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Fresh Eggs/Huckleberries/Running Solo/Clover Milk Ads/Gorecki Meets Tchaikovsky/William Morris/Jug Band/1950 Ford

I've been working on the revised edition of our Septic Systems Owner's Manual recently. Worthwhile work, but not too exciting. I can't wait to start doing layout for my next book, Builders of the Pacific Coast, but must get the septic revisions done first. It's a sunny late fall afternoon right now, so I'm having fun doing a bit of blogging. Our garden is pumping out food now. We eat mostly our own vegetables. Our own eggs from bantam Auracanas. Local fish and meat from the old-fashioned butcher shop downtown. Last week we picked wild huckleberries and Lesley made some incredible-tasting jam/I only run once a week now, and slowly. It's a huge change after 25 years. I still meet the boys on Tuesday night, but I run alone, these days up the coast to a lookout point that sits on a ridge jutting out into the ocean, about 700 feet high, then back to the beach and jump in the freshwater lagoon that forms in the summer, then into the pub for Guinness on tap/The Clover Milk signs on Highway 101 have been witty and funny for decades now. The latest: "Head and Tails Above the Udders," and it shows Clover cows floating above other cows. Years ago there was one that read: "Tip Clo Through The Two Lips." Give those guys an award!/I was having breakfast in Berkeley with Kevin Votel, my contact at Publishers Group West, a few weeks ago. Kevin had two CDs on the table by classical composers I'd never heard of. One was Henryk Gorecki. The waiter was standing there and Kevin asked if he'd heard the Gorecki CD. Yes, he said, and they discussed it knowledgeably. I said to Kevin, "How did you know he would know this composer?" (who to me was pretty obscure) and the waiter said, "Well my name is Tchaikovsky…"/A few months ago I saw an exhibit (in San Francisco) of the 19th century Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain. One of the placards in the exhibit, in discussing William Morris, the artist/poet/designer/writer/architect/eco-socialist superstar of the Movement, said: "At the very moment when Britain was celebrating its industrial might, Morris objected to the production of 'souless goods' by the machine…(whereas Arts and Crafts) designs were freshly derived from vernacular folk crafts and botany."/I continue to be amazed at the feedback I'm getting lately on my books Shelter and Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter. Suddenly everywhere I go people are telling me how these books have influenced their lives. It just now occurs to me that it's probably due to us getting back into the shelter (as opposed to fitness) category with our books these days, and I'm hanging out once again with builders, homesteaders, people into gardening and farming and doing things for themselves./Music stuff: I've been listening to The Best of the Memphis Jug Band (Yazoo CD #2050) a lot lately. It's basic rock-bottom foot-stompin blues. I mean jug bands are great in themselves, but this is a jug band that played pure blues with the simplest of instruments (in the 20s). What they do is so effortless and elegant. Other music news: I've been trying to learn how to "bend" notes on a blues harp lately, without much success. I knew my next-door neighbor Chick played the blues harp, so I went over this morning and asked him about it. He got his harp and played a little. He sounded good. "Hey play something Chick," I asked, and he proceeded to play some beautiful blues riffs. Wow!/Lastly here's a photo I took of a spruced-up 1950 Ford sedan in Mill Vally last week. This, along with the VW bug, the Ford Cortina, and the BMW 2002, is one of my favorite cars. In 1960 my brother and I bought a rather doudy looking 1950 ballpoint-pen-blue stick shift 2-door Ford Sedan for $200, and drove it across country to attend a 6-week insurance broker's course in Hartford, Connecticut. It was a 3000-mile trip and we took turns driving, about 2 hours at a time, and had a mattress in the back (took out back seat) where one guy could sleep comfortably, and we rolled across the USA. We stayed in a boarding house in Hartford, went 5 days a week to the school, and on weekends drove all over the east coast, which was in full-color October glory. We went to the Adirondacks (Racquet Lake), to Cape Cod, New York City, to see Yale. On the trip home we made it from Connecticut to San Francisco in 69 hours, got 20 mpg. We had put 10,000 miles on the car. We sold it for $200.

1950 Ford In Mill Valley, Calif, September 2006

New Age Kayaks/Hobie Does It Again

I went up to a place called Wind Toys in Santa Rosa recently to pick up a boat trailer. I was surprised to see not only the huge inventory of kayaks in the store, but the variety of kayaks available nowadays. I used to fish out of a kayak 20 years ago, but I haven't looked in on the kayak scene recently. Hobie Alter, designer of the Hobie Cat and other tuned-in watercraft, has a whole new line of kayaks. A bunch of them are propelled by foot pedals that power two underwater flippers, much like a penguin's flippers. There are foot-propelled kayaks made for fishing, high-speed lightweight kayaks, tandems, racing kayaks, kayaks with sails. There's one with a great sun parasol on an aluminum mast. If you live in the San Francisco area and are into kayaks, I'd check these guys out. They're on Santa Rosa Ave (the same street as Friedman's). You can also check out Hobie Kayaks at:

Some of the kayaks at Wind Toys in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Kayak with sail

Old Family Photos

My mom is 99 and living in a retirement home. When she moved there I ended up with boxes of family photos. Here are a couple:

My mother, Virginia Essie Jones when she was about 20 in Salt Lake City

My dad, Lloyd Kahn Sr., in his 20s in San Francisco. He lived until he was 92.

My mother's cousins, twins Beverly and Betty, were dancers.

While digging around in the old photos I came up with this one of our singing quartet, The Uncalled Four, at Lowell High School, San Francisco, class of 1952. I played a ukulele and a gut bucket, and we did 20s songs and some barbershop harmony. Left to right, me, Bill Bixby (later of Incredible Hulk and My Favorite Martian fame, John Lodmell, and Don "Whitey" Schaller. We did an appearance on Channel 5 in San Francisco, and it was Bixby's first TV appearance.