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Tiny Homes book is taking shape…

I post stuff here on daily observations, but the most important thing going on in my life right now is working on our tiny homes book. By the time we get it out, it will have been 3 years in between major building books, the last having been Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008).

For a year I gathered info, filing it away in 5th-cut files folders (one thing I learned in my 5 years as an insurance broker was the importance [and technique] of filing). For the past few months, I've been doing layouts, 2 pages at a time, in no particular order. I grab a folder, print out pics, write or get text from contributors, and do a rough layout by taping down pics (which I size on a Brother DCP-9040CN color copy machine) and text with removable scotch tape.
This is old school, to say the least. These days, designers lay out picture books on Macintoshes, for Christ's sake. My method is way slower, but I'm not locked into a digital process in the creative stages. I think you get a different product this way (kind of like rice tastes best when cooked slowly on a wood stove).
Next, our art director David Wills refines the pages, doing a new layout. This then goes to Macmeister Rick, who builds files for the printers (in inDesign). Rick has just done 4 rough 2-page spreads to get us started, so we can see what the book is going to look like.  (In pic above, top right spread is of Lloyd House's van conversion on an island in British Columbia.)

Another of Lesley's quilts

Quick shot of quilt during Lesley's Open Studio weekend.

More of her quilts (see below): http://www.lesleycreed.com/

2 more beach pics last night & this morning + surfer's vintage panel truck

"Let me walk in beauty…"
-Chief Yellow Lark, 19th-century medicine man of the Lakota Sioux


Josh and Robbie heading out to check crab pots

It's a phenomenal year for crabs. Lots of them, lots of big ones. These guys that go out through the surf have my utmost respect. Both going out and coming back in are not for the faint-hearted. Skill and experience required. They have to know where the (shifting) channel is, and make a lot of right moves to prevent being turned upside down by the waves.

Sunset behind tower last week

Shakes by Bruno, shaking by Billy

Lesley's quilts - open studio + In and around the homestead late Nov. 2010

Billy came to the door yesterday afternoon with an abalone he'd got a few hours earlier, and two big crabs. Lesley's had a ton of people over at her "Open Studio" this weekend, so last night we had abalone and white rice, a simple and wonderful meal. Tonight cracked crab.
In the words of Josh the fisherman, "The ocean's really healthy here right now." (Can you believe good news like this nowadays?)
I went out for a paddle in the lagoon Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Late afternoon, I couldn't believe how cold the water was and only my hands and arms were in it. Turned out to be San Francisco's coldest day in 100 years. Took an hour to get warm by the wood stove.

Lesley's studio will be open tomorrow (Sunday Nov. 28)  She's working on a beautiful quit right now of Japanese fabrics. She's also got necklaces, hand-woven shawls, and a bunch of quilts.
Info if you're in the neighborhood (West Marin): http://www.coastalmarinartists.com/
Also: http://www.lesleycreed.com/

Tuba Skinny - New Orleans street band

Great jug band. I love the tuba! If you go to their website and click on "Music," you can play their whole album. Such good stuff.
Got this from boingboing

Danny MacAskill - "Way Back Home" - NEW street trials riding short film

Unbelievable bike riding. Sent us by Steve Maxon.
"Way Back Home is the incredible new riding clip from Danny MacAskill, it follows him on a journey from Edinburgh back to his hometown Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye."

You can read about it and watch the interviews with Danny at http://www.redbull.co.uk/waybackhome

Fog coming in from Ocean

After a week or so of warm weather, the fog rolled in last night at sunset. This is on Panoramic Highway near Mountain Home Inn, Mill Valley. Ocean (in background) blanketed in fog.

Google collage by Jenny Odell

"The Satellite Collection is a series of six digital prints that I made by collaging cut-out imagery from (the) Google Satellite. Each one is printed and framed at 24"x24."
-Jenny Odell

"Just finished the last one of the group of prints I’ll be showing at the final MFA exhibition; this one is called 195 Yachts, Cargo Ships, Tankers, Barges, Riverboats, Hospital Ships, Cruise Lines, Ferries, Military Ships, and Motorboats. A couple of them are from our very own San Francisco."

Crabs and eggs

It looks like the best crab season in 3 years. By virtue of loaning my crab pot to Boone and Billy, I've been getting fresh crabs a few times a week. A typical San Francisco meal is cracked crab, sourdough garlic bread, salad, red wine or beer.
The Dungeness crab is a marvel of nature. They're out there crawling all over the bay and ocean bottom, scavenging. The meat is sweet, high in protein and minerals. A local resource that hasn't been killed off, hallelujah!

Josh, local fisherman, told me a while ago, "The ocean (here) is healthy!"

Commercial crab season opened today.

Below are 6 pullet eggs (bantam Auracanas and Silver Seabrights) for an omelete. I love these little eggs. I think bantams are probably more efficient (feed/output ratio) than full-size birds. Also, bantams make a lot more sense in urban, suburban, or near-neighbors' locales.

Launch of new book on lawyer Tony Serra — Sat. Nov 20, 5PM, San Francisco

There was a "60 Minutes" program on Tony maybe 20 years ago. So I don't have to explain who he is, go to:

"Meet Tony Serra and author/artist Paulette Frankl at the book launch at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at Fort Mason Center, Room C-370.
LUST FOR JUSTICE: The Radical Life and Law of J. Tony Serra (ISBN # 0-615-38683-0) is the first and only book to appear about San Francisco’s charismatic counter culture lawyer, acclaimed one of the ten top criminal defense lawyers of the century. His long career has made him an icon of the underdog and a champion of civil rights leaders, a hero to some, a trickster to others, always a force to be reckoned with in court.
More about LUST FOR JUSTICE can be seen at http://www.lustforjustice.net/

Partially-full disclosure: Tony's one of my oldest friends (55+ years!). Little is it known that I introduced Tony to marijuana in the '60s. We smoked it over ice cubes, then went out to hear jazz sax player Art Pepper at a Fillmore district club. Tony kept saying, "I don't feel anything…"

Review of Builders of the Pacific Coast

Great review by Keith Goetzman in the Utne Reader blog. It's so great when someone gets it.
"…a photo-splashed book full of amazing, rustic, wood-built dwellings and shelters on islands and in other remote seaside locations in the Pacific Northwest.
The area's huge trees and ubiquitous driftwood lend themselves to curvaceous, organic design, and these builders take full advantage of these qualities in structures that range from a Hobbit-like gazebo to a spherical treehouse to grand but still-earthy luxury homes and spas. Many of the homes are reachable only by boat and perched in impossibly beautiful settings.
There's a strong countercultural thread to these builders, many of whom were inspired by Kahn's 1973 book Shelter, a bible of sorts for that decade's back-to-the-land movement. And Kahn's laid-back writing style is full of metaphysical allusions and meandering asides about his travels, giving it a whiff of patchouli and B.C. bud. But looking at these homes, it's hard to doubt that there's 'a vortex of creative carpentry energy in this part of the world,' as the book states. Moss roofs, bentwood railings, hand-carved details, natural motifs, and Native influences complement the area's mossy, foggy splendor and speak to its natural and human history.…"
Photo: loft in dome by SunRay Kelley in Builders of the Pacific Coast

Road kill fox

People hereabouts often alert me to roadkill animals. Marco and I were out getting firewood today and he told me he'd seen a fox that had been hit and killed last night. We drove over there and I picked up this little beauty. I'll skin it tonight, stretch it out, tack it down to a piece of plywood, and salt it down. After a week I'll send it via UPS to a tanner in Pennsylvania. 6-8 weeks later I'll get a beautiful tanned skin back via UPS.

Stretching and walking: advice by Bob Anderson

Bob, author of our book Stretching, was recently interviewed by the San Jose Mercury News. An excerpt:
"The idea with stretching is to at least maintain what you have. Not to necessarily achieve super flexibility. I also think exercise and activity work best when you’re not on a team — because you don’t need to meet any standard but your own. When other people are making you do things, your body isn’t taken into account. So you’ve got to be careful of group classes. I’m not going to touch my toes before I even know how far I can stretch. And as you get older and stay active, you need to find activities that agree with you. I’m asked “What are the best activities?” and I often say, “Anything you’ll do regularly.” If you can walk, that’s what you should do. Because that’s what you always want to be able to do in your life. Walking is the one act that will allow us to remain independent and stay fit."
Click here for Travelers Stretches. Print out so you can stretch while in the airplane and in hotel room while traveling.

Masters of American Music: Bluesland

This is a wonderful documentary of the blues. Skillfully woven together, soulful, all good stuff. So many documentaries are frustrating, but this one gets it right. Robert Palmer's comments are insightful. Some of the cuts are scratchy sounding, and there are traffic (or train sounds) during Albert Murray's comments, but it's all the real thing. It was on the Ovation channel last week. I just ordered the DVD (I rarely order movies these days). Photo at left of Son House (what a beautiful man!) ; he's talking about musicians either playing for the Devil or God. Bessie Smith, Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Boy Williamson, a young John Lee Hooker…I'm going to film a couple of segments and will post later on.
Gypsy woman told my mother
Before I was born,
You got a boy child's comin
Gonna be a son of a gun,
He gonna make pretty women
Jump and shout…
-Muddy Waters in 1960 at the Newport Jazz Festival

Snowboarding that's hard to believe

This is like science fiction. They're called Thirty Two Team. Sheesh!

Tiny house in Sweden

​The basic module is 15 sq meters, and named "friggebod" in Sweden. In Sweden 15 sq meter does not require a building permit.
​ONE+ is complete from start and is provided with electrical outlets as well as WC, shower and kitchen if wanted."

Chicken and Egg page at The Mother Earth News

Weird abandoned concrete house in Kansas

This strange poured-concrete abandoned house is in Shawnee county (near Topeka), Kansas, and was sent to us by Cheryl Long, editor of The Mother Earth News.
"Supposedly, there were 20 such houses planned to be constructed on the surrounding 5 acres, but only this house was built. The house faces east and has a solar panel on the south side. This house had the Ultraflo water system installed. The model in this house dates to the mid 1970s. Refrigerator manual in house was from 1973.…Concrete over wood framing used inside house. Steel rebar used extensively for structural support and utilitarian use (stair rail, towel racks, front entry gate). Floor of house is brick laid in a radial pattern, with the fireplace as the center point. Built-in sofas and end tables; cantilevered stair to loft, fiberglass reinforced stucco coating over concrete.…http://khri.kansasgis.org/index.cfm?tab=details&in=177-3152&startrow=1&sort=historic_name&revision=4

Newspaper wood

From boingboing yesterday:
"Kranthout ("newspaper wood" in Dutch) is a new product that has been developed by Mieke Meijer for design company vij5…. As the name suggests, this is 'wood' made from newspaper. The individual pages are rolled together using a specially developed machine to produce tabloid sized 'logs', which can then be milled into planks, drilled and sanded just as real wood might. Neatly, the kranthout also replicates the grain of wood, with streaks of text or color photographs revealed in the new planks when it is cut."

Cave house in Argentina

Refugio la cueva en argentine au pieds des andes!

All I know about this place is that our friend, French carpenter yogan, shot photos of it when he was in Argentina.

Museum of rural architecture in Estonia

Veiko Lasting sent us this link to an open air museum on Estonia that, among other displays, has a number (12) of Estonian farms shown in "virtualtour" 360º panoramas. http://www.evm.ee/keel/eng/

"The Estonian Open Air Museum is akin to a village, with 12 farms, as well as its own church, tavern and schoolhouse. There are a number of mills, a fire station, fishing net sheds as well as a dancing area and a village swing.
The museum is located in a lovely, well-maintained forest park on a high sandstone bank on Kopli Bay, just 15 minutes drive from the center of Tallinn."

Tiny Swedish cottage

Designed by Jonas Wagell. http://www.littlediggs.com/

Tiny beach cottage

In the UK, this 388 sq. ft. cottage is on galvanized metal stilts. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1snoe2/www.littlediggs.com/littlediggs/2009/05/beach-chalet.html

Greek cliff-side monastery

In Meteora, Greece. Another photo of this is in our book Home Work, p. 119. Cannot find source for this photo.

Feedback at Green Festival

The feedback at these events is really gratifying. Shelter really changed a lot of peopl'e's lives. A guy stopped by a little while ago and said that he ran across a copy of HomeWork in a remote area in Brazil.
A 40s-year-old guy just now came to the booth, pointed to Shelter, and said, "I was reading this when I was a kid and it sparked a bunch of things in my later life."
"How old were you?"
He thought for a minute, then said, "About 5."

Amy Goodman from Democracy Now at GreenFestival

Amy is a dynamic and compelling speaker and everyone in the large crowd was with her today as she talked about the need for non-mainstream reporting.

New Nissan electric car

Was generating a lot of interest at Green Festival. 100 miles on a charge. Top speed 90mph. 100% electric.

Green Festival November San Francisco

We're selling a lot of copies of Builders of the Pacific Coast, and The Barefoot Architect. Last night, after some rock n roll at Bottom of the Hill, I went to Sam Wo restaurant about 2 AM. I've been going there for about 50 years. You walk in through the kitchen, climb narrow stairs, and surly waitresses take your order and haul it up on a dumb waiter. The place was famed in the '60s for the ultra-rude waiter Edsel Ford, who would yell at you: "No egg foo yung, no sweet sour, no chow mein! What you want? Hurry up!" Edsel's gone now, but his spirit remains. I had a bowl of wonton soup, delicious. They are open until 3AM. Lot of international travelers there late at night.
My talk on the half-acre homestead went well yesterday. It was fun, everyone was with me. Raining this morning, I'm at Ritual Roasters, v. cool barista/wi-fi cafe on Valencia St. Doing talk today on Builders of the Pacific Coast at Green Fest.

Aztec graffiti in Mission district

Day before yesterday on 24th Street:
A lot of Mission district street art seems to have an Aztec/Miztec/Olmec overtones.

Country boy/City boy

This flurry of posts is because I'm in the Big City for 4 days for the Green Festival.
Ocean beach yesterday, surfers" paradise, shadows in the sea mist...
An Irish coffee last night at the Buena Vista, Ghirardelli sign with  its handsome typography...
Cafe Roma in North Beach at daybreak today…

Lloyd House's carpentry in Builders of the Pacific Coast

Lew just put together this Yudu mini-book, using a bunch of pages from Builders of the Pacific Coast, of Lloyd House's work. I love these tiny books. These pages look great miniaturized. Maybe we'll do the entire book this way. Micro electronic edition free. Would it help sell books?

Reborn running

Skateboarding isn't dangerous. Running is! Running has put me in the hospital twice, and bestowed upon me dozens of injuries over the years. As my knee slowly and surely heals, I've been rethinking my future running career. Hey, I want to run another 30 years.
Thanks largely to a pretty wonderful book, Born to Run. It's got me into the idea of "chi running." Running lightly with minimal foot cushion, feeling the ground. I'm gonna give up running (as) fast (as possible) in favor of running along the trails with more sensitivity, lightly.
Tuesday night was my first run since the operation a month ago. I wore these Sanuk shoes. They're pretty close to being barefoot, just a bit of cushion, they're made by surfers. I ran about 4 miles on coastal trails, with a bit of Ron Rahmer-type bushwhacking. It felt good to feel the trail with my feet.

At the beach big surf day #1

Check out waves in background (at a usually wimpy-wave beach).

Live the life you love and…

Nice geodesic dome makeover

Spotted on recent coastal run. This is a really nice job of spiffing up a wooden dome. Put together with hex-head sheet metal screws with rubber washers. I especially like the mini-overhang of win dows.

Day at the - wham! - beach

Surf has been huge. Triple overhead at Kelly's cove in SF yesterday, no one could get out. I went down to the beach this morning, very high tide. Three of my neighbors were down there, including fisherman Josh, and we watched the water pouring into the lagoon like mad, waves pounding out in the channel. Josh reminisced about when Jerry Dunn flipped his boat going out. "He tried to turn around and the wave tore the cabin off…"
Tide was high, tricky to get to the high sand area of the beach, so I made a dash for it. Ulp! Miscalculation. Waves washing in, getting higher and higher, up to my knees, and also logs and lots of flotsam bouncing around. Small log whacked my ankle. Please, Madame Ocean, I prayed, don't slam me against that wall in front of these people. Luckily I made it through, my sweatpants soaked up to the crotch.
I wandered around on what little sand there was. All kinds of driftwood, ocean actively ripping up piers right now. Surfers getting the occasional good ride, abut mostly hammered.
Couldn't go back the way I came, so I walked to the other end of the beach. There's a seawall you have to run by to get to the opening shown above. Made it!

I like Java, I like tea, I like the java jive and it likes me…

I went down to the beach early this morning. Sign at coffee stand…

Tiny house

Shot last night on my first real run in months. Somewhere along the NorCal coast…

Hum babe

My folks had season tickets when the Giants moved west in the '70s (along with Willie Mays) but they never got to see a world series. I watch very little sports, but this week was an exception. I mean, it's my home town, they've got a long-haired dope-smoking pitcher, a shortstop who looks overweight, but moves with grace and bats with power, a baby-faced (23 y.o.) rookie catcher who catches flawlessly, has a rifle arm, and hits homers. Boy!
There are moments of grace and beauty in baseball, but normally I don't have the patience to sit through the slow tempo of the game + the motherf-----g commercials. So I was thrilled to see these very decent young guys pull it off this week. And their elegant athletic catches, tosses, and quick thinking…
"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks,
I don't care if I never get back…"
Image from: http://is.gd/gCZev

4th richest man in world builds billion $$ home

And at the other end of the spectrum from our tiny houses theme, this report from the (London) Daily Telegraph:
"Mukesh Ambani, his wife and 3 children have moved into the (27-story) building (in South Mumbai, India), which is named Antilia, after a mythical Island. It contains a health club with a gym and dance studio, at least one studio, a ballroom, guestrooms and a range of lounges and a 50 seater cinema.
There is even an elevated garden with ceiling space to accommodate small trees.
The roof has 3 helicopter pads and there is also underground parking for 160 cars, which will come in handy for guests at Ambani's forthcoming housewarming party.…
The 53 year-old tycoon is…the fourth richest man in the world. In total there is reported to be 37,000 square metres of space, which is more than the Palace of Versailles.
To keep it running smoothly requires 600 staff.…"

I'm talking Saturday & Sunday at Green Festival in San Francisco

This Saturday, 11/6, I'm giving a short talk (with slides) in San Francisco titled "The Half-Acre Homestead in the 21st Century." It's from 2:00 PM to 2:45 PM. I went around and shot a bunch of photos around home and garden (below is living room). The idea is to show people what I've learned in 50 years of building, gardening, maintenance, and useful tools.

On Sunday, from 1PM to 1:45 PM, I'm doing a presentation titled: "Creative Carpentry: Builders of the Pacific Coast," which chronicles my 2 years shooting photos and interviewing carpenters in the Pacific Northwest.

The SF Green Festival is this weekend, Nov. 6-7, at the SF Concourse Exhibition Center (a cool building), 635 8th St (at Brannan), San Francisco, CA 94103. It's usually jam packed, a good-vibes event. We'll have a booth and be selling books.

4 Master

Continuing with the nautical theme. From Godfrey Stephens