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Bach, played on two pianos at the same time, by Evan Shinners

Posted on Boing Boing today by Xeni Jardin

Spiffy Office Building in San Francisco

Shot with iPhone 5 in panorama mode.
Model at right is Louie Frazier.

Adventures on the Water in the Pacific Northwest

Read about Kees Prins' adventures on the water with friends along the northwest Pacific coast. (Kees and his little trailer-pulled adventure sailboat will be in Tiny Homes on the Move):
"Eric drove a Ranger 22, which is a small tug with an inboard diesel…"

Sinatra While Driving Along Coast Last Night

Drove along the coast last night to meet my running friends. I don't mean to go on about my new Honda Fit, but sheesh! I can't believe that such a relatively inexpensive little car handles and corners and rides like this. No, I have not been hired by Honda to say these things.

Probably partly due to 40 years of driving trucks, this is like dancing along the road. Spiffy. Plus my neighbor Chick, who has eclectic taste in music (previously turned me on to J.B.Hutto and the Hawks and gospel singer Dorothy Love Coats), gave me "Sinatra — '57 In Concert," and it made for a great cruise along the ocean.

Tiny Cabin, Giant View

Mike Basich was our #1 featured builder in Tiny Homes. Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal came out with an article on Mike and his cabin, written by Conor Dougherty, with 15 photos by Jason Henry. Mike's got an old ski lift that he's rebuilding so he can ride up and ski down. A remarkable guy. Article here.
Mike is very media-savvy and documented the construction of his cabin in this book called "The Making of a Dream, viewable here."

Coping with Critters

I got some great comments on my post (below) on trapping rats. I just remembered an article I wrote for Mother Earth News a few years ago on how I deal with rats and other homestead invaders: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/Protect-Your-Home-From-Critters.aspx#axzz2LvooOokH

Lloyd's Photos in Lucky Peach's "Apocalypse" Issue

In November I got an email from Peter Meehan, who, along with David Chang, is co-editor of Lucky Peach, a quarterly foodie magazine published by McSweeney's. They were doing an "apocalypse" issue and wondered if I had off-the-grid photos they could use.
   A few months later, Christine Boepple, an LA-based writer, came up and went through about 10,000 thumbnails (in binders) of my photos.
   Here's the result, just out in the magazine. Kinda strange for me, having someone else do layout of my photos. I ended up liking what they did. The shelter stuff they chose is all pretty funky. Also pics of food from the wild and garden, preserves, roadkill furs, and kitchens from both our homestead and other places I've been.
   PDF of the 6-page article here.

The Best Rat Trap

There are certain less-than-glamorous homesteading chores that I am really good at. Shoveling, doing dishes, and trapping rats. Sigh.
   Rats around here are not the loathsome Norwegian variety, but rather wood rats, or pack rats, which look like a big mouse, Kinda cute. In the woods, they build pyramids of twigs 3' or so high—rat architecture—always in secluded spots, so you have to be bushwacking to come upon them. In semi-rural areas like this they cruise human habitations for easy pickins. One year I trapped over 40.
   For years I used the standard wooden Victor traps and would put peanut better in a little piece of plastic (with punched holes), tied to the trigger with baggie ties. Then I started sheet-metal-screwing a 1/2" copper pipe cap to the trigger, which I filled with p. butter.
  I went through maybe 4 types of other traps until I discovered these. They have a bait cup so the rat has to tug at it, thereby releasing spring—plenty strong enough to insure fatality.
  I'm writing this after getting one last night that had been eluding me for a week. Outwitted by a rat night after night.
  Method: I washed 3 traps (getting rid of scent), smooshed some bacon in the cups, surrounded by smears of Skippy peanut butter—mwah!
   And whack! Mighty hunter.


T-R-O-U-B-L-E by Travis Tritt

This is such a good album, I stuck around to hear it out this afternoon.
T-R-O-U-B-L-E by Travis Tritt, from 1992. Here.

Is he still this good? I'd go see him if he ever came to NorCal. Rockin country roll!

My New Honda Fit!

I've been driving 4x4 trucks for over 30 years. The trade-off for the weight and truckiness being that I could pick up firewood, haul lumber, sacks of concrete. and go anywhere, any time. I spent 12 years 4-wheeling in Baja. Many trips to the American Southwest (always in spring). 3 long trips to British Columbia, shooting pics for Builders of the Pacific Coast. 4-wheeling it across the river to my friend Louie's house in Mendocino county. I've been a truck guy forever. The latest, for my last 10 years: a 2003 Toyota 4-cylinder, 5-speed Tacoma  4 X 4 with metal camper shell, pull-out canopy, all-time classic tough, dependable vehicle. 140,000 miles, good for another 140. Desert Roamer. (I may sell it, and get a beater truck for local hauls.)
   But there came the time, several months ago, when I realized I was through with the long truck hauls, the 3,000-mile trips, and hauling the truck over the windy roads homewards from my weekly trips into San Francisco was a chore.
   I embarked on a study of cars, and ended up settling on a Honda Fit. Other contenders (in this field of scaled-down, aerodynamic SUVs) were the Toyota Yaris Liftback, Mazda 2, Scion XD, Prius C model, VW Golf diesel. The Cube too cartoony, the Scion xB too boxy. I didn't do extensive reviews, but in the end settled on the Fit largely because of its ingenious cargo space in the rear — 4 by 5 feet with rear seats folded down. 20 cubic feet of space vs. 15 for the other cars. 4 doors and a hatchback so you can get into the rear from all sides. Like a small truck bed. (I could get into my truck bed camper shell on all 3 sides.)
   I wanted to see how the Fit did on curves, since a winding mountain road is about half of my driving. I talked salesman Murray Cherkas of San Francisco Honda into letting me take a Fit across the city and then down the winding block of Lombard Street, "crookedest street in the world." I took the 8 hairpin turns fast, and the car behaved beautifully. Sold.

Stewart Brand's Summary of Chris Anderson's Talk on "The Makers' Revolution"

We’re now entering the third industrial revolution, Anderson said.  The first one, which began with the spinning jenny in 1776, doubled the human life span and set population soaring.  From the demographic perspective, “it’s as if nothing happened before the Industrial Revolution.”
   The next revolution was digital.  Formerly industrial processes like printing were democratized with desktop publishing.  The “cognitive surplus” of formely passive consumers was released into an endless variety of personal creativity.  Then distribution was democratized by the Web, which is “scale agnostic and credentials agnostic.”  Anyone can potentially reach 7 billion people.
   The third revolution is digital manufacturing, which combines the gains of the first two revolutions.  Factory robots, which anyone can hire, have become general purpose and extremely fast.  They allow “lights-out manufacturing,” that goes all night and all weekend.

Running, Music, Driving Along the Dark Coast

My friend Roger and I went on a 1-1/2 hour run—well, swift walk—in Frank's Valley last night. Bitterly cold on the coast, but as we got deeper into the valley, and got circulation going, it got warmer. We're about the same age, both recovering from shoulder surgery, and both San Francisco natives, so we have a lot to talk about. Last night we reminisced about the theaters on Market Street in the '40s. The Fox (a movie palace), the Orpheum, the Warfield, the Golden Gate, the United Artists, the Esquire, and in an alley behind the Esquire, the Tivoli. Then on to the neighborhood theaters, like the Empire, The Parkside, the El Rey…
  This is a photo shot with my iPhone on the way home, driving along the coast, the red lights being an approaching car. I discovered that if I touched my brakes, I saw the road reflectors light up red in my rear view mirror. So I'd touch the brake pedal every once in a while, see the string of red lights in the mirror, then focus back on the road in front. It was like a light show, with this music on Sirius Radio: Meet Me in the Morning by Bob Dylan, Rambling Man by Waylon, then Bring Back Joe by Scotty McCreery. Fahhr out!

Great pleasures can be so simple.

Now listening to Frampton Comes Alive, a great live recording made in San Francisco (at Winterland, 1975) in front of 7000 fans, when the musicians forgot they were being recorded. Frampton said they were all amazed when they heard the recording afterwards.

Time Lapse Sculpture Wooden Fish in France

 "Published on Jan 25, 2013 Alvin de sardine marseillaise. Sculpture réalisée dans un tronc de poivrier, à l'occasion de l'expo "sous le signe des poissons". Retrouvez là dans le cadre de Marseille Provence 2013 à la maison de l'artisanat."
Sent us from Warsaw by Julien Croisie. (Wonderful to have sympatico connection in Poland -- Julien sent us a bunch of good links. It truly is the "world wide" web.)

Boogie Woogie Sunny Sunday Morning

Pinetop Perkins playing boogie woogie now. Years ago I walked by the Sweetwater bar in Mill Valley and there was a sign saying "Tonight -- Pinetop Perkins." Yeow! I was there. He was in his '80s, slim, wearing a purple suit with lavender tie. It was rare, like getting a chance to see Muddy Waters (who he played with). He flirted with the ladies. "Put on your high-heel sneakers, wear your wig hat on your head.…"
  Last night saw Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie. I loved it. A bit overlong, but very enjoyable. Sly tongue in cheek plot w. references to the old Bond movies. Great photography, stylish graphics, good acting. Now here's a good mainstream American movie.
  Such great stuff now coming in for our new book on 20th century nomadics. It's kinda like I'm a spectator watching all these great stories, adventures and photos come in. Book as living organism.
This Delta radial arm saw must be 50 years old. Bought it used in the '70s. Has worked flawlessly ever since. American made. At left is a Back Revolution machine, sold by Stretching Inc. Use to invert and stretch spine. You hang upside down by yr. hips.

Time to venture out into the day. This afternoon, old friend Don Manoukian coming by. Don played for the Oakland Raiders in the late '50s, was a professional wrestler known as "The Bruiser." From a big Reno Armenian family, his mom was a great cook.


A Toot in San Francisco

Several times, when I was maybe 11, my grandmother took me on what she called a toot. No, not that kind of toot. We'd take a streetcar down to Market Street (San Francisco), walk up and down past the movie houses,and then go to two movies, one after the other. A toot.
   Thursday, my friend Louie and I went on a toot in San Francisco. Two old guys-- 78 and 84 -- country boys at that, in the Big City. I can't believe Louie's that old. He lives farther back in the country than I do, so the sights of the big city are a treat for him.
   We went in early in the morning, first to Trouble Coffee, out by the beach. I showed Louie the v. cool restaurant Outerlands, just up the block from Trouble. Then we walked -- sunny bright morning -- over to Mollusc Surf Shop on Irving, a great place -- surfboards, fine selection of books, wetsuits, surf clothes, then checked out the Cajun Pacific Cafe, with its colorful mural; unique restaurant. Then down to the big Flax art store on Market.

"My Way," Tribute by Andre Rieu To Frank Sinatra

"My Way" by Andre Rieu

1937 RV

 From David Shipway. Great fun browsing around in the '30s on this link: here.

Tiny Home On Wheels in Arizona

Carrie and Shane Caverly's tiny home on wheels near Prescott, Arizona. Check out the nice interior photos as well:

Anyone Want Mini Books to Give Out?

These mini books are 2" x 2-1/2", 32 pages from Tiny Homes. People are delighted by this little thing. Plus it's great advertising. Over 90% of the people I hand these out to laugh out loud. Not smile, but laugh. There have been a bunch of people who can read the text.

If you can give these to people (children love them), we'll send you a batch (say 10, 20, or 30). Send yr. address, # of mini books you want, to tinyhomes@shelterpub.com, and we'll send to you (USA only, shipping costs elsewhere are too high these days).
Hats off to Paramount Printing Co. in Hong Kong, for doing such a great job of printing these little things. Difficult task. The binding is actually sewn.

Fox and Weasel Skins

Skinning roadkill animals is such a win-winner. Rather than left to rot, the skins can be rendered like this. I skin the animal, tack it down (pushpins) while stretching it, fur side down, on piece of plywood. Then I cover it with salt so no skin is visible. In about a week I remove the salt, roll it up, and ship it to Bucks County Fur Products in Quakertown, PA. In about 6 weeks, UPS delivers a beautiful tanned skin. Ooops! Haven't I said all this before?
   Shown are 2 weasels, and a fox with a thick glossy coat; fur seems best in the cold season, when their coats are maxed out. I need another fox or two and then my friend Louie and I are going to make me a fur coat. Fur inside. Roadkill coat. I like that.

Stone Barn in France


Looking For A Place To Park Your Tiny Home in SE Portland?

"I have .23 acres in the SE neighborhood of Mt. Scott-Arleta and am looking to rent space to a tiny home dweller. It is a lovely slice of earth, quiet with beautiful trees, an adjacent chicken coop. Looking for down-home and stable people (1-2), who would enjoy collaborating in the garden and sharing outdoor space together. I have been in my home for 3 years this March, and enjoy quietude, nourishing my cherished friendships, cooking and gardening.
   I have included is a photo of a corner of the property on PAD’s Facebook page – assembling my raised beds last Spring. While this is not the space available, it is a view from the approximate spot a tiny home would sit. More photos available upon inquiry. Please include a bit of who you are, what your home requires regarding spatial dimensions, utility hook-ups, and when you hope to park if you are interested -- my email is: jgatti26@yahoo.com."

Jimmy Cliff, Guitar Center Sessions on Direct TV

This was a great show, on January 25th, 2013. I don't know if it can be tracked down somewhere. Jimmy looks really good (and he's 65!). This wasn't my favorite number. but it's the only one I could find from that session.

Music du Jour -- Hayes Carll & Cary Ann Hearst: Another Like You


Bodega Portable Buildings

This looks like a good outfit to me. Real carpenter at work, good designs. Bodega is in West Sonoma County, about 1-1/2 hours north of San Francisco.

"Everybody needs an extra room, be it for a studio, shop, extra bedroom, reading room, work out machines, or storage. Most counties allow for a storage building of 120 sq. ft. floor space without a permit. This is a handy place to begin. You can put a building on your property and use it to store your books and a comfortable chair, tools, or art supplies. We are building 120 sq. ft. buildings and adding window seats which do not count in the square footage. Window seats add a lot to a building. They make the interior more useable and spacious and they make the exterior more interesting. We are producing a 120 sq. ft. building with three window seats for around $10,000. This is possible because we have developed a building method using 1-1/8″ plywood for floors, walls and roof.…" http://www.bodegaportablebuildings.com/

Stretching eBook Gets Big Award!

This is a big deal -- what Rick (Gordon) has done here, that is. I've fended off doing various electronic versions of our powerhouse book Stretching (over 3-1/2 million sold) for over 10 years. We couldn't find anyone to do what we wanted to do here, so Rick, our production chief and tech genius, did it himself. It's just now out -- for iPad & iPhones (not for any Amazon tablets).

Publishing Innovation Awards; Winner, Enhanced eBook: Stretching:
"This longtime bestseller from Shelter Publications celebrates its 30th anniversary in print with this ebook edition that thoroughly realizes the platform's potential, proving that a simple concept can be the basis of a vastly improved product through careful, intelligent use of the technology. Stretching excellently performed its task -- going beyond the print edition to create an excellent ebook."
-Publishing Innovation Awards.

Here is the list of winners. Avalon Publisher Bill Newlin wrote us:
"A belated congratulations on this award!  It really is a big deal, particularly since the Enhanced Ebook category had the stiffest competition by far, including an entry from Workman and movie tie-ins from Disney and Harper Collins.  Truly a victory for integrity and craftsmanship, you should be very proud."

 Stretching eBook available here: http://shltr.net/stretching-ibooks. If you happen to purchase it and truly think it's wonderful, it'd be great if you posted a review in the iBookstore and on GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com.

Our Bantam Chicken Flock

Golden Seabright and two Silver Seabright bantams, our little beauties. Getting about a dozen eggs a day now. Both bantam chickens and their eggs are about half-size of full size chickens.

Eelgrass Insulation

Just got this from Germany. I don't know about fire or vermin hazard, but it looks like it was used extensively at one time.
"An insulating material consisting of dried eelgrass held between layers of cloth or paper; once used as thermal insulation, now little used. Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/cabot-s-quilt-1
dear mr. kahn, we love your books, they are great inspiration for us. we want to ask you: have you ever experienced insulating houses with eelgrass? we are great fans of eelgrass, it is possible to collect it from the coasts almost all over the world. in danmark and in some other countries there are roofs thatched with eelgrass/seagrass, they protect the houses for several centuries.

Deek Diedrickson's Favorite Tiny Homes Books

Barbecue Beef and Coconut Milk in the Street and a Log Cabin Made of Earth and Wood

Just ran across this post the other day when I did a search on my blog for "log cabins." I feel like the most vital posts I do are when I'm out on the road. I love shooting photos, then posting from an internet cafe. Fun! This was during a 6-week trip to Costa Rica and Panama a few years ago.


Here are a bunch of other posts from the trip:


Latest GIMME SHELTER Newsletter

I send out one of these email newsletters every few months to about 750 people. Here's the latest:

Mark Frauenfelder Joins CoolTools

I've mentioned many times how the CoolTools blog has been so invaluable to me. It contains reader-written reviews of any number of tools. It's almost embarrassing how many things I've learned about and purchased as a result of CT. For me, it's the electronic Whole Earth Catalog.
  It was started by Kevin Kelly, former Whole Earth Review magazine editor, and one of the founding fathers of Wired magazine. Today it was announced that Mark Frauenfelder, founder of Boing Boing (my other favorite blog) and editor-in-chief of Make magazine, is partnering with Kevin; he'll be editor-in-chief of CoolTools and is working with Kevin on a paper book on the best of CoolTools. This is a killer duo.
  Check out:
  -Mark's announcement on Boing Boing here
  -Kevin's announcement on CoolTools here
  -The tools on CoolTools here

Tiny rEvolution Website

Deek Diedrickson of http://relaxshacks.blogspot.com pointed out this excellent website, http://tinyrevolution.us/, billed as "… an Internet home for people interested in simple, minimalist living, and less square feet than most master bedrooms." For example, here's an interesting post titled "How to stock a minimalist kitchen": here. Scroll down to the long comment by Susyn153 about paring down your belongings for living on a sailboat.