“Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued,
is always beyond our grasp,
but which if you will sit down quietly,
may alight upon you.”
–Nathaniel Hawthorne

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David Zent

I’ve really enjoyed looking through your posts about simplicity. I find them direct, honest and clear, and I bet you exude these qualities personally.

I’m currently building a 16′ yurt as the start of a yurt compound I intend to put together over the next few years. They are elegant structures, answering the needs of shelter, beauty and economy in a way that many other homes do not, and I’ll take it completely off-grid by building solar electric and water-heating panels, as well as a couple wind-turbines.

Composting toilets will be used and greywater recycled as far as possible. I’ve just heard about some small swedish-made woodstoves that burn with nearly 100 percent efficiency and they’ll be the eventual heat-source. I plan on using radiant heat under the floorboards as well, heated thru a coil passed thru the stove.

Living this way requires a certain frame of mind, and sites like yours help me achieve and maintain it. Thank you!

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Thank you, David. Your yurt project and your plans for your home sound really interesting and you have some really good ideas. I hope you’ll keep in touch as you move toward your goals.


What a beautiful picture and such a beautiful sentiment to go with it. Hawthorne really had a wonderful way of putting things. You may not be aware of it but your whole blog kind of has that air about it – a very positive and serene feeling. Thank you for all your hard work.