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Tool Chest of Every Carpenter's Dreams

"Brother Henry O. Studley (1838-1925) built this magnificent wall-hung chest while employed by the Poole Piano Company of Quincy, Massachusetts. In an oak clamshell box adorned with rosewood, ebony, pearl and ivory, Studley kept both tools he made and a collection of the finest hand tools made prior to 1900, including a complete set of woodworking tools as well as machinist and stonemasonry tools. To pack the 300-plus tools into a case only 19 1/2 inches wide, 39 inches long and 9 1/2 inches deep, Studley devised a jigsaw puzzle arrangement of flip-up trays, fold-out layers and hidden compartments.…"
Fine Homebuilding magazine printed a poster of this tool chest in the 80s, and sold out. We ran across this photo plus close-ups at: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/tool_chest_made_by_studley.htm

Art of Cathy Chalvignac

"I had always loved art, but after art school in Paris, I was disgusted and never wanted to paint again. It was years later, only after I arrived in Mexico, that I felt like I wanted to paint once more. Thank God I am here!”
--Cathy Chalvignac
Sent us by Buster West this morning

Sauna on Wheels

Shot pictures of this sauna on wheels in Mendocino county last month. It was sitting by the side of the road., Have sauna, will travel.

Swimming in secret pond

I felt tired Tuesday night. Couldn't run with the boys due to knee injury, so went off alone at a slow pace up to this hidden pond in the hills and by the time I'd done two around-the-pond circuits, I felt great. A beautiful spot, a little valley damned up at one end. Swallows swoop around, just skimming the surface, grabbing insects, a peaceful place. Once in a while, humans actually improve a bit of the natural world.

Cities giving out free land

"Beatrice was a starting point for the Homestead Act of 1862, the federal law that handed land to pioneering farmers. Back then, the goal was to settle the West. The goal of Beatrice’s “Homestead Act of 2010,” is, in part, to replenish city coffers. The calculus is simple, if counterintuitive: hand out city land now to ensure property tax revenues in the future.…"
Left: A cabin at the Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, Neb., Photo by Kevin Moloney for The New York Times. Article published: July 25, 2010 by Monica Davey: "Cities View Homesteads as a Source of Income"
"Around the nation, cities and towns facing grim budget circumstances are grasping at unlikely — some would say desperate — means to bolster their shrunken tax bases. Like Beatrice, places like Dayton, Ohio, and Grafton, Ill., are giving away land for nominal fees or for nothing in the hope that it will boost the tax rolls and cut the lawn-mowing bills.…"

"World's largest treehouse"

By Ken Beck, The Tennessean
"CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — Horace Burgess's treehouse may be as close to heaven as a body can get in Cumberland County. It rises 97 feet into the sky, the support provided by a live, 80-foot-tall white oak 12 feet in diameter at its base. Six other trees brace the tower-like fortress, but Burgess says its foundation is in God.
"I built it for everybody. It's God's treehouse. He keeps watch over it," said Burgess, who received his inspiration in a vision that came to him in 1993. "I was praying one day, and the Lord said, 'If you build me a treehouse, I'll see you never run out of material."'
And thus far, as Burgess sees it, the Lord has provided. Most of his materials are recycled pieces of lumber from garages, storage sheds and barns. Now into his 14th year of construction, he is not finished.…"
Rest of article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-07-29-treehouse-church_N.htm
More pix: http://funster.us/2009/10/worlds-largest-treehouse-near-crossville/
Thanks to Bob Gagnier, Jr. for sending this to us.

Vermont 2005, #5: John Connell's sustainable house

Artist/architect John Connell designed and built this house in a played-out gravel pit near Warren, Vermont. It was built over 16 years with input from about 65 students from John's six-week Deign/Build sessions at Yestermorrow School in Warren, Vermont.

John: "The idea was to show that intelligent land development could actually help repair land as opposed to its usual role in degrading it. I purchased this played-out gravel pit which was then subdivided into four lots with a common area. In the common area we built Vermont's first licensed engineered wetland specifically designed to treat waste. It was sized to accommodate four 3-bedroom homes. This house was the first to be built (proof of concept). Sadly, the people who purchased the house also purchased the remaining lots and closed down the project. So we successfully refurbished the gravel pit (maybe a bit too well) but failed to create the neighborhood we had hoped for. Had we sold the lots separately, it would have become this fabulous little neighborhood of four hi-performance homes and a green house on ten acres along the Mad River. That was the vision.

As it was designed and built (over those 16 years), that house was meant to reflect the very latest in sustainable thinking. It is super insulated, is heated by less than 500 gallons of propane each winter with a super hi-eff boiler (93%+), the wood was mostly local, the materials were recycled whenever possible, non-toxic glues and sealers were used (after 1991), etc. etc."

Treehouse hanging over creek

This is floating around on the web. Can't find any info on it: http://is.gd/dtyyE
Costa Rica maybe?

Girl in hogan

Photo from Shelter of girl in Navajo-inspired hogan in Placitas, New Mexico, in the '60s

Masai woman

I was struck by the beauty of this photo in thumbing through Shelter recently. Photo by Dennis Huckaby

Steep old railroad tie steps in Belvedere, CA

I noticed these stairs across from my brother's house a few days ago. Concrete stringers on sides, railroad tie steps