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Film of 8-year-old Winning Dipsea Race This Year

Thanks to harkinna for sending me this link, showing 8-year-old Reilly Johnson winning this year's (100th anniversary) Dipsea race. The Dipsea is the oldest ross-country race in America, 7.2 miles from Mill Valley (Calif.), up 672 stairs, over a flank of Mt. Tamalpais, through canyons and fields to Stinson beach. It's an age-handicapped race: the older you are (or the younger, in Reilly's case), the more of a head start you get. I get the maximum head start of 23 minutes at my age (75), as did Melody Ann Schulz, a previous winner, and Reilly. (You can see me behind the 2 of them at the start.)

Hot Day Big Waves Whale Tail Fin on Beach

Hot day yesterday. After I finished my rounds in San Rafael, headed over the mountain and jumped in my regular creekside swimming hole, then on to Stinson Beach, where there were pounding waves; too big for surfers to make it out through the shorebreak. Tail fin of small whale on sand, below:
There seem to be a bunch of dead whales washing up on local beaches of late.

The Mighty Chiplings Blue Grass Band

Cool Water Swimming Hole Hot Day

Thursday afternoon, the river at Louie's, went skinny-dipping, lay in sun. It's about 7 ft. deep at far side. Day was hot, water co-o-old.

SolFest Solar Energy Festival Last Weekend in Ukiah

Lew has designed and redesigned our book-selling booth over the years, and he and Evan put it up Friday afternoon. There were two problems: first, was the hottest weather of the year. Secondly, previous SolFests were at the Real Goods headquarters in Hopland, with its green grass and ponds and general pleasant ambience, but the Ukiah Fairgrounds were way different. Hot and glaring. Hopefully they'll figure a way to move it back to Hopland next year.
We sold books and talked to a lot of like-minded people. One guy came up, pointed to the Shelter book, and said: “I'm a high-rise engineer in San Francisco, and I got my start with this book.”
I gave a talk on "The Half-acre Homestead in the 21st Century," what I've learned in about 50 years of home-made shelter and garden experience. I made a list of about 25 tools we use -- coffee roaster, cheese grater, table saw, garden shredder, grain grinders, etc. Not a complete list, but sampling of stuff we've found useful over the long haul. Posted at: http://www.shelterpub.com/_homestead/tools.html. I didn't take time to write reviews, just linked to further information for each item.
My laptop got trojan-horsed while I was on the road, so I couldn't post any photos for three days. Frustrating! I'm used to being able to get info out, and I love posting while traveling. now that I'm back in business, I'll put up photos from the trip.

Full Moon Fall Equinox Crystal Magic

This was Wednesday night, when I went to get something out of my truck. The moon, Jupiter below, and the green glint is the moonlight shining on the crystal at the top of Louie's shop (it's on the mast of the circular roof shown just above my truck in my posting of Sept 24, below).

A Few Photos in Ukiah This Weekend

Lew and I spent the weekend in Ukiah, manning our booth at SolFest, the solar energy festival. Ukiah is kind of a relief from the preciousness of Marin County. It's a real town, with real working people.

The Sun House, a redwood Craftsman bungalow home built in 1911 by John and Grace Hudson is adjacent to the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah.
Typical shit-kickin truck of the area…

Go to the post page…

This is a great blog. Full disclosure dept.: Claire's links to this blog led me to discover Loobylu.
"Loobylu is the personal web site of Claire Robertson.… I am a writer, illustrator, mama, crafter and procrastinator living and dreaming with my raggle-taggle family in a forest on small island in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. We have been here since August 2010. Before that we were suburb dwelling people who lived in Melbourne, Australia. We decided to make our lives a bit more of an adventure – you can read about that here."

Sunny Morning Latte Wi-Fi Coastal Organics Co-op Cafe in Pt. Arena

Here's my hangout at Louie's.
These days I shoot pix continually with my Canon Powershot S-90, which is always on me in fanny pack. When I want to get serious, I use my Panasonic Lumix G1; the latter replaced my 5-lb trusty Canon 20D. It's half the weight. Much the way that the Olympus OM-1 replaced Nikons back in the '70s. The Lumix G1 is a wonderful camera.
It's Friday, we had a great breakfast at the Trink cafe here in Pt. Arena. Local eggs, hickory-smoked rough-cut bacon. Last night we had dinner at Bones, a "blues and brews" pub in Gualala. The place was packed. Huge menu. Smoked everything, every dish was good, a restaurant in its own "sweet spot in time" at this very moment. Dark ale from the nearby Eel River brewery, tasted like chocolate.

North Along the Coast, Fall Equinox, Full Moon

I got off at 3 this afternoon, sunny, windy day, brilliant blue sky, on the road to Louie's. Country music on radio. Tomales Bay murky, with windcaps.
I love getting out on the road. Best of all is going down a never-before travelled road. In a small riverside village in Laos a couple of years ago, I met a young Serbian guy who said he never goes back to the same place, it's always new roads, new places.

Driving along, I was thinking of the beauty of the physical world, like the bleached-out whale vertebrae on the beach last night, the windswept tree on the hillside (above), the seashells I've been collecting. I put one days' haul of shells in a flat bamboo basket and just looked at the patterns and the iridescence of the irregular-surfaced rock oysters. Lesley has made a lot of abalone necklaces -- the beautiful colors, the way abalone catches the light, prettier to me than diamonds.
Thinking about the tiny houses book that is unfolding. Different than I imagined. I knew the subject was hot, but oh, the material we've got! Everyone's with us on this -- photographers, builders, architects some), dwellers, road travellers -- the book's already alive.

When I got to Timber Cove, the reggae got good. Eek-A-Mouse, Yellowman. Reggae goes with Mendocino/Humboldt-land. I like the pop-out window on the house at left.
Met Louie down at the cove, shot below panorama at sunset. Had Lost Coast dark ale, clam chowder, now out in Louie's shop on the river, in an exquisite little round bedroom looking out on a meadow and redwoods. Will try to post this mañana...

The cove in Pt. Arena at sunset last night.

Treehouse in the Woods, Whale Bones on the Beach, Taking Off For SolFest

Caffe `Roma Early Saturday Morning

Got up at 6, came into city early (thru foggy coastal dawn) to hang out at Caffe `Roma before going to a 9:30 Rolfing appointment (am in dire need some structural integration). And here, folks, at this moment, is the essence of nerd-dom, I'm wi-fi'g it with a MacBook Pro (13") laptop and listening to first bluegrass, now blues via Sirius satellite radio playing on an iPad with earphones. A long time comin' but it's all working now.
The above pic is a combo of two panoramas shot with a Sony Cybershot in my favorite North Beach cafe.
I tell you, this is so much fun, to explore the world, shoot photos and broadcast them like this. Baby, I've come a long way since I caught the essence of journalism from Captain Jack Patterson, our Lowell High School journalism teacher. Get the 5 "w's" in the first paragraph,etc. The bug bit.
Two things:
1. The tiny houses book is already way more than I anticipated. The material is more diverse than a book of just my photos, and it's opening up new layout avenues. Got maybe 44 pages more or less ready. Putting pages together totally randomly. The book shapes itself.
2. The iPad is just a marvel. With 3G I can get on anywhere there's cell phone reception. The battery is 8-10 hours. 24-hour non-commercial music alone is worth the price of admission. As I am ready to hit "Publish Post," Junior Wells is singing his tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson,"Help Me," a beautiful song!
Greetings from San Francisco…

Great Afternoon at the Beach

Although I grew up in San Francisco, I never got INTO the Pacific Ocean until one sunny Spring day in 1952. It was after a swim meet at Fleishacker Pool, a huge salt water pool at Ocean Beach. Jim Fisher, one of my swimming team mates, was a powerful swimmer and he said "Let's go bodysurfing." We walked across the Great Highway and swam out through the surf. There were good sized waves, and to this day I get a chill thinking of the joy I felt out there. The blue water, the movement of the surface, the power of the waves. I was a goner. Surfing, beachcombing, running on the beach, being on that edge of land/water ever since…
Yesterday I'd been in the studio working on the tiny houses book since 7 AM, so I took off about 3 to walk on the beach. When I got down there, Josh and Kenny were about to head out to fish for halibut.
"Want to come along, Lloyd, we've got an extra rod."
Hoo-eee, did I! It was brilliantly sunny, a bit windy, a fog bank a half-mile out in the ocean.

Pretty soon we're heading out through the surf and I'm the only one in the boat who's nervous. We make it through the last wave and the boat slams down, and we're in calm water. How different the land looks from the sea. Such a different perspective. They fished for an hour and a half (only one bite) and I shot pictures and exulted in just being out there.
Back to the beach for a long walk, shot a lot of pix, click below on "Read more:

Grafitti at Beach Yesterday Afternoon

Great Old House in Berkeley

Spotted this Tuesday morning. Could use a little TLC. Note brick fireplace/chimney.

Jesus — My Ribs

Yesterday afternoon I was getting gas in Mill Valley. A young guy pulled up to the pump behind me, got out and looked at the Velcro band I had across my chest.
"Bad back?" he asked.
No, I said, cracked ribs.
"Would you like me to pray for you to be healed in the name of Jesus?"
Sure, I said.
He asked my name, then came up to me, put a hand on my shoulder and said: "Lloyd, may you be healed in the name of Jesus."
Well I'll tell you what. I went for a slow shuffling run that night at the beach (the first in 6+ weeks) and no rib twinges at all. The day before I could hardly walk much less run, without pain.
Hallelujah, no shit.
Now Jesus — about my damaged knee…

6-minute Film of Lloyd and Home

SHELTER from Jason Sussberg on Vimeo.

In April, Jason Sussberg, a documentary film graduate student at Stanford, along with friends, made a 6-minute film of us and our home. They shot the film in 16mm film -- pretty unusual nowadays. I asked Jason why film, and he replied:

"It was shot on 16mm color celluloid and telecined (scanned/color-corrected digitally) and edited in a Final Cut Pro (a non-linear editing software). The 16mm color film fits the subject and architecture quite well-- both filmmaking and DIY homebuilding are beautiful artisanal crafts that are fighting for survival in a changing world. Film just looks better-- better colors, textures, motion interpolating and feeling!"

It has been shown at the Chicago International REEL Shorts Film Fest, San Francisco Documentary Festival, Big Sky Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival and Nevada City Film Festival.

Dawn Patrol Into Berkeley Today/Greatness of NYTimes

Sirius Outlaw Country music as I drove south along the cliffs of the coast a few hours ago.
Cant get offa this LA freeway
Without gettin killed or caught...
-Jerry Jeff Walker
I'm just an old lump of coal,
But I'm gonna be a diamond some day.
-Billy Joe Shaver, what a great songwriter + singer
Then an old raspy cowboy voice comes on: "Any one a you lily-livered varmints want to slap leather with me?"

SolFest Solar Energy Festival: Sept. 25-26, Ukiah, Calif.

SolFest got so popular that it was too large for the small town of Hopland. It  was cancelled in 2009, but is back on this year at The Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah, Calif. Info: http://www.solfest.org/

Our book Aerobic Tennis back in print

25 years ago we published Aerobic Tennis, by Bill Wright — how to use tennis to get in shape, to have fun while working out. Instead of running and going to the gym, you use tennis to stay fit. The idea was ahead of its time, for in recent years what's being called "Cardio Tennis' is this very idea. We've just now reprinted the book; it would make a great gift for a tennis player. Bill was head tennis coach at University of California at Berkeley and later the University of Arizona. In 2006 he was elected into the Intercollegiate Coaches Hall of Fame. Available here: http://shelterpub.com/_aerobic_tennis/at_book.html
I hung out with Bill for about a year while working on this book and we had some great adventures. I flew into Vail to meet him and work on the book late one summer. He picked me up at the airport and said he'd entered us both in a race the next day, which turned out to be a rough ross-country muddy 7-miler in the rain (at 9000' elevation). And to make matters worse, he beat me! Bill's high-energy, and it's infectious.

Closure With An Oak Tree

Yesterday I took a chainsaw and my pickup truck, and Marco and I went into the woods to cut up the oak tree that whacked me six weeks ago (to the day). I don't suffer cracked ribs gladly; in fact I'm a real wimp about malfunctioning body parts. As I've been moping around the past month, I decided I wanted that tree. I had a connection…
A few weeks ago, I rode my bike out to where the tree was, and piled branches on top of it so no other homesteader would see that here was a half years' supply of high quality firewood lying right there on the shoulder of the road.
It went perfectly. No rangers to stop us. I cut it up and Marco loaded it. It was a fine thing to do: we cleaned up the road; we've got oak to heat us this winter. As I explained to a ranger one day, this is a renewable resource, so that I'm not using non-renewable resources for heat, like coal to generate electricity, or oil or propane to run a furnace,
I'm going to slab out some 1 inch thick pieces, seal it, stick it, and clamp it to dry, then make a box, or a stool. Hey, I like the idea of a stool!

Mud and Magic in the Lagoon

Around 3 yesterday afternoon, I took my paddle board down to the channel and paddled back up into the lagoon. The tide was going out, and the water was about as warm as it gets, maybe 63°. Parked my board on this sandbar, stripped down, smeared black thick mud on every part of my body I could reach, then let the sun bake it in for a few minutes, then took 5-10 minutes to rinse off. Going back, I let the tide carry me along (plus ribs were not feeling too great). It was totally still, not a person within miles. A young egret with black beak and chartreuse (I kid you not!) legs was standing on the bank. I didn't move a muscle, just let the current carry me, and I got within 20 feet of him. Back at the dock, fisherman-surfer Andrew was tying up his boat, and loading 3 halibut into an ice chest. Then he jumped in the water and swam around for a bit. A magic afternoon.

Tiny House Book Mojo

Professional book packagers would be aghast at the way I put together a book. Assemble material (photos and text) for over a year, store in file folders, then at certain point pull best material out and begin laying out a spread -- 2 pp. at a time. Random, no order. No plan or outline, no idea how things will fit together; just here the requirement that shelters be under 500 sq. ft.
It's a wild mix so far -- about 40 pages roughed out -- and the book has now got its first trace of a mojo workin.

Book starting to run through my mind all the time. I've read how novelists get into a thing where they (authors) are just transmitting what their characters are telling them. Or maybe it's muses at work. It feels a bit like that now, a natural process, a seed growing. Exciting! This is the best part of my job, watching all this unfold.

Roadkill Deer/Window-Bashed Quail/Homemade Bread/Wailing Souls

Yesterday I was driving over to a doctor's appointment (MRI scan of left knee). I spotted a dead fawn on the road along the lagoon. I didn't have much time. Parked, found the little critter, although stone dead, still warm. Tossed him in back of truck, got a bag of ice, did my over-the-hill chores, came home and gutted, skinned, and cut up the carcass into chunks which are now aging in the pantry and I'll cut up and freeze tonight. Tonight I'll have some of the liver, some of the heart and a kidney with a glass of red wine. Talk about win-win! 20 pounds of tender, flavorful, “organic,” meat, power-packed protein from what would in most cases rot and decompose.
MOREOVER, A few nights before, Mary brought over three dead quail that had crashed into her window. Heavens no, she couldn't think of eating them1 I cleaned, then stuffed them with onions, little olive oil, salt and pepper, baked at 450º maybe 15 minutes (maybe 10), had with salad, red wine, fresh baked bread still warm from oven.

This foggy morning, a flock of blackbirds in the Eucalyptus tree, singing their hearts out, a multi--tonal symphony, and now The Wailing Souls on Sirius reggae station doing "Oh, What A Feeling."
So I say Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh what a feeling…
It's on Firehouse Rock, classic Wailing Souls album.

Mighty Hunter

The 6th mouse I trapped in about 3 days. I think this wipes out the family. BTW, you can mummify a little critter like this (or say a dead hummingbird, if you find one) by placing it on a pie plate in the freezer, wrapped in Saran wrap with air holes punched in it, and leave it for about two months. I learned this at a workshop on bones at The Bone Room, a great natural history store in Berkeley, Calif.

Note: they have invented a better mouse trap. The Ortho 0321110 Home Defense Max Press 'N Set Mouse Trap has a "bait well" that you fill with peanut butter, so the trap is sprung by mouse digging around in it; this solves the problem of mouse deftly removing bait without springing trap. Ortho also makes a rat trap with the same feature.

On the Beach on Labor Day

Shells, Skulls from Beach Last Night

Not sure about the big skull (which animal, that it). I'm going to bleach it in hydrogen peroxide. The seagull skull is a nice one, going to get it stripped down and bleach. I want to retain the yellow color of the beak. Most of the shells shown here are these thin translucent wafers. They have slight iridescence like abalone shell colors. I've strung them together to make windchimes. I don't know what they are, can't find them in our books on seashells.

On the Beach Yesterday Afternoon

Primitive Technology-Traditionl Skills and Handmade Tools

Great website Lew discovered, with tons of info: making bows and arrows, atlatls, flutes, a dugout canoe hollowed out from a redwood log, tanning hides, building an Ohlone tule house (San Francisco Bay tribe). Scroll down on right side to see all the subjects. http://www.primitiveways.com/

Internet Archive of Old Books, Movies, etc.

Bob Gagnier has sent me a bunch of good info over the past year. The latest:

Dear Lloyd,

I am sure you have heard of the Internet Archive. I send this to you on the odd chance that you have not. The site is a treasure trove of old books, movies, music, etc., all in the public domain. A link to the site is here:

Dog Dances at Family Jam/Swarm of Bees

I've been getting some great comments on the blog lately, some of which I'm putting out front, like this one.

"masterofhounds has left a new comment on your post 'Couple Seeking Bona Fide Inexpensive Eco-Opportunity in New England':

You guys should move to Northern California. New England has lost the Back to the Land flair it had in the 1970's-80's. Wild crafting with your dog, that screams Bay Area!

Full Bleed: New York City Skateboard Photography

Fabulous photo book of NYC skaters by Alex Corporan, Andre Razo, and Ivory Serra. This photo is a stunner. Credited as: Dan Pensyl. C Squat ramp, by Patrick O'Dell. 2002.
Double entendre of "Full Bleed," in case you don't know: in book layout, photos that run off all four sides of a page with no margin are referred to as "full bleed." Blood also being dues all skaters pay from time to time.

Us Water People

Got this comment (some times I like to bring them up center stage):
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post: Cold Mountain Pool on Hot Day:
Its a great image Lloyd and it looks like a beautiful spot.
It brings back memories for me of walking in Ireland with my cousin, on a quiet path high on a wooded hillside we found a stream and a deep pool among pine trees, being young and somewhat impulsive we threw ourselves in. Cold was an understatement! but it was great fun. Its one of those fond memories that has stuck with me over the years.
I hope the mountain spirits and the fresh energy there continues to treat you well.

I've always loved being in the water. Yesterday it was really hot and at day's end I -— heh-heh -- snuck into a tule-lined irrigation pond on a nearby ranch, slipped in through the tules, and swam in the cool water. Changed my metabolism, energy level, and attitude. Exquisite end to tough day.
Here's a family story that may explain some of this attitude: When we were kids, my family would go camping at a remote lake in the Sierras where my Dad and his trout-fishing buddies had built a cabin. We slept on a deck under the stars, took a boat across the lake to fill up a milk jug with cold spring water, picked gooseberries, saw bear tracks, and played in the lake. One day when I was 4, the story goes, I slipped off the dock and fell in the lake. My Dad was nearby and reached down and grabbed me by my overalls and pulled me up. I remember to this day looking around in wonder at the underwater world; I wasn't afraid. My Dad asked, "What were you thinking when you were under water." I said, " I was going to turn on my putt-putt (my word for outboard motor) and come up." This story got told many times over the years.

Old English Country Cottages

Below comment on my posting of last week revealed that the entire out-of-print book (a treasure) is available via Google. Here's one of the color paintings (not by Sydney Jones):

"depatty has left a new comment on your post Old English Country Cottage":

Just FYI. Old English Country Cottages is available from Google Books at http://is.gd/eLCqO for viewing and PDF download. Thanks for posting about it, it has some really nice illustrations!


Cold Mountain Pool on Hot Day

Walked a few miles on the mountain yesterday, the heat felt good, then immersed in magic pool. Did wai bow to canyon, then in all 4 directions, homage to mountain spirits.

Alone in the Wilderness/Building Log cabin