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Sign on wall at Harmony Farm Supply in Sebastopol, California

This is a gardener's paradise: great garden tools, plants, trees, knowledgable staff.

Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery
3244 Gravenstein Hwy North
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Rain in Norcal on its way

Fairly dry and warm condition are forecast through midweek, except for a slight chance of rain in the north bay on Tuesday.  Chances of rain increase by Thursday and then greatly increase into this weekend.

The week will start out dry with patchy morning fog in various locations throughout the county.  A light system far north of the county is expected to develop on Tuesday, but is not expected to produce very much rain.  Rain, if any, from this system will be only along the northern county border.  Fairly dry conditions are expected throughout most of county on Wednesday with a very weak system moving into the area late Wednesday night to early Thursday morning where very light rain is expected.  Then,  a much stronger storm is expected to move into the area by late Friday and will produce rain throughout the remainder of the weekend.  Precipitation amounts may range from 1.35-inches along the eastern side and southern portions of the county, and up to 2.54-inches of rain along the coast, higher elevations and along the northern county boarder.  This system is expected to produce heavy rain at times with strong winds throughout the weekend and into next week.

Got nice oak firewood, fallen tree, side of road

The Rolling Stones, Little Queenie - Live 1969

I heard this song in the mid-60s and, being in a slightly more-than-usually conscious state of mind (coming down, that is), felt like the Stones were bending time. Taking time and goosing it, delaying it, playing with it.

Keith's book, Life, is surprisingly good. In it he talks about a record they made in a motel room with a tape deck, Charlie playing a kids' drum kit, that they achieved something with analog that you can't get with digital. (My recollection may not be entirely accurate.) But what's interesting is that digital recording is on or off, black or white, with nothing in between, if you will.

The idea of introducing (allowing) imperfections in your music, your art, your life. Richer.

Girl Builds Camper Van in 32 months

"No knowledge about cars. Or construction, or plumbing. Or electricity. Oh well, I did it anyway. So, did you notice that I built the bed twice? Heh heh, the wood one was too heavy, it took up too much room, and it squeaked like crazy. The aluminum one is much, much better.…"
Sent in by Anonymous

Purple house, purple blossoms, Novato, California.

Nearly full moon on ocean, San Francisco in background last night

Wily coyote last night on Highway One

I came around a corner and this guy was sitting on the double line. He didn't budge, just staring into the headlights. By the time I got my camera out, he ambled to the side of the road. Witty.

Building A Primitive Thatched Dome Hut From Scratch

From Kevin Kelly, who wrote: "Bootstrap your way from the stone age to farmstead. Follow this amazing primitivist who builds his own tools, and shelters from stone, dirt, plants and fire."

Raised bed with winter vegetables, February 2016

Surfer/Hang Glider/Philosopher/Musician Rod Lundquist, 1934-2016

I wrote this last week for my surfing friends from the '50s. It's a tribute to an extraordinary guy who was, among other things, the foremost big wave surfer in Northern California in those golden years.

"Out, out brief candle!"

He had this quote on the nose of his balsa wood board in 1955, crudely written (in longhand), and funkily glassed. It's a quote from Macbeth, Shakespeare commenting on the brevity and inevitability of death.

I used to wonder if it had something to do with Rod's dad dying at a very early age. Maybe he thought he wasn't going to last long, but luckily for many of us, he did.

I first knew Rod in San Francisco high school days in the early '50s; he was a city swimming champion, in the 220 and 440 yards. I was one of the swimmers at Lowell and we knew the best city swimmers: Jim Fisher and Bill Floyd at Lowell, Jose Angel at Washington, John Stonum at St. Ignatius, Billy Wilson at Sacred Heart, Rod at Lincoln; all of these except  Bill Floyd became surfers. Many of us trained at the YMCA on California Street, and then the Marine's Memorial with coach Lyle Collett. Charlie Sava, who coached SF girl Ann Curtis to 2 gold medals in the 1948 Olympics, was the city's genius coach.

I was going to Stanford and in 1954, got started surfing, and thereafter spent half of each week in Santa Cruz. By the time I moved up from Cowell's to Steamer Lane, I met Rod. He was going to San Jose State, but spending all the time he could in SC. He lived in his car with his dog Steamer.

Tiny Homes At Risk From New HUD Rule

"A proposed rule by the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) on February 9, 2016, threatens "full-time RV'ers," and further stymies those seeking to build their tiny house as a street legal home."


From Rick Gordon

Canadian Home in Our Book Inspires Home in Tasmania

Hey Lloyd, hope you are well and working hard at it on your next project!

My name is Pete Robey and my wife Blythe and I live in Tasmania. The little island attached to the bottom of Australia. Thought I would share with you that our house is the first approved cordwood home in Australia. It is currently featured in Australia’s Owner Builder magazine. You can get a link here at the bottom of the page: http://www.thehousethatworkedout.com
I bought your 3 books: Shelter, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Homework early on before we had even confirmed style.
The Baird House from page 28-31 of Builders of the Pacific Coast just grabbed me. Thanks Mike Baird and to you too Lloyd (House) for this inspiration.

We designed our home with the same ideal: every room and every area of the home can pretty much engage with every other area of the home. The village TeePee idea.

We have a massive 4ft diameter, 20 ft long tree holding up the earth roof and our 2nd story doesn’t go all the way to the middle so we have plenty of space.

We don’t have stairs, preferring to use a gym rope as exercise to get to the 2nd floor.

Catch you later.


"Ecological Wildfire," a seminar by Steven Pyne, summarized by Stewart Brand

“We are uniquely fire creatures,” Pyne began, “on a uniquely fire planet.”  Life itself is a form of slow metabolic combustion—which eventually created oxygen and burnable vegetation that allowed fast combustion, ignited by lightning.  Humans came along and mastered fire for warmth, food preparation, and managing the landscape, and that made us a keystone species.  Humanity’s ecological signature on the world is fire.

Then we made fire the all-purpose catalyst for craft (clay, glass, metal) and eventually industry, shifting to the vast geological resource of fossil fuels.  That “pyric transition” made humans dominant on the earth, even to the point of affecting climate.  We used fire to clear much of the world’s forest for agriculture.

Then came a century of misdirection about wildfire.  The forests of Europe are mostly too wet to burn, but by the late 19th century the leading foresters in world came from there and taught their ignorance to foresters in North America and India, where the land depends on seasonal fire for ecological health.  National governments set about suppressing all wildfire, with catastrophic success. In the absence of the usual occasional local fires, massive fuel loads built up, and destructive megafires became the norm.  There was an alternative theory of a “restoration strategy” to manage wildfire in way that would emulate how lightning and native American burning kept the landscape ecologically healthy, but it has been applied haltingly and fractionally, and megafires still rule.

“The real argument for fire is that it does ecological work that nothing else does,” Pyne concluded.  “Charismatic megaflora” like redwoods need fire.  An ecologically rich mosaic of forest, savannah, and meadows needs fire.  Healthy prairie needs fire or it gets taken over by invasive woody plants. People trained only as foresters are blind to all that.  Wildfire practice now works best when it is guided by wildlife biologists who insist that red cockaded woodpeckers need fire-dependent longleaf pines, that grizzly bears need the berries that grow in recent burns, that pheasants need grassland burned free of invasive eastern red cedar.

The techniques for prescribed burns for a bioabundant natural landscape are now well honed.  They need to be applied much more widely.  When in doubt how to proceed, ask the ecologists, who will ask the animals.

—Stewart Brand

Yes it's me and I'm in love again…

…with the Pacific Ocean, that is, in which I just paddled about a mile on my 12' Joe Bark paddleboard. First time paddling, first time swimming in over 2 months. Boy, did that activate some chi!

I saw a lone seal cavorting. It reminded me of a swimming teammate of mine in high school, Mike Barnato, who said he wanted to be reincarnated as a seal. I thought it might be Mike out there.

Fats Domino, "I'm in Love Again"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajWI1g7dNAk

GARY CLARK JR. - "When My Train Pulls In" (Live in Griffith Park, CA)

From Evan Kahn

Norma's Floating Store in British Columbia

Built by Bruno Atkey in Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, in the '70s, and towed 26 miles to Hot Springs Cove, where Norma Bailey ran a "…great floating store selling emergency supplies, esoteric items, and Wild Coast history books," according to Godfrey Stephens, who just sent this photo.

Inspired by Shelter in 1973

Hi Lloyd,
On first looking into your Shelter book in 1973, my fate was sealed. Since then, I have made my own ceramic tile, been a tile setter for 35 years, and am a serial remodeler and builder of tiny houses. Pictured here with my original Shelter book. I recently came upon your Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, and have been inspired anew. Rage on!
Fred Ross
San Anselmo, CA

Golden Valley, Minnesota Hereby Nominated for Oppressive/Despotic City Award of the Month

Article by Eric Boehm in Watchdog.Org Minnesota Bureau:
"Nanny State of the Week: Town inspection checks whether you cleaned your toilet
Local officials in a Minnesota town want to make sure their residents are keeping a tidy home.… Officials in one Minnesota town are willing to spend more taxpayer money on an appeal after they were told they can’t inspect rental properties without a good reason.
Two landlords in Golden Valley, Minnesota, who recently found themselves on the receiving end of inspections from city housing officials now find themselves dragged into court to defend their right to privacy. They say they were within their rights to block what the city calls a mandatory inspection of rental properties.
Even after one Minnesota judge ruled that Golden Valley can’t conduct inspections without a good reason, the city is spending more taxpayer money on an appeal.…"
Sent in by Anonymous

Anyone got tips on hearing aids?

One of the best things about doing this blog is the feedback. In the “comments” section, I've had people recommend all kinds of things: tools, movies, music, remedies that I have found useful. So here I'm throwing out a question about hearing aids. I need to get them, but hate to spend $2-$3000 on each one. I think it's a racket, maybe an oligopoly of sorts. They shouldn't cost that much. Also, I don't need all the latest bells and whistles.

I've seen $3-$500 hearing aids, but one problem is that I need them to be waterproof because I know I can't remember to take them out each time I get in the water. I'm just not that consistently conscious with the requirement of daily life.

Any tips?

Redwood lumber at Goodman Building Supply in Mill Valley, Calif.

via Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BBilt6hgMnN/
Went there a few days ago, made me realize how much I miss building. The smell, texture, colors make me want to put on my tool belt.

Scarecrow With Attitude

On Mark and Meg's NorCal homestead

Healing Broken Bones

I fractured my wrist two months ago. Once I got the cast off, I took these steps to hasten bone healing and restoration of hand strength:
 a) compresses with fresh leaves and/or roots, wrapped in Saranwrap, then velcro bandage, then heat pad for a few hours. You can also purchase dried comfrey leaves and roots.
 b) Dr Christopher's Tissue and Bone Ointment; check out the 400 customer reviews on Amazon here.
Comfrey is a magical plant. It's also called Knitbone. I used it years ago on cracked ribs and made me feel better instantly.
Medical Marijuana 
Another miracle: Mary's Transdermal patches -- cannabidol, CBD (the type marijuana that has healing properties, but does not get you stoned). They cost $20 each, but boy, have they worked for me. Left on for 12 hours. Took away pain. The next morning I forgot I'd had an injury. With about 5 days of these two remedies I've gone from maybe 50% to 80% of full recovery. http://www.marysmedicinals.com/
Calcium citrate and vitamin D3
My doc recommended.
Yes, check them out. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/2015/06/23/07152c22-1909-11e5-ab92-c75ae6ab94b5_story.html
Bone broth
I've sort of done a blitz with these treatments and it's wonderful to get my hand working again. I haven't actually gone to rehab yet, because there is so much I do naturally in my daily life with my hands that I'm not sure I need "exercises." Each day I do more.

Stretching at Your Computer

Our software StretchWare is now free. StretchWare is the ergonomic software that reminds you to stretch, developed by Bob Anderson, author of our book, Stretching.

It's a great program; every hour or two hours, or certain number of keystrokes, a Tibetan bell rings and a window pops up asking if you have time to stretch. If you do, you click okay, and the stretches pop up on the screen. When you roll your mouse over an individual stretch, instructions pop up in a window.

It works on both Mac and Windows computers. Go here to download:

BTW, we were kind of amazed to learn this week that our book Stretching sold 38,000 copies in China last year.

My 5000th Post!

For some years I was really into blogging. These days I post a lot less, what with doing Instagram, contributing to theshelterblog, Tumblr, Twitter, and reluctantly, Facebook. A blizzard of internet activity.

The idea is to get our "content" out in digital form to compliment our publishing of hold-in-your-hands books. All this with "build it and they will come" approach. We're working at having theshelterblog be more and more of our original material as opposed to stuff already on the web.

We've also upgraded our website in the process.

I'm also posting less because I'm immersed in production of our next book, Small Homes. Which is looking, ahem, incredibly good. This may end up being our most relevant building book ever, with a variety of simple homes and lifestyles that will give lots of people ideas and inspiration to create their own shelters.

Sure, tiny homes are wonderful and photogenic and a welcome relief from homes that are too big and expensive and rents that are too high. But small homes are relevant for way more people.

So far we've done 97 (out of approx. 200) pages. A sample we just completed today:

So onward I go with the book, posting less. But hey, 5000 posts is a body of work (along with all time history page views of 7,448,979)…

The Magic Machine From the Past

My friend Ralph said that his granddaughter had gone up into the attic and discovered a typewriter. She came running downstairs.

"Grandpa, you push this button and instantaneously a letter appears on the paper!"

Like, no waiting for the printer.

For Stones Fans Only

If I had to pick one, I guess my favorite musical genre would be the blues. Something that reaches to my most inner depths.

BUT there's just something about rock n roll that grabs me out of the blue, so to speak, every once in awhile. Gimme Shelter came on* when I was doing dishes last week, such a perfect song, one for which I have several rather deep connections.

A few notes by Keith, 2 drumbeats by Charlie then a few triplets of ooo-ooo-ooos from the girls before:
Oh, a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

Then on came Let It Bleed. We all need someone to lean on. So true.

Check it out 60s R&R fans. Like every few years I listen to Blonde on Blonde or the Band's first album.
*on our very fine locsal station KWMR, which plays world-class outstsanding music