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Chand Baori Step Well in Rajasthan, India

"Chand Baori in Abhaneri village in eastern Rajasthan, India, is one of the most overlooked landmarks in the country. It is one of the oldest stepwell in Rajasthan, and is considered to be among the biggest in the world. Chand Baori looks like anything but a well. This incredible square structure is 13 stories deep, and lined along the walls on three sides are double flight of steps. 3,500 narrow steps arranged in perfect symmetry descends to the bottom of the well 20 meters deep to a murky green puddle of water. Built during the 8th and 9th century by King Chanda of Nikumbha Dynasty, provided the surrounding areas with a dependable water source for centuries before modern water delivery systems were introduced. As the green water at the base attests, the well is no longer in use, but it makes for an interesting stop-over to an architecturally impressive structure that is over 1000 years old. There’s also a temple adjoining the well for visitors to explore.…"
Sent by Anonymous

Tuesday Morning Fish Fry

In Sunday's NYTimes, an op-ed by Mark Lynas, on GMO's: he touts a genetically modified eggplant that has been bred to resist pests on its own, not requiring pesticides. Hmm.…Also in the Times, a coyote is captured in Manhattan…We just received our shipment of Stretching - Pocket Book Edition -- and it is actually sensational; stretching in the 21st century, it actually fits in a pocket…On May 15 I'm going to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops in San Francisco, then that weekend is the Maker Faire in San Mateo, where we'll have a booth, be giving away our mini books and selling building books, and I'll be doing a presentation Saturday titled "50 Years of Natural Building"…May 23rd I'm going to NYC for the big book convention and to hang out for a week…On June 5-7 is The Mother Earth News Fair in Albany, Oregon (near Corvallis) and I'm doing a presentation on Tiny Homes on the Move and another titled "50 Years of Natural Building." Mother Earth editor Cheryl Long suggested the latter and I'm pretty excited about putting together a summary of all these years of shooting photos of buildings…been listening to the "girl groups" of the 50-60s. the Ronettes, Shirelles, Chantelles, McGuire Sisters, the Chiffons, the Dixie Cups -- wonderful vocal harmonies…musical factoid: Little Eva, who did "The Loco-motion," was a babysitter for Carol King and her husband Gerry Goffin; Carole and Gerry talked Eva into doing a demo, and a bit of musical history was made.

Victorian Home in Napa

Now here's some carpentry!

Secret Apartment in Eiffel Tower

"When the Eiffel Tower opened in 1889 to universal wonder and acclaim, designer Gustave Eiffel soaked up the praise, but as if that wasn't enough, it was soon revealed that he had built himself a small apartment near the top of the world wonder garnering him the envy of the Parisian elite in addition to his new fame.…"
From Anonymous

A Few Great Days in Napa

Friday I did a slide show on Tiny Homes on the Move at the Napa Bookmine bookstore. A great bookstore, a wonderful crowd, all of us on the same page. Made me think of Sam Cooke saying to the audience on his "Live at Harlem Square" album, "I can see you're with me tonight."

Rapport has been wonderful lately. 45 years of doing these building books; there's a thread through these books and people who've read them. A tribe of us interested in a certain kind of shelter, warm, inviting, full of life, the antithesis of the Dwell magazine aesthetic.

"…all rooms ought to look as if they were lived in, and to have, so to say, a friendly welcome for the incomer."
-William Morris

And working with our own hands.

Shot a lot of photos of mostly small homes in Napa. After dinner, store owners Naomi and Eric and I and a bunch of their friends headed up into the hills and had a marvelous meal prepared by master chef (and carpenter and musician) Steve Hutchinson. Wine flowed, 2 of the guys worked for wineries, it was a real treat. After everyone left, Steve and I got in the hot tub, yes, with glasses of wine, yes a hot tub in Napa, snark away, Californians in their hot tubs, etc. It started to rain -- hard -- and here we were at 2200 feet on a mountain, in hot water in the pouring-down rain.

Stunning Hobbit-Like Cave House in New Zealand

Sent us by Kelly Hart, of www.greenhomebuilding.com. WOW!!
"Underhill is an incredible hobbit-home like, eco-cave house built into the hillside of a Waikato (New Zealand) farm. The house is cleverly constructed to resemble a cave. With no electricity in the house, the stone, wood and rustic features truly make you feel like you’re stepping back in time. We’re almost totally enclosed in our tiny house and will soon be moving onto the internal fit-out. We thought this was a great opportunity to show you around the house so far and what we have planned for the inside!…"

Afghan Girls, Not Allowed To Ride Bicycles, Ride Skateboards

"Skateistan, an innovative NGO in Kabul founded to empower Afghan children (and especially young girls), teaches children to skateboard as a gateway to get them more involved in education. In a tribute to these children’s struggles, UK-based photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson created a photo series portraying the girls learning to skateboard at the NGO’s branch in Kabul (it has since spread to Cambodia and South Africa).
In many Afghan communities, it is customary to forbid women from riding bicycles. Skateboarding, then, becomes an empowering activity that gives these girls a source of physical exercise, empowerment, and some plain and simple fun."

Sent in by Anonymous