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On the beach with Louie and Titch

Louie (left) is my separated-at-birth brother ( and the primary builder in our book Homework); he still rides a 500-foot zipline across a river to get to and from his home.
Titch and I are brothers in the sense that his last name is Jones, my mom's maiden name -- Welsh -- and we were both born on April 28th. We had wild ducks and Louie's red wine for dinner the night before. It was a spectacular day at the beach, after 2 days of rain. The 3 of us wander beaches whenever we get together.

Deep Old Age

In an interview in Sunday's NYTimes Book Review section, Philip Roth, now 84, says"…in just a matter of months I’ll depart old age to enter deep old age — easing ever deeper daily into the redoubtable Valley of the Shadow.…”
And that he’s astonished that he makes it to the end of each day.
Got me thinking about aging. I’ll be 83 in a few months.
Looking back, my golden years physically were ages 50-65 or so, in terms of strength/cardio/flexibility adjusted for age. A lot of this had to do with me working on fitness books — stretching, running, weight training — for 20 years, and hanging out, and stretching, running, and lifting weights with my authors. I was serious runner for 20-25 years, swam, surfed, rode bikes and went to aerobic dance classes (usually the only guy in the class).
Then as I got to age 70, things started needing repair. A lifetime of using the body.
I tell people, the good news is that you’re not yet 70, the bad news is that you will be some day. Since turning 70, I’ve had 2 shoulders and 2 knees and one wrist repaired (no metal or plastic parts) + a compound wrist fracture from skateboarding...yes, I know, I know.

Detail of below pic

A little touch like the curved overhang braces can add so much.

Old building in Novato, Calif.

Mikey's At It Again

Mike Basich, the star of our TINY HOMES book, rolls on.

Garden Furniture with Tenon Cutter

I've had this tenon cutter attachment for years, just started using it. I just cut down an old wild plum tree and am going to make a garden chair out of plum wood. Fun! I got this from Lee Valley, a great source of carpentry tools.
I recently got the Makita drill -- not battery driven, but with cord -- from Jackson's Hardware in San Rafael. It would have been cheaper from Amazon, but at Jackson's, I get expert human advice. I use Amazon a lot, but also skirt them often. There are other factors to consider when buying stuff other than what's cheapest.

Surfers' Driftwood Shack in France

Along the same lines, we have just finished our small book DRIFTWOOD SHACKS: ANONYMOUS ARCHITECTURE ALONG THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST. When we have copies ready to go, I'll make an announcement.

Seaweed Nutrition

Seaweed on drying rack (blades of bull kelp). I dry it, grind it into coarse powder and put on most everything.

Hoop Greenhouse

We just finished raising this greenhouse by putting it on top of a wall that is 2 concrete blocks high. It gives us a lot more interior space. Work, including doors, by Billy Cummings.
Greenhouse (via UPS) from http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/home
We're finally getting rain, after a dry December.

Doc Watson -- Deep River Blues

Let it run into the next ("unrehearsed") song with Doc and Earl Scruggs and families. The perfect ending of this medley made me laugh out loud.

Two Great Home/Garden Catalogs

Two great catalogs just arrived. https://www.lehmans.com/ and https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/ The former: do-it-yrslf tools for home, kitchen, garden; the latter for chicks by mail — which we’ve been doing for over 30 years.We've got about 25 baby chicks coming in March. It's great: we get a call from the post office: "We've got a box for you that's chirping!" We pick them up and put them under an infrared light until they feather out. This year mostly Rhode Island Reds and Auracanas.

Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave) with Springsteen and the E street Band -- SOUL MAN -- At 25th Anniversary of Hall of Fame -- 2009

Have a hit, listen to this, and tell me if you're still holding still about 3 minutes into it.

The entire concert is on Amazon Prime. Buddy Guy! Jeff Beck! Darlene Love! Fogerty!

Witch's Butter

“Witch’s butter,” tremella aurantia, in the woods last week. Said to be edible, but tasteless.

Nifty Little Baja Bug in Oakland

Classic conversions feature fiberglas fenders and hood to reduce weight, among other modifications. When you let air out of tires, can drive on soft sand. Popular throughout Baja.

Friday Night Fish Fry

Last (rainy) Friday night, 5 of us (Dipsea running friends) went over the bridge to San Francisco and had dinner at the R&G Lounge (specializing in deep fried fresh Dungeness crab). then to Vesuvio's bar next to City Lights, which has had like 70 years of good vibes; Patrons that night looked like good people. Pic below is of a little tableau on the wall with miniature figures, maybe 26" wide by 16" tall (can you see the ghostly image at top left?) (Photo by Jakub)

I'm sort of taking a month to get reorganized with my work and at the same time reintegrating myself with the physical world, after a couple of years of being injured, then recovering from shoulder surgery -- let me tell you the details -- just kidding. Suffice to say I'm hiking more, clamming (tuning up my 12' Klamath boat with vintage 15 HP Evinrude outboard for saltwater exploration and fishing, trying to remember to stretch. It's so easy to get sucked into sedentary pursuits, like sitting in front of screens and neglecting the body in which the mind is, after all, housed.

I've done very little blogging in recent years about what's going on my life, partly due to Instagram and partly because after 5000+ blog posts, I realized it wasn't bringing in any income -- so I slacked off on blogging.

I'll be spelling out my future plans, including a new blog -- my take on the '60s --in my forthcoming GIMME SHELTER email newsletter, something I send out every few months to about 600 people. If you want to be on the mailing list, send me your address at lloyd@shelterpub.com.

Solar-powered Schoolbus Cabin

Lloyd, Like many, I scrounge the internet for building ideas. I came across a really cool dish-rack/shelf that was built into a corner in a kitchen. You could stand the plates up to dry between the slats, and still set bowls and mugs on it like a shelf. Brilliant! I saved the picture, and put it in the "barn-house" folder on my computer for future reference, when it comes time to build.
A few months ago, you posted a video of how you do dishes. I nearly leapt out of my seat when I saw the very same dish shelf... was in your kitchen! You have a long history of collecting and publishing all the good ideas you can find, I guess it shouldn't be such a surprise that a design like that ended up in your home! https://www.theshelterblog.com/lloyds-dish-washing-method/

Master Carpentry in Poland

Hi Lloyd,
I spent Christmas with my family in Dabrowa bialystocka, northeastern Poland ...
Yesterday evening Santa had the good idea to bring me one of your books, Small Homes, great idea, impossible to spend a better Christmas ....
I'm a fan of your books that I discovered about fifteen years ago.
It always makes me dream of a better world.
Thank you for everything.

If you go to Europe, it would be a great pleasure to meet you and to welcome you to Poland.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and lots of new adventures in 2018.

Julien Croisier

Little Richard - Freedom Blues


Richard, upon having to introduce Paul McCartney at the Rock & Roll Hall of fame some years ago (Richard, unlike Paul, was not at that time in the Hall) came to the mike and said "I am the architect of rock and roll!!" Yep.