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Gathering, Preparing Wild Foods

Great website for food foraging. Preparing and eating plantain, primitive breads, salting fish, curing olives… http://www.urbanoutdoorskills.com/

Foxy Lady

Went off on my weekly coastal run last night. The  (full) moon had just come over the horizon, and after getting lost and cold last week, I had gloves, a warm hat, and a flashlight and windbreaker in my Camelbak carrier. Closing barn door after… A big storm front moved in and pretty soon, the moon was blocked. Unlike last week, I knew exactly where I was and retraced my route from last Tuesday and saw where I'd taken a wrong turn. Kind of like when I was a diver on the high school swimming team, did a full gainer, and hit the board with both knees. My coach made me go right back and do the dive again. OK the 2nd time.
   On the path back down, salamanders were out in force. They're kind of like dumb, happy mini dinosaurs, taking their time—clomp, clomp, clomp. Nobody wants to eat them; I imagine they'd taste like mush. When I got back to the pub, here was this beautiful little fox on the lawn. Healthy coat, bushy tail, constant awareness.


Two Great Books on Wild Foods

Nature's Garden & The Foragers Harvest by Samuel Thayer
Kevin Kelly recently sent me an email about these books, reviewed on his Cool Tools (here), and I just got them, and they are the best I've seen. From Kevin:
"…They are AMAZING. This guy knows his stuff. And he is a great teacher. He does not include any plant unless he has gathered and eaten it at least 50 times! So he shows the plant in all of its life cycle from seedling, to mature, to seeding, and in great detail of how to find it, and how to harvest it -- not just a few plants but enough for a meal. And the common lookalikes and their stages. And what not to do while harvesting. There's tons and tons of photos of his process. His chapter on acorns is magestic -- born out of years and years of making meal from dozens and dozens of varieties in dozens of different species in dozens of different states. And he is pretty picky about laying out what tastes good based not on one try but dozens and dozens of tries. He has two volumes; because these are based on his own first-hand knowledge, they are biased to the midwest. (If he cites any second hand knowledge beyond his own he humbly gives a full citation of the source.) Nature's Garden is a bit broader in geography, but really you want both volumes. They are similar with no overlap of plants, but each contains his general orientation, so can stand alone. He is to wild food plants what David Auroa is to mushrooms. I believe he knows more than Euell Gibbons did. I've spent evenings the past week reading it till late at night. He has completely re-invigorated my interest in wild greens."

iPhone Panorama of Golden Gate Bridge

I'm learning with iPhone photography; I didn't hold camera even while panning, and got wavy horizon line at right, but the iPhone camera is something!

Mikey and GoPro Camera Times 2

That's Mike Basich, legendary snowboarder, spokesman for GoPro cameras, and star builder of Tiny Homes, shooting a self portrait (with his GoPro), of himself driving down the highway, with a billboard in the background featuring a photo of him wearing a GoPro Hero. Kids, don't try this…
Sent in by Evan Kahn

Grizzly Trashes Toyota SUV

"There are no scratches on the outside of this car, but the vehicle is totaled! A man in Waterton Park, (south of Calgary), came out to find the inside of his 18 month old Toyota Sequoia trashed. A grizzly bear had somehow got a door open. Once inside it got trapped when the door shut behind him, probably by the wind. The Toyota was the Platinum edition, all the door panels were ripped off, the head-liner torn to pieces, all headrests, the leather seats, the dash shredded. The steering column was twisted sideways. Two of the six airbags went off, the other four the bear ripped to pieces.…" From yougottobekidding
Sent by Lew Lewandowski

Toots in Memphis

Back in the '80s I knew a guy working in a D.C. reggae record store who'd clue me in on good records. Vinyl. When I first got this I thought Toots was channeling Otis. Plus some Memphis Horns.
Here's an Amazon review:
Hibbert is widely revered as a reggae pioneer, but he's also a Caribbean cousin of Otis Redding and Al Green, which he proves on this collection of '60s and '70s soul covers. Sly and Robbie anchor the rhythm section of a crack band that also includes guitarist Teenie Hodges and Andrew Love of the Memphis Horns. Together with Hibbert, they reinvent Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember," Green's "Love and Happiness," and eight other classics (among them "Hard to Handle," "It's a Shame," and "Freedom Train.") The result isn't pure reggae or unadulterated soul, but a hybrid as appealing as both at their best.--Keith Moerer
   Last week I heard Toots doing "It's You," such a good song, I love the Itals' vocal harmonies. Who's doing vocal harmonies of this quality these days? Here (play the one on the album Pressure Drop).

WWII Tiny Prefab Homes

Christine Durand is our reporter in France and just sent us this story:
Bonjour Lloyd,
Seeing the foldable home on the cover of ''Popular Mechanics magazine'' (Gill's post) reminded me of the American prefab house where my grand-parents have lived for ten years. It's an old story but I guess it's one of the reasons why I love tiny wooden homes!
   This story begins at the end of Word War II on the French atlantic coast. The shipbuilding port city of Saint-Nazaire was the last city to be liberated in Europe. Entirely destroyed. In 1946, like thousands of war refugees, my grandparents were allowed to come back…be relocated. At that time, the Ministry of Reconstruction tried to provide emergency housing for 2 million of homeless. A huge challenge and a historic occasion for architects of all nationalities who design a wide choice of tiny prefab houses : cheaply and quickly built, ˆeasily transportable"!

Let the Good Times Roll - Shirley & Lee


Lost in the Eye of a Storm Last Night

I like running in the rain. Not at first, but after I get going and warm up, it's exhilarating. Plus the smell of the air and the negative ions.
   So I set out last night around 6PM, heading south along the coastal cliffs from Muir Beach. I had on my one layer of Maxit tights and a rain parka tied around my waist. The storm was just starting.
    By the time I got up to my lookout spot (a point of land projecting out into the ocean that feels very much like the bow of a ship), the wind in front of the storm was blowing at maybe 30-40 mph, and I put on the parka and faced into it, taking in the wind energy and the sweet smell of fresh storm air, leaning into the storm and it holding me up. The lights of San Francisco across the water.
   As I headed up on a fire road inland, the rain started. It got foggy and pretty soon it was like being in a tunnel, darkness all around and a six-foot circle of misty light in front of me. These small owls (actually, I've been told they're not owls, but related to whippoorwills) fluttered up from the sides of the road as I ascended; I think they wait for mice to cross the road.
   It was getting darker and rainier. I got to the top and started back down. I could hardly see. I was sending good thoughts to my Black Diamond headlamp, because I hadn't brought any backup light, and if I lost my light in this gloom, I'd be out there all night.

Shelter Publications World Headquarters

Photo on Friday by Bill Steen with his iPhone. (All the wood here came from torn-down Navy barracks on Treasure Island in the '70s.)

Sign Petition for Drake's Bay Oyster Company

If you believe in family farms, local food production, and -- yes -- environmental responsibility, I urge you to sign the petition to allow the Drake's Bay Oyster company to renew its lease in the National Park. It's the very best type of food production -- no chemicals, fertilizers, watering, soil or water pollution. Plus the oysters actually filter and clean the water. Go here to sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/secretary-of-the-interior-ken-salazar-renew-the-lease-for-drakes-bay-oyster-company

Here's something I wrote last December:
Local Oyster Farm Controversy The Drake's Bay Oyster Company is being threatened by the same well-heeled "environmentalists" that recently forced the shutdown (in the next 5 years) of all trailers parked at Lawson's landing. See my photo-report here: http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2011/06/lawsons-landing-under-threat-by.html "…Some observers see a David versus Goliath struggle, with a federal agency and moneyed environmental groups picking on a family-run business.…" http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2011/12/10/norcal_oyster_farm_dispute_spreads_to_capitol_hill/?page=2 For a very complete refutation of the National Parks Service's bad science and underhanded tactics (in cooperation with the Environmental Action Committee) in an article by John Hulls and Todd Pickering, see: http://russianrivertimes.wordpress.com/
And something I wrote last November: http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2011/12/national-enviro-group-smears-local.html

For Sale: 1900 Gothic Revival, North Carolina, $19,500

Click here.

Simple Office Workout Equipment

When Bill Steen was here Friday I was showing him some of my office workout stuff and told him I might do a YouTube video on the subject. Homemade and/or cheap/effective ways to get some physical benefit while in the office (or at home). Bill got out his iPhone and we shot this quick video. I need to show these things and a few others and have a link to where you can get the straps, or the Lifeline Gym. Coming attraction…

Visit From Bill, Athena, & Benito Steen Friday/iPhone Apps

Bill and Athena Steen are authors of The Strawbale House Book, which became a best seller and started the strawbale building movement in North America. The Steens live at the end of a road in the desert south of Tucson (not far from Patagonia, Arizona), a lovely compound of strawbale and adobe structures built of natural materials. I've been down there 3 times and this is the 1st time they've visited us in California. See their website here: http://www.caneloproject.com. Their work has been featured prominently in our books Home Work and Tiny Homes.
   Bill and I have gone out on a few photo shoots together in Arizona, he with his Nikon, me with my Canon. In recent years Bill has switched to shooting almost everything with his iPhone; he'd told me about it, but this time I got a chance to see it 1st hand. I didn't even realize that my iPhone had an HDR (high dynamic range) option (if you're shooting a scene with two sharply different contrasts -- like an interior shot of the kitchen, with light streaming in through the windows). HDR takes 2 shots at different exposures and sandwiches them togetherv -- right on the iPhone. Voila!
   Bill uses these iPhone apps:
-Photosync to load on to computer
-HDR3 which takes the pic
-Bracket Mode
-True HD
-SnapSeed (which he used to shoot this photo of Lesley and me):

Mongolian Yurts For Sale in USA

"Based in Seattle, SunTime Yurts imports Mongolia’s highest quality handmade Gers (yurts) to the Pacific NorthWest. The Mongolian Ger has been tested and tried for thousands of years in one of the most remote and harshest climates in the world. Over the years, the Ger has slowly evolved into a practical modern day living space.…
   During a 7 month stay in Mongolia I fell in love with the nomadic culture and the thousand year old felt home of the Mongols. After returning home to cookie cutter suburbia USA I decided to add some culture and sustainable alternatives to our neighborhoods by dotting them with the white felt tents of Mongolia."

Step-by-Step Tiny Home Design & Construction

"Hey Lloyd, I recently discovered this blog on the trials and tribs of a small house life from the beginning thru construction to living the life…quite inspirational..unknown if you want to post it or not..just spent the better part of my evening going from one 'newer post' to the next…
anyway take care,  enjoyed your 70-ish post…I'm not too far behind you… Mike W ME/CA"

Popular Mechanics Magazines from the 1930s

Last week, Gill sent in a comment on a post I did last year. It was a link to an old Popular Science Magazine, and I replied that I had looked through the entire issue. To which Gill responded as below:

Gill has left a new comment on your post "Vintage Transport":
Here are just a few or so... Like you I get caught up scrolling and seeing all kinds of stuff... Solar energy articles from the 30's... gotta love it huh?

Camping Trailer PM May 58 pg 149

Dylan Got Shelter at Age 4

Dylan Friedman stopped in at our booth at the Green Festival yesterday and said that his Mom had given him Shelter when he was 4 years old. He said he had called it "my picture book," and it and Winnie the Pooh were his two favorite books. He said he'd looked at the pictures when he was tiny, and built his 1st yurt when he was 21, and was now, as a result of that early inspiration, a green builder in NY.

Tiny (300 Sq. Ft.) Mandala Home in Canada

"Franklin Residence - "Quietude" - A Mandala - Built in 1999
The Program: To design and build a furnished residence for a single person within a severely limited budget of $28,000 Cdn. complete, that at the same time had the spirit to exalt the human soul.
   This was accomplished by analyzing the home functions and distilling these to the essentials in philosophy and fact with sustainable and healthy architecture…
   Even with such an extreme budget as this, it is possible to build an environmentally sound home that enhances the Joy, Life and Soul of humans.
   A quote from the Architect's recent book states "We are building sacred places, as distinct from profane places, to add layers of experience and importance to life patterns.…"
   The architect is Henry Yorke Mann, in British Columbia, Canada.

I'm Not the Man I Used to Be

I don't think anyone over 70 reads this blog, so to all of you out there, there's good and bad news. The good: you aren't 70 yet. The bad: you will be.
   Things got way more difficult physically at seven-oh. Injuries more frequently, and they take longer to heal. Hand/finger coordination more difficult. With shoulder problems I can't do a pull up, and I used to do 10. Just general difficulty in things that used to be easy. I had real difficulty in climbing over a high cylone fence recently. I get out of a car more slowly; never used to think about it. The indignity of it all!
   Plus, I'm bored with "working out." If 'd go to a gym regularly, it would solve a lot of problems; I certainly know the drill. But there's so many other things I'd rather be doing. No more training for running races/b-o-r-i-n-g. What do to do? Hiking, exploring, paddleboarding when this shoulder gets functioning. I want to get "exercise" while exploring/having fun, so I'm in a new world of activities to keep some kind of body/mind balance. Working on it.
   I've been pretty active all my life, and a lot of the problems are from wear and tear. There's another approach: at my (60th) high school reunion last month, one of the guys told me he had just rented a city condo, and he could drive his car into the garage and take an elevator that opened in front of his front door. He'd given up.

More San Francisco Mission District Graffiti

Barista Art at Ritual Roasters This Morning

Youngest Ever Reader of Tiny Homes

This guy came into our booth yesterday and I handed him a mini book. He promptly passed it over his shoulder to his kid. I expected the kid to drop it, but no, he started looking at it while working on his pacifier. This is Phoenix Davidson; parents are Michael & Angelica Davidson.

A Real Circumambulation of the Pt. Reyes Peninsula

"Hi Lloyd, I read about your attempted trip around Point Reyes and got really inspired to try it myself. My girlfriend and I, plus a couple of friends in Point Reyes Station, are currently making plans and building out our ultralight kits. In our studies we came across this page and thought you might find it interesting: Click here. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration, keep it up! -Sean"

San Francisco Mission District Graffiti #2

28 Year Old Inspired to Change Life by Shelter

Reida clapped her hands when she saw a copy of Shelter at our booth (at the San Francisco Green Festival) today. "This book changed my life," she said. She said she bought a used copy in a bookstore in New York when she was 12. Here she is with her friend Eqo.

Art & Architecture in San Francisco

Early start Saturday morning. I get so excited in the city (Manhattan as well).  That's the old Marwedel Building with its unique glazed tile surface, on Mission St. In the '40s and '50s it was where we bought copper and leather and other art/craft items. Further on down Mission, the graffiti is just wonderful. Here are just a few shots (I shot a ton of great art in about 15 minutes). Country yokel bedazzled by urban creativity…Sending this off from Ritual Roasters on Valencia, a place this morning full of kids and their parents/sunlight streaming in, rocking music. Barista heaven. Now over to the Green Festival.

Surfing Under Golden Gate Bridge

Yesterday morning. This spot under the bridge is one of my go-to places when in the city. The guy in the outrigger was being very cautious. The beach here consists of big boulders, not a place to lose what looks to be an elegant, expensive boat.

Learning Timber Framing

I thought this comment was important enough to bring front and center.

scott has left a new comment on your post "Learning To Be A Carpenter": Check out the Timber Framers Guild @tfguild.org  . There may be a project in your area in the near future. They also have an accredited apprenticeship program through individual shops.

Sailboat Photos by Henrik Lindstrom

Henrik Lindstrom and his adventures on his sailboat Misty were covered in Tiny Homes (pp. 204-205). Since then Henrik and his girlfriend Ginni have sailed from Baja California to French Polynesia (including Tahiti) and are heading for NewZealand. We will cover their latest adventures in Tiny Homes on the Move: Wheels & Water. Here are a few photos from Henrik's blog, OnVoyage, taken when he was in British Columbia:


3/10" rain yesterday, we're up to about 3" so far this year, about normal, and I hope there's plenty more to come. The ground in the woods is finally moist. C'mon, mycellia! Creeks are on the rise.
   Cold morning. As I drove south along the coast, Skeeter Davis singing "Are You Ready For the Country?" -- "Are you ready for me?" Well, I'm ready for the city, for the Green Festival this weekend,  for some skateboarding (parts of Golden Gate Park closed to traffic on Sundays), for Ocean Beach and Trouble Coffee and photo-stalking.
   I'm studying cars. I realize that I don't want rear seats, but rather a flat area behind the front seats, like a pickup truck bed. A sedan would work if I could take out the partition to the trunk. (In 1960, my brother and I bought a 1950 Ford 2-door sedan, took out the back seat and partition, put in a mattress, and drove nonstop to Hartford, Connecticut, with 2-hour shifts; then 6 weeks later, drove it non-stop (71 hours) back to SF, and sold it for $200.) VW Passat diesel? I kind of like the Scion XB. One feature in addition to a flat rear area (where sleeping would be possible) is, I'd like is spiffy driving characteristics. In the '60s I had a Beamer 2002 and it was such a pleasure to drive; I'd go on a long trip shooting photos and arrive feeling fresh. The Prius design looks clunky. I might go for a smaller version of the Rav. The Element is larger than I need.
  This Blentec Über-blender is a life changer for me. This morning I blended up: Kombucha tea, water, fresh pineapple, some grapes, almonds, 2 scoops of chocolate-flavored whey protein powder (50 grams), small chunk of ginger, dandelion greens, 2 small carrots (incl. stalks). A lot of protein, nutrients from raw fresh greens, a bit of ginger spice -- plus it tasted great. Yesterday I had a 2-hour interview with a reporter for a Japanese magazine, was rushed for time, threw together a green smoothie, and it gave me instant energy.
   I put together 4 pages for Tiny Homes On the Move yesterday. Will get rolling on it again after the weekend…

Learning To Be A Carpenter

"Hi Lloyd, First of all thanks for all the inspiration! Your books have opened up an entire culture that I did not know existed. Seeing the way that you and the folks in your books are living lives simply and honestly has given me a whole new perspective on the world.
   I also really appreciate how it's not an idealistic way of going about it either. It's about making choices of what is beneficial in modern times and what you can really do without. I was wondering what advice you would have for someone that wants to get into carpentry that has no professorial experience.

Early Morning Day After

Got up at 6, just as dawn was breaking. Wish I could say I do this often, but I don't. When I do I get 3 times as much done, everything is so quiet, exquisite, as the day unfolds.
  As I write this, right now on BBKing's Bluesville, "I'm Tore Down" by Freddie King. "I'm tore down, I'm almost level with the ground." Next: "Temptation" by Kelly Hunt. Shit, what great music!
 Change in the weather last night. Feels good. Been unseasonably warm. Fog now in, storm coming. Rain, rain (+ neg ions), come our way…
   I gotta say, the election was a huge relief to me. For the future of Supreme Court, for just one thing. In fact I'm pretty fucking overjoyed to think that the Koch brothers and Carl Rove and the Tea Party and Fox and the Money Guys and Trump/Limbaugh/other mean-spirited, controlling people couldn't buy (and lie their way to) the election. This just happened in America and it reminds me that there are things that I love about this country.

Now on radio, Buddy Guy with "I've Got Dreams to Remember," done live in the Sirius blues studio. Great vocal harmonies.

Tiny Homes On the Move: Water & Wheels We're in full gear. I'm corresponding with dozens of contributors. Material is coming in daily. Much from the UK -- lot of nomads there. I've got about 50 pages roughed out. The book has come to life, as our books do once underway. Mojo workin.
   It changes from day to day. About 25% so far are "Water" (houseboats,sailboats, tugboat); 75% "Wheels" (house busses, house trucks, RVs, trailers, vardo, vans). I sort of schizophrenically juggle this blog, all the necessary pub biz necessities, and working on the book (and getting out to the beach). Both Lew and Evan are starting to work on the book. Lew on various vehicular homes, Evan on snowboarder Mike Basich's truck/camper and 39' sailboat, and some bike guys.

Tiny Homes at San Francisco Green Festival this Weekend We'll have a booth, be selling Tiny Homes (plus other building books) for 20 bucks, giving away the mini (2"x 2-1/2') books. Lew, Evan and me. It's at a great venue, the SF Concourse Exhibition Center, which is like a big steel and timber barn. Sat-Sun, November 10-11, details here.

Stretching, the eBook Rick Gordon is putting the finishing touches on the iPad version of Bob and Jean Anderson's book Stretching (which has sold over 3 million copies and is in 23 languages). When Rick started putting together our 1st eBooks, none of us realized that he was going to do such a masterful job. Jeff Galloway's Marathon is head and shoulders (in design and ease-of-use) above any other running eBook in Apple's library. Then he did Tiny Homes and it's spectacular -- even on an iPhone. The electronic Stretching looks really good. It'll work on an iPad, also on an iPhone (dial up "Airplane Stretches" during your flight, or "Hotel Stretches" when you travel…).

Green Smoothies We just got a Blendtec super-powered (3 hp) blender. I'm making drinks with fresh fruit and greens (parsley, kale, spinach, dandelion roots, or carrot tops). A lot of times I get going in the office and skip lunch and this is a great solution. Interesting comparison between a juicer and a blender. With the latter, you get all the fiber. When I realized that, it was, like, duh…Not just carrot juice, but the whole carrot.
   Yesterday I made pancakes by adding 1 cup of oat groats, eggs, buttermilk, and baking powder (+ a little baking soda) --  blending, and voila -- batter. This is a wonderful tool (better late than never). I got it with two books by the Boutenkos which are exceedingly relevant in explaining the principles and providing recipes. Here it is on Amazon.

Elegant Mini Reading Glasses You can put these on your keychain; I keep a pair in my fanny pack. They fold up tiny. For whenever I don't have my backpack (with regular reading glasses). Discovered here on CoolTools (my favorite blog in the world). NOT available from Amazon; let's hear it for the manufacturers!

As I sign off, it's Slim Harpo doing "I Got Love If You Want It."


$1,000 Tiny Shed From Costco

"From now until November 11, this shed will be on sale for $1,000 which includes delivery. The shed is 10 feet by 7.5 feet and Costco is selling it as a storage shed or as a small office or living space.…The shed weighs about 1,100 lbs, is 9 feet high at the front peak and contains three transom windows and a 64 inch double door.…The structure comes delivered pre-cut and includes 2×4 construction, a sold wood floor, pre-hung doors with piano hinges and wall vents. There is also a 15 year warranty. The shed will take two people about two days to complete with a hammer, cordless drill and screwdriver. The owner will need to supply their own caulking., interior and exterior paint and roof felt and shingles…"
From the Tiny House Blog today, by Christina Nellemann

This & That, Early Sunday Morning


rain--  all that r... time  change
car feedback
lk in old folks blog
sk8g again
foreign;C Japan/Tunica/France/

NorCal Beach Graffiti #7

Cedar Skull Drum by Godfrey Stephens

Copper topped yellow cedar skull drum by Canadian artist Godfrey Stephens, whose website is here.

Tiny Home in Northeast Portland

Published on Oct 30, 2012 by Cassandra Profita "John Labovitz lives in a custom-built tiny home on the back of an Isuzu truck in northeast Portland. He makes the most of his 119 square feet with a single cooking burner that runs on denatured alcohol, a tiny wood stove, a desk that doubles as a seating area, and space-saving designs he borrowed from boat-builders."
Note the windows at eye level. Like Lloyd House's converted Ford Van on Hornby Island, BC, this band of windows brings the outside in. Many of the scaled-down tiny homes so prominent in the media now, without such light, seem claustrophobic by comparison. -LK
Story on Ecotrope here.