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Magical Log House in Bosnian Woods

"A magical cabin converted from a watermill by a Serbian painter whose father owned and operated minimills along this Bosnian river.”
Photo by Brice Portolano
From Cabin Porn here.

How I Got Into Building

I just ran across this on my Amazon author bio page (here). It answers some questions I've gotten lately about how I got started building.
I started building almost 50 years ago, and have lived in a self-built home ever since. If I'd been able to buy a wonderful old good-feeling house, I might have never started building. But it was always cheaper to build than to buy, and by building myself, I could design what I wanted and use materials I wanted to live with.
   I set off to learn the art of building in 1960. I liked the whole process immensely. Hammering nails, framing—delineating space. The smell in lumber yards. Nailing down the sub-floor, the roof decking. It's a thrill when you first step on the floor you've just created.
   Ideally I'd have worked with a master carpenter long enough to learn the basics, but there was never time. I learned from friends and books and by blundering my way into a process that required a certain amount of competence. My perspective was that of a novice, a homeowner -- rather than a pro. As I learned, I felt that I could tell others how to build, or at least get them started on the path to creating their own homes.
   Through the years I've personally gone from post and beam to geodesic domes to stud frame construction. It's been a constant learning process, and this has led me into investigating many methods of construction -- I'm interested in them all. For five years, the late '60s to early '70s, I built geodesic domes. I got into being a publisher by producing Domebook One in 1970 and Domebook 2 in 1971.
   I then gave up on domes (as homes) and published our namesake Shelter in 1973. We've published books on a variety of subjects over the years, and returned to our roots with Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter in 2004, The Barefoot Architect in 2008, Builders of the Pacific Coast in 2008, Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter in 2012 and now Tiny Homes On the Move: Wheels & Water.
  I often ask architects if they know the definition of architecture: the art and science of building.
   Building is my favorite subject. Even in this day and age, building a house with your own hands can save you a ton of money (I've never had a mortgage) and -- if you follow it through -- you can get what you want in a home.
Pic is when I was building a big timber house at Rancho Rico in Big Sur in 1966. Today's my birthday,  48 years later. Gad!

A Hotel Hooks up to The Tiny Houses Trend, Campfire Included.

" While some hotels trumpet the ample square footage of their guest rooms, others rely on quirky coziness to attract customers. Yotel, for example, offers ship-cabin-inspired rooms at several European airports and operates a full-sized hotel filled with snug (170-square foot), extremely efficiently-designed rooms near Times Square in New York City. The chain plans to open another Yotel hotel on upscale Orchard Street in Singapore..."
Click here.

Tough Off-road Trailer in Australia

"Hello Loyd,
How are you? Have a look on this link, you will like it.
Welcom in Poland whenever you want.
Wish you all the very best.
-Julien Croisier"

Sun, Wind, Surf and Sauna All At Once

"Spring is a great time to be outdoors -the weather is warming up, but you still aren't hit by the oppressive summer heat. Unfortunately, in most places, it's still too cool to head over to your nearest natural body of water and take a dip. Of course, if you have a Saunalautta, you might not feel that way. That's because the delightful creations feature a fully functional sauna so you can cool down and heat back up, or go the more traditional route and build up a good sweat before jumping into the the icy waters below..."

Sent by Jon Kalish.
Click here.

Guisepi Lives in a School Bus and Serves the Community and Tea

"Joe “Guisepi” Spadafora has been living in, building, traveling around in and serving free tea out of his converted short school bus for more than 6 years. This mobile free teahouse is a community building project and a living example of low-environmental-impact, high-social impact, small-scale, DIY, low-cost living. The bus itself is around 100 square feet but packed with all the essentials for living..."
Click here.

Caught 15 lbs. Night Smelt Last Night/Knocked Down by Wave

I went out last night with my new fishing guru, Kirk Lombard, netting night smelt. These are beautiful little fish. They come in to sandy beaches after dark during the quarter moon to spawn and there we were with our triangular nets (based on a Native American design). We hit it! I ended up with 16 lbs. Gonna fry some up for lunch. Only thing is, as I was rinsing them off, a rogue wave knocked me over—soaked to the skin, waders and all. This was like 9:30 PM, but I was so stoked I didn't care. Changed into dry clothes and off to home with my bounty.
   If you live in the San Francisco bay Area and are interested in fishing—or getting fresh fish—here's his website: http://www.seaforager.com There was a long article on him in the SF Weekly here.
I just read a really nice article he wrote on the Wiyot Indians of Humboldt county here. The guy can not only catch fish, but write!

You Got Me Dizzy by Jimmy Reed on Grooveshark

New Mountain Bike Park To Open in British Columbia May 10th - Sick!

"Hi Lloyd,
Here is the link to the project Dylan & Coastal Crew have been working on the last year or two...a new year round mountain bike park in Sechelt, overlooking Sechelt inlet, beautiful location, amazing ride!
Joanne/Roberts Creek"


Wonderful Morning/Blue Jay in the Office

There was something about yesterday morning. I don't know if it was wind dying down or phase of moon or planetary alignment or Spring rains making hills richly green, but it was exquisite. I'm not a fan of merely clear skies and warm sunshine (Isn't it a beautiful day? -- No it's not). But this was a California blue-sky, verdant green growth, good smelling fresh morning. Just a socks knocker-offer.
A blue jay — actually a California Scrub Jay — somehow got into the office and was knocking things over trying to escape and I caught him. He calmed down after a while and seemed copacetic in my hands. (I've practiced getting the right non-threatening grip with chickens; when you hold them gently and firmly, they relax.) Regarding me with an inquisitive eye — they're highly intelligent birds, members of the corvid family, as are crows and ravens. When my grandson Maceo returned from a walk with his mom, we let him go. He flew up to the roof, regarded us for a moment and then took off for his wild world.

Wind River Custom Homes, Chattanooga, Tennessee

"…More and more people are chasing after the American dream and they are falling into loads of debt because of it. With our business we would like to offer families and individuals a way to downsize and become more financially stable without giving up comfort, style and design. If this is a lifestyle that peaks your interest, my wife and I, along with each of us at Wind River Custom Homes would love the chance to work alongside you, develop a relationship, and help you build a home that fits your needs. Feel free to email us with any questions or project ideas you may have! - Travis Pyke"

Building a $300 underground greenhouse for year-round gardening

"Growers in colder climates often utilize various approaches to extend the growing season or to give their crops a boost, whether it's coldframes, hoop houses or greenhouses.
   Greenhouses are usually glazed structures, but are typically expensive to construct and heat throughout the winter. A much more affordable and effective alternative to glass greenhouses is the walipini (an Aymara Indian word for a "place of warmth"), also known as an underground or pit greenhouse. First developed over 20 years ago for the cold mountainous regions of South America, this method allows growers to maintain a productive garden year-round, even in the coldest of climates.…"
On Treehugger, click here.

Rolling Buildings by Jason Maclean

From Sabrina Merlo at The Maker Faire:
"…Do you know Jason McLean - he's just outside of Tomales (Marin County, California) on Two Rock Rd.  These aren't very good pix, but he has a flock there of tiny houses on trailers that are awesome: http://jasonmcleanshop.com/rolling-buildings"

Poppa's Gonna Have A Brand New Bag

Full moon Friday night
Jim Morrison said that it wasn't until The Doors released a record that he was free to get on with creating something new. Now that Tiny Homes On The Move is finished, I'm looking out on the horizon for what's next. Right now, it looks like this:
Blogs Rick has almost got The Shelter Blog up and running (with a Word Press template). My son Evan is going to manage it. Lew, Evan and I will post stuff on it. All shelter-related, unlike my eclectic blog. The idea is to do online what our book Shelter did in 1973: showcase owner-builders and the lifestyle that a bunch of us share. Providing as much of our own food and shelter as possible (you can't be totally self-sufficient; self-sufficiency is a direction). As opposed to Dwell magazine, homes rich in color, utility, and good vibes. We intend this to be station central for people of the owner-builder persuasion.
   We'll post all the stuff we are now getting from people who have been inspired by our books to build something. In this sense it'll be different from other blogs in that much of the material will be original and unique, not a pastiche of what's floating out in the web-o-sphere.

The Most Amazing Beaver Experience

From Godfrey Stephens

Pro Snowboarder Mike Basich’s Off-Grid DIY Home in the Sierras

Mike Basich was our featured builder in Tiny Homes. This is his home built of rock, local timber, steel and glass in the High Sierras of California.
   Mike is the featured speaker at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif. on May 18th. I'm doing a presentation just after Mike on Tiny Homes on the Move (in which we show Mike's pickup truck/camper/snowmobile carrier).
Click here for an article last week on Mike and his homemade ski lift in Make Magazine.

Birds by Keith Hansen

Keith Hansen is an artist who does exquisite bird drawings. He did the illustrations in this book, recently published by the University of California Press. Although these are birds of the Sierra Nevada, this is also a very informative book on birds in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I stopped by to see Keith yesterday and we got into talking about hummingbirds we have found; they sometimes get inside (like a greenhouse) and if not discovered, can't get out, and die. They are so small and have so little body flesh that they will usually mummify. I told Keith I had one where the head had fallen off and he reached over and picked up this one.

Still Using (And Not Wanting to Give Up) Eudora Mail Program?

A couple of years ago, I posted something about finding a substitute for Eudora. It turned out there were a lot of people who didn't want to give up this superior mail program, but were forced to because of new operating systems. Someone wrote in a comment yesterday, and Rick Gordon replied as shown below.
"I'm currently trying Postbox 3.x, together with SpamSieve, and I think it's the best compromise for me yet, though it's a big change in working style from Eudora, though closer to Thunderbird (whose code it's based on) or even Apple Mail. The most Eudora-like program out there now, though is GyazMail. I doesn't handle HTML as elegantly as Postbox (which is essentially based on Mozilla/Firefox/Thunderbird) or Apple Mail (based on Webkit/Safari), but it's a lot better than Eudora, and it's got the separate window interface like classic Eudora.
   To get into Postbox, you need to export to Mail first, though, as it doesn't (any longer) support Eudora import."
To see all 13 comments,click here.

Custom Trailer For Sale in Colorado

Peter Pavlowich Is the proprietor of  Casual Turtle Campers in Fort Collins, Colorado;  one of his campers is featured in our forthcoming book Tiny Homes on the Move. Here is his latest trailer, built since the book went to press.
"The Terrapin is our new model series of trailer campers. Similar to the small trailers of the 1950s and 60s, these campers are a great platform for road trips, car-camping, or to haul to the lake. They offer a little more room than is typically available in the bed of the truck, and can be disconnected to set up base camp. When mounted to a trailer frame, the possibilities for small custom campers are nearly endless...

Tiny houses moving in on Charlotte

"They have all the modern conveniences you'd expect to find in a home, snuggly fit into a much smaller space. "It's typically between 100 and 400 square feet compared to the average American home which is about 2,600 square feet,"says Ryan Mitchell who organized a Tiny House Convention this past weekend in Charlotte. After Ryan lost his job in 2008, he realized housing would gobble up the biggest part of his tiny budget..."
Click here.

Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine by Carolina Chocolate Drops

Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine by Carolina Chocolate Drops on Grooveshark

One of Our Youngest Fans

I met some nice young people on the beach yesterday and handed their 11-month old toddler a mini copy of Tiny Homes On the Move, which she promptly started reading. So what if it's upside down? Get 'em started young.

5-day Bike Adventure On Maui

Ryan Worcester is a local adventurer. There are 2 pages on his travels in Tiny Homes on the Move, using a motorcycle with a mountain bike mounted on the back so he could take the bike off and explore off-pavement. Here's a more recent adventure of his, a 5-day bike trip around Maui. Look closely to see him mid-air in this photo.
"Day Two We took a quick cruise to Wainapanapa state park and I went for an early morning ocean swim out to a sea stack, which I could climb up the chossy volcanic rock to reach the top before jumping into the ocean below. A great way to start the day, and even better after we went for another swim in the freshwater caves close by.…"
Click here.

House Built Around Trees in Guatemala

"Localizada en un terreno boscoso y de topografía montañosa y quebrada, CV integra la naturaleza siendo fiel al propósito de respetar el bosque e introducirlo a la arquitectura de la casa. El diseño se elaboró buscando ordenar los espacios alrededor de los árboles con el propósito de no derribarlos. La planta es libre en su mayoría y la casa está ordenada en desniveles. Ambas fachadas longitudinales son mayoritariamente en vidrio y buscan lograr permeabilidad hacia el exterior, intentando integrar al máximo la arquitectura interior con las bondades de la naturaleza circundante. Se utilizó el concreto expuesto enconfrado con maderas rústicas como elemento principal constructivo, generando texturas cuyo lenguaje dialogue con el bosque local."
Por Paz Arquitectura, clic aqui.

Goat Shed Built With Scrap Poles and Recycled Materials

"…When clearing an old overgrown pasture, thick with alder and cherry saplings, we were left with piles of round wood.  Instead of burning them in a slash pile or as firewood, we took the straightest logs and built a round-pole goat barn, and ultimately an addition on that barn.  No building text would ever recommend building with structural alder, but that goat barn still stands, ten years later, and it cost virtually nothing to build, save for the cost of screws, reclaimed siding, free recycled roofing, and old windows and doors.…"
From homestead-honey.com here.
A great site by and for homesteaders

"Years of Living Dangerously": James Cameron, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford in TV Climate Change Series

This just in:

"Lloyd, can you put this out there..

info and trailer plus episode 1 in full


Mike W"

Google search for this Showtime documentary here

Lee Fields "Still Hanging On"

Family of 4 in 350 Sq. Ft. House on Homestead in Missouri

"Four of us co-exist in a space that is just under 350 square feet, on our 10-acre homestead in Northeast Missouri. Moving onto raw land, we began construction on our home in late February 2013, and moved into an unfinished, but warm and insulated structure in late October. While we have dreams of someday building a timber framed straw bale home, the reality of our situation was that we needed an immediate dwelling. A tiny house fit our needs and our sensibilities.…"
Click here.
Sent us by David Wills

Around the Homestead Spring Early 2014

Other homestead stuff: Cracks in the Asphalt is an inspiring book that I recommend to people living in any city. It puts together a bunch of the thriving gardens in San Francisco; I didn't know there were so many and that they were so well developed: http://www.akpress.org/cracksintheasphalt.html…The new catalogue from the North House Folk School has just arrived with its listing of summer classes on building, wood carving, boat building, fiber arts, basketry, clothing, outdoor skills, etc. It's at a beautiful location on the shores of Lake Superior and would be a great place to send one's kids for acquiring skills that will be useful for a lifetime: www.NorthHouse.org…The new Lehman's catalog is also in, with its unparalleled mix of tools for people of our ilk; trust me, send away for the catalog at: https://www.lehmans.com/requestcatalog.aspx As they say: "Simple Products for a Simpler Life." Yeah!…

Chicken Coop In the Spring

I know I've said this before, but it's really paid off to build a tight, rat-and other critter-proof chicken coop plus yard. Billy Cummings did the honors here: concrete floor for their nesting room and feed room, aviary wire on the sides and top of the yard; wire down into the ground a foot or so at bottom edges of yard for digging critters like skunks or raccoons. The yard works so well we don't even bother closing the little door to their nesting room at night. I probably built five funky chicken coops over the years before this one.
   The bantam hens work really well for us; the Golden Seabrights are not only (in my opinion) the most beautiful of chickens, inquisitive, perky, and friendly, but they lay surprisingly well. Once you have your own fresh eggs, you can't go back to store-bought.
  The sod roof is doing well after the late rains.

Shame on You

Shame Shame Shame by Shirley & Company on Grooveshark

Photo Portfolio Pepe Alvarez

Pepe Alvarez just put up a portfolio of his photos. I just went through the entire batch. They're quite wonderful. Such a variety and they all hit home with me.

Beth Hart - A Change is Gonna Come

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post St. Paul & the Broken Bones:
Very good version of the Sam Cooke classic but I still think this is the best:

And: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fALdOkf_eCM

Fox Hunting Mice Under Powder Snow

From Anonymous:
Video of Fox hunting Mice under Three Feet of Snow
He uses Magnetic North to Hunt under Snow..."

Photography: The New Olympus OMD Cameras

I've started using my Lumix 1.7 ASPH 20mm (old designation 40mm) lens on my Panasonic Lumix G1. First time I've used a fixed lens in years and it's fun to be moving myself back and forth, rather than zooming. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get an Olympus OMD body; for one thing I believe I can use all my Lumix 4/3 lenses on it, and it seems like a breakthrough camera.

Homemade Sourdough Bread

Fun At Beach Yesterday

Looks like a huge wave, right? Well, the wave's about 18" high and that's a remote controlled mini surfer, about 6" high. These things zoom all over the place, do flips, always land right side up. Below looks like tribute to Rainier Ale, we used to call it "green death."

Ugandan Kids Dancing in Street

Barn Home in Greenwich, Connecticut

"This huge, sawn-timber hay barn was originally built circa 1870. The flooring, ceiling and exterior siding are vintage reclaimed barn boards. The restored barn is now a guest house, garage and wine cellar for a residential estate in southwestern Connecticut."
Click here for a bunch of photos.

On Not Buying Everything From Amazon

I buy a lot of stuff from them. Books, batteries, Bose earphones, travel alarm, anchovies…it's a brilliant operation  -- quick, simple, low-cost. But lately I've been backing off a bit. Yesterday I went into Builder's Booksource in Berkeley and bought 2 books -- Cracks in the Asphalt - Community Gardens in San Francisco, and Steal Like an Artist, which George, the owner showed me, plus 2 copies of Dwell Magazine (which I think sucks -- going to write something about them soon).
   I read a while back about people finding books in bookstores and ordering from Amazon on their phones right then. Hold up here! Is low cost the only criteria? How about supporting the bookstores so they can stay open and you can go in and browse and talk to book-loving personnel?
   I've switched to ordering all my photo equipment from BH PhotoVideo in New York. To find an item like a Canon battery charger with fold-out (rather than cord) prongs, I talked to someone at BH, who directed me to the item I wanted right away. One time a guy there turned me onto a nice little card reader that he used himself. Their prices are about as good as Amazon. If you're into photography and in Manhattan, go there -- huge place -- like 50 sales people at the digital counter -- (take a number like for sandwiches at Whole Foods).
  Thirdly, I've been buying tools lately at Jackson Hardware, an employee-owned super tool and hardware store in San Rafael, Calif. Yesterday I bought a Makita model 4350T jigsaw, and it cost me $25 more than at Amazon. But the sales guy walked me through Makitas, Bosch's, Dewalts and how to work the controls on the Makita for 4 different cutting actions. I ended up buying this top of the line one for $199. (At my age, it'll last me for the --ulp! -- rest of my life.)
   There's a prevalent argument for buying everything from Amazon because they're cheaper. I'm sayin that the almighty lowest cost ain't all there is to it.
Mony Mony by Tommy James & The Shondells on Grooveshark

Photos From Bay Area Perambulations Today

From top down:
-Elegant steep gable house on 28th Ave near Balboa in SF. How come you never see anything this cool in Dwell Magazine?
-House frame in Vallejo, hip roof, nice little understated dormer. You can learn a lot just studying this nicely-proportioned frame.
-If you remember when skateboards were like this, you are pretty old. In the 40s we used to take apart clamp-on-to-yr.-shoe skates and nail them on a piece of wood. This is in the window at The Purple Skunk Skate on Geary Blvd. in SF.
-Ducati on street in SF. I like seeing the frame, as with the house in Vallejo.
-Bambi Airstream, obviously a new one, Novato
Boy, I love getting out and around, shooting pics.

Fingertips - Little Stevie Wonder

Stevie at 12 years of age.  This song was written for Stevie by Clarence Paul and Henry Cosby. Many of the other songs he did early on were covers of Ray Charles songs.