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Mortar and Pestle of Olive Wood

Another photo of this, made from a burl of olive wood, purchased last week from The Olive Tree in Sonoma county. It's sitting on our dining table, made from 3" x 12" Douglas fir lumber. (About 4" in diameter.)

Anyone know what these #mushrooms are? Can't find in books. Very solid , heavy, growing in chanterelle territory...


Which Cover Do You Like Best?

Rick and I are in the final stages of preparing Small Homes for the printers. We changed the cover from an earlier version, which showed a small turn-of-the-century home in Santa Cruz (in this revised cover, it's the middle image in the left hand column), because a single image didn't seem to represent the diversity of images (120 or so small homes) in the book. Hence the collage.

Below are two alternatives, the same except for the background color. In the one with the red, it's similar-looking to Home Work, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Tiny Homes on the Move. Some of our savvy book friends think it's too similar, and that another color would distinguish it from the other books. Hence the other with the dark green background.

Comments, please. Which do you like? Do you see any problem in this cover being similar to our other books?





Dancing! in 1957-58 to "Slow Down" by Larry Williams


At the time of this record, 1957-58, I was getting back from 3-month trip through 10 European countries on a Lambretta motorscooter, camping out and staying in youth hostels. Hitchhiking also. In '58, I was running a newspaper on an Air Force base near Wiesbaden, Germany. I sure didn't know about this kind of music and dancing in those days. Sheeesh!

First-hand Account of Global Warming in South Seas

My longtime good friend Sam Rehnborg and his wife Francesca took off this summer on their 70-foot sailboat for the South Seas, retracing a voyage they made over 30 years ago. They got some rude shocks from the effects of global warming, as he explained in an e-mail to me last week:

"Bottom line for me is that it was a great experience retracing my steps through this part of the world.  It only reinforces what I sort of knew anyway about the ocean temperature, which has been averaging up here about 88 degrees F.  The fish have disappeared.  The corals are bleaching and dying.

 The water is getting acidified.  The local people are doing the best that they can, but there is not much they can do about some of these big, big changes that are taking place.  The efforts are going to have to take place on a much larger scale."

The photo shows him sailing out from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco this July, heading for The Marquesas Islands. His blog on the trip: http://drsamsblog.com/

Sam has a Ph.D. in Biophysics and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and is the president of the Nutrilite Health Institute, makers of vitamins and dietary supplements. He just got back and is motivated to do research on global warming.


Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops

In October 30, 2016 issue of The New York Times
"LONDON — The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat.

But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.

Broken Promises of Genetically Modified Crops
About 20 years ago, the United States and Canada began introducing genetic modifications in agriculture. Europe did not embrace the technology, yet it achieved increases in yield and decreases in pesticide use on a par with, or even better than, the United States, where genetically modified crops are widely grown.