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Even More True Today
“We must realize that the world as it is, isn’t worth saving; it must be made over.”
–John Rice, founder of Black Mountain College, 1933
The Half-Acre Homestead
It was, of course, completely unplanned, but we came out with this book about doing stuff at home at precisely the time that people had to start staying at home. There are dozens of things you can do en la casa, besides staring at screens of various sizes. Here are a few pages from the book:
Get something done. Bake bread, plant (more) vegetables. Sprout some alfalfa seeds. Start a small flock of chickens. Make a table. Knit a hat. Fix that leaky faucet. Straighten up that messy desk/workplace/shop.
One time, years ago, I was seriously depressed. I went out and spent several hours cleaning up my shop, and it really lifted my spirits. I often think about that — making lemonade…
I was scheduled to do two presentations at the Mother Earth News Faire in Nashville on May 16th, then flying to Italy to attend the La Biennale di Venezia, a bi-annual architectural exhibition in Venice opening May 23, where our book Shelter was being featured as having had an influence on architecture. Sigh.
“Hoping that endlessly won’t be for long.”
–Townes Van Zandt
Stretching – 40th Anniversary Edition
In 1979, I discovered a homemade book for athletes called Stretching. I was working as a carpenter and gardener, and the book helped me fix my back problem. I wasn’t actively publishing then, but I contacted the authors, who were living in Southern California. I called Bob Anderson and said, “What about stretches for carpenters, or truck drivers or waitresses?” (By then, they had sold 35,000 copies out of a garage at Bob’s folks’ house.)
Long and short of it: Bob and Jean moved to Bolinas, and over the course of 3 months, we added many more stretching routines, and Jean did all new drawings. We printed 50,000 copies on the first run, Random House was our distributor, and boom! It took off and never stopped, now at 3¾ million copies in 23 languages.
The big deal about this edition is the new section on smartphone problems, mainly bad posture, but also stiffness or pain. There are some simple suggestions for improving your posture, as well as new stretching programs for smartphone users.
Pub date: October, 2020
Note to our friends in other countries: We will be negotiating contracts for this edition in all languages.
A life changer. A Specialized Turbo Levo, with carbon fiber frame. After 25 years of competitive sports, I’ve grown tired of running the same trails, bored with lifting weights, dealing with the constant injuries. These days I want adventure when exercising, and the bike provides that. It’s not only got a brain, but it calls me to get out there. I can go so much further.
Plus it’s “pedal-assist,” meaning you’ve got to pedal. I’m going for 2-3-hour rides. I keep the level of exertion reasonable, and get to see a lot of the countryside while getting exercise. When I first got it, I was maxing out with “turbo” assistance, now I’m scaling back so I have to pedal harder and get a better workout.
I’ve been riding out in the woods. When I get to a spot where I have to go on foot, I find a spot off the trail, lock the bike with a cable, disconnect the power, and cover it with foliage. Then I’ll put markers on the trail so I’ll know where it is upon return.
El Problema de Café
My friend Bruno Atkey told me that yerba mate tea has as much caffeine as coffee, without some of coffee’s side effects and, by golly, he’s right. I’ve started making it in our espresso machine, and it does have a stimulating kick. Only thing is, I enjoy the ritual of roasting and grinding beans, then trying to get espresso in crema form, then foamed milk for a latte — and zoom!
Author Michael Pollan experimented with giving up coffee, with interesting results: www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/02/10/803394030/michael-pollan-explains-caffeine-cravings-and-why-you-dont-have-to-quit
Foxes and Skunks and Spiders, Oh My!
In our book we show garden visitors: foxes, skunks, hawks, great blue herons, dozens of other bird species, butterflies, honeybees, spiders. Over the years I’ve come to realize that we’re only here temporarily, that the other forces of biological life, including termites, ants, and woodrats, are always chipping away at our self-made kingdom, and that eventually, they’ll take back over.
“Shameless Commerce” is what the Car Talk brothers called their commercials, and I’ve always felt ambivalent about sales pitches in these newsletters or on my blog. But nowadays, we need to survive, so:
There is a 30% discount for 2 or more books, with free shipping in the USA.
On My Blog
- 60-page sneak preview of The Half-Acre Homestead, viewable in flipbook format: shltr.net/homesteadflipbook
- Lesley’s Saucepan Maneuver (by far the most popular of my 1200 posts): www.lloydkahn.com/2020/05/the-lesley-saucepan-maneuver%ef%b8%8f-chef-cooking-kitchen-home-homestead-halfacrehomestead
- The State of This Blog: www.lloydkahn.com/2020/05/the-state-of-this-blog-2
- Home gym dumbbell weight training program (just 2 dumbbells) and stretches to do at your workspace: www.shelterpub.com/fitness-guides
“Take it easy (and) if you can’t take it easy, take it as easy as you can.”
–Shaggy Man, on the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City