• Subscribe to
    Lloyd’s Blog via RSS.
  • Check out TheShelterBlog.com
  • Tools for the
    Half-Acre Homestead

Michael Kahn, 1936-2007 & Eliphante

My cousin Michael Kahn died on the Winter Solstice, December 21. He was an artist who lived on the banks of a river in Arizona with his wife Leda, and he'd built a village of wild free-form buildings over the years. There were 10 pages on his work in our book Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter, including the pic below:

Mike built this room out of salvaged auto windshields, glued together with silicone caulk and decorated with stained glass. He got the idea for the silicone joinery and the inspiration for free-form building from our 1973 book Shelter.

Mike was one year younger than me and we looked a lot alike — our dads were brothers.

We played together a lot as kids and when I went to Stanford, he went to UC Santa Barbara, where he threw the javelin on the track team. We lived in adjacent cottages in Mill Valley in the '60s, and I went to hang out with him when he moved to Provincetown, Mass., in 1965 — just before I quit my job as an insurance broker to start working as a carpenter.
Mike was a gentle soul. He never did anything but his art, all his life. Painting, sculpting, building. He called his place Eliphante, and in recent years people from all over the world have come to visit, in spite of its hidden location. To get there you have to cross a river in a canoe.
On January 31, the NY Times did a large article on Mike titled: A Handmade Home
If you're interested in Gaudí/Watts Towers-type architecture, see Mike's website at:

65 Sq. Ft. Tiny House

Photo by Peter DaSilva

Lew just dug this up: It's from a 2007 article in the N Y Times by Bethany Little:
So, early last summer, Mr. Friedman, 69, an industrial photographer, rented a truck and trailered a pre-built 65-square-foot Modern Cabana Tiny House up mountain roads, into a meadow and parked. To compensate for the lack of interior space, the couple cook, entertain and, for the most part, live outdoors. "We live in our view rather than look at it," said Ms. Shepherd, 58, a retired youth counselor and an avid hiker. At night the two nestle in a sleeping loft with three feet of clearance, gazing at stars through a skylight. "It's shelter, pure and simple," Ms. Shepherd said.
Full article here

Close Encounter With Friendly Bird

I'd noticed this little bird several times before, hopping around in one of my compost bins. This morning (sunny for a change), I took out some crab shells from last night's dinner to bury and there he was again. He let me get within 6 feet, highly unusual. He had this enormous eye. I just stood there and he hopped around, as if he was performing. Perky. Up, around, he fluttered in the air once like a hummingbird, and gradually hopped closer to me. He had poisonality. I just stood there in the sunlight, enjoying the moment. I ran back for my camera and he was still there, so here he is. I thought it was a bushtit, but two people wrote in to say it's a female Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. Once in a while something wonderful happens with a wild animal. Thrilling when it does.

Female Ruby-crowned Kinglet.