It only yurts when I laugh.

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Yurt? What's a yurt? It's a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure...with a long history. Listen to Becky Kemery, author of YURTS: Living in the Round:

"Long before the time of Christ, before Buddha and Mohammed, these tribes held a belief in the sacredness of all things and the need to keep a balance-balance between the world of people and the world of nature, and with the worlds above and below. Everything they did reflected this belief. Trees were scarce, so the herders drew from their animals to create shelter. They layered sheep's wool, sprinkled it with water and worked it into felted mats. Roof struts made from saplings were slipped into a central wooden ring, then tied to the top of circular lattice walls and covered with the felted mats. The herders tied the felt to the roof and walls with ropes and belts made from animal hair. In the winter extra mats were added for warmth; in the summer fewer layers were used. Sections could be raised or even completely removed in hot weather to allow for airflow through the shelter. The original word for "nomad" came from a word for felt, making the nomads 'felt people'."

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Why would any of this "felt people" stuff matter to sophisticated, civilized, modern humans like you and me? Well, not only could a yurt be an amazing DIY project, it just might become the smart green housing trend. Relatively inexpensive and earth-friendly, yurts bring us closer to the outdoors. As Sara Novak explains, "if you don't mind saying goodbye to amenities like expansive kitchens, bath tubs, and endless electricity, you might be ready for a yurt."

5 Reasons Why It Yurts So Good

1. Yurts are the Real Green Deal

TreeHugger reports on Dave Masters (of the Luna Project) and his life in a yurt: "We talk all the time about living with less; Dave lives in 706 square feet with off grid power, a composting toilet, a shower and a full kitchen and didn't give anything up at all to live in comfort and style. When you live in 706 square feet you don't need much to run it; he collects water from his roof, power from the sun and wind, heat from sustainably cut wood. He spends about six hundred bucks a year for his propane barbeque, gas for his chainsaw and log splitter and that is about it."

Living in a yurt can help us re-connect to nature, sure, but the literal structure of a traditional yurt is also nature-friendly. The materials are recyclable and should you decide to pick up and move your yurt, there's no residual damage to the ground because no permanent foundation is used.

2. Yurts are Eco-Friendly

Living in a yurt can help us re-connect to nature, sure, but the literal structure of a traditional yurt is also nature-friendly. The materials are recyclable and should you decide to pick up and move your yurt, there's no residual damage to the ground because no permanent foundation is used.3. Yurts Have Stood the Test of Time "They've been used throughout history by nomads in Central Asia," writes Molly Edmonds at HowStuffWorks.com. "Evidence of fourth century B.C. yurts has been discovered, and the oldest complete yurt was found in a 13th century Mongolian grave. The structures were well-suited for the nomadic lifestyle because only a few oxen were required to carry a family's entire home. But the structure was also easy to heat in the cold Mongolian winters where temperatures might reach 50 degrees below Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit)." 4. Yurts Can Be Modern, Too By combining the durable yurt concept with a few modern updates, we now have something called a yurta. This form of micro-architecture has optimized the original yurt concept to create a shelter that is steadfast, quick to install, light-weight, easy to transport, minimal in footprint. 5. Yurts are Cheap The Nomad Yurt, for example, costs a little over $5,000 (US) for a 22-foot diameter version with an insulated skin. If a few comrades pooled together for land, you'd have yourself a yurt commune and giant step forward and away from the unsustainable life.