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Breakfast With Pepe and a Great New Little Camera

Louie's friend Pepe made us a great breakfast of French toast and bacon and barista-quality coffee this morning. Pepe is into elegant design. He turned me on the my Canon Powershot S90 (and 95)camera, my coffee roaster, a couple of lenses for my Canon 20D, shocks for my Toyota 4x4…. Today he showed me the Fujifilm X10. Looks like the first thing better than the S90-95-100 in years. It's bigger, but looks like it might be the camera for me to travel with, rather than having the limitation of my Powershot (as good as it is), or the weight of my serious camera and assorted lenses (Panasonic Lumix G-1). Going to check it out.

Pepe's pics of Louie and me:

Road Trip Up The Coast

I met my friend Louie in Bodega Bay yesterday. We went out in his homemade sailboat to pull up a crab pot. Only one crab. Then north along Hwy 1. The pic below is of the beach at Jenner, the mouth of the Russian River, where it was churning with life of seal and bird persuasion. Then  over the next 10 or so miles of winding often-hair-pin cliffside highway to the Timber Cove Inn, where we had (great) hamburgers and dark draft beer and looked out at the ocean, where whales were spouting, on their way from Alaska south to Scammon's lagoon and other warm water bays for calving. Sun setting just before we got into Pt. Arena. Really a nice day, blue water, a nice swell, surfers out (mostly getting stuffed by straight across 8-foot waves) at Salmon Creek. I feel so lucky, being able to take off for a few days like this, recharging psychic batteries…

Tammy & Logan's Tiny Home

"It was a cold, windy New Years evening. Logan and I were wrapped up in the covers; he was surfing the internet and I was reading a book. It was a perfect and cozy night to be at home.
   Suddenly, Logan looked over at me and said: 'Tammy, you’ve got to see this!'
   'Dude. I’m reading. Is it that important?'
   'Yes! You’re going to love this little video.'
   Logan was right. The video featured Dee Williams and her little house. The house was adorable. It looked like a miniature Victorian or Carpenter Gothic home on wheels.
   I looked at Logan and said: 'I want one of those homes! They are so cute. And think of all the money we’d save. We could pay for the house up front. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about paying rent anymore, at least not in the traditional sense. And maybe, just maybe we could park the little house in someone’s backyard.…'"
There is a great article on downsizing -- "Rethinking Normal" -- by Tammy in Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter. (They hadn't moved into their tiny home when our book went to press.)
Photos of their tiny home: http://rowdykittens.com/our-tiny-house/
Tammy's story of downsizing: http://rowdykittens.com/2010/11/home/

Declaration of Occupancy of New York City

I live in a small town. I read the NYTimes daily (read mostly headlines, some articles), but don't spend a lot of time on the news. I've read about the Occupy guys, seen it on TV (which I watch sparingly), but never got their original message straight from them. I found this URL, sent in on a blog comment, really interesting. Guess what? I agree with everything they say here. (This was over 2 months ago.)


Jay Shafer's Tiny House Into Manhattan Tomorrow

12:30 PM Monday
I just talked to Jay, who's in Nantucket. He said they're going to take it (model shown here) into the East Village tomorrow, He said hooking up with the Occupy folks turned out to be too complicated. "It'll be a tiny house protest…" -- against McMansions, heavy mortgages, high rents, overconsumption, energy and material wastage in housing as it's been practiced in America in the last 20 years.
For New Yorkers: Jay will be speaking in Manhattan at 1-4 PM tomorrow. Details: http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/see-a-tiny-house/tiny-house-in-manhattan/

Destroying Detroit (in Order to Save It

"It took over 300 years to build this city. It'll take about four to knock it down. Howie Kahn rides shotgun with the men who are demolishing the abandoned, godforsaken homes of Detroit—all 70,000 of them—and paving the way for one last shot at the future.…"
Photos by Tim Hetherington -- May 2011
Someone said there was a news story on TV last week about tearing down Detroit's abandoned homes. This was the most recent thing I could find. Look at these great little houses!

A Plan For Empty McMansions

How about converting all those grossly large empty houses into duplexes? Or divide each one by 4 or 6 to create small apartments…

Tumbleweed Tiny House Press Release

PRESS RELEASE -- For immediate release
Presenting an Affordable Solution to the Housing Crisis
Since the bank bailout, over 5,000,000 US homes have been foreclosed. Can you imagine what our economy would look like today if we built smaller, more affordable homes 10 years ago? The housing crisis is at the crux of our failing economy. The bottom line is that bank lending policies created a housing market fixated on larger and larger homes while ignoring the long term impact to our economy and environment. Unfortunately, we don’t see any indications that change is coming.
   We understand that Occupy Wall Street is divisive and many in the Small House Movement disagree. We also believe that Occupy Wall Street provides the world’s largest stage to bring awareness to a real alternative. Our message is too important to ignore – which is why we continually embrace the opportunity to spread the word wherever we can; from Fox Business News to Al Jazeera TV, and now Occupy Wall Street. On December 13th, 2011, Tumbleweed Founder and Small House Advocate Jay Shafer will go to Occupy Wall Street with a tiny house in tow to suggest a true alternative.

Chinese Junks

Lots of photos: http://global-mariner.com/index111ChineseJunks.html
From Godfrey Stephens

Vintage Transport

Thanks to Robin B.

Tiny Container Homes

"Why would anyone want to live in a tiny container home? As the world economic system continues to erode, more and more people are seeking out a more ‘self sustaining’ lifestyle. This new shift in lifestyle choices has inspired many movements including the tiny homes movement and it’s ingenious tiny house plans, one of which is the ‘tiny container homes’ model.
   The appeal of the tiny homes movement reaches down inside many of us and gives us a feeling of being masters of our own destiny. The tiny container homes offer so much more than just monetary savings. They are a symbol of freedom from the rat race, and from fear of the devastating effects of economic ruin. Tiny homes often feature solar power, and are mobile, allowing their owners to move as needed or wanted. The ability to move the home to any desired location, often where there is land to garden, ranch or farm, makes living in a tiny home, and even a tiny container home, an ideal solution to feeling secure in an world full of insecurity.…"
Credit on this story: Rowdy Kittens
Note: Pic shown is not a container, but rather what appears to be a nicely designed wooden mini-caboose on a truck bed. (A curved roof makes a small space feel way more spacious.)

Moon Shots

From Lew Lewandowski

Sunday Morning Bits and Pieces

Politics: I cringe somewhat when posting political stuff, but I've never been good at sticking to one subject. I just happen to be all over the place. Once in a while something in the political arena strikes me. I don't claim to be right and in fact, have a record of naiveté and even polyanna-ish hopes, but these thoughts and observations are all part of my world. Give me Obama, disappointments and all, over any of these dangerous creeps visible in the Republican media circus. I don't have time to get into dialogues on "comments." Just puttin it out there…

Music de este Domingo: Jimmy Reed, "Big Boss Man"
Big boss man,
Can't you hear me when I call?
Big boss man,
Can't you hear me when I call?
Well you not so big,
You just tall, that's all…

It's a great crab season. At night there are a dozen or more lights out in the ocean. Pulling crab pots. Think of the competence and resolve of these fishermen, out on the black ocean at night, getting knocked
around if seas are rough, hauling in heavy traps. tossing under-sized ones, and dumping the rest into boxes, then back to port, Not for the faint-hearted. San Francisco crab dinner: cracked crab, salad, sour-dough garlic bread, red wine.
   It was a much better year for fish in general. Salmon, halibut, rockfish. Great to see all these guys getting wild local fresh food.

Local Oyster Farm Controversy
The Drake's Bay Oyster Company is being threatened by the same well-heeled "environmentalists" that recently forced the shutdown (in the next 5 years) of all trailers parked at Lawson's landing. See my photo-report here: http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2011/06/lawsons-landing-under-threat-by.html
"…Some observers see a David versus Goliath struggle, with a federal agency and moneyed environmental groups picking on a family-run business.…" http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2011/12/10/norcal_oyster_farm_dispute_spreads_to_capitol_hill/?page=2
For a very complete refutation of the National Parks Service's bad science and underhanded tactics (in cooperation with the Environmental Action Committee) in an article by John Hulls and Todd Pickering, see: http://russianrivertimes.wordpress.com/

They've Made a Better Rat Trap (2 of 'em):
The big problem I've had for years is that unless the bait is tied to the trigger, these cunning critters will spirit it away sans springing trap. I was sheet-metal-screwing a ½:"copper plumbing cap to Victor traps, but they would come off. Both these traps have got little cup/triggers you fill (I use Skippy peanut butter) and voila! The springs are also strong. (Got 2 rats last night.)

Woodstream M144 Power Kill Rat Trap

Ortho 0321210 Home Defense Max Secure-Kill Rat Trap

On this subject, here's an article I wrote a few years ago on critters on the homestead for The Mother Earth News: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/Protect-Your-Home-From-Critters.aspx

Homemade Sauerkraut
I got the book Wild Fermentation due to a Cool Tools review: http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/005221.php
Then got this Polish-made crock: http://www.amazon.com/TSM-Products-Fermentation-Liter-capacity/dp/B002UUT4CI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323633345&sr=8-1
It has a lip you fill with water to keep unfriendly bacteria out. Note: If you want weight (recommended), get the 20-liter stones, not the smaller ones. Anyway, sauerkraut (great for digestion) is composed of -- cabbage and salt, nada mas. Simple! First batch worked great. Centuries-old low tech.

Is The Old New Again?
It's not so much that "…the old is new again," but that some of the old is mighty relevant in this day and age. To wit, Otis now singing "I've Been Loving You For Too Long (To Stop Now)," on a vinyl record, live in Paris, 1967, just sent a chill through me…

Sunday Morning Fashionista Revue

Last night (thanks to neighbors Patty and Nick), we watched this documentary. 83-year-old fashion photographer Bill Cunningham rides a bike all over Manhattan and sometimes runs like a kid when stalking camera subjects. "We all get dressed for Bill", says Vogue editor Anna Wintour (Wikipedia). He has a joy in life and is irresistibly good-humored. Toward the end of the movie he says: "He who seeks beauty shall find it."

Bill Cunningham New York Trailer from Gavin McWait on Vimeo.
(Click on "Vimeo," lower right, for larger size video.)

Which reminded me of a unique fashion photographer, Scott Schuman, who documents homemade fashion all over the world:

Builders Using Made in America Building Materials

"If every builder used 5% more American materials, it would create 220,000 jobs right now." http://cdnapi.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/wid/0_04vzdsr5/uiconf_id/5590821
From Brendan O'Connor