!

  3. Little Sun says:

    It was a beauty.

    Speaking of wind… For visitors to New Mexico, if you only weigh 110 lbs. and you need to move 1/2″ x 4 x 8 sheets of plywood from one place to another, do stop and ponder what the wind is doing.

  4. Diane Jackson says:

    What a great experience to live in a tipi, besides the sand and wind that is. Wonderful story Lynden.

  5. ososbro says:

    Best Tipi Award. An unbelievable amount of thought and personal labor.
    Never saw that picture before.
    Love it.

  6. Red says:

    Thanks for catching us up on Better Homes & Tipi’s…

  7. Cary Ryerson says:

    Is this anything like TIP-UP TOWN???? (clue: Houghton Lake, Michigan) Thank goodness for neighbors with canvas patches.

  8. It is quite lovely dear, but where do ones’ farts go? As a learned scientist, I know that smells travel upward. Is there some vent on top to protect ones’ self from the reality that life is indeed cruel?

  9. Your post adequately describes drawbacks of the Romantic Lifestyles of the Poor and Windswept.

    Your other readership have shown themselves to be up to matching your quality observations.

    My big rig trainer several years back lived in a tipi somewhere in central California. Even though he is also an artist, he was a very cranky Conservative, so I did not think those two traits sufficiently outweighed his positives to keep in contact with him. One would think being an artist and living in a tipi would = automatic kewl: but only in your case.

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