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Sweetwater Saloon Rocks Again

 Sweetwater Saloon was a much-beloved Marin County (California) music venue for 30 years until it closed down 5 years ago. It has now reopened in the old Masonic Hall in Mill Valley and is ramping up its schedule. Last night I was on my way home around 8PM and I stopped in to take a look. Well -- Ausitin Leone and friends were scheduled, there was a  $5 cover, and what can a poor boy do?
   It was a great night. The room is twice as big as the old place and doesn't have the cozy ambiance, but it feels good, muchly helped by leaving the rough timber ceiling beams (joists for upper story) uncovered. Full house, happy people, great rock and roll and blues by the hometown band.
  Here's the new schedule: http://sweetwatermusichall.inticketing.com/events

Nicely Designed Boathouse on Lake Near Toronto

"Christopher Simmonds has given an already gorgeous boathouse in Canada a sustainable upgrade that we can‚t help but envy. The original boathouse located on Muskoka Lake north of Toronto was feeling a little cramped, so the designer gave it a second story guest room and a roof terrace, and an overall minor upgrade that used very little in the way of new materials."
From Lew Lewandowski

Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools

This is the single most useful site/blog on the web for me. I can't say how many useful things this blog has turned me on to. It's like the electronic Whole Earth Catalog, but what's better is that it uses no paper, and it's daily.

Kevin Kelly, ex-Whole Earth Review editor, founding editor at Wired mag, author, photographer, explorer, runs this operation, with daily reviews of useful stuff.

"Cool tools really work. A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We only post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted. Tell us what you love."

Easiest way to get there is to go to kk.org, then click on "Cool Tools" at the left.

Willie Brown and Mayor Ed Lee at Cafe Roma This Morning

Willie Brown (Speaker of the California State Assembly for 15 years, San Francisco mayor in the late '90s) must have a TV show. I've seen him often at a table in Cafe Roma in North Beach, SF, with major size video cameras filming him, when I get there, around 7 AM. This morning he's meeting with SF's new mayor Ed Lee and a third politico guy who's always here with Willy. They're sitting about 15 feet away. Wille's telling stories and there's a lot of laughter
Willie is a beautiful man, he's gotten better looking with age. This morning he's wearing a gorgeous brown sport coat, dark slacks, a deep red tie and deep red handkerchief. Dude!

Ajiro Bamboo Bike is Grown From Ground Up

"This bamboo Ajiro concept bicycle rethinks both our means of transportation and the ways we manufacture our vehicles. Designed by Monash University student Alexander Vittouris, the Ajiro utilizes a production process that removes emissions instead of releasing them into the Earth’s atmosphere. That’s because the bamboo structure of this vehicle is grown straight out of the ground into a preformed mold. Vittouris envisions fields of bamboo gardens growing these human powered bicycles, which need only small modifications once mature to hit the streets.…"
Article by Brit Liggett
Thanks to Richard Ieian Jones for this

Moscow Graffiti Artist

"The Moscow-based graffiti and street artist has operated for more than a decade, and is reportedly about 30 years old.…" http://laughingsquid.com/

Stone Celtic Wheelhouse

There's a very complete description of building this lovely (30' diameter) building at: http://dovetails.wordpress.com/celtic-wheelhouse/
Thanks to Bryan for this

40 Photos from Tiny House Blog

Kent Griswold just posted a bunch of photos from his blog on Pinterest. This strawbale house is in a post titled "Straw Bale Women."

TINY HOMES Second Printing

There were orders with our distributor Publishers Group West for 4,193 copies of the book in the first 8 days of February and we are going back to press right now, just a month after the book hit the bookstores.
   First printing was 15,000, this one will be 12,500.
   Hey I thought print books were supposed to be dead!

Sportsman Vintage Frame Motorbike

Love the Tiny Homes book. Thanks. Your blog is a daily read, I so enjoy the eclectic mix of subjects. On that note, I wondered whether this link might interest you;
All the best, Vic Long"
"…I decided to build one and found a vintage Schwinn Panther frame to start with. This particular frame, commonly called a straight bar frame because of it's unique middle frame tube in the front triangle, is very similar in shape to early motorcycles. Gas tanks were added into the pocket between the top and middle frame tubes on these early motorcycles, so it only made sense to build a gas tank to fit the Panther frame in the same fashion.…"
PaT Dolan

12 Salamanders/5 Owls/3 Coyotes and a Full Moon

Last night I took a 3-4 mile slow run, solo as usual, such a relief to not be training for races. The salamanders were out, crossing the path as they do, blithely and blindly.They are totally cute, with knobby eyes and splayed-out toes, and they walk like this:
-right front foot and left rear foot forward / 2-second pause / left front foot and right rear foot forward. The salamander slo-mo march. Counted a dozen of them.
   There are small owls that hang out by the sides of the trail, hunting for mice. 5 of them, here and there. They'd let me get maybe 40-50' away, then float off. Owls make no sound when flying. I've heard that their wing feathers have tapered edges so they'll be silent in flight. Miceys, comin to gethcha. 
   As I got back down into the wetlands, I heard 3 coyotes, singing to each other from different spots. Each call had 3, 4, or 5 notes. Starting low and ending high. One guy had a really high note. They'd yodel a bit in between some notes. The full moon broke through the clouds. Who wouldn't howl with joy?

Mr. Curly's One Man Band

Thanks to Rich Jones

Pack Rats in the Woodpile

Pack rats, or wood rats, are all over in this part of the world. In hard-to-reach parts of the woods, they build these 3-foot high pyramidal nests out of sticks and twigs. Some of these are beautifully constructed. Around the homestead, they make nests deep down in the woodpiles. Recently, they've been dragging split kindling up to the top of the wood pile, for what purpose I know not. Surprising that they can and would do this.
They're quite different from scumbag Norwegian rats. They look more like an enlarged mouse, and have white fur on their bellies. I trap them when need be, but to some extent, live and let live.

Lew's Shelterpub Facebook Page

I started this blog 7 years ago. A bit reluctantly at first. (Sort of the same way I began using a Macintosh.) As the years have gone by, it's become part of my life; I'm committed to getting up at least one post a day, it gives me a quick and easy way to tell people what I discover in the world around me.
   In a way it doubled my workload: I have my work as an author, photographer, and publisher — making books — and there's the blogging. Along with the occasional Tweet, a full plate.
   Then along came Facebook. I just didn't have the time to get involved in this different form of communication, so Lew (Lewandowski) started doing a Shelter Facebook page. I didn't really understand how Facebook worked until yesterday when Lew and I looked over his work. I was impressed. At left is a photo that caught my eye: the mobile farm stand of the organic Four Season Farm of Harborside, Maine. Lew scans the web for items of interest.
   With the blog I'm basically broadcasting; I don't have time to reply to many comments. With Lew's Facebook page, there's a flow. People don't just comment, they send photos, videos, they share with friends; it's a web of communication. So I'll keep blogging, and Lew will keep Facebooking, and this should give you a pretty good picture of what goes on in our work and with our interests: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shelter-Publications-Inc/91849471589?ref=ts

Radio Interview With Me by Mike Litchfield Thursday Feb 9th

Mike Litchfield, author of the excellent book In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats (Taunton Books), is going to interview me on the subject of tiny homes on the local West Marin radio station, KWMR, this Thursday at  9 AM, Pacific Time (PST -0800): http://www.kwmr.org/
   A great review of Tiny Homes appeared on the flagship of the tiny house movement, the Tiny House Blog, run by Kent Griswold.
   Due to that, and the Wall Street Journal's and New York Times' article last week, we had web orders for 41 books today.
   More on the tiny homes front: Our neighbor. fisherman Todd, told me that a few weeks ago he gave a book to a farmer friend, and the guy is already building something he saw in the book. Last night I saw John Korty, the filmmaker, at a movie in San Rafael and he said that his son was looking at the book and getting ready to build something out of it. It never occurred to me that the book would be such a motivator.

Abandoned Float Cabin in Alaska

From Tyler

VW Van Mobile Sauna in Finland

"A mobile sauna owned by Teekkarien Autokerho in Otaniemi, Espoo, Finland"
http://shltr.net/w6gedV Photo by liimes - Petteri Kontio

Our Next Book: Wheels and Water

Our next book will be on nomadic living in the 21st century. Homes on wheels and homes in the water. Campers, RVs, trailers, house trucks, house buses, and bike rigs, as well as sailboats and houseboats. We won't start working on it until the summer, but if you have any material for us, please let us know. We'll contact you when we get, um, rolling.
*By this we mean road rigs, not small cabins on trailer platforms that are meant to be moved infrequently.
Above photo: "Gypsy Family: Georgia, Jessy, Jeanette and Ray Poulson live life on the road, selling handcrafted goods." (in New Zealand.) http://shltr.net/A8Tkn4

Bad Girls Music Video: Drag Race Party In Arabian Desert

From: http://laughingsquid.com/

Log Cabin With Thriving Living Roof

From The Tiny House Blog, 4 February 2012
Ottsjö county of Jämtland, Sweden, photo by Erik Sundström
Note: The Tiny House Blog has a rich assortment of cabins that blend into (or compliment) the landscape in their "Tiny House in a Landscape" category. Click on thumbnails underneath each large photo.

Obama Comes Out Singing

I'd heard about this, but only saw it last night on the Bill Maher show. Wow! (I'll bet he's sung the entire song to Michelle.)


Very good New Yorker article on how Obama thought he could bv a unifying president. Hah! I've always loved the idea of Destry finally strapping on his six-shooters (after coming to town holding a frilly parasol for a lady stepping out of the stage coach).

THE OBAMA MEMOS: The making of a post-post-partisan Presidency.
by Ryan Lizza - January 30, 2012
Hundreds of pages of internal White House memos show Obama grappling with the unpleasant choices of government. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/30/120130fa_fact_lizza#ixzz1lXB9DvWs