Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Tepee Occupant


The Tepee in April

Somehow I’ve managed to post nearly a year and a half without mentioning that our yard has a tepee during the dry season. I photographed it several times last year, but I think I needed some time between it and the post about our outdoor shower. I don’t want to sound too feral.
I may not have posted about it here, but the tepee hasn’t escaped the eyes of our government. This week we received census forms addressed to two different residences, one to our house and the other addressed to our tepee. It’s pretty funny to receive official government mail addressed to a tepee, but it’s also rather Big Brotherish, as the tepee hasn’t been up since October. Though maybe that’s just the speed our government works at; a census worker walked the neighborhood last summer, and now we see the fruits of that labor. Maybe we should reply as occupants of the tepee.

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

We learned about the unique charms of a tepee while traveling in New Zealand (tepees are surprisingly popular in the northern, sun-belt part of the South Island) where we stayed for several weeks in a tepee overlooking the Marlborough Sounds. It was an ecotourism place called Vanishing Point, and we helped build another tepee that was seventeen feet tall and wide enough to sleep eight people. The place was only accessible by boat, and there were other logistical challenges as well, but it was a beautiful place with a panoramic view of the Sounds. Vanishing Point doesn’t have a website anymore, so I think it has indeed vanished.

Tepee Under Construction

A Really Big Tepee Under Construction

Our tepee is much more modest and homemade. Anita sewed two canvas tarps together according to the pattern we saw in New Zealand, and we cut some of our bamboo for the poles. We put carpets and a futon and a little stone table with a candle lantern, and we call it the summer house. When we have house guests we run electricity out to it. One or two people were skeptical beforehand, but everyone leaves singing its praises. There’s something very very nice about a tepee, the cathedral version of a tent.

The Tepee in May

The Tepee in May


9 Responses to “Tepee Occupant”

  1. March 13th, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Ilona says:

    I love this garden- the tepee makes it so unique… and harks me back in my imagination to when I would have loved one to hide out in.

  2. March 13th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Carol says:

    Wonderful… I especially love the landscape shot!

  3. March 13th, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Lona says:

    That is taking census reading to a whole new level. I can see genealogist researchers like myself looking at the census report on structure and seeing tepee and going huh? LOL!
    It looks like a fun thing to do and looks good with the landscaping.

  4. March 13th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    town mouse says:

    Ever been to Treebones south of Big Sur? OK, those are yurts, but it’s the same idea.

  5. March 13th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Noelle/azplantlady says:

    My kids would love for me to put up a tepee in our garden. Did your tepee really receive a census packet in the mail? Wow….

  6. March 13th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Gayle Madwin says:

    The census story is hilarious!

  7. March 15th, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    chuck b. says:

    We got our census short form today. I bet someone thought thought maybe a “homeless” person might live in your teepee. They have to count everyone. Anyway, too funny!

  8. March 16th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    ryan says:

    Thanks for the comments. I’m glad everyone found the census story funny, too. In fairness to the government, we did once have a friend live in it for a month and a half. We told her she could fill out the census form if she wanted.

  9. July 25th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    DryStoneGarden » Blog Archive » Tepee? says:

    […] few months ago, I mentioned that the US Census had sent out a form to the tepee we put up in our yard every summer. No one, of […]

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