• Subscribe to
    Lloyd’s Blog via RSS.
  • Check out TheShelterBlog.com
  • Tools for the
    Half-Acre Homestead

Surf Matter Is (P)art of Wave

"… The benefit of surfing for decades is not that you progress along some rocket to the moon skill increase curve
but the slow gradual understanding of the pleasures of the sun, the wind and the  water."
-Pranaglider, August 11, 2014


Vietnamese Surf Boats

Fabulous article on fishing boats sent this morning by Godfrey Stephens. Click here. Scroll down to "Two Very Different Surf Boats Near Quy Nhon" for this article, but the whole article is full of unique boat info.

The home page: http://www.boatsandrice.com/index.html


These guys killed it yesterday. Louie says there's the expression, "We're in 'em," meaning everything's working, like we're in the (school of) salmon. They had over 20 of these beauties, 22-25 pounds each, at $8/lb, it's $160-200 per fish.

Old Willys Truck

Discovered this beauty earlier this morning. In the foggy mist…

Louie's Shop

About 7:30 AM this morning. Got here last night

Movin' On

I love doing this blog. For the past few years, I've done at least a post per day. But I've reached a new stage now, with a body of work to do, so I'm no longer going to do daily posts, 365. I'll be putting things up here, but less frequently. I'm also going to quit checking email daily. I need less electronics in my life.
Here are my upcoming projects:
The Shelter Blog I'm going to put some major effort into it. It's now up and running, and I have a lot of articles I want to do for builders (Round Barns of Oregon, Master Builders of the Middle Ages, Aisle-and-bay-divided Timber Frame Barns, SunRay Kelley's Latest Cob Yurts…). The goal is to have this blog be as good as one of our books. (Check it out in 6 months.)
YouTube Videos 1-1/2 minute videos on each of our building books, Tools for the Half-Acre Homestead, Office Workout Equipment, Building a raised garden bed, splitting shakes, washing dishes…
Stretching - the Pocketbook This book has sold over 3 million copies and now we are doing it as a pocketbook.
Book on Barns
Book on Small Homes
Sheesh, until I started writing this, I didn't realize how much great stuff there is to do!
Actually, will be posting in the next few days, as I'm on the road, up at my friend Louie's in the NorCal woods.

Jeff Dean, Woodworker

Jeff Dean sent us some photos and links to his buildings and unique joinery. See his buildings here, and  the photos of his work and links he sent us on The Shelter Blog here.

"Our Little Dream House"

This tiny home in British Columbia generated a lot of interest on The Shelter Blog here.

Colors of the Rainbow

A few years ago, Jeff McWhinney, working for 3M at the time, gave me a sheet of diffraction grating film, which breaks up light into all the colors of the spectrum. I put it up, covering the south-facing window high in our office and in the afternoons, we have rainbows moving through the office, changing as the sun moves inits pattern through the sky. I walked into the office just now and wow, check out my computer.

In the '60s we used to get this stuff (along with prisms) from Edmund Optics (which we learned about through the Whole Earth Catalog). Fahr out man! And still is.

Mockingbird by Charlie & Inez Foxx

Carly Simon and James Taylor did a good version of this song, but here's the real thing. It's all too often that the original dynamite song is almost unknown.

Who's ever heard of Charlie and Inez Foxx?  What singing! A great CD by them is titled "Mockingbird."
Mocking Bird by Inez & Charlie Foxx on Grooveshark

Algae Makes Clean Water & Fertilizer

Great article in NYTimes today by Mathew L. Wald on utilizing algae: 

"…a Nevada company, Algae Systems, has a pilot plant in Alabama that, it says, can turn a profit making diesel fuel from algae by simultaneously performing three other tasks: making clean water from municipal sewage (which it uses to fertilize the algae), using the carbon-heavy residue as fertilizer and generating valuable credits for advanced biofuels.

If it works, the company says, the process will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than is added when the fuel is burned.…"

Photo: At the pilot plant, Algae Systems converts the waste and algae into clean water and biocrude oil.
Photo by Tad Denson

Salmon, Stripers, Halibut

There are fish everywhere this week. Two friends have brought us salmon (had some for dinner, and now smoking and making gravlax with the rest of it), and someone gave us this striped bass. I forgot how striking (sic) they are. Stripes. Gonna smoke this as well.

Casey Neistat's Wildly Functional Studio

Kevin Kelly sent  this, along with the note: "I love this guy's work place."

Musical Events in Round Barn in Iowa

BCKRVUE has left a new comment on your post "Curved Roof Barn in Oregon/The Largest Bookstore i...":

Hi Lloyd this site combines two thing you appreciate, Music & Architecture. Enjoy! 


TV Series Seeks Off-the-grid Homes

We have been contacted by the producer of a TV series on off-grid homes. They are looking for people who have recently started living off the grid. If you're in this category, send us the story of why you moved off the grid, along with some photos of the home, and of you and your family. Email to: shelter@shelterpub.com.

Heavy Equipment in Oregon

Not sure what its function is, but it's sure heavy duty. Somehow used in logging I presume. Note how they have used chained treads around tires to create Caterpillar-like tractor treads.

4-Minute Exercise-Stretch To Do at Your Computer

A free example of "Foundation Training" by Corey Goodman. In the intro, he says that this is "…good for anyone with a lingering back injury, an older body, or if you've used yourself more than others have."

I can sure relate to those last two.

I think Corey has got something very good here, and with his book and videos.



Sokol Blosser Winery's Underground Wine Storage Units

"…The Sokol Blosser Winery's gentle slopes face south and east to capture the earliest rays of the sun, the well-drained clay-loam soil gives the vines just enough vigor, and the temperate climate is ideal for cool-weather Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes. Because Sokol Blosser looks at their vineyard as a small ecosystem, they farm the land organically and seek biodiversity at all levels, from microbes in the soil and insects in the wildflowers to native birds, which control the insect populations.

Water Skeeters, Mountain Lion, Coyote, American White Pelicans, Clams, Seaweed

Intersections with the natural world the past few days: I studied water skeeters in a hill pond Tuesday; a brilliant design by mother nature. They float on 6 legs; 4 long ones for skittering and 2 short legs in front. They move mostly with breaststrokes of the 2 front legs and when startled just zoom. I was transfixed, watched them for 5 minutes or so, the fact they float on their legs…Doug saw a young mountain lion; we always look for the long tail to be sure it's not a big bobcat…Yes, a long tail, he said, also that it appeared to be a young one, with spots on its skin…I saw a big healthy coyote crossing the road Tuesday night…Yesterday I paddled my kayak across the bay and dug clams…saw 4 of the huge American Pelicans; wingspan of 8-10 feet…harvested some seaweed -- Macrocystis integrifolia, a smaller cousin of giant kelp; I've been bringing home all kinds of seaweed and this one appears promising. It's flavorful, with salt crystals that sparkle when it's dried. I'm grinding it and using it instead of salt on meat, vegetables. salad.

Summertime by The Zombies on Grooveshark

"Tiny Homes on the Move is a Glorious Romp" (Book Review on Treehugger

Great review of Tiny Homes on the Move on Treehugger by Lloyd Alter:

"This book is everything that TreeHugger tries not to be, and it is just totally captivating. Since its inception, TreeHugger has been "partial to a modern aesthetic." As an architect, I am even more so, and the tiny houses, RVs and trailers shown on TreeHugger have tended to lean toward the sleek and modern. This is certainly the first time a hippied up VW van has graced the pages here. …"

Check out the full review here: http://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/tiny-homes-move-glorious-rom-book-review.html

New Fiat 500 L

Saw this last week in San Francisco. Nice design. Looks solid, like the Mini Cooper.

Nice Apartment Building in San Francisco

This building just has it. I like the color, the curved Queen Anne windows, the building's proportions, the black and white window details, especially the dot-dot-dot ornamentation just under the eaves. Now here's some architecture!

The paint is peeling; somehow it looks homey. Thankfully it hasn't been given the over-the-top clueless paint job of so many SF Victorians.



Maybe 15 years ago we had a fox that would appear when we were barbecuing. We'd give him little pieces of meat -- not a lot, we didn't want him to get dependent on humanoids. He was very cautious, always ready to flee. He was a joy to see, to get so close to an elegant wild creature. But there was a period where all the mid-sized critters -- foxes, skunks, raccoons, possums -- died off from distemper or something. Now they're coming back.

This little guy has been skirting our half-acre the past few weeks -- looks like a juvenile. A few days ago he was on my woodpile. I was about 20 feet away, standing stock still and we locked eyes. He craned his head in and out, I guess getting multiple takes on me.

Yesterday he nestled into a hollow spot on the (living) roof of the chicken coop.

Also on the wild creature front: in the last week I've caught 2 hummingbirds. They fly into the office kitchen and can't get out. It's easy to catch them. Once they're in my cupped hands, they seem to relax. I'll always find someone around to see when I release them. When I open my hands, they sit there a split second, green feathers shimmering in the sunlight. Then vooom! Off like a little helicopter.

GoPro: Kama The Surfing Pig

Giving away 'Genius of Japanese Carpentry' book for free

Hey Lloyd:

Just thought your readers might like to know... we are giving away a copy of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry for free. It's an excellent book... extremely awe-inspiring to see the images and drawings of some recent traditional temple renovation and construction in Japan. Mind-boggling timber framing and attention to detail. The title says it all. They don't mess around.

- ziggy

Brian 'Ziggy' Liloia - Natural Building Workshops & more at The Year of Mud:  http://www.theyearofmud.com

Some Turtles Have Nice Shells

In the bibliography of Tiny Homes on the Move, we mistakenly said this book was out of print. Not so. It's alive and well and available from Amazon here.

Here is Kevin Kelly's review of the book on Cool Tools in 2006:

"This is a fabulous picture book of about 400 images of great housetrucks and housebuses (many from the 1970s) with interior shots. Some of the mobile homes are more recent. The houses are built on old truck and bus chassis. Used flatbed trucks can be had today for as little as a few thousand dollars. Both in form and function, these were early, cheap homebuilt RVs. There’s not much how-to in this book; mostly inspirational pictures. It is self-published, and like the self-made homes it covers, the book is very warm, rustic, and cozy. Some of the images are available on the author’s disorganized website. Yeah, you could buy a commercial RV, but these rolling homes have soul. Makes me want to build one.
Roger's website: http://www.housetrucks.com

Mickey Mouse's Tiny Home on the Move (1938)

I'm sorry, but today's computer-generated cartoons just ain't got soul like this.

S-A-N-T-A C-R-U-Z!

Summer Time, and the Livin' is Easy…

I headed down the coast for Santa Cruz early yesterday morning. Ocean Beach was windy and choppy, nil surf. By Pescadero, it had dropped off and was glassy. Nice little waves at Scott's Creek, Waddell Creek, 2-3' point break at The Lane, and Pleasure was really nice (except for the crowds: Outside, glassy 4' walls, Inside, and the Hook cookin on small scale. These photos at Waddell.

Nimbus - Electric Iteration on VW Van

"Eduardo Galvani,…a Brazilian artist and designer, has devised the Nimbus: a range-extended electric road-tripper with panoramic glass and on-demand four-wheel drive. The shape of the design study is halfway between the recently discontinued Volkswagen Kombi and an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, but don’t be deceived by that adorable mien – the Nimbus has world-conquering potential.

The van employs a 180-horsepower electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. A rear-mounted internal-combustion micro-generator keeps the power flowing on the go, abetted by a regenerative braking system and an array of rooftop photovoltaic cells. The drivetrain offers four modes – Energy Saver, Standard Trip, Faster Cruise and 4WD. Fuel consumption – which, admittedly, is just as hypothetical as the rest of the car – is claimed at a rather startling 181mpg, with a cruising range of up to 200 miles. The trip from zero to 62mph takes a relaxed 13 seconds, and the Nimbus will roll on to a top speed of 100mph.…"

This is a concept, not a reality. Details:
Sent in by Jeff McWhinney

Two Barns With Gambrel Roofs in Oregon's Willamette Valley

This post is for builders
These two barns were very close together. You find this all over the country (world): each micro-locale will have its own style barn. The farmers/builders would look around at standing barns, "Say that looks pretty good…"

With a gambrel, you take a gable roof and pop it up in the middle, creating more headroom (hay room).

A nice touch with the red barn is the dormer roof following the slant of the top slope. Also the arrow-straight eaves, no sags: good foundation. The ridge vents on the white barn also nice.

If you focus on a barn, you can feel the builder. A brotherhood, sure enough.

Tiny House Fair in Texas in October

Movers and shakers of the tiny house community, including Jay Shafer and Deek Diedricksen, will convene at the campus of Tiny Texas Houses on October 10-12 to discuss many aspects of the subject. It's about 45 minutes south of Austin. I'll be there doing a presentation on Tiny Homes on the Move. Info here.

Burger and Big Mama at Brownsville Saloon

Not sure what this store was. It was in Brownsville (Oregon), Friday evening, as I was heading north from Eugene. Had a great hamburger and dark oat stout at the Brownsville Saloon Bar & Grill and intense conversation with another music lover at the bar; someone was playing really good songs on the juke box, including Hound Dog by Big Mama Willie Mae Thornton.

I'm back home, trying to unscramble photos and notes. Taking off tomorrow to do an appearance at Bookshop Santa Cruz Tuesday night.

I've got about a dozen barns, which I'll post when I get time…

The Willamette Valley - Hey Hay!

I headed south from Portland Thursday about noon. I meandered down to Corvallis on side roads to the west of I-5, shooting pictures of barns, picking berries, enjoying the beauty of this valley. It is uber-agricultural. Rich soil, lots of water, 3 months of summer heat. It's hay harvest time and I saw more hay here in 2 days than I've seen in all my life.

Huge bales, way different from my hay-bucking days in Colusa, Calif. (2 guys, a flatbed truck, hay hooks). It's now a big machinery operation. Hay everywhere—just cut, or baled into huge rectangles or cylinders sitting in the fields.

This valley is on a more human scale than say, California's San Joaquin Valley (along Hwy 5), with its bizarre monocropping. It's a little like the fields in England, but on a larger scale.

Had standing room only at my event in Corvallis. Sending this from Portland airport -- on me way home. Got a number of really nice barns -- will post when time.