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

Old Shipping containers tuned into eco-friendly cabin

"Here’s a novel way to get yourself an eco-friendly home. Paul and Scott Stankey, of hive Modular, got themselves a couple of discarded 20-ft long shipping containers for $800 each and over the course of 9 years, turned them into these stupendous rustic cabins at a total cost of $15,000! The brilliantly solid cabins feature a sleeping unit, a kitchen as well as a storage room making them a perfect housing solution created from recycled materials."
From ecofriend.org
Sent us by Marcia Miner

Corrugated Iron Building Santa Cruz

Neat (I mean that in the sense of "tidy") building.

I'm just discovering it's rather simple to post one pic at a time with short text.

Barn on Hwy One

I've always liked this little building, a mile or so down the road from Swanton's, with its graceful lines and indented sides, and shot this through the rain.

Entrance to Swanton Berry Farm

I talked to 4 great people running Swanton. Gave them some books, Both Jim and Forest, owner and manager, knew our book Shelter. They gave me strawberry shortcakes, jam, fresh picked sweet strawberries. As I left, the rain started.

Swanton Berry Farm — Certified Organic Strawberries 15 Minutes North of Santa Cruz

I got up before dawn for the 3-hour drive to Santa Cruz. Just before Davenport, I went by this sign — whoa! Turned around to shoot photos of the signs leading up to a wonderful Hwy One roadside stand selling jams, strawberry shortcake, strawberries, truffles, all organic, all delicious. I got there at 8 and had coffee and strawberry shortcake. Was it good!! There was a CD of Dr. John singing The Right Place, the Wrong Time when I walked in. If you ever drive to Santa Cruz, stop in. All are full union employees. The are great old photos of the old days when Swiss Italian farmers grew artichokes and brussels sprouts. It's a totally charming, right-on place with exquisite food.

Barbecued Rattlesnake

And no, it doesn't taste like chicken. It's not that bland. More like squirrel and other critters who feed in the wild. Delicious. My brother gives me the occasional rattlesnake from his olive tree fields. Those are local potatoes, asparagus from the garden (a venerable old well-composted asparagus bed).


Expensivo! ($200K+). Sucky gas mileage. But what a dream machine for off-road. In place of a home?

"An EarthRoamer XV-LT provides an 85 gallon water supply, a 90 gallon fuel supply (range approximately 1000 miles) and plenty of storage space for food and gear. Four wheel drive, a turbo-diesel engine, high output lighting, front and rear winches and off-road tires with military bead-lock wheels will ensure that you get to your destination. Once you arrive safely, 510 watts of solar power and a 510 amp-hour battery bank will provide power for all necessary systems. Sleeping facilities, a galley and bathroom with toilet and shower provide for the necessities of life." http://www.earthroamer.com/

Hip is Irish

My friend Alan Wherry, writer, musician, publisher, and world explorer, wrote today:

"…did you know that all those new york words like, hip, cool, dude, and dig, are 100% pure Irish? i didn't."

Bill and Athena Steen 2009 Update

Bill and Athena Steen, along with David Bainbridge, wrote The Straw Bale House Book, the breakthrough 1994 book on the subject. It has sold over 120,000 copies. Bill and Athena live at the end of a road an hour south of Tucson, Arizona and not only conduct workshops, but travel throughout the country demonstrating and teaching strawbale construction techniques. A unique specialty of the Steens is plastering with natural materials, using exquisite organic colors. Bill sent me this photo of Athena plastering the inside of an oven. I asked him what they were doing these days and he replied:
"As part of the San Jose (Calif.) Mariachi festival we did a small workshop showing how to build an oven, but didn't have time to finish. We also redid the earth floor on the inside of an historic old adobe on the same site. This September we're set up to do an interior clay plastering workshop on the same building.

Canelo Project? Geez, in reality it's Athena and I doing what we like. Trying to keep building simple, hand-done to the extent that is practical and sensible, inexpensive and of course, making it look really good. Along the way we enjoy meeting people from all walks of life, try to learn from them and in return offer whatever we have to give. And of course, enjoying food and drink together is an essential part of that process. It's been great having our kids grow up as part of that same way of life. And lastly, when there is time, we love writing about it, photographing and sharing with others all that we've learned. Seems like much of what he do has been centered around the border and Mexico although we have a two month tour of Europe this summer."

Here is the Steen's website.

LK Slide Show Bookshop Santa Cruz Tomorrow (Tuesday) Night

I'm doing a slide show and talk at Bookshop Santa Cruz tomorrow — Tuesday, April 7,at 7:30 p.m. (1520 Pacific Avenue). I was a Santa Cruz beach lifeguard in 1955. When I went to Stanford (entry requirement much lower back then !), I spent more time in Santa Cruz than in Palo Alto. My last class was at noon Thursday and I'd head for the beach, coming back Sunday night. Although it's changed a lot, it's still a great town. I love the drive down the coast (taking surfboard) and Bookshop Santa Cruz is one of the Great Bookstores.
Details from Bookshop Santa Cruz