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Graceful little building in Quebec countryside

Claude Drolet built this curved structure in the Quebec countryside. Here's what he says:
"Even though it is fairly curvy, all the members of the structure are straight. The only place were I needed a jig saw was on the edge of the roof and the ridge. This saved a lot of time (but I still had) a wide spectrum for personal expression. The head, which is a little bit like the front of a sailship, is inspired by wild geese. The roof is like the wings of the bird when it is surfing down."

Taking off for Europe tomorrow

My wife Lesley and I are leaving for London tomorrow. We'll be there a week, then head for Ireland to travel on the west coast. We hope to visit and maybe stay at Dan Hummel's stone home he built in the '80s and '90s (shown here) on the coast in Cork County. We'll roam around (Ireland (which I love), then cross back to England, go through the Lake District, to Edinburgh, down to Suffolk. I'll head to the Frankfurt Book Fair for a week, then we'll meet for a week in Paris. I'll be shooting photos (with my new Panasonic Lumix G1), posting them on my blog.

The Ronnie Wilhelm memorial bench

Ronnie Wilhelm was a local's local. Born in this small town, he was a fisherman, hunter, carpenter and lover. Ronnie was always smiling, always made people feel good. He partied hard and famously. He had tons of friends and people who loved him dearly. A few weeks ago Ronnie died of a brain tumor. He spent his last days surrounded by friends. This bench is just outside Ronnie's house, with a view of the ocean and San Francisco across the bay. it was chain-sawed out of a downed cypress tree by one of Ronnie's friends (who wishes to remain anonymous). Scenes from Ronnie's life are inset on the right side -- hunting, fishing, a jumping salmon—carved out of walnut. Last time I went by, on my way down to the beach, about a dozen of Ronnie's friends were there with a bottle of whiskey, visiting and looking out to sea.

China leading way in solar water heaters

I got this comment from QUAIL333 on one of my blogs: "Lloyd just saw this, I think it is unbelievably bad I can not buy a good solar water heater at Home Depot, zero USA leadership." It's an article in the LA Times on a huge solar water heating industry in China. There are 5000 manufacturers; the devices cost less than $300 each.
From the article, dated Aug 27, 2009: "China, green? In the case of solar water heating, yes. In a nation known more for its belching smokestacks, solar water heaters are on nearly every roof in some cities. Manufacturers are eyeing foreign markets, including Southern California."
Photo of solar water heaters on apartment rooftops in Rizhao, China, by David Pierson

Portable lightweight wind shelter

The wind was blowing really hard this late afternoon on the beach and this guy and girlfriend were snug inside their shelter.

Film of building yurt in China

A Kazakh family constructs a yurt for a wedding party northwestern China.

Close-up of beach graffiti

More beach graffiti

Three taggers at work on the beach yesterday.

$250,000 cabin on 20 acres in Washington

"This cabin, set on 20 acres, is off a dead-end country road in the Tunk Valley, Washington. It was built in 1987 of local pine cut at a nearby mill, according to the listing agent. Okanogan County, which abuts British Columbia, has a population density of seven people per square mile…
The cabin has two ground-floor bedrooms and a sleeping loft, an indoor hot tub and a separate dining area. A wood-burning stove is in the living room. There’s an attached two-car garage.
OUTDOOR SPACE: Twenty acres of fields and a dirt-floored Quonset hut once used for storing hay."
Photo: Rajah Bose for The New York Times

Burning Man burns

Photo by Frederic Larson / San Francisco Chronicle From: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/g/a/2009/09/02/BurningMan09.DTL&o=0

Building a cob/wood roundhouse

Man, is this a nice 3-minute time-lapse film of building a little cordwood/cob, sod roof cabin! It's titled "Building a Roundhouse with woodhenge and cobwood."
It was built in six weeks, Spring, 2008, at Denmark Farm, near Lampeter, West Wales, UK.

Time-lapse photo of building timber-frame house

Yestermorrow is a school for building in the Green Mountains of Vermont. It's a great place. This video shows time lapse images of a class doing the foundation and framing of a mortise-and-tenon house in 2008.. More information available at http://www.yestermorrow.org.

Film building cob oven Costa Rica

Nice film of building a beautiful cob oven on a stone base in Costa Rica:

Storybook Houses of Los Angeles

"Once upon a time (in the early 1900s), hobbit holes and witches dens dotted the Los Angeles landscape. A few are left standing."

"'Storybook houses are an outgrowth of the blurred line of fantasy and reality that is particular to Los Angeles,'" says Trudi Sandmeier, a preservationist at the Los Angeles Conservancy. The style pops up across the country, she notes, but nowhere did it attain the popularity it enjoyed in L.A."

From article in Los Angeles Times Jan 13, 2005. Article by Christy Hobart, photo by Kirk McKoy. http://bit.ly/1Iri8i

Pictured here is the Hobbit House in Culver City.