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Back to Book Production

My trip to Scotland was an overwhelmingly wonderful experience. 30 days of people who were friendly, cheerful, and helpful—civilized society!
I shot maybe 1000 photographs, with three different cameras. I posted (mostly photos) on Instagram and this blog almost every day. I could do a book on this trip, but the reality, the priority right now, is to get our new book, Small Homes, finished.
So I will be posting less for a while, and certainly not posting daily.
I had an epiphany, as they say, yesterday: I can reach a lot more people by turning out books than I can by posting things on my blog or via Instagram—at least with my present internet followers (about 500 people a day).
Plus the feedback from our books is phenomenal. Just about daily: people inspired, lives changed, abilities discovered.
I want to get this book finished and then try to get one new book published each year (instead of one book every 2-3 years, as now).
I'm thinking of three possibilities for the book after this one:
Trips I've taken over the past 40 years, with photos and text. Readers can ride shotgun with me.
• My favorite builders: about six or seven of them, describing not only their work, but their personalities. I just love all these guys.
Barns: a scrapbook of my photos over the years and reference to the many (not well-known) books I've accumulated on barns; we have over 3 feet of barn books in our shelves.

So it's back to book making for me. I'm really excited by this new one. I'm gonna get oan wi it.

Check out http://www.theshelterblog.com/ for daily postings on building, homesteading, gardening, carpentry. tiny homes, small homes, and the like.

Stone Cottage Overlooking Sea On Scottish Island

Everything here is perfect. It's one of the buildings where I just say to myself, oh yeah!
The rounded, angled-out corners, the  proportions, the deep wall openings, the red roof.
According to an historical account which I read, some 14 farm families were forced to leave their land by landlords in the mid-1800s, and resettled on a more remote and less fertile part of the island. This is one of the dwellings; in its day, it would have had a thatched roof.
And with this I conclude posts from Scotland. I'm back in the saddle at home and back at work on Small Homes.

$4,000 Bottle of Whisky in Shop Yesterday

Rotunda at National Museum of Scotland

Celts -- Exhibit at National Museum of Scotland

This is a stunning exhibit in Edinburgh.

"Go on a quest through the ages in search of the identity of the Celts, at the latest blockbuster exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland.

The first major exhibition on the subject for over 40 years, Celts is produced in collaboration with the British Museum and features over 350 objects from both museums’ collections, as well as other important pieces from across Europe.

Foremost amongst these is the spectacular Gundestrup Cauldron, a richly-decorated vessel made from silver and found in a peat bog in Denmark. Now reconstructed, its surfaces are alive with wonderful detail, providing us with a glimpse of the gods, rituals and lives of the people who made it. Other objects serve a similar purpose: ranging from reconstructed chariots and carnyx war trumpets to opulent gold torcs and decorative objects. Each piece resonates with a beguiling sense of intrigue, allowing visitors to this well laid-out exhibition to draw their own conclusions about the true nature of the identity of the Celtic people.…  "

Edinburgh vinyl

Pastry in Edinburgh window

When it rains…

Crazy day in Edinburgh yesterday. Soccer fans throughout city, celebrating, drinking, then whammo, skies opened up and it must have rained 2" in an hour. We huddled under an umbrella and in doorways for half an hour.

Go to the post page…

On the walls of the Lock Lomond Inn. Titled "Susie's Castle"

Mony a mickle maks a muckle

OK, so I am prone to over-enthusiasm, but  I can't travel in this magical country any more without singing its praises.
And the people. I still can't believe their good-naturedness, helpfulness, humor. I've never experienced such good vibes. Why are they so happy? Everyone, I mean everyone, asks where we've been, where we're going,  how do we like Scotland, do we need help in finding an address? Guys I've met in pubs have turned me on to non-tourist places. Smiles are contagious.


Glasgow is meaty, hearty, deep, vibrant. It's a kick-ass city.

Edinburgh is more refined, elegant, serene. What a duo of cities! 42 miles apart.

Admittedly these conclusions are from a traveller, just jump-the-gun, off-the-top impressions. But I just love these 2 cities.

Come See Us at the Maker Faire This Weekend (May 21–22)

My son, Evan, will be hosting the Shelter booth at the Maker Faire in San Mateo this weekend selling books at a discounted price. Come on by and check out the booth.

Maker Faire Info: www.makerfaire.com/…

Old Stone Cottage in Scottish Highlands

Stone Home, Colorful Garden in Oban, Scotland

Rock Piles in Scottish Highlands

There were maybe 100 of these, some serving as memorials to people or pets.

How did the hipster burn her mouth?

She drank her coffee before it was cool.
(Sign in Glasgow coffee shop window)

Giant Water Lillies at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens

Victoria Longwood Hybrid -- Maybe 3 feet diameter here.

Master Stone Masons of Edinburgh

Distorted by wide angle lens (was close quarters), but you can see the wonderful design and masonry of this complex. Everywhere in Edinburgh and Glasgow (and the countryside), there is excellent masonry.

O ye'll take the high road, and I'll take the low road…

Yesterday on our way south to Glasgow we (unexpectedly) found ourselves driving along the west side of Loch Lomond and I can understand why it's so well known. A pristine body of water, with trees all around it, some kinda magic going on fer shure. We stopped at a lochside hotel and had one of the best renditions of fish and chips ever plus a bottle of Loch Lomond Silkie Stout. Fortified by the stout, I jumped in the water -- about 8 strokes and out. Cold! maybe 48 degrees F. But I follow an MO of getting immersed in its waters wherever I am to connect with the land. It always works! Then on into Glasgow, following the Garmin GPR to a Travelodge hotel in Glasgow central.

Last night we had a fabulous Italian dinner with Lesley's cousin and husband at Fratelli Sarti on Bath Street, preceded by a couple of shots of Laphroid single malt whisky (Colin and me, that is) at the Butterfly and Pig bar, fine establishment.

I started out with leftside driving pretty shakily, it took several days for my brain to make the switch. And the roundabouts! Jesus, stress-city. Finally, I'm getting into it. Give way to cars on the right. My navigator informs me that leftside driving originated with duels on horseback, where lances were held with the right hand.

I don't know how I missed Scotland over all these years of European exploration (starting with a 3-month Lambretta motorscooter/youth hostel trip in 1957-58). I'm overwhelmed by both the beauty of this land and the good-naturedness of the Scots. I think it's possible that people who live in beautiful surroundings are happy and friendly. Hundreds of encounters, totally good vibes. If people see you looking around in the cities, they ask if they can help. And I'm gonna miss the brogue a wee bit when I get home.

Animal shelter and pen in recreated 1700s township at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, Scotland

Building at Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, Scotland

Stone Cabin on Scottish Isle

Nicely proportioned.

Anonymous stonework on Highway A82, south of Glenco Mountain this morning. It''s solid, no openings.

Deek Spreads Tiny Homes Word in Iceland

From my pal Deek Diedrickson, of Relaxshacks fame:

I brought the remaining copies of your mini book with me to randomly hide in Reykjavik, Iceland, figuring it'd be fun for people to randomly stumble upon them. Three of them are hidden in dry, but semi-visible places around the city- just for fun..... free for the taking by whoever...... 

Vintage steam engine, Highland Folk Museum, Newtonmore, Scotland

Interior of Recreated Barn at Building Museum

This is one of the buildings in a recreated 1700s township at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, Scotland. It started to rain just as we got there, but then the rain stopped. We spent about 2 hours there; I shot a LOT of photos.

The wattle walls facilitated drying of barley and oats. Opposing barn doors took advantage of cross drafts to winnow (separate chaff from) grain.

Tiny Homes on the Move Featured in The Mother Earth News

There's a 5-page article with 13 photos based on our book in the new (June/July) issue: http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/tiny-homes/tiny-home-ideas-for-home-on-wheels-zm0z16jjzqui.aspx

The Royal Mile Market, set up in a 17th century church in Edinburgh. Mainstream touristy.

Housing development with "commons" of sorts out front. Kind of like architect Peter Calthorpe's idea of clustering housing, with lots of open space.

Notes From Edinburgh

We got back yesterday from a week on the (small) Isle of Eigg. So much has happened that I've had little time to write and/or post photos about it. Tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 10), I'm doing a presentation at Kircaldy Galleries, titled "50 Years of Natural Building," chronicling our building books from Shelter in 1973 up to the present. It's been sold out for a few weeks.

I had a trial run Wednesday night in the community center on Eigg, about 30 people (half the population of the island). A ton of kindred spirits on the island.

I ended up shooting photos of the (very different) homes of 2 builders: Damien Helliwell and Karl Harding, which will go into the Small Homes book.

Eigg is one of a group of 4 islands referred to as The Small Isles, in the Inner Hebrides. It's off the west coast of Scotland, reachable by a ferry from the fishing port of Mallaig.

We could live here, and I can't say that for many places in the world.

So much to tell, so little time. Some photos

Stove in Karl's round house

Shepherd's bothy (hut)
Note:I'm not going to be so specific about where things are out here. I've seen too many small towns wrecked (or forever changed) by getting too much attention.

Leo the Surfer Meets Fred the Barber, Who Loves Tiny Homes

"Hello Lloyd,
    A few weeks ago I got a new barber in Huntington Beach at the Surf City Barber Shop.  My old barber retired.   As I was sitting in the chair I noticed on the table Tiny Homes, I asked Fred the Barber about it and he said he loved the book and it was almost worn out because it was the most popular thing to read in the shop.  Some day Fred says he wants to get some land and build a tiny home.  Tonight I am off to Costa Rica for 6 weeks, warm water surfing.
   Thanks for the good hair cut Fred.

Leo (Hetzl)"