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Beijing architect lives in tiny egg-shaped house on sidewalk

Photo: AFP / Getty Images
"Dai Haifei, a 24-year-old architect in Beijing, China, found an ingenious solution to live rent-free. He built himself a mobile egg-shaped house that is powered by the sun. The 6-foot-high structure, which is small enough to fit on a sidewalk, is made of bamboo strips, wood chippings, sack bags, and grass seed that’s expected to grow in the spring.

The pod features a solar panel on the roof that powers a lamp in the cozy space. The house cost around $1,000 to build (6427 yen), according to China Daily.…"

Amazing Scanning Electron  Microscope Pictures

Head of mosquito

Bunch of pictures from the book Microcosmos, by Brandon Brill: http://www.greatenjoy.com/2010/10/28/amazing-scanning-electron-microscope-pictures/

House with hemp walls in Ontario

This is a great house, built by Chris and Wil Dancey, utilizing local lumber and walls infilled with a hemp and clay mixture.
Here are 2 photos Chris  just sent us (check out beautiful plastering job), along with her description:

One bedroom has a view of the sunrise over our farm and the other bedroom has a view of the sunset each evening. Our round log timber frame home has a hemp and lime infill. The exterior walls are 11 inches thick and do not have a vapor barrier, since the lime, hemp and clay plaster are all hygroscopic. Our masonry heater provides the warm water that circulates in the floors and the reclaimed brick walls provide mass. The first coat of interior plaster is clay from our pond and then I used American Clay, with its natural pigments, to create the blended colors. 

See Dancey slide show of house construction here: http://nbnetwork.org/5629

Beautiful time-lapse footage of cordyceps fungi

By Andrea James on BoingBoing:

1930 Henderson Streamliner motorcycle

"The motorcycling world loves a barn find, an old, obscure machine wheeled out of the woodwork for the first time. And this is one of the biggest revelations of recent months. It's a 1930 Henderson that was customized before WW2 by a fellow called O. Ray Courtney and fitted with streamliner bodywork.
One night in March, 1950, O. Ray Courtney worked until two a.m. And drove home discouraged. He was trying to design a better motorcycle. He wanted one with the seat forward, with better cooling, better springing and a more beautiful body. Discarded sketches littered the floor of his shop.  That night in a dream he saw a steamlined beauty skim across a flowered field. Too excited to report for work the next day, he hastily put his dream on paper and he is riding that dream cycle now through the streets of Pontiac, Michigan
The art deco influence is obvious; legendary automotive designer Harley Earl could have drawn those curves.
It's all the more unusual because the mechanicals are hidden: even at the height of the Art Deco movement, most motorcycles were a triumph of form over function, with exposed cooling fins, brake drums and suspension springs.
The bike is owned by collector Frank Westfall of Syracuse.
It caused a stir in June 2010 when it appeared at the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet, a motorcycle show held a couple of hours drive north of NYC.…"

Rainy day boots

Muck Boots are great for rainy weather. You can keep by door, step into them and stay dry and warm. They are insulated. http://www.amazon.com/Original-MuckBoots-Adult-Boot-Womens/dp/B000WGB196/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291911702&sr=8-1

Wind chimes on rainy day

Wind chimes made from rock oyster shells make nice clinking sound in wind.
1-½" rain last 2 days.

Rainy day/Oh Boy! Plus running and crabbing…

Lesley's been telling me for about a week to watch this weeping cherry (Mt Fuji variety) tree, and it went full orange/yellow last night. One inch of rain in last 24 hours. Oh yes!
Last night I went running. Cold, dark night. As I was driving to our Tuesday night run rendezvous spot, I was thinking, "You could just go home and sit by the fire," but  the fact that other guys would be showing up motivated me.
I got into my Maxit tights and shirt, and with new super headlight, headed south along the coast. Cold at first but in 15 minutes, I started to feel good. By the time I got up to the lookout spot, I had my shirt off.
I could see the lights of about 20 crab boats out in the bay. These guys are tough, working around the clock, then heading into San Francisco when they're loaded. One real windy night I was sleeping on the beach and I saw a boat out working crab pots. It must have been pitching all over the place, and I could picture these guys swinging heavy crab pots onto the deck, dumping crabs into boxes, rebaiting traps, dropping pots back into the water. Them's some men, fer shure.
Ran about an hour, kind of reveling in the fact that I don't have to "train," I can run for delight, not speed. Boy is it different. By the time I got halfway through the run, my footsteps were almost silent. I've been thinking about the Miwok Indians that lived here not so long ago, and how they would have run gently on the trails…

Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed 1976

My brother Bob, who plays the banjo, just sent me this. Wow!

Check out Chet and Jerry here too (song starts about 1/3rd thru tape): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLqyNV1SMWE&feature=related

Huge loads on bikes in China

Amazing low cost ways to move stuff. Compare with trucking costs in U.S.
There are 12 photos in this series by French photographer Alain Delorme.
Discovered by Lew Lewandowski

Around the homestead, in the garden, in the office, and up is the hills…

Yesterday I made a bed frame, a job I'd been procrastinating about for a while, then shredded branches for compost pile, took a nap.

Today got in a good 4-5 hours working on the book, then off to the hills, for a 2-mile run to mushroom grounds. The mushroom part was half-hearted -- not happening right now -- but I just wanted to get out and run. It was raining lightly when I started. By the time I got back to my truck after the run (and a few measly chanterelles), it was sheeting. I mean, shee-it! I was soaking. Every fiber of my Maxit tights and top, every pore of my skin, was soaked. I started to climb into the cab, but saw this would soak the truck. What to do but retreat to back of camper shell, take off shoe/socks, rain pounding down -- you get to the point where you've given up keeping dry. Kind of liberating: I'm wet and I'll go with it!
Took pee in pounding rain. Seemed like the thing to do. Perfect. Then peeled of tights, shirt and hat, put them in a bucket in back of truck, stood in rain a while, got in cab, dried off, put on clothes, Lesley's hand-knitted alpaca hat, got heater going. circulation started kicking in, came home.

Sea lion jumps aboard Godfrey Stephens' sailboat 1980s

Godfrey always been an inexhaustible bundle of energy. One of his present-day projects is to pepper me with emails about sailboats, which he feels are the ultimate in tiny houses. He is responsible for a 6-page layout we just did (in the now-under-production tiny homes book) on Paul and Julie and their exquisite live-aboard) 41-foot teak sailboat. One day last week he sent me 25 emails. In my "Stephens" folder I now have 464 photos. Help!

Here is a photo taken on one of his many sailboats in the '80s, when a sea lion jumped on board. Godfrey writes:
Sailing  out of Avalon, anchoring for the Night off DANA point, early in the morning, fired up the wood stove with the espresso pot on top of the Coals, main and Genoa up moving south at about 3 knots --
a Bump, and more bumps and Lo there a determined Stellar Sea Lion, suddenly made it aboard with a Huge wet Thump on the steel deck,  I managed to get 3 pictures with the Spotmatic Pentax, 1982, 
She stayed aboard, sad to see her leave just off the Scripps marine institute, slipping along, one could Feel her heart beat when on deck throughout the whole boat. (I)… had to shoo her off because in a JYBE the boom would hit her.
Tied up to friends that night in the Shelter Island anchorage, now gone (to the "Ponderosa House boat "), a fantastic amount of anchored liveaboards .
Thats where (I) learned how to carve two bladed wind generator blades with the adze, and attach to old computer tape drive Motor/generators… 

Godfrey Stephens new website: paintings, drawings, carvings, sailboats. aventuras

Godfrey Stephens is a painter, carver, boatbuilder, and sailor of the Seven Seas, who I have known for about (ulp!) 40+ years (we met on the beach in Yelapa, Mexico during the height of hippie days). He is a native of British Columbia, and now lives in Victoria. To see his amazing carving, paintings, and drawings, go to his new website:
Carvings: http://is.gd/ifHmtl
Paintings: http://is.gd/ifHF5
Drawings: http://is.gd/ifIxg

Godfrey was featured in our book Builders of the Pacific Coast.

Left: Me, Godfrey on NorCal beach in 2008