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Living Earth Structures


Miguel Elliot, a Petaluma, Calif. native, specializes in creating various living earth structures such as cob benches, cob ovens, adobe dome saunas and small huts: http://www.livingearthstructures.com, 707-320-3609

Thatched Roofs Orkney Islands, UK


After my September posting "Dry-wall Stone Beehive Hut in Ireland," an anonymous reader wrote to tell me about the scarcity of wood in some parts of the UK (the beehive huts were all stone, no wood), and sent a link to an article titled "Thatch Traditions in Orkney Farm Buildings." It's a detailed account of construction of wood-framed thatched roofs in the Orkney Islands: http://bit.ly/3TmkQT

Yesterday's Adventures: Little House/'55 Olds 98/Dueling Deer/Running in the Rain

Question: where is this little house? Costa Rica? Hawaii? Mexico? Nope. It's on 5th Street in Berkeley, near our distributor's (Publishers Group West) office on 4th Street. It's a nice little unassuming neighborhood of modest small houses, adjacent to an industrial area and the train tracks. Of course as you head up toward the University of California campus, the neighborhoods and houses get more elegant and expensive.

In the cars-you-gotta-love department, this 1955 Oldsmobile 98 parked in San Rafael yesterday afternoon. I was 20 years old when this rolled off the assembly line. Check out the twin tear-drop spotlights; I had a pair on my '46 Chevy sedan. Oh, don't get me started talking about '40s & '50s cars!

Then around 6PM I was driving to meet my running friends, it was pitch black and cold. I was coming along the creek in Frank's Valley and here smack in the middle of the road were two big buck mule deer, squared off with horns locked, duking it out. They were oblivious to me and my headlights. They were pushing against each other, antlers clacking. Finally one pushed the other across the road and the loser ran up the bank. What a vision! I pictured a demure doe, brown eyed with long eyelashes awaiting the outcome, and about to take off with the Big Guy and perpetuate the species with good genes.

I'm running alone these days, until I get up to speed to run with the boys, so I took off along the coast, climbing up on the coastal trail with my strap-on headlight. It was raining lightly: I love running in the rain—once you get warmed up, it's glorious. The air was fresh and the ocean sweet-smelling. When I got to the lookout point, about 1000 feet above the ocean, I could see the lights of 8 crab boats; the season has just opened, and it looks like a good one, and the bigger boats pull their crab pots at night.

Our Green Festival Booth Sunday


Our booth was mobbed for a couple of hours on Saturday and then Sunday.I took this shot during a lull. We sold tons of books, and probably more importantly, gave out 400 Builders of the Pacific Coastt posters as well as about 1200 of our (small, 4-color) catalogs. Personal word-of-mouth publicity with ink on paper (posters, catalogs) in the electronic age.
Dozens of people came up and thanked me for the books over the years. Wow! The 60-year-olds invariably picked up Shelter, said they had a beat-up old copy, and reminisced about the '60s; the 40-year-olds said, "My Dad had this book, and I used to look through it…" The 20-30-year olds had just discovered either Home Work or Shelter, and were excited to see such things going on in the world. It seems like we're rapidly rebuilding a network of builders, gardeners, and homemakers. (We had such a network in the Whole Earth Catalog days, but it dissipated.) The feedback is wonderful. These people understand the books.

Three-Year-Old Real Goods Stockholder at SF Green Festival


This little guy was checking out the booth next to ours yesterday. (On lower left are the free Builders of the Pacific Coast posters we were giving out.)

Crests on Traditional Japanese Clothing


This is a link to a blog posting about a house in Gojo, Japan designed by architects Eastern Design Office for an artist, described on the blog as "…a traditional craftsman who puts the crest on Japanese traditional clothes." There are a bunch of photos of the concrete house, with its repeating circular motifs, and this display of some of the artist's crests (applied by hand to each garment). http://bit.ly/2nCGgK