Around the Homestead as The Year Turns

Cold Weather Layering Brrr! Cold. For California, that is. Sunny morning. California defaults to blue skies in winter, whereas I’ve found Europe in winter defaults to grey. These mornings, it’s 40-50° inside the production studio. Right now I have on 5 layers — silk undershirt, 2 different weight Smartwool Merino shirts, homemade vest, Patagonia down vest, homemade (fingerless) gloves, silk scarf and large wool scarf, homemade Alpaca wool knit hat. Oh, and Smartwool Merino wool longjohns, knee-length wool socks and Army fatigues (which I love for the pockets), Keen (the brand, that is) lightweight hiking boots. Actually, I never toted up all my winter clothes before. Layers. We have a couple of little 660 watt ceramic electric heaters which we use to heat the person, not the room. I leave mine on for maybe half an hour on cold mornings, then turn off. Take a walk to get blood moving.

Skinning Roadkill Fox The other morning a large ice chest appeared in our yard with a note saying, “For Lloyd from Nate.” Inside was a very large male grey fox that had been hit by a car. It had a beautiful glossy winter coat. There used to be lots of them around, then maybe 10-12 years ago, they all disappeared. Now coming back; beautiful, elegant little animals. They are to domestic dogs like buffalo are to beef cattle.

I skinned it, stretched it on a piece of plywood and salted it down. In a week I’ll send it off to be tanned.

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:

6 Responses to Around the Homestead as The Year Turns

  1. We live in a loft in Emeryville and don't heat it. We're big fans of Columbia's omniheat layering garments (the omniheat that reflects body heat, not the electric kind). We play catch with Klutz juggling bean bags for about 15 minutes each afternoon – this gives our eyes a break from focusing on one plane (computers & artwork), and it also gets our circulation going. I'm 63; my husband is 70.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Happy new year, Lloyd!

    Layering – the absolute key to staying warm in the cold and damp. Living on a boat in the winter in Seattle, I've learned how to do it right to keep myself dry, not damp (not an easy task). I too wear silk long underwear (both top/bottom) and have found it indispensable to keeping dry and staying warm. REI makes some quality ones at a decent price. I'll never be without them in the winters!

  3. While here on the other coast….
    It was 10 degrees F. this morning, and the old Blazer wouldn't start without a jump…

    The Great Lakes!
    Salt Free/No Sharks


  4. As to longjohns, best I ever had was General Issue (GI) 100% wool. I had already leared to wear in layers before the Army, but fine tuned it when we did cold weather training in the Alps. Wear it loose and in layers!

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