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Birds of the Week

Lew found this hummingbird in the kitchen. It had probably been trapped in there a while; it was catatonic, its chi was ebbing. Its wings were fluffed up in an attempt to get warm. Hummingbirds are perpetual motion machines; they need to be constantly moving and eating to keep up with the high metabolism.

We mixed some agave syrup with warm water and we dipped its beak in it several times. It tilted its head back each time to swallow. Then we put it on a chair in the sun;as it warmed up, its feathers started unfluffing and when we looked a few minutes later, it had taken off.

The scrub jay is so unbelievably blue.





The Four-Masted Ship Pamir, 1905-1957

“'Pamir' was originally launched in Hamburg in 1905, she had a steel hull, a tonnage of 3020 gross, an overall length of 375 feet, a beam of 46 feet and a loaded draught of 24 feet. Her three masts stood 168 feet above the deck and the main yard was 92 feet wide. She carried a total of 50,000 square feet of sails and could reach a top speed of 16 knots, while her speed on passage was often better than 10 knots.

Pamir, a four-masted barque, was one of the famous Flying P-Liner sailing ships of the German shipping company F. Laeisz. She was the last commercial sailing ship to round Cape Horn, in 1949. By 1957 she had been outmoded by modern bulk carriers and could not operate at a profit. Her shipping consortium's inability to finance much-needed repairs or to recruit sufficient sail-trained officers caused severe technical difficulties. On 21 September 1957 she was caught in Hurricane Carrie and sank off the Azores, with only six survivors rescued after an extensive search.…"
Photo: http://i.imgur.com/GYNzpLS.jpg
Text: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamir_(ship)

Bye-Bye Blues by the Phoebe Babo Trio

I just ran across this. I put it on the blog about 4 years ago, but the link got scrambled, so here it is again. (My mom lived to be 103.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FJ0_8mBqnA
"I was at my Mom's rest home a few weeks ago and walked in on a little lady sitting at the piano playing for the old folks. (This is in the wing for elderly and challenged residents.) It was ragtime music and great. I learned who she was and called her up. Did she want me with my bass and my brother with his banjo to sit in with her? "Oh, yes, that would be great!"

This is the 2nd time we've played together. Lew taped this last Tuesday, and the joint was rockin'. (We haven't even practiced together yet.) These are songs that I used to play with my quartet in high school, a lot of them from the '20s, so I was right at home. I'm working at my bass playing and Bob is pretty good on the banjo.

Phoebe is actually thrilled. I told her we're just enhancing her. I'm calling us the Phoebe Babo trio. She says when she was a girl, she played the drums. She started on the piano later on in life, and she's just got it. She is a grand lady. The 80-90-year-olds love us. On Tuesday, as soon as we started playing, people came in from all over. The caregiver women were dancing, my mom's caregiver Clara was shakin' it. A lady named Jane knows the words to every song. Peggy was 88 that day and celebrating with wolf whistles at the end of each song."

In Praise of Eudora (and in Sorrow at Its Non-Availability Today For Mac Users)

Two and a half years ago, I did a post on Eudora, and it has generated 19 comments over that time. There still seems to be no solution for anything near as good that will run on the new Mac operating systems. I'm still using Snow Leopard (10.6.8) on my office MacPro for the sake of Eudora. I occasionally give silent thanks to Steve Dorner for developing Eudora back in the '90s. He thought so many things out so well.
Old article on Steve Dorner: http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/012197eudora.html

Why doesn't some venture capitalist put up the money (hire Dorner?) to create a mail program as good as Eudora that will run on new Macs? There's a huge gaping hole in quality still.

The following comment came in today and I think it's interesting enough to bring it to the forefront:

Lloyd’s Camping Vehicles, Part 3

In 1988 I bought a 4-cylinder, 5-speed Tacoma 4×4 with the Xtra cab (meaning a 6′ bed). Then in 2003, I got a new one, same model. The engine is a bit gutless going up long hills, but will run forever.
By this time I knew exactly what I wanted:
A metal camper shell made by Tradesman in Winters, Calif. It opened on all three sides, was way stronger than plastic shells. I bought an aluminum rack from Hauler Racks. It came disassembled via UPS and I bolted it together and mounted it. It rests on the truckbed sides, not on the camper roof.
At Campway’s in Santa Rosa, Calif., I got the inside of the bed sprayed with a waterproof membrane to protect the metal. Also a “carpet kit,” with storage boxes along the sides and sliding middle panels inside the bed.
You can see the pull-out drawer and side storage boxes. I shot this photo on Hornby Island, BC on one of my four trips to Canada shooting photos for Builders of the Pacific Coast. I remember one afternoon collecting oysters way out on a reef (beyond the commercial guys and cooking them for dinner on a beach fire with aluminum-foil-clad potatoes, red wine, AND just-picked blackberries with …(ahem)… heavy cream and brown sugar.
More on TheShelterBlog here.

Light at End of Tunnel Has Faded

Someone sent me this a few weeks back and, although I didn't agree with everything (like the internet being mostly evil), it hit a lot of notes compatible with what I've seen going on. Since the depressing elections, Don Hazen's summary seems even more true.

I usually don't publish political stuff here because I don't have time to engage in political debate, but what this guy says is pretty much what I see going on.

"…we progressives, liberals, common-sense people, are losing badly to the conservative business state, the tyranny of massively expanding tech companies, theocratic right-wing forces and pervasive militarism, home and abroad. By virtually every measure, things are getting worse. And things are trending much, much worse in ways we can easily measure, like inequality, climate, militarization of police forces, etc., and in ways that are more psychological and emotional.…"

"…the four especially powerful and pernicious overarching economic and political mechanisms operating in our country that are fundamentally responsible for the situation we are in. They are privatization, financialization, militarization and criminalization, which together are producing a steadily creeping authoritarianism—a new authoritarianism—to fit our times.…"

Apocalypse Now: Seriously, It's Time for a Major Rethink About Liberal and Progressive Politics We are losing badly to the corporate state. Here's what we need to do.
By Don Hazen
October 25, 2014

The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11

Just out. Boy is there some good stuff here (also, some half-finished, raw songs). These guys were having fun!
Like an Amazon reviewer wrote, "This is history, babe…."
Photo I took of Dylan with Robbie Robertson in one of his first concerts with rock and roll, in Providence, RI, in Fall, 1967. Full account of this concert here.
http://grooveshark.com/s/I+Don+t+Hurt+Anymore/78dLLs?src=5 http://grooveshark.com/s/This+Wheel+s+On+Fire/78dKfg?src=5

Lloyd’s Camping Vehicles, Part 2

These days I'm doing less posts on this blog and more on TheShelterBlog. I realized that I had a lot of build-garden-homestead-forage experience (and assemblage) to communicate and liked the idea of putting it all in one place.

I'll cross-reference some of my posts on the new blog with this one, such as this:
I bought it used from a builder friend. It didn’t have the “Xtra cab,” so the bed was 8′ long.
Tarp for Shade:  I had a Yakima Rocket Box on racks on the camper roof, with a flea market tarp (12’×14′) folded up inside. The frame was 1″ electrical conduit, with special connectors tightenable with wingscrews. The tarp was aluminized fabric. It was weighted down with canvas bags filled with sand and hung from each corner (ingenious!). Took maybe 45 minutes to set up. I’d place it butting up to the truck bed.

I'm Doing Tiny Homes on the Move Presentation Tonight in Pt. Reyes Station, Calif.

It's sponsored by Pt. Reyes Books and will be at 7:30 PM, Friday November 7th at the Presbyterian church in Pt. Reyes. I'll also be talking about my early years in building and publishing, and passing out copies of our Tiny Homes on the Move mini-book (2" x 2").

The above photo is in the November 6th issue of the Pt. Reyes Light, along with a description of our greenhouse and my background.

I was lucky to have master photographer Art Rogers shoot this photo. Art works with real film and large-format cameras.

My Camping Vehicles, Part 1


This is a 3-part series I'm putting up on TheShelterBlog here.

Coyotes Singing in Full Moon

Actually 2 days before the full moon, but it was bright last night. I headed out on my usual Tuesday night solo run—well, vigorous hike is more like it. Beach beautiful, with a 100-foot long glistening inland pond in moonlight, no one there, I had one of those almost chilling moments, surrounded by such beauty, alone, waves breaking, negative ions up the kazoo, super energizing of chi

I started out in a down parka and gloves, brrrr…I don't feel like going out into the cold night, but as always, the heart likes to pump, and pretty soon I take off the parka and gloves and climb the hills in a t-shirt. Circulation, circulation, circulation…

As I came back down into the valley, a coyote startled me. It was so close, and so beautiful. There were 2 of them close by and another at a distance. They were singing. Totally. One did a yodel, starting high, then breaking voice down to lower sustained note. Then a distant coyote would respond. Oh my!

I heard this about Australian aborigines: the smoke signals don't contain the message. Rather, they're a notice to a group maybe a few miles away to tune into psychic forces and get a telepathic message. Wow!

On the way home, moonlight streaming across the ocean, on Little Steven's Underground Garage (Sirius): "Beautiful Delilah" by the Kinks, followed by Chuck Berry doing same (his) song. http://grooveshark.com/s/Beautiful+Delilah/2725La?src=5

Skulls Exhibit, Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

"The skulls on display in the Academy's 4,000-square-foot second-floor Forum Theater and Gallery range from an enormous African bull elephant to a tiny bat, from frogs and fish to giraffes and walruses. There are interactive displays that simulate the vision of predator and prey, and allow visitors to be hands-on with cast skulls. Another part of the exhibit shows live dermestid beetle larvae cleaning delicate bones (the larvae can scour the flesh of a small skull in three days). And there is an interactive 3-D display developed by Google that allows visitors to view skulls from various angles.
"A skull provides important information about a species' evolution and reveals secrets about that individual animal's life," said Moe Flannery, collections manager of ornithology and mammalogy at the academy.
Walking through the exhibit, Flannery added, "By searching for clues written in the bone, we can follow the story of an animal's life, from birth to old age. We can learn what the animal ate, how it defended itself, communicated, interacted with its environment, and often how it died - all by looking at its skull.…"
  -SFGate
 400 sea lion skulls mounted here are "…only a fraction of those in storage…"





Another Toot With Louie in San Francisco

No, no, a different kinda toot: see http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-toot-in-san-francisco.html.
Louie and I went over in the morning, went to the Cliff House Bistro at the beach. got a couple of Irish Coffees at the bar, then a great breakfast sitting at an ocean-view table AND the surf was big. There were maybe 50 surfers out, peaks everywhere, and everyone was getting rides. "We're in 'em," said Louie as breakfast was served, a salmon fishermen's expression for being in the midst of a school of salmon.

We went into the unique vintage camera obscura (anyone see "Tim's Vermeer" documentary?), then to the Academy of Sciences in the park to see the spectacular "Skulls" exhibit, then dinner that night at Camino, the wood-fired restaurant in Oakland. For desert we stopped at Mel's on Lombard, split an, ahem, chocolate malt, and played Otis Redding on the juke box. We're so bad.


"Heritage Salvage: Reclaimed Stories," New Book by Michael "Bug" Deakin

Michael "Bug" Deakin grew up in British Columbia, one of 10 kids in the family. He built his first house in 1970 out of used materials and these days runs Heritage Salvage, a large yard in Petaluma, Calif., filled with hand-hewed beams, flooring, barn doors, and all kinds of salvaged building materials. I love roaming around his yard. There are treasures there, as there are in this book.

He's an irrepressibly dynamic, cheerful, funny guy (disclaimer: I know him) and this is a scrapbook of his colorful world and history. There are stories: building homes, gardens, furniture and movie sets (including for McCabe and Mrs. Miller), planting trees, tearing down old buildings all over America, a touching (and happy) tale of first meeting his daughter when she was 40 and their immediate rapport, of hanging out with Tom Waite…

He's a dynamo for all good things and this a charming introduction to Bug's World.
Links:
Bug's website
Google Bug
Video: "Bug Visits Kahn Compound"

Tiny House Workshop With Deek Diedricksen & Friends - November 22-23, North Carolina

Deek is the artist/author of Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever The Heck Else We Could Squeeze In Here, prolific designer, builder, video maker, media prankster, musician, and has been featured in our books Tiny Homes as well as Tiny Homes on the Move.
http://relaxshacks.blogspot.com/