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Two saws made in America

 Bought the Delta radial arm saw over 30 years ago, used from a lady whose husband had passed away. Has worked all that time without a hitch. I got the Dewalt table saw a few weeks ago -- $190 from Craig's List-- and it's a beaut. It had been well cared for. The fence, which rides on the tubes, is self-aligning.

Small Craft Advisor

This is a from a great magazine on small boats, sent us by Godfrey Stephens.


Anyone know what type of clams these are?

I've dug some in the past, but couldn't seem to flush the grit out, even with a few days in sea water with corn meal. There must be some way to render them edible.

Paddle and mud bath on sunny warm afternoon

Boy, it's been a long winter! But today just had it. Billy and I stretched aviary wire over the new chicken yard run. The sun was warm, it all went well, we got the wire tight, ready for the big day on Friday when we'll tear down the old coop and move the little flock. (The rooster is a pistol; he runs things with a flair, and looks out for his girls. He calls them over for food, picks it up and drops it for them.)

I went for a paddle around 3. Paddling has been generally cold and/or windy, and water cold from Spring winds, but today it was warm, and warmer as I made my way down a channel in the lagoon. Water glassy and green. A seagull was tearing at a dead fish on the bank and didn't budge when I came within 10 feet. I've been appreciating seagulls lately; they're strong, ultra-resourceful, many quite beautiful, whi=te, yellows, black.

Perfect day for a mud bath. I pulled up to the grassy bank, stripped, got warm in the sun and then plastered myself with the gooey black mud. The stuff is like cream. All over, all body parts I could reach. Stood in the sun a while, the glory of being all alone out in the sunshine, no humanoids in sight. Then washed it off, paddled back to my truck.

There were a dozen kids playing on the mud flats, hooting, running, goofing. No cell phones or video games, just mud and water. They were having so much fun. Perfect day.

Living roof of new chicken coop planted

Here's what Lesley planted, all local:
Fescue grasses
2 types of sedums
3 types of Dudleya (succulents)
Coyote mint
Beach strawberries
Coast lotus
California rock cress
Lizard's tail
Rosy buckwheat
Soap root

It's all experimental. We'll do updates as the months go by.

On a living roof, the critical place is the bottom: how to keep things waterproof, yet allow drainage. Most roofs I've seen look a bit sketchy in this area. Stuff that'll work for a while, but will need replacing. Anyone got details of long-lasting designs?

Great music website

Bob Massengale turned us on to this great website that allows you to listen to a variety of great music. The real stuff!

If you start playing a song, it will continue with a selection (playing entire songs). Nice way to start the day.

There's a whole bunch of gospel music that was put up for Easter. I've mentioned it before, but the gospel singers are the ones who got the true message of Jesus, the love and joy and harmony. As opposed to the Catholic church et al.


Just now listening to The Art Reynolds Singers: "Every Now and Then"

Later: Perez Prado doing "Black Magnolia." Rrrrrraaahh!

Boy is this a great selection! Now Barbara Lynn doing "I'm a Woman."

New book: Artists' Handmade Houses/Eliphante

This is the back cover of a new Abrams book titled: Artists' Handmade Houses, by Michael Gotkin and Don Freeman. It shows my late cousin Mike Kahn's sculptural house in Arizona, which he called Eliphante. The other houses in the book are not as wild as this. It's a pretty nice book, worth checking out in a bookstore.
(There are 8 pages of Mike's compound of sculptural houses in our book Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter.)

Freebord: revolutionary skateboard design

Yogan, a carpenter in France whose treehouse will be in our new book, turned me on to guys riding these new type of sk8boards, and it turns out they are made in my hometown, San Francisco. They have six wheels, and check out what riders are doing:

Sunday's 5-hour bike adventure

Got up early, did about 3 hours office work, then took off around 9 AM for the hills on my new mountain bike. I swear, this thing is like a motorcycle, a joy to ride. First stop was a pond of my acquaintance, brimming with recent rains. I stripped down and swam underwater to the water lilies, floated there for a few seconds. Cold, maybe 52-53°. Got out recharged, as always happens: when you get in cold water, your body goes into circulatory overdrive when you get out.

Miners' lettuce for salad

Got to this impenetrable trail closure. (I'd already had to lift my bike over fallen logs a bunch of times.) Hadn't been on this trail for years. It used to be clear all the  way down to the paved road. I dragged my bike into the woods on both sides, looking for a way through -- no luck.  It's rare that a decent trail gets closed down like this. Deer, coyotes, etc. will usually make a way around it. I had to backtrack, phew, by now tired. 

From years of training in the 80s-90s, I remembered an alternate route. Otherwise it was going to an extra 10 or so miles, part of it down a trail with flapping nettles. Here's the entrance, and what used to be a clear  shot turned out to involve hauling my bike through thick brush at times, including poison oak, for a couple of miles.

I was really tired, but felt good. Had a chicken sandwich on home-baked bun, and miners' lettuce salad.

And now I gotta get to work. The tiny homes book -- whew! It is cookin! Everyone is on board. Some new pages from last week are spectacular.

Longboarding: TOO MUCH

I picked this up on Loaded Boards website this morning. Great way to start the day, watching these young magicians! Whew!

"A beautiful tale.... 4 total strangers coming together (Dustin Hampton, Alex Tongue, Ethan Cochard, Alex Limbach), having never skated together before and riding together close in a pack, having complete trust in one another. Alex Limbach makes a brief appearance; wish we could have captured more with him--in due time. Tried out something different in this video than my usual "clean" style. This video is raw, dirty, a bit rough on the edges, pretty much all filmed with follow shots (I killed a pair of shoes). All the editing is done while in action with no breathing room. I had the guys always enter the frame a certain way (convergence of action); skating in synchronization, so to speak. I was stoked to try something different and push my level of follow cam skills, and I learned a great deal. Hope you enjoy." - Adam Colton

Ukulele player Benny Chong

Rick Gordon says Benny is his favorite uke player:


The Year of Mud, Ziggy;s book on a cob/living roof cottage

This is a simple small book on Brian "Ziggy" Liloia's construction of a cob cottage at an ecovillage in northeast Missouri. This is a Blurb book, a way anyone can produce high-quality color books. It's expensive for such a small book, but cheap for the fact that they are printed one at a time.

Ziggy's cottage is really nice, and I recommend the book to anyone contemplating a cob cottage. (It's also one of the buildings featured in our book on tiny homes.)

Note: if you use the promo code "NEWBLURB", the book is 20% off.