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Jerry Jeff Walker in Studio: Down in Belize

Our friend Minor Wilson just sent us this link to a studio video he and Daniel DeLoach made of Jerry Jeff Walker in Dripping Springs, Texas. In the "comments" section, one viewer wrote, "Belize? more like paradise. sweet melody and breeze that just feels right."

Excerpts from the lyrics:

"Sunny days of fishing in the salty air,
And the stars at night, there ain't no ambient light."

"Successful men get what they want, happy men want just what they got."

A House Built from Shelter 30 Years Ago

My wife Lesley is having an "open studio" of her quilts, jewelry and scarves this weekend. Yesterday a couple came by in a pickup truck, and the man said to me, "I want to thank you for the inspiration." Turned out he had picked up our book Shelter (1973) in the mid-'70s and it was the reason he decided to build his own house. He described how he built it (on poles), on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and they were still living there. He had this wonderful light in his eyes. These guys are like long-lost brothers. All the people I'm running across these days that were inspired by our books to create something is a bit overwhelming. I know it sounds self-aggrandizing to keep bringing it up, but darnit, it's happening like every week, and I'm stoked!

Stand By Me - Playing for Change

"Mark Johnson traveled around the globe and recorded tracks for such classics as "Stand By Me" and Bob Marley's "One World" — creating a new mix in which essentially the performers are all performing together — worlds apart. Often recording with just battery-powered equipment, Johnson found musicians on street corners or in small clubs and they would in turn gather their friends and colleagues — in all, they recorded over 100 musicians from Tibet to Zimbabwe." -http://bit.ly/6U1y9I

Here's the song "Stand by Me," written by Ben E. King, performed by musicians around the world (if you haven't already seen it on PBS). It's a wonderful job of editing. More info on Playing For Change — Peace Through Music at http://playingforchange.com/

Peppermint Candy Beach Hut

Looking out on the sea. There were some great sea shells, and flint-type rocks on the beach.

Tiny Beach Huts in England

When I have time I'm going through my photos in Europe and will post them occasionally, not in any special order. Just shots that catch my eye. This is a little colony of LITTLE huts on the sea next to an old fishing village on the southeast coast of England. People rent the land and build 10 'x 10' huts (none larger allowed) for day-trips to the beach. Barbecue, picnics, swimming, sailing. There are maybe 100 in this group, each unique. A way for non-millionaire families to have a seaside house. We spent two nights in one of these, it was great, sound of the sea, rain on the roof, eating and sleeping in a 100 sq. ft. house. How perfect, since I was going back home to do our next major building book on tiny houses (working on it now).

Running in the Moonlight

I took off on my Tuesday night run last night, headed up Frank's Valley, and then up Heather Trail, which zig-zags back and forth up the side of a hill to coastal Highway One. It's a climb of maybe 1000 feet, but very gradual in slope due to the switchbacks. There was half a moon, a clear night with stars out and after a few hundred yards I turned off my headlight and ran by moonlight. After my eyes got accustomed to the dark, the trail was pretty clear, and the light looked almost blue, with occasional dark shadows from t Bay tree branches. At the top, I ran along Highway One along the middle double yellow line, with lunar illumination. I went out on a scenic view point and looked out at the lights of crab boats. There was a large circular pattern of molten silver moonlight reflected on the ocean. I get ecstatic when things come together like this in the outdoors, it's such a thrill, especially being alone. The more time I spend these days in the electronic world, the more I need to get away from the computer and iPhone to recharge soul-wise. Jeez, at this exact moment, on the radio (Bluesville, Direct TV) is Howlin' Wolf singing "I'm a little red rooster," followed by Chick Wills singing "Soul of a Man." Speakin' of soul…

Home Made Wheelbarrow for Firewood

Robbie Newton lives on an island in British Columbia. His house, "Mossy Hollow," was shown in Builders of the Pacific Coast. Robbie just sent me this photo, which he describes as a "… 40 year old wheelbarrow which had served me and three others well, rebuilt to carry firewood logs. It’s another glued up construction, this time with enough heavy duty buried screws to make sure that it stays rigid. It carries remarkable loads with ease and if I have a round which is way beyond lifting, I just tip it on end and tip the wheelbarrow on its side next to it and it’s just as easy to lever them both upright."

Free-form Earth Structure in Colombia

I ran across the book Building With Earth by Gernot Minke when I was in London last month. It's just been published (Birkhäuser Publishers, Berlin) and is an informative, up-to-date handbook on earth architecture. I visited Minke some 20 years ago at his studio near Kassel, Germany, and saw a lot of his work with cob, strawbale, and living roofs — very advanced for the late '80s. He's kept at it, in addition to teaching at the University of Kassel, and this book is a culmination of all those years of work.
This photo, in the book, is of a building in a small town in Colombia by architect Octavio Mendoza Morales. More of Morales' work can be seen at: http://www.casaterracota.com. When you get to the site, it's in Spanish, so press: "Entrar," then "Galeria," then to see more photos, "siguiente."

Peter Buch's Sculpture Garden in Spain

This photo just came in from Taeke Henstra, a Dutch photographer living in Spain. it is the sculpture garden of artist Peter Buchs near Pueblo de Benifasar, a small mountain village in the La Senia region, in the Maestrazgo mountains in Spain. Lots of photos at: www.petersgarden.org

North Face Ultra Light Down jacket

I took this jacket on a 6-week trip through Europe. It's really warm, light, highly compactable. I could stuff it in my small backpack along with all my other stuff and pull it out if it got cold. I love getting back to down after all the Patagonia synthetics. I'm putting it on every morning (over multiple layers) when I go out to our unheated office to start the day. Here's what North Face says about it:
"The ultimate, ultra-lightweight down jacket for outdoor athletes to sport in freezing conditions, the Thunder Jacket also serves as a stellar jacket in cold weather. "…this thermal jacket’s ample 800 fill down has a true sweater-like fit and compacts small, making it ideal for backcountry overnighters.": http://bit.ly/6T7koY

Incredible Bamboo Structures in Vietnam

Incredible bamboo architecture by Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia from environmentalgraffiti.com: http://bit.ly/6HMWnW

10 Amazing Buildings Made of Dirt and Straw

This from environmentalgraffiti.com, which is a great website. This photo, by Gerry Thomasen, caught my eye because it's almost identical with a photo of mine of a cob/driftwood house in British Columbia that appeared in our Builders of the Pacific Coast. Two photographers with the same eye. A lot of eclectic interesting stuff on this website. Some great shots of earthen domiciles at: http://bit.ly/6D5f87

Uggs Boots

I've owned maybe 3 pair of Uggs Australian sheepskin boots, all of them the soft ones favored by surfers. Each pair lasted me through maybe 3 winters. (Our office has very little heat, so we dress warmly, and warm feet are half the equation.) One problem was that in walking through wet grass, the sheepskin would soak up water. This time I got their Beacon model, which has leather on the lower part, and they are terrific, as well as good looking. About $200, and I couldn't find any discounted (other than for size 12-13), so I got them direct from Ugg: http://bit.ly/7WDc7C