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Posting on Greenhouse Book from HomeGrown Evolution

How to become the chicken coop Frank Gehry
Haven't laid my hands on a copy yet, but it looks like author and publisher Lloyd Kahn has another winner, in this case a painstaking reproduction of a turn of the century catalog The Gardeners’ and Poultry Keepers’ Guide: Illustrated Catalogue of Goods Manufactured & Supplied by W. Cooper Ltd. Kahn says, on his blog,
"It’s hard cover, linen-looking finish, foil stamped, printed on off-white paper — a book lovers’ book — the kind that us bibliophiles love to touch and thumb through (and feel secure in the knowledge that no stinkin’ ebook will replace the “hard” copy). Also, it’s useful: it gives homesteaders, gardeners, builders, and architects still-practical designs."
I'll note one detail I like in the chicken coop in the catalog above, the "dry run." I included a small dry run space in my coop and the chickens really like it--a place for them to hide out when it rains.

Stewart Brand on Alan Weisman: Humanity's Impact, Nature's Resilience

Alan Weisman recently wrote the book, The World Without Us. Last week he gave a talk as part of the Seminars About Long-term Thinking put on by The Long Now Foundation. Stewart Brand summarized the talk in a brief piece titled Humanity's impact, nature's resilience, closing paragraph of which was:

"Weisman's message is one of reconciliation. Wherever humanity backs its impact off even a little, nature comes swarming back. From the new part-wolf coyotes taking up residence in New England to the rare and exquisite red-crowned cranes prospering in Korea's Demilitarized Zone, accomodating nature always rewards humans."


Unidentified Car in London

Shot this photo in September. I didn't take note of what type car it was, but it looks rare.

Skating Before the Storm

The storm is just hitting as I write this/ Earlier this morning I walked out to the cliffs and watched the dark clouds swirl in. The wind was blowing 30-40 mph. Yeah! The air was like elixir. This is what I call a beautiful day. Decided to go skating, since no one was in town. No surfers, fishermen, tourists. No cars. There's a section of cliffside road that's been closed to through traffic, so it's much safer to skate. I made about 3 runs; these days I focus on shifting weight from left foot for left turn to right foot for right turn. I've been thinking lately about all the automatic reactions in one's body that deal with the complexities of balancing. I never thought about this when younger but now being, um, older, I tend to observe my physical actions more. Skating helps me keep open the brain-body connection. On the last run I held my umbrella out to catch the on-shore wind blowing up from the beach and it pulled me up the hill (somewhat).

High-quality Macro Photos Shot on iPhone

"It is not so novel anymore that a cell phone comes with a built in camera; it's now the norm. But a certain phone fitted with a camera that produces high-quality macro images which rival those of stand-alone cameras finally prompted me to give up my Canon.

This slideshow is a compilation of some of my favorite iPhone shots, using its macro lens feature."
-By Trevor Reichman on February 25, 2010 on Treehugger

Kawasaki ER 6F Motorcycle

Saw this beauty in London in September (2010). Review of it: http://bit.ly/9EcGool

For Sale: Repurposed, Recycled and Renovated Atlas Missile Base

Worried about a nuclear attack? Got $2.3 million? Here's a "luxury home with its own private airport," built on top of a 9-story underground missile silo, with the top 2 stories converted into a 3-bedroom, 2-1/2 bath underground living space. It's in the Adirondack Mountains in N.Y. state. Here's how the real estate agent describes the underground structure:
"The Silo has a climate constant/approx, 58 degree earth ambient temperature. It is 52' diameter x 178' deep / 9 floor steel superstructure. Entire steel superstructure hangs from gigantic spring suspension system designed to absorb shock of a direct nuclear hit."
Just the thing for some wealthy Tea Party patriots awaiting the Rapture.
-Available from 20th Century Castles, LLC
-Originally discovered at: http://www.treehugger.com/, a great website

More Beach Graffiti

From last week

Rooftop Cooling in Turkey

"Passive ventilation, utilization of rainwater as a natural cooling system, and blending with the surrounding landscape makes this home ideal for outdoor living. Global Architectural Development designed the Exploded House located in Bodrum, Turkey."

What Can You Do With 1300 Pallets?

This is a pavilion that was built out of 1300 pallets for the nordic alpine skiing world championship in Oberstdorf, Germany in 2005. http://blog.bellostes.com/?p=1940

The First MacIntosh

Just ran across this again. No clue as to where it's from. Looks like it's signed "MS."
This is exactly what happened when we got our first Mac in the late '80s. Michael Rafferty, who was working for Shelter then, started doing everything on the Mac, while I was still using my Adler portable typewriter, and laying out pages with X-Actos and glue. Took me years to migrate over…
(Actually I still do initial layout manually.)

Spacy Treehouse in Portland

Wilkinson Residence
Portland , Oregon
Designed: 1997
Completed: 2004

"Located on a flag lot, a steep sloping grade provided the opportunity to bring the main level of the house into the tree canopy to evoke the feeling of being in a tree house.…"

100+ Photos of Huge Waves at Mavericks Contest

The S. F. Chronicle has 100+ photos of the contest last week.
"Ion Banner tries to catch a wave, but eventually wipes out on this one in the first heat. Surfers from around the globe braved the 50-foot-high swells at Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Saturday, February 13, 2010. Chris Bertish of South Africa was selected the winner."
Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

Firewood For Next 2 Years

I continue my practice of picking up fallen trees and limbs from various roadsides. Sudden oak death has caused many oak deaths and a state botanist recently told me it's better to burn the stuff than leave it in the woods spreading the disease. This pile is mostly oak, & some cedar and eucalyptus. I'll chainsaw it up, then rent Mark's homemade splitter - about 2 years worth of heat (our only source) in house. In the office (separate building), I'll turn on a 660 watt radiant electric heater for an hour or two on cold mornings.

Cozy Cottage for Sale in Portland

"Lush front yard with driftwood art fence and edible landscaping. Portland, Oregon, Southeast. Charming cozy cottage on a quiet South Tabor street. 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom with fir floors throughout and a woodburning fireplace. Vintage kitchen with bamboo floors – all appliances included. Freshly painted exterior. Organic garden full of fruit (apples, pears, peaches, currants), veggies and edibles. Bike trellis, chicken coop and run are all included. Wonderful location – quick jaunt to Mt. Tabor…"

The Gardeners' and Poultry Keepers' Guide

We thought this would be a snap, reprinting this 100-year old London catalog of greenhouses, chicken coops, and farm buildings. As usual (will I ever learn?), it had many complications, since we were determined to have it look like the original and capture the spirit of the times. We worked and worked on it (as did Toppan Press in China) and the result is wonderful. I’m thrilled; it’s a dream come true. I've loved this little book ever since I found it in an obscure used-book store in London in the early ’70s.

Gardeners' and Poultry Keepers' Guide
It’s hard cover, linen-looking finish, foil stamped, printed on off-white paper — a book lovers’ book — the kind that us bibliophiles love to touch and thumb through (and feel secure in the knowledge that no stinkin’ ebook will replace the “hard” copy). Also, it’s useful: it gives homesteaders, gardeners, builders, and architects still-practical designs. It’s now in stock. Yahoo!

More: http://www.shelterpub.com/_cooper/cooper-book.html

Communication From Me and Shelter in the Future

Ever since my high school journalism course (thanks, Jack Patterson!) I've been a communicator. I've developed a reflex action of telling people about what I run across in the world. In about 40 years of publishing, I've done maybe 40 books, as well as posters, pamphlets, booklets, flyers and now - - blogs and tweets.
I started the blog in 2005, struggling with such a different type of media, posting maybe once a week, whenever I got a bit of time. Finally, I'm getting at least one post a day up. I'm getting around 5-600 visitors a day. It ain't "viral," but it's sure fun! I get great feedback, surprisingly soon. Identification of mushrooms, correcting my mistakes (not infrequently), turning me on to stuff I'm interested in…

We'll keep producing hold-in-your-hand books in the future,** but also increase internet communication, and produce e-books. (I'm hopeful that the iPad will allow us to do 4-color Shelter-book-style layout. C'mon Steve, don't let us down!

*I love the haiku aspect of Twitter. You've got to write tight.

**Our book on tiny houses is assembling itself, right before my very eyes. Man it is lookin good!
Simplification in the 21st century…

New/Old Green Modular Home

"A glance at Lawrence Greene’s rustic colonial with wraparound porch in Livingston Manor, N.Y., might lead one to believe it’s a 150-year-old farmhouse. In fact, it’s two years old, one of the greenest houses in New York state, and built in a factory.
The 1,800-square-foot structure was constructed by New World Home, a company that offers environmentally responsible prefabricated houses in a variety of architectural styles."
-article from NY Times, Sept 2009: http://nyti.ms/bliw6w

Lesley's Gopher-proof Raised Garden Bed

Lesley designed and built this bed, which is 4' by 10'-6".
How-to: First lay ¼" wire mesh on ground, then stack 2 layers of concrete blocks on edge of mesh. No fasteners. Fill both bed and blocks with soil, gophers can't penetrate. Can grow strawberries, parsley etc. in blocks. Front of this bed is filled with salad greens; arugula, radicchio, etc., which we've been having along with wild miners' lettuce for dinner these nights.

Pigeon Hawk

Pigeon hawk (Falco columbarius) from the same book listed below.

How Sweet That Sound

The gospel people have got Jesus' message right.* Gospel has the spirit of life, of rhythm, of joy. Now that's the Jesus I admire. The true spirit of love. Thank you Jesus!
I just discovered Troy Ramey. What an incredible voice!

I've just been listening to the following fabulous CD; you can't hold still while you listen to it: Somebody's Gotta Do Something, Troy Ramey and the Soul Searchers

*What a contrast with organized religion!

Wild Studio in Snowy Woods

I A few minutes ago I typed "BH" into my browser, intending to go to BH Photo, since I'm looking for a wide angle lens for my new Lumix G1. I hit the space bar but instead of going to BH Photo, it went to:
Above photo posted Jan 25, 2010, titled "The other side of the lower case "a" frame"

American Rough-Legged Hawk

In going through our books recently, I was surprised and delighted to find a book I'd completely forgotten about: The Hawks and Owls of the United States in Their Relation to Agriculture, by Dr. C. Hart Merriam and A.K. Fisher, M.D., published by the US Government Printing Office in 1893. I got this book in the '80s when I was working on an illustrated version of Chaucer's The Parliament of Fowls (which never got published). This is one of the hand-colored drawings from the government book: American rough-legged hawk (Archibuteo lagopus sancti-johannis).

Good - Cheap - Fast: Pick Any Two

                               -From: http://www.comingunmoored.com/2009/01/good-cheap-fast/

Graffiti From Beach This Morning


Seashells From Beach Last Night

Pop-top Camper for Honda Element

'The Ecamper™ conversion adds a pop-top sleeper for two onto any Honda Element.…The innovative design combines carbon-fiber material and the latest in composites manufacturing technology to minimize weight and allow a streamlined profile that adds only 6" to the overall height of the vehicle."
-Thanks to Ernesto for this.

Mom is 103

Mom, shown here with her caregiver/soulmate of 20 years, Clara Morales
My mother, born Virginia Essie Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 13*, 1907, was 103 this Saturday. She discovered Christian Science when she was in her 20s and didn't go to a doctor for the rest of her life (us 6 kids were also raised sans doctor). Her mother's grandfather, Johann George Krieger, was born in Pennsylvania in 1759, and fought in the American Revolutionary War from 1779-1781.
There was a birthday party for her on Saturday at her rest home (Aegis Assisted Living, Corte Madera, Calif.). Staff had hired acordian player Karl Lebherz. My brother Bob brought his banjo and I had my box bass. We played a bunch of songs and my mom and a few of the more lively ladies were tapping their feet and/or swaying to the songs. My mom and dad's "song" when they were young was "Hold me," and I sang the lyrics to her (first time I've ever sung with a "band"):

Hold me, honey won't you hold me,
Hold me, never let me go
Take me, honey won't you take me
Never to forsake me, 'cause I love you so...

*She claims 13 is a lucky number.

Shipping Container Homes

A bunch of shipping container/home photos at:

Ceramic Frog by Josh Churchman

Josh Churchman is a Northern California fisherman and potter. He makes lots of little ceramic frogs, which people put in their gardens. Each one is different.

New Moon/Valentine's Day/Year of the Tiger

Gung hay fat choi! (Happy New Year!) The Year of the Tiger starts today, which is both Valentine's day (celebrating love and affection) and a new moon.
"Tigers are physically powerful, gracious, independent and brave, they are extremely bold animals. They are friendly and loving but can also selfish and short tempered..…The Tiger flourishes by power and attention and takes advantage of all circumstances it gets itself into. The Tiger is a natural leader and loves to be the centre of attention. As a rebel it goes up against authority and speaks out about wrongs in society, and willingly puts up objections.…"
-from: http://www.yearofthetiger.net/

--photo from: http://www.onlineartdemos.co.uk/misc_images/on-easel/siberian-tiger-6.jpg

Biggest Waves Ever at Mavericks Surf Contest

"Evan Slater tries to catch a giant wave in the first heat. Surfers from around the globe braved the 50-foot-high swells at Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Saturday, February 13, 2010. Chris Bertish of South Africa was selected the winner."
Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The San Francisco Chronicle
Lots of pics at http://bit.ly/d2dnVN

Toyota Should Get Back on Track

I have a 2003 Toyota 4-cylinder, 4-wheel drive Tacoma truck, which I plan on keeping practically forever. This was the last year they produced Tacomas with the 4-cylinder 2.7 liter motor, which any Tacoma owner will tell you is wonderfully dependable and practical (if a little low in the vroom department). (NOTE: See comments: they ARE still available.) Now they're all 6-cylinder motors. I and my 3 sons have had a total of 7 four-cylinder Toyota Tacomas over the years and every one of them has been great. The other day I spotted this pig of a car in the local Toyota lot. $58,000! Oh how the mighty have fallen! What is wrong with Toyota (and Americans)? Why would anyone want an overblown, overpowered vehicle like this? Toyota (and America) need to get back on track in the auto department. To start, Toyota should bring back the 4-cylinder Tacoma. They will go for 100s of thousands of miles.

Huge Waves at Mavericks Today

"Ion Banner loses control on a giant wave during the first heat of the Mavericks surfing contest Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010, in Half Moon Bay, Calif."
Photo: Ben Margot / AP
Also, see article (link below) about rogue wave injuring dozens of spectators on a sea wall at today's contest.

Takumi Company of Seattle—Traditional Japanese Carpentry

"TAKUMI COMPANY was established in 1987. Its goal is to integrate the ancient tradition of Japanese woodworking into the culture of the Pacific Northwest and the United States.…Dale Brotherton began working in this field in 1978. He spent 6½ years in traditional full time apprenticeship with a well known teahouse carpenter in the San Francisco Bay Area.…Dale then spent 2 years as a 'journeyman' in traditional residential construction in Nagano-Ken, Japan, expanding his skills, studying traditional building design and structural layout. With nearly 9 years of intense study accomplished, Dale returned to the USA founding Takumi Company. Since then he has… (completed) over 80 projects for private customers, institutions and municipalities.

Beach Hut in England

I'm continuing to post the occasional photo from our trip to Europe when time permits. This is one of several hundred 10' X 10' beach huts on the outskirts of a fishing village on the southeast coast of England. See posting "Tiny Beach Huts in England" of Wednesday Nov 25, 2009 for more details (here).

Schwinn Cruiser Art

On the wall of a Northern California seaside house

A Roomy 178 Square Feet Apartment in Brooklyn

In today's New York Times: Zach Motl’s tiny studio apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Rent: $944/month.
Article by Penelope Green
Photo by Robert Wright for The New York Times

Dodge Road Van

This Dodge van (in Mill Valley on Sunday) looks just about right. For road people, it's a tough choice between a van and pickup truck w/camper shell. Each has distinct advantages, too complex to get into here. I've got a 4X4, 4-cylinder Toyota Tacoma, but if I had a van, it would be something like this (with more "aggressive" tires). You travelers will know what I mean.
Dieter Klose wrote a good article on this in Builders of the Pacific Coast (p. 249): "SUV, Pickup Truck,…or…Van?"

On the Road in Rain-Soaked Marin County

The hills, which are golden in summer, are a lush green this time of year. Shot yesterday on the way to Nicasio from Olema.

Bal Mandr Public School's Bike-Powered Schoolbus

This delightful photo is floating around on the web. It's apparently a schoolbus of the Bal Mandir Public School in Laxmi Nagar, Delhi, India.
-Photo at: http://img.moonbuggy.org/bal-mandir-public-school/
-Sent us by Godfrey Stephens

Country Cabins

Lou Ureneck built a cabin in the hills of Western Maine and writes about it in detail on the below blog.
This photo at left (not Lou's) is one of a bunch from Lou's readers: "This classic Southern cabin is actually in Connecticut. John-Paul Philippe, a New York painter and designer, says that it was built around 1820 near Grandfather Mountain, N.C., and then moved to its present location in 1980. He bought it in 2006. The logs are chestnut and tulip poplar, according to John-Paul. Some of the interior beams are locust wood."
Lou's blog: www.mainecabinblog.com

Got New 13" MacBook Pro

Boy, do I love it!

My old one was: 15" MacBook Pro (2006 version)/2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor/1GB RAM/160GB SATA Hard Drive/Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger).

The new one is: 13" MacBook Pro (Unibody; mid-2009 version)/2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (different generation of processor)/4GB RAM/500GB SATA Hard Drive/Mac OS X 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard)

The keyboard is the same size as on the 15" and it's a pound lighter, and is it snappy! Apple continually improves things. The keyboard is backlit, v. big improvement; screen is brighter; it's faster; don't have to push button to open it…

Yes, I've Got A Problem With Dwell Magazine

Unhappy Hipsters
When Dwell Magazine started out some years ago, I liked it. I wrote the editor, congratulating her. Well, it soon changed and now (to my mind) it's a purveyor of soulless, smug living. I mean, what kind of people live in these dwellings? Do they work 72 hours a week, have no kids, eat out (or pick up take-out), and just want a sterile atmosphere to come "home" to?
Where's the warmth, the color, the reality and sometimes funkiness of a rich life? The magazine's subtitle is: "At Home in the Modern World," Really?

Jakub Plichtman sent me this website devoted to panning Dwell, as well as other modernistic magazines:

See NYTimes article on the website here.

Wilderness Fishing, Spinning Wool, Vintage Pics & Posters

This is a blog about the outdoors, crafts, making beer, fishing, etc.
"Upon reaching the summit of Mount Winchell in 1868, Judge E.C. Winchell wrapped himself patriotically in a flag, took a swig from a wicker-woven flask, and 'addressed formal salutations to the witnessing mountains and fired double-charges of gunpowder over the canyon and forest, arousing crashing reverberations that leaped from cliff to distant cliff, swiftly redoubling in the morning air.'”

5 Good Reasons to Consider Living in a Yurt

Photo at left, and the "5 Good Reasons" at: http://bit.ly/bN1cQo
Also, see Becky Kemery's great book: YURTS: Living in the Round at: http://www.yurtinfo.org/bookstore.php

“It Only Yurts When I Laugh”

Great aesthetics, not-so-great cieling insulation. Brrr!
Photo posted February 4th, 2010 by Ryan Mitchell at: http://www.thetinylife.com/

Maxit Workout Tights

Bob Anderson, the author of Stretching, has been using (and selling) Maxit Athletic Wear for years. Bob lives in the Rocky Mountains and runs in the snow and rides his mountain bike, often wearing just one layer of Maxit. This spun polypropylene material is worn by NFL players under their uniforms in cold weather. At left is the outfit I wear when running around here (hat is also Maxit) in winter. The shirt zips up into a turtleneck. I may be cold in starting (say in the '40s), but after 5-10 minutes I'm plenty warm. Just one layer. I generally wear almost all natural materials, but make an exception for cold winter runs. The tights are also great for not getting legs scratched in thickets looking for mushrooms. Check it out via Google, or on the Stretching website: http://stretching.com/index.php?act=viewCat&catId=7
-Photo yesterday by Lew Lewandowski

What Are These Mushrooms?

Went running in the rain yesterday afternoon, man was it cold! (us Californios are wimps in cold weather). Storm blowing in from the south across the ocean, wind and rain pelting the hills. Chanterelles are in hiding, but I found these under pines. Cannot identify in any of my 5 mushroom books. Anyone know what they are? Sure pretty. There's just always something out there (away from the computer!) that makes me glad to be alive.

George Bernard Shaw's Writing Shack

George Bernard Shaw's writing shed was 8' by 8' and built with castors on a circular track so that it could be turned around to change the light.
Also, photo of interior showing his desk with old typewriter: http://bit.ly/bNLkT9
-Sent us by Kevin Kelly

Grammies vs Coal Miner's Daughter

Remember in Crocodile Dundee when a hoodlum pulls a knife on Mick in NYC, and Mick says "You call that a knife (noife)?" as be pulls out his much larger knife with practised ease. Well I thought of that when watching the Grammies the other night. You call that music? Most of it was overblown, garish, and grating on the nerves. Maybe it's because I live in the country and don't have the high-frequency contact of urban living, but some times I feel totally disconnected with mainstream culture. Beyonce,who's certainly uber-talented, did the weirdest song, backed by 40 guys dressed like swat team goons — a la Madonna. The MUSIC sucked. Later in another bit of weirdness, Taylor Swift was painfully flat in some of her notes while doing a duet with Stevie Nicks. Poor Stevie. A few of the acts were OK, but most of it was bizarre and overlaid with techno-trash. Grrr!
The next night we happened to run across Coal Miner's Daughter, which I somehow had never seen. From the opening scenes on, it was REAL. Sissy Spacek can really sing! What a relief after the smugness of the Grammies. In fact it's a masterpiece of a movie. Here I am having to go back 30 years to find something genuine.