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Driftwood Shack at Navarro Beach, Mendocino County

One of the new photos that will go in the revised and expanded version of Driftwood Shacks: Anonymous Architecture Along the California Coast. I'm working on layout right now. Lots of new photos from my trip to The Lost Coast and environs a few weeks ago.

United States Finally Gets Serious About Wind Power

From the New York Times, May 23, 2018
By Stanley Reed and Ivan Penn
"…Massachusetts is looking to capitalize on wind technology, and aims to add 1,600 megawatts of electricity by 2027. That would be enough to power a third of all residential homes in the state.
On Wednesday, that effort took a major step forward as the State of Massachusetts, after holding an auction, selected a group made up of a Danish investment firm and a Spanish utility to erect giant turbines on the ocean bottom, beginning about 15 miles off Martha’s Vineyard. This initial project will generate 800 megawatts of electricity, roughly enough to power a half a million homes. At the same time, Rhode Island announced it would award a 400-megawatt offshore wind project to another bidder in the auction.
The groups must now work out the details of their contracts with the states’ utilities.
'We see this not just as a project but as the beginning of an industry,' Lars Thaaning Pedersen, the chief executive of Vineyard Wind, which was awarded the Massachusetts contract, said in an interview.
Offshore wind farms have increasingly become mainstream sources of power in Northern Europe, and are fast becoming among the cheapest sources of electricity in countries like Britain and Germany. Those power sources in those two countries already account for more than 12 gigawatts of electricity generation capacity.
But the United States has largely not followed that lead, with just one relatively small offshore wind farm built off the coast of Rhode Island. Currently, the entire country’s offshore wind capacity is just 30 megawatts.
'We know in light of Northern Europe’s experience with offshore wind that many U.S. ports will benefit from the arrival of the industry here,' Jon Mitchell, the New Bedford mayor, said.from offshore operators. 'As long as there are boats that will be here,' he said, 'it is business for us.'…"
Full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/business/energy-environment/offshore-wind-massachusetts.html

The Lost Coast - More Photos #6

This log must have been 100 Feet long. Most of the logs on these beaches are redwood. They'd be worth a fortune, but there's no way to retrieved them. On beaches with more access, to the south, you don't find much redwood.

Tiny Home With Dormer in Humboldt County

Funky, but it shows an interesting variation: a dormer that would make the otherwise claustrophobic loft feel more spacious. I don't remember seeing this on any of the typical steep-gabled tiny homes. Also, note the shakes for rain protection over the door.

The Lost Coast - More Photos #4

North of Buck Creek. The trail on bluff coming back down to beach. About a 7-foot down. I tossed my hiking poles and then backpack down, then jumped.

The Lost Coast - More Photos #3

"Many rivers to cross…" (I hear Jimmy Cliff when I think of this phrase.)
This was at Horse Mountain Creek. Note hiking shoes tied to back pack, so I had both hands free for my walking sticks, carefully barefooting it across.
Do I wish I'd had trekking poles! 95% of the hikers I met had them. They would have made the trip a ton easier. I don't want them on good trails, but on sketchy terrain, they're immensely useful.
This (the third) day, I was on a roll. Back from the dead.
I left Reneé and Pica a note on the sand, since they were coming along behind me.

The Lost Coast - More Photos #2

Mr. Casual, among the flock of sea lions on the sandy beach at the (abandoned) Punta Gorda lighthouse

The Lost Coast - More Photos #1

Photo: south of Buck Creek, trails like this up above the beach were such a delight.
Yesterday I stopped and walked on Stinson Beach on the way home from the city. Boy, was it easy. No creeks to ford, no rocks to hop, no deep sand to slog through. Piece of cake.
I realized what a life-changing experience the Lost Coast trip has been. For one thing, beaches for me will be forever different. Like I went into the heart of all beaches, and will appreciate and love them with more depth from ever on.
Also, pushing through when I was about to give up. "If it doesn't kill you, it's good for you."
What doesn't show up in any of my photos are the 1500-foot high cliffs hovering over a lot of this coast, awe-inspiring, but scary. Some big gashes in the cliff where there'd been slides, with whole trees uprooted. Raw.
On YouTube right now: Wilson Pickett: "Land of a Thousand Dances"

Day Three on Lost Coast

Left: Big Creek, which hiker had tight-rope-crossed (on log) the night before
Set out at 8 AM after breakfast of granola with hot water and my last hard boiled egg. Had to cross creek and I wasn't about to try balancing on slippery log with heavy pack. My technique: take off shoes, tie laces together, hang around neck, go barefoot across creek with my 2 bespoke driftwood hiking poles, v. carefully; slipping would be a disaster. Got across, dried feet, rebooted, was on my way.

Felt great, it was lucky that the fast-moving hiker the night before had told me how to get up on bluff trail; otherwise would not have seen it and struggled through beach boulders and deep sand. Whoo! Walking on a trail was a cinch, and this one was lined with flowers. Fortified with almonds, chocolate, and 14-grams-of-protein power bar, numerous water stops, I made it through the 2nd high tide zone,. What I learned to do was rest before flat-lining. I stopped for 15 or so minutes, 4-5 times, resting near a creek and once, lying in the shade in a driftwood shack, to regain strength and then pushed on. I ended up walking for 8-1/2 hours until pretty near exhausted, reached Shelter Cove around 5 PM.

At end of trip. Note driftwood trekking poles.
I'll post more pics in next few days.

Really nice #Japanese style home on Lost Coast. There’s a landing strip here and surf spot. Have no idea how they got building materials in. #surfers dream.

Lost Coast Backpack Trip Continued

There are 2 stretches of coast, each 3-4 miles long that are "inaccessible at high tide." You are warned that you can die if get caught there. Well, uh, OK.
To begin with, it was harder going than I thought. My pack was really heavy. There was a rock slide upon entering the first part of the northern no-fly high tide zone that had to be clambered over. I hadn't brought rain gear, either for me or the backpack, because the weather report had said no rain…well, 20% chance of rain the first day…and it started raining. Shit, if it poured I'd be screwed.
I found an opening in the rocks and prepared to duck under when the raindrops stopped. Yo!
Onward, or…upward. I had a moment climbing over the rock slide; I slipped, almost fell backward,and got a shot of adrenaline. I occurred to me if I fell and got hurt, I'd be screwed. No way to get word to the outside world. What had I got myself into? And yeah, grudgingly, being 80+ has taken its toll in strength and agility. In my mind I'm still 18, but that just ain't the reality with an aging body. The kids that passed me that day seemed so strong and bouncy. God, I used to be like that.
I was a bit spooked, got to the end of the tidal zone and felt too tired to make it around the final point.
I found a ledge above the water, pitched my tent on the rocky ground, hoping I'd be above the high tide that night (I was), spent a restless night. Had to wait a few hours in the morning for the tide to drop so I could get around the point. 5-1/2 hours hiking the 1st day.
After about 3 hours the 2nd day, I basically flat-lined. I was depressed, wiped out, thinking of all the things that could go wrong.
The wind was blowing, sun glaring, I felt almost dizzy, so stopped at Big Creek, a wide canyon with 15'-wide creek, pitched my tent, which took 45 minutes in howling wind, climbed inside and slept for an hour.
When I woke up, two women from Auburn, maybe in their 40s, had pitched their tents 100' away and we visited. Renee told me she'd had 10 herniated discs, a back operation, and several pieces of titanium implanted and that it had taken her 10 years to recover, and one leg was shorter than the other. And here she was, on this incredibly tough hike. Shit, what kind of wimp was I? This was inspiration.
That night we sat around their campfire and her pal Pica pulled out a plastic lightweight ukulele and sang songs in a quiet sweet voice. Did I play the ukulele. Well, uh yeah-uh, songs from the '20s, and  I played "Five Foot Two," "Ain't She Sweet," and "Jada." Fun.
I got several hours of good sleep that night, woke up. I'm gonna make it! I lightened my load by burying a pair of running shoes, some extra food, and a spiral notebook in the sand and set off feeling lighter and inspired the next morning.
It's Saturday morning, I'm at Trinks in Gualala, with a double latte and piece of berry pie with whipped cream for pre-breakfast, now going to get bacon and eggs. I can't get enpough food after the trip; listeninng to the Georgia Satellites sing "Keep Your Hands To Yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMFMf9cN64U
Rock and roll!

The Lost Coast Beach Walk

Just back, now in Gualala. Exhausted. 25 miles of hiking in soft sand and boulder-hopping and high-tide dodging. It was the adventure of my life. On the 2nd day, wasn't sure I'd make it, but got a rest and pushed through for 8-1/2 hours yesterday. Utterly wild, raw, tough terrain. If something goes wrong out there, there's now way to get help. I'm so proud.
Had steak, 2 pints IPA at the just-opened brewery in Shelter Cove last night to celebrate, the Big Boy breakfast this morning in Trink's, my body restocking on depleted reserves; boy is it great to be ravenous and burning up whatever food is consumed.
Shot pics of lots of beach shacks.
Sea lions were unexpected maybe 75 of them snoozing on the sand near the abandoned Punta Gorda lighthouse, hardly mindful of humanoid in their midst.
Will write more soon…

On the Road Again--The Lost Coast

Sign near Willits
I took off at 8AM Sunday, driving through Petaluma to get on Hwy 101.The Nicasio lake is full to the brim, the hills a verdant green — both from late rains.The fog of the beach gradually gave way to the sun of inland. Orange splashes of poppies amidst the green…Roadkill — during the day: 2 skunks (neither smelling), a fox, a racoon, 2 deer,  today 2 squirrels; must be spring fever…giant piles of redwood logs in Cloverdale lumberyard…Hwy 101 narrows down to 2 lanes north of Willits, it's relaxed, v. little traffic, you can make a U-turn in middle of road…it clears the head to get out of the Bay Area where everything by comparison seems congested, every inch spoken for and/or ridiculously high priced…south fork of the Eel River is turquoise…getting into crackpot roadside territory with rock shops, bears carved-out-of-chainsaws shops, kind of like the reptile farms that used to be along Hwy 66…
Ended up camping at the Mattole rivermouth, then drove through back roads today to Shelter Cove…tomorrow 8 AM I'm getting a ride back to Mattole, will then backpack along beach 30 miles back to Black Sands beach near Shelter Cove, hoping to find driftwood beach shacks to photograph…have decided to expand and reprint the driftwood shack book…just had great fish and chips down at Shelter Cove boat ramp…
First driftwood photo of trip, near Mattole river yesterday

My First Building Project in Years

It was a hassle gluing up these 6 laminated curved rafters (out of 16' long redwood bender board -- 4" wide by 5/16" thick). I brushed glue on both sides of each piece, then bent in a floor jig and clamped every 20" or so. Tedious, could only do one every day or two. Enter Billy, who planed therm down and strategized with me, and figured out how to get them into position, pinned down at the plates and evenly lined up in height. It surprised both of us how good it looked when we got them in place.

This is a 10' by 10' shed, and I wanted the curved roof for the feeling of spaciousness it affords in small spaces, witness vardos (gypsy wagons) or Basque shepherd's wagons. Steep gable roofs for tiny homes are, to me, claustrophobic. And, while I'm at it, the typical tiny home loft at one end, reachable by a vertical ladder, is just plain bad design. In vardos, the bed is at one end, floor lever, with drawers beneath it.

This place is going to have a deck for sleeping under stars, facing east. Like most of what I do, I don't have a definite plan, just designing it in the process of building it. Boy is it fun to be building (even something small) again.

Thursday Morning Fish Fry

I came in to SFO along the coast at 6:30 this morning, listening to Otis and Carla in their King and Queen masterpiece album, incl. “Tramp”…”you straight from the Georgia woods…” Across the foggy Golden Gate Bridge into the city, my city. Since Cafe Roma closed, I’ve been going to Blue Bottle coffee on Fillmore, just the absolute best coffee (and pastries) anywhere…The clientele here upscale, a lot of techies, a lot of tall, slim customers, three 15-year old girls in school uniforms (v. short dresses), obviously going to Miss Burke’s or other $20K per year private school, looking smug and prosperous…I’m in the three-dot Herb Caen journalism mode this morning…next week I’m going for a 3-4 day backpack trip on The “Lost Coast,” a Northern California coastal area sans roads…I recently published a small book, Driftwood Shacks, but it was with a digital printing (ink jet) process), and I’m not really happy with the way it looks…so I’m thinking of expanding it from 82 to maybe 128 pages,  and printing on a real Heidelberg press in Hong Kong. I'm taking this trip in search of more beach shack photos…

But the BIG NEWS with me in my unplanned, unscripted progress through life is the book I’ve been working on: Homemade/Handmade: The Half Acre Homestead. (any comments on shortening title?)…I started out looking over 18 years of digital photos around our place here, and got progressively excited…the idea is to show people what we’ve learned in 40+ years of building and gardening and avoiding a mortgage or paying rent…I started putting the photos in folders such as: The Home, The Kitchen, Kitchen Utensils, The Garden, Greenhouses, Solar Electricity, Butterflies, Food, Foraging, Fishing, The Shop, Shop Tools, Maintenance…When I finished and had hundreds of photos I got a jolt of excitement…when I go out and interview and shoot photos of builders, I’m around for a few hours or a few days, but here I’ve been running out in the garden to photograph birds, rainbows, the buildings, the garden for decades…I've got some—ahem— beautiful photos. I’m stoked! It’s going to be 8-1/2” by 8-1/2 ,” a completely different size and design from our 7 building books…right now I’m wrestling with how to do URLs for the tools and utensils…maybe first the actual manufacturer, then the Amazon link…let people make a choice…what’s really got me excited are some roughypages I’ve mocked up; I’ll post them when I get back home….now I’m going swimming in the bay, taking a sauna, getting an Irish Coffee, and then proceeding with my day in the city…you can take the boy out of the city…which happened to me at age 17, but…