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Tiny Homes # 435 on Amazon this morning

We've never had a book ranked nearly this high. It's taking off everywhere with a bang. Yesterday we had over 50 orders.
Note: If you have the book and like it a lot, please put up a review on Amazon. Word-of-mouth mojo  -- like the old Whole Earth Catalog days…

Biggest Gnarliest Waves Ever Ridden?

"This day at Teahupoo -- Aug 27th 2011 during the Billabong Pro waiting period -- is what many are calling the biggest and gnarliest Teahupoo ever ridden. Chris Bryan was fortunate enough to be there working for Billabong on a day that will go down in the history of big wave surfing. The French Navy labeled this day a double code red prohibiting and threatening to arrest anyone that entered the water.
Kelly Slater described the day by saying "witnessing this was a draining feeling being terrified for other people's lives all day long, it's life or death. Letting go of that rope one time can change your life and not many people will ever experience that in their life."
All images where shot by Chris Bryan using the Phantom HD Gold camera. To see more of Chris' work check out his website: http://www.chrisbryanfilms.com"
Suggestion: turn off the music score here and play pumping rock 'n roll or whatever on a cd player. I played Rod Stewart's "Hot Legs."
Thanks to Richard Olsen; subject of his email to me was "…you must take a moment with this…"

Chickens Got New Feathers

They looked really ratty a month ago after they'd shed feathers. Now they're all newly feathered out, our little bantam Silver Seabrights, one Golden Seabright, and about 3 bantam Auracanas. Lookin good. We got these because of their beauty, the black band around each white (or golden) feather. This coming summer, we're going to get a new flock of Golden Seabrights and Auracanas. Pix shot an hour ago.


TINY HOMES Appears in New MSNBC Video on -- Ta-dah -- Tiny Homes

This video showed up yesterday. At 1:10 min. into it, they show a photo of Tiny Homes, Don't know how they got the book so fast, it's just out. Glad to see they used phrase "tiny homes.…"
   We just may have some buzz starting here. Phone has been ringing off the hook, over 50 books sold today…

Tiny Homes on Flight 505

I've been tracking Tiny Homes on Amazon and just now it is #505 in the "Amazon Best Sellers Rank." We've never had a book be this high.
   Hmm -- 505, isn't that an old Stones song? I looked it up on Grooveshark -- am I the last one to discover this site? Search for and play any song whatever. So (example of how I waste time around here) -- I just listened to "Get me on Flight Number 505…" while gloating over the Amazon rating.

 Jimmy Reed doing Big Boss Man on Sirius radio right now. Funny isn't it, how you'll know a song well enough, but at a certain time you'll discover it all over, with deeper appreciation? Just appreciating the simplicity of what Jimmy Reed does. It's what you leave out that counts…

Ride Down Mountain This Afternoon

It's a hard climb up, maybe a few miles, but the downhill is FUN! Curves and speed and vistas, coasting. When I let go of the brakes on this (Stumpjumper) bike, it seems to accelerate. Whoo!
   I got about halfway down, going at a pretty good speed and I heard "On your left," and wild Indian on a bike came flying, I mean flying, past me. My first impression was of the long hair blowing in the wind, this guy was dressed not like a cyclist, but in plain old clothes. Goin' FAST…No helmet. After he flew past, my jaw dropped even further as he started jumping. Front wheel up, back wheel off ground, rotate in air, lining up so landings were right.
  Wild and beautiful, the level of his skill and grace. Never seen anything like it. I screamed a whooo and he answered whooo. This was poetry; athleticism, coordination, daring — and joy.
   I caught up with him at the bottom; he and buddies were heading in a car to the local skate park. I followed and watched him on his bike and homie Sam on skateboard just shred the place. 
He's 18 and his name is Trevor "Ratman" Perelson. He said he had a website. I asked the name and he said, "Well it's  a vulgar name…" "What is it?" "Well, I was a lot younger when I named it…" "OK, OK, what is it?" http://dontshaveyourtwat.blogspot.com/ The enthusiasm is exhilarating, they're exploring the world with such zest…
We talked for a while. We had things in common, like him and Sam "…seeking secret spots…" It was really my first solid contact with the teenage generation, looks like a whole new deal. I feel privileged to connect with people so young (almost a 60 year age difference here). Evolution…

Ride Up Mountain This Afternoon

This is a special spot where 2 creeks come together, it's usually bubbling with water this time of year, but there's barely a trickle. Boy, when the rains come I'm going to go out and run or hike and get wet and breathe deeply and smell the richness in the woods as the water soaks into the soil. It's a hard climb to the top of this road, a good workout, few cars, great views of the coast and woods.

Apropos not of this, but life in general, the Wispr
vaporizer is brilliant: http://shltr.net/wsprvape. Made in Ireland.

Review of Tiny Homes by Kevin Kelly in CoolTools


"…Some are on wheels, a few float, some are pre-fab, but most are handmade shelters placed in odd corners in cities, suburbs and the country. Their variety is stunning. This large book erupts with a cornucopia of 1,300 photos featuring 150 different tiny homes, showing you how they were built, giving resources and helpful tips of their construction, supplying design solutions and inspiration for others, but also conveying WHY they were built. Tiny though they are, they are much more than mere shelter.…"

This is all the more better because CoolTools is my favorite blog. It's the electronic Whole Earth Catalog, immensely useful to me.


Steep Gable-roofed Cabin in Snow, BC

This is near Powell River, BC, Canada. I like the proportions, the steep roof for shedding snow.
Photos by m and a parsons. Check out their photos of snow, lakes, waterfalls, cabins in the BC backcountry: http://www.panoramio.com/user/3319790?with_photo_id=25068522
Thanks to Margy Lutz for this

Unplugging For Survival in the Digital World

The Joy of Quiet
By Pico Iyer - NYTimes Op Ed, December 29, 2011
"In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.…

The average American teenager sends or receives 75 text messages a day, though one girl in Sacramento managed to handle an average of 10,000 every 24 hours for a month.…

“Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.…

…after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects 'exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.'…

Nothing makes me feel better — calmer, clearer and happier — than being in one place, absorbed in a book, a conversation, a piece of music.…"


Thanks to Anonymous for pointing this out as a comment on my post on sleeping on the beach.

Flatbed Truck Converted to Housetruck in Scotland

"Take a look at this conversion located in Inverness-shire, Scotland dubbed “The Beer Moth”. Surpassing it’s intended use as a fire service truck, it now houses guests as a vacation rental. The Beer Moth, which is a 1956 Conmer Q4 rescued by Walter, the current owner and now sits at his … 'The Inshriach House.'
Here in the states it would be quite easy to acquire an old military vehicle similar to this with a canvas back and perform a similar restoration as The Beer Moth to make nice little tiny house on wheels.…"

Tiny Homes is in Bookstores!

Going to Hong Kong in November to print this book was the last stage of a 2-year project. I felt like I'd roped a steer, and was hanging on until it was down — until the book rolled off the presses. Now it's done, and has arrived (all the way by water, up the Mississippi to Gulfport, and thence only a few hundred miles by truck to the Tennessee warehouse). Whew! Two things:
Review Copy Dept.: If you are interested in a review copy, write us, giving type of media it might be reviewed in (newspaper, magazine, blog, website, etc.), and indicate readership. For electronic media, indicate daily viewers and page loads. Plus yr. address.
Note 1: We also have a spiffy electronic copy (the entire book) available for reviewers.
Note 2: Please give us email addresses of anyone you know who might write a review.
Shameless Commerce Dept.: You can get the book from us for a 25% discount through January 31st: http://www.shelterpub.com/_tiny_homes/tiny_homes_book.html
Also, you can get any 3 or more of our building books for a 40% discount: http://www.shelterpub.com/_ad/TH-sale.html
Proud Papa Department: this book has a glow, an aura, if that's possible. The printers (Paramount Printing, Hong Kong) did such a beautiful job. It's slowly sinking in that it's not only done, not only printed, but in bookstores. I gotta say I'm proud, being able to show the creativity and joy unique designs of the 150 or so builders in this book.
Above: Crystal River Treehouse by Stephen A. Novy, AIA, Green Line Architects, pp. 150-151, TINY HOMES: Simple Shelter

Steve Jobs

I just finished reading the book (on my iPad, natch) and it really moved me. In the personal realm , I never knew what a prick he so often was, but the extent of his involvement in design is staggering. He refined and refined and was pretty totally insane about producing insanely great products. Hard on people, yes, but oh those designs!
   I'm typing this on my 11" MacBook Air at Cafe Roma in North Beach (San Francisco) early this morning and as I've probably mentioned, it's my favorite tool in the world right now. Brilliant elegance.
   What's stayed with me from the book is Steve's unrelenting refinement upon refinement. It's made me look at a lot of things I'm doing and think of ways to improve. Rewrite the paragraph one more time. Get my carpentry tighter. Streamline my backpacking gear. It's looking at everything I do with an eye to improvement, it's looking at my work through a filter of excellence -- well, say rather, improvement.

Tin Hat Cabin on Sunny Coast Mountain Trail (BC, Canada)

Pic above: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/58599554

"A series of bluffs up the East Tin Hat Ridge presented better and better views the higher we climbed. This is the last open bluff before Tin Hat summit, a somewhat flat and large, though uneven rock outcropping.   We decided to build the cabin here.…Below follows a chronology of the construction of the hut which, complete with upgraded trail, took some 30 days over a period of about three months."
Great series of construction photos: http://newshelters.blogspot.com/
Sent us by Margy Lutz

Well I'm Goin to California Where They Sleep Out Every Night…

I did a bunch of solo backpacking in the '60s and '70s — the Sierras, Yosemite, Big Sur, Utah — but not in recent decades.
   I've decided to get back into it, because the rewards are so great.  Also because I've quit competitive running. 
   Thus, I set out with small Sierra Design tent, my new (wonderful) Western Mountaineering made-in-USA sleeping bag, plus various odd assorted items, and spent Saturday night on a remote beach.
  Well, I'm a bit out of practice. Too much weight, forgot flashlight, and worst, as I got the fire ready to light, to barbecue one of our small bantam chickens and bake a potato in foil, I had no matches, or lighter. Fuck! It's an hour and a half walk back to where matches might be obtained, total 3 hours for such stupidity. Oh man, I'm not gonna be able to cook any food, won't be able to stay warm on this cold night, can't sit around staring into embers…Wait a minute, I've got a tiny Primus stove with self igniter, voila…Got fire started just before moon came up. Chicken roasted over coals, even had butter and salt for potato. Plus, heh heh, a flask of Don Pilar Agave Azul tequila…
   Even if for one night, it's good for me to get away from electricity and all the comforts. No one for me to talk to, or blog to. Ulp! A jolt of solitariness. Refreshing. The fire is my TV, the stars part of my night, Orion in its lovely articulation rising and moving across the ocean horizon…
(And so glad to get back home.)

Driftwood Typography

Chicken Coop Living Roof and Happy Chickens

The reason we now have such a nice chicken coop is that it was built by Billy Cummings and not me. All I did was put on the exterior siding, The chickens absolutely love the place. They have a big yard outside (with surround aviary wire -- going down into the ground at perimeter) and a cozy rat-proof room in which they roost. Concrete floor, covered with straw. The roof is filling in nicely.
   The weather has been blue-skies, clear, warm during day, which I find a bit creepy. The woods are dry. The aquifers need replenishing.
   "Really love the rain, against my window…" -Toots in Memphis. Fabulous album, 1988, with Muscle Shoals backup, I swear Toots in channeling Otis here.
   Saw first episode of new season's "Shameless" last night. Wicked!

Unique Campers From Holland

"Each Tonke is custom-designed. Ours was the smallest version, but still felt about three times as big as your classic VW campervan, with so much headroom that only the tallest Tonke-user would need to duck. At one end was a full-size double bed, at the other a wooden table and chairs that could pop down into a third bed. Between them was a pretty comprehensive kitchen (complete with fridge, double gas burner, oven and porcelain sink) and a shower and toilet compartment. What there wasn't was any hint of kitsch. Instead the snug interior was all clean lines, bold red and blue furnishings and lots of dark wood. 'Holland has a tradition of classic yachts from the 1920s and 1930s that's definitely visible in the Tonke interiors,' Maarten explained. 'Gypsy caravans are often ornate, but I prefer the plainer yacht style - lots of mahogany and gloss.'"
From Lew Lewandowski