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Hemp home in Ontario

I met Chris and Wil Dancey several years ago at a Timber Framers Guild conference at Asilomar, Calif. At that time they were building their nicely-proportioned hemp wall house. Since then it's been completed and here is Chris' description:
"Infill: The exterior walls are 11" think hemp and lime infill. The industrial hemp was grown and processed in SW Ontario. The hemp hurd, which is the woody core of the industrial hemp plant, is broken into small pieces and cleaned before packing into bags and sold as HempChips by Stemergy. We also did some of our interior walls with hemp and lime, but they are only 6' thick. Gabriel Gauthier of ArtCan helped with the hemp and lime infill.

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.

15-story hotel built in 6 days in China!

"The 15-story hotel already had its foundation but using pre-fabricated columns and modules as well as modern construction techniques, construction workers took just 46 hours to finish the main structural components and another 90 hours to finish the building enclosure. While the workers didn't work all through the night, they did work until 10pm each night…"
"Located in Changsa, the Ark Hotel is level 9 earthquake resistant and incorporates some sustainable practices.…"
Sent us by Evan Kahn

Marie France Roy snowboarder/surfer/gardener

This clip shows Marie, one of the world's top snowboarders, at her summer digs on Vancouver Island, BC, surfing, gardening, raising chickens, and collecting chantrelles. What a woman!

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.