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10-sided Timber Frame Structure in UK

I sent you a few photos back in summer of a small oak framed structure with a thatched/ shingled roof.
   I thought I would share with you a project I have just completed. The geometric patterns created in this 10 sided structure are amazing!
   I had 11 building craft apprentices working with me from the Prince's Foundation for Building Community.

Jonny Briggs

Artist's Survival Shack

Click here.

Pickup Truck With Custom Camper For Sale in UK

"Hi Guys,

I'm selling my handmade demountable timber truck camper cabin in the UK. It might be of interest for you to see.

It was a joy to make and own but like all things, it has to go at some point!…

Matt Hayman (Handmade Matt)"

Click here.

Groceries by Sail -- From Vermont to NYC

"…Seeking a more sustainable way to get his grain to market, the Vermont farmer Erik Andrus conceived the Vermont Sail Freight Project to find out if this model could work again today. In April, he raised more than $15,000 on Kickstarter to build a 39-foot-long plywood sail barge named Ceres (after the Roman goddess of agriculture).…

The boat, loaded with 15 tons of cargo from 30 farms, is about to complete its maiden voyage down the Hudson. The crew has been hosting daily dockside markets at port towns from Hudson to Yonkers, selling pantry staples, like wild birch syrup, heirloom beans and Atlantic-harvested seaweed, and fresh produce, like blue fingerling potatoes…"

From NY Times here
Photo: Jim Peppler
Article by Eviana Hartman

Above article written before boat arrived in NYC. For update and more complete story, click here -- thanks to Ray Aldridge

Swamp to Table -- Cook It Raw Arrives in America

Yesterday's NY Times, article by Julia Moskin, photo by Alanna Hale:

Hardeeville, SC
"…Cook It Raw has nothing to do with raw food. Its guiding idea is to strip cooking to its raw elements: foraging, hunting, fishing, farming and low-tech skills like butchery and cooking over fire. A taste of the wild — hunting deer, gathering mushrooms, pulling wasabi from creek beds — is part of each carefully orchestrated and extensively documented program. (The first gathering, in Denmark, included 11 chefs and about 20 journalists.)

Also, the chefs themselves are stripped raw: airlifted out of their restaurant kitchens and planted far away from their families and customers, their sous-chefs and sous-vide machines, for a week.…"

Custom Gypsy Wagon For Sale in Oregon -- $14K

"…the 'Ladybug' features custom antiqued copper accents on both interior and exterior, cedar interior walls with pine exterior, a real cobble wood floor hand laid piece by piece, and a hand built custom Dutch door. Ladybug can sleep two people however, it does not have a bathroom.
   This gypsy wagon, also known as a vardo wagon, is new – and was designed and built in 2013 in Salem, Oregon.…"

Cops Try (In Vain) To Stop Skateboarders in NYC's Broadway Bomb

"The annual Broadway Bomb is an unsanctioned 8-mile race through Manhattan from West 116th Street down to the Financial District on skateboards. The New York Police Department was out in full force to stop the participants on October 12th, but as you can see from this video of one intersection, they weren't very successful. Racing skateboarders generally move faster than cops with a net. Still, out of somewhat over 1000 skaters, at least 35 were issued summons, and several were handcuffed. The question is: which is more dangerous overall, 1000 skaters in the streets of the city, or police officers movings nets around intersections?"
From Rick Gordon

My Dream Home

Louie pointed this out to me on Thursday; he pulled the truck over, somewhere south of Ft. Bragg on Highway One, pointed down, and said, "There's the house for you."


I'd be in or on that water every day. I can only dream…

Dumpster Dining

I've been following your blog, love it, and thought you might like this video on freeganism I made recently. It's for a competition called Biomovies and I have until December 19th to get as many views as possible - every view gives me a vote. So, if you do like it, and could post about it, I'd really appreciate it!
Click here.

Up The River Last Week

Louie's house, the river, Titsch and Louie on our 3-hour river walk last Wednesday:

Artist Leandro Erlich's Bâtiment at Centquatre

"All Parisians, little and big, want this picture where they pretend to climb up a building, tumble down the gray rooftop and hang off an iron balcony with their feet facing the sky and their head reaching for the ground. This partly explains the success of Argentine artist Leandro Erlich’s re-construction of Bâtiment at Centquatre, as part of its In_Perceptions collective exhibition, in September 2011. Originally created for Paris Nuit Blanche 2004, this monumental and vertiginous installation plays on the effects of a gigantic mirror which gives a truly exhilarating feeling of hanging off a four-story building, while safely lying on the ground.…"
Click here.

70 DIY Tips From Popular Mechanics

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "diy-crafted-seattle-micro-apartment:"

70 DIY tips, thought you might enjoy, from Popular Mechanics: http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/skills/know-your-stuff-the-110-best-diy-tips-ever#slide-1

"Hole in One
Enlarged screw holes can be quickly repaired, we said in March 1972, by filling the hole with a wooden golf tee. Use a hacksaw to saw the tee flush with the wood's surface, then sand and finish."

Bangkok High Rise With Living Walls

"Somdoon Architects' IDEO Morph 38 is a new green-walled high-rise that offers an escape from the congested streets of Bangkok. Located in the residential area of Sukhumvit, the development consists of two separate towers, each of which has been designed to target a particular type of tenant. A green skin covers the building, which provides shading, but more importantly, changes and adapts in order to control what can be seen in and out of these buildings.…"
From Inhabitat here.

Dan Price's Underground Hobbit House

Dan Price's Hobbit House was featured in our book Home Work in 2004.

"He’s got no wife, no money, but he’s happy in his 'hobbit hole.'

Dan Price left behind a stressful life as a photo-journalist after his marriage fell apart, and he wound up in a meadow outside Joseph, Ore. He now lives in an underground hutch burrowed into the hillside. 'I like being able to do what I want to do,' Price told NBC. 'I don’t believe in houses or mortgages. Who in their right mind would spend their lifetime paying for a building they never get to spend time in because they are always working?'”
Click here.
Photo: NBC News

End-of-October Trip Up North Coast

Took off at 6AM Wednesday, dark, ultra foggy, it was like driving in a tunnel -- until I got to Jenner and it cleared. I stopped and trespassed to skate at Sea Ranch; there never seems to be anyone in any of those houses, maybe 90% unoccupied, just me and the propane guy…met my friends, Louie,Titsch, and Pepe for breakfast at Trinks in Gualala, great food, great wi-fi…that afternoon, Louie, Titsch and I hiked a few miles up the river to an old homestead and had home-smoked salmon, salami, Irish cheddar cheese, sourdough baguette, bottle of Louie's v. excellent 2009 Primitivo red…that night after drying out (had to wade thru river at various spots) and warming up, we barbecued a flank stake in Louie's new open hearth fireplace in the shop, my olives, a salad …yesterday another great breakfast at Queenie's (somewhere south of Medocino, prowled around Mendo town (awfully precious these days, then to Ft. Bragg, still a real town…on the way back we went to the very weird Garcia River Casino. just slot machines, no kraps or blackjack, a few morons sitting at machines, smoking, losing money, I just don't get it. HOWEVER, Louie got $1 worth of nickels and won $45 in the nickel machine and we quit right there and went to the bar in Pt. Arena cove and had beer on tap (mine Black Butte Porter) and fried calimari…now Friday morning and I'm heading south…can't post pix because I haven't got my rebuilt Sony DSC RX100 camera coordinated with my MacAir…


House and Garden on Different Pieces of Land

This is one of those comments that I like to bring front and center:

david stanley has left a new comment on your post "Treehouse Builder Busted in Germany - Looking to Move":

I have a suggestion. Can you separate the house from the land in your mind? You can live in a small house in a town or village and buy or rent land to grow and do your other projects. This is what we do. I have a tiny 150 year old terrace house in a historic town in England and I rent a workshop with an acre attached 3 miles away. I work and grow most of our food there. It costs me £100 per month as I share the workshop and there are no services. I use a generator and solar/wind to charge gel batteries. My food growing is integrated into my working day making furniture. But of course we cannot live there as there is no permission. It is within easy cycling distance of home so the commute is very cheap. Our house is entirely heated with burning off-cuts from the workshop or free from skips. Now the mortgage is paid we can live as a family of three on less than £1000 per month ($1300?) That leaves us plenty of time and funds to go off for wilderness trips if we want but most of us can't cope with long term wilderness living. I love what you have built but I can guess that maybe your neighbours had some fears and that they notified the authorities. Will they need to be demolished if you move out? I hope it goes well anyway.

How To Self Publish a Book by Kevin Kelly

From Boing Boing: "I like to say it is self-published for all the right reasons — not because I could not find a real publisher to back it, but for three other important benefits. I’ll describe those below and I’ll also tell you how the economics of self-publishing work for this book. Finally, I’ll include a few of the cool tools used to create this huge book with only two of us on staff. The first benefit of self-publishing was speed. I finished writing and assembling the book in September and by October I had the book listed on Pre-Order status on Amazon. It will be available to customers (in bookstores, too!) the first week of December. If this book was being published by a New York publisher I’d still be in negotiations to maybe have it available next summer."

I 'm tremendously excited by this forthcoming book (available December). I saw an early PDF and couldn't stop turning pages. Read about how Kevin put it together here.

"Constraint inspires creativity."

Article in New Yorker (here), 10/21/2013, about Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter:

"…He is a techno aesthete in the manner of Steve Jobs: Dorsey, too, is a college dropout, a taker of long walks, and a guy whose father liked to tinker. And, just as Jobs, with his Issey Miyake turtlenecks, tried to embody Apple’s sleek functionalism, Dorsey’s tastes are self-consciously in synch with the design of Twitter. “Constraint inspires creativity” is one of his credos.;"

100' Wave Surfed in Portugal Yesterday

From Anonymous

Smiley Lewis: I Hear You Knockin

I Hear You Knockin' by Smiley Lewis on Grooveshark

A Magical Hand-Built Cabin of Re-Purposed Windows for $500

"Hand-built by photographer Nick Olson and designer Lilah Horwitz, the charming little structure was built with a front wall of old, repurposed windows in varying sizes and when completed cost an amazingly low $500 (plus a LOT of scrounging).…"
Click here.
From Kevin Kelly

Spray foam insulation can make some homes unlivable

A CBC Marketplace investigation has found that for some homeowners, a “green” way to make their houses more energy efficient has left them out in the cold.
   The growing popularity of spray polyurethane foam insulation may be creating an emerging problem in Canada. While the majority of spray foam installations occur without incident, problems can be costly and difficult to repair, and have led to a string of lawsuits in the U.S. as homeowners attempt to recover costs.
   When installed incorrectly, spray foam insulation can result in a strong, unpleasant fishy smell from off-gassing that has driven some people from their homes, some complaining of difficulty breathing and other health problems. When contractors fail to address installation problems, homeowners can have little recourse.
   “We thought we were doing something to improve our home and instead basically destroyed my home,” one homeowner tells Marketplace co-host Tom Harrington. “They ruined it. We can’t live in it anymore."
Click here.
From Anonymous

My Sharona by The Knack

My Sharona by The Knack on Grooveshark

Monday Morning Fish Fry

The wind blew like mad last night, felt like gale force. Clouds moved in, we were hoping for rain, but by this morning, the front had skipped to the south. It's really dry; the weatherman said the other night,  driest January-October since 1865. On the other hand, SF Chronicle outdoors-writer Tom Stienstra said the bears have full coats now, sign of a robust winter. We can only hope. The first rain I'm gonna be out there with face uplifted, feeling the drops, smelling the moistened soil, bring it on!…Last week went up to my brother's farm in Napa Valley and picked a bucket of olives, they're now immersed in water with salt and vinegar. No lye. The olives from last year are still in brine, still very good. I like to have them with a glass of red wine before dinner…Got new skateboard, a Tesseract from Loaded Boards, it's great. Goes maybe 10-15% faster than any other of my boards, and turns maybe 10-15% better, inspiring me to skate more; check it out here -- look at the video -- hi-speed downhill sliding, on long boards with soft wheels no less!

Photos shot in Napa Valley last week; beautiful old house, elegant, spare…but just a little bit too fixed up, too fussed-over, a trophy house. Some of the billionaires' wineries on Highway 112 are embarrassing: money, yes; taste, no. Too many vineyards, monocropping requires chemicals.…

I'm trying to find the time to write something about the wrong-headedness of GMOs; Verlyn Klinkenborg has a wonderful writeup on GMOs in his excellent book, "More Scenes From A Rural Life." 


Tiny houses create new green community

Lee Pera is a government employee who worked right on through the shutdown. Not at her day job as a geographer at the EPA. Instead, she spent her days building a tiny house. It is not even 200 square feet, but the house turns heads in her neighborhood off North Capitol Street.
   As you might imagine, Pera and her EPA co-workers are passionate about the environment. That is why during the shutdown, they have teamed up to help Pera build her environmentally-friendly house. She has been working on it for over a year now, but mostly on weekends. The shutdown has freed up some extra time. They are sawing, drilling and hammering things together. "It's nice to get outside of the house and it's actually nice to be helping. It's helping a friend. And it's also a great community effort," says Monica Shimamura, an EPA colleague.
Click here.

20 Of The Tiniest Homes In The World

Huff Post slide show here.

This one is by Deek Diedrickson at  Relaxshacks.

Village of Tiny Homes For Homeless in Wisconsin

"Occupy Madison’s 'OM Build' initiative to create a sustainable village of “tiny homes” for the homeless got a big boost Tuesday.
   The Madison Common Council voted to amend the city's zoning code to allow tiny houses, like the single 96-square-foot trailer-mounted cottage Occupy Madison has constructed so far, to be set up on the property of churches and other non-profit organizations.
   Tents could also be set up on property owned by such groups, which would need to have a management plan for sleeping areas, restrooms and parking, under the amendment.…"
Click here.
Photo: Mike DeVries, The Capital Times

Kite Surfers Last Week at Waddell Creek

Greenough 17' Surfboat For Sale in BC

A surfer I know in BC is heading for the warmer waters of Baja and selling his Greenough surfboat (somewhat reluctantly). Built by Anderson Custom Boats. They're the Maseratis/Jaguars//Beamers/Teslas of surf boats, rare to find used these days. 27K or best offer. I told him I'd post it here. If you are interested, send me yr. email address, and I'll put you in touch with him. (Hoping someone buys it and I can hitch a ride once in a while--dis da bomb! Hey Santa Cruzeans, how about being able to zip down to Big Sur?)
 Here are some specs from him:
"-09 Suzuki…purchased/mounted/pdi/rig... http://www.sherwoodmarine.com
-09 trailrite trailer…made for hull
-inboard 60 gal tank
-teleflex steering w. tilt helm…
-needs seating…
-compass,nav light, gps, vhf…led deck lighting
-27K obo… If a person is real interested and serious I'm happy to work a deal…with delivery/mola etc..."

Moonset Last Week

Gallup poll: 58% of Americans support legal weed

Mark Frauenfelder, Oct 23, 2013 on Boing Boing here.

"The illegality of marijuana has enriched, empowered, and corrupted prison systems, police departments, local and national governments, militaries, liquor manufacturers, and intelligence agencies (not to mention criminal organizations). It has also branded hundreds of thousands of people (mostly minorities) as criminals, ruining their lives and the lives of their families. Despite a century-long propaganda campaign defending the destructive war on drugs, a recent Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans favor legalizing it.…"

Tiny home built with recycled materials

"Music teacher Ben Hurst has no regrets about paring down his life to the bare necessities and moving into a less-than-200-square-foot house he built in the woods of Covington (Louisiana).…

Pare things down to the essentials: 'When you're trying to declutter your life, approach it like spring cleaning,' Hurst said. 'Make a Goodwill pile, a throw-away pile, a give-to-a-friend pile. And then wait a little while and then do it again and then again.'
Use multipurpose furniture and built-in fixtures: Hurst designed a pair of ottomans that can be pushed together to become a twin-sized bed and built an office nook out of an overhanging ledge off his sleeping loft.
Take a hard look at what you consider essential: 'When you go home every night, you eat in the same spot, watch TV in the same spot, sleep in the same spot. Once you have all those things covered, what else do you need?'"…
Click here.

Micro Gypsy Wagon Towed by Bike

"…It’s about 12 square feet of floor space which is actually a bed. I wanted something I could carry art supplies in as well as a fair amount of finished paintings.
   All storage is under the bed. Three removable panels under the sleeping pad, which folds, provide access to the art supplies, my clothes, and the galley.
   The bed can also be converted to a sitting space with a small table which can be used for dining or computer work. A table mounts on the side, as does the small sink, and the one burner camp stove sits on the table, which doubles as counter space for preparing meals.
   About 80% of the materials I used are recycled and repurposed. The aluminum that makes up the chassis and framing for the port-side wall came from an old broken pop-up craft fair booth, as did most of the screws and bolts.…"
From Tiny House Talk here.
(We're starting on the overflow from Tiny Homes on the Move.)
Sent by Rick Gordon

Dolphins and Whales and Birds, Oh My!

Thursday morning I went surfing at Pleasure Point, or rather, paddling. These years, I've  been somewhat intimidated going out anywhere in Santa Cruz. So many surfers scrambling for each wave, and moi is slow getting up. There's always someone either in front of me (I'm afraid I'll run them over) or behind me (cardinal sin is blocking right-of-way of surfer-in-curl), so I back off on most waves. I got one kinda mediocre one.
   BUT it was a most beautiful morning, sun shining, water way warmer than up here in NorCal, glassy in the kelp beds, ocean glittering, sky deep blue, guys were friendly, who's gonna complain? I've got 2 grandsons down there now, so I'm going down more often, going to start working my way back into the SC surf scene.
   Surf Matts, Boogie Boards, Wave Skis Nary a one in sight at any of the major spots. Unwritten SC code: no mats or boogies at the Hook, Lane, Outside Pleasure Point, etc. I can understand this. Much less skill needed to ride these, they could clog the waves, so these guys go out only at shore break spots like 26th Ave., Little Wind 'N Sea, 17th Ave. cove. Whereas at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, there are so many breaks that matt surfers or boogie boarders can take off without impinging on board surfers.
Dolphins My friend Betty and I went to visit a friend Friday morning, whose house looks out on the full ocean and I have never seen anything like it: dozens of groups of dolphins swimming and leaping all over the place. There were whales spouting plumes of water and jumping. Big balls of birds, pelicans dive bombing for anchovies. Apparently the anchovies and/or herring have risen to the surface and have been pushed in towards shore, and  the fish come after them and the dolphins after the fish -- a feeding frenzy. We were all transfixed. It made me so happy to see this exuberant ocean life. Here's a case of the Good New Days. Nothing like this in SC back in the Golden '50s.
Music and Late Night Creek Dip Many is the time I've stopped in at The 4th Street Tavern in San Rafael on my way home at night and lucked into good music. Friday it was The Way Far Brothers. There were less than 10 people in the bar, and these guys were good! Nothing like up-close live music.

On the way home, I stopped off at "my" creek pool and got under the waterfall. Full moon. Water not bad. Instant shot of energy, never fails. Shot this picture of the fog coming in from the ocean.

Mother Earth News' Natural Builders and Green Homes Directory

Mother Earth News is just starting this up. TMEN has something like half a million copies out per month, so this could be a good way for natural builders to get local work.
"If you are a natural or green builder, please add yourself to the map. The map is for anyone who builds green homes, such as passive solar homes, or builds using straw bale, cob, cordwood, timber frames, logs, earthbags, or other natural materials.…"
Click here.

Spoonfest, Derbyshire, UK

From Robin Wood, who wrote:
"I thought you might like this film of 200 people in a field sharing the love of carving wooden spoons. Nicely shot and edited for us by a fellow spoon nut Sophie.…"

1928 Dodge/Cabin Camper

"…These are the wandering writers June and Farrar Burn and their sons North and South in their homemade camper in 1928."
Photo from Shorpy here. Sent in by Anonymous.

June's book Living High is listed in the upcoming Tiny Homes on the Move bibliography.
For details about their wonderful lives, including homesteading on an island in BC, see The Skaggit River Journal here.

Bruno Atkey's Steel Sailboat in British Columbia Waters

From Godfrey Stephens:
"Bruno and Mecea's s/v Ola Suerte
 'engine'/sailing up the coast…"

Bruno was one of our star builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast. He welded up this spiffy sailboat out of sheets of steel, using the "origami" technique  of boat building, pulling the sheets into shape with come-alongs, then welding. Over a period of 12 years. He also welded up a tiny stainless steel wood stove for the boat.The deck is split cedar. Bruno is an awesome builder, master with many materials, also surfer, fisherman and adventurer of "The Wild Coast" of British Columbia. I want to be like him when I grow up.

$500 Backyard Cob Cabin in Reno, Nevada

"Hello, Mr. Kahn.  I was recently reading through your latest book while at my friend Coenraad's place in Oregon and feel he (and his homes) would be a good candidate for your next book.
   Coenraad Rogmans (click hereis a great natural builder who has built dozens of cob and bale homes and other structures for the past 15 years or so.  He runs House Alive (click here) and in addition to being a fabulous builder is a fantastic teacher with a great philosophy on building and design.  He's also a good friend and mentor.
   Also, if you're ever in Reno swing by our place to see what we're doing in the urban environment.  Right now we're putting the finish plaster on a 200 sq foot "cob-board' cabin in our backyard and an earthen floor after that.  It's stick framed with all salvaged wood, infilled with cardboard kept on with wood lathe and covered in earth and straw.  There's also a cob nook.  Clay from our property, sand from the desert up the road, total cost about $500 (mainly gas to get the wood and roofing). The pic is older but I can get a newer one if you're interested.  We live without electricity (nor fossil fuels or a car) so taking a pic takes me getting a neighbor/friend with an i-phone over.
   All the best and thanks for doing great work.
   Kyle Chandler-Isacksen"
Look what you can do in a city backyard! - LK

Thursday Fish Fry

Got up at 4 this morning, got rolling by 4:30, heading down the coast to Santa Cruz. An almost-full silvery-bright moon was reflected in a broad path of shimmering light on the black ocean; called moonglade, nice word.
   Around Pacifca, the moon was about to set on the western horizon, and it was as orange, well -- as an orange. I've seen lots of orange rising moons, but never a setting one. Stunning. Free.
  BB King and Ruth Brown were doing a spirited version of Ain't Nobody's Business, Ruth's voice like a blasting-off rocket. Then the new Devil's Slide tunnel, which took forever to build. Made me think of the new Bay Bridge, which overall, sucks. The central tower with cables is sort of elegant, but for like a mile before it, there are 100s of dumb looking lights on white poles maybe 50' high. Ugly.
   Andrew Loog Oldham has a great program on Sirius Radio's Underground Garage channel. Very knowledgeable, has creds (early Stones), is funny, plays a lot of 60s music I've never heard.
   Now fortified with excellent Verve latte and apple pastry, am heading out into a beautiful Santa Cruz day. Ah, Southern California!

18-foot oarfish discovered off southern California coast

"(CNN) -- A marine science instructor's late-afternoon snorkel off the Southern California coast last Sunday was first met with shock and soon excitement when she discovered a gigantic oarfish, a deep-sea creature that remains little known to the science world and people outside.
Jasmine Santana was about 15 feet underwater when she found the 18-foot-long, silvery fish with reddish fins and eyes the size of a half-dollar staring at her from the sandy bottom. Realizing it was dead, she snatched the fish's tail, and using buoyancy and low tides, powered her way back on shore.…"
Click here.

Gillian Welch -- Tear My Stillhouse Down

Tear My Stillhouse Down by Gillian Welch on Grooveshark

Fishing Village/Artists' Community/Tiny Homes On Slough in BC, Canada

Hello Lloyd,
I've been following the progress of your next book with interest, and the other day found a funky little community made of artists that might fit in well with the subject material. It's this little fishing village in Richmond BC (Canada) left over from the old days, it's called Finn Slough, and apparently it's there illegally and is embroiled in a legal battle for whether the residents can stay. All the shanties are built on stilts over a marsh, and they're all shake-covered, hand-made, and definitely not to code! I walked past it and thought it looked like something out of your previous books. They have a website http://www.finnslough.com/, but it doesn't have the best photos of the shanties. It might be worth contacting them? I remember one place had an upside down boat as the veranda, and what look liked salvaged stained glass windows.
Kai Watkins

Timber Frame Building Near Fargo, North Dakota

October 7, 2013
To Shelter:
A quick photo update of a project I've been working on all summer. My role nearing completion.
-Owner builder frame, cut on site near Fargo, North Dakota
-Fluctuating itinerant crew of Tom Cundiff, Sean Struntz, Jayson Wilson and me
-Joinery and frame design by Andrea Warchaizer, Tom Cundiff, and me
-Architectural design by Andrea Warchaizer
-Timber supplied by Bruce Lindsey at Evergreen Specialties

Hope everyone is well…
Uh…am I unemployed now?
Adam Valesano
651 332-3925

Monday Fish Fry

It's an impossibly beautiful morning, just exquisite. California blue skies. Fields on ridge have blush of green -- early rains. Nights getting colder. Stars. Moon a week away from full. Red apples in trees, blue in sky, green on hills, warm morning sun. I'm taking a break from (the final stages of) Tiny Homes on the Move (I swear it's getting better by the day) to write this.
More reggae I'm listening to "Train to Skaville," archived on http://www.dancehallreggae.org, thanks to a comment by Gill. I missed out on most of this music back in its day. It just feels so right. I love it. Makes me happy. What a great site. Free.
On this morning's SFGate:
"S.F. man lost in woods, survives on squirrels, lizards
A 72-year-old San Francisco man was recovering Sunday after he spent 19 days lost in a remote canyon of Mendocino County, surviving on squirrels, lizards and berries, and wrapping himself in leaves and grass to stay warm.…"
Techies in San Francisco I hear (and read) a lot these days about the rich techies pricing out the less affluent in SF.
From Socketsite:
"The average rent for a studio in San Francisco is now $2,312 a month, up 8.7 percent year over year … The average rent for a San Francisco apartment in general is $2,899 a month, up 3.4 percent from the first quarter of 2013 and 6 percent higher year-over-year, with one-bedrooms averaging $2,782 a month and two-bedrooms with two baths up to $3,791."
I wonder what % of these people are techies. What about lawyers, financial wonks, other corporate fat-checks? Whatever, it's too bad. $3k per month rent is 100K in 3 years. Tiny homes, anyone?
On being native I was talking to a Mill Valley cab driver a while ago. He was thinking of leaving. I said, Look, you're a native, you've got to use your knowledge and experience to figure out how to stay. You know your way around. Don't give up. Be creative. Hang in. Whenever I meet a native San Franciscan, I say so am I -- we're an endangered species, always gets a laugh.
Bounty from beach These days if I'm not getting mussels, I gather seaweed and crab shells, stuff into plastic bags in my daypack, throw on compost pile when I get home, chop up with machete, turn into compost -- which I've finally got figured out. This pile (5'x5', 2-3' high) is steaming, worms are thick. Every single scrap of food (that doesn't go to the chickens) from 40 years is in our soil, which gets better each year. Speaking of which:
Symphony of the Soil, DVD by Deborah Koons Garcia
Was reviewed in NYTimes last week by Jeannette Catsoulis here. "Infused with an infectious love for its subject, 'Symphony of the Soil' presents a wondrous world of critters and bacteria, mulch and manure. Maintaining this layer in all its richness and diversity is, the film argues, perhaps our most critical weapon against climate change. At the very least, you will leave with the profound understanding that feeding our soil is the first step in feeding ourselves."

"We don't grow plants, we grow soil. And the soil grows the plants."
        - A farmer talking about composting

Tiny Homes of Recycled Materials in Maryland

These look really nice to me; they remind me of Tiny Texas Houses, featured in Tiny Homes. Look at the curve in the little roof over door -- nice!

 "In an age when homes include four car garages, media rooms and man caves, one Maryland company is bucking the trend.
   Hobbitat, a construction company not affiliated with "The Lord of the Rings," specializes in tiny houses made of reclaimed and reused materials. Each of their houses—called hobs—are around 250 square feet and can sleep up to four people. Each hob takes between six and eight weeks to build and can be moved to its new site in a single day.
   The only design rule: the structure must be able to fit out the door of their shop.
'It takes a special kind of person to live in a tiny house,' said Sue Thomas, co- founder of Hobbitat.…"
Click here for story.
Click here for Hobbitat home page.

Slabs of Lumber, NYC

"More than three years ago, I began hauling logs on my trailer from NYC to Liberty, NY, where I have a mill. Every week was an adventure looking for wood and logs.
   I started out very small, going from tree cutter to private residences and municipal facilities to get trees. Loading them on my trailer and hauling them from Boston to Washington D.C., I was called 'black lumberjack.' The first time I heard it I was suprised but six months later I was completely fine with it.
   I have ventured into many back yards to retrieve fallen trees. Sometimes I am helped by the home owner or perhaps a neighbor with a loader helps out.
   I try my best to get as much info as I can about a tree from the owner and/or the tree cutter. I often have pictures and addresses for documentation."

Click here.
From Jon Kalish

Real Reggae, Mon…

I get some wonderful comments on this blog from time to time, and this, from Bruce, was a gem. Regarding WFMU out of Jersey City:
"… a terrific reggae show every Wed night, which, like all of the shows, is archived, so that you can listen any time you like. 'The Pounding System with Clay: Five decades of roots reggae, dancehall, dub, and ska.' - http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/PS
   This is SO good. Praise Jah. I just pledged to the station. My only reggae listening lately has been "The Joint" on Sirius Radio, and it's pretty mediocre. Unlike other Sirius musical stations like B.B. King's Blues, Outlaw Country, Bluegrass, Underground Garage, the '50s, etc., all good quality.
   I knew nothing of reggae until 1973, when word was out about a band from Jamacia playing in San Francisco, so one night we drove into the city to Mother's nightclub on Broadway. The place was packed. No chairs or tables, just a square room with a band at one end. People shoulder to shoulder. Well, pause for effect … it was the Wailers -- the singer was Bob Marley, who was of course great -- but it's the band that I remember most. Just never heard anything like that. What power! (They were just about to transition from underground to mainstream.)
  In the '70s I made friends with a guy at a reggae music store in DC and I'd call him to get recommendations, then order the (vinyl) albums.
   It's good to be back on the reggae track again.
   "Praise Jah and all hees creations mon."

Mississippi River Houseboat Circa 1906

From Eric Light via Godfrey Stephens.
Eric says to check out …"loo on poop deck."

Supposedly on Shorpy, but couldn't locate it. However lots of great vintage pics on Shorpy.

Ray Charles Live Montreaux '97- Song For You

Song For You by Ray Charles on Grooveshark

Tiny homes let people live freely, pragmatically…

"Greg Parham of Durango says his tiny house has all the necessary amenities – a loft for sleeping, and a kitchen with a stove and water heater that operate on propane. Parham, like others, has found a way to have more freedom, a simpler lifestyle and not be bound to an unmanageable mortgage.…"
Click here.

Crown Jewel of NYC Subway System Now Viewable By Public

"New York's famous City Hall subway station, one of the most gorgeous gems in the world of mass transit, has been closed for decades. Now it can be viewed again by in-the-know riders of the 6 train.…The City Hall Station was the original southern terminus of the first "Manhattan Main Line" built by the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) Company. The line, opened in 1904, was intended to be a showpiece and crown jewel of the new subway system. Unlike the rest of the line, City Hall featured tall tile arches, brass fixtures, and skylights that ran along the entire curve of the station — a sort of miniature Grand Central Station. In fact, befitting the elegance of the station, it was even the chosen place for hanging the commemorative plaques recognizing the achievement of building the underground train system.
Click here.
Photo (c) 2009 Fred Guenther
From Anonymous

Hummingbird in the Hand…

Maybe once a month or so, a hummingbird gets inside the greenhouse, or kitchen, and flutters cluelessly against a window. It's easy to gently trap them in your hands, whenceupon they lie motionless. You feel this warm, soft creature against your palms. V. peaceful. Here (about 5 minutes ago), it lay still for maybe 5 seconds after I opened my hands, then took off buzzing like a mini-helicopter, iridescent green flashing in sun. (Smudges on hand from finger-caulking tin roof holes yesterday.)

Monday Fish Fry

(So titled after San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen's Friday columns, called "Friday Fish Fry;" Herb was master of 3-dot stories. I started reading him at the bkfst table at age 15. In the '70s, he answered a couple of my letters with his Underwood upright typewriter. Wonderful man…
Sunny Monday Morning We've had 3 days of real hot weather, now cooling. Blue skies, glassy ocean. Swam last night… Once in a while I try to throw together fragments revolving in my mind, a la Herb C…
Tom Clancy on Writing  “I tell them you learn to write the same way you learn to play golf,” he said. “You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn't divinely inspired—it's hard work.”
That's why I'm so slow at posting stuff…
Now listening to The Abyssinians Super reggae vocal harmonies. Gimme that old time reggae! "Jason White" here. (I only like about half the songs I hear on "The Joint," Sirius Radio's reggae station. A lot of insipid or preachy stuff or songs you've heard 100 times.…
Great Music on KWMR Our local station has really good music programs around 7-9 PM (West Coast time). Blues, bluegrass, reggae, cajun, R&R, eclectic mix of DJs. I listen to it on radio while doing dishes (and sneakily dance when no one's around), but think it can be streamed…
Free Books to Prisons We have always sent free books to any prisoner who writes us. Letter received a few days ago:
"Shelter Publications,
I wish to thank you for your gift of books. they have been a blessing, not only for…me, but to the many I have loaned them to who are trying to dream and create a future as they leave prison…Thank you for your gift and the many hours of studying, dreaming and contemplation these books provide.
   -J.M., Palmer Correctional Center, Palmer Alaska"
   Thrilling feedback.
   I wish there were some way to get our (fitness and building) books into prison libraries (if there are such). Any researchers out there who can find a list? Or if you know someone in prison, let them know they can write for free books.…
Tidelog Tide Tables I have this posted over the sink and look at it every day. A lot of surfers and fishermen do the same. A graphic view of tides, with art by M.C. Escher. For east and west coasts, including BC. Here

Blues on the Canal Rich Jones sent this link to houseboat moving along an English canal with blues band playing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc5abi78GxU

Tiny Homes On The Move We're gettin there! About 90% complete. This has been the most complex book ever, the most people ever to deal with, in many parts of the world. USA, Canada, UK, France, Australia, China, + sailboats cruising the high seas. Two main categories:
Wheels: vans, trucks-with-camper-shells, housetrucks, house buses, and trailers
Water: sailboats, houseboats, and tugboats
There are some 90 of these units in the book, either rolling on the road or floating on the water. They are used as either permanent residences or for trips of varying lengths upon life’s highways and waterways. Book should be out in May 2014…

I love the life I live,
And I live the life I love.
   -Muddy Waters