The Barefoot Architect/Septic System Scams/Fishing for Halibut

Right now we are putting the finishing touches on The Barefoot Architect: A Handbook on Green Building. Author Johan van Lengen, born in the Netherlands, gave up a successful career as an architect in California in the 70s, largely due to the influence of The Whole Earth Catalog. He decided to dedicate himself to providing better housing for the disadvantaged; he and his wife Rose founded TIBA (Bio-Architecture and Intuitive Tecnology), a school for building located in the Mata Atlantica (coastal jungle) of Brazil. There he conducts workshops in design, building, housing, sanitation, communication, and education. The Spanish version of his book, The Barefoot Architect has sold 200,000 copies and is in every library in Mexico. It was next published in Portuguese in Brazil. We are just finishing up the the first English translation. This book is for the 21st century what Ken Kern’s The Owner Built Home was in the ’60s. How to build simple structures using ingenuity and natural materials.

Although TIBA was originally founded to help people in “third world” countries build with natural materials, Johan has found a lot of interest in his methods recently by people who are leaving their high-stress jobs in cities in search of simpler lives.

I’m also trying to finish my article for The Mother Earth News on septic systems scams that are now proliferating in America. People are being forced, often unecessarily into $30-50,000 septic systems. It’s a complex issdue and I’ve been trying to write about it for years and it seems to finally be coming together, I’ve interviwed 8-9 of the best wastewater engineers and officials I know. Title of the article: Organized Slime.

Finally, fishing I decided this summer to cut back on the running and get my fishing act together. I would love to be able to report success, that I’ve caught (and smoked) salmon, got the occasional halibut, and been able to catch rock fish at will. Well, such ain’t the case. I’ve got repeatedly skunked, as they say. Plus launching my little boat off the beach and getting through the waves, and then somehow getting it back on my trailer without backing my truck up until the exhaust pipe is under water — has been a tiny bit stressful. One of the local fishermen said to me the other afternoon: “There’s skill involved.” Yesterday I decided to do more running and less fishing. It’s true that the salmon never showed up this far south this year. (Eureka has had its best salmon run in 25 years.) But I masy not have the patience for fishing, it’s my Attention Deficity Syndrome again (I wonder how mmany kids are classified thusly due to teachers too boring to pay attention to).

By the way, about 3 times when I’ve come in and been struggling to get my boat on the trailer, women have come out and helped me. Once, 3 ladies who I’d say were in their late ’50s, helped me lift the boat onto the trailer. Day before yesterday a woman was very concerend and waded out to help. Bless her. She also noticed (which I hadn’t) that a lens in my sunglasses had dropped onto the sand and handed it to me. The Kindness of Strangers.

Bumper sticker: “God please save me from your followers.”

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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