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

…and thou beside me singing in the wilderness.

When one has good wine,
A graceful junk,
And a maiden's love —
Why envy the immortal Gods?
-Li T'ai-Po

Homes made from Plastic Bottles

Above: "Eco-Tec's Ecoparque El Zamorano, Honduras. Ecological House: Constructed with 8,000 bottles with composting toilets and a solar water heating system. The green roof can weigh 30 tons when wet and has been supported by the walls without any extra reinforcement. It is the first house in the world made from PET bottles without using cement in the walls."

Hi Lloyd et al.!
We have been following Lloyd's blog for quite some time. We've really enjoyed your publications ever since we first came across it on someone else's blog about a year ago. We've been devouring one book at a time. What a feast of books you've made!
   Anyway, we've come across this today, and wondered if you knew about it. We thought it excellent way of using those pesky bottles instead of letting them end up in the ocean or landfill.


   Thanks, and keep up the good work! We're really looking forward to seeing the Tiny Homes ;o).

Karina Buikema on behalf of all my boys big (husband) and small

Sunny day on the beach

I'm no real fan of blue skies days. I mean, I don't think every blue-sky warm day is "beautiful," as I so often hear. Give me some clouds, a little fog, wisps of mist. Variety.
   Well, after lots of weeks of rain and dark skies, it was sunny today, and it was "beautiful."Such a change.
    I've started paddling again (inspired by a young neighbor/waterman who paddles at night), and went paddling in the channel around noon today, crossed to the other side and spent an un-planned hour or more beachcombing, running, wading along the sandy beach. You brothers and sisters of the beach tribe will understand when I say it was an exquisite beach day (you can never tell until you get there, right?).
  Very few people on beach, bit of breeze so air was fresh, clear green water flowing in the shallows, lotsof new shells. The light, shadows, the warm sun, foam from small waves breaking on sand…all working together. I was so excited!

Man of wealth and taste

After reading Keith Richard's autobiography, I realized I didn't have "Exile on Main Street," bought it, and was playing it a few minutes ago. I walked into the office where Mary and Lesley were sitting and said, "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste…" and Mary said: "You could have fooled me."

1952 German-made diesel housetruck for sale on eBay

"The truck was manufactured in 1952 in Germany (frame, engine, drivetrain, etc.) and the Netherlands (body) for the Dutch government for the purpose of fire fighting in narrow inner-city streets. A total of 244 were built and they were in service until the mid 1970s when they were sold off to the general public. Many were converted to campers and some are still on the road as such in the Netherlands. I purchased this one in 2002 and had it shipped to Maryland. The original engine was a 75HP four cylinder air cooled (!) diesel with a manual, non-synchronized gearbox. My wife could not get the clutch to the floor and on the up-hill the truck was so slow that I replaced engine and gearbox with a Cummins diesel and automatic gearbox a couple of years later. 165HP works a lot better!…The interior was getting somewhat old and I started a make-over project with solid oak.…"

Starting bid $5000 (no bids as of  9:10 AM Pacific Coast Time 3/30/11.)


Thanx and a tip of the Hatlo hat to Phil Miano for this.

Barb's got moon in hand

From Bill Castle of Pollywog Holler: "Barb proved that the  "Big Moon" Sat night was not really big but it did get close enough to the Earth, for her to grab it…"

(Check out Bill's unique hand-carved tables: http://is.gd/billstables.)

Getting Back in Shape in Lithuanian

Our book Getting Back in Shape, by Bob Anderson (author of Stretching), and Bill Pearl (author of Getting Stronger), has just been translated into Lithuanian. Stretching has been translated into 23 languages, the latest a pocketbook edition by Random House in Germany.

You can see the listing of the 60+ foreign editions of our books at: http://is.gd/shfor, including Shelter and HomeWork in Japanese. Both these books, plus Builders of the Pacific Coast, are in Korean. HomeWork is also in French.

I will be going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this October, especially to sell rights to our book on tiny houses, which it appears, will be of interest all over the world.

It's a great thing to connect with people in other countries. "California to Universe, do you read me?" (This morning we got an order from Austria to ship all 8 of our building books to an address in Brazil!)

Contents of my fanny pack.

I've been many years developing the essentials and how to carry them . I may or may not have my L. L. Bean super capacious backpack with me, but I almost always have the fanny pack. This is what I have when out roaming NYC at night.
-Top: PacSafe StashSafe Series 100 hip pack. It has a bunch of anti-theft features. Mainly, it's the right size, got lots of interior pockets.
-Bottom: $9 Casio F-91W watch
-2nd row up: pen / 3-1/2" x 5" Moleskine notebook (v. slim) / Swiss Army knife / reading glasses that fold up. Louie gave them to me, no idea where to get them, but they are great / slim magnifying glass / tiny LED light / wallet
-Other stuff: Canon Powershot S-90 (have shot almost 3000 shots on this great little camera) / Sony Cybershot DSC TX7 for shooting seamless panoramas / iPhone and stylus (way easier to keyboard with this.


Local Tsunami damage

Just to think, those ocean pulses travelled almost 6000 miles to get here. What's typical is that a boar's bow line comes loose and all that's left is the tether at the stern. The water just climbs over the square back part of the boat.
We were lucky to get along with so little damage here. Pic taken down at the dock last week.

Awesome Tsunami footage

My brother Bob, just forwarded me this:

From: "Russell Schweickart"
Date: March 28, 2011 2:47:37 AM PDT

This is the most complete… and amazing view of the tsunami I’ve seen. And right at the very end is the first, and only shot I’ve seen of the water receding. I think the reason that we haven’t seen the normal tsunami sequence.. ebb, flood, ebb, flood, etc. is that the seawall along the Japanese coast… something like 3-5 meters high… eliminated it. I.e., once the water got over the seawall (since it was 7-10 meters high), it stayed there… the seawall blocking it from receding back out to sea. What an irony!

Aerial video of the wave that hit Japan.


SunRay Kelley's Got hammer (and wood), will travel

Master natural materials builder SunRay Kelley and his partner Bonnie have just returned from a 6000 mile trip to Mexico in their in-process solar powered biodiesel Toyota camper (see http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=10883512 for stuff on my blog about SunRay).
   SunRay's looking for a project. The last one he did was a beautiful little sculptural timber-cob studio in Northern California, which I photographed for a feature in our forthcoming tiny houses book. He brought all the wall and roof sheathing with him, cut and milled on his Washington property, then got posts and beams in the local woods. He told me a few days ago that things were slow in Washington and he was looking for a project. He's done projects as far away from home as New York state and Mexico.
   I couldn't recommend anyone more highly. His structures utilize almost all natural materials in ingenious ways, are beautiful, and finely crafted. Call 360-333-0364 or email Bonnie at sunray@sunraykelley.com. 

Open Building Blog: Thoughts on architecture, timber framing, and sustainability

Epiphany on Ebooks

Because I'm such a modern guy, I downloaded Keith Richards" Life on my iPad, read it, and really liked it (see previous posting).
   OK, the plot thickens: my son Will is a musician, living in Santa Cruz (Calif.) and is working with engineer Rich Williams of Paradise Recording studio on a recording device that, in Will's words: "… (uses) analog tape to get a sound that feels good. Analog recording is like a hand built home, whereas digital recording is analogous to a prefab house. This way is old fashioned, imperfect, and feels better."
   If you read my previous post about what the Stones were doing 40+ years ago, it sounds a lot like what Paradise recordings' hardware is doing in the 21st century. Why am I not surprised that deviating from the purely digital can up the soul factor?

Keith Richards' autobiography is great!

Stones fans (and blues guitar players): You're gonna love this book. What a surprise! It's not perfect, but in parts is insightful, truthful, and informative. Way interesting background stuff on this phenomenal band.
I enjoyed it immensely. There was a fascinating part about Keith plying an acoustic guitar directly into a cassette recorder and distorting the sound to get the desired effect. They were getting electric guitar out of acoustic guitar in ways you can't do with today's digital recording apparatus. I remember listening to a Stones song back in the day as I was returning to reality from an, ahem, chemically-enhanced state of consciousness. What was this sound? It was as if they were distorting time, stretching it, and compressing it.
The book explains how the Keith and Mick couldn't believe that Americans were so largely unaware of Mississippi/Texas.Chicago blues music, their tangled relationship, how they wrote songs together, Keith's formidable heroin/cocaine habits… It's startling in its honesty about a lot of stuff. (And it also led me indirectly to an epiphany about ebooks, which I'll tackle in another post.)

Power outage on Hwy One

This was mid-day Thursday, near Pacifica ((Calif.). A Comcast cable had fallen due to the storms and there were six (6!) guys on six cherry pickers raising the line back up. This disjointed collage shows 4 of them.

Urban renaissance: Books, mags on urban farming, homesteading, backyard gardening, chickens at Bookshop Santa Cruz

When in Santa Cruz last week we went to Bookshop Santa Cruz, a wonderful bookstore. It's in the tradition of The Tattered Cover in Denver, with tons of books face-out, chairs and couches to sit in, helpful bibliophile staff, intelligent arrangement of titles. Here's a table reflecting the recent upsurge of interest in growing (at least some of) your own food, whether you live in the city or country. The book at top right with the red barn is titled The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, by Kristin Kimball, which has got rave reviews. (I mention it here because you can't read the title in the photo.) Another great bookstore I visited recently was Copperfield's in Healdsburg, Calif. It seemed like most of the titles were on tables, face-out. For those of us who love books, there ain't nothin like a real bookstore.