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Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis in Garden


The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast

Anyone who fishes (or clams or collects anything from the California coast) will love this book. In fact, anyone on the west coast of the USA, from Baja California up to BC, will learn how to catch, gather, clean, and cook fish, clams, mussels, eels, crabs, and seaweed from this witty and complete fishing compendium. Kirk Lombard worked for 7 years as an observer for The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission before becoming "The Sea Forager" in the San Francisco Bay Area. He conducts fishing classes, does demonstrations, and sells sustainable seafood. IYou can get info on all his coastal activities and buy the book at: http://www.seaforager.com/

Full disclosure: I've been to one of Kirk's fishing demos, attended a seminar on making pickled herring, and went fishing with him for night smelt (caught 15 lbs. that night, netting them in the surf).) I've gotten a ton of useful info from him, including tonight, when I used his technique for getting the skin off horseneck clam siphons (slit lengthwise, soak in warm water for 10 min.) before making clam fritters (below, left).

He tells you how to catch salmon, halibut, rockfish, striped bass, and 8-10 other kinds of fish, how to gather 15 different types of shellfish, how to pickle seaweed (I've got a jar of pickled kelp in the frig right now, and I put ground-up dried seaweed on omelets, potatoes, anything hot). He's big on the small fish in the area — herring, anchovies, smelt, grunion, and mackerel — because they're low on the food chain, super healthy, and take pressure off the popular fish.

He's got a sense of humor, plays in a band (his oldest kid is named Django), and has fun with his work and teaching.

The book is very nicely illustrated by Leighton Kelly.

Rachel Pozivenec's Masks


Rachel Pozivenec studied mask making in Mongolia and has created a unique mix of human and animal masks - coyote, wolf, turtle , fox, hare - out of clay, acrylic, feathers and hair. www.rachelpozivenec.com/yearbook/

Posture Lessons Learned from Cats

From The Gokhale Method:
http://shltr.net/2fVSVxv

Note: Esther Gokhale has written a great book on posture: http://gokhalemethod.com/8-steps-pain-free-back

Lesley's Open Studio This Weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Lesley is having an open studio this weekend in Bolinas featuring knitted wool scarves and woven Alpaca shawls. Info here: http://www.coastalmarinartists.com/2016-open-studios-thanksgiving-weekend/creed-copy/

Two of our favorite potters are among the 16 artists doing open studios: Patricia Yenawine and Mardi Wood. Info on all artists here: http://www.coastalmarinartists.com/ (Roll mouse over images to get artists' names.)

Helicopter Skiing in Bella Coola, British Columbia, with First Nations Imagery

Music: A Tribe Called Red - Electric Pow Wow Drum

#sanfrancisco #victorian #carpentry #architecturephotography #millwork


"I don't have to show you any stinking badges."

Famous movie quotes quiz (mostly vintage).
I have to remember, when talking to people much younger, that we don't necessarily share the same points of reference. These are all embedded in my memory, and I have to remember that there's a certain age requirement for them to have any meaning.
1. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
2. "He vas my boyfriend!"*
3. "Here's looking at you, kid."
4. "We'll always have Paris."
5. "Round up the usual suspects."
6. "Made it Ma, top of the world!"
7. “Mussolini, Hitler—and now, Peterson!”
8. "I coulda been a contender."
9. "You talkin to me?"
10. "Go ahead, make my day."
11. "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
12. " You just put your lips together and blow."
13, "Nobody's perfect."
14. "It was beauty killed the beast."
15. "The Dude abides."
16. "You're my baby, man."
17. "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille."

*in what is probably my favorite film of all time: 
18. "…just exactly what is it that you do do?"
19. "Put the candle back!"
20. "Don't put the candle back!"
20. " Do not open this door."
21. "Open this god dammed door…"
22.  "Oh, you men are all alike. Seven or eight quick ones and you're off with the boys…"

Hey, this is fun, but I gotta get back to work. We're putting the finishing touches on Small Homes: The Right Size this week.

Woodworkers Attention: J. B. Blunk's Handcrafted Wooden Home in the Northern California Woods

I visited J.B. in the early '60s, when I was just starting to build. I was inspired. It was (is) a magic house. Everyone who steps inside feels it.

Here's a great article and photos in yesterday's New York Times Style Magazine by Amanda Fortini, with photos by Lisa Eisner:
http://shltr.net/2fyLfRi

Into San Francisco Early This Morning

I left around 6AM, stars were out, it was cold. My MO for these early morning rides into the city: cup of fresh ginger tea, a bit of power plant in Ploom, the Michael Des Barres program on Sirius radio (for which I thank you, Lew!), iPhone ready for whatever pops up.

This morning as I drove the windy road, I counted 54 lights out in the sea, crab season just opened, and it might be a good one. Neighbor fisherman Todd pulled 35 pots the 1st day, got 700 lbs. dungeness crab (we had fresh crab with 1-hour-old porcini pasta, + my brother's deep red Syrah wine last night, ahem).

I was driving my Toyota truck (picking up lumber today) when, on a tight turn, a white Porsche, came roaring up behind me, didn't hesitate, whipped around me with a roar, crossing the double line, baby -- you go!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ6akiGRcL8&list=RDlQ6akiGRcL8#t=0

It's always a thrill to go thru the tunnel and see the Golden GateBridge. This is my bridge; I've been to the top of it, and crossed under it in a kayak -- and this the city that I love to this day, 81 years later. I start the day with a latte and brioche at Cafe Roma, old-school coffee house in North Beach, spend a few hours writing, editing, blogging, listening to music on earphones before venturing out for the day's chores.

This was playing as I went through the tunnel:

Check Out Our Photos Now on Tumblr

Above: Caleb and Louise's hand-built home near West Cornwall, Connecticut, in the early '70s
Sean Hellfritsch gave us the idea of using Tumblr for good quality photos; he started it and now Brittany Cole Bush is continuing to put up photos, some old, some recent.
Click here: http://shelterpub.tumblr.com/

Cool Tools- My Favorite Website

As I've said before, this is the 21st century online Whole Earth Catalog. Same M.O.: People like us writing reviews of cool stuff for other people like us. It's embarrassing how many things I've obtained after reading about them here. These aren't frivolous purchases; all the stuff is useful to me, stuff I'd never have known about otherwise.

I must point out I have a massive conflict of interest here. I've written a lot of CT reviews, and these guys are good friends.

That said, I periodically want to turn people onto this rich source of ad-free advice. It's just madly useful. Take a look: http://kk.org/cooltools

Write a review and they'll send you an email of new tools weekly.

Photo of #super moon on TV last night behind Coit Tower in #sanfrancisco by photographer Drew Kass


Lost in the Woods

I've just (belatedly) started telling Lesley where I'm going when I head out alone in the hills or on the beaches. In case I don't get back and someone has to come looking for me. Yesterday I was taking off for a long bike ride and mushroom hunt, and I said I'd be home by dark. "In case I break both legs," I said. Ha ha.

So I got out, deep into the woods, left my bike leaning against a tree, and set out, finding nothing much but death caps (Aminita phalloides), but it was nice being in groves that contained, in addition to bay trees and conifers, healthy live oaks not hit with sudden oak death. I stalked and wandered for maybe an hour and decided to head back to my bike, and at that moment congratulating myself on my sense of direction. I usually can track my way back to the starting point.

Well, smart ass, after a few steps, I realized I didn't know where I was. Nothing looked familiar. I knew west because of the setting sun (yeah, brilliant, no compass), but I had no idea of the direction back. After 20 minutes, following various deer and coyote trails, I realized I had maybe an hour before it was dark. For some reason I had a phone connection, and I called and left Lesley a message, I'm OK, but lost and it's possible I may have to spend the night out here, so don't call in the troops...

I started jogging, decided to head for what looked like a canyon, because I figured it would run west and that would lead to the road. I was getting a bit worried, shit, it was gonna be a cold night. I finally got to the canyon and the opposite wall looked almost vertical.

BUT then I spotted some red banners. and started following them down to the bottom of the canyon,  and there was a faint trail going up the steep west side. Never been so glad to see trail markers.

AND at the top, I spotted telephone poles. Eureka! Bushwhacked over to them, then hiked a mile or so back to my bike, got home just after sunset, dog tired and happy. A great adventure.

Anyone have ideas for a good GPS app for an iPhone 6s?

"The Forgotten Victorian Craze for Collecting Seaweed"

Above: Selected plates from Margaret Gatty’s “British Sea-Weeds.” Biodiversity Heritage Library/public domain

"This woman…is one of… one of Victorian Britain’s many female seaweed hunters. Beloved by figures like Queen Victoria and George Eliot, seaweed-hunting became a popular way for women to tap into the enthusiasms of their era—and contribute to the burgeoning annals of science.…

…As the seashore itself gained a reputation as a restorative landscape, plenty of women found themselves there, either recuperating from illness or seeking family-friendly summer fun. Many of them were already diehard scrapbookers, and seaweed makes a particularly rewarding collage subject: not only does each specimen’s strange color and shape present a design challenge, its gelatinous inner structure means that, when pressed onto paper, it actually glues itself to the page.…"

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-forgotten-victorian-craze-for-collecting-seaweed

(Came upon this from following up on Kevin Kelly's tip for using atlasobsura.com for finding "…obscure, very offbeat attractions…" to wherever he is traveling. http://kk.org/cooltools/)

If you're not interested in seaweed, still check out http://www.atlasobscura.com.

Eating Seaweed

Lately I've been collecting it, drying it, then cutting it up into thin strips with a knife (powdering it in a coffee grinder makes dust that I'm sure is bad to breathe), then putting it on pasta, in omelettes, oatmeal, anything that's hot, as an infusion of the sea and homemade vitamin and mineral supplement.

Understated sort of elegant #design, San Rafael, California


Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning…

I finally looked it up.

"Usually, weather moves from west to east. In the mid-latitudes, the prevailing winds are westerlies. This means storm systems generally move in from the West.…

Red sky at night, sailors delight When we see a red sky at night, this means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles. This usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Basically good weather will follow.

Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning A red sunrise can mean that a high pressure system (good weather) has already passed, thus indicating that a storm system (low pressure) may be moving to the east. A morning sky that is a deep, fiery red can indicate that there is high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain could be on its way.…

In the Bible, (Matthew XVI: 2-3,) Jesus said, 'When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering.'”
https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/weather-sailor.html
Another source: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2009/09/14/q-a-sailors-delight-fact-or-fi/
Photo from: https://simple-pleasures.org/2013/09/05/red-sky-orange-sky/

Our New BlueStar Stove

This has been a life changer. No electronic controls or screen. For oven convection, you turn on the fan. It's such an upgrade from 25 years of a Jenn-Air. A lot of people prefer it to the Wolf Range these days, it seems.

With this model, when you remove one of the 4 ring grates, there's a well and about a 2" space down to the burners; a wok nestles down so you don't need a ring for it.

Both the burners and oven work better than any stove we've ever used.

It's easy to clean, and a relief not to have to mess with touchscreen controls. Made in America. A wonderful tool.

If you're a Bay Area person: I got it at CG Appliance Express in Daly City, CA (adjacent to San Francisco), the best place I've ever seen for appliances of all kinds.

Note: See Kevin Kelly's (more complete) review of the BlueStar on Cool Tools at: http://kk.org/cooltools/bluestar-range/

An American Tragedy

Article from today's The New Yorker news desk by Lee Remnick:
"The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.…"
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/an-american-tragedy-donald-trump
From my brother Bob
(Let me know if you can't get the full article. (Maybe you have to be a subscriber to The New Yorker (we are) to get the whole thing.)

Aminita caliptroderma Mushrooms



These.are grown-ups of the young #mushrooms I picked 3 days ago. Aminita caliptroderma. Good!

But be careful. Among the Aminitas is the deadly Aminita phalloides (the death cap) and other very poisonous species. Some mushroom experts advise against eating any Aminitas, for fear of getting the phalloides, which has killed more people in the world than any other mushroom, and melts your liver.

I only ate these after getting an ID from my botanist and fungi expert friend Tomas.

My America

This political nightmare we've been going through for some months now may have led me to choosing the subject for my next book,

I've been  trying to figure out what to do after Small Homes:
• 50 Years of Natural Building
• A book on my trips
• A book on barns

Some kind of context for the 10,000+ photos I've taken over the years.

The idea about a book on the USA popped into my head a few days ago. This would be my version of America. It would start with me riding the rails and hitchhiking from San Francisco to New York in 1965, along with a copy of Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous -- seeking enlightenment, if you will, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life -- as the cultural revolution of the '60s-'70s unfolded. (Upon return a month later, I quit my job as an insurance broker and went to work as a builder.)

I would show the America that I love, the people in every state who were kind and friendly and helpful, Pop's Diner in Page, Arizona; press men at Courier Printing in Kendallville, Indiana; squirrel hunters in Tennessee; the waitress in an Oklahoma diner serving me coconut cream pie with coffee at 2:30 AM; farmers, surfers,  skateboarders, lawyers and bankers (yes--there are some good ones); book lovers, musicians, builders; makers…This just may be the next book. The glass-half-full take on America.
Photo above: on a trip to Nevada, Utah, and Arizona in 1989

Please VOTE!!!

I've scrupulously avoided politics on this blog for some years now, as any post of political persuasion seems to ignite passion and lead to endless discussion. Well, I've kept my mouth shut for long enough during these nightmarish months and I want to say a few things that are probably obvious to anyone who reads this blog (I can't imagine any Trump supporters finding anything of interest here).

I'm just stupefied that even 40% of Americans support this ugly, aggressive, lying bully. I have always liked (maybe "loved" is too strong a word) Americans. I've been in 45 states, made the 3000 mile cross-country trip by auto six times, and have had continuously wonderful experiences with Americans from coast-to-coast. Truck drivers, farmers, waitresses, gas station attendants, cops (yes -- a bunch of them), store keepers, people-in-the-street, invariably friendly and helpful.

I just don't understand how any Americans can support Trump. How can anyone look at him and not be repulsed?

Bill Maher had a wonderful program this week. He interviewed Pres. Obama at the White House, who was relaxed, insightful, and humorous. Graceful. I'm proud of him. Bill was passionate this time around. His opening remarks were carefully crafted and perceptive. Chris Christie as attorney general, Rudy Giuliani as head of the FBI… there wasn't much comedy in this episode.

I want to encourage anyone who doesn't intend to vote, or is thinking of a third-party candidate, to vote for Hillary. Period. Over and out. Please vote.

Surfers to the Roadside Rescue



Last night I was heading home after visiting friends in Mill Valley and saw a couple trying to flag down cars on Panoramic Highway, without success. I asked if they needed help; they were visitors from France, had a dead battery. I didn't have jumper cables. I spotted a car full of guys and surfboards and waved them down. One of them looked at mer and said, "Hey, are you Lloyd?" Sure enough they had cables and got the car started.

Mortar and Pestle of Olive Wood

Another photo of this, made from a burl of olive wood, purchased last week from The Olive Tree in Sonoma county. It's sitting on our dining table, made from 3" x 12" Douglas fir lumber. (About 4" in diameter.)

Anyone know what these #mushrooms are? Can't find in books. Very solid , heavy, growing in chanterelle territory...


Which Cover Do You Like Best?

Rick and I are in the final stages of preparing Small Homes for the printers. We changed the cover from an earlier version, which showed a small turn-of-the-century home in Santa Cruz (in this revised cover, it's the middle image in the left hand column), because a single image didn't seem to represent the diversity of images (120 or so small homes) in the book. Hence the collage.

Below are two alternatives, the same except for the background color. In the one with the red, it's similar-looking to Home Work, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Tiny Homes on the Move. Some of our savvy book friends think it's too similar, and that another color would distinguish it from the other books. Hence the other with the dark green background.

Comments, please. Which do you like? Do you see any problem in this cover being similar to our other books?





Dancing! in 1957-58 to "Slow Down" by Larry Williams


At the time of this record, 1957-58, I was getting back from 3-month trip through 10 European countries on a Lambretta motorscooter, camping out and staying in youth hostels. Hitchhiking also. In '58, I was running a newspaper on an Air Force base near Wiesbaden, Germany. I sure didn't know about this kind of music and dancing in those days. Sheeesh!

First-hand Account of Global Warming in South Seas

My longtime good friend Sam Rehnborg and his wife Francesca took off this summer on their 70-foot sailboat for the South Seas, retracing a voyage they made over 30 years ago. They got some rude shocks from the effects of global warming, as he explained in an e-mail to me last week:

"Bottom line for me is that it was a great experience retracing my steps through this part of the world.  It only reinforces what I sort of knew anyway about the ocean temperature, which has been averaging up here about 88 degrees F.  The fish have disappeared.  The corals are bleaching and dying.

 The water is getting acidified.  The local people are doing the best that they can, but there is not much they can do about some of these big, big changes that are taking place.  The efforts are going to have to take place on a much larger scale."

The photo shows him sailing out from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco this July, heading for The Marquesas Islands. His blog on the trip: http://drsamsblog.com/

Sam has a Ph.D. in Biophysics and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and is the president of the Nutrilite Health Institute, makers of vitamins and dietary supplements. He just got back and is motivated to do research on global warming.