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Greenhouse Made With Used Windows

Greenhouse built on our homestead with used windows. The rear wall consists of stabilized* adobe bricks made with a CinvaRam, a compression tool I learned about in the '60s from the Whole Earth Catalog. There's a solar-powered fan for cooling and a small solar-powered trickling fountain inside. Note: using old windows like this requires a lot of time puttying and/or painting (but look at the result!)
*1 part cement to 12 parts soil. (The soil came from digging out our 15' deep garden well.)

Notes From 5 Days In Indiana, September 2008

Cornfields in central western Indiana. Miles and miles of the roads had fields like this, each with a different sign advertising the seed used, like Con Agra. BigBizFarming, as opposed to family farms.

Bits from my Indiana notebook (*Sept 8-12, 2008): about 20 miles south of Indianapolis, the smell of sweet summer grass. I go through small towns where nice houses sell for 100-150K. Kendalville, a town of 10,000 people in northeastern Indiana is where our printing plant is. It's got large trees, a number of beautiful parks, shady streets, and a 1/2-mile-long clean lake with a grassy park and huge trees on its shores—right in the middle of the town. I went swimming there one hot afternoon. Nice houses with front porches, many for sale. Trouble is, the young people have seen Paree and don't want to hang around small towns. It's reflected in the shops and restaurants, nothing hip, nothing new, I never did find decent food...college (De Pauw University) town of Greencastle, with grand old Victorians, but for some reason cops all over the place...there's tons to photograph out here in middle America...sign outside church:
There is no God but Jehovah
And Jesus Christ is his son.

Come to think of it, that's a lot of what's wrong with the world: this or that faction declaring their way the Only Way.
Went into a bar in Greencastle, no they didn't have any beer on tap; their selection: Bud & Bud Lite; Coors and Coors Lite. No thanks. Sun was setting, light waning, and there were dozens of places I passed up shooting...lots of Harleys, very few guys wearing helmets...Bach concerto somehow came on radio, with viola da gamba and harpsichord — rich music...hard to find real food, America is polluted with MacDonalds/Pizza Hut/Burger King scumfood...you have to suss out the occasional good one, like The Texas Roadhouse in Terre Haute, Hank Williams on the jukebox, Sam Adams on tap, 6' rattlesnake skin on wall, bartender told me she's voting Republican because Palin is a woman, no she didn't know anything about Obama...the expensive restaurants in the area pour on the fat — cream sauces, big deserts, substitutes for fine cooking...I read something about the "indignities of air travel" these days. So true.
The prayers go up,
And the blessings come down.

These are towns in Indiana: Raccoon, Mexico, Brazil, Chili (not Chile), Peru, Kokomo..I detoured to go through Kokomo, just for the name. It's a big tough town with a lot of huge shuttered factories with broken windows, and stylish 100-or-more-old brick buildings on Main Street...west of Kokomo, the land gets rich, black soil, lush fields...the Adams water powered grist mill, built in 1845, near Burlington, nicely maintained large red building...stopped off at a farm to look at a barn, young farmer walked around to barn with me; his father and grandfather had farmed the land, and he seemed content and together; good vibes...there's a brotherhood of barn lovers throughout the world,,,

Barn, field of soy beans. Indiana Sept. 11, 2008

Barns, Old Buildings, and Roadside Ephemera in Middle America Sept. 2008

Here is a quick slide show of my trip to Indiana last week. Photos are not cropped or titled yet. If you click on an image, it takes you to the full size Picasa slide show.

Printing Builders of the Pacific Coast and a Journey to the Heartland of America

I was in Kendalville, Indiana, last week to see Builders of the Pacific Coast get printed. It was the final step in what turned out to be a 3-year project.

Here are the press men who printed the book:

It was printed on a manroland Lithoman IV web offset press that is like a streamlined locomotive. It's computer-controlled by a maze of electronic circuitry. It's amazing to watch these guys run around making constant computer (and occasionally mechanical) adjustments while the paper streams through the rollers. The guys who run presses are a breed apart, smart, skilled, and on the ball. No mistrakes while you're running a machine like this.

They started at 9:00 AM Wednesday and ran for about 24 hours, with the two crews. By midnight I was exhausted and went to bed and left the last 48 pages up to their discretion. By then the colors were nailed. The next day there was a buzz in the plant, that this book was special. Jeez, does it look good.! I think we gained some good karma by going with recycled paper in the USA rather than Indonesian paper in China, even if it cost $12K more. In evolving toward recycled paper, I learned that much of China's paper comes from destroying Indonesian rainforests; also that all the goods shipped from Asia come on ships burning filthy polluting fuel because there are no pollution rules on the high seas. It 's really hard for publishers of 4-color books to not print in low-cost Asia, but maybe planetary damage should be factored into the cost comparison.

This book is a lot different than Home Work, which was a scrapbook of 20 years' accumulated materials. This new book has a theme, builders of the relatively small 1000-mile long stretch of the Pacific Coast from British Columbia down to San Francisco. When I travel, I think of having the reader ride shotgun with me, seeing what I see, making the same discoveries, and having the same adventures. I hope this book can take readers along on these trips.

The book turned out, I gotta say it, drop dead gorgeous!

It will be in bookstores mid- to late-October. Yeah!

I had a great trip, haven't been in mid-America for 20 years. I drove about 700 miles in 4 days, mostly on small roads, avoiding the freeways, exploring when I had time. Corn as high as an elephant's eye, soybeans, old barns, small towns. I ended up shooting 280 photos with my little pocket camera (Olympus Stylist 1200). I was in my own special photographic heaven, wished I'd brought my Canon 20D, but still got some great pix. Ten beautiful barns, including a 100-year-old mortise-and-tenon round barn; small town homes on tree-shaded streets; old towns with 100-year-old 3-story brick masterpieces; a couple of pioneer log buildings. It made me want to make a cross-country trip before long. There's a lot out there. I'll try to put up some pix in the next week.

1840s pioneer cabin in Robe Ann Park, Greencastle, Indiana. Maintained by the Washburn chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution

The Kahnuna Big Stick: Paddling on the Pavement/ Bob Marley

I just wrote this review of a peripheral device for skateboarders in CoolTools:. Cooltools editor Steven Leckart turned me on to this device originally:

Sequence from Surfersvillage

The Kahuna Big Stick is a lightweight wooden shaft with fixed rubber wheels that allows a skater to push and pull while keeping balanced with both feet as opposed to pumping with one foot. On the level, it is way superior to foot-pumping. Even on uphills, I've found if I do a few foot pumps, then follow with a few paddles, it's faster and smoother. On slight downslopes and the flats, I can now get a lot more speed by not having to foot pump. It's got me skating a two-block section in town that used to be too slow. Plus, it adds an upper body workout to a sport that is mainly a leg workout. Surfers see me with it and invariably break into a grin; they instantly get it and are charmed. It really is unique. The day I got my 5' 6" Big Stick, I tried it out in a parking lot while getting gas. Boy! After about five tentative strokes, I started reaching out as far as I could, zooming around. Later that night I decided to skate in the streets (no cars). I got in a bunch of half-mile downhills in an hour. It is insane fun.
Check out the Youtube video of these Southern California dudes carving it up with Big Sticks:

Cockatiel Whistles the Blues


Over 100 comments on this, including guy who says: "…he's whistling the stuck in a small ass cage blues."