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Simple Fitness Concepts

For about 20 years (between 1980 and 2,000), I published a series of fitness books, the three main ones being Stretching by Bob Anderson, Galloways Book on Running by Jeff Galloway, and Getting Stronger: Weight Training For Men and Women by Bill Pearl. During those years I hung out with these athletes and learned a lot. I stretched with Bob, ran with Jeff, and lifted weights with Bill while working on their respective books.
I was thinking the other day about the glut of information surrounding all of us, and wondered if I could offer some simple concepts for each of these disciplines: stretching, running, and weightlifting. A few things you can remember and that hopefully will help you in your quest for fitness.

Just Rollin Along…

"The Wheel House is a live performance in which two acrobatic performers entertain audiences with the slow-paced rolling travel of their mobile home. The interior space of the circular home is designed to look just like a normal house, with doors, windows, curtains, pots and pans, and even a bed.…"

Click here.

Also on Vimeo here.

Sent to us by Mike W

Spanish Translation of Shelter (1979)

In the '70s, Shelter was translated into French, German, and Spanish. These photos came in from Bill Steen, who was in Basque country, Spain last week. He and his wife Athena are conducting a series of workshops in Europe on clay and lime wall finishes, detailed carvings, and clay ovens.

Bill wrote: “Juan Luis Herrero and family holding the original copy of Shelter that was released in Spain, 1979, entitled Cobijo, as in comforter, quilt, or cover.  Cool."

Also cool that the lady on left is holding a copy of Ben Law's Round Timber Framing, a wondertful book. Ben grows the timber he frames his buildings with and the structures are beautiful. A kindred spirit across the water (UK). (Plus kindred books.)

Cobijo was published by Blume Ediciones, Madrid.

Tiny House to Larger Tiny House

This 100 year old structure survived a 4 mile move to our farm and is now undergoing an addition—"250 to 450 square feet with minimum foot print addition"—and renovation including a loft.  Year three of the project is seeing it get closer to completion…
Steven Houck

Sk8ing Again

For months I've been wistfully looking at the downhills, especially the newly-paved. Just couldn't risk a fall with shoulder healing. But things feel together enough for me to venture back on the pavement. So much fun!
  Since I've never learned to slide (whereby you can control yr. speed), I need to get off the board before getting to the speed where I can't get off and remain vertical. For now I'm just skating gentle slopes and carving. No (well not much) bombing.
   I wear Loaded gloves with hockey pucks velcroed to the palms. Cliff Coleman, downhill speed legend, told me that when you fall, remember 4 words: "Get On Your Hands." Meaning get those hockey pucks sliding on the pavement so you're not sanding off skin. Also be on your knees, i.e. knee pads with hard surfaces, so you're on all fours, sliding on hockey pucks and knee pads. The one time I had the presence of mind to do this was in San Francisco late at night when my board hit an unsurmountable crack in the pavement, and I skidded along on 4 noncorporeal surfaces. Felt pretty good about that.
   Boards shown from my, ahem sponsors: at left my Santa Cruz (not sure of model)----for bombing and sharper turns, at right my Loaded Bhangra, which I ride most of the time for mellow downhills, smooth turns.

Vine: 6-second Videos

I'm not exactly up-to-date on the latest in anything, so I just learned about Vine, Twitter's six-second video app. Now there's an idea! 6 seconds.I do find it a bit confusing in that it doesn't start and stop, but loops back and starts over at the end. 2 things I just learned:
1. Click on it to stop it.
2. Click on speaker @ top left to activate sound.
Seems like a powerful new means of communication. Grab those short attention spans! Info here. Vine blog here.

No bottom line I

Ain't That Just Like Me/The Searchers

Ain't That Just Like Me by The Searchers on Grooveshark
Cranked this up to high volume driving along the coast last night, moonlight shining on water. I'm getting interviewed tomorrow by a Russian author, Vladimir Yakovlev, who's doing a book called The Rules of Happiness. Its about, um, old people who are physically active. An earlier book called The Age of Happiness (in Russian) was a hit. His photographs are superb.

One of the questions they are going to ask me is "What makes you happy?" and I've been thinking about it. Well, about 1000 things, but music is sure one of them. The Searchers are from Liverpool. Boy, did those English guys (incl Beatles, Stones) teach us Americans a thing or two about our music!

Paddle Race in Capitola June 22, 2013

There is a 2-mile and 12-mile paddle race in Capitola (sister town of Santa Cruz), Calif. on June 22, 2013. It's in honor of surfer Jay Moriarty and has divisions for different ages and for regular paddleboards and standup boards.
Click here.

The Pax is the iPhone 5 of Vaporizers

This in from Anonymous:

"By this I mean a real breakthrough. Elegant, small, stealthy. When you press down on the mouthpiece, it pops up and activates a subtly pulsing purple light. In 20-30 seconds, this turns green and vapor is ready.

When people seem shocked at the $250 price, I ask them what they think their lungs are worth.

Read about here on Cool Tools."

Plans for Lightweight Dinghies

"The Stasha is the World's lightest nesting dinghy weighing in at about 10 kilos (22lbs) making it child's play to launch and retrieve. The Stasha is an elegant design and is a delight to row and great fun to sail. Despite it's light construction it is surprisingly strong. The Stasha is made of two halves with a simple locking mechanism allowing it to be easily assembled on deck, on shore or even in the water. As it's made from so few materials it doesn't cost much to build."
These little boats (4 designs) have Dacron skin. Click here.

Dust My Broom/Elmore James

Dust My Broom by Elmore James on Grooveshark

Way to start a sunny beautiful morning!

Simple Fitness Concepts

I had a 20 year break from doing building books, about 1980-2000. It started with the book Stretching by Bob Anderson (which went on to sell over 3 million copies), then Galloway's Book on Running by Olympic runner Jeff Galloway, then Getting Stronger by 4-time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl. It must have been karmic: I tend to look at things as a layman and like explaining things to novices in simple terms.

I've been back to publishing building books since 2000, but hanging out with these world class athletes left a lasting impression. Lately I've been thinking about the glut of information we're all exposed to, and I decided to present herewith a few simple principles on the 3 building blocks of fitness -- flexibility, cardiovascular training, and weight training.

Stretching Go by the feel when doing a stretch. Try this: lean over from the waist. You don't need to touch your toes, but go in this direction until you feel a slight tension in the back of your legs. Stay there for 5-10 seconds, and you'll feel the muscles relax.

Then push a little farther into the stretch. Go to the point of muscle tension, then back off a little and hold it. Relax. No pain!

That's it. That's the main principle of stretching. Go into an easy stretch. Hold it and relax. Then stretch a little further.

Running In recent years Jeff Galloway has been promoting the walking break. Take walking breaks during your run. 15 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute. Doing this refreshes the muscles and helps avoid injuries. Jeff has guided a huge number of people (many of them "couch potatoes") into running marathons by utilizing walking breaks during training. A far cry from the intense training of the '80s and '90s.

Jeff says that the greatest single cause of improved performance is remaining injury free.

Weight Training The principle here is called the overload principle . You push the muscles to a point where it starts getting difficult, then stop. Then wait 24 hours and push a little farther. Your muscles will have rebuilt stronger to manage the increased load. In 300 BC, Milo of Croton lifted up a calf on his back every day until it became a full grown bull.
For example, do biceps curls with dumbbells heavy enough so that after say 10 repetitions, it's getting difficult. Then stop.

Bill Pearl says that weight training is encouraging because of the speed at which you see results. Within a few weeks, you'll notice improved muscle tone, which will usually motivate you to continue with a program. Weight training will increase strength, improve circulation, and reduce fat.

Summary Just a few simple principles that might stick with you in this era of information overload.

Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out/Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out by Preservation Hall Jazz Band;Jason Isbell on Grooveshark

Bits & Pieces From My Last Trip

I gather too much "content." Photos and hastily scribbled notes. What to do with it all? Here are some bits and pieces from my latest trip:
New York City
iPhones: most of the people I hung out with were doing everything on their iPhones. Calendar, directions, mail. I upped my data plan and am starting to use it more. One thing I'm working on is talking into the phone and having it come out as text. Rather than using MacSpeech Dictate (with headset speaker) as I do on my MacPro in the office, I open up the mail program on the phone, open "new message," hit the microphone icon at lower left, talk into phone and then email it to myself and voila! words into text.
Subway I'm now riding the subway all over. I get a $20 metro card. Watched a big rat run down the tracks in one station. There's no graffiti on the subway trains these days.
Rum drinks at Caracas Restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: "Dark & Stormy" with dark rum, ginger beer, sugar cane syrup; the "Morning After Mardi Gras": rum, coffee, hot milk, vanilla, sugar cane syrup. Good rums: Pampero Anniversario, Zacapa
NYC Bike Program You see racks of the blue bikes everywhere. This is a big deal. Aimed at cutting down cars. You pay an annual fee, pick bike up, drop it off at destination.

Go to the post page…


Revolutionary Finnish Wood-splitting Axe

"Vipukirves™ is an efficient tool for chopping firewood, possessing many advantages, such as speed and work safety, over traditional axes and small hydraulic log splitters. Vipukirves™ separates sections from the log using a unique lever action that allows logs with branches to be split into firewood in seconds.
The splitting force of Vipukirves™ is considerably stronger than with a traditional axe. Strike and loosen! Vipukirves™ has an ingenious design. Upon striking the log, it automatically turns to the right and detaches the chopped portion from the log. Vipukirves™ functions like a conventional axe with the exception that the user must loosen his/her the grip on the handle when the blade strikes the log. Chopped sections are removed with a single strike and the blade doesn't become lodged in the log, but keeps it in the same place and ready for the next strike."
From  Evan Kahn

My New Treadmill Desk


Northern California College Offers Tiny Home Building Course

"Old-timers remember Malvina Reynolds's satiric song, 'Little Boxes.' Penned in 1962, the song heralded the coming suburban blight, where poorly constructed houses "were made of ticky-tacky and they all looked the same."
   How times change. Today, scarce resources and staggering home costs have created a new definition of the "little box" - the Tiny House. And Mendocino College is at the forefront of the movement.
   This summer, the college's Sustainable Technology program is offering a summer course on Construction Fundamentals and Green Building. The course, taught by Mendocino County native and PhD. Jen Riddell will attempt to build a Tiny House in 15 days…
   Another interesting fact, according to Riddell, is that currently there are no codes that govern the construction of houses on wheels. "Right now, they fall into the category of an RV, so no permits are currently necessary," she explains. That doesn't mean that students will be learning sub-standard construction methods, however. "Our Residential Electric class will be doing all the electrical installation," Walker explains. "It's building as you go. It's very nice not having to go to the county if you decide to make a design change mid-stream," he continues.…"
From Ukiah Daily News, click here.

Paddling (& Crabbing)

Tons of material to report, will try to filter some of it out this week. Went for my first paddle in 6 months Saturday. Injured shoulder still recovering, but it's a start. Beautiful evenIng, warm weather, warm water, I looked down and saw this crab, jumped off board and grabbed it (have learned how to do this from the fishermen). Had nothing to put him in, so took off my hat, stuffed crab inside, and tied it onto the board's water bottle carrier with a piece of ice plant vine. Had him for appetizer last night.

Useful Homesteading Tools at Mother Earth News Fair, Puyallup, Washington, June 2013

"Take what you can and let the rest go by."
                                                        -Ken Kesey
This fair is a good-vibes event with many useful tools for homesteaders. This isn't a comprehensive report; there lots of things I just don't have time to cover, but here are some items that caught my eye in two days wandering around at the fair. Note: there will be two more Mother Earth News Fairs this year: Sept. 20-22 in Seven Springs, PA, and October 12-13 in Lawrence, Kansas.
Yurts made in Mongolia Unlike any of the US-manufactured yurts I've seen, this one has a hand-crafted look when you step inside. "The hand painted rafters and natural wood latticed walls covered with a clean white wool felt create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. The thick felt dampens outside noise, holds heat in the coldest of winters and keeps heat out in the hottest of summers.…" http://www.suntimeyurts.com/
Bamboo Clothing Beautiful fabric, soft as silk, some 100% bamboo, other items bamboo/organic cotton combo. I bought 2 T-shirts, pair of shorts. Wayi Bamboo Apparel, click here.
JapaneseTripod Ladders Never seen ladders this sturdy or sensible, and I have lots of ladders around my place (like maybe10). I don't know about the logistics of getting one of these shipped, but they're a notch above (sic) any ladders I've seen.
Olive Oil From Greece Unique organic olive oil and olives from a family estate in Sparta, Greece. www.oleaestates.com
Chicken Butchering Tools The stainless cones make for a neater way of offing chickens than chopping heads off and having them thrash around like, well, like chickens with their heads cut off. The other tools, like the rotating tubs with rubber fingers and the scalders are for larger-than-homestead size chicken operations and are a whiz bang way of plucking feathers. www.featherman.net
Rototillers In the '70s, I had a Troybuilt rototiller. It was a much-beloved serious gardener's tool that came with a brilliant manual that told you how to do just about anything with it and how to fix just about anything that went wrong. Like a Model A Ford. These days it looks to me like the BCS tillers (formerly Mainline) are the next generation. All gear drive, automotive style clutch, a lot of possible attachments. www.bcsamerica.com
Scythes These guys from British Columbia offer a collection of beautiful scythe blades. Some of them are shorter than scythe blades I've seen. European scythe blades, ergonomic snaths and sharpening accessories. http://scytheworks.com/

Composting Drum Sun Mar makes two sizes of these drums and they look sturdy and animal-proof. Being able to turn the compost is a big advantage over stationary piles. These would work well in cities as well as country. www.gardencomposters.com
Water Pump This is a different principle than the ram pumps I've seen. They say it will put 200 to 1500 gallons a day in your tank with no fuel or electricity and "pumps from 100 to 1,000 feet high depending on your water source." Click here.

Old Farm House

This home by the side of the road during my barn quest yesterday had a feeling to it. Like lives had been lived there. Sure enough, the owner wandered over from across the road. He was 75, had been born in the house, which had been built in 1937. His family had had a 120 acre dairy farm. When he was in high school, he'd had 100 chickens as part of a 4H project, and he'd sold then eggs at a corner. market.
   We stood around for about half an hour, talking about dairy farms, chickens, and homestead lumber mills. It was nice there in the morning sun. It was nice being in this part of America that is so different from the coasts and/or large metropolitan areas.

Mt. Rainier!

Last night, warm evening, I was walking around in Puyallup, looked up and saw Mt. Rainier. What a presence!

Two Gambrel Roof Barns South Of Puyallup Yesterday

2nd Day At Mother Earth News Fair

The "Half Acre Homestead"presentation went well. Preaching to choir. This is Cheryl Long, editor of The Mother Earth News introducing me. I'm always nervous for these things. Mostly that something technical will go wrong, and sure enough, I forgot the connector of my MacAir to a normal projector, put the slide show on a key drive, fired it up, and it woudn't work properly. Luckily, Chris McClellan had his natural bldg. materials booth nearby, and he figured it out. Whew! It used to be so simple when I lugged around Kodak Carousel projectors with slides.
   Links for all the tools I showed are at: http://www.shelterpub.com/_homestead/tools.html
I'm going to write up about maybe a dozen tools or products I discovered at the fair -- when I get the, aha, time. Such good stuff, all super relevant to the life I'm leading now.
  Right now I'm heading out to barn country.

Flat Earth Kayak Sails

From Godfrey Stephens this morning. If I had an ocean kayak, I'd sure get a sail. Hmmm…wonder if one of these would work on my 12' aluminum boat. Use the wind when it's there.


From Anthem cafe in Puyallup, overcast warm Monday morning. I'm getting ready to spend a day doing one of my favorite things: driving on unfamiliar country roads looking for barns to photograph. I love small American towns. It's good for us coastal sophisticates to get out into the Other America once in a while.

Kim Is Rebuilding Her Fire-Destroyed Tiny House

From Dee Williams today (what a nice video!):
"Hey, I hope you are doing well and enjoying this roll toward summer!   Hopefully, I'll see you at the tiny house fair in Vermont... and if not, sometime soon.
   Last summer I sent out an email to try to encourage folks to contribute to Kim Langston's rebuild of her little house.  As you might remember, her house was destroyed in a fire last year.  The cool thing is that this summer, she's going to rebuild!  This is it!…"

Culture Shock: Manhattan to Rural Washington-The Mother Earth News Fair

Boy, what a difference. From the intensity of NYC to a laid-back medium sized town in farmland with wide streets and houses with porches…I got here (Puyallup, Washington) yesterday around noon. About half an hour in my rented Ford Focus south of Seattle. Town of about 35,000, Puyallup is in a fertile farming valley. With about 5 hours sleep in 2 nights (haven't I said this before?), I checked into hotel and went to The Mother Earth News Fair in the giant ("6th largest in world") Puyallup Fair Grounds, got sucked in and stayed all afternoon (rather than taking a nap).
   I absolutely love this fair. Totally up my alley. First thing off, I went into the chicken building, where they had some 500 chickens on display. Chicken aficionado's paradise. I lost track of time looking at all  these beautiful birds. Rest of afternoon: prettiest yurts (for sale, made in Mongolia) I've ever seen, a tiny high-tech exquisitely built stainless steel stove, tons of tools, ideas, inspiration for gardeners, builders, homesteaders...
   Writing this on rainy Sunday morning from the Anthem Cafe in downtown Puyallup with a triple shot (very good) latte and heated cinnamon bun, getting ready to go down to the fairgrounds, wander more, shoot more pics, and get ready for my "The Half Acre Homestead" presentation today.
   I'm way backed up on photos to post, will do so when I get time. Experiences too like last night's fish and chips and 2 pints of Irish Death chocolately dark porter at the TK Irish Pub & Eatery with 6 sports TVs going, good hometown bar ambiance and some pretty drunk Puyallupers cheering on Seattle's soccer team and singing one song after another…
   I just handed one of the Tiny Homes mini books to a little curly haired lively looking 4-year-or-so-old boy in the cafe here and he's been thumbing through the pages for several minutes…
Chicken pictured here was listed as: "Classification: Modern Game; Variety: Brown/Red. Elegant little bird.

Compost Heated Shower

From Mike W this morning:
"I thought this was pretty ingenious.. several others on the same YT page...skip the ad in 3..2..1..."   "This is an example of a compost heated shower, built by Geoff Lawton for the students of the Permaculture Research Institute's 10 week internship. The shower itself is a temporary setup while the student centre is being built but the water temperature is excellent and is almost too hot. It's been going for 3 weeks now without any sign of giving up and all completely free!"

In all these years of composting, why didn't I think of this? -LK

NYC, Brooklyn Photos

The High Line, The East River Ferry, and Old Time Music at French Bistro in Williamsburg

It's been over 90 degrees the past few days. Last night, after leaving the convention center, I had dinner at The Chop Shop, right near the High Line (on 10th Ave/25th St.), excellent sort of Asian fusion food, caught a cab cross-town to the 34th street East River Ferry, a surprisingly fast (and funky) ferry; the skipper was a cowboy, he'd roar into each dock, then reverse the props, and gently bump up to the landing gangplank.
   It was cool out on the river, a novel way to get to Brooklyn. I walked through Williamsburg to FADA, a French bistro and listened to 2 sets by the Baby Soda Jazz Band as they went through '20s-'30s songs like Darktown Strutters Ball, Marie, I'll See You in My Dreams, and the like. This is a great little band. The entire street wall of the place was open to the street and people walking by would either start dancing, or otherwise move to the music.
   In spite of the fact that Williamsburg has been "discovered," I like it a lot. Great place to wander and explore. I'm told that Bushwick is now what Williamsburg was 10 years ago.