• Subscribe to
    Lloyd’s Blog via RSS.
  • Check out TheShelterBlog.com
  • Tools for the
    Half-Acre Homestead

Community of Tiny Homes in Denmark

Click here.

Simple Fitness Concepts

For about 20 years (between 1980 and 2,000), I published a series of fitness books, the three main ones being Stretching by Bob Anderson, Galloways Book on Running by Jeff Galloway, and Getting Stronger: Weight Training For Men and Women by Bill Pearl. During those years I hung out with these athletes and learned a lot. I stretched with Bob, ran with Jeff, and lifted weights with Bill while working on their respective books.
I was thinking the other day about the glut of information surrounding all of us, and wondered if I could offer some simple concepts for each of these disciplines: stretching, running, and weightlifting. A few things you can remember and that hopefully will help you in your quest for fitness.

Just Rollin Along…

"The Wheel House is a live performance in which two acrobatic performers entertain audiences with the slow-paced rolling travel of their mobile home. The interior space of the circular home is designed to look just like a normal house, with doors, windows, curtains, pots and pans, and even a bed.…"

Click here.

Also on Vimeo here.

Sent to us by Mike W

Hi-tech Tiny Home

"Named after philosopher Diogenes — who is said to have lived in a barrel because he considered wordly luxuries superfluous—, Renzo Piano's Diogene is a minimalist living unit which functions completely autonomously as a self-contained system and is thus independent of its environment.
   With a surface area of 2,5 x 3 metres when fully assembled and furnished, it can be loaded onto a lorry and transported anywhere. Whereas Diogene’s exterior corresponds to the image of a simple house, it is in truth a highly complex technical structure, equipped with various installations and technical systems that are necessary to guarantee its self-sufficiency and independence from the local infrastructure: Photovoltaic cells and solar modules, a rainwater tank, a biological toilet, natural ventilation, triple glazing.…"
Click here.

The Rise of the Minimalist Workout

When we first published Getting Back in Shape some 20 years ago, we included minimalist workout programs -- stretching, resistance exercise, and cardio activity -- for short periods. The 10-minute workout. The idea being that something is better than nothing.
   Just because you don't have time to run for an hour or go to the gym doesn't mean you can't do anything.
   Gretchen Reynolds wrote an article on the New York Times blog this morning on the "new" deal: mini-workouts. Click here.

Is Exercise Addictive?

Click here for article in today's New York Times by David J. Linden

Spanish Translation of Shelter (1979)

In the '70s, Shelter was translated into French, German, and Spanish. These photos came in from Bill Steen, who was in Basque country, Spain last week. He and his wife Athena are conducting a series of workshops in Europe on clay and lime wall finishes, detailed carvings, and clay ovens.

Bill wrote: “Juan Luis Herrero and family holding the original copy of Shelter that was released in Spain, 1979, entitled Cobijo, as in comforter, quilt, or cover.  Cool."

Also cool that the lady on left is holding a copy of Ben Law's Round Timber Framing, a wondertful book. Ben grows the timber he frames his buildings with and the structures are beautiful. A kindred spirit across the water (UK). (Plus kindred books.)

Cobijo was published by Blume Ediciones, Madrid.

Tiny House to Larger Tiny House

This 100 year old structure survived a 4 mile move to our farm and is now undergoing an addition—"250 to 450 square feet with minimum foot print addition"—and renovation including a loft.  Year three of the project is seeing it get closer to completion…
Steven Houck

Sk8ing Again

For months I've been wistfully looking at the downhills, especially the newly-paved. Just couldn't risk a fall with shoulder healing. But things feel together enough for me to venture back on the pavement. So much fun!
  Since I've never learned to slide (whereby you can control yr. speed), I need to get off the board before getting to the speed where I can't get off and remain vertical. For now I'm just skating gentle slopes and carving. No (well not much) bombing.
   I wear Loaded gloves with hockey pucks velcroed to the palms. Cliff Coleman, downhill speed legend, told me that when you fall, remember 4 words: "Get On Your Hands." Meaning get those hockey pucks sliding on the pavement so you're not sanding off skin. Also be on your knees, i.e. knee pads with hard surfaces, so you're on all fours, sliding on hockey pucks and knee pads. The one time I had the presence of mind to do this was in San Francisco late at night when my board hit an unsurmountable crack in the pavement, and I skidded along on 4 noncorporeal surfaces. Felt pretty good about that.
   Boards shown from my, ahem sponsors: at left my Santa Cruz (not sure of model)----for bombing and sharper turns, at right my Loaded Bhangra, which I ride most of the time for mellow downhills, smooth turns.

It's a tree, it's a house, it's ... The Treehouse!

From Mike W today:

Sorry for the ad to endure…From the Flying Tortoise site…
http://www.11alive.com/rss/article/192103/40/Its-a-tree-its-a-house-its--The-Treehouse 2

Vine: 6-second Videos

I'm not exactly up-to-date on the latest in anything, so I just learned about Vine, Twitter's six-second video app. Now there's an idea! 6 seconds.I do find it a bit confusing in that it doesn't start and stop, but loops back and starts over at the end. 2 things I just learned:
1. Click on it to stop it.
2. Click on speaker @ top left to activate sound.
Seems like a powerful new means of communication. Grab those short attention spans! Info here. Vine blog here.

No bottom line I

Waking up on a floating island on Lake Titicaca, Peru

Click here.
Photo by Breanna Raymer
For more info on the floating islands, click here.
From Rick Gordon

Twigitecture: Building Human Nests

NYTimes article today by Penelope Green, photos by Drew Kelly for The New York Times

BIG SUR — Last week, I spent a night in a nest. Woven from eucalyptus branches, it bloomed high on the side of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway, a great whorl of sticks atop four gnarly pillars. The north wind hissed through the gaps in the branches and the fog settled on my face and sleeping bag, but I could see the stars through the nest’s oculus entry and hear the elephant seals miles below honking and braying in a lullaby like no other.…
   Mr. Hefer, whose first name is Willem and who was nicknamed by his brother (“But now I am skinny and he is fat”), came to nest-building after he soured on advertising. “I was looking for a product that was three-dimensional and that actually mattered,” he said.
   He was a fan of Buckminster Fuller and Shelter, the ’70s era counterculture bible of D.I.Y. building, and a keen observer of the indigenous building styles of his country.…"
Click here.

Walk Among the Shipwrecks on the Bottom of the Aral Sea

"The Aral Sea was once the world's fourth-largest, saline, body of water. It has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s, after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet Union irrigation projects, and now it's almost gone, leaving a desert full of old shipwrecks."
Click here.
Sent us by Godfrey Stephens

Ain't That Just Like Me/The Searchers

Ain't That Just Like Me by The Searchers on Grooveshark
Cranked this up to high volume driving along the coast last night, moonlight shining on water. I'm getting interviewed tomorrow by a Russian author, Vladimir Yakovlev, who's doing a book called The Rules of Happiness. Its about, um, old people who are physically active. An earlier book called The Age of Happiness (in Russian) was a hit. His photographs are superb.

One of the questions they are going to ask me is "What makes you happy?" and I've been thinking about it. Well, about 1000 things, but music is sure one of them. The Searchers are from Liverpool. Boy, did those English guys (incl Beatles, Stones) teach us Americans a thing or two about our music!

German Town Produces 321% More Renewable Energy Than It Needs!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Largest Solar Power Plant in World": Might interest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzc77Lqkldk http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildpoldsried



Paddle Race in Capitola June 22, 2013

There is a 2-mile and 12-mile paddle race in Capitola (sister town of Santa Cruz), Calif. on June 22, 2013. It's in honor of surfer Jay Moriarty and has divisions for different ages and for regular paddleboards and standup boards.
Click here.

The Pax is the iPhone 5 of Vaporizers

This in from Anonymous:

"By this I mean a real breakthrough. Elegant, small, stealthy. When you press down on the mouthpiece, it pops up and activates a subtly pulsing purple light. In 20-30 seconds, this turns green and vapor is ready.

When people seem shocked at the $250 price, I ask them what they think their lungs are worth.

Read about here on Cool Tools."

Learning Carpentry and Eric Marth's Photography

Hi, Lloyd,
My name is Eric Marth, I'm writing in from Virginia.  Thank you for all the work you've put into Shelter and your great blog.…This morning I was catching up with your blog and found a post I'd first read in the fall about starting out in carpentry (It's here). Since the fall I've been working full time for my friend Jason who owns a small construction business here in Fredericksburg. I'd worked for him off and on for a few years, a day or two here and there, while also working in a great used bookstore in town before joining the crew. In my case it was the meeting of my interest and the good fortune of knowing someone in the trade. I'd known Jason for a few years before starting to work with him. I'm still green, but have gone from pushing a broom to wearing a tool belt. The work has been great and satisfying and I haven't been happier. I live here in town and have the rare pleasure of coming home for lunch each day, eating from the garden and taking a short nap. It seems like this sort of thing has all but disappeared from most of our lives.

Swanton Berry Farm

Stopped here on our way down Highway One Saturday to see Aine and Will and one-day-old grandson #2. If you ever travel to Santa Cruz from San Francisco on the coastal highway, I recommend stopping in at this wonderful farm/store/cafe/museum. Union workers, organic strawberries (and shortcake), good coffee, vintage photos of the area 100 years ago. Totally good place. Plus the honor system of payment.

Art Prints by Jennifer Ring

"The starting point for each image was an original drawing of a bird or animal which I matched with various papers, some with personal meaning, such as a friend's handwriting; a typewritten letter from a time now past; my grandfather's yellowed medical chart from WW1..." http://jenspen.ca

Vancouver Allows Small-scale Chicken Flocks


A Ton of Living Roofs

Click here.

From the same Anonymous

A Ton of Things To Do With Recycled Doors

Click here.

From Anonymous

Chop Chop Compost

From Darren (Green Change) 

Jen's 78 Sq. Ft. Brooklyn Apartment

"Thanks to some really innovative, intelligent and inspired design choices, Jen Chu's 1/2 bedroom apartment radiate's positive energy and manages to feel comfortable instead of comfortably compact. http://www.jenchudesign.com/"
See our posting last month of a 78 sq. ft. Manhattan apartment here.

Plans for Lightweight Dinghies

"The Stasha is the World's lightest nesting dinghy weighing in at about 10 kilos (22lbs) making it child's play to launch and retrieve. The Stasha is an elegant design and is a delight to row and great fun to sail. Despite it's light construction it is surprisingly strong. The Stasha is made of two halves with a simple locking mechanism allowing it to be easily assembled on deck, on shore or even in the water. As it's made from so few materials it doesn't cost much to build."
These little boats (4 designs) have Dacron skin. Click here.

Boston woman pays $560,000 for 2 parking spots

Associated Press - June 13, 2013

"BOSTON — Parking is such a precious commodity in Boston that one woman was willing to pay $560,000 for two off-street spaces near her home.…"

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Click here.

From Anonymous

Dust My Broom/Elmore James

Dust My Broom by Elmore James on Grooveshark

Way to start a sunny beautiful morning!

Home Made Helicopter and Homemade Jeep with Bicycle Wheels

I was poking around on the blog Root Simple -- Low Tech Home Tech the other day and came across a post titled "Saturday Linkages: I’m tired of doom, let’s garden and make things…" It was a great bunch of links, including these two inventions in Africa (apparently the helicopter hasn't really made any substantial flights yet, but, hey…).
   Happy and useful links on a happy and useful blog. Click here.

Chicken Hawk/Cedell Davis

Chicken Hawk by Cedell Davis on Grooveshark
Take me up Hawky baby,
Take me up in the sky,
I'm just a little bitty chicken ,
And I don't know how to fly…

Tiny Home of Recycled Materials on Trailer

“My partner and I were traveling a lot and wanted to figure out a way to create a home space that we could take with us as we explored different places and communities,” Maret told Gizmag. “Small spaces and simple living have been an interest of mine for a long time. I love treehouses, boats, and all sorts of other small spaces. So having the opportunity to try my hand at designing and building my own tiny house was very exciting to me.”
   Passionate about sustainability, Maret hand-built the home using primarily salvaged and raw materials. The home features a trailer base, frame and a colorful rustic exterior made from local and up-cycled hardwoods. Creating a tiny home also meant that fewer materials were needed, which resulted in less waste. “Trying to find 2,000 square feet [185 sq m] worth of reclaimed or salvaged flooring for example would be difficult and/or very expensive,” said Maret. “But finding 100 square feet [9.3 sq m] is relatively simple. There are many more sources and options for low or no-impact materials at this scale.”
From Gizmag, lots of photos, click here.

Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out/Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out by Preservation Hall Jazz Band;Jason Isbell on Grooveshark

Bits & Pieces From My Last Trip

I gather too much "content." Photos and hastily scribbled notes. What to do with it all? Here are some bits and pieces from my latest trip:
New York City
iPhones: most of the people I hung out with were doing everything on their iPhones. Calendar, directions, mail. I upped my data plan and am starting to use it more. One thing I'm working on is talking into the phone and having it come out as text. Rather than using MacSpeech Dictate (with headset speaker) as I do on my MacPro in the office, I open up the mail program on the phone, open "new message," hit the microphone icon at lower left, talk into phone and then email it to myself and voila! words into text.
Subway I'm now riding the subway all over. I get a $20 metro card. Watched a big rat run down the tracks in one station. There's no graffiti on the subway trains these days.
Rum drinks at Caracas Restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: "Dark & Stormy" with dark rum, ginger beer, sugar cane syrup; the "Morning After Mardi Gras": rum, coffee, hot milk, vanilla, sugar cane syrup. Good rums: Pampero Anniversario, Zacapa
NYC Bike Program You see racks of the blue bikes everywhere. This is a big deal. Aimed at cutting down cars. You pay an annual fee, pick bike up, drop it off at destination.

A Ton of Cat Ladders

Justin has left a new comment on your post "Kitty Ladder + Other DIY Projects in (State of) Washington":
People are really into this stuff:

http://catladder.blogspot.com/ http://catladderhalloffame.blogspot.com/

Some Great Small Buildings in UK Contest, "Shed of the Year 2013"

Click  here.  Also here. Thanks to Anonymous

Hot Rod Lincoln/Bill Kirchen

Hot Rod Lincoln by Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun on Grooveshark

Revolutionary Finnish Wood-splitting Axe

"Vipukirves™ is an efficient tool for chopping firewood, possessing many advantages, such as speed and work safety, over traditional axes and small hydraulic log splitters. Vipukirves™ separates sections from the log using a unique lever action that allows logs with branches to be split into firewood in seconds.
The splitting force of Vipukirves™ is considerably stronger than with a traditional axe. Strike and loosen! Vipukirves™ has an ingenious design. Upon striking the log, it automatically turns to the right and detaches the chopped portion from the log. Vipukirves™ functions like a conventional axe with the exception that the user must loosen his/her the grip on the handle when the blade strikes the log. Chopped sections are removed with a single strike and the blade doesn't become lodged in the log, but keeps it in the same place and ready for the next strike."
From  Evan Kahn

Northern California College Offers Tiny Home Building Course

"Old-timers remember Malvina Reynolds's satiric song, 'Little Boxes.' Penned in 1962, the song heralded the coming suburban blight, where poorly constructed houses "were made of ticky-tacky and they all looked the same."
   How times change. Today, scarce resources and staggering home costs have created a new definition of the "little box" - the Tiny House. And Mendocino College is at the forefront of the movement.
   This summer, the college's Sustainable Technology program is offering a summer course on Construction Fundamentals and Green Building. The course, taught by Mendocino County native and PhD. Jen Riddell will attempt to build a Tiny House in 15 days…
   Another interesting fact, according to Riddell, is that currently there are no codes that govern the construction of houses on wheels. "Right now, they fall into the category of an RV, so no permits are currently necessary," she explains. That doesn't mean that students will be learning sub-standard construction methods, however. "Our Residential Electric class will be doing all the electrical installation," Walker explains. "It's building as you go. It's very nice not having to go to the county if you decide to make a design change mid-stream," he continues.…"
From Ukiah Daily News, click here.

Paddling (& Crabbing)

Tons of material to report, will try to filter some of it out this week. Went for my first paddle in 6 months Saturday. Injured shoulder still recovering, but it's a start. Beautiful evenIng, warm weather, warm water, I looked down and saw this crab, jumped off board and grabbed it (have learned how to do this from the fishermen). Had nothing to put him in, so took off my hat, stuffed crab inside, and tied it onto the board's water bottle carrier with a piece of ice plant vine. Had him for appetizer last night.

Rosina's Homestead in Australia Suburbs

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Urban Homestead in Southern California":
This isn’t in North America, but still, quite an accomplishment.
Click here.
"The Sunshine Coast does have something going for it though – a strong Permaculture community: The Permaculture Noosa group in particular. Rosina has been a member of the group for only eight years, but despite that, her little urban homestead is a great, positive, living example of the work of the individuals that make up the group’s ranks. Her little yard boasts a profusion of edible and/or ornamental plants that all together create a veritable garden of eden in the midst of suburbia. Rosina has managed to transform her property from a bland, generic cookie-cutter type yard into something that’s not only entirely practical, but also highly aesthetic.

Kitty Ladder + Other DIY Projects in (State of) Washington

"Hey Lloyd, I've read all your books, or should I say I look at them before work every morning, I read your blog and needless to say i've been really inspired by your work. I've been working as a carpenter for a little over a year and I'm working on my first full build.  The house is located in Rochester, Washington, it's a 900 sq ft footprint with a 100 sq ft loft.  We got the exterior done for the fall and we will start the interior when the client returns from a trip to Romania. I've been taking pictures of the process and writing a little bit about it.  I also just finished a micro house for my new pup.  I thought I would send you a link to my blog.  Thanks so much for all of your work
-Travis Skinner"
At left, Travis' "Kitty Ladder," so a friend's cat can go in and out without being bothered by an aggressive dog. Check out other homemade stuff by Travis: http://www.pairoducks.blogspot.com

Carville on Bubba

Last night James Carville, in a discussion with Leon Panetta on PBS, said: “Bill Clinton could talk a dog out of a pork-chop.”

Useful Homesteading Tools at Mother Earth News Fair, Puyallup, Washington, June 2013

"Take what you can and let the rest go by."
                                                        -Ken Kesey
This fair is a good-vibes event with many useful tools for homesteaders. This isn't a comprehensive report; there lots of things I just don't have time to cover, but here are some items that caught my eye in two days wandering around at the fair. Note: there will be two more Mother Earth News Fairs this year: Sept. 20-22 in Seven Springs, PA, and October 12-13 in Lawrence, Kansas.
Yurts made in Mongolia Unlike any of the US-manufactured yurts I've seen, this one has a hand-crafted look when you step inside. "The hand painted rafters and natural wood latticed walls covered with a clean white wool felt create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. The thick felt dampens outside noise, holds heat in the coldest of winters and keeps heat out in the hottest of summers.…" http://www.suntimeyurts.com/
Bamboo Clothing Beautiful fabric, soft as silk, some 100% bamboo, other items bamboo/organic cotton combo. I bought 2 T-shirts, pair of shorts. Wayi Bamboo Apparel, click here.
JapaneseTripod Ladders Never seen ladders this sturdy or sensible, and I have lots of ladders around my place (like maybe10). I don't know about the logistics of getting one of these shipped, but they're a notch above (sic) any ladders I've seen.
Olive Oil From Greece Unique organic olive oil and olives from a family estate in Sparta, Greece. www.oleaestates.com
Chicken Butchering Tools The stainless cones make for a neater way of offing chickens than chopping heads off and having them thrash around like, well, like chickens with their heads cut off. The other tools, like the rotating tubs with rubber fingers and the scalders are for larger-than-homestead size chicken operations and are a whiz bang way of plucking feathers. www.featherman.net
Rototillers In the '70s, I had a Troybuilt rototiller. It was a much-beloved serious gardener's tool that came with a brilliant manual that told you how to do just about anything with it and how to fix just about anything that went wrong. Like a Model A Ford. These days it looks to me like the BCS tillers (formerly Mainline) are the next generation. All gear drive, automotive style clutch, a lot of possible attachments. www.bcsamerica.com
Scythes These guys from British Columbia offer a collection of beautiful scythe blades. Some of them are shorter than scythe blades I've seen. European scythe blades, ergonomic snaths and sharpening accessories. http://scytheworks.com/

Composting Drum Sun Mar makes two sizes of these drums and they look sturdy and animal-proof. Being able to turn the compost is a big advantage over stationary piles. These would work well in cities as well as country. www.gardencomposters.com
Water Pump This is a different principle than the ram pumps I've seen. They say it will put 200 to 1500 gallons a day in your tank with no fuel or electricity and "pumps from 100 to 1,000 feet high depending on your water source." Click here.

Dumpster Diving

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Extreme Recycling":
How about this for “Extreme Recycling”?
From Germany: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/07/us-germany-foodsharing-idUSBRE9160NZ20130207
Interesting Fellow – “Martin Gregory” – Montreal, Quebec, Canada: http://www.leaderpost.com/entertainment/mans+trash+another+mans+treasure/8370721/story.html http://garbagefinds.com/
Another Interesting Fellow "Patrick Sperling" Edmonton, Alberta, Canada http://fromthedumpstertothegrave.blogspot.ca/ 

Coffee Huts as Tiny Houses

"Each time I see a coffee hut by the side of the road, I not only get a craving for caffeine, but I wonder if some of these structures can be turned into a tiny house. Many of them are already on wheels and are the perfect size for living in. Some coffee huts are not affixed to a trailer, but are still small enough to be moved to a new location for a smaller life with a much smaller price tag than many tiny homes.…"
By Christina Nellemann on Tiny House Blog here.

More on Compost Heated Showers

Dana has left a new comment on your post "Compost Heated Shower" "For those who may not be familiar with Frenchman Jean Pain's work, he managed to produce hot water, year-round heating for his home and biofuel for an automobile with a single, great big, annual heap of compost, which met all of his energy needs. Pain was able to do this as he lived in a rural forested region, replete with large quantities of natural organic material, branches and bush. This can't/shouldn't be done on a large scale, by masses of people, but certainly small installations, such as Lawton's compost powered shower, are do-able, fun and sustainable.
Pioneer Jean Pain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Pain"
See also: http://www.journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/methane_pain.html

Old Farm House

This home by the side of the road during my barn quest yesterday had a feeling to it. Like lives had been lived there. Sure enough, the owner wandered over from across the road. He was 75, had been born in the house, which had been built in 1937. His family had had a 120 acre dairy farm. When he was in high school, he'd had 100 chickens as part of a 4H project, and he'd sold then eggs at a corner. market.
   We stood around for about half an hour, talking about dairy farms, chickens, and homestead lumber mills. It was nice there in the morning sun. It was nice being in this part of America that is so different from the coasts and/or large metropolitan areas.

Mt. Rainier!

Last night, warm evening, I was walking around in Puyallup, looked up and saw Mt. Rainier. What a presence!

Two Gambrel Roof Barns South Of Puyallup Yesterday

2nd Day At Mother Earth News Fair

The "Half Acre Homestead"presentation went well. Preaching to choir. This is Cheryl Long, editor of The Mother Earth News introducing me. I'm always nervous for these things. Mostly that something technical will go wrong, and sure enough, I forgot the connector of my MacAir to a normal projector, put the slide show on a key drive, fired it up, and it woudn't work properly. Luckily, Chris McClellan had his natural bldg. materials booth nearby, and he figured it out. Whew! It used to be so simple when I lugged around Kodak Carousel projectors with slides.
   Links for all the tools I showed are at: http://www.shelterpub.com/_homestead/tools.html
I'm going to write up about maybe a dozen tools or products I discovered at the fair -- when I get the, aha, time. Such good stuff, all super relevant to the life I'm leading now.
  Right now I'm heading out to barn country.

Flat Earth Kayak Sails

From Godfrey Stephens this morning. If I had an ocean kayak, I'd sure get a sail. Hmmm…wonder if one of these would work on my 12' aluminum boat. Use the wind when it's there.


From Anthem cafe in Puyallup, overcast warm Monday morning. I'm getting ready to spend a day doing one of my favorite things: driving on unfamiliar country roads looking for barns to photograph. I love small American towns. It's good for us coastal sophisticates to get out into the Other America once in a while.