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Two Great Reviews on Cool Tools This Morning For Builders

The Owner-Built Log House * Log Construction Manual: http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/14097

Wiring Complete: http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/14159

Random Photos Hong Kong Yesterday #1

Spacy Mall

I didn't have the right lens, so shot these two and photo-merged therm -- sort of distorted, but it gives you the idea. Spacy places like this all over HKG…

Out & Around in Hong Kong

I'm on the 22nd floor of the BH International Hotel in the Kowloon District. It's a mid-range hotel, no doormen, you carry yr. own bags, etc. Right down the block is Parkes Street, which must have 50 restaurants in 2 blocks. Kowloon is rich, colorful, old, funky in parts as opposed to the glitter and elegance on the other side of the water, the mall of all malls on Hong Kong island…two places to eat: (1) Mak Man Kee, 51 Parkes St., world-class won-ton soup and noodles, chef  working in 12 sq. ft. kitchen, always crowded, you sit at small tables with other people, every seat taken (2) my sussing out of restaurants paid off last night; this place on next block down Parkes St., no name or street number in English -- hip, friendly, no gringos in sight, fabulous (hot) hotpot w/ noodles, clams, San Miguel beer…bamboo scaffolding still famously in use in HKG…At a time like this, the limitations of this method of blogging bugs me; I really want to do a book-page-type layout, but don't have coding skills, so am limited to one pic under another -- going to change this soon…Trevor and I catching ferry to Macau today…

Around Hong Kong this Afternoon

A few scenes from Hong Kong this afternoon: crossing on the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island on a misty day; two girls throwing a birthday party for the third in the mall; Greater Flamingos in  the Kowloon Park. More pics to follow.

Fuel-Efficient Road Travel

"For those who can afford the major motorhomes, the current price of fuel is merely a nuisance – an extra blip in the overall cost of operating an RV… but for the majority of camping families, saving a few dollars per hour on the cost of their RV travels represents the difference between an enjoyable family vacation and a two-week long effort to keep costs under control.

   The RV Lifestyle Magazine road test teams surveyed the various models available in Canada this summer, to prepare this compendium of fuel-friendly trailers – easy-towing models that focus on aerodynamics, lightweight construction, and the latest in engineering to provide the most efficient vehicles possible for the summer of 2008.…"
Click here.

Why We Print 4-Color Books In China

I've been hassled in a couple of comments this week for printing in Hong Kong
   Since this subject comes up on occasion, I'll explain why we do it. We have printed our one-color books in the USA for 40+ years. We, like virtually every other American publisher, print 4-color books overseas. Check out any of your 4-color books on the copyright page to see where they are printed.
   In loyalty to our American printer, Courier Corp., I printed the first edition of Builders of the Pacific Coast at their Kendalville, Indiana plant in 2004. It ended up costing us about $15,000 more than if we had printed it in China. We now have five 4-color books in print. With reprints, if we had continued printing in the USA, it would have cost us well over $100,000 more, effectively putting us out of business. That's why we print in China.

Fan Mail From Berlin

Living Out of Your Car

“'Living out of your car'" can have a negative connotation, but many people wouldn’t spend their life any other way. Photographer Andrew Waits discovered this when his aunt and uncle quit their jobs to buy an RV and live the rest of their lives on the road. Even though it seems crazy, there are people all over the country who do it. You may be inspired to as well once you realize the amazing lives these people can live.…"
Click here.

Printing Tiny Homes On The Move Today

Here are some photos from today. It was really exciting, there were 4 presses running the book (cover and inside pages) today, 15,000 copies the first run. They nailed the colors perfectly. (I realize this blog is all over the place, time-wise as well as subject-wise, but my life doesn't happen in an orderly fashion.)

Spacious 400 Sq. Ft. Cabin on Wheels

"This quaint cabin is actually an RV. Yes, it is actually on wheels.…The design is inspired by the latest tiny house movement where people are living with a smaller financial, environmental, and physical footprint. The motto? Less house, more life.…The cabin is around 400 square feet, larger than most 1 bedroom apartments.…"
Click here.
From Rick Gordon

Mm-Mm Good! In Mall-land, Monroe, NC

Mudder in NC

Sneak Preview of Tiny Homes On The Move By Deek Diedrickson

While Deek and I were hanging out at the Southern Home & Garden Show last week in North Carolina, he whipped out his camera and shot footage of some proofs I had of the new book:

Two Small Homes In Oakland The Day Before I Left

Fish In Tank Outside Kowloon Restaurant Last Night

Tiny Homes On The Move Being Printed Right Now!

I'm at Paramount Printing Company, Ltd. in Hong Kong right now and we're printing the 1st 16-page "signature." The press guys, thanks to Rick Gordon's fine preparatory work, had the colors nailed when I walked in.
   In the old days we made a lot of adjustments while on press, but now, with computer-comtrolled ink management, we're getting colors correct right off the bat.
   Here's the final cover.               Thanks for all the feedback on our choice amongst 5 versions. Over 200 people responded to our request for advice; this was the most popular, and our choice as well.
   Rollin',  rollin'…

Gypsy Wagon In The Woods

On Tiny House Swoon here.


Beautiful slide show. From Lew Lewandowski

Cabin fever: Are tiny houses the new American dream?

"'Muller and Nithya in their self-built, 120 square foot “micro-homestead.'”

"…In today’s economic climate, a culture of excess seems increasingly ridiculous, and more and more people are beginning to question a lifestyle facilitated by debt. In talking to tiny house enthusiasts, I hear a number of themes repeated: affordability, simplicity, living within one’s means. There’s an intent focus on unburdening oneself from material possessions, and fixating on things besides money. These may sound like radical ideas, the soapbox declarations of crazed anarchists or hippies, but the people who are espousing them are intelligent, educated, and, for all practical purposes, quite normal.…"
From grist.org, click here.

Surfer's Beach Shack In Australia circa-'70s

Hey there,
Wanted to share with you this little thing I did on my blog on John Witzig's old place in Angourie...with some of John's old photos:
Richard (Olsen)

A Whole New Octave

A few years ago, a bike messenger in San Francisco (also a musician) was talking about having a newborn baby. "It's a whole new octave, man," he said.
   This is how it feels just having finished this book. I can now see the horizon, where until now, I couldn't see farther than the layout table and the steady stress of bringing the ship into port (book to printers)…I'm in a United 747 right now (airborne wi-fi is finally a reality), heading for Hong Kong and we'll be printing on Thursday, March 6th and I am EXCITED. The moment when something we've worked on for years becomes hold-in-yr-hands reality…Rather than jump back into a new book right away, we're going to do 2 things, both digital: (1) Start theshelterblog, which will focus on building, carpentry, gardening, homesteading and the home arts and (2) make a series of YouTube videos on diverse subjects, such as The Half Acre Homestead, office workout equipment, photos of my trips, selected material from our books, such as Bob Easton's drawings of 5 tiny homes in our book Shelter…we've got a ton of "content," and this is a way to supplement our books with communication in the digital world.
  This book has turned out to be exciting, like it's the sassy young cousin of Tiny Homes…the fact that all these homes are mobile gives the book an exuberance, which I didn't realize until it was done.

Straw Bale Gardening

Sometimes I post really good comments because I don't think many people read comments on older posts:

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Straw Bale Gardening": well, it is getting time to think of garden stuff. thought someone might find this interesting.. http://www.urbangardensweb.com/2013/07/11/french-straw-bale-garden-grows-crops-and-flowers-on-urban-balcony/
http://www /.rootsimple.com/2013/04/a-straw-bale-urinal/ 

Great Food & Company at Bibi's Restaurant, Monroe, NC

I got to the restaurant just after closing time Monday night, but Jason, the owner, asked if I'd like a burger. He made me a great burger with melted cheese and a cornbread salad. Katie, the waitress, and Jason sat with me while I ate and we talked about organic food and farming and homesteading. Katie has two kids and she and her husband want to find a place in the country and plow the land with mules, be off the grid, and raise their own food. I told her she sounded just like a hippie girl from the 60s. Jason gets local food for his restaurant and prepares vegetarian and vegan meals as well as burgers and chicken. He's the one who turned me on to the Palace restaurant, where I had breakfast the next morning. Here's Jason's Facebook page.

Visit with Farmer, Mill Owner in NC

Tom Stegall at the Stegall Mill in Marshville, NC. When I asked if I could take a photo of him, he said, "Are you going to send it to Obama?"
  He gave me directions to his farm and I went out and looked at his barn. He raises these gourds and puts 45 of them up on poles for as nests for the Martins, which he says come in the Spring and stay until July. (They perform aerial acrobatics while catching flying insects.)
   He gave me a recipe for cooking a possum (with sweet potatoes).