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Friday in The City

Just before I did the slide show, along came 100s of cyclists down Valencia, turning on to 21st St. Boisterous, friendly, loud. I'd never seen "Critical Mass" before. Worldwide now, started in SF 1982.

"What is Critical Mass?
Critical Mass is a mass bicycle ride that takes place on the last Friday of each month in cities around the world. Everyone is invited! No one is in charge! Bring your bike!"

Doorway on 21st Street. I love wandering the city with camera. Country hick: "Wow! Look at that!"

I think San Francisco is culturally rich right now.

Back to the Blog

I have to admit I'm big on epiphanies. That said, this one was in recognizing that over the last year, with the accelerated work that always goes along with finishing (and printing) a book, I'd been checking email and blogging on weekends. Ulp!
   I've decided to knock off the the e-Stuff over the weekends, to get back to a better balance between the world of the Mac and the world of physical reality.
   I realized that in my email box there are continually deadlines, rushes, things that need attention tout suite. Also realized that one doesn't have to respond instantly. Been-there-done-that. So I'm gonna kick it down a notch. Doing book signings here and there in the next 3 months, but by golly on some of the days in between I'm gonna get away from the keyboard. More clamming, crabbing, and fishing. More sleeping on beaches. Get going on our Water and Wheels book in the summer.
   This weekend I got a lot of backed-up stuff done in the shop. Sharpened chainsaw, fixed clock, greased bearings of boat trailer, set gopher traps (the little fuckers got 4 of my six cabbages), cleaned up clutter on floor and benches in shop, etc.
   On Friday I'd gone into San Francisco and had a great day and night, more to follow…
Firehouse in South San Francisco on Friday

Fox With Diamond Eyes, Dan Hicks With Hot Licks

Running by headlight Tuesday night, I spotted a grey fox in a field alongside the trail. I moved a little closer to him and he stood his ground and looked at me (at my headlight, that is). His eyes glittered like (white) diamonds. Eyes of the cat family (bobcat, very occasional mtn lion) are green or yellow when reflected at night, as I recall…

Driving home along the coast later, this Dan Hicks song somehow hit the spot: http://grooveshark.com/s/Hey+Bartender/49mg1O?src=5

Slide Show, Book Signing Friday February 24, San Francisco

This Friday I'm doing a book signing and slide show for the Tiny Homes book at Gravel & Gold in the Mission district in San Francisco. A totally cool store. Friday Feb. 24, 7PM, 3266 21st Street: http://gravelandgold.com/events/slideshow-lloyd-kahn-tiny-homes/

Beach Art

The Cube: Snappy Little Nissan SUV

Saw this parked last night nearby. The designers got a lot of stuff right here — it just looks sensible. (Reminds me of the look of those cars in that animated movie about same.)

Beach Photos at Dusk

Photo of Mini Book

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reprinting Our Color Books Up the Kazoo Now":

Why not show us a picture of the tiny, tiny house book in your hand so we cans see how small it is?

Posted by Anonymous to Lloyd’s Blog at February 17, 2012 6:55 PM

Photo by Godfrey Stephens

Skunked on Tomales Bay

("Skunked" is a fisherman's term for catching nada.) We trailered my boat up to the bay and when we  got there it was blowing hard. At the ramp, a National Park rescue boat (600 horsepower) was just pulling in, towing a boat the same size as mine, with 3 guys in it. The ranger said the fishermen were in trouble, with waves starting to break over the boat, and they were heading back out to check on 2 other boats that could be in trouble (above). He advised us against going out. so we scratched the plan. Below, Billy in a 1940s-style phone booth, and a deep sea diving rig at Nick's Cove restaurant, which has a lot of vintage stuff on display. We got a bunch of bay mussels off the rocks on the way home.

Bobcat Skulls

Yes, I know. I'm all over. What's going on in my life and head admittedly veers all over the place. Here's part of my animal skull collection (on top of the filing cabinet behind me), notable for the two (roadkill) bobcat skulls front center. I've finally learned how to render animal skulls, and these two came out nicely. After defleshing, I use janitorial strength ammonia for 4-5 days, then 35% hydrogen peroxide (not for faint hearted) for about a week. That's a beaver skull in the background, with one of the long teeth laying in front of it; it slides into the jawbone; found by a lake on Denman Island, BC. Bird skulls on right ((mostly doves), they're light as a feather. Wolf teeth on left (from remote spot 50 miles north of Tofino BC). Rat skull in center. Design!

The Natural World in These Parts This Week

Saw a beautiful coyote on a recent (unsuccessful) mushroom hunt. The coyotes I see every so often on the highway are a bit scuzzy looking, but this one was grand. Reddish shiny coat, black tail tip; he was big and had a princely profile like a fox.
Left: coyote scat, indicating a diet high in mice, gophers. Looks like an art object.
Going through Stinson Beach Tuesday a deer bolted down the road. Galloping, two front feet, then two rear feet alternately. Rippling front leg muscles. Powerful and healthy. Then that night, on my nighttime run by headlight, another coyote at the nearby farm. Ran away from me, then climbed to the top of a pyramid-shaped compost pile. The Joker.
This morning more varieties of birds than I've ever seen outside the kitchen window. Crows, doves, quail, robins, red-winged blackbirds. a Rufus-sided towee (little beauty), sparrows (ugh), and the ever-spooky rock pigeons. Cornucopia of feathered flight.
   Some years ago I had a series of dreams about flying. It wasn't like I was just floating in the air. I had to run along, flap arms, and take off. So utterly real, still thrills me to think about it. I often watch (in envy) the elegant-in-flight turkey buzzards riding updrafts by the ocean cliffs, or a line of Pelicans just inches above the water, gliding on the updraft of breaking waves. Eat my heart out.
   Here are some Fluted Black Elfin Saddle mushrooms Lew gathered in Inverness, too far past prime to eat, but the only half-way decent fungi in the woods right now. C'mon rain! C'mon low pressure, which allows the storms to come in off the ocean.
Got my 15 hp Evinrude outboard motor tuned up. Billy and I are going clamming, musseling, and crabbing on Saturday in Tomales Bay. I have a 12' aluminum Klamath boat. It's a little dicey getting out through the ocean waves here with a boat that small, but Tomales Bay is a piece of cake. I'm dedicated to getting ever more food from the wild.
   Spring is peeking around the corner. The light is richer, green grass growing, plum tree budding out, red-winged blackbirds singing their Spring song. I'm a child of Spring, born in April, so I feel exuberant this time of year.

Reprinting Our Color Books Up the Kazoo Now

1. We're doing a (12,500-copy) reprint of Tiny Homes. It will arrive at the Publishers Group West warehouse in Tennessee on April 4. First printing was 15,000 and we're just about out of stock. It sold over 4,000 copies in the first 8 days of February.
2. We're printing 5,000 copies of the (2" x 2-1/4") mini tiny homes book. We've just about gone through the first 2,000. I tell you, I've never had an object that is so much fun to give out. People just love it. (As I'm sure I've said), 95% of the people I hand it to laugh out loud. Not a smile, an audible laugh.
   I've been going around to shops in San Francisco, giving it out. Surf or skate shops, barista locales, bike shops, gardening stores. We're going to look for people in different cities to do the same. My friend Shelter Serra took a bunch to NYC a few weeks ago and just emailed "Everyone loves the book!!"
   We're setting up book signings for me. Will post places and dates later. We're hoping for word-of-mouth to keep this book rolling. If you love it, email yr. friends.
3. We just reprinted Shelter with Paramount Printers in Hong Kong and does it look good! We'd done recent reprints in Colombia, and the printers were not on the ball like Paramount. This is by far the best printing in 39 years of printing Shelter; photos look snappy. (The first 160,000 copies were done on a web offset (newspaper) press; these are on sheet-fed (better quality) presses.
4. We're reprinting both Home Work and Builders of the Pacific Coast.
5. Shameless Commerce Dept: 30% discount on 3 or more of our building books: http://www.shelterpub.com/_ad/TH-sale.html

Our First eBook Gets QED Award

When it came time to do our first e-book — Marathon: You Can Do It!, by Jeff Galloway — we couldn't find anyone we thought would do a good enough job converting print book to ebook. So Rick Gordon did the book "in-house," for the iPad and the Kindle. It came out really well: typography, color, graphics, and perhaps most importantly, smooth flowing of the many training charts in the book. I compared it with all the other iPad e-books on running, and it looks way better.
   We entered it in the non-fiction category of the Publishing Innovation Awards this year and it was was one of three runner-ups for the Publishing Innovation Awards in the non-fiction ebook category, from among a lot of entrants. (There were separate categories for apps and multimedia enhanced ebooks.) It was awarded the QED (Quality-Excellence-Design) seal.
   Here's what the judges said about Rick's work:

Rural America After the Depression, 1939-1943

African American's tenant's home beside the Mississippi River levee. Near Lake Providence, Louisiana, June 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
"These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color."
Sent us by Bob Kahn

9-Year-old Banjo Player!

And here's a good start for you today, also compliments of Rick Gordon:

BB King Performs "Night Life" Live in Sweden 1986

How about this to start off your day (and week)!
BB at the Umeå Jazz Festival, Umeå, Sweden in 1986. Check out the pianist and trumpet player (using rubber toilet plunger as mute, if I'm not mistaken) as well.
From Rick Gordon

Sweetwater Saloon Rocks Again

 Sweetwater Saloon was a much-beloved Marin County (California) music venue for 30 years until it closed down 5 years ago. It has now reopened in the old Masonic Hall in Mill Valley and is ramping up its schedule. Last night I was on my way home around 8PM and I stopped in to take a look. Well -- Ausitin Leone and friends were scheduled, there was a  $5 cover, and what can a poor boy do?
   It was a great night. The room is twice as big as the old place and doesn't have the cozy ambiance, but it feels good, muchly helped by leaving the rough timber ceiling beams (joists for upper story) uncovered. Full house, happy people, great rock and roll and blues by the hometown band.
  Here's the new schedule: http://sweetwatermusichall.inticketing.com/events

Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools

This is the single most useful site/blog on the web for me. I can't say how many useful things this blog has turned me on to. It's like the electronic Whole Earth Catalog, but what's better is that it uses no paper, and it's daily.

Kevin Kelly, ex-Whole Earth Review editor, founding editor at Wired mag, author, photographer, explorer, runs this operation, with daily reviews of useful stuff.

"Cool tools really work. A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We only post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted. Tell us what you love."

Easiest way to get there is to go to kk.org, then click on "Cool Tools" at the left.

Willie Brown and Mayor Ed Lee at Cafe Roma This Morning

Willie Brown (Speaker of the California State Assembly for 15 years, San Francisco mayor in the late '90s) must have a TV show. I've seen him often at a table in Cafe Roma in North Beach, SF, with major size video cameras filming him, when I get there, around 7 AM. This morning he's meeting with SF's new mayor Ed Lee and a third politico guy who's always here with Willy. They're sitting about 15 feet away. Wille's telling stories and there's a lot of laughter
Willie is a beautiful man, he's gotten better looking with age. This morning he's wearing a gorgeous brown sport coat, dark slacks, a deep red tie and deep red handkerchief. Dude!

TINY HOMES Second Printing

There were orders with our distributor Publishers Group West for 4,193 copies of the book in the first 8 days of February and we are going back to press right now, just a month after the book hit the bookstores.
   First printing was 15,000, this one will be 12,500.
   Hey I thought print books were supposed to be dead!

12 Salamanders/5 Owls/3 Coyotes and a Full Moon

Last night I took a 3-4 mile slow run, solo as usual, such a relief to not be training for races. The salamanders were out, crossing the path as they do, blithely and blindly.They are totally cute, with knobby eyes and splayed-out toes, and they walk like this:
-right front foot and left rear foot forward / 2-second pause / left front foot and right rear foot forward. The salamander slo-mo march. Counted a dozen of them.
   There are small owls that hang out by the sides of the trail, hunting for mice. 5 of them, here and there. They'd let me get maybe 40-50' away, then float off. Owls make no sound when flying. I've heard that their wing feathers have tapered edges so they'll be silent in flight. Miceys, comin to gethcha. 
   As I got back down into the wetlands, I heard 3 coyotes, singing to each other from different spots. Each call had 3, 4, or 5 notes. Starting low and ending high. One guy had a really high note. They'd yodel a bit in between some notes. The full moon broke through the clouds. Who wouldn't howl with joy?

Pack Rats in the Woodpile

Pack rats, or wood rats, are all over in this part of the world. In hard-to-reach parts of the woods, they build these 3-foot high pyramidal nests out of sticks and twigs. Some of these are beautifully constructed. Around the homestead, they make nests deep down in the woodpiles. Recently, they've been dragging split kindling up to the top of the wood pile, for what purpose I know not. Surprising that they can and would do this.
They're quite different from scumbag Norwegian rats. They look more like an enlarged mouse, and have white fur on their bellies. I trap them when need be, but to some extent, live and let live.

Ebook Version of Our Book Marathon Gets Excellence Seal

When it came time to do our first e-book -- Marathon: You Can Do It!, by Jeff Galloway -- we couldn't find anyone we thought would do a good enough job in converting print book to ebook. So Rick Gordon did the book "in-house," as they say -- for the iPad and the Kindle. It came out really well: typography, color, graphics, and perhaps most importantly, smooth flowing of the many training charts in the book. I compared it with all the other iPad e-books on running, and it looks way better.
   We entered it in the non-fiction category of the Publishing Innovation Awards this year and although it didn't win, it was awarded the QED (Quality-Excellence-Design) Seal. Here's what the judges said about Rick's work:
   "Marathon: You Can Do It displays a creative design that does not distract from the text, making the pages visually appealing as well as informative. Tables contain a lot of structure, yet even rendered as art are easy to read. The 'Tips on Using This Book' for the iPad demonstrates a thoughtfulness and sensitivity to the reader's experience of this digital title."

Lew's Shelterpub Facebook Page

I started this blog 7 years ago. A bit reluctantly at first. (Sort of the same way I began using a Macintosh.) As the years have gone by, it's become part of my life; I'm committed to getting up at least one post a day, it gives me a quick and easy way to tell people what I discover in the world around me.
   In a way it doubled my workload: I have my work as an author, photographer, and publisher — making books — and there's the blogging. Along with the occasional Tweet, a full plate.
   Then along came Facebook. I just didn't have the time to get involved in this different form of communication, so Lew (Lewandowski) started doing a Shelter Facebook page. I didn't really understand how Facebook worked until yesterday when Lew and I looked over his work. I was impressed. At left is a photo that caught my eye: the mobile farm stand of the organic Four Season Farm of Harborside, Maine. Lew scans the web for items of interest.
   With the blog I'm basically broadcasting; I don't have time to reply to many comments. With Lew's Facebook page, there's a flow. People don't just comment, they send photos, videos, they share with friends; it's a web of communication. So I'll keep blogging, and Lew will keep Facebooking, and this should give you a pretty good picture of what goes on in our work and with our interests: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shelter-Publications-Inc/91849471589?ref=ts

Radio Interview With Me by Mike Litchfield Thursday Feb 9th

Mike Litchfield, author of the excellent book In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats (Taunton Books), is going to interview me on the subject of tiny homes on the local West Marin radio station, KWMR, this Thursday at  9 AM, Pacific Time (PST -0800): http://www.kwmr.org/
   A great review of Tiny Homes appeared on the flagship of the tiny house movement, the Tiny House Blog, run by Kent Griswold.
   Due to that, and the Wall Street Journal's and New York Times' article last week, we had web orders for 41 books today.
   More on the tiny homes front: Our neighbor. fisherman Todd, told me that a few weeks ago he gave a book to a farmer friend, and the guy is already building something he saw in the book. Last night I saw John Korty, the filmmaker, at a movie in San Rafael and he said that his son was looking at the book and getting ready to build something out of it. It never occurred to me that the book would be such a motivator.

Our Next Book: Wheels and Water

Our next book will be on nomadic living in the 21st century. Homes on wheels and homes in the water. Campers, RVs, trailers, house trucks, house buses, and bike rigs, as well as sailboats and houseboats. We won't start working on it until the summer, but if you have any material for us, please let us know. We'll contact you when we get, um, rolling.
*By this we mean road rigs, not small cabins on trailer platforms that are meant to be moved infrequently.
Above photo: "Gypsy Family: Georgia, Jessy, Jeanette and Ray Poulson live life on the road, selling handcrafted goods." (in New Zealand.) http://shltr.net/A8Tkn4

Photo of Truck Camper Nestled in Woods by Jay Shafer

"40 Tiny Houses in 40 Days – Day 1
February 2, 2012
I’ve been shooting pictures of other folk’s tiny houses for over a decade now. While I’ve put some of my images in The Small House Book, I’ve still got some more stuff I should put out there. Here, then, are a few of my favorites- some new, some old."
- Jay Shafer, Tumbleweed Tiny Houses

Dusk at the Beach

You can never tell what it's going to be like on the beach. A few days ago I rode my bike to a distant beach and walked a mile or so on the rocky shore. Tide just starting to come back in. It had rained ¼" the night before and the air was fresh and loaded with negative ions. Surf big. Water with bluish almost metallic sheen. Sun starting to set, no wind, a reddish Winter-going-into-Spring cast to rocks and driftwood. I was thrilled.
Unexpectedly I came across this little driftwood bench. Sat down, toked up, watched sun dropping down to horizon. Reflecting on the instinct to build. Some people just have it, they put things together, like the person who assembled the driftwood for this beach lovers' perch. (That's my right foot there.) Good on ya, mate!

Back in the Water

4 to 5 months ago I slipped stepping off a ladder, spun around, and stuck my arm out to absorb the blow -- acute shoulder pain. I lay there thinking, just how bad is this? Well, pretty bad, not so much in the severity of the injury, but in the time it's taking to heal.* But finally, it's getting better bit by bit. I've gone to an acupuncturist, a traditional Chinese massage guy, a great physical therapy lady, and done light shoulder exercises when I can remember them during these busy times. Trying to avoid surgery.
   I've found during the course of many injuries over the years, that you get to a point where you're not making any progress, and you have to push a little into the pain zone with rehabilitation. The trick is to work the injured area enough to get circulation going and repairs started, but not screw things up even more.
   So, feeling a bit better, I went surfing last night, and it was a thrill to be back in the water for the first time in four months. I only got one ride, and that was on my knees (more than a bit rusty), but it was a start. Getting into the ocean in any manner whatsoever gets the chi flowing.

*I heard a comedian one day talking about how fast young people heal. He said when you're 18, you can get fairly badly hurt, then stand in front of the mirror and watch yourself heal.

A Bunch of Great New Pics at freecabinporn.com

Cabin built of slab wood by Dave Sinaguglia near Hartford, CT

A ton of great cabins have been posted in the last few days:

TINY HOMES in Today's New York Times

Article by Penelope Green with short mention of our book

"…Lloyd Kahn, once the shelter editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, and the dean of the hand-built movement.
   Mr. Kahn, 76, has been publishing steadily under his own imprint, Shelter Publications, since 1973, and has influenced generations of passionate D.I.Y.ers. He has his own new book, Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter: Scaling Back in the 21st Century ($24.95), a glorious portfolio of quirky makers and dreamers…"

Photo of San Francisco's Mission Dolores, 1936

"Historic American Buildings Survey Robt. W. Kerrigan, Photographer April 10, 1936 VIEW FROM EAST - Mission San Francisco de Asis, Mission & Sixteenth Streets, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA"
If you are in SF, and get a chance, look inside; the ceiling is stunning: "…The colorful high altar and the wooden ceiling with Native American patterns were hand-painted.…"
From the Library of Congress http://shltr.net/msndolsf
Sent us by David Wills

Allan Lomax Global Jukebox Goes Digital

"The folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was a prodigious collector of traditional music from all over the world and a tireless missionary for that cause. Long before the Internet existed, he envisioned a “global jukebox” to disseminate and analyze the material he had gathered during decades of fieldwork.
A decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online.

Jasper Netting Herring in Sausalito Yesterday

Top to bottom Jasper casting net; one net's catch; tiny herring eggs on rocks

Herring Are In

I've read about the local herring runs in the papers, but never seem the phenomenon  up close. Yesterday I was driving through Sausalito along the waterfront and things were hopping. Hundreds of seagulls wheeling and diving, and a bunch of flat bottomed aluminum fishing boats pulling in nets. I stopped and  started shooting photos when I heard someone yell "Lloyd!"It was my friend Jasper Monti, hunter and fisherman extraordinaire. He had on waders, and was carrying a net and two 5 gallon buckets.
   He explained that he was going to freeze the herring for salmon bait, and showed me how to cast the net. He pointed out all the tiny herring eggs that had been deposited on the rocks and seaweed on the shore. Well, right up my alley! I'm getting a net next week in San Francisco will be ready next year. Going to try making pickled herring.

Roundwood Timber Framing by Ben Law

This is a review I wrote for the Mother Earth News in December:
If I’d had Ben Law’s book Roundwood Timber Framing (Published by Chelsea Green) back when I was learning how to build in the ’60s, I would have been inspired to plant and tend trees suitable for house framing — I could have framed several buildings by now as a result. Filled with beautiful color photographs and detailed drawings, this one-of-a-kind, practical guide will likely evoke the same “if only” reaction in many of its readers.
One of the unique features of this book is its step-by-step description of the process for creating your own building materials. Another is that every building shown within was constructed using a modified cruck frame. This method consists of using two or more A-frames, and was used in medieval times to build houses, barns and halls. Law has adapted it structurally to triangulate, and therefore brace, rectilinear buildings. In the back of the book are sequential photos of the construction of seven different round-pole buildings.