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From the Land of the Setting Sun

In beauty I walk.
With beauty before me, I walk.
With beauty behind me, I walk.
With beauty below me, I walk.
With beauty all around me, I walk.

It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

~Traditional Navajo Prayer

Sunday night at beach

'I have the biggest concentration of tree houses in the world…"'

TINY HOMES in Today's Wall Street Journal

Here's a link to getting the whole article (for 7 days) without subscribing to the WSJ:
"It may be one of the most intriguing trends in homebuilding: do-it-yourself tiny homes.Š Lloyd Kahn's 'Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter,' a quirky photo-rich book that preaches the benefits of a 'grassroots movement to scale things back.' It has already sold 5,200 copies in the U.S. and Canada since going on sale Jan. 15, making the title a genuin e hit in a distinctly niche market.
   'It's about fantasy,' said Jonas Kyle, one of the owners of Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers in Brooklyn, N.Y., which reordered it after a modest initial order sold out.…
   'What all these books reflect is that people are interested in living more simply,' said Patricia Bostelman, vice president of marketing at Barnes & Noble Inc. "The economy declined, and people are finding ways to downsize." Barnes & Noble is carrying "Tiny Homes" in several hundred stores in major markets.:
   'What I'm saying with this new book is don't get a mortgage, don't pay high rent, and don't go into debt,' said Mr. Kahn. "If you're young enough or you're just starting out and don't want to work 12 hours a day, here's an alternative."
There are 6 photos from the book in WSJ online

Houses For Sale in France

This French website has everything from châteaux to farms for sale. This one is 151,000 Euros: "Charming traditional Perigourdine cottage situated in a secluded location in a pretty little hamlet in the Foret de la Double. The property has been renovated ot a high standard and boasts period features throughout including feature fireplace, exposed beams, colombages.…"

Creative Tiny House – Shipping Container Cabin in Sri Lanka

"This shipping container house is located in Sri Lanka and has beautiful views of a the mountains and overlooks the lake it sits next to. The cabin was built in less than a month by a crew with no previous building experience that simply followed the instructions of Damith Prematikake, the architect for the project.
What’s great about this tiny house is that while the inside space is limited, the deck above makes the home have much more usable space without having to heat or cool it. The scenic views are of course an added bonus.…"

23-year-old Ella Builds Own Tiny Home

From Tiny House Blog: 

"I’m Ella, a 23 year old musician and artist just out of college and I’m in the process of building my very own Tumbleweed Fencl. I’ve been in love with tiny houses from the moment it came to my attention they existed in 2010, and I’ve been saving my money ever since. Finally, last September, I bought a trailer and my step-dad and I began the grand construction!…"
Photo: Ella Jenkins

Young Hawk on Chicken Coop Yesterday

Luckily our coop is buttoned up tight with aviary wire. With our previous funky coop, we lost 5 hens to one of these beauties. Is that a scary eye or what? I believe this is a young Sharp-shinned Hawk, what with the yellow legs. There's something noble looking about raptors.

On the Road 3 Days Ago

 I love hitting the road in my go-anywhere 8 year old Toyota Tacoma (4x4, stick shift, 5 speed, 4-cylinder) truck, armed with cameras. This time I forgot my Panasonic Lumix G1 serious camera, just had the little Canon PowerShot G95. I breathe a sigh of relief when I get to farm land and I start scanning for pix. After splitting enough oak to fill my truck at my brother's, I headed up to Middleton and Harbin Hot Springs. There's something strangely relaxing about the funkiness and occasional white trash homesteads in lower-income counties.

I was reflecting on finding a balance between computer work and the physical world. I love all the email and blogging I've been doing lately. It's an exciting time, what with the popularity of this new book, and sometimes I get so involved here at the Mac that I forget about two necessary antidotes:
1. Working out (including hiking, anything outdoors and physical) for the body. Getting circulation going, stressing muscles, and stretching. I always feel better.
2. Doing something with my hands. Making a table, turning the compost pile, splitting shakes. Deep-down satisfaction to make something with hands.

Nice steel sculpture at a place with a sign "Art Forms" on Hwy 121, south of Sonoma

Thomas Dolby's Solar and Wind Powered Recording Studio on Lifeboat

Thomas Dolby's recording "…studio on a solar and wind powered lifeboat moored in Dolby’s garden in Suffolk, England.…Dolby named the boat Nutmeg of Consolation, after a book from Patrick O’Brian’s naval fiction series and transformed it into a sustainable recording studio, powered by a 450-watt wind turbine and two solar panels on the mast and renovated with interior with reclaimed wood."
This is a great article, at:
From Lew Lewandowski

Old Scale

On my brother Bob's farm in the Napa Valley, He bought it for $80 in Wyoming and rebuilt it. It's a beautiful object.

Farm Shed in Napa County Two Days Ago

Pedal Powered Bicycle Camper

Thanks to Anonymous

jonaven's Treehouse in BC

`jonaven moore says this about the photo:"…photo of the treehosue that I got by hanging from a rope, walking out on a branch 30 ft up an adjacent spruce tree. I only just this fall got connected to the power grid, so i built everything there off grid, and the powerstation in the caboose sustained a lot of it."`
Photo: Jeff Patterson

GIMME SHELTER Newsletter, January 2012

Sunset at Stinson Beach, California
GIMME SHELTER is an email newsletter I send out to about 600 people every few months. It used to be my main form of communication with people in the book trade and friends until I started blogging. We also post them on the Shelter website. Here's the latest, from mid-January: http://www.shelterpub.com/_gimme/_2012-01-19/gimme_shelter-2012-01-19.html

Tiny Homes Madness, Splitting Firewood, and SunRay Kelley's Temple in the Woods

Things are popping around here. Tiny Homes is selling like mad. It's been reviewed on about 20 blogs and/or websites. It's coming up in two of the biggest newspapers in the country (my lips are sealed until articles appear) next week. We're scheduling a tour for me with slide show and book signings in Feb-Mar-April-May June. Gadzooks! I've never had a book get this kind of attention.
   The other day, it occurred to me that this book directly addresses the overblown wasteful indulgent home building industry. I've been saying to people, "No, you don't have to live in such a small space, but it's the direction that counts. How can we do things better? How can we use materials that do the least damage to the planet? How can we heat water and living space most efficiently?" That's in addition to all the poetry of building in the book.

I took off from the madness yesterday and went up to my brother's farm in the Napa Valley to split (oak) firewood. A chance to do something physical. Exciting to get on the road with camera (yesterday only the Canon Powershot G-95). Afterwards I went over to Harbin Hot Springs to take a look at SunRay Kelley's temple (pp. 65-71, Builders of the Pacific Coast), and it looked in great shape, cob and all. It's a beautiful building, and it should have a little brass plaque on it saying : "Designed and built by SunRay Kelley," but the Harbin management is a weird bunch, and they give no credit to SR. There were about a dozen people inside doing yoga, and it was a lovely atmosphere, the wood and the cob and the lighting all in a soft glow.

Prefab Off-grid Tiny Home

"'House Arc' is a modular, prefab housing system developed by Palo Alto, California-based Bellomo Architects. Designed to be 100% off the grid, the 150-square-foot unit can be flat-packed and shipped in a box that is 4x10x3 feet in size.
   Considered a model for compact living, the structure's curvaceous shape is formed from a lightweight frame made of steel tubes - when complete it weighs only 3000 pounds. The intention of 'house arc' is to aid people located in areas devastated by natural disasters and other unforeseen events, as a means of replacing residences that were not built to withstand certain forces of nature. Hence, it has been constructed to withstand tropical winds and weather.
   The capsule-like dwelling features a solar energy generating roof. large windows allow natural light to flood through the space, while also funneling air through the interior, creating a cross-breeze, while a shading trellis limits heat infiltration. The raised structure permits air to flow beneath the framework for cooling, while maintaining permeability of the site.
   'We designed it to be a kit of parts that the average person can assemble quickly–like an IKEA house, only easier to put together.'
- Joseph Bellomo, Architect"

Amazing Canadian Bike Rider

Sent in by Anonymous yesterday

Into the Wet Woods Yesterday

After a 6-week drought, we had about 5" of rain on the weekend, and it was wonderful in the woods. A slight breeze, the air like cool nectar, smell of earth. I wandered down a hitherto unexplored canyon and discovered a stand of good-sized redwoods still scarred from a fire. There was a real old, mighty tree, thick at the base, that had a complete room inside the truck, hollowed out by the fire. Bottom right pic is looking out from inside the tree.

Solid Cedar Teardrop Trailer

Phil Miano sent us an email after seeing the post on teardrop trailers: "…I found this builders site…and was knocked out! Solid cedar teardrop trailers built in a style that would fit right in with Builders of the Pacific Coast for $9k. Each one a unique functional piece of art."
"Queen size mattress, Double doors, Solar panel, Skylight, Tension bar suspension, Sliding windows. A full kitchen which includes, a pullout pantry, a pullout cooler storage, dual lights, and a table that hooks to the side of the trailer for outside dining."
1153 Spruce St., Junction City, OR 87448  541-729-8763



Vintage Surf Pics

Review of Tiny Homes on one of my favorite blogs, 23 Breaths: "A tiny home fits nicely with the current as well as the ancient wisdom."
Looking around on 23 Breaths I found links to the skateboarder (below) and this vintage surf photo. Looks like a Model A Ford (I had a Model A "Victoria" coupe in Santa Cruz in the '50s, with a rumbleseat. Hubba hubba.)

Hiace 1996 2.8L Diesel Surfer Van Sleeps 4 - New Zealand

"Sleeps 2 down below and 2 kids up above. It has roof-racks for surf/paddleboards, gas/240volt fridge, cooker, sink,water pump, 20l fresh, 20l grey, stereo with ipod aux, power, solar panel, house battery for interior lights, etc. With 177,700kms on clock and runs like a dream. Cruises at 100kph easily and drives around like a car. Uses no oil. Always serviced and lives up to Toyota's reputation.…" http://shltr.net/yDkpjC

Skateboarder Rodney Mullen

 Hard to believe

Vintage Bedford Housetruck for Sale in New Zealand

"Asking price: $14,000 Or Near Offer/Listed: Thu 19 Jan
1949 Bedford EDLOB housetruck. Repowered with an ex railways bus S33? 300 petrol motor with Eaton gearbox and diff.
-Timber panelling throughout in rimu and kauri. Floors are matai and NZ silver beech.
-Large sleeping loft fits queen bed.
-Shower stall.
-Kitchen has stainless sink, 3 way fridge and 4 burner gas hobb.
-12 volt water pump and underfloor tank. Hot water via gas califont.… "
This website has tons of trailers, campers, busses and housetrucks for sale in New Zealand.

Dolphins Riding on Backs of Whales

By Maggie Koerth-Baker at 8:39 am Monday, Jan 23, http://boingboing.net/2012/01/23/good-news-whale-and-dolphins.html 
"…this video from the American Museum of Natural History details two recent instances where scientists have observed a whale and several dolphins interacting in ways that are something we might classify as 'play…'"

The Return of Teardrop Trailers

"Here's an item from America's past I would not have imagined would make a comeback: The teardrop trailer. First produced during the Great Depression and designed in the Streamline Moderne style, the towable campers were lightweight, economical alternatives to full-sized trailers. They typically offered sleeping/lounging space, storage, and a makeshift cooking/food prep surface. Gas prices being what they are these days, teardrop trailers are back in vogue; some models are so light they can be towed by microcars and even motorcycles.…" Posted by hipstomp, 23 Jan 2012

Thanks to John Norton for this

Writer John Steinbeck's Road Vehicle "Rocinante" from "Travels with Charley"

"…Travels with Charley: In Search of America is a travelogue of his 1960 road trip with his poodle Charley. Steinbeck bemoans his lost youth and roots, while dispensing both criticism and praise for America. According to Steinbeck's son Thom, Steinbeck went on the trip because he knew he was dying and wanted to see the country one last time.…" - Wikipedia
Photo: Flickr
Sent by Lew Lewandowski

The Boomtown Boys Skating in Santa Barbara

Crank up the sound!

Girl Skateboarders: Make Your Own Damn Meals!

Breakdancing Filipino Traffic Cop

"Here's a Filipino traffic-cop performing his duties while breakdancing, to the great delight of a large and excited crowd."
By Cory Doctorow, Sunday, Jan 22, on Boing Boing

Last Third of SunRay Kelley Day on Blog

Last month SunRay wanted me to come see his latest creation up near Fort Bragg (Mendocino coast), but I couldn't get away.
SunRay is not easy to get ahold of. He doesn't exactly have a smartphone that's on all the time. But once in a while he'll call. This call a week ago was fading in and out, but he was describing the "Waterfall House," just completed, and I caught snatches of what he was saying:

"It's got a living foundation. It's grounded into the earth…it ascends to the heavens. The living walls are clay and straw and they breathe. It's got a living roof…mushrooms and flowers and moss…It's 6-sided, there's a timber frame…cut trees in a fairy ring…"
   The phone disconnected…
   Anyone else saying stuff like and I'd be thinking, yeah, right…But SunRay is the real thing. He's a true nature spirit. His buildings are poetry. Hey New York Times, do a story on SunRay Kelley!
Photo inside Waterfall House by Camille Nordgren
Other photos of Waterfall House: http://shltr.net/An3mLK

SunRay Kelley's Woodcraft Artistry

Outside of Hani's Man Cave.
SunRay's a master of "natural materials." He has a sure touch in making structural frameworks from twisted, gnarly trees. The posts and beams and oak cross pieces here all look like they've grown together. The joints are tight – competent carpentry.
   "I want my buildings to sing and dance. I don't want them to be static. Life is motion. Live is movement. The life force is always moving through us." - P. 59, Builders of the Pacific Coast, where there are 26 pp. on SunRay's work

SunRay Kelley

SunRay Kelley in "Hani's Man Cave," which he built last year in the hills near Middleton (Clear Lake Area), Calif. (His friend Hani has a wife and 4 daughters, and SunRay thought he needed some yang space.)
   I got there on a misty December morning, just as he was in the finishing stages. It's a lovely little building. It improves on the nature surrounding it.
   He calls this a "kit." He cut trees and milled lumber for the 12-sided, 14-½' wooden yurt on his property in Washington and trucked it down to California. SunRay says he can ship kits like this anywhere: http://www.sunraykelley.com
   This interior wall is sculpted cob, a SunRay specialty (the secret is clay), but it's essentially a wooden building. The porch is framed with locally-harvested manzanita, bay, and pine.
More on pp. 100-101, Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

Teresa Lives on Her SaIilboat

"When Teresa Carey lost most of her possessions in a house fire years ago, she felt liberated. “I didn't miss a thing. It was almost like a burden lifted off my shoulders. ”
This was the first step toward a more minimalist lifestyle. The second motivating catalyst was her decision to life aboard her sailboat. Before making the move she began to downsize her stuff keeping only what would fit in her car. When she finally made her move to her 27 foot sloop she had given away or sold the majority of her belongings.
Today, Teresa lives on her sailboat Daphne with no flush toilet or shower, an icebox for a refrigerator, no television and few electronics. She doesn’t see it as a sacrifice, but as an opportunity to live a bigger life unfettered by her possessions.
In this video, Teresa gives us a tour of her boat and shows us a few days in the life of a liveaboard."

Etta James & Johnny Otis, RIP

"The world lost two musical greats this week. Etta James died today at age 73. Johnny Otis passed away on Tuesday. He was 90." - By David Pescovtiz on http://boingboing.net/ today.

Fun in the San Francisco

We had such a great day Wednesday. Country hicks in Big City. We started out at Trouble Coffee, out at the beach, my favorite caffeine cafe on the planet, went over to Mollusk Surf Shop, my fave surf shop (which has a wonderful collection of art books for sale along with surfboards and wetsuits), then down to the unique Gravel & Gold in the Mission, where Lesley's been selling hand woven shawls (and I'm going to do a Tiny Homes slide show February 24th), Lesley went to fabric and clothing stores, I roamed and shot photos. In the normal course of my day I may see a dozen people. In the city I see 1000s. I stalk with my camera, hunting. So much going on, the city is culturally vibrant, exciting these days. Having grown up there gives my visits special meaning.
Above and below: Mollusk Surf Shop

It kills me to do such dumb layout as the above, but I don't know my HTML (and don't think I'd want to spend all the time necessary to craft it the way I want it to appear). What I need is a drag-and-drop setup so I can do a paper-type layout. Any suggestions? I need quick and dirty, because I want to minimize computer time.

Mystery Lady in Driftwood Shack

We received this as a postcard a few days ago, saying "Can't wait to order my copy of Tiny Homes. Thanks for all the hard work." Can't make out the signature, it looks something like "Anne."

Spiffy Surfer Rig, Lovers in the Storm, Graffiti on Beach

On tonight's walk:
This little SUV looked so tuned in. Maybe it's a surfer with a tiny home.

Beach was wind-swept and people-less as the storm hovered offshore, except for the lovers hanging out on the groin. Tall dark handsome guy "…from Switzerland," pretty, good-vibes California girl, a nice couple. I love a deserted beach.

"All the leaves are brown,
And the sky is grey…" - Mamas and Papas on Sirius '60s radio right now. You know, this is a pretty good song.

Darran and Ann's Tiny Home on MSNBC Video

Darran Maca and Ann Holley's 192 sq. ft. self-contained"Protohaus," featured on pp. 66-67 of Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, is the subject of this new MSNBC video: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nbc-news-channel/45941488#45941488

$500 Home in Hawaii

Also from: http://themoderncabin.com/ (which seems endless) When you click on a photo, Justin gives you the reference. This one: "Talk about shoestring budget! Chelsea Kohl, a 22-year-old native of Hawaii, built her home on her father's property for literally...$500. Featured in Dwell magazine a few months ago, this home could pass as a mixed media art installation of found objects: old wine bottles embedded in the wall, windsurf boards as part of the roof, even the flatbed part of a truck for a sleeping loft.…"

600, that Is, 600 photos of Small Cabins!

When I was working on Tiny Homes, I kept my my cards a bit close to chest. I didn't post a lot of the homes I was finding because I wanted to save them for the book. Now that the book is out, the flood gates are open,so in coming months, here we go. An example is The Modern Cabin website, run by Justin, with 600 photos of cabins. Whoa! Also, things are starting to pour in from people who have seen the book.
   Above, from Justin's website: "Cabo Polonio, a remote beach village in southeastern Uruguay, sits on a green peninsula between the Atlantic and a desert landscape of shifting sand dunes. Strewn across the grassy promontory are a single lighthouse and a few hundred whimsical dwellings. Rasta-colored flags serve as wind vanes, tinted glass bottles are embedded in walls, and exteriors are painted with pictures of suns, cow spots, rainbows and a Klimt-like rendering of a woman.…"

Interior Photos of Detachable Dutch Campers

10 days ago I posted photos of these unique campers, which can be slid off their flatbed truck beds. Alex Pino of Tiny House Talk saw the post and just posted a bunch of great photos of the interiors. They are apparently v. expensive, but also v. spiffy. 

Irene Helps Get Word Out About Tiny Homes

One of the rewarding things about this blog is running across so many kindred spirits, especially Irene Tukuafu. She and I and my wife Lesley have emailed back and forth for a year or two. Totally in tune. A few days ago, Irene sent out the below email to her list of about 200 people. Not only kind words, but the sort of thing that helps get the word out about Tiny Homes.

"Family and Folks, okay, sooooooooooooo here's a book I've waited for over a year to read for my self. I've followed this guys books for over 30 years and it's pretty much Lloyd Kahn that I got ideas on building a round house. oh yes, it evolved, but he was the start of it. I've just spent 2 hours just "glancing" at the photos.....many photos of this book. I can say that ALL OF YOU would benefit by either getting to a library or just… buy it. There is so much in here that you will learn by just looking at the photos....let alone reading it. yep, gonna read it next and it will keep me SUPER BUSY....for a long time. You will find simple ways to build CREATIVELY. a little green house, a little cabin, a house boat, a camper something. AND you'll be a knowing what other folks are doing that are NOT paying a big mortgage payment. They's doing it themselves in these tiny houses. You might not agree with the tiny house way of doing things, but you'll see things YOU CAN DO that would help you in adding onto a room or whatever you've been thinking about but just NEED SOME INSPIRATION. over 1,300 photos.

Nope, I don't work for him. Just telling you that living a creative live is a JOY and I'm grateful that I became acquainted with his books 30 years ago and I'm still thinking CREATIVELY. I'm not done building creatively and got wayyyyyyyyy too many ideas to even get to sleep tonight. ZOWIE.…"



Carvings by Godfrey Stephens

Photo in this morning. Mask and bench by prolific artist and Victoria BC resident Godfrey Stephens, who's featured in Builders of the Pacific Coast (on bench).

Chickens by Mail, Rain By Midweek

For over 30 years we've been getting our chickens from Murray McMurray Hatchery in Webster City, Iowa. They ship day-old chicks in a ventilated flat box and you pick up this peeping package at your post office. McMurray has been in business for 95 years and their breeds are excellent.
   We get excited looking at the new catalog each year. They also have ducks, turkeys, pheasants, and quail. (Oh how I wish we had more than a half-acre!) We've gone through many breeds over the years and have now settled on bantams.


Jay Nelson's Super Lightweight Electric Car in San Francisco

Jay Nelson's electric car, the Golden Gate measures, 96″ x 54″ x 64," drives 10 miles on a charge with speeds up to 20mph.

Tiny Homes # 435 on Amazon this morning

We've never had a book ranked nearly this high. It's taking off everywhere with a bang. Yesterday we had over 50 orders.
Note: If you have the book and like it a lot, please put up a review on Amazon. Word-of-mouth mojo  -- like the old Whole Earth Catalog days…

Chickens Got New Feathers

They looked really ratty a month ago after they'd shed feathers. Now they're all newly feathered out, our little bantam Silver Seabrights, one Golden Seabright, and about 3 bantam Auracanas. Lookin good. We got these because of their beauty, the black band around each white (or golden) feather. This coming summer, we're going to get a new flock of Golden Seabrights and Auracanas. Pix shot an hour ago.


TINY HOMES Appears in New MSNBC Video on -- Ta-dah -- Tiny Homes

This video showed up yesterday. At 1:10 min. into it, they show a photo of Tiny Homes, Don't know how they got the book so fast, it's just out. Glad to see they used phrase "tiny homes.…"
   We just may have some buzz starting here. Phone has been ringing off the hook, over 50 books sold today…

Tiny Homes on Flight 505

I've been tracking Tiny Homes on Amazon and just now it is #505 in the "Amazon Best Sellers Rank." We've never had a book be this high.
   Hmm -- 505, isn't that an old Stones song? I looked it up on Grooveshark -- am I the last one to discover this site? Search for and play any song whatever. So (example of how I waste time around here) -- I just listened to "Get me on Flight Number 505…" while gloating over the Amazon rating.

 Jimmy Reed doing Big Boss Man on Sirius radio right now. Funny isn't it, how you'll know a song well enough, but at a certain time you'll discover it all over, with deeper appreciation? Just appreciating the simplicity of what Jimmy Reed does. It's what you leave out that counts…