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Poppy in Sunlight

And today we've had over an inch of rain…

Publisher Floored by New Book!

This is the 29th book I've done in 44 years of publishing, and something different has happened here.
   Our output is slow because we put books together 2 pages at a time. Grown-up publishers get a book totally prepared -- text and graphics -- before starting production.
   I collected materials, for about a year, stored both on the computer and in old-school 5th-cut file folders. Once it got to a tipping point, we started production. I'd pull out the best stuff, do layout with a cheap color copy machine and scotch tape. Our artist-sometimes-in-residence, David Wills, would tune up the designs, whenceforth they went to Rick Gordon for InDesign/Photoshop preparation for printers. Lew Lewandowski unearthed a lot of this material, and designed a bunch of pages. Evan Kahn contributed in various ways. The book assumed its form, with categories, 2/3 of the way through its production.
   Bob Easton and I developed this seat-of-pants method of production out of necessity with Shelter in 1973: we only had maybe half of the materials ready, so we just started. I continued to shoot photos, write, and edit the book while it was in production. Photos kept coming in from contributors. Still our M.O.

"All Hands on Deck…"

Tiny Homes has been selling so well that we have to do a speedy 7th reprinting. I just wrote to Rick and Lew -- regarding our 3-man team needing to converge Monday to get the changes done -- and said "All hands on deck Monday."
  Which brought to mind Procul Harum's "A Salty Dog," an epic of the sea which starts out with seagull cries and "All hands on deck…"
   Which I'm playing now, still amazed at this masterpiece of a rock opera. Wonderful still, 45 years later…

Why This Tiny Home Did Not Work Out in the Long Term

"Well… I feel a little sheepish about not writing for so long! But. It is my blog. ;)
   Actually though, I feel more sheepish because we moved out of the tiny house in December… and I am just now posting about it! Yes. That’s right. We no longer live in our tiny house. What happened? Well, ultimately, the Tiny House was just not meeting our needs.
   We still have it, and will be using it as a guest house on our new property. But it was just too small! Both Shane and I agreed that we could live in a tiny house ALONE no problem. Haha? We lived in it full time from May 2012 through November 2013 – 18 months – a year and a half. I’d say we gave it a good run.…"
This was on this blog a year ago. I keep telling people that the important message in the tiny house "movement" is to get smallerKudos to Carrie and Shane Caverly for their honesty (and follow-through). 
Click here.

Thursday Morning Fish Fry -- Home on a Wing and a Prayer

WELL! In retrospect I think it was sheer exhaustion. Finishing the new book after a speeded-up schedule, too little sleep, too much caffeine, 3 major trips back to back -- I don't do airplanes/airports well at all -- and I got to Hawaii -- long anticipated, oh boy, warm water -- wrote a blog post the first morning there about how rich my life was, and keblam, the next day folded like a limp hot air balloon…Long story short -- it's been about 2 weeks of feeling like shit + severe neck pain and I'm finally on the other side…I recognized a couple of things during this episode: (1) I'm a total wimp about  being sick. It's the end of my world; I don't suffer feeling bad or low-chi gladly and (2) I haven't had sufficient empathy for people that are ill or in pain. The neck thing made me realize what people who have say, back pain, are going through. Holy shit! Well, a big fat (800 mg) Ibuprofen cured the neck pain -- voila -- plus there was a music documentary of George H. W. Bush's 1989 inauguration -- blues, baby! -- and a killer version of "Hey Bo Diddley" with Bo and Ronnie Woods that was extraordinary -- and I started to move my neck, and sweet Jesus, I feel alive again, and ready to get on with my life. I might even jump on my skateboard this afternoon.
   Whenever things break down like this for me, I can count back to at least 6 dumb things I've done, in combo. Here there were like 9. Look at the amount of stuff I was carrying -- no checked bags -- plus I was walking up all the stairs, not using escalators, in airports, to get a workout. Yes, yes…

Jimmie Rodgers Blue Yodel #6

Blue Yodel #6 - 1930 by Jimmie Rodgers on Grooveshark

Emi Sunshine Sings the Blues

Lew just showed me his on his FaceBook page before he left the office tonight. Sure brightened up the rest of the day!

Photos From Hong Kong #1

Been going through photos from recent trip; will post a few now and then when I get time.

Stewart Brand's Summary of Mariana Mazzucato's Recent Seminar at Long Now Foundation

Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014
Subject: [SALT] Government as radical, patient VC (Mariana Mazzucato talk)
"The iPhone, Mazzucato pointed out, is held up as a classic example of world-changing innovation coming from business.
   Yet every feature of the iPhone was created, originally, by multi-decade government-funded research.  From DARPA came the microchip, the Internet, the micro hard drive, the DRAM cache, and Siri.  From the Department of Defense came GPS, cellular technology, signal compression, and parts of the liquid crystal display and multi-touch screen (joining funding from the CIA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy, which, by the way, developed the lithium-ion battery.)  CERN in Europe created the Web.  Steve Jobs’ contribution was to integrate all of them beautifully.
   Venture Capitalists (VCs) in business expect a return in 3 to 5 years, and they count on no more than one in ten companies to succeed.  The time frame for government research and investment embraces a whole innovation cycle of 15 to 20 years, supporting the full chain from basic research through to viable companies. That means they can develop entire new fields such as space technology, aviation technology, nanotechnology, and, hopefully, Green technology.
   But compare the reward structure.  Government takes the greater risk with no prospect of great reward, while VCs and businesses take less risk and can reap enormous rewards.  'We socialize the risks and privatize the rewards.'

How Tiny House Communities can Work for Both the Haves and the Have Nots

"Ryan Mitchell lives and breathes tiny houses. He has been running the popular website The Tiny Life for the past five years; is currently planning a tiny house conference for approximately 120 people in Charlotte, N.C., where he lives; and has written a book on tiny living that’s due to be published in July. To top it off, he recently finished construction on a tiny house of his very own..."

Click here.

Go-Pro's View of Underwater Crab Pot

My son Evan put a Go Pro camera in a crab pot.

Eagle owl in flight high speed camera AMAZING slow motion

I posted this a few years ago and notice the version on my blog got scrambled, so here it is again; full screen recommended:

Still Down & Out...

What a revolt in' development, as Jimmy Durante used to say -- referring to my lamed-out state of health. ) I'm still pretty flat-out wasted and have decided to go home Wednesday rather than head to Kauai as planned. Sigh. One slight consolation is that it's been stormy and chilly here this week, so I wouldn't have been able to surf even if healthy…a couple of observations about Oahu: (1) There are really a lot of natives (non-Europeans) here. Unlike where I live and the natives (Miwok, Pomo, Ohlone) have been completely obliterated…(2) There is really a lot of surf (which I saw when I first got here); it's everywhere -- shore break, point break, cloud break…I'm gonna come back when I'm firing on all cylinders…my friend Tom has been a godsend, letting me stay at his place and recover. Been mostly sleeping for 5 days. OK, enough whining…

Next Day on North Shore

Along one stretch of road are shrimp farms. They have ponds, raise shrimp, and serve them at outdoor tables. What a great concept. Locally raised protein, no transportation fuel or costs, served right next to the source…4-5 big wind generators, white blades, turning slowly in morning breeze…traffic along North Shore (Sunset Beach, Pipeline, etc.) is horrific. Haleiwa packed with turistas, but if you look close enough, some of the essence remains…like San Francisco: for years I bitched and moaned -- no more a port, the Ugly Transamerica building, the difficulty for natives who did something other than manipulate contracts, stocks, or digital data for a living…but one day, I thought, stop bitching, it's still the most beautiful city in America, there's still North Beach and The South End Rowing Club, Ocean Beach, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, new hip districts like out at the beach (46th & Judah), steep hills and clear vistas, a city surrounded on 3 sides by water…so here, in Haleiwa, a tourist-inundated area, there are pockets of soulfulness, of things that attracted so many people in the first place; am seeking them out…I start getting sucked into negativity on this blog on occasion, and have started writing the occasional boilerplate letter for critics: here's what I think about your opinion, whether it's not obeying the Rangers or printing books in China…and now I'm getting on with it…this isn't a forum, I'm a broadcaster, don't want to get slowed down in debates…to tell the truth, the criticism  is sometimes thought-provoking, but hey…

Hong Kong/Guam/Hawaii

My life is so rich right now I can't get more than a hint of it here. Left HKG Monday night 11 PM, after harried stopover in Guam, arrived Honolulu 5 PM Monday night; go figure. Got rental car, headed for North Shore, where I'm going to stay with friends for a few days. I remembered Haleiwa as being a soulful little town, and sure enough: Breakers restaurant: local beer on tap, pulled pork sandwich w/good fries, loud, raucous good surfer vibes, bunch of healthy people, reggae (what else?), these are my people! Made me think of how I essentially left the beach life in 1957, that is, I got into other things, and for some reason at this time in my life, I'm coming home to the beach. Cowabunga!
   There were a bunch of women having a very happy birthday party, thrown by Keri (at right with her daughter) it was Anna's 55th, they were calling it the "speed limit" birthday. Keri's a dynamo, a force of joy and good vibes. Blurry photo, but you get the idea.
Been giving people here the mini book, they love it…they get it.
   In all the various communication stuff I do, I love it when people get it.
  Heading out to see what I can find to do in this land of friendly people and warm water.
One of my favorite Bob Marley songs. I like it-a-like this…Don't Rock My Boat by Bob Marley & The Wailers on Grooveshark

Some Photos From Macau Yesterday

 There is sure a lot of money in gambling!


Monday Morning Hong Kong Fish Fry

This is my 6th day in HKG. It took me a couple of days to get off California time. I totally love this city. Right now am in one of the Pacific Coffee shops with a latte and donut and will soon head back to hotel and pack up…Going out to pick up F&G's later the morning (Folded and Gathered, meaning unbound pages of the book). I can't wait -- I may be this book's biggest fan…overf the past 6 months, it's unfolded itself before our (I include Rick, Lew and David) eyes, day by day. The photos and words became as sort of collective muse -- the book put itself together and we helped…Back to HKG: it sparkles, it's got soul, fung-shui, gemütlichkeit, the food is just great -- by avoiding any place with gringos, looking for places that are packed, I've had one great meal after another, the most expensive being $15 (with big bottle of San Miguel beer)…the rice diet is right up my alley…Yesterday Trevor & I took the Turbojet ferry to Macau. Holy moly! What a place! What a day! The Casino Lisboa is another planet, the most wild building I've ever seen, and impeccably built and detailed…I'm going to throw out a few pics here, have other things I need to do…That one shot is of jerky Macau is famous for…leaving for Hawaii tonight…mas despues…

Two Great Reviews on Cool Tools This Morning For Builders

The Owner-Built Log House * Log Construction Manual: http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/14097

Wiring Complete: http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/14159

Random Photos Hong Kong Yesterday #1

Spacy Mall

I didn't have the right lens, so shot these two and photo-merged therm -- sort of distorted, but it gives you the idea. Spacy places like this all over HKG…

Out & Around in Hong Kong

I'm on the 22nd floor of the BH International Hotel in the Kowloon District. It's a mid-range hotel, no doormen, you carry yr. own bags, etc. Right down the block is Parkes Street, which must have 50 restaurants in 2 blocks. Kowloon is rich, colorful, old, funky in parts as opposed to the glitter and elegance on the other side of the water, the mall of all malls on Hong Kong island…two places to eat: (1) Mak Man Kee, 51 Parkes St., world-class won-ton soup and noodles, chef  working in 12 sq. ft. kitchen, always crowded, you sit at small tables with other people, every seat taken (2) my sussing out of restaurants paid off last night; this place on next block down Parkes St., no name or street number in English -- hip, friendly, no gringos in sight, fabulous (hot) hotpot w/ noodles, clams, San Miguel beer…bamboo scaffolding still famously in use in HKG…At a time like this, the limitations of this method of blogging bugs me; I really want to do a book-page-type layout, but don't have coding skills, so am limited to one pic under another -- going to change this soon…Trevor and I catching ferry to Macau today…

Around Hong Kong this Afternoon

A few scenes from Hong Kong this afternoon: crossing on the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island on a misty day; two girls throwing a birthday party for the third in the mall; Greater Flamingos in  the Kowloon Park. More pics to follow.

Fuel-Efficient Road Travel

"For those who can afford the major motorhomes, the current price of fuel is merely a nuisance – an extra blip in the overall cost of operating an RV… but for the majority of camping families, saving a few dollars per hour on the cost of their RV travels represents the difference between an enjoyable family vacation and a two-week long effort to keep costs under control.

   The RV Lifestyle Magazine road test teams surveyed the various models available in Canada this summer, to prepare this compendium of fuel-friendly trailers – easy-towing models that focus on aerodynamics, lightweight construction, and the latest in engineering to provide the most efficient vehicles possible for the summer of 2008.…"
Click here.

Why We Print 4-Color Books In China

I've been hassled in a couple of comments this week for printing in Hong Kong
   Since this subject comes up on occasion, I'll explain why we do it. We have printed our one-color books in the USA for 40+ years. We, like virtually every other American publisher, print 4-color books overseas. Check out any of your 4-color books on the copyright page to see where they are printed.
   In loyalty to our American printer, Courier Corp., I printed the first edition of Builders of the Pacific Coast at their Kendalville, Indiana plant in 2004. It ended up costing us about $15,000 more than if we had printed it in China. We now have five 4-color books in print. With reprints, if we had continued printing in the USA, it would have cost us well over $100,000 more, effectively putting us out of business. That's why we print in China.

Fan Mail From Berlin

Printing Tiny Homes On The Move Today

Here are some photos from today. It was really exciting, there were 4 presses running the book (cover and inside pages) today, 15,000 copies the first run. They nailed the colors perfectly. (I realize this blog is all over the place, time-wise as well as subject-wise, but my life doesn't happen in an orderly fashion.)

Spacious 400 Sq. Ft. Cabin on Wheels

"This quaint cabin is actually an RV. Yes, it is actually on wheels.…The design is inspired by the latest tiny house movement where people are living with a smaller financial, environmental, and physical footprint. The motto? Less house, more life.…The cabin is around 400 square feet, larger than most 1 bedroom apartments.…"
Click here.
From Rick Gordon

Mudder in NC

Sneak Preview of Tiny Homes On The Move By Deek Diedrickson

While Deek and I were hanging out at the Southern Home & Garden Show last week in North Carolina, he whipped out his camera and shot footage of some proofs I had of the new book:

Two Small Homes In Oakland The Day Before I Left

Fish In Tank Outside Kowloon Restaurant Last Night

Tiny Homes On The Move Being Printed Right Now!

I'm at Paramount Printing Company, Ltd. in Hong Kong right now and we're printing the 1st 16-page "signature." The press guys, thanks to Rick Gordon's fine preparatory work, had the colors nailed when I walked in.
   In the old days we made a lot of adjustments while on press, but now, with computer-comtrolled ink management, we're getting colors correct right off the bat.
   Here's the final cover.               Thanks for all the feedback on our choice amongst 5 versions. Over 200 people responded to our request for advice; this was the most popular, and our choice as well.
   Rollin',  rollin'…


Beautiful slide show. From Lew Lewandowski

Surfer's Beach Shack In Australia circa-'70s

Hey there,
Wanted to share with you this little thing I did on my blog on John Witzig's old place in Angourie...with some of John's old photos:
Richard (Olsen)

A Whole New Octave

A few years ago, a bike messenger in San Francisco (also a musician) was talking about having a newborn baby. "It's a whole new octave, man," he said.
   This is how it feels just having finished this book. I can now see the horizon, where until now, I couldn't see farther than the layout table and the steady stress of bringing the ship into port (book to printers)…I'm in a United 747 right now (airborne wi-fi is finally a reality), heading for Hong Kong and we'll be printing on Thursday, March 6th and I am EXCITED. The moment when something we've worked on for years becomes hold-in-yr-hands reality…Rather than jump back into a new book right away, we're going to do 2 things, both digital: (1) Start theshelterblog, which will focus on building, carpentry, gardening, homesteading and the home arts and (2) make a series of YouTube videos on diverse subjects, such as The Half Acre Homestead, office workout equipment, photos of my trips, selected material from our books, such as Bob Easton's drawings of 5 tiny homes in our book Shelter…we've got a ton of "content," and this is a way to supplement our books with communication in the digital world.
  This book has turned out to be exciting, like it's the sassy young cousin of Tiny Homes…the fact that all these homes are mobile gives the book an exuberance, which I didn't realize until it was done.

Straw Bale Gardening

Sometimes I post really good comments because I don't think many people read comments on older posts:

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Straw Bale Gardening": well, it is getting time to think of garden stuff. thought someone might find this interesting.. http://www.urbangardensweb.com/2013/07/11/french-straw-bale-garden-grows-crops-and-flowers-on-urban-balcony/
http://www /.rootsimple.com/2013/04/a-straw-bale-urinal/ 

Great Food & Company at Bibi's Restaurant, Monroe, NC

I got to the restaurant just after closing time Monday night, but Jason, the owner, asked if I'd like a burger. He made me a great burger with melted cheese and a cornbread salad. Katie, the waitress, and Jason sat with me while I ate and we talked about organic food and farming and homesteading. Katie has two kids and she and her husband want to find a place in the country and plow the land with mules, be off the grid, and raise their own food. I told her she sounded just like a hippie girl from the 60s. Jason gets local food for his restaurant and prepares vegetarian and vegan meals as well as burgers and chicken. He's the one who turned me on to the Palace restaurant, where I had breakfast the next morning. Here's Jason's Facebook page.

Visit with Farmer, Mill Owner in NC

Tom Stegall at the Stegall Mill in Marshville, NC. When I asked if I could take a photo of him, he said, "Are you going to send it to Obama?"
  He gave me directions to his farm and I went out and looked at his barn. He raises these gourds and puts 45 of them up on poles for as nests for the Martins, which he says come in the Spring and stay until July. (They perform aerial acrobatics while catching flying insects.)
   He gave me a recipe for cooking a possum (with sweet potatoes).