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Yesterday on the beach

I took off yesterday around 2 to coincide with a 3 ft. low tide. It was a bit windy, sort of overcast, not a soul in sight for the next 3 hours. There was something melancholy about the day, it made me think of an Ingmar Bergman movie for some reason.

I was searching for a particular type of shell to send to a couple of carver friends in British Columbia.

I've got so much time to do stuff like this now that I'm not training for races. My time outdoors has a lot more variety.

Homemade mountain bike ramps on BC homestead

This is one of the film clips I referred to in the recent post. It shows Andrew Dunkerton working in his shop, feeding the chickens, and at the end, his son Dylan and buddies going way airborne on homemade ramps just walking distance into the woods.

"An inspiring look behind the scenes at what makes the Coastal Crew tick, their amazing surroundings and their upbringing in that environment that makes what they create as rad as it is.
The Crew is a group of three best friends and sponsored mountain bike riders living the dream - doing what they love every day! Their days are made up of riding, building, (trails and bridges and jumps) and filming. The crew consists of  Dylan Dunkerton, Curtis Robinson and Kyle Norbraten. They strive to create captivating media and lush content. Usually it is Dylan behind the camera, but this time he's in front of it, talking with his dad about their lives.  Of course there is some great riding content at the end of the video."

Boys just wanna have fun!


Bantam chicken eggs

Eggs from our Silver Seabright and Auracana bantam hens. They're about half the size of regular eggs. Bantams make a lot of sense if space is limited.

Preparing bite-sized pieces of cauliflower leaves for chickens last night. Chickens love it any time you do something special for them. I was unloading lumber for our new chicken coop yesterday and let them out. They were so excited. Boss man rooster was telling everyone to get out here and get those bugs.

President Obama, Reinvigorated

New York Times editorial this morning (4/14/11):

The man America elected president has re-emerged.

For months, the original President Obama had disappeared behind mushy compromises and dimly seen principles. But on Wednesday, he used his budget speech to clearly distance himself from Republican plans to heap tax benefits on the rich while casting adrift the nation’s poor, elderly and unemployed. Instead of adapting the themes of the right to his own uses, he set out a very different vision of an America that keeps its promises to the weak and asks for sacrifice from the strong.

The deficit-reduction plan he unveiled did not always live up to that vision and should have been less fixated on spending cuts at the expense of tax increases. It may give up too much as an opening position. But at least it was a reasonable basis for a conversation and is far better than its most prominent competitors. That is because it is grounded in themes of generosity and responsibility that, until recently, had been shared by leaders of both parties.

Because everyone deserves “some basic measure of security and dignity,” he said, the nation contributes to programs like Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. He said that “we would not be a great country without those commitments.”

Gopher blaster

"This looks a bit … direct, but it dates from 1882. James Williams needed a device that would destroy a burrowing animal and give an alarm so that it could be reset. His solution was a revolver attached to a treadle. Touché.

The patent abstract adds, 'This invention may also be used in connection with a door or window, so as to kill any person or thing opening the door or window to which it is attached.' Evidently Williams had bigger problems than rodents."

Spotted this on Boing Boing this morning.

Māori jade pendants

This young Māori artist makes beautiful New Zealand jade pendants. From Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, BC, Canada:

"Tamaora Walker
(1984- )

Te Arawa

Tamaora has worked with Māori jade artist Lewis Gardiner since 2004 and has quickly developed his own style. Tamaora's work was included in the Spirit Wrestler Gallery's Mini Masterworks II (2008) and Kaitiaki—Guardians (2006) exhibitions. He was also recently featured in the Toi Māori: Small Treasures event at the de Young Museum, San Francisco (2008)."


Soulful old shingled house

Check out this little slightly tattered house in Sausalito. Spotted it last Tuesday. The proportions, the wood sash windows, the nice little pop-outs (you might call therm wall dormers) on left and front. Southern exposure facing blue bay. I know it feels good inside. Fung-shiui, um-humm…

Shrimps on Sunday

I went paddling in the lagoon Sunday afternoon and luckily came  in at the same time as crab fishermen Robbie and Josh. They had just caught a bunch of shrimps, and gave me a couple of handfulls. That night I boiled them, then deep-fried the heads. Salad from the garden, Louie's Petite Syrah wine…

Heavy duty mountain bikers in BC

When I was shooting photos for Builders of the Pacific Coast, I spent a few days with Andrew Dunkerton and Joanne Laird on their 10-acre homestead on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. (This is a 50-mile stretch along the coast, north of  Vancouver, and it really is sunny.) Andrew and Joanne turned out to be kindred spirits, and there are photos of their place in the book.

While I was there, I saw these muddy tough looking full-suspension mountain bikes sitting around, and met their son Dylan, who was into mountain biking big time. From what I've seen, BC is home to the gnarliest, most over-the-top dirt riders anywhere. I saw a pic of a guy riding on a log across a roaring river. And etc.

Last week Joanne sent me a link to the boys going SO airborne off these stunning homemade jumps in the woods.

I'm in San Francisco now. Below is the link, in a few days I'll post this particular video.

Haight Ashbury 2011

Last week in San Francisco, sigh…

In Australia, Driving the Great Ocean Road

Top: Loch Ard Gorge is named for a ship that wrecked nearby; Bottom: A cottage near Port Fairy. Photos by Andrew Quilty for The New York Times in article in Sunday NY Times by Ethan Todras-Whitehill:
"ALONG the shores of the Indian Ocean, as the coastline east of Adelaide, Australia, wends its rocky way toward Melbourne, lies one of the world’s classic drives: the Great Ocean Road. Here, brutal, slicing surf and weather pound malleable limestone and sandstone, eating away at the Australian continent, and leaving mile after mile of sweeping vistas of sculptured cliffs, towers and arches framed against the roiling turquoise sea.…"


Pig Car Award: Cadillac Escalade

Spotted this 12 mpg chunk of trash in San Francisco last week. Shitty design to boot.

Inspired by Iceland Video

Just picked up this joyous video from Loobylu, a soulful blog written by Claire Robertson, who says: "I am a writer, illustrator, mama, crafter and procrastinator living and dreaming with my raggle-taggle family in a forest on a small island in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. We have been here since August 2010. Before that we were suburb dwelling people who lived in Melbourne, Australia. We decided to make our lives a bit more of an adventure…"

Inspired by Iceland Video from Inspired By Iceland on Vimeo.

Direct link to video on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/12236680

Solar light bulbs

Scott Deerwester sent us this info from his blog, The Wildcat Chronicles:

"Skylights are a great addition to any house, as they bring in more natural light – cutting down on artificial light electricity costs, as well as promoting good health for a home’s occupants. Unfortunately, however, skylights are hard to install in most pre-built homes because they require so much roof real estate. Also, unless the sun is at the right angle and there are absolutely no clouds in the sky, skylights don’t always illuminate a space in a way that makes their cost worthwhile. Thats why we love Solatube – a smart technology which takes skylights one step further by refracting, reflecting and concentrating solar light into a small tube using mirrors and lenses." - Above quote from http://inhabitat.com/solar-tube/

BTW, most of our buildings here on the homestead employ a very simple solar light device: A flat piece of translucent fiberglass that is interleaved into a roof covered in asphalt shinglers. Ultra simple, it lights up the room(s). Has worked well for 40 years.