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Jumping for Joy

"A short video that shows two young men with exceptional balance and leaping ability climbing buildings."

"Monday Monday, so good to me…"

"Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be…"
Well, sort of, although I'm still banged up (seeing orthopedic doc tomorrow, probably looking at a knee operation).
Title above inspired by seeing the Mommas and Poppas on a special Ed Sullivan retrospective last night. The Beatles, the Doors, Stones, Beach Boys, all these great acts in their infancy. Interestingly, the Beatles sounded rough doing "I Want To Hold Your Hand"; harmonies on their (later) recording of same song much better.
Photo: dinner last night. Bantam Auraucana rooster (offed last week) makes perfect meal for two, split, marinated, and barbecued. Roast potatoes, beets; steamed cauliflower all from garden. Louie's Zinfandel. Pretty local, huh?
This blog: I just realized that it's become a community of voices. I'm getting the greatest feedback. Kindred spirits. Jeez, what a lot of wonderful stuff is going on out there. Watch for postings on Sept. 2nd,3rd, and 4th, all from blog feedback.

Opaque Graffiti NorCal Beach

Old English Country Cottage

Sydney R. Jones was an English artist around the turn of the century who did exquisite drawings of English country life. Back in the 70s, I collected a number of books (via printed catalogs and mail order) with drawings and photos of English cottages. This drawing is from the book Old English Country Cottages, published in 1906. Note  the four beehives (skeps).

Crystal Crown of Tower

Our hexagonal tower with its new shake roof. Shakes hand-split by Bruno Atkey on Vancouver Island, applied by Billy Cummings (I was recovering from a wrist operation). There's a 6-sided copper cap, a piece of 3/4" copper pipe, which is flared out at the end and holds a quartz crystal from Nepal (that I got at the Green Festival in San Francisco). If you're standing in the right spot at the right time of day, it sparkles in the sunshine. (Got the idea from my friend Louie Frazier.)

Outdoor/Indoor Sleeping

Lew discovered this great sleeping platform on http://thistinyhouse.com. I traced it back to http://is.gd/eFdz4, but there's no indication of where it is, or who shot the photo. I might just build something like this. The roof keeps fog and dew off the bed, yet the steep angle allows you to see a lot of the sky. Can anyone track this down?

Couple Seeking Bona Fide Inexpensive Eco-Opportunity In New England

Dear Lloyd Kahn and Co.,
My 45 year-old English husband, who has a log house-building qualification from the Log and Timber School in Vancouver, and I, a 35 year-old New Yorker with excellent knowledge of gardening and gathering wild foods (notably the growing of herbal plants), are looking for a suitable training opportunity to commence as soon as possible.

Melting in the Heat/Feather in the Air/Layouts on the Drafting Table

Yesterday was brutal. 100º. Us Northern Calif. coastal people are weather wimps. If it's 90 we start melting. If it's 35, we get frostbite. So this 3-day heat wave, where it went from high 40's (at night) to 60º higher, was a shock. Lew and I worked in the office yesterday, whew! At the end of the day I went down to the beach. The water coming out of the lagoon was relatively warm, maybe 60s, and I stood waist-deep in the cool water. The stress of the day vapoorized. Dove in, body cooled. A young local surfer/skater bro came walking by in the shallows, and said, "Paradise!"

A few days ago, some doves flew off when Lesley walked out to feed the chickens, and she reached up and grabbed a feather in mid-air that was floating down. Very delicate little 2" feather. Seemed like a good omen.

Here's a rough photo of some rough layouts of the tiny houses book. I am having fun!

Round House for Sale in Vermont

I am selling the 20 sided house that I built in Topham, VT ten years ago. The house is almost round and has great southern exposure with lots of windows on the south side. It has a massive central chimney made of old concrete road culvert tiles that holds heat well and distributes it throughout the space. The main timbers for walls, floors and roof are softwood poles harvested locally. The top floor is wide pine boards, with some 24" boards. The sole source of heat is a woodstove and the water for the clawfoot tub is heated by a gas fired on-demand hot water heater. Water is gravity fed and comes from a spring.

Joe Golden

Traditional Stilt House in Western Greece

Traditional stilt house in the lagoon of Messolongi, Western Greece. Until 1700, Messolonghi was under the control of Venice. Its inhabitants were mostly fishermen who lived in cabins called "pelades, "made of a kind of waterproof straw and reed and standing on stilts above the water.

Oh what a beautiful morning!/Silver Seabright Chickens

The weather completely changed yesterday. After two months of fog every day (since July 4th), the fog bank receded out into the ocean, and it got warm. It's warmer today. This morning I hauled myself out of bed and walked over to the cliffs to watch the sunrise. The air smells delicious.
I've got rough layouts of 22 pages on the tiny house done now. Doing these layouts is my favorite part of my work. It took about a year to assemble all this information, and now there's momentum going in putting it together. This is going to be a great book!
I fell in love with Silver Seabright chickens at a county fair a couple of years ago and now we're raising a good number of them. This is one of our teenagers. On Saturday, I offed 4 teenage roosters, one we had for dinner that night, and three are in the freezer. We've also got about 28 juveniles (3 months old), and that will mean about another 14 roosters for the freezer when they start fighting with each other in a couple of months. We try to keep the ratio of one rooster to every 12 hens.

“Kiitcha” Traditional Native Housing California Indians

Made of willow branches and tule leaves, these were the dwellings of the Acjachemen Indians in the San Juan Capistrano area in California (south Orange County). In front are "gossip rocks,' where women pounded acorns.

Display of Old Italian Farming & Carpentry Tools

"In Museo Guatelli's central room, a former granary, the collector's traditional farming implements have been intricately arranged into expansive, interlinked patterns."
It's from Museo Guatelli: http://www.museoguatelli.it/

Spotted this at: http://is.gd/ewKGx

Stoplying2me Blog

My blog had 20 hits from this website-with-great-name, so looked it up. It's really nice. Simple, honest, human. You can relate to Monica and Brian. http://stoplying2me.blogspot.com/

"We planned on sleeping out just one night, possibly two, and then going back to sleeping indoors on work nights, which are during the week for us. We were worried we wouldn't get a good nights sleep, BUT, after being out there for two weeks and enjoying it so much, we are no longer worried about that.

I still find it amazing how the tiniest of efforts and just little changes can have a huge impact.

I can sneeze, Lord, I can sneeze!/Tiny House Book Rolling

I've been three weeks today nursing a rib injury. I've learned how to stifle sneezes, because if I don't, it feels like a red-hot poker in the ribs. But today, a sneeze slipped through, and there was just a tinge of pain. Yahoo! The body does recover…
What with a damaged knee (lower body), and banged-up ribs (upper body), it's been a grim month. I need exercise, and when it's lacking, the brain and energy level are flagging. Today things felt a lot better.
Also, I got six pretty good page layouts of the tiny houses book done. Definitely rolling.
Fire on cold night last week

It Was 20 Years Ago Today…

Glenda walked into the office a few days ago and said, “It was 42 years ago today when I saw the Beatles in Atlanta.”
How did you like it? I asked.
“Oh, I was one of those screaming idiots,” she said.
Her words rang a bell. Later That afternoon, it popped into my head:
It was twenty years ago today,
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years,
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

(Smile if you can hear the horns right now.)
Like when JFK was shot, I remember exactly where I was when I first heard that album. 1000 feet above the ocean on a Big Sur hillside, housesitting for friends on a dark night in June, 1967, fire burning. What is this?  An out-of-the-blue album, a happy rock opera, with English music hall tradition, it was a jolt of joy.

3200-mile Tandem Bike Trip

Eric and Jane Sangster, after their 3200-mile cross-country tandem bike adventure

Kate, the daughter of Mary, our office manager, got married on Saturday. Kate's cousins, Eric and Jane Sangster, decided to ride a tandem bike from their home in Nova Scotia out to the West Coast for the wedding. They left Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in mid-May, rode down the east coast to Virginia,and then headed west. They got as far as Nebraska, weren't going to make it to the wedding on time, so took a train to Oakland. Unloaded their bike, took it on a ferry to San Francisco, then rode across the Golden gate Bridge and out to Bolinas. I shot pic Saturday. They loved their adventures. See: http://is.gd/eknZV

CBS re-run of "America's Dream Homes" (with Lloyd) this Sunday

I'm still amazed and amused that our simple handbuilt home got on the CBS Sunday morning show in May. It's being rerun this Sunday (Aug. 21), 9 AM East Coast time, 6 AM (ulp!) West Coast time.
Link to show: http://is.gd/gCPiw

Shelter Inspires Owner-Builder

In the mail this week:

Mr Lloyd Khan
A girlfriend gave me your Shelter book a few years ago and it was instrumental in helping me think that it was OK to build what I wanted to build, and still conform to all the rules I had to face.
My story (short version): After a summer of river rafting I was pretty much homeless and headed for the land I had bought for $4000 a few years earlier. I built a shack (with a lot of help from my parents) in the fall, early winter; out of found materials - except the 8 by 8 hand-hewn Basswood posts i traded for a video about a local Arborist company - and 2 by 6 plywood floor which I bought. All else, foam, tin, windows, were from the garbage or very cheap.

Walk Down Canyon

Friday I rode my bike out to a nearby canyon and walked down it. It has a year-round creek that supports tall trees and lush ferns, and a thriving bird population.
Botom: native California snail (much different from the common garden variety snails that came from Europe).

Huge Round Barn near Red Cloud, Nebraska

Yesterday I got an email from Cheryl Long, editor of The Mother Earth News. She'd seen my photo of the round barn in Vermont (posting of Aug. 6) and wrote:
"Speaking of round barns, here's the one my sister owns and is trying to raise money for a new roof. We think it is the largest round barn in the world! http://www.starkeroundbarn.com/ It has this unusual framing system that we don't know what to call it--big beams just held together by the weight of the building--3 stories high--almost no braces or pegs, no mortise/tenons. Do you know what it's called? Seems pretty rare."

Claude Drolet's Gargoyle Garage in Québec

In this morning's mail:

Hello Lloyd, hope everything is fine in your life.

I send you a picture of a construction call: "Garage à gargouilles" (in English Gargoyle’s garage) that I did some 10 years ago (most of my building have a name. Some curves look like to the house of Lloyd House that is in your marvellous book: Builder of Pacific Coast, which I discover only last year.…Claude Drolet from Québec

Arthur Espenet Carpenter: Education of a Woodsmith

Press release: "Art Carpenter, self-taught woodworker writes about his process of becoming a designer of innovative and creative furniture. His book, 160 pages with magnificent color photographs, has been over 20 years in the writing.…
'Name a contradiction, and Art Carpenter lived it. He was a square among hippies; a master craftsman who knew how to cut (or at least round) corners; a modernist with a rustic aesthetic; a much-revered icon who disliked being an object of attention. Even his name seemed to embody the happy union of two things normally kept apart. Though he hated the pun, it fit him perfectly. He was indeed a woodworker with deep aesthetic sense, or put the other way round, a born artist who knew how to get things done.'" -Glenn Adamson, head of graduate studies at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
To order: Send $55 (includes tax and shipping) payable to Arthur Carpenter III to 120 Mountain Lane, Mill Valley, CA 94941.

Great Website for Converting a Van for Living

Info-heavy website reviewed by Kevin Kelly on his CoolTools:
"Roomier than a car, but cheaper than an RV, a retrofitted van makes a cool inexpensive house. Once popular during hippie days, the ancient American tradition of modifying a van is undergoing a resurgence as rents continue to rise. More folks each year commute from work and then park their home, instead of parking in front of it. On this lovely free website, you can find inspiring examples of cheap nomads, detailed instructions for conversions, gear recommendations, and lots of advice for living in a low rent or homemade RV from 'them that's doin' it.' -kk"

Bill Castle Built a Home for $10,000 in 10 Days

I met Bill Castle in Costa Rica about 20 years ago. He and his wife Barb were running a B&B just south of Puerto Limón on the Caribbean. Bill was a real builder, had built bridges before dropping out and creating a village in the woods of downstate New York called Pollywogg Holler. He ended up being one of the 3 featured builders in HomeWork: Handbuilt Shelter.
He's an extraordinary builder. Chris McvClellan wrote an article for The Mother Earth News last year on his $10,000 house, anf I got reminded of it by Lew on his Shelterpub Facebook page. Article here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Homes/Timber-Frame-Homes.aspx

Arched Barn by Christopher Chilcote, Northern California

Christopher Chilcote is a designer/builder in Anderson Valley, Northern California. He uses salvaged lumber when possible.  Note way clear story is extension of one side of curved roof. Nice!
Pics of his arched barn at: http://millkat.com/MILLKAT/Portfolio.html
Discovered by Lew Lewandowski

Tiny Greenhouse in San Francisco

In backyard of The General Store, 1899 Irving Street, San Francisco.
Recycled materials. Cool neighborhood.

Monday Morning Blues and News

New graffiti on beach: the taggers were down there working yesterday. I love this art form. Totally guerrilla, has nothing to do with the art world. Spontaneous, tough, decentralized, no $$$. Look at the lips here, the eyes. It's on a corner of the seawall.
Vintage whine: I've been moping around big-time. My face and head healed up pretty fast from getting hit by a rolling log last week, but the cracked ribs are the bummer. There's a brotherhood of guys who have had rib injuries. My friend Paul Wingate says, “Please God, don't let me sneeze.” Can't run, can't paddle, Lord, life is bleak when the limbs are stationary. BUT, I'm starting to feel a bit better, going to take the long walk this afternoon.
iPad Stretches: could we have a hit here? It's been downloaded 1500 times in its first 10 days out there.  Rick just wrote me: "It's currently listed as the #3 free offering in the Health, Body & Mind category of the iBookstore." iPad users check it out. It's free.
Tiny house book: I've got so much material this could easily be a series. I'm just about ready to start laying out

Round Timber Framing in the UK

Outdoor classroom at Sustainability Centre in South Downs National Park, U.K
On 5/13/10, I got this email:

Dear Lloyd,
My name is Jack I'm 28 and a carpenter, I live in a town called Bridport in the south west coast of England. I've been a fan of your building books ever since a friend showed me a copy of Shelter in Spain when I was helping him build a cob house. I had never seen or heard of such structures before I went to help in 2003, He was using your book as a guide to build his house (which has been extremely successful); since then your other books have been and still are a true inspiration to my love of natural earth born structures. I have been working for a conservation building company for the last 5 years and want a change, something that will lead me to constructing unique and innovative buildings.

Plain House, Nice Garden, Berkeley

Shows what you can do with vegetation. Somewhere down around 4th St. in Berkeley. There are tons of great homes in Berkeley and Oakland. I keep jumping out of the car and shooting pictures when I'm in the East Bay.

New - iPad Stretches Available Free

Our (free) stretching reminder for iPad users is now available. It's in the "books" category on your iPad. When you click on one of the images shown here, it opens to a page with the instructions for that stretch — a reminder to take a stretching break during your digital day. iPad users, see: http://bit.ly/ipadstretches

We made it free in hopes of generating interest in our program StretchWare, ("The software that reminds you to stretch"). You can download StretchWare free for 30 days at: http://bit.ly/Stwrdnld. Works great on Mac and Windows.

Round barn in Vermont

This round barn is at The Round Barn Farm Bed & Breakfast in Waitsfield, Vermont.

SunRay Kelley's Solar and Biofuel-powered Hybrid Road Vehicle

Sun Ray Kelly is building a unique rolling home (which will be featured in our book on tiny houses). Inspired by gypsy caravans, he got a vintage 1984 Toyota dolphin camper vehicle (1-ton rear axle), demolished the camper shell, and built a canted-wall, curved-roof frame out of recycled aluminum. Called the Gypsy Wagon, it's got a wild new shape and a unique solar/electric/diesel hybrid power plant.
The sides are cedar, there's a forward solarium, a stained glass rear window, and a back porch. There will be 3000 watts of solar panels (some of which will fold down), two 156 volt banks of lithium iron phosphate batteries, and a 12 inch GE electric motor. The Toyota's gas motor has been removed and a four-cylinder 1500 cc diesel motor installed that will run on bio diesel.
The batteries will be charged 3 different ways: one, by plugging into a standard 110-volt electrical outlet; two, by the PV array installed on the roof and wings; and three, by a 26-kw Perkins diesel powered generator (a "gen-set"). As SunRay explains, “Trains have for years been run with an electric motor powered by a diesel generator.”
Sunray is a brilliant (and competent) builder. Click on the link below, then go to the slideshow at the bottom of the page and click on the arrow to see some 2-page spreads of his work in Builders of the Pacific Coast: http://www.shelterpub.com/_builders/BPC-book.html
Any green angel investors out there? SunRay, as usual, is working on a shoestring, and could use financial backing. It's a wonderful project that will enlighten and inspire people to utilize alternative sources of energy and recycled materials. Contact him at: sunray@sunraykelley.com,  all and stay tuned in here for progress

Handmade Envelope

Pretty nice huh? Can't remember who sent it.

Skunk Skin

I pick up roadkill animals. OK? I'm out of the closet with it now. I've been doing so for years. Food and fur. This is my second skunk skin. He was in the outdoor freezer for about a year until I skinned him a month or so ago. Most skunks release their odor when hit on the road. But once in a while one will get bopped on the head and not have time to release its musk oil out into the world.
I've got skins of squirrels, raccoons, a fox, a beautiful bobcat, a weasel, and a white spotted baby deer skin.  I love the idea of taking something that's otherwise going to rot on the road, and turning it into a beautiful object.
Technique: I skin the animal, stretch the skin on a piece of plywood tack it down, cover it with salt, and then in a week, ship it UPS to a tanning guy in Pennsylvania. Six weeks later I get back (via UPS) a tanned skin. This one was surprisingly pretty, glossy and rich.
Also, I collect skulls and bones, mostly in the woods, sometimes on the beach, and clean and bleach them. Bones fascinate me. Nature is a marvelous designer and engineer.

Apple Core Skull

Sent me by Godfrey Stephens. Neither of us know where it's from.

Latest Gimme Shelter Newsletter

I send out an e-mail newsletter called Gimme Shelter whenever I get time. The mailing list includes people in the publishing business and friends. It used to be about monthly, but since I've been blogging, it's been less frequent. You can see the latest one at: http://www.shelterpub.com/_gimme/_2010-07-29/gimme_shelter-2010-07-29.html

Rice paddy art in Japan

"Every year since 1993, the villagers of Inakadate, Japan, have created pictures in the local rice paddies as a way of attracting tourists to the area.…The original paddy art was formed by using two varieties of rice plants, one with dark purplish stalks and the other bright green. In recent years, genetically engineered plants have been added to produce three more colors: dark red, yellow and white.…"
Photo: Shiho Fukada for The New York Times