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Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Queens of Rhythm - Knockin' on Heaven's Door

It's Friday and I'm in the office alone, should be doing layout, but I got diverted. It's all Kevin Votel's fault: he told me Wednesday morning at one of our monthly-or-so breakfasts at Bette's Diner, that Bob Dylan was doing a series of concerts with Mark Knopfler. This led me into Googling around. (They're on a big tour and will be in Berkeley and SFO in October.)
  I ran across a pretty krappy video of Knopfler and Dylan doing "Forever Young" in an old Rolling Stone article, and started looking around in YouTube and discovered this gem. Dylan is beautiful here, masterful, the Queens radiant (watch him hand a rose to them at the end), the keyboarder, the quality of the band. I've got this cranked up full screen and loud (just showing my immaturity.)  Over and out, I gotta get some work done. Plus got some beachcombing to do this afternoon.

San Francisco Street Graffiti

This was in a vacant parking lot on Valencia Street in San Francisco on Wednesday. It was surrounded by a cyclone fence, so I had to shoot it through the holes in the fence. It's a bit difficult to get the perspective with so little of the background. The painting on the left is on a wall that's about 50 feet behind the little building on the right with the close-up.

Tiny Log House For Sale in BC, Canada

From Tiny House Blog:
"Dave Stonehouse from Stonehouse Woodworks in Golden, BC. Here are some pictures of my 16 x 20 log shell that I built last winter. The shell is complete and currently for sale.
   I have begun building my first “littlefoot” log cabin. The sub floor is built, it will be 8ft 4″ x 12ft 6″. That size was chosen because we can build 104 sq ft without a building permit around here so that squeeks just under. It is designed to be moved in two pieces, floor walls and loft as one with a steep prefabed roof that gets set on top like a hat being the second piece. It is going to have a steep 18/12 pitch roof that will give standing room at the peak even though it is only 8ft 4″ wide. There will be a dormer on the one side of the roof.…"

TimTam Tan Tien: New Loaded Skateboard

"This video is a celebration of the launch of our newest longboard the Tan Tien. Progressive longboard riding by Adam Colton, Kyle Chin, P-Below Castro and the Bandyman. We had a lot of fun making this video, and yes the first part is the same location as Flipping the Switch it is just too fun to skate. Stoked that Loaded riders and employees Pablo and Marcus came out to skate. …SPECS: Length: 39" / Wheelbase: 27" / Width 8.75"
SETUPS: Paris 180s / Orangatang 86a Stimulus."  http://www.loadedboards.com

NorCal Beach Graffiti #5

R-e-s-p-e-c-t. The tide was high. Just after I shot the above, I may have got a message from the ocean, I don't know: shooting the "respect" wall (below), this wave hit the breakwater and soaked me up to my waist. Hmmm…

Sea Otters

"Sea otters gather in a yacht harbor in Moss Landing. Scientists were pleased to see the population increase after a decrease was observed from 2009 to 2010. Photo: Noah Berger, Special To The Chronicle / SF"

These guys just crack me up, the way they lie on their backs. Relaxation. In the '50s, there was one at the Wild Hook surf spot in Santa Cruz who would come right up to us as we sat on our boards. We called him Sammy the sea otter.

Clams, Raccoon Footprints on Beach Seaweed, Tomales Bay

Polk Salad Annie/Tony Joe White


Photo from audiomania

Why have I never heard of this guy? An Amazon reviewer said this about his 2010 album "Shine":

"Great album by Tony Joe White. Real nice songs and guitar work with just enough swamp. This is a soulful album with a great feel. Beats me why Tony Joe isn't more popular like J.J. Cale has become."

Kevin Kelly's 1300-mile Bike Trip

As a bookmaker and Pacific coaster you may enjoy this fast 60-page book I just made.
   I, and my 15-year-old son and nephew just rode our bicycles from Vancouver, Canada to San Francisco, hugging the coast the entire way. (We went on the Olympic pennisular side rather than through Seatlle.) Of course we rode down 1 in CA. We pedaled 1,300 miles in 26 days. It was hard work but a blast.
   Using Lightroom and Blurb I made a quick cool book of our journey and lessons learned, and am having some copies printed up for us. But with the push of a button I could make a PDF and free iPad ebook version for easy distribution.
   Take a look:
ebook for iPad:

HOWTO separate eggs with a plastic bottle

From Corey Doctorow, Boing Boing this morning

Artist's Studio


Excellent Building Book For Children

This (as well as our Wonderful Houses Around the World) is a great building book for children. This one is out of print, but obtainable used. Lovely drawings by Stefen Bernath. Igloos, longhouses, tipis. yurts, desert tents, stone houses, earth lodges and more.

Salt-N-Pepa: Shoop


Real Tiny Home

Click here.

Get Direct Line to Real Human on Phone Calls

From CoolTools today:
"Get Human is a website that helps you get through to a real person when you are stuck in an automated phone tree and can’t find a way out. For Fortune 500 and many other companies, they tell you the phone number to call or the words to say to get a human (agent, representative, etc). One important feature is that the site also has a notification if the number they had listed is no longer working ( when the companies push back). Finally, they offer instructions on how to get a call back, and when email is a better choice.
Something this simple has saved my sanity many times. I’ve used it for several years, and rely on it. It’s wonderful.
-- Judy Baxter

Houseboat Photos by Kevin Kelly

 Fifteen houseboat pics taken by Kevin Kelly in Kashmir and Amsterdam here

The Half Acre Homestead

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill
I've been on this small piece of land for 40 years now. A lot of mistakes and false starts along the way. I've built and torn down about 4 chicken coops, 3 greenhouses, at least 2 small buildings, and a geodesic dome. I've done and undone countless projects because I was in too much of a hurry or didn't think things out in advance. The sign that used to hang behind the counter at Golden State Lumber sure resonated with me: : "If you didn't have time to do it right in the first place, how come you have time to do it over?"
   I've done presentations titled "The Half Acre Homestead" at the Maker Faire last year and at the North House Folk School this year, with pictures of the garden shredder, grain grinder, table saw, and on and on. What you can produce on a pretty small piece of land. Here are a few recent things:
Chickens: Our new flock of mostly Golden Seabright and Auracana bantams is a month or two away from laying eggs. I've dispatched 21 roosters. Skinning rather than plucking saves a lot of time. I've just learned how to "spatchcock" (butterfly) poultry for barbecuing (check the word on Google for instructions).
These home-raised birds taste way better than even "free-range" commercial chickens. Way different flavor, less fat, bones dense. I vacuum-seal them with  Foodsaver "Gamesaver," and freeze. This model is a big improvement over previous Foodsavers. (The trick with meat, fish, or sealing anything with liquid: freeze for a few hours before vacuum sealing; this eliminates liquid being drawn to the sealing area.)
Pickling: My 3rd batch of sauerkraut is the best. Made with our own red cabbage and salt, nada mas. My olives (salt, vinegar, water) have turned out great after 3 months; no lye. Lesley's been making all our own (sour dough) bread and now, Kombucha tea.

Shelter in Chinese (Just In)

Seeking Tiny Home Builder

Dear Lloyd
Summer greetings!
i have been trying to find a builder who would be able to build a small room (6x12) on wheels for me and have contacted quite a few of the builders in your books and have not been able to hire anyone yet.
i wonder if you have a suggestion...there must be someone who would love to do this. i need to use very healthy materials as i deal with extreme chemical sensitivities and so i will use materials like coconut oil, pure bees wax , and woods that i am not allergic to...like wormy maple, alder, hopefully i can work with someone willing and loving not to use any glues, store bought windows, sheet goods as my health is important now. there must be someone who would love to do this and i have spoken to many in your books and many are very busy! and not willing to change their building way.
Much Love and light,
I asked Marta for additional info:

Victorian Skating Rink in Norwich, UK

Victorian skating rink, now the home of the Country and Eastern store, in Norwich, UK. Thanks to Vic Long

10 Nice Photos of Tiny Homes

 All nice, except for the two A-frames. Click here.
Above: Mendocino county, California, by Foster Huntington

Kayak Made from Recycled Bottles in Argentina

"Industrial engineer Federico Blanc had a dream to float down Argentina’s gorgeous Parana River on a recycled kayak, and his vision recently came to fruition! Blanc collected dozens of plastic soda bottles and glued them together to create his fantastic blue kayak. Simple, strong and eco-friendly, this boat can carry up to 2 people plus a cooler for when the rafters get hungry."
From Inhabitat
Sent us by Godfrey Stephens

Waylaid By ('50s-60s) Music Once Again + Solomon Linda and Mbube)

Friday morning on Sirius Radio's "50s on 5" station:
1. Bobby Marchan, "There Is Something on Your Mind" Lovely operetta.
2. "The Wah-Watusi" by The Orlons. Let's see you  hold still to this one. The '50s had a lot of bubblegum pop, but also tons of wonderful singing like this.  Shoo-bop, shoo-bop…
3. "Walk Right In" by the Rooftop Singers. Sit right down, daddy let your mind roll on…
4. And then the "Lion Sleeps Here Tonight" by The Tokens. It's such an unusual song. I always wondered about it. Beautiful singing, some semi-yodeling, Brooklyn boys in 1961. A little Google-noodling-around and I unearthed a treasure—thrilling to find the original of a great song:
5. Solomon Linda was a South African Zulu musician, singer and composer who wrote (improvised) the song "Mbube" in 1939, which "…became the basis for Mbube style of isicathamiya a cappella popularized later by Ladysmith Black Mambazo." There's a great story with this song, involving as well, Alan Lomax, Pete Seeger, the Weavers, the Kingston Trio, and the Tokens with their big hit (#4 above).

Linda "…is credited with a number of musical innovations that came to dominate the isicathamiya style. Instead of using one singer per voice part, the Evening Birds used a number of bass singers. He introduced the falsetto main voice which incorporated female vocal texture into male singing. His group was the first known to use striped suits to indicate that they were urban sophisticates. At the same time, their bass singing retained some musical elements that indicated traditional choral music…" (Wikipedia)
Photo: Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds in 1941. From left to right are: Solomon Linda (soprano), Gilbert Madondo (alto), Boy Sibiya (tenor), Gideon Mkhize (bass), Samuel Mlangeni (bass), and Owen Sikhakhane (bass).

Publishing, Promotion, eBooks

I spent all day yesterday at a publisher's meeting at Publishers Group West* in Berkeley, and learned a lot. Mainly that I'm in the kindergarten category when it comes to marketing and promotion. I can get the books done and out there, but don't really have much savvy on publicity. One of our authors, Bill Pearl, said to me once, "Lloyd, I wish we could produce a book and it would just fly off the shelves."
   Come to think of it, that's the way it worked with Shelter early in my publishing career (1973). Our 1st print run in San Francisco (on a Harris-Cotrell M700 offset newspaper press) was 50,000 copies (what did we know?). We sent out no review copies, contacted no media people, I didn't do a tour…We just gave out books to friends and people we thought would be interested, and it sold like mad (distributed by Random House). We ended up doing two more printings, of 50,000, and 60,000. Being reviewed in the Whole Earth Catalog was a big part of it, since it got the word out to maybe a million Whole Earthers—our people.
   Well, things are way different now (duh!) I listened to some really smart publishers and industry people yesterday and am excited about trying some new ways to get the word out. I just want to get people to pick up, say, Tiny Homes. The book will take over from there.
   The other thing that fascinates me right now is the eBook thing. Last week our Tiny Homes eBook (by Rick Gordon) was # 28 on Apple's iTunes "Top Paid Books," Arts & Entertainment category. True, it's not a real live luscious book, but it's paperless, compact, gorgeous on the iPad, searchable, and visually scannable (i.e. the reader can scan rapidly through thumbnails looking for things of interest). I was surprised how well it works on even an iPhone. I mean, if  you're really serious about going light in the device department…
   Huge changes afoot in the publishing biz right now, and we're gonna go along for the ride.

*Our distributors and partners in crime                            Photo above last night on 6th Street in Berkeley

Cabin in Taos Ski Valley


New Book Off and Rolling

Now that I've finished 3-4 months of off-and-on travel doing promo for our book Tiny Homes, I'm thankfully at home and catching up on working out, chores around the homestead, food obtaining and processing, and fishing. At the same time, I'm well into the design phase of our next book, Wheels and Water: Tiny Homes on the Move. I've done layout of 10 pages, and material is pouring in. Several good nomadic homes have come from the current Mother Earth News article on Tiny Homes, and Lew and I continue to dig up material online. More importantly, we have a growing network of builders and home-oriented people contacting us.
   These days I actually look forward to checking my email each morning. There's lots of feedback from our building books ("I was inspired to build this…"), leads to interesting websites, and daily incoming material for the new book. I love what I'm doing, especially when I get the time (away from publishing biz stuff) to do layout.

75-Year Old Bodybuilding Grandma

Video from KarmaTube
Sent us by Joy Banks

Deek Diedrickson's Tiny House Building Workshop #3

"Tiny House Building Workshop #3 OFFICIALLY announced/details....
Want to build a tiny, tiny house and hang with many like-minded tiny-obsessed people? Read on....read on.....
-BUILD a tiny guest house as a group
-TOUR tiny houses and view many examples of recycled-material construction
-HEAR from many guest speakers, and tiny house dwellers
-SEE several building-related demos
-SMELL freshly cut lumber....ok, ok, I just tossed that one in their for the heck of it...."

Deek is FUN, and the author (and prolific illustrator) of Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here

Workshop, click here.

Inspired By. . . SunRay Kelley

Old California Goldminer's Shack

I've said it before, but Kent Griswold's Tiny House Blog is just the best thing going for tiny homes on the blogosphere. A feature I really like is his "Tiny House in a Landscape" category, of which this is the latest. "…photographs taken by Linda Lacy from California. Linda says: I took these photos at Malakoff Diggings, a California State Park that has been “cut” from the state budget. This is a wonderful area with lots of tiny houses.…"
This photo is at: http://shltr.net/thlandscp
To my eye, this is a perfect little building. Everything looks right. Got soul.

Unique Homemade Dump Truck

From http://woodgears.ca/index.html
Thanks to Joy Banks

Great Woodworkers' Website

"Hi Lloyd,
I read your blog regularly and love the mix of ideas. Don't know if you've seen this but I found a site with simple plans for furniture and household items. Matthias Wandel grew up in Canada where his parents bought an old sawmill, and built and rented out tourist cabins. Matthias is also an artist and woodworker with new articles each week. He's posted lots of pictures of his father's woodworking projects, from unique door latches to cabins with all the furnishings. Naturally I thought of you.

Mud, Hands, A House ~ El Barro, Las Manos, La Casa

Wonderful video of earth building sent by Mike W.
In Spanish with English subtitles.   From http://www.firespeaking.com/

Music from Pepe

Dummy text dummy text

  I Can't be Satisfied

  La Danse de Mardi Gras

  Hitchhiking Woman

GIMME SHELTER Newsletter Late Summer 2012

We sent out this latest GIMME SHELTER email newsletter last week. I started doing these maybe 10 years ago, originally for sales reps. The main orientation is on the state of Shelter's publishing projects. As I've gotten more into blogging, I send these out less frequently, but they still do reach people who don't read the blog.

BTW, I use MacSpeech Dictate whenever I can. It works amazingly well at transcribing your speech into words. For Windows users, it's Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Old Farm Building at Sea Ranch

My friend Louie Frazier (the featured builder in Home Work), lives on the outskirts of Pt. Arena, and I make the 3-hour drive along the coast to visit him every few months. My routine is to get on the road by 6 AM, get a latte at Toby's Feed Barn in Point Reyes Station, then drive along the shores of Tomales Bay and then the ocean. On the way I  often stop off to skateboard at Sea Ranch, the planned coastal community that stretches along 10 miles of the California coast, south of Gualala. Here is a nice old farm building with shake roof at Sea Ranch, obviously left over from the old days, and better in style and design (in my opinion) than just about any of the rather sterile looking, no-overhang newer buildings designed by architects. The brilliance of Sea Ranch is in its landscape design or rather, the lack thereof. Landscape designer Lawrence Halperin left just about everything in its natural state, and it's very peaceful on the eyes.

River House, Serbia

House in the middle of the Drina River near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia
Photograph by Irene Becker
Sent in by Lew lewandowski

On the Coastal Road Day One (Cont.)

A deer leapt across the road and when she went into the brush, she seemed to float, as if time was frozen for a moment (brings to mind Baryshnikov). When I climbed up out of Jenner, to the winding road that's maybe 500' above the ocean, the fog was just at the edge of the road and cliff; it was like skimming the edge of a cloud. You could hear, but not see, the ocean below. A little while later I saw this turkey buzzard and he let me get pretty close. I'd hoped he'd spread his wings, as these birds do, looking somehow medieval, but he didn't.

On the Coastal Road Day One

Hand-built Earthen House in Washington Woods

"…free-form, hand-built earthen home in western Washington's Independence Valley is featured on a recent episode of Peak Moment TV. Host Janaia Donaldson calls it 'a magical dwelling inside the woods.'
   The funky, individualistic two-story home was built by Gregory Crawford, who works at nearby Rising River Farm -- and travels during the farm's off season (having no mortgage helps, no doubt). He gained permission to build there by asking the landowner.…" http://shltr.net/gregscob

Tiny Homes eBook # 48 on Apple iBooks Chart

Our Tiny Homes eBook was #48 in Apple's iTunes "Top Paid Books" category last week. Click here to check it out and get a free sample. Or, media people can contact us (ebooks@shelterpub.com) for a free review copy; we'll give you the link to download.

Hermits of the Third Millennium

"Five years of photographing individuals who live in self-imposed isolation from society did not make Carlo Bevilacqua want to become a hermit himself. But it did make him more conscious of the choices he makes, and more aware of his real material needs.
   “You don’t need so much to live,” Mr. Bevilacqua said. “Our life is not our stuff.”
   Mr. Bevilacqua’s subjects live by themselves, separate from others, by choice. Some have had religious visions and pursue study or prayer. Others are spiritually inclined, but not religious in the classical sense. Then, there are those who just don’t like being among other people in modern society. But all live a life of intentional simplicity and isolation."
From Ed Forgotson
Note: See comment by rj for more info on this place.

Christopher & Merete's Truly Tiny Kitchen on the Colorado Range

"Christopher and Merete live in a tiny 127-square-foot house on a big stretch of land one hundred miles southwest of Denver. Inspired by the Tiny House movement, they built the home themselves on a very small budget, sourcing materials from local salvage yards, thrift stores, hardware stores and IKEA. It's super cozy - particularly the kitchen!…" http://shltr.net/tinykitch

Heirloom (Real) Tomatoes

"An heirloom tomato…is an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirloom cultivar of tomato. Heirloom tomatoes have become increasingly popular and more readily available in recent years. They are grown for historical interest, access to wider varieties, and by people who wish to save seeds from year to year, as well as for their taste, which is widely perceived to be better than modern tomatoes. They do however have a shorter shelf life and less disease resistance than most commercial tomatoes…
   Heirloom tomatoes lack a genetic mutation that gives tomatoes an appealing uniform red color while sacrificing the fruit's sweet taste. Varieties bearing this mutation, which have been favored by industry since the 1940's, feature fruits with lower levels of carotenoids and a decreased ability to make sugar within the fruit.…" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heirloom_tomato
"…Only two things that money can’t buy
      That’s true love & homegrown tomatoes…"
             -Guy Clark
Note, the knife shown is my favorite vegetable chopper. It holds an edge forever, and is cheap (under $10!). Made in Thailand and reviewed here on CoolTools.

Lloyd in Japanese Magazines

I've had interviews and photos appear in several Japanese magazines lately, all on the subject of our building books and in-middle-of-garden production studio. Wish I could read what they're saying about us.

Greenery Makes Tiny Wisconsin House Seem Larger

"…Jill decided to check out a little two-bedroom 1950s home in West Allis that she'd heard about from their real estate agent. She went online and found a street view of the home.
   What she saw intrigued her.
   'You couldn't see the house,' she said. 'I looked at the whole street, and nothing else looked like that. And I thought, now I have to see the house. '"
   What they saw when they visited was a lush garden anchored by a serviceberry and crabapple trees in the front yard. Native plants included towering cup plant, black-eyed Susan and New England asters.
   'It was just like heaven for me,' said Jill.…"
Photo by Angela Peterson

Small Cabin Plans Online

This company offers 50 small cabin plans, available on a CD. I have no idea what the plans are like, but I like the rendering here, allowing a novice builder to visualize the construction. (This is what we did with 5 tiny home plans in Shelter in 1973.)
   This website is loaded, and the CD sounds like a pretty good deal, but I haven't seen it. I ordered the free download of a sample and if it's any good, we'll add these guys to our Tiny Homes List of links on our website.

Outerlands - Great SF Restaurant With Daily Homebaked Bread

 "…a gathering place for sea goers who seek warmth, shelter, food, and fellowship…" http://www.outerlandssf.com/
Every morning surfer Dave bakes 60 loaves of bread (some of which goes to Trouble Coffee, next door, where they make thickly sliced cinnamon toast). This is a totally great restaurant.

Check out their Kickstarter project of building a parklet out front with salvaged lumber and native plants: http://shltr.net/outerkick

Tiny Florida Restaurant in 80 Year Old Home

"Chrissy Benoit...moved south to open the Little House in Boynton Beach.…the renovation of its historic 1930s Ruth James Cottage, restoring 800 square feet of Dade County pine from floor to ceiling, then moving the whole darned house a few miles away….When she heard news that the house was being given away to whoever pitched the best business concept, it was a project she couldn't refuse. She won the contest, and a year later the final product is a tiny home transformed into a bright, cozy eatery with an approachable menu meant to celebrate Old South Florida." http://shltr.net/tinyrest

Start Your Day With Billie Holiday


Black Oystercatchers

Around 6 last night I went to the beach. The tide was coming in, but part of the reef was exposed and I walked out on it. I saw these unusual birds, 9 of them, running around and pecking at mollusks and snails. I slowly moved to maybe 70' away from them and just watched. After a while I inched closer and when I got to 50', they took off, flying across the silver path on the ocean of the soon-to-be-setting sun.
   Reminded me of my first powerful connection to the natural world. When I was about 12, I was out in a hayfield near the Russian River, and I noticed some very small mice scurrying around. I stood stock still, and it turned out I was on the edge of Mouse City. They were running all over the place, going about their lives, unaware of humanoid eyes upon them. It was thrilling. I must have watched them for 10 minutes, transported into the unfettered natural world.
Photo above from http://www.rosssea.info/nz-bird-life-waders.html