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Tuesday Morning Fish Fry

In Sunday's NYTimes, an op-ed by Mark Lynas, on GMO's: he touts a genetically modified eggplant that has been bred to resist pests on its own, not requiring pesticides. Hmm.…Also in the Times, a coyote is captured in Manhattan…We just received our shipment of Stretching - Pocket Book Edition -- and it is actually sensational; stretching in the 21st century, it actually fits in a pocket…On May 15 I'm going to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops in San Francisco, then that weekend is the Maker Faire in San Mateo, where we'll have a booth, be giving away our mini books and selling building books, and I'll be doing a presentation Saturday titled "50 Years of Natural Building"…May 23rd I'm going to NYC for the big book convention and to hang out for a week…On June 5-7 is The Mother Earth News Fair in Albany, Oregon (near Corvallis) and I'm doing a presentation on Tiny Homes on the Move and another titled "50 Years of Natural Building." Mother Earth editor Cheryl Long suggested the latter and I'm pretty excited about putting together a summary of all these years of shooting photos of buildings…been listening to the "girl groups" of the 50-60s. the Ronettes, Shirelles, Chantelles, McGuire Sisters, the Chiffons, the Dixie Cups -- wonderful vocal harmonies…musical factoid: Little Eva, who did "The Loco-motion," was a babysitter for Carol King and her husband Gerry Goffin; Carole and Gerry talked Eva into doing a demo, and a bit of musical history was made.

Victorian Home in Napa

Now here's some carpentry!

Secret Apartment in Eiffel Tower

"When the Eiffel Tower opened in 1889 to universal wonder and acclaim, designer Gustave Eiffel soaked up the praise, but as if that wasn't enough, it was soon revealed that he had built himself a small apartment near the top of the world wonder garnering him the envy of the Parisian elite in addition to his new fame.…"
From Anonymous

A Few Great Days in Napa

Friday I did a slide show on Tiny Homes on the Move at the Napa Bookmine bookstore. A great bookstore, a wonderful crowd, all of us on the same page. Made me think of Sam Cooke saying to the audience on his "Live at Harlem Square" album, "I can see you're with me tonight."

Rapport has been wonderful lately. 45 years of doing these building books; there's a thread through these books and people who've read them. A tribe of us interested in a certain kind of shelter, warm, inviting, full of life, the antithesis of the Dwell magazine aesthetic.

"…all rooms ought to look as if they were lived in, and to have, so to say, a friendly welcome for the incomer."
-William Morris

And working with our own hands.

Shot a lot of photos of mostly small homes in Napa. After dinner, store owners Naomi and Eric and I and a bunch of their friends headed up into the hills and had a marvelous meal prepared by master chef (and carpenter and musician) Steve Hutchinson. Wine flowed, 2 of the guys worked for wineries, it was a real treat. After everyone left, Steve and I got in the hot tub, yes, with glasses of wine, yes a hot tub in Napa, snark away, Californians in their hot tubs, etc. It started to rain -- hard -- and here we were at 2200 feet on a mountain, in hot water in the pouring-down rain.

Stunning Hobbit-Like Cave House in New Zealand

Sent us by Kelly Hart, of www.greenhomebuilding.com. WOW!!
"Underhill is an incredible hobbit-home like, eco-cave house built into the hillside of a Waikato (New Zealand) farm. The house is cleverly constructed to resemble a cave. With no electricity in the house, the stone, wood and rustic features truly make you feel like you’re stepping back in time. We’re almost totally enclosed in our tiny house and will soon be moving onto the internal fit-out. We thought this was a great opportunity to show you around the house so far and what we have planned for the inside!…"

Afghan Girls, Not Allowed To Ride Bicycles, Ride Skateboards

"Skateistan, an innovative NGO in Kabul founded to empower Afghan children (and especially young girls), teaches children to skateboard as a gateway to get them more involved in education. In a tribute to these children’s struggles, UK-based photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson created a photo series portraying the girls learning to skateboard at the NGO’s branch in Kabul (it has since spread to Cambodia and South Africa).
In many Afghan communities, it is customary to forbid women from riding bicycles. Skateboarding, then, becomes an empowering activity that gives these girls a source of physical exercise, empowerment, and some plain and simple fun."

Sent in by Anonymous


Go to the post page…

By Anagram Architects. This is an office building for the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Center, a non-governmental rights organization in New Dehli.

"The office for SAHRDC was designed on a 50sqm corner plot.
Single consolidated volumes were created on each floor, and flexibly partitioned.
Each volume is serviced by a buffer bay which shields internal work spaces and is composed of a cantilevered staircase and toilet stack. The porosity of the external wall ensures that this bay is well ventilated. A single repeating brick module creates a visually complex pattern reminiscent of traditional South Asian brise-soleil.
It was crucial for the façade to converse with the bustle on the street, whilst being fortified. The porosity of the wall, thus, maintains a degree of privacy while playfully engaging with the street corner."

Struttin' Hawaiian Rooster

I'm going back through my photos from Kauai this January. This guy was in Kapa'a.

Uncle Mud's Ongoing Cob Projects

Chris McClellan,AKA Uncle Mud, is a prolific builder, designer, teacher, dad, photographer, and computer wonk who seems to get a superhuman amount of things accomplished every year. Here's an e-mail from him on April 11, 2015:

Hey Lloyd, On my way to get kids muddy at the Asheville Mother Earth News Fair I stopped by these guys to discuss the rocket heater we're building as a workshop in their new strawbale octagon in September. I went from Cleveland where we had snow last week to 80 degrees sleeping on the porch of their old cabin. The stream roaring by a few feet away kept me away pleasantly through the night. A couple weeks ago I made it down to Greenville, AL to teach a cob oven building class. My friends James and Gert are living in a military tent in one of the poorest counties in the US surrounded by an amazing array of free and almost free building supplies--cob, pecan slabs, small diameter cedar and pine posts, $1 pallets. This summer they are collecting materials for a building workshop in the fall. Great fun. My daughter Sarah and I hop on a plane the day after she graduates in June to head for the Mother Earth News Fair in Oregon then visit Breitenbush and Ianto and SunRay before we take the train back. Will we see you there? Building another strawclay cottage in Cleveland in July. Great fun.


Uniquely Thin Wooden Bowls By Robert Bader

These were in the window of a shop in Hanapepe on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. They were very thin, and exquisite.They were apparently turned on a lathe, but I can't imagine how.

Adventures With Alastair Humphreys

I've done 2 posts on him in previous years,  and was reminded of him again by an article in the New York Times recently listing his book Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes.

Over the Rainbow - Gene Vincent


Update on Lucas Sweeten's Schoolbus Home

Lucas' bus was featured on pp. 70-71 of Tiny Homes on the Move. Here's the latest:

April 3, 2015
Hey Hey there Lloyd, I wanted to give you an update on the bus. Also, I really appreciated you working with me for the timeline and putting my bus in your book.… So, for the update: I'll attach a few pictures of the bus. Naturally it's not finished. It most likely will never be, but as we know that is the joy of a custom mobile life.

Since the past pictures I've rebuilt most of the interior using wood I've cut, milled, stacked and dried (all done a few years back), or wood that I've salvaged. There's a 400 watt solar system, 12v lighting, converted freezer to fridge (not in the pics), deck on top, pull behind trailer/porch, and concrete shower. The floors are plumbed with radiant heat pex tubing.  I have a thermal solar panel although it's not installed yet. The grey water tank is in, and finally some curtains are being hung.

In just a few weeks I'll be taking her on the true maiden voyage. Granted I'll be driving back to where it was about 6 months ago but, I'll be living in it this time for the foreseeable future. It will be a short stay in Kentucky before heading to Maine, which is my final destination. In Maine I'll be attending a metalwork school for the rest of the year followed by a fine furniture making school. Thanks again and I hope you enjoy.
    Lucas Sweeten

Uniquely Thin Wooden Bowls


True Costs of Using Recycled Materials

From my Facebook Author page: (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lloyd-Kahn/110048295717073?v=wall)  Note, I don't do Facebook actively; I just have my blog posts put up automatically. There's just not enough time in my day to be a full Facebook participant.

Hey Lloyd Kahn, Thanks again for all your hard work, you inspire us! I have noticed a lot of articles in the tiny home archives over the years mentioning such statements as "Man builds tiny home for $500..." what about his total labor time, and those often overlooked overhead costs... do you find such a statement at all misleading? I am a licensed builder myself, running a company in Portland, OR and feel as tho I often have to re-educate clients as to what the "actual costs" of construction really are (mostly the cost of my Time.) This conversation inevitably arises when during design phase we discuss the option of reclaimed materials... which almost always ends up costing more $ (sourcing, milling, install.) Hooray for folks who are living their dreams building a place of their own with their "free time", but let's also paint a realistic picture by including the price of time, and thus value the craft appropriately. As a builder yourself, any of your thoughts would be appreciated.
-Kiel Kellow

Kiel, You're absolutely right, the costs (as here) are way more than $500 if you consider labor. Time is precious.

The Forgotten Treehouse Bars of Bygone Summers in Paris

"There was once a place that drew crowds of Parisians away from their grand boulevards and sidewalk cafés to rediscover their inner child, wine & dine in chestnut tree houses and celebrate summer like Robinson Crusoe.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a “guingette”, a sort of French equivalent to a summer hoedown, traditionally located next to the river and particularly popular in the the 19th and early 20th century, serving food and ample drinks, accompanied by lively music and dancing. Monet and Renoir immortalised such vibrant scenes in their paintings but it seems the most enchanting of these summer establishments has been long forgotten by Parisians…"
From David Wills

"Holy Cow" by Lee Dorsey

My son Will turned me on to Lee Dorsey last week, can't believe I never heard of him. Born in New Orleans in 1924, was buddies with Fats Domino, many of his songs produced by Alan Toussaint, backed by The Meters. http://grooveshark.com/s/Holy+Cow/4CPgsG?src=5

Saturday Fish Fry

I can only get a fraction of what's going on in my life right now on this blog. I've never had so many things going on. I run from one thing to another. As I'm walking to my shop to get a tool, I spy something in the garden that needs doing, and I do it, forgetting the original task. It's great!
In no special order, in addition to the publishing stuff, I've been making knives, that is, putting handles on Russell made-in-USA carbon steel blades, the last one with brass rivets and wood from a manzanita burl; making neck pendants out of abalone shell; getting my 12' aluminum Klamath boat with 15 HP Evinrude back into the water after 20 years of hardly using it; skinning road kill animals, and treating (cleaning, bleaching) various animal skulls: foxes, skunks, bobcats…; doing homestead maintenance, which is endless, but of late, gratifying; listening to a ton of good music—boy between Grooveshark and YouTube, it's a listener's paradise; been digging clams, catching the occasional eel; making sauerkraut, pickled onions, smoking salmon and eels when available; trying out marijuana tinctures, other ways to get cannabinoids without smoke (or even vapor); hiking and paddling (not often enough); hanging out with my friend Louie when I can, going up to stay with him in the Mendocino woods in a few weeks…that's just a small part of it all…hey, here's what just came on, "Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On)" by Lee Dorsey: http://grooveshark.com/s/Everything+I+Do+Gonh+Be+Funky+From+Now+On/4CPbfd?src=5

Go to the post page…

Moon on Mottled Creek Waters

Bay Area Fishermen Alert: Nice Boston Whaler For Sale in Martinez, Calif.

I spotted this nice looking 17 foot Whaler for sale yesterday at Eagle Marine in Martinez. It's $8500. The 50 horse Tohatsu (Nissan) motor is 2-stroke oil-injected.

Click here to see 3 other boats in their yard:

Little Richard (And More!) on a Sunny Thursday Morning

All alone here, and helped by caffeine and mota, I'm cruising YouTube. What set me off was hearing Little Richard singing "The Girl Can't Help It," and the line "She's got a lot of what you call the most…"*

The other night, Sirius DJ Michael Des Barres had said to check out the YouTube video of Little Richard performing the song in the movie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_cmEr2bw1s), which I did, then spotted Richard and his crack band doing Lucille. He was so beautiful! Whatta voice!
*Another of Richard's great lines: "It ain't what you eat, it's the way how you chew it."

If you want to waste even more time on my musical journey this morning, click here:

Audio Interview with Growing Bolder Magazine

There seems to be a rush of interest in active older people these days. I think a lot of this has to do with the work of Russian photo-journalist Vladimir Jakovlev, who is photographing lively older people all over the world. Someone sent me this link yesterday to an interview I did recently with the online magazine Growing Bolder: https://www.facebook.com/theageofhappiness

Tree House Builder in Japan

Yuichi Takeuchi is coming to visit us in a few weeks. Check out his unique creations at treeheads.com: http://www.treeheads.com/

Bruno Mars - Runaway Baby - 2012 Grammies


Photographing the Beginning of the End of 'Old San Francisco'

"Janet Delaney was a 26-year-old photography student when she arrived in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood in 1978. Then, SoMa was still home to working-class immigrant families, small-business owners, artists, and a vibrant gay/leather community. With relatively low rents, 'it had a long history of being a port of entry to the city,' says Delaney. 'There's a quote from one of my neighbors that I love: 'South of Market was a place where you could get yourself together.'
But SoMa was already changing, as the city moved forward with decades-long plans to redevelop the area.…as Delaney thought about the thousands of homes demolished…, she soon focused her lens on her neighbors. Their existences in SoMa were in peril, too.…
In spite of the fact that she's witnessed the city transform again and again—or perhaps because of it—Delaney doesn't completely mourn for the future of San Francisco. She went walking around SoMa just yesterday, she says, and enjoyed the energy and bustle of people on bikes and in cafes and at work. The city's dramatic changes remind her, a little bit, of New York City.…"
Photo: Janet Delaney
Sent us by Kevin Kelly

Tiny Girl Loves Tiny Book

"My daughter absolutely loves the little version of the tiny homes book!…"

- Lydia Doleman, Colorado

Jeez, after some crude Photoshop work, it looks like a Rembrandt!

Students From Marin Montessori School Visit Our Compound

In late February these 10 students and their teacher Andrew Gaertner toured our office and homestead as part of their class "Buildings and Structures."
Photo: Evan Kahn

"…Inspiration is rare and can´t be bought.…"

This came in today:

Hi, two of your books found their way to me, Tiny Homes I got from my best friend who died tragically recently, and Homework I spotted yesterday in the housemoving pile of my flatmate/landlord... Both, especially Homework in it's unashamed eclectic spirit of excitement went straight to my top five most inspirational books list...

Reading these was like laying my hands on Bart Hopkins's Musical Instrument Design for the first time. Prior to that I'd seen a myriad of books basically giving blueprints for pre-existing designs, but approaching that from a layman's POV was too daunting for me. So what Hopkins did, was take out the mystique in the craft and instill a belief in possibilities in me, giving me the inspiration to start building musical instruments with no prior knowledge or plans. Sure I botched a thousand things, it wasn't easy, and you would get arguably "better" sounding ones from the shop. But hey:
they're mine.

Plans, blueprints and opinions are cheap these days. Inspiration is rare and can´t be bought. Except sometimes, maybe... Anyway, I don't promise to build my own house one day (although until now I always tried to fullfill my every idea and dream, so we'll see...) but at least now I believe it's possible if I want it.

I hate people who said that the Arts & Crafts movement failed, or that the 60s failed, or that whatever time and ideology failed. You don't say that a tree failed when it dies eventually, when it's seeds are sown all over...


Full Lunar Eclipse April 4th 2015: "Blood Moon"

In our part of the world, the moon will be fully blocked for about 5 minutes at 4:48 AM. I plan to go up on Mount Tamalpais about 4:00 AM.

Only the speediest of skywatchers will have a chance to see the total lunar eclipse rising Saturday: NASA predicts that the total phase of the lunar eclipse will only last about 5 minutes, making it the shortest lunar eclipse of the century.
Early-rising observers all over the United States should be able to see at least the partial phases of the April 4 lunar eclipse just before the sun rises, if weather permits. People on the West Coast will have the chance to see the moon turn an eerie shade of red during totality, which should begin at about 7:58 a.m. EDT (1158 GMT, 4:58 a.m. PDT).  NASA this week unveiled a video detailing the total lunar eclipse, and dubbed the event the shortest lunar eclipse of the century in an announcement on Monday (March 30) in detail.
Observers in other parts of the world will have an even better chance to see the lunar eclipse. Stargazers in Australia, Japan, China, and Southeast Asia will get the chance to see the eclipse on the night of April 4, according to Sky & Telescope. (Sky & Telescope predicts that the total phase of the eclipse will actually last about 9 to 12 minutes starting at 7:54 a.m. EDT.)