Note: All my posts on the ’60s are gathered under “The ’60s,” above. Being a blog, these posts would normally be in reverse order, with the newest post on top. However, for this particular category, they are arranged with the oldest posts at the top in order to clarify the sequential nature of the posts. The newest posts will be at the bottom.

Balancing on Indo Board

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I haven’t done this for a while, so a bit shaky here. One of the things I like about skateboarding is the element of balancing. Too often as people get older, they lose this ability.

Balance is a complex human skill. There are motors and circuits in the body that are necessary for balance, and they come into play unconsciously as you try to maintain equilibrium.

I sort of marvel looking at this as my arms, legs, and rest of body move in different directions, instinctively, to maintain balance — the body working without the brain.

Indo Boards are used by surfers and skiers, not only for balancing, but for strengthening leg muscles. Some people have a very high level of skill on Indo Boards these days.

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Shelter Publications World Headquarters

In the middle of a vegetable garden, hooked into the world with a half dozen Macs and a bunch of iPhones.

Built almost entirely of used wood from torn-down Navy barracks at Treasure Island (between Oakland and San Francisco) during the early ’70s.

I made friends with the wrecker, George Taylor, and we did a feature on his tools and techniques in our book Shelter.

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GIMME SHELTER – February, 2021

To anyone receiving this for the first time, I send these newsletters out every few months. They’re different from social media — old school in a way — in that they go to a select audience (about 4,400 people now), rather than blasting out into the internetosphere.

If you’re not signed up on the list to receive it, you can sign up for email delivery of the Gimme Shelter newsletter here.


“I would have written a shorter newsletter,
but I didn’t have enough time.”

–Iteration on a statement by Blaise Pascal, 1657

(And yes, I’ve said it before in these newsletters.)

I’ve been swamped with work for months now, and just getting rolling in the last few days, so this is a long newsletter. A dearth of soundbites.

The State of Shelter’s State

With new versions of Stretching, the Stretching Pocket Book – 40th Anniversary Edition (available in early June), and Galloway’s Book on Running, our sales are up over last year. And — ta-da — we’re just about to start on Rolling Homes.

We’re working on search engine optimization (SEO) for selling our books; we’re way behind in this area, and we’ve got an immense amount of content. Suggestions welcome.

I want us to keep operating for another 10 years — I ain’t retiring! For one thing, I’ve got 3–4 books waiting in the wings. Plus we’re running a hub for like-minded people. Sometimes I think of us as a tribe similar to the book lovers in Fahrenheit 451. Not mainstream, but committed to a certain lifestyle — we want to make stuff for ourselves, we want to be as independent, as self-sufficient as possible, we want our homes to be colorful and warm and inviting and handmade.

Rolling Homes

Drawing by Al Ortiz, Jr.

This will be unlike some of our books, such as Tiny Homes, where we came out with a publication at the onset of a movement. Nowadays, there’s a plethora of information about homes on the road. A number of pretty good books, plus on Instagram, hundreds of accounts of 21st century nomads. To see what I mean, do a search on Instagram for van.

When I first considered this book, it looked like there was a saturation of information. But as I studied the books, Instagram accounts, YouTube videos, and websites, I found a lot of sameness. There’s no end to Instagram posts featuring Mercedes Sprinter vans with young, attractive couples living idyllic lives; a lot of shots of them lying on the bed, looking out the rear view window at a beach or other photogenic background. They are, of course, linked in via satellite with iPhones and MacBook Airs, and some cases, monetizing the lifestyle.

Nothing wrong with that, but there is another, much larger group of people without the resources for brand new kitted-out vans. (And a lot of people these days are forced into mobile living.) Almost all of our contributors are do-it-yourselfers. We’re going to cover it all, from $400,000 Earth Roamers (not owner-built, but boy what rig!) to a $300 aerodynamic pickup camper shell — with everything in between.

We have so much material (it’s pouring in!) that I’m thinking of doing a series. We’re thinking about being a hub, an ongoing source of communication on the subject — not only with books, but also on our social media platforms and with YouTube videos. Handbuilt Rolling Homes, brought to you by Shelter Publications.

From our 50 years of publishing building books, we’ve got a robust network of people who like to work with their hands, and when we put the word out, we get lots of input (photos and stories).

Contribute to Rolling Homes

If you have or know of any road rigs, please contact: lloyd@shelterpub.com.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

–J.R.R. Tolkien

Read More …

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Our Kitchen Sink

Our kitchen, as shown in The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening

Couple of things to note:

  1. I got the stainless steel sink for $100 at Caldwell Wreckers in San Francisco. I like the way it drains from both drainboards into the sink (as opposed to the lip around most sinks).
  2. Once dishes are washed and rinsed (in Rubbermaid tubs), they are put to drain in the wooden dish rack (built by Lew Lewandowski), where they stay.

There’s a 5-gallon electric hot water heater under the sink, which provides almost instant hot water.

I like being able to look out the window when doing dishes.

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Manufactured Homes in Petaluma, California

Stephen Marshall has been building small- and medium-sized homes for 50 years now. Here’s a walk-through tour of one:

Sonoma Manufactured Homes – a partner company with Little House on the Trailer – builds Accessory Dwelling Units (aka ADUs, Second Units, Granny Flats, Prefabs) both HUD approved manufactured homes and RVIA certified Recreational Trailers.

Sonoma Manufactured Homes is located in Petaluma, CA and serves the North Bay Area including all of Sonoma County, Napa County, Marin County, and Solano County. Shipment to other areas can be arranged.

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