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    Half-Acre Homestead

Maryland Couple to Retire in $19K Tiny Home on Wheels

"When Greg Cantori and his wife, Renee, are ready to retire, they will not only have to pack up their respective offices, but also downsize their home, in a big way. The Cantoris of Pasadena, Md., plan to retire in a 238-square-foot house on wheels they purchased two years ago for $19,000. The couple lives with one of their two grown daughters in a 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home on the same lot where their future retirement home waits on wheels. 'We don’t know how many years it will be but we’re getting there,' said Cantori, the president of Maryland Nonprofits. …"
Click here.
Photo: Kenneth Lam/MCT/Landov

Flat-Pack Urinal: Composing Straw Bale for Outdoor Events

When I was hitchhiking in France (in 1957), a truck driver that had given us a ride stopped, got out of his truck, walked over to a fence by the side of the road, and took a piss. So simple; why not? He was facing away from traffic, unit not visible. In this country (or the UK), it's not de rigueur for some reason. The French don't seem to have that Puritan body-as-shameful attitude.
   Here, from Mike W., is a great alternative to toxic chemical toilets for males (at least for urine) at outdoor events. Totally makes sense. Save that nitrogen!

   "It is inefficient and unsustainable to haul human waste back in from remote festivals and other places typically populated with port-a-potties. So why not use on-hand materials to make something simple and green?
   Thus L’Uritonnoir by Faltazi which turns an everyday farm item into a urinal by means of simple funnels attached on various sides and connected via a loop running around the perimeter. The composted results can be recycled right back into the local land. …"
Click here.

The Treadmill Desk

"I am writing this while walking on a treadmill. And now you know the biggest problem with working at a treadmill desk: the compulsion to announce constantly that you are working at a treadmill desk. It’s a lot like the early days of cell-phone calls, when the simple fact that you were doing what you were doing seemed so amazing that most conversations consisted largely of exclamations about the amazingness of the call. …
"…people don’t run at treadmill desks. They walk at one or two miles per hour, which is slow enough so that it doesn’t interfere with typing or talking or reading. …"
-Susan Orlean in the May 20, v2013 issue of The New Yorker here.

What a brilliant idea. I'm looking on Craig's List for a treadmill.

Malissa's Very Tiny Home in Washington

Name: Malissa
Location: Snohomish, WA Square Feet: 170
What I Love About My Small Home: The most powerful feeling that I have about my small home will always be the love I feel while nestled inside it. It's cozy and comfortable, a great space to do my creative art, while also serving as my perfect retreat. I love everything about it!
Biggest Challenge of Living in a Small Space with two people and two cats: finding your own place. My house is only 170 square feet, and in a space that small, it's important that you feel you can go to your own place and do your own thing. It's amazing that we are able to work on our own projects while in the company of the other. My husband will be working on his photography on the computer while I'm up in the loft diving into a good book. The house was designed for us, and that's what makes it work.
Click here.

Lloyd's "Half Acre Homestead" Talk at Maker Faire This Weekend

Two years ago I did a "1/4 acre homestead" talk at the Maker Faire at the San Mateo County (Calif.) Event Center). This time around, I have a lot more material, plus URLs on all the tools I'm going to show. I'll be doing a presentation on the Maker Faire Stage, at 2 PM on Saturday, May 18th, and at 2 PM Sunday, May 19th. Information on the Faire: http://makerfaire.com/.  Reviews of the Faire: http://www.yelp.com/biz/maker-faire-san-mateo.

I'll be showing slides of our homestead, and the various tools we use around here in the kitchen, garden, and shop -- from 40+ years' experience. I've picked the tools I think are unique and maybe not so well known, and left off all the ones that I think people may already know about. We've posted the URLs on our website here: http://www.shelterpub.com/_homestead/tools.html and I'll be passing out cards with a QR code so people in the audience so they can check out any of these tools when they get home. I'll also have copies of our Tiny Homes mini book (2" x 2") to give out.

Lew and Evan will be manning a booth (#4925) in the Expo Hall. This is the largest hall, and our booth is at the back. We'll be showing the process we use in producing books, including the first draft layout pages done with scissors and scotch tape. We'll also be selling copies of our building books, and giving away mini books.

Photo: draining dish rack in our kitchen built (20 years ago) by Lew Lewandowski

Tiny Cabin With Fold-out Porches

"Now here’s a tiny cabin with a twist that I wanted to show you. It’s best built on stilts so you can make the best of use of the fold out porch area. The tiny home is named The Forrester’s Cabin. It was built in 1996 and has a 24′x12′ footprint. Once it’s closed up it looks just like a shed. But once the porch platforms are dropped it reveals the beautiful home inside. It has a double bed alcove inside with a kitchen, bathroom, and more.…"
By Alex, May 8, 2013, on Tiny House Talk here.

Roderick James Architects

Airhead Composting Toilet

SunMar composting toilets are well known, but this one is new to me. Seems to be primarily for boats, but some people apparently use them in tiny homes.
   "A workable system for small to medium sized boats, giving even pocket cruisers the independence of a large vessel" http://www.airheadtoilet.com/

Shoulders and Knees, Oh Please

It's been almost 4 months since my shoulder surgery, and a few days ago, I realized the tendon was finally reconnected to the bone and strengthening. Yahoo! Yesterday I was talking to Elmer Collett, former 49er guard and neighbor, about how when you've got an injury, it seems like it'll never heal and then, one day, voila! You're on the plus side of the situation. He knew exactly what I meant.

I had a bit of a setback, let it rest, then started doing rehab exercises, and in the last few days have started using my Vasa Trainer, a pulley type device for swimmers and surfers, which approximates paddling, and it felt OK. I'm gonna be able to surf again, not just sit on the beach or cliff and wistfully watch the action.

It was a dramatic change, in both function and mood.

The recoverability of the human body is awesome. Dr. Henry Bieler, in his great book "Food Is Your Best Medicine," has a chapter titled "The Magnificent Human Body." And so it is.

Leverageing My Content

I first heard the phrase from a friend who went to work for a hot new company during the tech boom. Well, uh, OK. But in spite of its dorky sound, it has real meaning for someone like me.

I'm all over the place. Can't help it. Always have been. Everything in this world is just so daggone interesting. Especially now. I think I appreciate the computer more than younger people because of where I come from. It's such a breath-taking span from hot lead type to InDesign, from bulky dictionaries to Google, from rotary phones to the iPhone 5. (Part of my excuse for being so eclectic.)

Back to leveraging: I'd like to sell more books, I'd like to get us more income so we can get out of the 40-year-old scrambling for $$ to pay the printers. I had an idea: to take targeted sections of this blog and turn them into eBooks. Say homesteading. For people interested in homesteading, but not necessarily in Muddy Waters or skateboarding.

You homesteaders and gardeners out there: would you pay $2.99 or $3.99 for an ebook based on a selection from my homesteading posts?  Go down on the far right column and under "Topics," click on "homesteading."

I don't know about a print book. It could be done but might cost too much.

I've put up over 3500 posts now. Does it make sense to separate this mass into subjects and reach "targeted" audiences?

Playing Along With Liberace

There was an article on Liberace in this morning's Sunday NYTimes, and it reminded me of a prank in 1954, when I spent the summer at my friend Buster's house in Denver. There was a Liberace concert at Red Rocks out door amphitheater. Buster and I went early and climbed up to a ledge on the western cliff above the stage, where we were partially hidden. I took my banjo.
   Liberace came out and before playing, was talking about a critic in the Denver Post who'd said something unfavorable about him. I starting played "Ain't She Sweet" on my banjo. He stopped talking, the crowd was hushed, and he looked up and said, "Well, I guess she brought along her banjo." Everyone laughed and I shut up. Respect for such quick wit.

Memphis Jug Band - Going Back to Memphis (1930)

I fiddled around with playing the jug (as well as ukulele and washtub bass) in high school. I have a box bass (sort of a wooden washtub bass) and a jug in the office these days. Often, when I hear something on the radio, I'll play along on the box bass. I feel like I'm in the band.
Or, once in a while I'll put on the Memphis Blues Band or Gus Cannon and His Jug Stompers and play along on my jug. I've tried out dozens of jugs, and this brown ceramic one has the best tone.
    The Memphis Jug Band is, they say in liner notes, was "…the best jug band ever recorded." I was stunned when I first heard them (courtesy of my friend Louie). It was all so -- familiar. They're part of blues history that not many people know about. Interesting that they preceded Robert Johnson. 

Going Back To Memphis by Memphis Jug Band on Grooveshark

Elmore James, Dust My Broom

Dust My Broom by Elmore James on Grooveshark

Wooden Boat Building

"A short documentary about the craft and philosophy of wooden boat carpentry. Directed by Kat Gardiner, produced by Kat Gardiner & Nathan Walker"
Sent us by Mike W