• Subscribe to
    Lloyd’s Blog via RSS.
  • Check out TheShelterBlog.com
  • Tools for the
    Half-Acre Homestead

I'm off to Hong Kong

Ulp! A 15-hour flight and I can never sleep a wink on airplanes. I get in to HK 7 PM, and next morning at 9, will head out to printers via subway and shuttle. The book will take 3-4 days to print. Once the (Mitsubishi 3000 sheet-fed) press is rolling, I'll be doing press checks every 3 hours or so, probably staying in a room at the plant while it's rolling. I'm really excited to be at this stage, even with the weird sleeping pattern for press checks. I get to see two years' work flying off the press. "Can we up the red in here a bit..." and etc. It always makes a difference to be there.
I've always loved pressmen. I like the smell of ink and the hustle and the atmosphere. It's a highly-sophisticated skill. There's no room for mistakes. There's a definite brotherhood here, centered around putting ink on paper. I've been on the presses for the first run of every one of our color books. In the old days I did press checks on each 1-color book we printed, whether in Massachussets, Virginia, Indiana, or Tennessee.

Since I was going to be in that part of the world, I was  going to go to Borneo, or maybe to Hainan, an island off the coast of China, but a screwed-up shoulder scratched those plans. Seems to be a long healing process, so I need to get back and get it working again. Boy is it frustrating not to be able to paddle or swim. Can't even run. I'm always impatient, but the body (just about always) heals itself, it's always a wonder.

Norcal Beach Graffiti #3 (or is it # 4?)

Mike's tiny home in the snow

Oct 26, 2011
Hi Lloyd,
Saw the post with the tiny house in Illinois and was inspired to send  you a snow shot of my small home in North Carolina ( 350 sq. ft- 450 counting loft) .

Mike Moore (Michael J.- the micro car enthusiast).

Solar shower last night at 2 AM

In the '90s, I bought a passive solar heater from Dan Conroy in Grass Valley, Calif. basically a big box, triangular in cross-section, with a water tank painted black and double-walled clear polycarbonate glazing. Couldn't be simpler. It's worked flawlessly for 15 years. Every shower I take, I get a hit of both wonder and joy. This warm, sometimes hot water heated by sunshine and not nonrenewable resources. Such a non-brainer.
It's been really warm last few days, like in the '80s. I woke up at 2 last night, went out into the still-warm night, and took an outdoor solar-heated-water shower. The stars were out. Boy!
Getting ready to fly to Hong Kong next week to oversee printing of Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter. We've upped the press run to 15,000 due to early reactions to the book. At the same time we'll be printing 3,000 copies of our mini(1-½" x 2¼") tiny homes book. Is it cute! You can actually see what's going on on the pages at that scale.

Jimmy Reed 's Ain't that lovin' ya baby just came on, SO the real stuff…

The reincarnation of Steve Jobs

Copyright  http://www.mattbors.com/ Dist. by Universal Press
Discovered by Rick Gordon

Sandpiper II, Eco-Cottage manufactured home

Eco-cottages are small manufactured homes from Nationwide Homes. Sent us by John Grissim, author of The Grissim Ratings Guide to Manufactured Homes:: http://grissimguides.com/

Modernistic tiny house (a la Dwell mag)

"…a 220 sq. ft. tiny home that is 'total livability designed for mass production.' It is small and deluxe, with "top of the line appliances, a gourmet kitchen, a full projection screen to watch your favourite movies, and an outdoor patio. This and more comes standard with the L41. 'Versatile and affordable compared to conventionally-sized houses, it was "conceived for a generation that understands small is beautiful, and that believes in the importance of the preservation of our precious resources.'"

300 sq. ft. rustic cabin, solar elec., close to ocean Washington $49,000

Just discovered this site that seems quite active, tiny homes for sale all over the country. It's fun looking through the listings, the same way I like to look at the rural land and homes for sale in The Mother Earth News classifieds. None of these seem cheap compared to build-it-yourself, but compared to a house with mortgage…

"Log cabin with a large living room, 2 bed rooms (or one bedroom upstairs and a study/office), extra loft for sleeping or storage, 2 covered porches (front and back and wrap around on the side) and even a small balcony and a car port!

1971 31' Airstream for sale in Virginia $4000

"1971 Airstream Sovereign 31′ International Land Yacht travel trailer, hard to find original condition, has twin beds and rear bathroom, lots of space. Has not been camped in in several years, so will need some TLC. I know there are a few plumbing leaks, and one of the windows is shattered. The shell itself does not leak.

Writer moves to Haida Gwaii from city

(Also called the Queen Charlotte Islands)


Lighter Fun

from Richard Ieian Jones

100 year-old man completes marathon, started running at 89

"The most impressive performance at a Toronto marathon Sunday was turned in by the man who came in last place - and is 100 years old.
   Fauja Singh completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in approximately eight hours, making him the oldest person ever to finish one of the 26.2-mile races.
   It was the eighth marathon for Singh, who was born India in 1911 and did not start running marathons until he was 89, after he moved to England following the death of his wife and son. He says not smoking or drinking alcohol throughout his life, combined with a vegetarian diet and up to 10 miles of walking or running per day are the secrets to his health.…"
Discovered by Rick Gordon

100-Year-Old Man Completes Marathon

"The most impressive performance at a Toronto marathon Sunday was turned in by the man who came in last place - and is 100 years old.

Fauja Singh completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in approximately eight hours, making him the oldest person ever to finish one of the 26.2-mile races.

It was the eighth marathon for Singh, who was born India in 1911 and did not start running marathons until he was 89, after he moved to England following the death of his wife and son. He says not smoking or drinking alcohol throughout his life, combined with a vegetarian diet and up to 10 miles of walking or running per day are the secrets to his health."

Tiny home on wheels in BC, Canada

"And just like that, after many long days and nights, we are ready for the rainy season,... and not a minute too soon. As we apply the final pieces of siding, on our brow lay the first signs of the autumn rains. This is the true feeling of exultation. In this moment, life is bonded with the 4th dimension,... invisible, yet like the power of the wind, undeniable ... easily missed, rarely found,... this is the way of intimate feeling and experience. …"
Discovered this at: http://www.tinyhouseliving.com/

Building Smalltopia: We’ve got a roof!

Tammy Strobel wrote an essay on downsizing that will appear in our Tiny Homes book. Here's the latest (October 16, 2011)from Tammy:
"{Every week, I post a short essay about the little house we’re building. Enjoy!}

We only have 8 more days until the little house rolls into Portland! It’s hard to believe we’re going to move in so soon! Last weekend we got to hang out with Dee and Katy and while Katy was in town she had a chance to pick up our roof (pictured below) and kitchen counter."

Flurry of articles on tiny homes


Roadkill his sole diet

"English taxidermist Jonathan McGowan has made roadkill his sole diet for the past 30 years. At the age of 14, he tried a dead adder and while it didn’t taste very good, it made him curious to try other roadkill finds.
The taxidermist lists fox, venison and deer among his favourite meats – but he has eaten everything the countryside has to offer over the years.
With thousands of animals being found dead at the roadside every year, Mr McGowan has varied if – on the face of it – slightly unedifying pickings.
He has eaten mice, moles, hedeghogs, squirrels, rats, foxes, badgers, hares, rabbits, deer, stoats, weasels, polecats, otters, wildcats, pheasants, finches, thrushes, ducks, geese, pigeons, owls, crows, gulls, blackbirds and cormorants.
He says many animals taste much better than people would expect."
Thanks to Kevin Kelly

New video on natural builder SunRay Kelley

Lew discovered this. It stalls periodically, maybe something wrong in the encoding. We found it best to turn off sound and let it load. Once it's in the cache, you can play it straight through. (Seems somehow fitting that that the electronic world gets garbled around SunRay, who is a magician of the natural world.

Inspired By... SunRay Kelley from Shwood Eyewear on Vimeo.
"Growing up in the wild hills of the Pacific Northwest, it seems like SunRay was always building something. His favorite source of inspiration and materials is the woods around him, "God's Hardware Store" as he calls it. When working on a project it is not uncommon to see him pick up a saw and head off into the woods looking for the right piece of wood to present itself. If he says anything, he'll mumble 'I'm going shopping.'
Filmed by Gary Tyler Mcleod & Austin Will; Edited by Gary Tyler Mcleod"

Knock on Wood - Creative works by Jeff Uitto

"Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011 10:48:25 -0700
To: lloyd@shelterpub.com
From: jeffro uitto 
Subject: my work inspired by your work

I love and appreciate your books, I flip through often for inspiration. I was hoping you would take a moment to check it out some of my stuff. www.jeffrouitto.com


Wow! And he's from Tokeland, Washington!
Info on Jeff: http://is.gd/jeffro

Mark Twain quotes

“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
  -Mark Twain
Every once in a while I Google this to get the words right. So true. I'm really a slow writer.
Here are a lot of other great MT quotes. A guy after my own heart. http://thinkexist.com/quotation/i_didn-t_have_time_to_write_a_short_letter-so_i/338386.html

Supercharged Japanese 4X4 minivans

Lew just dug this up. Looks almost too good to be true. Sure worth checking out.

Are these cute or what?
"The Bulldog All Terrain Truck is the most versatile off road vehicle on the market.
• At 4.5 x 10 ft and only weighing around 1400 lbs, these mini trucks haul easily to the hunting camp, farm or the trail ride. The truck is around 5 1/2 ft tall so it provides a comfortable ride while being able to ease around the trails and backroads.
• All models are right hand drive. Most models have a powerful 660 cc, 3 cylinder gasoline engine that will get over 40 mpg while running in excess of 55 mph. An 8 gallon gas tank has never provided so much.
• Models come with 4, 5 or 6 speed transmissions, automatics are very rare but available in limited quanitity. We are able to provide you with the best service, all parts and accessories that you would need for these trucks."
We now offer Custom Extended Cab Trucks. Starting at $7300
Shreveport, LA: 318-402-8834

Latest GIMME SHELTER newsletter

Before blogging, these newsletters were my main means of communicating (other than the very occasional book). This one is primarily for book people, mostly about the Frankfurt Book Fair as well as our plans for the future: http://www.shelterpub.com/_gimme/_2011-10-18/gimme_shelter-2011-10-18.html

Stewart Brand on Laura Cunningham's paintings and studies of ancient California ecology

A reconstruction of San Francisco around 1300 A.D. from Nob Hill, looking east across the bay toward Oakland. © Laura Cunningham
"California ecology used to be much more driven by floods and fires, Cunningham said, showing with her paintings how the Great Valley would become a vast inland sea, like a huge vernal pool progressing each year from navigable water to intense flower displays to elk-grazed grassland. Lake Merritt in Oakland was a salt water inlet. On the Albany mudflats grizzly bears would tunnel into a beached humpback whale for food, joined by California condors. Every fall at the Carquinez Strait a million four-foot-long chinook salmon headed inland to spawn.
Only 300 years ago the whole Bay Area was grasslands, routinely burned by the local Indians. There were oaks in the valleys, redwoods in the Berkeley Hills, and extensive oak savannahs inland. The hills were greener more of the year than now, with fire-freshened grass attracting elk, and native perennial grasses drawing moisture with their deep roots.

Love letter to people who comment on this blog

When I got back from Germany (a week at the Frankfurt Book Fair), I reviewed all the comments (on various posts) that I've received recently, and they're quite wonderful. I'm learning a lot. People are amplifying (and correcting) the info in the posts, as well as letting me know when I'm connecting. Inspiration to keep going.

I have about 1000-1500 visitors a day. Not exactly viral, but a nice-sized community. I love doing this, to tell the truth. Blogging is foremost in my mind when I come into the studio each morning, even tho it's non-remunerative. I'm excited about what I see in the world, and want to tell others. It's communication, pure and simple, which has fascinated me since my high school course in journalism. I'd love to work on a newspaper, but I can't write that fast, and my stomach wouldn't handle the deadline pressure. So I publish the (very) occasional book, and now try to get out a blog post each day. I don't have time to respond to many comments, and could never take the time to do Facebook as it's being done. But this, a daily shot or two, works for me. The web allows me to broadcast.

This blog community reminds me a bit of the booklovers in Fahrenheit 451, who were semi-outlaws on the outskirts of the regulated society and dedicated to books and the earth and freedom.

Five-fold symmetry

Three more antique books, pics shot this afternoon

Photos around Bad Homburg tonight

Sunday late afternoon I stepped outside the hotel, for the first time in a week without a heavy backpack, and felt light as a feather. Got my mo-bility workin, was able to move along smartly in the 2-mile walk into the town center, and shot photos. If I haven't mentioned it before (probably have), the Canon Powershot S95 little pocket camera is in a class by itself. I have it with me almost all the time.

A pretty spiffy live-aboard van (Not a VW, couldn't see any indication of maker.)

Electric solar bike at Fair

Literary Agents' Centre

This is the most intense place at the Book Fair. There are about 500 agents from all over the world and the demand (for their services) is way greater than the supply (of willing agents). Luckily, much of it dating back to my Random House days, I have some wonderful agents. But with Japan, for example, I've had very little luck in even getting a meeting with agents. They're already overbooked.
Access to this room is guarded. It helps to walk past the Monitors of the Gateway as if you belong. Agents have meetings every half hour, so you need to move along smartly. It's a very exciting place.

Himmel und erde

Dinner last night at the Kartoffelkuche restaurant in Bad Homburg. Himmel und erde, Heaven and earth: mashed potatoes, chopped liver, bacon und blutwurst, mit apple sauce. The name means, I take it -- couldn't get any better. Delicious and hearty. With two glasses of (dry) apple wine. Felt like I should have spent a day working in the fields to justify this.

So long, Steve

He may have suffered fools badly, but he left us with a legacy of elegance. The photo on the cover of this future blockbuster book included.

Beautiful old books

The above:
1. Printed 1767!
2. Price: 29,500 Euros ($40,000)!

Lovejoy is a character in a series of English mysteries who is a "divvy" of antiques. He can divine authenticity. Sometimes an old object will almost knock him out. I felt something similar with some of these very old, very beautiful books yesterday, almost a ringing in the ears. Another book of drawings of chameleons was 12,000 Euros. There was a 1901 first printing of Eadweard Muybridge's The Human Figure in Motion for 1700 Euros. And in the more reasonable zone for 60 Euros, America by Walker Evans, black and white photos from the depression, a powerful book. (I just ordered a used copy online for $33.00.)
I didn't realize it was the inspiration (totally) for Robert Frank's photo book The Americans from the 1950s. Evans is the photographer who teamed up with writer James Agee to do the classic Let Us Now Praise Famous Men in 1941, a book I idolized in the '60s when I was starting to shoot photos.
When I left the room of rare books, a lady guard asked to look inside my backpack. SOP. Understood. Totally.

Great sketches from American in Deutschland

This just in:
Owl has left a new comment on (the below) post…::

Hope you don't mind Lloyd, I thought I would put a link on here from an American sketch artist who is living and working in Germany, I enjoy his work and he captures the buildings beautifully. Hope you like it.

More old buildings in Bad Homburg

 Check out the slate shingled eyebrows of 2 windows above.

Incredible first day at Book Fair

Kind of a miracle: I really fucked up my shoulder yesterday, couldn't sleep because of pain, was stressing over having 3 full days and 19 appointments, how am I even gonna get thru the first day, etc. No ice, so applied cold bottle of soda, took advil, tried to breathe into the injury,thought about my Mom and her Christian Science (lived to 103, never had a doctor) and how she healed herself and us again and again "…by holding the right thought" and lo and behold dawn broke and I was OK and I went off and had an exciting and wonderful day in the world of books, within which The Frankfurt Buchmesse is the Super Bowl, World Cup and Big Kahuna.

People loved the Tiny Homes book. Just loved it. People that had time went thru the entire book, every page. It feels like we've connected here. Today: meetings with publishers, editors or distributors from Canada, Poland, UK, Germany, South Africa, Australia. There's a buzz. Same reaction. (I'm so proud of the people in this book!) Everyone gets it. Haven't had this feeling since 1973 when we were putting together Shelter and hit the wave of counterculture building. This time it's a wave of doing for oneself (once again), and scaling back.

Lots to tell, including some stunning antique books I saw today (one was 38,000 Euros!), will try to catch up on the weekend.

Model car in store window

It's 55 Euros, about $75.00

Carpenters' dream

The Gastatte Schreinerei Pfeiffer is a restaurant here in Bad Homburg with hundreds and hundreds of carpenter's tools on its walls, with candlelight and draft beer served from wooden taps and gemütlikcheit up the kazoocheit. The bartender told me that 27 years ago, the Pfeiffer cabinet shop was bought by a restaurateur and he decorated the place with the tools. And kept on adding more. Tables are workbenches and the tools have been heavily used and the vibes are incredible. I fantasized having a party there for my many carpenter friends and what a great time we would have. Beer is great of course and food is simple, hearty, good and there's lots of it and the workers are happy and friendly. That little bow saw in the center of the above photo gives me the chills, like it's something from a past life. I've looked at it longingly the 6 or so times I've been there. In below pic, those are all molding planes on the shelf and they look homemade.

Allotment gardens

All along train tracks in Germany and England (and probably other countries in Europe) are these "allotment gardens," I believe started during WWII, so people from cities could take trains out to the country and spend weekends growing fruit and vegetables. Still going strong, another instance of European moxie. There isn't as good an example as many others, with cute little weekend shacks, but they are hard to shoot from a speeding train.

Duck decoy exhibit at SFO airport

They always have wonderful exhibits in the international terminal

Half-timbered old buildings in Bad Homburg

Dumbass America, QR codes, & Dumbass Lloyd

The dumdassedness of America the formerly bountiful In a comment to my last post (below), John X wrote: "…I wish everyone could see Europe and get a picture in their heads of what a civilized society looks like. It all may tumble down when / if the Euro implodes or the EU breaks up or whatever, but for a few short years there was a place on this planet where the good of the people came before the good of the military-industrial complex and the goddamned billionaires." So true. Hadn't thought of it that way. In Europe, everything is more efficient, more people-centric. Cars, railroads, clean energy ---to mention a few. Think of what the USA could have accomplished if $$ that went into the military had been used constructively. What if funds for our 2 present wars had gone into clean energy projects and health care and public works projects. Be still, my beating heart. I am so embarrassed, so mortified by the greed and short-sightedness and stupidity of our "leaders." Shooting ourselves in the foot so many times there's hardly any foot left. The religious right and Tea Party morons try to steer things ever further into the abyss of intolerance and cruelty. The Rapture. Yeah, right.

I'm sitting at a table in a silent and clean electric-powered train, having just left Frankfurt, crossed the Rhein, going about 80-90 mph, heading for Mainz to visit a young American expatriate living in a small trailer she put together for about 1000 Euros. It's my one free day before the book fair starts.

QR bar codes
We just discovered these. They are about to become ubiquitous. You install a (free) app (I use Qrafter) on your smartphone, then use the camera to scan it (off of paper or on-screen). It then will give the choice of going to whichever URL you have designated, emailing it, or posting on Twitter or Facebook. We have just put these in our Tiny Homes book, our tiny Tiny Homes book, and on my biz card.

The dumbassedness of moi and the kindness of strangers Well, wouldn't you know it, I overshot Mainz by an hour. Having so much fun on my computer, watching the countryside flash by, with my espresso and sugared doughnut, ahem, ahem. A lady on the train told me to get off at the next major station to catch a train back to Mainz and then a lady at the semi-deserted train station -- after deciding the guy with the long white hair wasn't going to rob her, let me use her phone to tell Nikki I'd be about 3 hours late. I do seem to stumble my way through a lot of life, but there are serendipitous discoveries along the path of unexpectedness.
Shot from train window in rocky wine-growing region today

Blogger's blues

The good thing is that a few weeks ago, we got our 2-year-project book finally off to the printers. The bad thing is that just a few days after this momentous event, I stepped off a ladder wrongly, found myself in air fast approaching ground zero, shot arm out to take weight and save face from hitting ground AND weight of fall transferred from outstretched arm to shoulder and tore muscles. Not been fun. So many body parts have to work when you think about it, and malfunction or injury of any of dozens of joints, muscles, tendons or ligaments can fuck up your life plenty. Even worse I went for an MRI and got acute claustrophobia when they started sliding me headfirst into the scanning chamber, where I was going to be for 55 minutes. No way Jose. A bunch of people have told me yes you can do this whereas I explain I am never going to do that no way nohow. Any more than I could go into the Viet Cong tunnels. I need air and space. So I'm roaming in Deutschland this week with an injured wing and will pursue fixing it (hopefully without surgery) when I get home. And things were going so good...

And second in the bummers-of-late department (and then I can get on to the good stuff, which just started happening this afternoon in Bad Homburg {25 miles north of Frankfurt}): The major US airlines are just fucking inhuman. They are pushing people to extremes. Bad air, bad food, crowding, all to the point of inhumanity. Like TV commercials, they're just shoving it down our throats. (Thank god for JetBlue and Virgin, but their routes are limited.)

Got out of the airport, caught train (smooth, electric, on time) to Bad Homburg, showered, cannabinoided, ahh!, started walking around shooting pics of old half-timbered buildings, store window displays, leaves and 200-year-old trees in the spectacular park, bought some homeopathic (12x) pills for tissue repair in an apothecary that dates back to 1901, and started feeling better and righter with the world. I was just roaming around for 2-3 hours, it's a kind of (photographer's) freedom I don't exercise at home, where I don't dawdle. Out on the road, I am a camera. Now I just have to get the time t post them…

I'm off for Frankfurt

I'm leaving today for the Frankfurt Book Festival, which I attend every October. I meet with agents and publishers from other countries about translations of our books into other languages. Stretching has been translated into 23 languages. In recent years our building books have been translated into French, Korean, Japanese, and now Chinese.

This will be my busiest year ever, due to the Tiny Homes book, which is likely to have appeal worldwide. I have 19 appointments lined up and am taking along a complete set of color proofs, as well as samples of our tiny tiny (1-7/8" by 2-5/8" -- 64 pp.) book, which may just be our best promotional idea ever.

The day before the fair, I'm catching a train to Mainz to meet with Nicolette Stewart, whose little renovated trailer in a "…community of tiny caravan dwellings" is in the Tiny Homes book.

After that, if there's time, I'll visit the Gutenberg Museum (a 3rd time) to see the Gutenberg Press (circa 1450) and a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. I'll be posting from Germany next week.