Big Storm Hits Norcal/$1500 10 x 10' Cabin/Solomon Burke & Otis Redding

Pacific Ocean Kicks Ass

We’ve been without power for over 36 hours now and I’m doing a little bit of office work running a Honda Generator which is pretty quiet, economical on fuel usage — am I sounding guilty here?

We live on a short peninsula, surrounded on 3 sides by water (Pacific Ocean 2 sides and a sea water lagoon)—— kind of like an island. Big storms come in from the south, and this one was a doozy. Maybe every ten years or so we get hit like this. I woke up around 3 AM, worried about roofs, fences, drips, flooding. Yesterday (Fri) I stumbled from one emergency to another. Battening down a flapping tin roof with a drill gun as wind howled and rain pounded. Quick breakfast, then a couple of hours unplugging a drain so water wouldn’t back up into our (mail order) book storage room, also digging a narrow drainage trench in the rock-hard gravel road with a pick. Hey aren’t I too old for this? Then guess what? A medium sized acacia has fallen across the road, blocking traffic. Local dude Isan cuts it in half, hauls the other half off so road is open. I grab chain saw and got maybe a third of a cord of firewood. Trees down everywhere, waves 30 ft every 14 seconds (surfers will know what this means). Logs washing in. Every once in a while us coastal people get reminded of who’s boss. Mother Nature to earthlings: “Let’s see what the California lifestyle is like without electricity for a few days, assholes.” Cheery last night tho, no power, just candles and wood fire.

Update Monday, Jan 7, ’08: It’s now been almost 3-1/2 days without power.

Music du jour

First I listened to Solomon Burke singing his song “Down in the Valley,” done with tubas and gorgeous vocal scales and trills in 1962. Hearing that I grabbed an Otis CD and put on the same song, done in ’65. It just doesn’t get any better than these two guys. Throw in Sam Cooke and you have a trio of Angels.

$1500 Cabin

Cheyenne’s office. It cost about $1000* in materials in 2001 and was built by Ian Wall. Framed with logs from the woods — free. Sheathed with OSB particle board — quick, strong. Exterior walls “first-cut” cedar from nearby mills — free. Asphalt shingles for roofing. Front deck for sitting in the morning sun. Couldn’t be much simpler — or cheaper. In many parts of the country you don’t need a permit for a 100 sq. ft. structure. This is a brilliant little building.

*I figure $1500 today.

Cheyenne is one of the owners of Strongwater Camping,(cabins and campsites) in Egmont, British Columbia. She can’t believe I’m putting this in the book. I told her, it’s perfect, it’s a practical, cheap and aesthetic way to get a roof over your head.

When I first got to the campgrounds, this little dude (Cheyenne’s) came in and took my measure. Just stood there and looked at me for a long time, stone sober. Talk about presence.


A lot of people stay at Strongwater because it’s near Skoo-kumchuck Tidal Wave, a whitewater phenomenon on the “Sunshine Coast” of BC that produces a long wave ridden by kayaks and, as of recently, surfers.

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:

One Response to Big Storm Hits Norcal/$1500 10 x 10' Cabin/Solomon Burke & Otis Redding

  1. Dear LLoyd. Michael Kirton here. Builder trapped in the body of a Chiropractor. Picked up Pacific Coast the other as it sang to me from the book store shelf. Glorious ! Each page sang so deeply to my heart I just stood there laughing. Stumbled across your BLOG just then and just wanted to leave a message of deep gratitude to you for all your hard work and to your friends /colleagues for bringing such beauty to life. Good luck with the clean up from that storm.. respect. MJK

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