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    Half-Acre Homestead

Moroccan Bow Lathe Turner

Thanks to Bob Dow for sending this

Canoe Trip in Boundary Waters

Yesterday Peter Henrikson, the timber framing master at the North House Folk School, took me out in a (40 lb. Kevlar) canoe into this water wonderland. I'd heard about it, but it sort of defies description. Now I know why they stay Minnesota has 10,000 lakes. We were out for about 6 hours, going from lake to lake, (Peter) portaging twice. We saw 5 bald eagles, two loons, beaver lodges galore, it was a great day. We had lunch sitting on a big rock. The silence is intense; not even airplanes flying over. We got sweaty after hiking a mile and jumped in a lake (momentarily). Bill, the outfitter, told us to check out a rock that looked like it could a dolmen, and here's Peter checking out its underside. Glacier, or primitive humans?
  I am having lot of fun! I did my seminar on the small homestead today and am the, ahem, featured
 speaker of this 3-day conference on sustainability. I'm doing my Tiny Homes slide show and answering questions tomorrow night at 7:30 (brick oven pizza being served). I got interviewed on the local radio station today and it sounds like a local web TV outfit is going to film it tomorrow night.

Garden at Home the Day I Left on This Trip

Stone House on River Northeast of Grand Marais, Minnesota

Photo Trip This Afternoon

I went uplake with Bill and Bryan after my talk at the school today. Here are some pics. The brilliant colors are the Naniboujou Lodge on the shores of Lake Superior, which was "… was first conceived in the 1920's as an ultra exclusive private club. Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Ring Lardner were among its charter members.…" The fireplace is a stunner, with 20 tons of lake rock. http://www.naniboujou.com

St Francis Xavier Church on outskirts of Grand Marais, built in 1895

Yes, I know. I am, as they say, all over the place. Can't help it.

North House Folk School

It turns out to be a wonderful place. I don't know how they manage so many classes. Craftsmanship everywhere is high quality. Boat building, timber framing, weaving, basket making, blacksmithing. I'm about to take off in a canoe with Peter, the timber framer, in the Boundary Waters, so I'll throw a few photos out here and post details later. The building is their blacksmith training shop, which contains 4 forges.
  I'm doing my "The Half Acre Homestead" tomorrow (Friday) and Tiny Homes presentation Saturday.

The Sky Is Crying/Albert King


Flatt & Scruggs perform "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," 1965

5-Min. Video Shot When Tiny Homes Was in Production

This is a 5-min. video by Kirsten Dirksen of me talking about the Tiny Homes book, books of the '60s like the Whole Earth Catalog, and showing bits of our half acre homestead including production studio.  It was shot while we were in production. Kirsten and her partner Nicolás Boullosa run faircompanies.com, (in Barcelona), which has an "embarrassment of riches" in tiny homes videos.

Some Pics in Grand Marais Last Night

"Beaver Flicks" are fishing lures invented by these guys. They have hooks of various sizes and flicking metallic tails. I bought a bunch of them to try out in tide pools. Guess why they whited in the "I."

Tom's Logging Camp

Maybe a quarter of the way from Duluth to Grand Marais, yesterday, in a drizzling rain, I stopped in at this place (5797 N. Shore Dr.), and bingo! The trading post is filled with stuffed animals, old tools, guns, and skins on the walls, plus a ton of trinkets, moccasins, Native American-oriented stuff, what have you. I talked to one of the owners, Bill Weckman, about a bunch of things and we were on the same page, as they say. After a while, he said, "Have you got 10 minutes?" "Well — yeah," and he took me out in the back where there are a number of buildings with old logging tools, a blacksmith shop, a sauna (Finnish loggers), all giving you a clear idea of what life was like right here back in the day. Also a beautiful flock of chickens and two mystical black llamas. Below are some pics. (Wish I didn't have to do this kind of dumb layout; such is the fate of a non-programmer.)
The Big Horned Sheep was huge. As was the  buffalo; look at the mystery and majesty and power of that head. Cattle are so lame by comparison.

The horse contraption holds a horse immobile while it is beings shoed. That's a wooden (horse-drawn) school bus.

Apple Tree in Garden the Day I Left for Minnesota

Meet the Tiny House Family Who Built an Amazing Mini Home for Just $12,000

Article by Yuka Yoneda, 05/01/12

When The Cactus Is In Bloom/Jimmie Rodgers


Highway 61 Revisited Phase 1

I set off from Duluth around noon, after a jet-black pint of oat ale and a smoked (local) trout salad at the pub, and it's taken me 4 hours to make a 2 hour trip to Grand Marais, due to all the interesting stuff I ran across. Highway 61 (yes the very one) all the way and it runs along the north shore of Lake Superior (which, by the way, and unlike say, Lake Michigan, is cold all year). Good music on radio all the way.
"…But the second mother was with the seventh son
And they were both out on Highway 61."

Brick Masons of Old Duluth

Just spent an hour in downtown Duluth, where there are masonry masterpieces galore. The big building is a high school!

Not-for-the-faint-hearted Treehouse High in the Woods in BC

-This maybe take a while to load
-I don't know where it is or who they are, but it sure is far out.
-Looks like they used a radio-controlled helicopter with camera (I'll bet a Go-Pro) attached.
-This came from Jonaven Moore via Godfrey Stephens

Hotel in a Brewery Built in the 1800s

I was home from Canada for a day, then got up at 3 to catch a 6AM flight to Chicago. I'm doing presentations at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, on the banks of Lake Superior this coming weekend. It's an institution I've always admired. (Check out their classes.)
   I had to catch a flight from O'Hair to Duluth and we landed late, so I ran with luggage about a mile and got to the gate just as it was closing, last one on plane, phew! A friend from a past life (in Baja), Peter Kohlsaat, lives in Milwaukee and has a cabin in Duluth, and I was invited to dinner. I ended up staying at the Fitger Hotel and Brewery, which is in an ancient stone building on the lake; the brewery dates back to the 1850s. For an extra $10, I got a room looking bout at the expanse of Lake Superior. I had an hour to kill before going to Peter's, so got a Hempen Ale (among the ingredients are hemp seeds) at the bar. A guy down the bar said "Are you Lloyd?" I mean here in the middle of Minnesota. Turns out he is Peter's fishing partner, and we had met in Baja in years past.
   People are really friendly here. It's a relief to get away from the Calif/NY coasts, to get a different perspective. There's an America out here that I still love, in spite of -- well, you know…
   Had a great dinner, including a killer Key Lime pie, with Peter and Cindy. Who, it turns out, have a house filled with vinyl records, and we had a lively conversation, with music playing, of music and musicians we all loved. Including Duluth's own Bobby Zimmerman and, factoid of the day: I took Minnesota Highwy 61 to get to Peter and Cindy's…
  I'm looking out the hotel window at this vast (and clean, I'm told) lake, getting ready to go shoot some photos in Duluth. I saw some beautiful buildings yesterday, stonework like you don't see out west…

Two Photos From Island in BC

Paul's Row/Sail Boat


Paul Clark's  homebuilt 16' row/sail boat in Victoria. The hull without any equipment weighs about 150 pounds. Paul has a leeboard on the starboard side. (With a centerboard  he wouldn't be able to sleep in the boat — which he does). He's rowed and sailed in local (Vancouver Island) waters and has gone on trips of a week or more. He and Godfrey are talking about sailing across the Strait of San Juan de  Fuca in September,  Godfrey in his 12' San Francisco Pelican, to go to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival (Sept 7-9.)

Dane & Leah's 396-Foot Craigslist Kingdom

Location: Portland, OR
Square Feet: 365
"What I Love About My Small Home:
Though our apartment suffers a bit from old building syndrome (poor water pressure, only a few electrical outlets, and a random pipe in the bathroom that gets burning hot from 5-7 PM every night), an overwhelming sense of 'homey-ness' is felt in every corner of our studio thanks to the craftsmanship and details that are rarely seen in modern apartments.…"