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Bird seed bag recycled

Lesley has made a bunch of these from bird seed and chicken feed bags. Handles are strips cut off bottoms of bags. The bags are so nice she can't bear to throw them away.

Local recycling of green waste


We have a green waste and wood waste recycling facility here in town, called the Bolinas-Stinson Resource Recovery Project. It means that tree trimmings, garden waste, and all other manner of vegetative materials can be dropped off in town and turned into compost. It's a great setup, and it keeps things local: no fuel to truck it somewhere, no dumping in landfills. I'd heard about the gigantic tub grinder that comes to town every three or four months, but never seen it in operation. Yesterday I happened upon it at work and shot some photos. Awesome to watch this powerful machine in operation.
It costs $1000 to move it here, and then $400 an hour while in operation and it grinds everything up beautifully. The big files are then turned about six times by a backhoe, and then the compost is sold locally. Among other things, it makes a great mulch.

Concrete pour for new chicken coop today

We lucked out, getting the slab poured before the storm hit. This time around, I'm getting Billy to build a rat-proof chicken coop, complete with concrete floor. The chickens will have a pretty big yard, so they're only inside at night. It's going to have a living roof, inspired by SunRay Kelley's latest designs.
From l-r: Billy, driver from Rich Readimix, and Delfino


This is the chicken coop it's replacing. I've probably built 5-6 chicken coops over the years. No plans, just grabbing what's around. Soulful, but also hole-ful. The woodrats get in at will and consume the chicken mash, so this time we're going to button it up. We've got a lovely little flock of mostly Silver Seabright bantams, getting 8-9 eggs a day now. Bantams make a lot of sense in a small area.

Deek makes the Big Time!


Deek Diedrickson, who published the charming and cheeky comic-book-style tiny house building manual, Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck Else We Could Squeeze In Here) was featured in yesterday's New York Times. The article was by Joyce Wadler, great photos by Erik Jacobs.
Deek's book will be featured in our forthcoming book on tiny houses. (One of his drawings shows him sitting in a tree, reading a copy of our book HomeWork.)
"At about 24 square feet, the Gypsy Junker, made primarily out of shipping pallets, castoff storm windows and a neighbor’s discarded kitchen cabinets, is the largest of Mr. Diedricksen’s backyard structures. The Hickshaw, a sleeper built on a rolling cedar lounge chair (or as Mr. Diedricksen calls it, “a rickshaw for hicks”), is considerably smaller, at 2 1/2 feet wide by 6 1/2 feet deep. The Boxy Lady, two cubes on a long pallet, is the smallest: 4 feet tall at its highest point."

My brief description of the '60s

The wonderful cultural revolution that was centered in San Francisco was over by the "Summer of Love." I grew up in SF and watched it all unfold and in fact quit my job as an insurance broker n 1965, because I found I had more in common with the people 10 years younger than me than with my own generation.
Almost everything I've read that was written about those few years is inaccurate. The Diggers, despite what transplanted New Yorker Peter Coyote writes, were hard-edged east coast entrepreneurs, the "hipper than thou" guys, who proclaimed themselves leaders of the pack and got the ears of the press. Totally different from the spirit that created the short-lived peaceful and gentle community in that neighborhood.

Here's what I wrote in a note in the appendix of Homework: Handbuilt Shelter, in 2004:

Magical cultural revolution that changed world going on. Mostly misunderstood these days.
Artistic underground in San Francisco, early '60s.
Beats: fading artists of old world
Hippies: joyous, open, sharing/entirely different mindset.
Wonderful few years (before "Summer of Love").
Non-conformity, dropping out, experimenting, searching, expanding awareness, looking for better ways to do things. Loving, exciting community on Haight Street, San Francisco, world headquarters for a few years.
All these things not so much new as being discovered for first time by millions of young Americans:

Astronomy * astrology * meditation * Gurdjieff * Ouspensky * Zen Buddhism * the Tarot * the Kabbala * the Koran * the I Ching * dolphin consciousness * Dune * Strangers in a Strange Land * building your own house * The Owner-Built Home * organic gardening and; farming * self-sufficiency * Native American culture * ecological awareness * political activism * poetry * rock and roll * the blues * Ali Akbar Khan * Beatles/Stones/Dylan * domes * LSD/marijuana/mescaline * Monterey Pop Festival * Rolling Stone * Whole Earth Catalog * The Tassajara Bread Book * viewing earth from space * Edmund Scientific catalog * L. L. Bean catalog * chickens by mail from Murray McMurray/and on and on...

Natural building apprenticeship, summer 2011, Williams, Oregon


"The staff at White Oak Farm is pleased to offer our new and improved Comprehensive Natural Building Apprenticship program for summer 2011. Tyler Walter, Taylor Starr and James Haim will lead the program. The Apprenticeship will span five weeks of fully immersed hands-on experience, as well as field trips, lectures, discussions, slide shows, independent design projects and more. It will be an excellent opportunity for people looking to learn practical natural building skills for their future career or owner-builder projects, as well as for college students seeking an alternative classroom experience…"

Old rug stool cover

This little bamboo footstool had a ratty cover on it, so I cut out this new cover from an old threadbare Persian rug that someone was tossing out. The rug is nailed to the stool stand with brass plated upholstery nails and I put a thin piece of rubber foam underneath it. Got the idea from my friend Louis Frazier, who covered a homemade stool this way.

Hand forged hatchet


I've had this little hatchet for a few weeks now. Seldom have I had a tool give me so much pleasure. I love to look at it as it sits by the fireplace. It makes me happy. And using it is a whole other hatchet experience — it's razor sharp and cuts beautifully. It makes me want to split wood or sharpen stakes. Hey, I think I need to trim the branches on that dead oak I'm about to cut up for firewood.
Once in a while, a tool has just got it.
It's hand forged, of Swedish steel (not made in China, by golly), by Husqvarna, the chain saw guys. They also make a larger hatchet (this is definitely smaller than a normal hatchet).
$39.95
http://www.husqvarna.com/us/landowner/accessories/tools/forest-tools/hatchet/

Here is a link to some exquisite Austrian hatchets and axes (thanks, jhm!), but they are way more expensive: http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com/Wood-Axes-by-Mueller-of-Austria/products/531/

Mighty old Douglas fir in woods


Yesterday my friend Kent and I rode our bikes up the mountain and down an old fire road. I stopped to pick some mushrooms and Kent went on ahead. When I caught up, his bike was parked and he was in the woods by this gigantic tree. Maybe it was spared by the loggers because it was so distorted. A mighty and awesome presence.