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

Bobcat Skulls

Yes, I know. I'm all over. What's going on in my life and head admittedly veers all over the place. Here's part of my animal skull collection (on top of the filing cabinet behind me), notable for the two (roadkill) bobcat skulls front center. I've finally learned how to render animal skulls, and these two came out nicely. After defleshing, I use janitorial strength ammonia for 4-5 days, then 35% hydrogen peroxide (not for faint hearted) for about a week. That's a beaver skull in the background, with one of the long teeth laying in front of it; it slides into the jawbone; found by a lake on Denman Island, BC. Bird skulls on right ((mostly doves), they're light as a feather. Wolf teeth on left (from remote spot 50 miles north of Tofino BC). Rat skull in center. Design!

The Natural World in These Parts This Week

Saw a beautiful coyote on a recent (unsuccessful) mushroom hunt. The coyotes I see every so often on the highway are a bit scuzzy looking, but this one was grand. Reddish shiny coat, black tail tip; he was big and had a princely profile like a fox.
Left: coyote scat, indicating a diet high in mice, gophers. Looks like an art object.
Going through Stinson Beach Tuesday a deer bolted down the road. Galloping, two front feet, then two rear feet alternately. Rippling front leg muscles. Powerful and healthy. Then that night, on my nighttime run by headlight, another coyote at the nearby farm. Ran away from me, then climbed to the top of a pyramid-shaped compost pile. The Joker.
This morning more varieties of birds than I've ever seen outside the kitchen window. Crows, doves, quail, robins, red-winged blackbirds. a Rufus-sided towee (little beauty), sparrows (ugh), and the ever-spooky rock pigeons. Cornucopia of feathered flight.
   Some years ago I had a series of dreams about flying. It wasn't like I was just floating in the air. I had to run along, flap arms, and take off. So utterly real, still thrills me to think about it. I often watch (in envy) the elegant-in-flight turkey buzzards riding updrafts by the ocean cliffs, or a line of Pelicans just inches above the water, gliding on the updraft of breaking waves. Eat my heart out.
   Here are some Fluted Black Elfin Saddle mushrooms Lew gathered in Inverness, too far past prime to eat, but the only half-way decent fungi in the woods right now. C'mon rain! C'mon low pressure, which allows the storms to come in off the ocean.
Got my 15 hp Evinrude outboard motor tuned up. Billy and I are going clamming, musseling, and crabbing on Saturday in Tomales Bay. I have a 12' aluminum Klamath boat. It's a little dicey getting out through the ocean waves here with a boat that small, but Tomales Bay is a piece of cake. I'm dedicated to getting ever more food from the wild.
   Spring is peeking around the corner. The light is richer, green grass growing, plum tree budding out, red-winged blackbirds singing their Spring song. I'm a child of Spring, born in April, so I feel exuberant this time of year.

Reprinting Our Color Books Up the Kazoo Now

1. We're doing a (12,500-copy) reprint of Tiny Homes. It will arrive at the Publishers Group West warehouse in Tennessee on April 4. First printing was 15,000 and we're just about out of stock. It sold over 4,000 copies in the first 8 days of February.
2. We're printing 5,000 copies of the (2" x 2-1/4") mini tiny homes book. We've just about gone through the first 2,000. I tell you, I've never had an object that is so much fun to give out. People just love it. (As I'm sure I've said), 95% of the people I hand it to laugh out loud. Not a smile, an audible laugh.
   I've been going around to shops in San Francisco, giving it out. Surf or skate shops, barista locales, bike shops, gardening stores. We're going to look for people in different cities to do the same. My friend Shelter Serra took a bunch to NYC a few weeks ago and just emailed "Everyone loves the book!!"
   We're setting up book signings for me. Will post places and dates later. We're hoping for word-of-mouth to keep this book rolling. If you love it, email yr. friends.
3. We just reprinted Shelter with Paramount Printers in Hong Kong and does it look good! We'd done recent reprints in Colombia, and the printers were not on the ball like Paramount. This is by far the best printing in 39 years of printing Shelter; photos look snappy. (The first 160,000 copies were done on a web offset (newspaper) press; these are on sheet-fed (better quality) presses.
4. We're reprinting both Home Work and Builders of the Pacific Coast.
5. Shameless Commerce Dept: 30% discount on 3 or more of our building books: http://www.shelterpub.com/_ad/TH-sale.html

Our First eBook Gets QED Award

When it came time to do our first e-book — Marathon: You Can Do It!, by Jeff Galloway — we couldn't find anyone we thought would do a good enough job converting print book to ebook. So Rick Gordon did the book "in-house," for the iPad and the Kindle. It came out really well: typography, color, graphics, and perhaps most importantly, smooth flowing of the many training charts in the book. I compared it with all the other iPad e-books on running, and it looks way better.
   We entered it in the non-fiction category of the Publishing Innovation Awards this year and it was was one of three runner-ups for the Publishing Innovation Awards in the non-fiction ebook category, from among a lot of entrants. (There were separate categories for apps and multimedia enhanced ebooks.) It was awarded the QED (Quality-Excellence-Design) seal.
   Here's what the judges said about Rick's work:

Fashion in Today's New York Times

Sorry, couldn't resist this.

Design by Marc Jacobs

Treehouse in Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Above pic from: http://shltr.net/trhswan
From D B Day IV

Rural America After the Depression, 1939-1943

African American's tenant's home beside the Mississippi River levee. Near Lake Providence, Louisiana, June 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
"These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color."
Sent us by Bob Kahn

Charlie Bit My Finger - Again!

Am I the only one who hasn't seen this?

512 sq. ft. Lofted Cabin Costs $10,000

"…And wouldn't a $7,000 - $10,000.00 small loan be nice to have, compared to a massive mortgage that takes 40 years to pay off?"


9-Year-old Banjo Player!

And here's a good start for you today, also compliments of Rick Gordon:

Exercise as Housecleaning for the Body

"When ticking off the benefits of physical activity, few of us would include intracellular housecleaning. But a new study suggests that the ability of exercise to speed the removal of garbage from inside our body’s cells may be one of its most valuable, if least visible, effects.…"
New York Times article Feb 1, 2012 by Gretchen Reynolds:
Thanks to Eric Spector for this

Huge Homes: Grotesque Shelter

"Shooting ranges, an indoor tennis court, a bedroom bigger than many houses: For a small cadre of very wealthy owners, building big is back. A bird's-eye view of some of the mega mansions going up across the country.…"
From last week's Wall Street Journal

Portable Barrel Sauna

This comment today on pic last week of VW van sauna, from Tarik Sale:
Thought you would enjoy this little portasauna:
I saw it over thanksgiving in crested butte colorado. Mt. Crested Butte in the background.
I thought is was a hobbit home to order, but no luck...

Bergmönch, the Bicycle that Folds into a Rucksack

"For all of you who love riding a bike downhill but prefer to walk uphill, here is a revolutionary new bicycle design that fits in a rucksack! It is actually meant for going mountain hiking uphill, and then wheeling downhill. The name of this new invention is Bergmönch, which means "mountain monk" in German. Check out the video below, about the monk riding a Bergmönch, and the image of the folded out bicycle."

BB King Performs "Night Life" Live in Sweden 1986

How about this to start off your day (and week)!
BB at the Umeå Jazz Festival, Umeå, Sweden in 1986. Check out the pianist and trumpet player (using rubber toilet plunger as mute, if I'm not mistaken) as well.
From Rick Gordon