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Daily Flash - Turning Off Seat Belt Warning Bells

I got a ton of comments to my post of a few weeks ago about turning off automobile warning bells. Lew was able to turn off his Ford's bells by following instructions in the user manual (as had been suggested in a comment). A few days later he came up with the “seat belt extender,” which I ordered and installed— voila!~and it works! So great to not be nagged by bells.
   I do buckle up, but  when I want to, and if I'm going to drive 10 mph going downtown, I sometimes don't use the seat belt—irresponsible, I know.
   Click here for the link to the extender for Honda Fits. Click here for link to seat belt extenders in general. The only caveat is that you have to depend upon the extender to be strong enough to not disconnect in an accident.
    Now to figure out the keys-in-ignition/door-open bells, which I believe is more difficult.

Daily Flash - Gospel - Jesus Dropped the Charges - The O'Neal Twins

"…Jesus dropped the charges,
now I'm free down in my soul."

What away to start the day!

From Rick Gordon

Daily Flash Music Foggy Monday - Roy Rogers - Holy Ghost Moan

Working on Tiny Homes on the Move this morning, with this playing. Right now. We're up to about 200 of the 224 pages. Going to make final push.

11 - Holy Ghost Moan by Roy Rogers on Grooveshark

Daily Flash -- Beach Art Yesterday

Tiny Tea House on Wheels

"The “Tea Room” with shoji screens, (3) tatami mats, a sunken tea warming hearth, Japanese style tub, two pull out drawers for storage under the raised floor, a “guest” entry door, an honoring alcove, and a traditional tea serving chest. We choose to use black walnut accent wood around the guest entry door, loft edge trim, alcove slabs and ladder catch. This allowed us to express the stark contrast against the knotty pine walls.…"
From Oregon Cottage Company here.

Daily Flash # 2 on Foggy Friday -- Beach Graffiti

Daily Flash #1 on Foggy Friday -- Twenty Steps From Stardom

Saw Twenty Steps From Stardom yesterday and is it great! I've been disappointed by a number of music documentaries where they had too much talk and too little music. Also by films like Cadillac Records, and Ray, which I guess (the latter) everyone liked but me; I thought both films were phony.
  I've always loved backup singers and this film not only honors these remarkable women, but has a ton of great music. I had no idea of the power and artistry of Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton, Tata Vega, and Judith Hill -- among others. The power of gospel backgrounds.
   It's a sparkling documentary --the filmmakers do everything right. The last number, with Darlene Love doing "Lean on Me," is stunning; the backup harmonies gave me chills. It's not playing at many theaters, so I'd try to see it soon.

Tiny House Hotel in Portland, Oregon

$125 per night, includes wi-fi. Click here.

Artist Jay Nelson's Tiny Houseboat

It's viewable at Mollusk Surf Shop, a great place to visit near Ocean Beach, San Francisco.
Click here to see more of Jay's creations. There are also two pages on him in Tiny Homes.

Tchaikovsky Delight

From my brother Bob this morning

Marvin Gaye, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," A Capella

Ernest Thoreau has left a new comment on your post "On the Road July 2013":
Here's a music selection for you if you want it. Marvin Gaye on stage by his lonesome doing Grapevine a capella. It's haunting. He keeps great rhythm. Uses the silence as much as his voice. And throws down some killer smooth dance steps.
   Seems like they aren't making as many great pure musicians as they used to.

Nice Little Triumph Motorcycle

Fog/Afternoon Sun/Me & Victor Mature Getting Our Strength Back

After a lot of Spring and early Summer wind, the fog bank has settled in these days. Almost feels tropical of late. Went paddling last night, the lagoon was warm, over 60°. I'm back to 85% shoulder strength. After 6 months of no upper body activity, I can feel the strength coming back — such a rush.
    Funny, it puts me in mind of the epic film (1949), Samson and Delilah, where Delilah learns that the secret to Samson's strength is his hair. She gets him drunk, cuts off his hair, and he is blinded. (Samson is played by he of the agonized grimaces, Victor Mature.)
   A few years later, he is in the temple, being tormented by his captors. They don't notice that his hair has grown back. He is standing between the two main pillars of the temple and he starts pushing, the crowd jeering at him. Suddenly there is a crack --great sound effects -- and the crowd falls silent. More cracking and the temple collapses.
   A bit dramatic, I know, but I'm elated to have some strength back…

Jack Fulton's Hammers

Stopped by to see my long-time friend Jack Fulton last week. Jack is by profession a photographer, also a builder. In the '60s, Jack and I learned a lot about building from Jack's uncle, Alec Fulton. A jovial Scotsman, Alec took the time to teach us novices. Among other things, he taught me how to join cast-iron drainpipes with hot lead (and oakum) — in the days just before ABS and PVC drain pipe replaced cast iron.
Anyway, Jack had just finished rebuilding the entire front wall of his house (termite damage, new continuous foundation), and these well-used hammers were lying around. The smaller has been my go-to tool belt hammer for many years. A Plumb 16" with fiberglass handle. I like the straight, rather than a curved claw: better for de-nailing as well as digging in the dirt. Aesthetically, I like wooden handles, but the fiberglass has a bit of spring in it which is comfortable.

Chainsaws — Can We Talk?

I've been using chainsaws for many years, have probably owned 5 or 6. These days it's a Stihl Woodboss MS270, 24" bar. Every year I pick up mostly wind-felled oak on country roads, haul it home, cut it into stove-size lengths, then rent a splitter for a day and stockpile a year's or more worth of firewood. I used chainsaws extensively in the '60s and '70s, cutting up redwood (from the beaches or windfallen trees in the woods) into bolts, and which I then split into shakes. Point is, I've had a lot of chainsaw experience.
   The other day I was sawing through a piece of wood on the woodpile and as I finished the cut, the blade hit a log below it and snapped back towards my face. It sent a chill of adrenaline that I felt somehow in my ears. Very scary.
I was wearing my Husqvarna helmet, which combines skull protection, ear guards, and a metal mesh facemask. (I've only been using the helmet the last few years, prompted by a log rolling down the hill and knocking me down — I should have had one of these helmets all along.)
   This time the blade didn't reach my face, but if it had, the mask would've stopped it from carving up flesh.
   I urge you chain saw users: get one of these. $50 or so. Play it safe, please. The more hours you've operated chainsaws, the more the chance of a freak accident. Experience doesn't make you invulnerable.
   PS I always sharpen the teeth after use, so it's ready when I next pick it up.

Drafts littlehouses/graffiti

Small (Not Tiny) Homes Living in the San Francisco Bay Area has become enormously expensive lately. Any great place nowadays -- Manhattan, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Rome -- rents are outta sight. In recent years I've been driving around in some less-cachet local towns, like San Leandro, Richmond, Hayward and noticing all these small, simple houses. Some of the blocks look really nice. If someone of modest means is looking to buy a home in the Bay Area, I'd say forget SF, Marin County, Berkeley, the Peninsula all the way down to San Jose. Look in these sort of overlooked towns. I used to think the same about Brisbane and El Cerrito, but it may be too late (at least In E.C.) I bet anywhere in the US there are towns surrounding the hot spots with simple little houses like these. Maybe neighborhoods on the upsurge after crack houses and gangs have been chased out. Or just neglected neighborhoods. Former industrial areas. Graffiti July 2013 I just love this kind of art.

Disconnecting Annoying Auto Bells

I asked a local mechanic, who has helped me with my trailer lights, and disconnected the seat belt warning bells in my '88 Toyota truck. "I can't do it, it's a computer,"he said. "These cars, they want to drive you."

I believe in wearing a seat belt and I want to put it on when I fuckin want to and not be nagged by 6 -- count 'em --6 bells. One-minute pause and 6 more bells. Sheee-it. Plus I don't need to be hassled about leaving keys in car. Panicky continuous loud beep beep beep. (I've got spare key in magnetic box under car.)

Anyone know how to circumvent this audio bullying?

On the Road July 2013

 I seldom travel north on the coast in summertime. I prefer the dark and tourist-light winter. I like it up here. I've got roots: my dad used to fish the Gualala river in the early 1900s.

Lots of camping cyclists on the roads, most of them awkwardly, non-aerodynamically loaded down. (By contrast, check out Rick Huffan's gear here (I photographed him up here last year).

Marin county is soft and gentle and as such, has a trace of the -- dare I say it? -- insipid. As I head north, the men and women seem tougher, stronger. Life is tougher (colder, wetter) the farther north you go, and people have to deal with that. It's more country. On radio, going down a country road yesterday, Merle: "I've got everything I need to drive me crazy…" Some times when I'm on the road: the music, road, trees, sky, the moving through space -- it's a movie!

Swinging Doors by Merle Haggard on Grooveshark

Thursday in the Woods

Been swimming in the river each day. Yesterday Louie helped me in making a fur coat out of my animal skins: 2 bobcats, 3 foxes, a raccoon, we're still undecided about the skunk. His grandfather had been a tailor, so he knew what to do. I put on an old vest, we got the skins in place, then pinned to the vest. Next we'll get Lesley's experienced input. It really looks good. Fur (and heads) on the outside. Going to take a while. I'll only wear it at home.
Pic is my hideout at Louie's.


They are thick on this part of the coast this week. Apparently the krill are here, the bait fish eating them, and the salmon eating the bait fish. These guys had just brought in maybe 35 fish, in the 15-25 lb. range. A friend of Louie's had caught over 50 a few days earlier. What a start to the commercial season! I learned a lot watching these fishermen cleaning salmon. They were taking them to a jobber in Fort Bragg. Getting $5/lb. whole (gutted) fish.

I asked one guy why he thought they were back, he said maybe because they had the season closed for four years. I said what about all the work done on the rivers in recent years, he said I don't know, but God has just put these fish out in the ocean this year.

Louie and I had barbecued salmon with Titsch and Rosario last night. It's so different when eaten the day of catch!

State of the Blog -- The Day After

It occurred to me last night that it's going to get pretty repetitious for me to call all these short posts "Daily Flash." "Daily Flash #146..."
So I'll keep up with shorter more frequent posts, and they will be daily flashes, but I won't title every one that way.

Floating School in Nigeria

"The 'Makoko Floating School,' a triangular form in section constructed with a parallel series of timber A-frames on a platform supported by emptied blue barrels. The 3-story structure contains classrooms on the middle level in enclosed volumes flanked by public green space and playground below, and an additional open-air rooftop classroom above.
   Rooftop PV cells on the roof collect solar energy, and coupled with water catchment systems, make the dynamic educational facility partially self sustainable.
   Slender wooden slats create a shading device along the outer envelope along with well-ventilated spaces to maintain a comfortable interior environment.…"
By NSE Architects
From Designboom here.

Daily Flash #4 -- Foggy Gate

Summer fog has finally taken over. Heading into San Francisco on Golden Gate Bridge one morning last week. Going under south tower.

Daily Flash # 3 - Teched Out

Hey I think I like this. Short and snappy. Quicker, easier more frequent. It's hard to break the essay habit.
I've got about as many digital tools as I need for a good while.
-11" MacAir
-iPhone 5 (with Seri)
-Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 pocket camera
-Mac Mini hooked up to TV(although I haven't really started using it yet)
-GOgroove FlexSmart X2 Wireless In-Car Bluetooth

Daily Flash # 2 - Louie's House Yesterday Afternoon

Daily Flash #1

Stopped at Tomales Bay Oyster Company Tuesday and picked up a dozen small oysters from Gina Warren, shown here. I gave her a mini Tiny Homes book. She looked at it in delight, laughed and, like a lot of young people, said she'd been thinking about tiny homes.
"Nice hair."
"I curl it myself."

State of the Blog -- Eureka!! -- Course Correction

Rolling down the road on this trip, I realized that I've been putting up less personal posts (my own discoveries wandering through the world) lately and more 3rd-party stuff.
   Each morning I go out and check email and blog comments first thing, then post what's of interest -- a lot of tiny homes, gardening stuff. Then I don't get around to posting my own photos and reports -- both of which there are many -- and having you readers ride shotgun with me. After all, I Am A Camera.)
   I've got a logjam backup of content -- so I've decided to try posting something of my own each day (pic and/or text). I'll start by calling it The Daily Flash (may be able to give it better title). I'm thinking more shorter posts interspersed with the same type daily 3rd-party posts I've been doing lately. Hey, aren't attention spans shorter all the time? (Just occurs to me this is slightly analogous to current discoveries of the value of shorter, more frequent exercise.)
   A course correction in this seeming compulsion I have to communicate. Here we go.

Trip North Along The Coast

I took off Tuesday in my car (Honda Fit, such a pleasure to drive) heading north along the coast. Overcast day, the colors best then (blue-sky sunny days wash out the color). Visual treat as i headed along the country roads, subtle colors, summer gold of the hills, green patches where there's a bit of moisture; bales of hay, sheep grazing.
  Gotta admit, I like driving (Calif. boy, started at age 14). With Sirius radio. Away from office and phones, mind can wander.
  Turned on Outlaw Country for truckdrivin music -- bingo! The Meat Purveyors singing "Burr Under My Saddle," all the reasons she's (they're) dumping this guy… next song, "Zip-i-dee-doo-dah," -- "wonderful feeling, wonderful day." Upbeat. The Coasters doing fabulous version of "Zing Went the

Strings of My Heart." Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart by The Coasters on Grooveshark This all put me in my best polyanna mode. Glass half full. Acc-en-chu-ate the positive. Can't help it, optimism's part of my m.o.
   There must have been 100 boats out along the coast. The salmon are back in a big way. They're fat and large. Best in a dozen years. Guys catching them out of kayaks. Good news in this bad-news-filled world. The ocean here is healthy.

Egg-shaped Wooden Houseboat

"Located in in the estuary of the river beaulieu UK, The Egg is a place to stay and a laboratory for studying the life of a tidal creek, a collecting and collating centre with integral storage & display areas.
      The structure, built using boat building techniques and local materials, features a bed, a desk, a small stove, and a wet room.
   It will take on the patina of 730 daily tides below the water line, and 365 days of weathering by wind, rain and bleaching by the sun above."
From Designboom, here.
Sent us by John Kaay

Swedish Wooden Toy

From Lew Lewandowski

Tiny Round Home in England

A round house in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. (Stephen Horncastle, Wikimedia Commons)
Click here.

Lawn Gardens, Food Forests, and Permaculture

"When I posted '7 no-cost ways to grow more food from your veggie garden,' one commenter argued that mulching was not a good strategy—suggesting that gardeners should plant polycultures instead, following the principles of permaculture.
   While I'd dispute the idea that there is one "right" way of gardening, or that mulching and polycultures, or mulching and permaculture for that matter, are mutually exclusive, I do agree on one matter. Understanding permaculture design—which can loosely be described as a design discipline informed by principles observed in nature—can definitely make you a better gardener…"
From TreeHugger here.
Sent us by Mike W

Raised Bed with Slide Out Table for Tiny Homes

From Tiny House Pins here.

Funnel Wall Plays Music during Rain

"Located in Dresden, Germany, the small colorful house is built with some funnels on the wall and they’ll create charming (really?!) musical sound whenever the rain comes. Due to that interesting and unique idea, the wall is also one of the most enjoyable attractions in Dresden’s student district in the new town."
Click here.
From Anonymous

Beautiful New Book on Snakes

Wonderful photos of 96 snakes meticulously photographed against black backgrounds.
   We got it out of the library.

Tiny Home in Vancouver is Homeless

"Wanted: a home for a tiny house. The 144 square-foot house, built by students at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design as potential accommodation for a homeless person on Bowen Island, is itself homeless.
     Charles Dobson, an associate professor of design at the university who has a background in architecture, led a group of about eight industrial design students to create the house, complete with propane fireplace heater, single bed with storage underneath, laminate floors, shower, a small kitchen and composting toilet.
   The house was built, using a $10,000 grant from BC Housing, for the Bowen Community Housing Association, which had expressed interest in using the house as part of a pilot project to deal with the island’s homeless problem. But Dobson said the association has been unable to find a place to put the tiny house, and the municipality of Bowen Island says it needs more time to sort out zoning and liability issues. 'It’s a shame because I think they really trying hard to make this work, but all these rules are getting in the way,' said Dobson. “So we are trying to find a community that will say ‘yes we want to do this.…’”
Click here.
Note: See first comment, below.

Bromeliads in Our Greenhouse

These varieties of bromeliads grow without soil, getting their water from the air. Here they are happy growing in and around dry stalks of cholla plants I brought back from Baja California.

The 10-Minute Workout

"According to the latest science, not only do multiple short sessions of exercise generally provide the same health and fitness benefits as a comparable amount of exercise completed in one uninterrupted workout, but by some measures, the briefer bouts are better.…"

Article in this morning's New York Times Science section by Gretchen Reynolds here.

Click here for our "On The Job" workout routine: stretches and exercises you can do at work, using body weight for weight lifting. Total workout time 5-15 minutes. Photocopy and keep in desk or on wall.

Gardeners' World Magazine

This is by far the best gardening magazine I've ever seen. Everything in it seems useful, and I even like the ads.
  In all these decades of planting and pruning fruit trees, I only pruned in winter. I read the article here on summer pruning and did some heavy pruning on 2 apple trees yesterday (it's mid-summer). Do they look good! I've always tried to form a good basic structure in the winter, but come summer, there's always an explosion of shoots in all directions. Yesterday I cut those back. The trees look better, and there'll be more energy flowing to the apples without all that useless foliage.
   The magazine has lots of photos showing you how to do stuff. I also learned some key things about harvesting garlic in this issue.

KIT For Converting Van to Camper

"The QUQUQ is a European-designed camping box that transforms a regular passenger vehicle into a fully equipped camper for two. Within just one minute, you can be sleeping, cooking or just hanging out in your QUQUQ camper van.…"
Click here.
It's expensive, only fits certain vans, but it's a plan for building your own.
Someone, can't remember who, sent this in as a blog comment.

Saturday Bike Ride/Tiny Home On Move Progress

A few pics from yesterday. Photogenic redwood by roadside. A little farther up the road, I saw a bunch of what looked like green leaves under a pine tree. Getting closer, they were wings (believe that's the right word) of a pine cone, and lo, they were sailing down from the tree. Aha!  Stopped under the tree, looked up and here was a bushy grey squirrel at work, getting pine nuts and jettisoning the wings.
   I've been admiring this beautiful field of artichokes for a while. Creek bottom soil.

Feels so good to be mobile again.

Our new book Tiny Homes On the Move is popping right now. It's about 80% together. Lots of great last-minute material. I love watching it come together. Like sailing in unknown waters. We never know what form it will take until the parts are all assembled. Exciting to see a book getting born.

"Adrift," Stunning Video On San Francisco Fog by Simon Christen

From Mike W, who has sent us a ton of good stuff.

When the Drugs Kick In

When The Drugs Kick In by The Del-Lords on Grooveshark

Legal Tiny Garden Cottages in Portland Backyard

"In late July 2008, we built two garden cottages to the side of a little house at the rear of a 50′x100′ residential lot in NE Portland. These tiny homes are “detached accessory structures” and are fully permitted through the City of Portland. Each is 12′x14′ and has a front porch, bathroom with shower, and loft.
   The existing house is quite small – just 526 sf on the main level with a 200 sf bedroom in the attic and a full basement. All residents can share the kitchen in the primary house. Most importantly, this development plan preserves the entire front 55′ of the property for gardening and fruit trees!"
Click here.

The Serra Boys

From left: Chime, Tony, Shelter, Ivory at a small town 4th of July parade. I've known Tony for 60 years, twins Shelter and Ivory since the day they were born.  Not many people know that Tony was a star high school athlete (Lincoln H.S., San Francisco, 1949-'52). Fullback on the football team, he also passed and punted, and he excelled at baseball and basketball. No one does that nowadays, what with sports specialization.

Do You Want To Sing?


Moon to Moon - Blog for Homemakers and Home Lovers


Tiny Round Home in North Dakota

"An unlikely sight in Wells County, North Dakota - According to the National Register of Historic Places, which listed the house in 1997, it was built in 1900 by Elgin Hurd. It’s located in the middle of nowhere, a few miles south of Hurdsfield.…"
Click here.

Paragliding Artistry

I had this wonderful period in my life some years back where, for maybe 2 weeks, I dreamed every night of flying. It wasn't like I was suddenly in the air, or jumped from a height. I started on the ground, ran, flapped my arms, and took off. It was such a vivid experience, I remember it clearly, after all these years. An out-of-body experience, if you'll pardon the cliché. During my waking hours, I'd sometimes feel like I could almost do it.
  Yesterday I was corresponding with Kian Clipson, who lives in Southwest England; his small, cozy, artistic mobile home is going into our new book, Tiny Homes on the Move, and I decided to check the paragliding website that Kian co-founded, here, and there is a ton of exciting stuff. These guys are doing what I did in my dreams.

Urban Side from Jean-Baptiste Chandelier JB prod on Vimeo.

270-year-old Stone Home on 7 Acres in N.J. For Sale $700,000

Californians seeking homes will read this and weep. It's got a 2-story barn! It's got a pond! Hand-hewn beams! In yesterday's NY Times Sunday paper. I couldn't get the photo to come up (it's definitely not the one at the top of the article), but here's the realtor's pitch:
WHAT: A three-bedroom one-and-a-half-bath stone house
HOW MUCH: $679,000 SIZE: 2,610 square feet (according to tax records)
INDOORS: The house’s oldest sections were built in 1730 and 1820, and retain nearly all their original features, including wide-plank pumpkin pine floors, hand-hewn wood beams and exposed stone walls. The kitchen and bathrooms were renovated in 2006. There are three original fireplaces, one decorative and two wood-burning. In addition to stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops, the kitchen has an old beehive baking oven. Bedrooms are upstairs. The master has an en-suite bathroom. The second floor also features a den.

Bookcase Inspired by Shelter

Lloyd…I made a piece of furniture that was largely inspired by the books you have authored and published.
   As a constant source of inspiration, your books have provided to this home builder, furniture builder and overall dreamer. Your books have given me shelter from the storm that is everyday life.  I call this latest simple bookcase I carved my Shelter from the storm bookcase. Here's the link.
Tohner (Jackson)