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Firewood For Next 2 Years

I continue my practice of picking up fallen trees and limbs from various roadsides. Sudden oak death has caused many oak deaths and a state botanist recently told me it's better to burn the stuff than leave it in the woods spreading the disease. This pile is mostly oak, & some cedar and eucalyptus. I'll chainsaw it up, then rent Mark's homemade splitter - about 2 years worth of heat (our only source) in house. In the office (separate building), I'll turn on a 660 watt radiant electric heater for an hour or two on cold mornings.

Cozy Cottage for Sale in Portland

"Lush front yard with driftwood art fence and edible landscaping. Portland, Oregon, Southeast. Charming cozy cottage on a quiet South Tabor street. 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom with fir floors throughout and a woodburning fireplace. Vintage kitchen with bamboo floors – all appliances included. Freshly painted exterior. Organic garden full of fruit (apples, pears, peaches, currants), veggies and edibles. Bike trellis, chicken coop and run are all included. Wonderful location – quick jaunt to Mt. Tabor…"

The Gardeners' and Poultry Keepers' Guide

We thought this would be a snap, reprinting this 100-year old London catalog of greenhouses, chicken coops, and farm buildings. As usual (will I ever learn?), it had many complications, since we were determined to have it look like the original and capture the spirit of the times. We worked and worked on it (as did Toppan Press in China) and the result is wonderful. I’m thrilled; it’s a dream come true. I've loved this little book ever since I found it in an obscure used-book store in London in the early ’70s.

Gardeners' and Poultry Keepers' Guide
It’s hard cover, linen-looking finish, foil stamped, printed on off-white paper — a book lovers’ book — the kind that us bibliophiles love to touch and thumb through (and feel secure in the knowledge that no stinkin’ ebook will replace the “hard” copy). Also, it’s useful: it gives homesteaders, gardeners, builders, and architects still-practical designs. It’s now in stock. Yahoo!

More: http://www.shelterpub.com/_cooper/cooper-book.html

Communication From Me and Shelter in the Future

Ever since my high school journalism course (thanks, Jack Patterson!) I've been a communicator. I've developed a reflex action of telling people about what I run across in the world. In about 40 years of publishing, I've done maybe 40 books, as well as posters, pamphlets, booklets, flyers and now - - blogs and tweets.
I started the blog in 2005, struggling with such a different type of media, posting maybe once a week, whenever I got a bit of time. Finally, I'm getting at least one post a day up. I'm getting around 5-600 visitors a day. It ain't "viral," but it's sure fun! I get great feedback, surprisingly soon. Identification of mushrooms, correcting my mistakes (not infrequently), turning me on to stuff I'm interested in…

We'll keep producing hold-in-your-hand books in the future,** but also increase internet communication, and produce e-books. (I'm hopeful that the iPad will allow us to do 4-color Shelter-book-style layout. C'mon Steve, don't let us down!

*I love the haiku aspect of Twitter. You've got to write tight.

**Our book on tiny houses is assembling itself, right before my very eyes. Man it is lookin good!
Simplification in the 21st century…

New/Old Green Modular Home

"A glance at Lawrence Greene’s rustic colonial with wraparound porch in Livingston Manor, N.Y., might lead one to believe it’s a 150-year-old farmhouse. In fact, it’s two years old, one of the greenest houses in New York state, and built in a factory.
The 1,800-square-foot structure was constructed by New World Home, a company that offers environmentally responsible prefabricated houses in a variety of architectural styles."
-article from NY Times, Sept 2009: http://nyti.ms/bliw6w

Lesley's Gopher-proof Raised Garden Bed

Lesley designed and built this bed, which is 4' by 10'-6".
How-to: First lay ¼" wire mesh on ground, then stack 2 layers of concrete blocks on edge of mesh. No fasteners. Fill both bed and blocks with soil, gophers can't penetrate. Can grow strawberries, parsley etc. in blocks. Front of this bed is filled with salad greens; arugula, radicchio, etc., which we've been having along with wild miners' lettuce for dinner these nights.

Pigeon Hawk

Pigeon hawk (Falco columbarius) from the same book listed below.

How Sweet That Sound

The gospel people have got Jesus' message right.* Gospel has the spirit of life, of rhythm, of joy. Now that's the Jesus I admire. The true spirit of love. Thank you Jesus!
I just discovered Troy Ramey. What an incredible voice!

I've just been listening to the following fabulous CD; you can't hold still while you listen to it: Somebody's Gotta Do Something, Troy Ramey and the Soul Searchers

*What a contrast with organized religion!

Wild Studio in Snowy Woods

I A few minutes ago I typed "BH" into my browser, intending to go to BH Photo, since I'm looking for a wide angle lens for my new Lumix G1. I hit the space bar but instead of going to BH Photo, it went to:
Above photo posted Jan 25, 2010, titled "The other side of the lower case "a" frame"

American Rough-Legged Hawk

In going through our books recently, I was surprised and delighted to find a book I'd completely forgotten about: The Hawks and Owls of the United States in Their Relation to Agriculture, by Dr. C. Hart Merriam and A.K. Fisher, M.D., published by the US Government Printing Office in 1893. I got this book in the '80s when I was working on an illustrated version of Chaucer's The Parliament of Fowls (which never got published). This is one of the hand-colored drawings from the government book: American rough-legged hawk (Archibuteo lagopus sancti-johannis).

Good - Cheap - Fast: Pick Any Two

                               -From: http://www.comingunmoored.com/2009/01/good-cheap-fast/

Graffiti From Beach This Morning


Seashells From Beach Last Night

Pop-top Camper for Honda Element

'The Ecamper™ conversion adds a pop-top sleeper for two onto any Honda Element.…The innovative design combines carbon-fiber material and the latest in composites manufacturing technology to minimize weight and allow a streamlined profile that adds only 6" to the overall height of the vehicle."
-Thanks to Ernesto for this.

Mom is 103

Mom, shown here with her caregiver/soulmate of 20 years, Clara Morales
My mother, born Virginia Essie Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 13*, 1907, was 103 this Saturday. She discovered Christian Science when she was in her 20s and didn't go to a doctor for the rest of her life (us 6 kids were also raised sans doctor). Her mother's grandfather, Johann George Krieger, was born in Pennsylvania in 1759, and fought in the American Revolutionary War from 1779-1781.
There was a birthday party for her on Saturday at her rest home (Aegis Assisted Living, Corte Madera, Calif.). Staff had hired acordian player Karl Lebherz. My brother Bob brought his banjo and I had my box bass. We played a bunch of songs and my mom and a few of the more lively ladies were tapping their feet and/or swaying to the songs. My mom and dad's "song" when they were young was "Hold me," and I sang the lyrics to her (first time I've ever sung with a "band"):

Hold me, honey won't you hold me,
Hold me, never let me go
Take me, honey won't you take me
Never to forsake me, 'cause I love you so...

*She claims 13 is a lucky number.

Shipping Container Homes

A bunch of shipping container/home photos at:

Ceramic Frog by Josh Churchman

Josh Churchman is a Northern California fisherman and potter. He makes lots of little ceramic frogs, which people put in their gardens. Each one is different.

New Moon/Valentine's Day/Year of the Tiger

Gung hay fat choi! (Happy New Year!) The Year of the Tiger starts today, which is both Valentine's day (celebrating love and affection) and a new moon.
"Tigers are physically powerful, gracious, independent and brave, they are extremely bold animals. They are friendly and loving but can also selfish and short tempered..…The Tiger flourishes by power and attention and takes advantage of all circumstances it gets itself into. The Tiger is a natural leader and loves to be the centre of attention. As a rebel it goes up against authority and speaks out about wrongs in society, and willingly puts up objections.…"
-from: http://www.yearofthetiger.net/

--photo from: http://www.onlineartdemos.co.uk/misc_images/on-easel/siberian-tiger-6.jpg

Biggest Waves Ever at Mavericks Surf Contest

"Evan Slater tries to catch a giant wave in the first heat. Surfers from around the globe braved the 50-foot-high swells at Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Saturday, February 13, 2010. Chris Bertish of South Africa was selected the winner."
Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The San Francisco Chronicle
Lots of pics at http://bit.ly/d2dnVN

Toyota Should Get Back on Track

I have a 2003 Toyota 4-cylinder, 4-wheel drive Tacoma truck, which I plan on keeping practically forever. This was the last year they produced Tacomas with the 4-cylinder 2.7 liter motor, which any Tacoma owner will tell you is wonderfully dependable and practical (if a little low in the vroom department). (NOTE: See comments: they ARE still available.) Now they're all 6-cylinder motors. I and my 3 sons have had a total of 7 four-cylinder Toyota Tacomas over the years and every one of them has been great. The other day I spotted this pig of a car in the local Toyota lot. $58,000! Oh how the mighty have fallen! What is wrong with Toyota (and Americans)? Why would anyone want an overblown, overpowered vehicle like this? Toyota (and America) need to get back on track in the auto department. To start, Toyota should bring back the 4-cylinder Tacoma. They will go for 100s of thousands of miles.