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Bobcat Hunting Gophers

Dear Lloyd,
Your blog is one of my very favorites, inspirational and informational. I won't even go into the fact that I still have my original copy of SHELTER, purchased in 1975 at a bookstore in Cleveland, Ohio.
   I thought you might enjoy these photos of a bobcat I surprised on an early morning hike at Sonoma Mountain outside Petaluma. He/She was hunting gophers when I came along (luckily with a telephoto lens!). I went to post these on Instagram and was dismayed to find that the bobcat hashtag was overrun with photos of hunters proudly holding up their beautiful dead bobcats (one hunter even referred to his kill as "nigga"). Sad, to me, anyway.
   So, please enjoy!
   Sincerely, Stefan (Gutermuth)

Editor Losing It

So much material has been coming in to us lately that I've lost track of the origins of these 3 photos. Anyone out there send any one of these to us?

Seeking Tiny House Builder in Berkshires

Lloyd, Thanks so much for your stunning support for small abodes. I'm looking for an instructor to teach a hands-on workshop intensive on how to build a tiny timber-framed house on a trailer. Location: my organic farm in the Berkshires Timeframe: Summer, 2013 Any suggestions? Cheers! Eli Rogosa Mystic Sheaf Bakery Colrain, Massachusetts (near Shelburne Falls) growseed.org 413 624 0214

Jay Nelson's Latest Creations

Hey lloyd,
This is jay nelson, you featured some of my work in your tiny homes book.… I just want to give you an update of what I'm working on. A new camper work truck and a hanging sphere treehouse . Also a treehouse in mill valley.
   Hope you are well.
   The tiny homes book looks incredible (if I never told you)!
Best, jay nelson

Tennessee Tiny Homes

"Joe Everson builds portable tiny houses made to be taken with someone, wherever they may wander. The 100 to 120 square foot houses are built on trailers and are being used all over the country for people who want a minimalist and mobil lifestyle. The company is named Tennessee Tiny Homes."

Rufous-sided Towhee Outside Kitchen Window

Good morning, sunshine!

Monday Wrapup

I'm two weeks past my shoulder operation, and practically stylin. A little better every day. I don't get to start therapy for another 3 weeks. Right arm better but still weak. Walked 5 miles yesterday, along beach with mixmaster ocean, water tussled and murky, 20+mph cold winds from north. Walking along thinking how gnarly it was, then realized how great it was to be moving. Every single time in my life I've forced myself to get out there and move (run, walk, bike, paddle, skate) I've felt immeasurably better. Get out there, stupid!
Around the homestead:
-Olives I've had about 15 gallons of small green olives in water, salt and vinegar for about 3 months, and they're practically ready. Still a hint of bitterness, but plump and flavorful.
 -Sauerkraut Another thing you just set up and nature's microorganisms do it all. You only add salt to shredded cabbage, maybe a little water. Used our own cabbage, and it's fermenting away in the 2-gallon Polish crock in the pantry.
 -Chickens W're getting 12-14 eggs a day from our little beauties. I favor the Golden Seabright eggs because the birds are so beautiful; maybe the beauty may come through a bit in the eggs, who knows?
 -Green smoothies I use the Blendtec blender a lot, make a green smoothie for lunch when I'm busy. Fresh greens from garden, fruit, protein powder…
 -Nightly vegetables Lesley has provided our vegetables from her garden practically every night for months. Broccoli cooked within minutes of picking is so different -- sweet.
 -Crabs It's a lousy crab season. However, son Evan has been catching them with one of those little snare traps off a fishing rod from shore.

Really Nice Tiny Home by Jade Craftsman Builders

"The Tiny House's overall size is 8' x 18' and it is built on a standard trailer. We can custom design and build to your specifications. The Tiny House is ideal for: ultra-efficient green home / guest house /  teenager's room /  vacation cabin / rental apartment / retreat center housing / home office/ personal studio."
Click here.

Go to the post page…

Washington, D.C., 1924. 'Washington Hunt motor car. The building is the Joaquin Miller cabin at Rock Creek Park.' National Photo Co."

Lloyd's Skateboarding on Russian Website

So much is going on in my life right now that I have a hard time sorting it all out, much less writing about it. I've started backing away from publicity ops because they take so much time, but I did one "media thing" last week before my shoulder operation because I thought the photographer and the project were so cool.
   I met Vladimir Yakovlev at Trouble Coffee in San Francisco. He was here from Moscow photographing people for his book The Age of Happiness, 70-100 year olds who are active and lively. The Russian version sold 5000 copies (a $50 book) in the first month in Russia.) Now he's about to publish an English version in the USA. It's a stunning book.
   This was such a great guy to work with. He shot a bunch of photos, and I loved his photographic-journalistic instincts. Now here is a journalist! (See Wikipedia on him here.)
   He and a friend came out here yesterday. A wonderful visit, to meet people from such a different part of the world, yet to be so completely in sync.
   Some photos and some of our conversation just appeared on Vladimir's website here. To see other people on the website, click here.
   For The Age of Happiness on Facebook, click here.

Photo: Vladimir Yakovelev

The Modern Cabin Website

This website shows that there are, by golly, some very good residential architects out there: http://themoderncabin.com/
This building, called The Walkabout, by Nick Deaver and Stacy Pearson

Mystic Roots, Great Cali-Reggae Band

I'm too out of it culture-wise these days, living in the sort-of country, to know the presently cool musical groups, but once in a while I stumble upon something, like this delightful band.
   California to the hilt. Singer at mike: "How many people here have smoked ganja tonight?" All hands in audience go up. A little band from the Sacramento Valley, they've got reggae right. "California reggae is pumpin…"
   Kind of special to me because I spent teenage years on my dad's rice farm in Colusa, a town of 3,000 people, and hung out with Colusa kids. My best friend in Colusa, Jim Davison, was a pianist, and I played the uke. A lot of boozing and singing. My first real sweetheart, Roxana. Parties, driving, swimming, cheeseburgers, root beer milk shakes, KGMS late night rock 'n roll from Sacramento… It was special for me, a San Francisco kid, to be accepted into teenage culture of this small town -- so I'm partially a Valley native.
   Anyway, Colusa's not too far from Chico, so to have hung out in this area 60 years ago, and now hear this Sacramento Valley/Jamacia fusion was a jolt. Here's some progress. Evolution. Seeds of Rastafarai have grown in NorCal farm country. To tell the truth, I find a lot of reggae boring, but these guys fresh and vital. Plus Katherine has got some chops. A rich voice, lots of power…
   Surfers, I guarantee you're gonna like this CD: http://shltr.net/mysticrts (There's also a DVD with this CD, haven't seen it yet).

Red Sky This Morning…The 20/20/20 Rule For the Deskbound

It was vivid scarlet about a minute before this. (iPhone 5 panorama)
Good advice in NYTimes this morning for us keyboard users, article by Tara Parker-Pope: "…Jack Dennerlein, a professor at Northeastern’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences in Boston who specializes in ergonomics and safety, suggests a variation on the 20-20-20 rule used to reduce eyestrain. In the case of the eyes, the rule is to take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away (instead of your computer), and repeat this every 20 minutes. But Dr. Dennerlein notes that this eye rule can be applied to movement as well. Every 20 minutes, walk 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. Stop by a co-worker’s desk. Get a cup of coffee. Pace. Just don’t sit.…" http://shltr.net/XwKjMc

Lately (Ugh!) Around Here

Jeez, has this been a shitty week. And jeez, am I a big baby. Yes. Any body part goes wrong and I'm devastated. I look at friends like Sherm in his wheelchair, can't move a muscle or talk these days and he perseveres, and gets a twinkle in his eye when I give him shit. Or a bunch of my high school friends, who I saw recently at a 60th reunion. I should not complain.
  I had surgery to repair a rotator cuff repair a week ago,and it was only arthroscopic, for christsake, you know, "…minimally invasive." Well I'll tell you, my body does not like any kind of invasion. My arm's been strapped to my side,with the bladder for an ice machine inside the bandage, all week. Can't tie own shoes. Can barely sleep, have never slept on my back. After 3 days of the pain pills (oxy), I felt so groggy and shitty, I quit them. I don't understand people taking oxy "recreationally"). Makes me feel like I'm in a hazy, fuzzy tunnel. I'll deal with some pain in exchange for some mental clarity.
   Anyway, just started getting into gear last night. I had given Lucky Peach magazine several hundred of my photos to do a story in their next issue, which is on "the apocalypse." The angle on me being homemade shelter, gardening, foraging, stuff you can do for yrslf in tough times. They let me comment on the 6-page layout (turned out great, they used about 50 of my photos), and I went through it with them yesterday (Sunday), and this got me back into the communication groove. Issue will be out mid-Feb.

1948 - 1950: Lustron Homes Post-War America Experiments With Pre-Fab Housing

John Kaay has left a new comment on your post "Demolition of 187 Low-cost Prefabs in UK Slated":

This reminds me very much of the Lustron home my family lived in around 1950 - 1955, in Evergreen Park, Illinois. Prefabricated, everything made of steel in a factory. Even the closets and cabinets were built in steel. Here's a link: http://architecture.about.com/od/periodsstyles/ig/House-Styles/Lustron-Homes.htm

Menthé's Cabin in France

Yogan is a skillful and prolific French carpenter whose treehouse was in Tiny Homes (pp. 154-55). Isn't this a beauty?

hi lloyd! i want to you see our new cabine, the house of Menthé:
wheels and water is finish? when you come in france?

Cat plays shell game

From Boing Boing

Chinese Tiny Home on Bike

"Beijing’s People’s Architecture Office (PAO) and People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO) have designed and built a mobile home so small that it can be folded up, accordion-style, and carted around on the back of a tricycle.…"


great tiny homes article on bankrate last week

here i sit propped up in bed, an ice machine hooked up to my shoulder, macair and iPhone 5 at hand, (such a modern guy!), typing with one finger/no caps. (making less mistakes.)  i had rotator cuff surgery yesterday, something i've put off for years because of the long recovery period, but all the years of propelling self through world, shoulder strain of paddling surfboards, kayaks, and the inevitable falls from running, biking, skateboarding -- and rotator cuff tear needed fixing.
i feel so great now that it's done, and i'm day one into the 6-week/3-month markers, and full strength at 6 months. grrrr!
   it's really a great time for shelter right now. the tiny homes book just took another jump. 40,000+ copies in one year
   v. interesting article in bankrate, the big financial services website, last week. writer sonya stinson wrote a well-balanced article on tiny homes here, focusing on the practical, rather than the bohemian/artistic domiciles. i got quoted accurately, for once:
"Kahn says the current tiny-homes movement, spurred partly by the downturn in the economy, is a bit of a throwback to the late '60s and early '70s.… It's an idea that's been around, but all of a sudden a lot of people are thinking in terms of getting smaller rather than larger," says Kahn."
   "(He) has noticed a growing interest among boomers in building small accessory dwelling units to accommodate aging parents.…Portland, Ore., and Santa Cruz, Calif., have ordinances that make it easier for people to build these additional units in their backyards," he says.…
  what's interesting is that sonya has made a case, with examples, of a mainstream approach for smaller homes. not everyone wants a tiny home, but the concept of small-er is a very powerful idea in these difficult (and scarce) times.
Photo: (c)johny87-fotolia.com   
music du jour, and i'm sure i've mentioned it a few times, sam cooke's masterpiece "live at harlem square" playing on grooveshark right now. "…that's not all sam will do for you."
   spring is gonna be a powerhouse this year…

Sculpture made from typewriter parts

From Boing Boing:

48 YouTube Videos on Tiny Homes


This is quite a collection, many on shipping containers converted into tiny homes.

Shipping Container Tiny Home in California

Fair Companies has ton of great videos on tiny homes: http://faircompanies.com/ Here is just one:

Bill Niman's Turkey Farm

Bill Niman, who started the high quality Niman Ranch, with humanely raised, non chemicalized beef, now runs a turkey operation. He has about 300 turkeys that he uses for egg production. Once hatched, the turkeys are raised near Turlock, California, and I'll bet they're about the best turkeys you can find (haven't tried one yet).

Tiny Kids on Bikes in Snow, British Columbia

From our PR person in British Columbia, Kim Herter:
"…I wanted to share a little video of my son and his pal, Daniel on their snow bikes -- created by Daniel's dad, Tim Van Driel. It's a great little clip -- mostly of Daniel (brown outfit), but some fun shots of my little guy, Theo, in orange. Daniel wore a little camera clipped to his helmet for some of it. We were at Cypress Mtn. -- a 45 min drive from my house where there is NO snow so it's pretty amazing to see how wintery it is up there on the local hills. 400cm+…"

Tiny Revolution-On The Road to Life

Nostalgia for the Hippie Building Heyday

"…The creative explosion ignited by the back-to-the-land builders of the 1970s was memorialized by many photographers, most notably Art Boericke and Barry Shapiro, who produced a best-selling book, Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher's Art. In centuries to come, historians will probably note that the era of the hippie builder was the last chapter of a century-long period in American history — namely, the closing of the American frontier."

Thanks to Mike Litchfield for heads up on this article.

Dobbertin Surface Orbiter: Stainless Steel Amphibious Vehicle/Boat

Howard Huges has left a new comment on your post "Turning Oil Tanker Trucks Into Homes" (here):

Not as crazy as it would appear. This resourceful fellow made his out of a milk transport tank."

"Living Large in a Little Home"

Really nice review of Tiny Homes in today's Charlotte Observer; great to have a reviewer that gets it:

"Editor and former carpenter Lloyd Kahn’s new book takes us into the world of small homes at a time when big homes, big mortgages and the ruins of a big housing bubble have demonstrated the perils of excess.…"


Simon's Thriving Allotment Garden in UK

Simon sent us the link to the planned demolition of a bunch of small homes in the UK (see previous post), and has this wonderful blog of his garden in an allotment patch of land in the UK.

Here is the Wikipedia def. of "allotment." You see them along train tracks throughout Europe. Weekend gardeners, community gardens, little shacks/sheds…Totally wonderful.

Demolition of 187 Low-cost Prefabs in UK Slated

"Time is running out for Europe's largest prefab estate. Lewisham Council, London, is planning to demolish all but six of the 187 prefab bungalows that make up the Excalibur Estate in Catford - and replace them with 371 modern homes. This is unique 12-acre complex of prefabricated buildings. Built in 1945 and 1946 by German and Italian prisoners of war, the Excalibur Estate was supposed to be a temporary solution to the damage caused by the Luftwaffe's bombs.
   Prefabs were built for returning soldiers and their families and provided what was, for those times, high levels of luxury. Designed by the Ministry of Works, they had two bedrooms, a fitted kitchen with a fridge and cooker, running hot water and an indoor toilet. They became known as Palaces for the People.
   These one-storey bungalows were meant to last just 10 years. However, the Excalibur Estate is still standing and there is a strong sense of community here. The council has done little work to the prefabs over the years and any improvements have been made by the tenants.
   This unique slice of 20th-century social history is about to disappear. The process of 'decanting' has now begun, which means people have been asked to move out of the prefabs by the council. Sadly, the empty houses have become dumping grounds and are quickly falling into disrepair, which has dampened the mood on the estate.
Sent by Simon in the UK

Secrets and Lies of the Bailout by MattTaibbi

By Matt Taibbi, January 4, 2013, Rolling Stone
"It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you'd think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right? 


Liberty Tools - Huge Selection Used Tools in New England

There's No Place Like Here: Liberty Tool from Etsy on Vimeo.
Thanks to Mike W.

Tony Serra Comes For A Visit

Tony is one of my oldest friends (60 years). We both lived in the Fiji house at Stanford. A fraternity, yes, but a highly unusual one. A lot of unique, non-traditional, and/or eccentric boys. Tony was into philosophy --  Socrates, Plato, Hume, Spinoza, etc. -- partying, and howling at every full moon. He at first had a football scholarship, and later worked his way through college.
   Upon graduation ('56), he and his wife Judy took a 4-month Vespa trip all over Europe, and he wrote me a bunch of letters. The one that got me was about taking a  boat from Barcelona to Ibiza, and the dolphins swimming in front of the boat in the moonlight.
   I graduated in '57, and, along with my wife Sarah, took a boat from NYC to France, hitch-hiked to Milano, bought a new Lambretta, and toured Europe youth-hostel-style for 3 months, California kids out of their country (and state) for the first time, an experience with life-long memories. All because of Tony's influence.
   In the early 60s he had his law degree and was working for the Alameda county DAs office. I was an insurance broker in San Francisco. We took a trip to Baja, went camping in Mendocino, and would go out to hear music in SF.


This is a nice site on the tiny homes. I've found some interesting posts there lately. http://tinyhousetalk.com

Turning Oil Tanker Trucks Into Homes

This has got to be a joke, right? http://shltr.net/oilhome

Can you imagine anything more creepy? Oil? Oil?

Treeman Shaping Big Cypress Tree Tonight

Riding bike down my road tonight,and here was treeman extraordinaire Jack Oakander giving this grownup Cypress tree a nice graceful shape. Jack's company, Pacific Slope Tree Co., does tree work in the San Francisco area, especially Marin County. Sun just starting to set, can see it shining through bottom of tree.

Música del Día: Ray Charles

Sunny Friday morning, after 3 hours of emails on all sorts of biz matters (sigh!), Ray Charles came on, doing "Come Back Baby." The day was lookin better!
  Got me thinking about Ray and his recording of "Am I Blue," live in Japan (in '76 I think). Dialed it up on Grooveshark (here) and once again got chills (running from my ears down arms). A rare performance, with John Coles killing it on the trumpet, the crowd obviously tuned in.
  The second time Ray sings "blue," he makes it into a 6-note word. He starts bending all the held notes. At the very end, he makes "Am I gay…," go "Am I gay-ay-ay…" Just a stunning vocal.

Tiny Texas Houses' Recycled Airstream Project

Greetings Lloyd and Team,
My name is Heath Redding and I work with…Tiny Texas Houses. I wanted to inform you of our Kickstarter that we have just launched! We are taking our houses to the road and building the first Tiny Texas Roadhouse. The kickstarter we have set up is to help fund the tutorial video series that we want to release explaining the whole construction process. Our plan is to post these videos online so everyone can have access to them and do-it-themselves. I wanted to kindly ask if you might post the information on your blog to help spread the word and get this project viral. We have some really cool ideas for this whole endeavor so please check out our kickstarter page!
God Bless and all the best!
Heath Redding
Here is a link to the kickstarter page: http://shltr.net/tinyairstream
(Tiny Texas Houses was featured in Tiny Homes; the cover photo of the book was one of their projects.)

Really Nice Tiny Home in NorCal Woods

Hi Lloyd, …I wanted to share with you and your readers some photos of the hand-built house I recently finished. (Prior to this I had only built some crummy plywood furniture and a couple of sheds.) As with so many of us who read your blog, the design of this house was definitely inspired by Shelter books. When making design decisions I often looked in Builders of the Pacific Coast and asked myself which choice would result in something that felt like it could be in your book - I love the feel of those homes.
   A few things that are unique about my house: - It's solar-powered - The vertical redwood on the outside (and interior wainscoting) is from a really lucky find: I was able to buy a few hundred square feet of redwood T+G from a friend's landlord that had been sitting unused in a barn in Fort Bragg for 30 years!
- The tiny wood stove is called "The Hobbit" and it's from England and it's awesome.
- The house is insulated with discarded sheep's wool.
- I'm 6'6" and the house is big enough for me! (I can stand under the loft and sit up tall in the loft)

Usain Bolt Photo by Chang W. Lee

Yesterday The NY Times ran this photo of Bolt winning the 100 meters in the Olympics in 9.63 seconds. He is flying!
   18 other photos by Chang Lee here: http://shltr.net/leebolt 

"Every sport — actually not just sports, but everything that I take pictures of, whatever the story — is being done by human beings. There are things you never can predict. Things can happen that you don’t expect. As a photographer, you have to open your mind to different things.
   So if you see it — it’s too late — you need to anticipate.…"

Pot Farms Take Dirty Toll

THE GREEN RUSH State's medical marijuana boom is wreaking havoc on some fragile habitats. December 23, 2012, LA Times, |Joe Mozingo
EUREKA, CALIF. — State scientists, grappling with an explosion of marijuana growing on the North Coast, recently studied aerial imagery of a small tributary of the Eel River, spawning grounds for endangered coho salmon and other threatened fish.
   In the remote, 37-square-mile patch of forest, they counted 281 outdoor pot farms and 286 greenhouses, containing an estimated 20,000 plants -- mostly fed by water diverted from creeks or a fork of the Eel. The scientists determined the farms were siphoning roughly 18 million gallons from the watershed every year, largely at the time when the salmon most need it.
   "That is just one small watershed," said Scott Bauer, the state scientist in charge of the coho recovery on the North Coast for the Department of Fish and Game. "You extrapolate that for all the other tributaries, just of the Eel, and you get a lot of marijuana sucking up a lot of water.... This threatens species we are spending millions of dollars to recover."
   The marijuana boom that came with the sudden rise of medical cannabis in California has wreaked havoc on the fragile habitats of the North Coast and other parts of California. With little or no oversight, farmers have illegally mowed down timber, graded mountaintops flat for sprawling greenhouses, dispersed poisons and pesticides, drained streams and polluted watersheds.

Mayan Calendar: Beginning of New World

From Megan Paris on New Year's day:
"Mayan priests and spiritual guides in Guatemala have said, "The end of the period of the Fifth Sun (which happened on Dec. 21, 2012) will usher in a new era, in which there will be positive changes in every respect for humanity.
   A Mayan era consisted of 13 cycles, each named B'aktun, and concluded every 5,125 years. According to the Mayan calendar, Dec. 21, 2012 was the end of the current era, which began in 3114 BC, and the beginning of a new era.0   If you do the math, I think we are in pretty good shape to go…"

Scottish Woodworker + English Homestead

Just ran across these two nice blogs this morning:



Godfrey Stephens and Mini Mini Car in Victoria, BC

Around the Homestead as The Year Turns

Cold Weather Layering Brrr! Cold. For California, that is. Sunny morning. California defaults to blue skies in winter, whereas I've found Europe in winter defaults to grey. These mornings, it's 40-50° inside the production studio. Right now I have on 5 layers -- silk undershirt, 2 different weight Smartwool Merino shirts, homemade vest, Patagonia down vest, homemade (fingerless) gloves, silk scarf and large wool scarf, homemade Alpaca wool knit hat. Oh, and Smartwool Merino wool longjohns, knee-length wool socks and Army fatigues (which I love for the pockets), Keen (the brand, that is) lightweight hiking boots. Actually, I never toted up all my winter clothes before. Layers. We have a couple of little 660 watt ceramic electric heaters which we use to heat the person, not the room. I leave mine on for maybe half an hour on cold mornings, then turn off. Take a walk to get blood moving.
Skinning Roadkill Fox The other morning a large ice chest appeared in our yard with a note saying, "For Lloyd from Nate." Inside was a very large male grey fox that had been hit by a car. It had a beautiful glossy winter coat. There used to be lots of them around, then maybe 10-12 years ago, they all disappeared. Now coming back; beautiful, elegant little animals. They are to domestic dogs like buffalo are to beef cattle.
I skinned it, stretched it on a piece of plywood and salted it down. In a week I'll send it off to be tanned.

Losing Everything–Starting Over with a Tiny House

"The short story is: we lost the home and business in the blackhole of economic reality. We took what jobs we could find and started saving as much as possible. Thoughts of moving to a more rural setting filled our heads and we started to make plans. Through purchasing Mortgage Free by Rob Roy, we came across the basic idea of finding the best land we could afford to purchase with cash, and then live in a temporary shelter while we built our larger home. Temporary or not, we knew that we wanted a decent quality of life from the structure. We were challenged. How could we do this quickly and with cash? When I found tinyhouseblog.com, I was inspired by the ideas and immediately started designing our mobile mansion.…"