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Perfectly Proportioned Little California Farm Building

On the Skagg's Springs Road in Mendocino County, California, last Friday. This is one of those humble farm buildings that stop me in my tracks. Everything looks right. Too bad architects so seldom incorporate the beauty of simplicity, practicality, and economy in their creations.

Dome of Sticks and Branches

Hello Lloyd,
Last Sunday I was walking with my wife and dog (legal doggie trail) in the Marin Headlands and came across this fun looking shelter. You’ve may have already seen it but it caught my eye amongst the trees.
Regards,
Dan (Pingaro)

Great Article on Big Wave Rider Laird Hamilton

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/laird-hamilton-competition_55d4fe27e4b055a6dab2d7b5?cps=gravity_2689_-2188148506670214471&kvcommref=mostpopular
Check out the videos, especially the first one, at Teahupoo, gnarliest wave in the world, and the 3rd one where he shoots the pier on a big day at Malibu. Whew!
From Wonder Serra

Cool Deep Green Swimming Hole on Hot August Day

Secret spot on secret river
I've been swimming here 3 times on this trip. It's about 8 feet deep by the rock. Not another soul in sight. Takes me a little while to decompress, for the barriers of disconnectedness with the wild world to drop away. Alone, no cars, people, electricity…lying in the sun, body 100% bathed in sunlight (Viva said in Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine in the '70s, "The sun is my lover."
Pretty soon I notice there are tiny insects buzzing around just above water surface; once in a while a silver flash when a baby fish will jump out of water and grab one.
I get warm in then sun, then swim…perfect.

Breakfast This Morning With Louie, Titsch, and Kyle

I took off early Wednesday morning with Yogan, my carpenter friend from France. This is Friday morning, so I'm not posting chronologically, but this is hot off the press: at breakfast this morning with Louie and Titsch*, this little boy walked up holding one of our Tiny Homes mini books, showing it to me. "Where'd you get that," I asked.
"You gave it to me last year."

Earlier this morning, I'd given a Tiny Homes On the Move mini book to a 3-year-old girl sitting at our able and she started going through it page by page and then said, "This is really cool."

Made my day, to say the least.  Kids are with us.

Here's Kyle Radic, driving south to San Francisco with his mom and she said he'd brought along his favorite book:
Photo by Titsch Jones
*Titsch and I were born on the same day (not the same year), and my mother's maiden name was Jones, so I consider him my brother. He's from Wales.

Shelter Publicity

I'm posting this here so it can be accessed by people on my GIMME SHELTER newsletter list. I don't think it's of much interest to general readers of this blog, other than people in the publishing trade.

I started doing these newsletters about 20 years ago, inspired by Carl Lennertz' newsletter to Random House reps, and George Young's weekly newsletter, "Verbal Abuse," to Ten Speed reps. There are about 600 people on this mailing list, but this one is being sent just to reps and PGW sales people.

As with my blog, these newsletters have wandered all over the place with subject matter, but this time I want to focus on Shelter's condition in this ever-changing and ever-loving (yes, still!) world of book publishing.

To tell the truth, I wish we could just stay out here in our ivory-tower-in-the-garden, turn out one book after the other, and they'd sell crazily—but it just doesn't work that way. Sales of our books have dropped off, and it's prompted us to review recent publicity, the phenomenal feedback of late on our building books, and current sales and marketing of Shelter books.

I'm sorry this is so long (but I "...didn't have the time to make it shorter."

Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #2—Homesteading in Montana

Just came in for our new book SMALL HOMES:

Hey Lloyd, Like many others, your books inspired us to build our own home. Four years ago I left a career as a helicopter pilot in the Army with my wife and two kids and moved to the Mission Valley of Montana (north of Missoula). We bought 40 acres of bare hay fields and built an 800 sq ft. house. It was quite an experience since neither one of us had experience with construction. We broke ground in late September, and six weeks later I remember the first snow of the season blasting me in the face as I dryed in the last wall. We finished it more or less over the winter, then went on to build a barn a few years later…still working on that one!

We grow organic produce and pastured hogs and like to farm as much as possible with our draft horses. I'd like to say 800 sq. ft. is working for us, but after four years, we currently are in the midst of adding on, increasing our square footage to about 1800*. With our remodel, we are trying to replicate the classic American Foursquare style of architecture that is widely seen across the country with a few timber framed details here and there. I think we could have lasted longer with a house sized somewhere in between, but this was initially going to be just a small cottage for family to stay in and down the road we would build another house.  therefore we built it without storage in mind. Well we ran out of money and didn't see the need to do that, so here we are! Nevertheless, its been a wild ride!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Micah & Katie Helser

Yes, it'll exceed our size limit of 1200 sq. ft., but it was smaller to start, so it's going in the book. (We have been known to stretch parameters.)


Adventure Videos From Sean Hellfritsch

Very short videos (1-3 minutes):

Subterranean Breakfast Nook
https://vimeo.com/62648661

Skateboarding down windy road to ocean
https://vimeo.com/89767441

Driftwood Cabin
https://vimeo.com/62648659

Camping Rafts
https://vimeo.com/62648658

Adventure Playground
https://vimeo.com/62648657


Mark & Meg's Half Acre California Coastal Farm

On which they grow 60-70% of all their own food.

I'm going to post sneak previews of our next book, Small Homes, once in a while, as I proceed with layout. There will be 6 pages with photos of Mark and Meg's home, built out of recycled wood, and garden.

I'm experimenting with Twitter to post references to other websites; it's quicker than blogging. https://twitter.com/lloydkahn

The More Probable Continuation of This Blog

When I wrote about ending this blog 2 days ago, I was in what you might call a state of mild confused desperation. These (warm summer) days, I'm:
• (joyfully) working on a new book
• trying to figure out how to get more of our books out in bookstores (where people can see them, and pick them up...)
• revamping our digital communications
• shuffling a ton of other things I want to do right now. 
Life is rich.

Thank you guys for the comments. I mean, really! Stephanie gets it. I love ya too, Stephanie. So good to hear I'm connecting.

With the process of iteration, here's where I'm at this morning:

I'll keep the blog going. Thanks, George, Rick, Sharkey, etc.

I won't keep trying to do a post a day. Too stressful, and causing me to sometimes put up less-than-great stuff just to fill in daily gaps. I'll do a lot less posting stuff from other websites, but put up original material, stuff I've done or witnessed, photos new to the internet world. If you were checking it daily, now check it weekly.

Blogs aren't going to be eliminated by social media, any more than radio was eliminated by TV, or TV eliminated by the internet. They all have their function.

Other digital stuff In discussions yesterday with my two 30-something-year-old consultants, Sean Hellfritsch and my son Evan, we roughed out a plan: I'm going to do Instagram posts from an iPhone 6 (mostly when I'm out and around in the world). I'll also start tweeting again (fun!). We'll figure out how to coordinate our extensive home/shelter/building content on my blog, theshelterblog, Instagram, Tumbl'r, Twitter, linking back and forth. Facebook too. Sean's going to come up with a plan, Evan's going to do much of the posting. We'll get the plan together when Rick and Lew are back.

The Very Possible End of this Blog

In the '60s I had a friend is Santa Barbara, a highly-skilled gardener, tell me this about the growth of his pot plants: they'd not grow much for a week or so, then suddenly in 24 hours they'd grow like crazy. We talked about how knowledge was like that. You'll take in information and ponder something over a period of time and suddenly—eureka!—you'll get it. You get the whole picture. You see the way forward.

Well here's my growth spurt of the last few days. It may be premature to write this, but I think I see a new way to get out our "content*") out to (more) people.

I've been pondering mostly Instagram and Twitter, but also Facebook (ugh!), Pinterest, maybe Tumblr as a better way than blogging. I've done almost 5,000 posts now, some 7 million page views, I think it's time to hang it up, or at least quit trying to do a post a day. I've been running it like a mini-newspaper, and I love doing it, but it's taking too much time. Maybe I'll just do my own material on this blog and not keep posting interesting stuff from other websites.

Small Homes

I'm laying out about 2 pages of this new book each day. Once I get the photos and text on the design table, it seems to assemble itself. Oh this fits here…I'll put the pull quote here…Line this up both up and across…I love doing it—watching the birth of a book. A lot of material came in today—photos and stories.

I need to put more time into the book now, less on the blog.

Plus it's occurring to me that blogs may be less significant these days, what with these super-sized phone screens and the fact that people are checking Instagram and Facebook daily whereas one has to go to a blog. I only look at blogs occasionally.

Lloyd's Change of Direction
The iPhone 6 Plus! Holy shit! What a tool. I've run across 3 of them in the last 5 days. Yesterday my friend Jeff said, "Have you seen the billboards with photos shot on the iPhone 6?" I've kept saying I'd rather shoot quick photos with my many-featured Sony Cybershot RX100 II—raw files, tons of options not on any phone. But the camera seems v. good on the new iPhone and it'll allow me to post stuff immediately, without having to shoot pix, load them on computer, use wi-fi, blah blah blah…Just zap from the phone. Immediate communication.

It's gonna be fun, because I run across so much interesting stuff out in the world.

Looking forward to doing Twitter again. Forced to edit self.

*I have probably 15,000 (film and digital ) photos from 50+years—maybe half of them on homes, builders, building, architecture, most of it never used.

Live Broadcast of Small Homes
We're going to try publishing excerpts from this book as we lay it out. Need to figure how to do so efficiently…hey, what about publishing quick photos of rough layout like this, along with a paragraph about the builder/homeowners? Would that work? The above layout:
"Jes Nelee', musician and world traveler, designed and built her own small home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the help of her 80-year-old grandfather and friends."
We could do that real simply. Get out on theshelterblog plus other social media.

Just sayin…

Barns and Buildings - 800 Photos on Pinterest




800 photos here: https://www.pinterest.com/beckyjo/barns-and-buildings/

Sleepy Man Banjo Boys - Bluegrass From New Jersey Kids


Published on Jul 5, 2013
"All under the age of 16, brothers Jonny, Robbie and Tommy Mizzone are from New Jersey, a US state that's better known for the rock of Bruce Springsteen than the bluegrass of Earl Scruggs. Nonetheless, the siblings began performing bluegrass covers, as well as their own compositions, at a young age. Here, they play three dazzling songs in three different keys, passing the lead back and forth from fiddle to banjo to guitar."

Shelter Looking for Apprentice or Part Time Employee and/or Website Designer

The paradox is that we're getting this incredible feedback, now daily, and sales of our books have dropped off. We want to:

1. Redesign our website
2. Get Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and our blogs working to reach people. We have tons of "content."
3. Produce more short videos
4. Consult with internet-savvy people
5. Get word out more broadly about our books
6. Get theshelterblog audience large enough so we get income from it.

Ideally we'd find a person who who understands blogs, "social media," and how to build a new website.
Contact us if you or anyone you know might be interested in working with us: shelter@shelterpub.com

Will, Lloyd and the Rainbow Girls

I went to see the Rainbow Girls Friday night and thought they were fantastic. Great vocal harmonies, and they all kept switching instruments. After they finished, my son Will (a drummer) and I were talking to them outside the bar and Will mentioned that I had published Tiny Homes and one of them screamed, "Oh I love that book!" Pretty soon we were hanging out with all 4 of them. They all knew at least one of our books.
Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzF9sUCsRm0
People in Oregon: they'll be there August 26th-30th: http://www.rainbowgirlsmusic.com/

Small Homes Book Under Production

I'm rolling with layout of Small Homes. It's like magic: I start with a bunch of photos and columns of text and start assembling. I'll pick a lead photo and blow it up on my little (inexpensive)  6-year-old Brother DCP-9040CN color printer/copier and start laying things down, getting pics to size on the copy machine, shifting stuff around, adding text, taping it down with Scotch removable tape and voila, it's lookin pretty good.

Note: we want to hear what people are doing about shelter in cities (other than paying $3500/month for a studio apartment in San Francisco). Email us at smallhomes@shelterpub.com

I've got so much going on right now, what with the book production, and also due to the fact that our sales have dropped off (in the midst of incredible feedback), so we're working on marketing. Goal is to get people in bookstores just to pick up one of our books.

I'm back in the water after about 20 years of running (mostly on the mountain). Swimming and paddling my (12' Joe bark Surftek) paddleboard, which whisks through the water. The other day I got in a strong outgoing tide, paddling hard, and was going at least 10 mph, if not 15, water spraying from the bow, pretending I was a speedboat. The water in the ocean is uncharacteristically warm right now. Some days 65 degrees. Am I in LA?

Robert McKinney's Cozy Motorhome

I really like the curved roof (a la gypsy wagons) for small spaces. More restful, less claustrophobic than the steep gable roofs of so many tiny homes.

"Hi Lloyd,
Thanks for all the awesome publications. I think I have them all, except your latest.…I used to live in an old Cortez motorhome for years and drove all over the west to help build straw bale buildings, a couple there in Marin.
 I've lived in my latest motorhome for 5 years now. The wall are insulated with straw and reeds, which will soon be earth plastered. It will also have a solar heated radiant floor. It's has a completely shielded and isolated electrical system to eliminate EMFs.
I'm also in the process of completely reconstructing a single wide trailer using my new straw wall system that I'm hoping will be easy for anyone to reproduce. It will be extremely fire resistant, inexpensive to build and have a higher R value than most "tiny homes".

Here's a few photos of my current home. It's a Ford CF 7000 with a 20 ft alum. box I've altered a bit.
-Robert McKinney"