Old Girl – One Last Time, Honest!

I know my tipi has been the focus lately and though it isn’t a part of REGULAR RANCHLIFE, hey, this blog is about MY RANCHLIFE, and most people don’t know about tipis, so I consider this an educational opportunity!  I really hate losing those “teachable moments”, so bear with me.  I did shrink the photos, so I could cram a bunch in here… but I want you to know I’m only using about *half* of the photos I took.
Though I believe she can be a gorgeous tipi, see this sunset photo from the other day, I don’t like leaving her out in the cold and snow.  It rots her canvas.  Rotting canvas makes for an ugly canvas. Consider her winter retirement a facial for the Old Girl.  Smile.
Tipi 101:  Tipis are a model of simplicity.  Three things hold a tipi together.  Sticks, rope, and stakes.  Here are my lacing pins… they used to be blue to match the top…next spring they’ll get a new coat of paint!
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That sewn on patch means she was made by Blue Star Tipis… My liner was made by Reese Tipis, who have an excellent website by the way!  Each company is a little different.  You’ll be amazed once you start investigating how different details are presented in different tipis.  Sioux style, Crow style, stakes or pebbles, doors, liners, ozans, smoke flaps, sewing techniques, canvas treatments and weights, decor and decorations all make for a confusing touch of reality when you start investigating  tipis.  I’ll let you do that on your own, your teachable moment there is an outreach class!
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The lacing pins are pulled.  You can almost hear her sigh with relief!  Her corset has been undone!  Her stakes are pulled out of the ground, and she can start coming down.
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Rolled back halfway nice and neat.
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Her cover is now folded along her lift pole, which raises the cover in place.  It’ll have to stay there for a bit since I have to release her liner and the string I use to hold it up, it is wrapped around the lift pole as well as all the other poles.
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This makes me feel like her undies are showing!  We’re back at the front door, see it?  Well, that’s because this liner overlaps and keeps all the nasty wind from swirling in.  It also confuses dogs who try to sneak in at night to sleep with you, and get caught between the liner and the tipi.  Now that’s funny!  They circle trying to get to you, but can’t find the *%#%^ door!  I just laugh.  I’m mean sometimes.  The liner also lays on the ground, which the tipi doesn’t.  There it blocks more wind, snow, rain, blowing dirt, blowing bits of grass, leaves, bugs, etc.  The liner gets quite dirty, so I’ll brush it off good before storing it for winter.
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OK, there’s the door.
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Open even more.
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The liner is down on my bed.  The cover is still in place on the lift pole.  During the next steps Vernon drove by and I put him to work.  Look, it is his trusty steed carrying away my tipi and liner to the house.  Boy, the ancestors are jealous!
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Now recall just a bit ago when I said tipis were held together with sticks, stakes, and rope?  The sticks (lacing pins) and stakes have been pulled.  Now comes the rope.
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That is what has kept the lodgepoles together for these months… four sacred turns of sisal rope staked down in the center of the tipi.
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While we’re here, notice my broken poles.  I used to have long delicious lodgepoles giving the Old Girl the desired hourglass figure you want in your tipi.  (I’m NOT saying anything about my lost hourglass figure…I’m just not gonna go there…)   High winds knocked my poles over last year and busted a bunch of them off…  while still usable, they need to be replaced!  The rope is gone, the poles have sighed their corsetless sigh.  We’re down to this.
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Nekkid poles.  (gasp!)  “Remove them from my sight”, she dramatically declared.
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Nekkid tripod.  “EeeK!”  OK, enough of that…  This is it, folks, the simple simple simple base of any tipi (well, Crow tipis have 4, but then it isn’t a tripod is it? but whatever…)  This is really the only time I need help with my tipi.. the raising or lowering of the tripod.  That’s why I like my 14′ tipi.  Bigger ones would need more help.  I know someone with a 23′ tipi – it’s like an Amish barn raising!
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She’s gone!  All that is left in her place is a crop circle and Elsa!
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There she’ll stay… leaning against a tree and in a few plastic tubs in my basement…waiting for the warmth of the sun to return, and the buffalo grass to grow, the creek will gurgle, welcoming her back, next spring.

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