Driftwood Sculptures

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Driftwood sculptures at Native Plant Nursery in Mill Valley, Calif. You can enter it through Hook Fish, the v. cool local fish restaurant at the Shoreline intersection in MV (open for biz, socially distant outdoor tables). A great nursery, with a good selection of organic vegetable seedlings. The sculptures run about (gulp) $10K each.

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The Pacific Ocean / Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler

I was pretty depressed yesterday, so went walking on the beach. I looked at the water, which I knew was cold — well, 56°, not that cold — and went through the same dialogue – thank goodness! — that always works: “I know you don’t want to, but if you put up with the initial shock, you’re gonna feel great once you’re out.”

It always works. Mojo restarted. Chi starting to hum again.

I do this with waterfalls on cold days, swimming in the cove in San Francisco (I’m a wimp next the the Southenders), pretty often when I’m at the beach. Jumped into Loch Lomond on a visit to Scotland a few years ago; boy was it cold!

I feel it also tunes me into the local medium. Now connected with mountain, ocean, Loch.

So I was sort of back in gear today, got my email answered, then and then came across these 2 songs.

Water and music. They never fail.

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Rollin’ Again

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I gave up skateboarding after a fractured arm a year and a half ago. Mature decision.

But I still had the fever. On the Waldo Approach, I’d fantasize no cars and being able to carve across 5 lanes. Each time I saw smooth and/or fresh pavement with the right downslope, I’d get excited.

Yesterday I got out of the dentist’s and was looking at the smooth pavement, and thought, Why not? Got on my board for the first time in a year, felt a bit creaky, but started rolling and the feeling came back. It was so much fun! I decided to start skating again. Bunny slopes. Not pushing it any more. Better to skate carefully than to suffer the spills that go with the thrills of more aggressive skating.

I must be one of the least-accomplished skaters around, but I love it.

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The Most Isolated Buildings in the World

(CNN) — Driving through the beautiful, winding country lanes of Georgia’s remote, western Imereti region is an immensely pleasurable travel experience — but not one you’d immediately associate with religious experiences. Until, that is, you pass a hidden lane signposted with a picture of a church.

This is the way to the Katskhi pillar — a natural limestone monolith that towers more than 130 feet, or 40 meters, into the air and on top of which stands what is probably the world’s most isolated, and most sacred, churches.

Situated approximately 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) west of Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi, this remarkable landmark is notoriously difficult to reach. There are no trains in this part of the region, so the only way to get there is by car or bus, but it’s worth the trek.

The final approach is done on foot, a 20-minute hike during which the monolith appears suddenly on the horizon of the vivid Georgian landscape. It’s a magical experience that only intensifies as you draw closer to the pillar itself. A steep climb up some half-finished steps is a sign that visitors are almost there.

At the base of the pillar, a monastery and a small chapel come into view on the right-hand side. To the left stands the 130-foot tall limestone column in all its mesmerizing glory.

sputniknews.com/photo/202008121080143078-introverts-dream-most-isolated-houses-across-the-globe

Sent us by Maui Surfer

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Rock & Roll!

If you ask me for my go-to favorite musical genre, it’s gonna be blues.

But once in a while, I get hit by the power of rock & roll. Like this album. a song of which was played by Neil Dickman on his great “Bring It On Home” (Friday, 7PM) program on our world-class local radio station, KWMR.

I just ordered this appropriately named CD.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvm1_WrF3ns

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Virtual Presentation of The Half-Acre Homestead

I did a virtual presentation of my book, The Half-Acre Homestead on August 20, 2020) at Bookshop Santa Cruz, one of my favorite bookstores in the world. I usually do a bunch of bookstore appearances for each new book; this year I just got the first one done at City Lights, before Covid closed things down.

It was recorded. About 30 minutes are me doing a slide show from the book. The last 30 minutes are questions from the audience — what do I think of domes, A-frames, underground houses? How to build nowadays? Cob and strawbale and Hardy Board? Chickens. My image looks blurry (at least here) and I suspect this is because of our slow DSL connection. (C’mon Horizon, ride to our rescue!)

www.crowdcast.io/e/bookshop-santa-cruz-7

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GIMME SHELTER – August, 2020

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Our Brothers and Sisters in France

GIMME SHELTER – August, 2020Our friend Paula, who lives in a houseboat in Amsterdam, once said to us that France was “the California of Europe.” There do seem to be many French people who share the concepts in our books (which I believe reflect the California lifestyle) in building, gardening, and the spectrum of DIY. The French translation of our book Home Work sold over 10,000 copies.

Our French friend and carpenter Yogan and his creations have appeared in a number of our books. He was hiking in the Pyrenees recently and came across this beautiful little home. He recognized it from Home Work, where it was featured in a section on countercultural builders in France, and shot this photo. It was built by Jeanne-Marie; she based the design on the old stone barns of the region, but used wood rather than stone. It’s one of my favorite little homes.

Epiphyllum Oxipetalum, Brahma Kamalam night-blooming flower(Home Work, published in 2004, is the sequel to Shelter. Many of the homes in Home Work were inspired by the builders and buildings in Shelter.)

Epiphyllum Oxipetalum, Queen of the Night Cactus

The flowers bloom only at night. This one is in our greenhouse. Lesley has been checking it every night and last night, voila! In India, it’s called Brahma Kamalam, named after the Hindu god of creation. In Japan, it is called “Beauty under the Moon.” It is very fragrant, may bloom once a year. And then — in exquisite restraint — for only one night.

truck camper

On the Road

We’re starting to gather material for another book on rolling homes. A lot has happened since 2014, when our book Tiny Homes on the Move was published. For one thing, there’s been an explosive interest in vans, as evidenced by Foster Huntington’s Van Life: Your Home on the Road, which has sold 75,000 copies. People are taking off for vacations in vans, and as well, some people who have been laid off and can’t pay their rent due to the coronavirus, are looking at nomadic living as an option.

We’re looking for the new generation of road homes, circa 2020 and beyond — different from the vehicles (or trailers) shown in present books. What’s new out there?

If you know of any unique units, please contact me:
Send Submission Email
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Charlie Winton, Musician

Those of you who know Charlie from the publishing world (founder of Publishers Group West, the Avalon Publishing Group, and Counterpoint LLC); well, surprise! When he retired from publishing, he picked up his guitar and started writing songs. He’s just come out with his first album — Hold On Tight — and it’s great — rock and roll!

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