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Stone Spec Homes on Irish Coast

This was one of about 7 beautifully-built spec homes near Kilcrohane on Dunmanus Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. They were obviously built during boom times, but it looked as if none of them had sold. It was a lovely little collection of buildings, obviously done by a master stone mason. 
I'm starting to go through my 2000 photos shot in Europe in Sept-Oct. '09. This was shot in September.

Mighty Mac Chipper Shredder

Attn: gardeners, homesteaders: I had to replace a screen on my shredder last week, and was reflecting on what a great (USA-made) tool this has been. I wrote a review on it for CoolTools in 2008, which started out:

"I bought a Mighty Mac shredder/chipper about 25 years ago, have used it — heavily at times — all these years and, with a few engine repairs and turning the shredder blades around once (they are 2-sided), it's worked flawlessly on our 1/2-acre homestead.…"
Rest of review: http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/002936.php

Muck Boots Great for This Time of Year

I wish I'd discovered Muck Boots years ago. If you live in the country (and walk on earth instead of pavement), these are great to slip on when it's wet and muddy. They're insulated. Way more comfortable and warm than typical rubber boots. You can just step into them.

Nice Book on Bungalows from Taunton

Fine little book on the world of bungalows
Only $7 from: http://store.taunton.com/onlinestore/item/500-bungalows-douglas-keister-070888.html

Monk's Cave in Romania

Cave cell of Daniil Sihastrul (Romanian for "Daniel the Hesychast"), ca 1482, in Putna, Romania. According to Wikipedia, "Hesychastic practice involves acquiring an inner stillness and ignoring the physical senses…"

Tasty Architecture in San Francisco

Saw this yesterday in Portrero Hill district in the city. Nice colors, clean lines, simple, practical, economical. There is good architecture here and there!

Me Olde Diggs

Yesterday I was in San Francisco, and passed by the neighborhood where I grew up (near Miraloma Park), and went by our old house. 154 Ulloa. I lived there from ages 2-15. There were 26 kids on our block and we roamed and owned the streets. No TV in those days (the '40s) and we listened to the radio religiously. Superman; Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy; Batman; I Love a Mystery; the Shadow…I used to dress up like Superman: red swim suit over Levis, and a dishtowel around my neck for a cape and I'd jump (fly) off the balcony to the grass below.

What Apple's Tablet Could Mean for Us

My job is communication, and I do so with photos, writing, books, flyers, posters—and now, blog posts and Twitter. What's frustrated me right from the beginning of blogging is the difficulty of doing anything more complex than picture on left, text on right. For years I've been looking for a way to do blog layout like our book pages—and quickly.
I'm really excited to think there may now be a way to do magazine layout in 4-color. This morning I came into a coffee house in Berkeley and read an article in the New York Times (there's nothing like a hold-in-yr-hands newspaper!) about Apple's notebook, to be announced tomorrow. This caught my eye: "The New York Times Company, for example, is developing a version of its newspaper for the tablet, according to a person briefed on the effort…"
Bring it on Steve!

With Apple Tablet, Print Media Hope for a Payday
By BRAD STONE and STEPHANIE CLIFFORD/Published: January 25, 2010

Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, & Funky Forts

From author/artist Derek "Deek" Diedricksen:
"THE BOOK’S FINALLY HERE! 'Gary Larson meets Bob Vila' — housing/fort/small house/shack book…is a culmination of my love for ultra-tiny living, and covers some of the small houses and cabins I’ve unprofessionally built.…" http://relaxshax.wordpress.com/

Godfrey Stephens Carving

Detail of plank carved and colored by Canadian artist Godfrey Stephens

Builders of Pacific Coast Inspires Canadian Builders

We just got this email and photo from British Columbia about our book Builders of the Pacific Coast. It's really gratifying to connect like this.

I just wanted to say thanks for this book. I have been looking for something like this for years. For the last ten years my dad, brothers and I have been developing a 5 acre parcel on an isolated island in Northern British Columbia. We have been living the pages of this book. Splitting shakes on the beach and scrounging driftwood. This book has definetly been a motivator through the long cold winter months, to get me renewed and excited for another year of building.

Thanks again,

looking forward to spring,
Jon Seinen.

French architect Gilles Poulain

From French architect Gilles Poulain, who says "No play, no fun!" http://www.gparchi.com/

Frame of Miwok Dwelling

I spotted this yesterday in the garden outside the Miwok (coastal California natives) museum in Novato, Calif. This is a willow frame, lashed together, and when covered with bundled grass and a tule mats, was called a 'kaawul kotcha.' There was typically a flap door covered with animal hide.