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Jeff Dean, Woodworker

Jeff Dean sent us some photos and links to his buildings and unique joinery. See his buildings here, and  the photos of his work and links he sent us on The Shelter Blog here.

"Our Little Dream House"

This tiny home in British Columbia generated a lot of interest on The Shelter Blog here.

Colors of the Rainbow

A few years ago, Jeff McWhinney, working for 3M at the time, gave me a sheet of diffraction grating film, which breaks up light into all the colors of the spectrum. I put it up, covering the south-facing window high in our office and in the afternoons, we have rainbows moving through the office, changing as the sun moves inits pattern through the sky. I walked into the office just now and wow, check out my computer.

In the '60s we used to get this stuff (along with prisms) from Edmund Optics (which we learned about through the Whole Earth Catalog). Fahr out man! And still is.

Mockingbird by Charlie & Inez Foxx

Carly Simon and James Taylor did a good version of this song, but here's the real thing. It's all too often that the original dynamite song is almost unknown.

Who's ever heard of Charlie and Inez Foxx?  What singing! A great CD by them is titled "Mockingbird."
Mocking Bird by Inez & Charlie Foxx on Grooveshark

Algae Makes Clean Water & Fertilizer

Great article in NYTimes today by Mathew L. Wald on utilizing algae: 

"…a Nevada company, Algae Systems, has a pilot plant in Alabama that, it says, can turn a profit making diesel fuel from algae by simultaneously performing three other tasks: making clean water from municipal sewage (which it uses to fertilize the algae), using the carbon-heavy residue as fertilizer and generating valuable credits for advanced biofuels.

If it works, the company says, the process will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than is added when the fuel is burned.…"

Photo: At the pilot plant, Algae Systems converts the waste and algae into clean water and biocrude oil.
Photo by Tad Denson

Salmon, Stripers, Halibut

There are fish everywhere this week. Two friends have brought us salmon (had some for dinner, and now smoking and making gravlax with the rest of it), and someone gave us this striped bass. I forgot how striking (sic) they are. Stripes. Gonna smoke this as well.

Casey Neistat's Wildly Functional Studio

Kevin Kelly sent  this, along with the note: "I love this guy's work place."

Musical Events in Round Barn in Iowa

BCKRVUE has left a new comment on your post "Curved Roof Barn in Oregon/The Largest Bookstore i...":

Hi Lloyd this site combines two thing you appreciate, Music & Architecture. Enjoy! 


TV Series Seeks Off-the-grid Homes

We have been contacted by the producer of a TV series on off-grid homes. They are looking for people who have recently started living off the grid. If you're in this category, send us the story of why you moved off the grid, along with some photos of the home, and of you and your family. Email to: shelter@shelterpub.com.

Heavy Equipment in Oregon

Not sure what its function is, but it's sure heavy duty. Somehow used in logging I presume. Note how they have used chained treads around tires to create Caterpillar-like tractor treads.

4-Minute Exercise-Stretch To Do at Your Computer

A free example of "Foundation Training" by Corey Goodman. In the intro, he says that this is "…good for anyone with a lingering back injury, an older body, or if you've used yourself more than others have."

I can sure relate to those last two.

I think Corey has got something very good here, and with his book and videos.



Sokol Blosser Winery's Underground Wine Storage Units

"…The Sokol Blosser Winery's gentle slopes face south and east to capture the earliest rays of the sun, the well-drained clay-loam soil gives the vines just enough vigor, and the temperate climate is ideal for cool-weather Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes. Because Sokol Blosser looks at their vineyard as a small ecosystem, they farm the land organically and seek biodiversity at all levels, from microbes in the soil and insects in the wildflowers to native birds, which control the insect populations.

Water Skeeters, Mountain Lion, Coyote, American White Pelicans, Clams, Seaweed

Intersections with the natural world the past few days: I studied water skeeters in a hill pond Tuesday; a brilliant design by mother nature. They float on 6 legs; 4 long ones for skittering and 2 short legs in front. They move mostly with breaststrokes of the 2 front legs and when startled just zoom. I was transfixed, watched them for 5 minutes or so, the fact they float on their legs…Doug saw a young mountain lion; we always look for the long tail to be sure it's not a big bobcat…Yes, a long tail, he said, also that it appeared to be a young one, with spots on its skin…I saw a big healthy coyote crossing the road Tuesday night…Yesterday I paddled my kayak across the bay and dug clams…saw 4 of the huge American Pelicans; wingspan of 8-10 feet…harvested some seaweed -- Macrocystis integrifolia, a smaller cousin of giant kelp; I've been bringing home all kinds of seaweed and this one appears promising. It's flavorful, with salt crystals that sparkle when it's dried. I'm grinding it and using it instead of salt on meat, vegetables. salad.

Summertime by The Zombies on Grooveshark

"Tiny Homes on the Move is a Glorious Romp" (Book Review on Treehugger

Great review of Tiny Homes on the Move on Treehugger by Lloyd Alter:

"This book is everything that TreeHugger tries not to be, and it is just totally captivating. Since its inception, TreeHugger has been "partial to a modern aesthetic." As an architect, I am even more so, and the tiny houses, RVs and trailers shown on TreeHugger have tended to lean toward the sleek and modern. This is certainly the first time a hippied up VW van has graced the pages here. …"

Check out the full review here: http://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/tiny-homes-move-glorious-rom-book-review.html

New Fiat 500 L

Saw this last week in San Francisco. Nice design. Looks solid, like the Mini Cooper.

Nice Apartment Building in San Francisco

This building just has it. I like the color, the curved Queen Anne windows, the building's proportions, the black and white window details, especially the dot-dot-dot ornamentation just under the eaves. Now here's some architecture!

The paint is peeling; somehow it looks homey. Thankfully it hasn't been given the over-the-top clueless paint job of so many SF Victorians.



Maybe 15 years ago we had a fox that would appear when we were barbecuing. We'd give him little pieces of meat -- not a lot, we didn't want him to get dependent on humanoids. He was very cautious, always ready to flee. He was a joy to see, to get so close to an elegant wild creature. But there was a period where all the mid-sized critters -- foxes, skunks, raccoons, possums -- died off from distemper or something. Now they're coming back.

This little guy has been skirting our half-acre the past few weeks -- looks like a juvenile. A few days ago he was on my woodpile. I was about 20 feet away, standing stock still and we locked eyes. He craned his head in and out, I guess getting multiple takes on me.

Yesterday he nestled into a hollow spot on the (living) roof of the chicken coop.

Also on the wild creature front: in the last week I've caught 2 hummingbirds. They fly into the office kitchen and can't get out. It's easy to catch them. Once they're in my cupped hands, they seem to relax. I'll always find someone around to see when I release them. When I open my hands, they sit there a split second, green feathers shimmering in the sunlight. Then vooom! Off like a little helicopter.

GoPro: Kama The Surfing Pig

Giving away 'Genius of Japanese Carpentry' book for free

Hey Lloyd:

Just thought your readers might like to know... we are giving away a copy of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry for free. It's an excellent book... extremely awe-inspiring to see the images and drawings of some recent traditional temple renovation and construction in Japan. Mind-boggling timber framing and attention to detail. The title says it all. They don't mess around.

- ziggy

Brian 'Ziggy' Liloia - Natural Building Workshops & more at The Year of Mud:  http://www.theyearofmud.com