Builders of the Northwest Coast, Mongolian Cloud Houses (Yurt Book), etc.

I guess these are hybrid blogs. I just can’t seem to get into daily or weekly or whatever regularity. Too much else to do. My last blog was 6 weeks ago. I’m leaving on a trip to Vancouver Island tomorrow, shooting photos for our next book Builders of the Northwest Coast. I’m excited about going back up there. I’m stopping off at Harbin Hot Springs (near Clear Lake, Calif.) on the way north to interview awesome builder Sun Ray Kelley, who’s building a temple at Harbin. I’ll of course jump into the hot springs, then head over to Pt. Arena, my favorite town on the Mendocino coast, where I’m looking for land. Then on up to Portland where I’ll talk to a bunch of art students about building and the ’60s, then on to Victoria, where I’ll stay on my friend Godfrey’s sailboat for a few days, then over to Tofino on the west side of the island. I’ll go north by boat to see builder Lloyd House, as well as a floating village in a secluded cove. From there back to Denman and Hornby islands on the east side of V.I., to work with architect Michael McNamara and shoot mucho pix. I’ll try to send off a blog or two from the road.

Yurt Book Finished

(Well, just about.) What started out to be a simple reprint of a charming ’70s book on how to build a 13′ yurt out of bamboo and canvas got more complex as we started in on it. We have a lot of building stuff on our website from Home Work and Shelter, and the number one subject in terms of hits is “yurts.” So with all this interest we teamed up with author-illustrator Dan Kuehn to update and improve the book. What drew us to the book in the first place were Dan’s 60s-style illustrations — charming and easy to follow. Like Peter Aschwanden’s drawings in Keeping Your VW Alive — The Idiots Guide.

What’s unique (and hardly cost-effective) in our book production modus operandi is that we start putting pages together way before we have a complete manuscript. Publishers reading this will recognize the high cost of operating this way. but what we get is if-you’ll-excuse-the-expression, an organic book, one that’s alive, being created on the spot. We’re writing text, doing drawings, gathering photos while the book is in production.

At the very last minute we got a bunch of photos of gers in Mongolia and Mongolian cowboys from Jim Macey. Jim has been to Mongolia numerous times in recent years on geological expeditions. He also brought four Mongolian cowboys to Elko, Nevada to show them American cowboys and their techniques and equipment.

The ger of a wealthy businessman set up on a grassy plain during the national horse races eight miles from Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbataar

While engaged in geologic field reconnaissance of an unmapped earth quake fault in north western Mongolia, Jim met a local family camped for the summer in their ger with their herds of sheep and goats.

Setting up a ger in northern Mongolia in 1994

The book has just been proofread and we expect it to be printed by April. We think it looks so great we’re going to send a copy to sales reps. This always seems to happen. We can never get material on a book together before we actually get the book done.

Black Chanterelle Mushrooms

They are hard to find, almost invisible in the woods — and delicious. My friend Louie and I found some while tramping around in the woods in Mendocino county, that night made bruschetta topped with sauteed chanterelles, along with Louie’s homemade zinfandel, while a storm raged outside Louie’s snug little house in the woods.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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