building (313)

Bruce Baillie’s Timber-Framed Bridge in British Columbia

Photo from Godfrey Stephens

From Bruce Baillie, who rode his 1969 Moto Guzzi motorcycle 28,000 miles to Central America in 2012-13. His story is on pp. 130-31 of Tiny Homes on the Move. Now he’s back in British Columbia, and just sent us this.

…my latest building which I framed up last summer. It’s a log structure that’s built on an old logging bridge at the zip line I helped build 10 years ago. I felled the trees on site, limbed them, bucked them to length and yarded them out of the bush with a big truck using blocks hung in trees for lift. I then framed it all up and put a bright red tin roof on it. It was all very exciting as the drop to the river below was about 45 ft. from the rooftop.

The guy ran out of money at that point but we’ll finish it this summer. There are 6 separate zip lines on this site; the last one runs under the bridge where this building is. Goofy (Godfrey Stephens) has a picture of me standing inside the building with my Harley chopper parked nearby.

Last fall I worked for a guy in the city; while I was there I bought a steel sailboat 34 ft. long that was supposed to be scrapped. Long story short: I traded straight across for this custom Harley chopper that I rode for a bit and then sold to pay for a trip to Cuba last month. It’s great to have grown up around guys like Bruno (Atkey) and Goofy while young: being around interesting people in turn helped cultivate my lifestyle into what it’s been. Life is good. I still ride my old Moto Guzzi.

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Stone Cottage on Scottish Island

This is a restored “blackhouse” on the Isle of Eigg, off the west coast of Scotland, where we spent a week in May, 2016. Some time in the future, if I can get time off, we plan to go to Scotland and visit several of the islands. The Scots are the nicest, most friendly people I’ve encountered anywhere in the world.

Blackhouses were the dwellings of “crofters” or farmers on Scottish Islands, in the Highlands, and Ireland.

From Wikipedia: “(They) … were generally built with double-wall dry-stone walls packed with earth, and were roofed with wooden rafters covered with a thatch of turf with cereal straw or reed. The floor was generally flagstones or packed earth and there was a central hearth for the fire. There was no chimney for the smoke to escape through. Instead the smoke made its way through the roof. This led to the soot blackening of the interior which may also have contributed to the adoption of name blackhouse.…”

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Mortise and Tenon Cedar Cabin

This mortise and tenon cabin out of yellow cedar was built by my dad and stepmom about 30 years ago. Its design was taken from my stepmom’s grandfather, who was a carver and builder named Dudley Carter.

A few other versions of this building stand along the West Coast. The first one was built in the ’30s in Big Sur, although the design is North Coast–inspired. This is one of my favorite little buildings, with its timeless look, glass walls, and timber joinery.

We have made a few small sleeping cabins inspired by this building, but not truly mortise and tenon like the originals. Hopefully one day we can.

–Marlin Hanson

Note: See book Small Homes for “Timber Home Along Canada’s Sunshine Coast,” by Marlin Hanson

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Changing Nature of This Blog

I started blogging in 2006—13 years ago. After a few years,I really got into it — posting daily. (To this date, over 6000 posts.) But gradually, over the last few years, I’ve cut way back on my blogging activity, for two reasons:

  1. The photographer part of me discovered Instagram. Shoot the photo, and wham! It’s online.
  2. Lean finances. There was no money in blogging, and I needed to put more time into book production to keep us afloat.

Right now this blog is a bit half-assed. I throw things up whenever I can, but I’m not committed to daily posts as I used to be. (For example, see the posts from February, 2014)

I’m about two thirds of the way through doing layout of my new book: Handmade: The Half-Acre Homestead. In reality, I spend more than half the day dealing with the ever more complex world of publishing. In an ideal world, someone else would handle all the business affairs, and I could just produce books. But it doesn’t work that way, and I spend a lot of time on checking inventory, printing, marketing, dealing with foreign publishers, doing interviews on a variety of subjects, and handling whatever crisis shows up in the morning’s email.

Handmade: The Half-Acre Homestead

This book is my focus these days. (It’s been a long time coming.) Each week, I give Rick maybe 10 pages that I lay out with scissors and (removable) Scotch Tape, and he transforms them into InDesign/Photoshop files for our printers in Hong Kong. It’s a thrill to see the pages as they get printed out on our Epson inkjet printer. I’ll try to remember to post photos of random pages as I go along.

I’ve taken thousands of photos around this place over the past 40+ years, most of them not specifically for this book. Rather, I’d see bees gathering pollen from a sunflower, or a fox sleeping in the garden, or sunlight on the dining room table and shoot photos. Now, I’m looking through all my digital photos and gathering up the ones that will appear in the book. Note: with over 200,000 photos, Google Photos has been invaluable: I’ll type in “flowers,” and Google will algorithmically come up with all the flower pictures on my computer.

The book is breaking down into these categories (and more): House / Kitchen / Cooking / Foraging / Fishing / Garden / Greenhouses / Chickens / Flowers / Pests / Butterflies and Insects / Quilts / Weaving / Shop Tools…

Hit the Road, Jack: Adventure Travel

Yogan and Menthe, French carpenters, worked their way along the Pacific coast in Summer, 2017, trading building skills for room and board.

We are slowly gathering materials for this book. If you know of any unique homes on wheels, contact evan@shelterpub.com.

The ’60s: Stop Children, What’s That Sound

Right now I’ve put a few chapters of this book on the blog (see drop-down menu above). After I get the homestead book finished, I may go back and start work on this book again. For sure, I’ll eventually get it posted. But lately I’m once again thinking of turning it into a real book.

One last thing: I just came across a bunch of vintage photos of surfing in San Francisco and Santa Cruz in the ’50s, before wetsuits, and I’m incorporating them into my slideshow on driftwood shacks that I’m doing tomorrow night at Mollusk Surf Shop in San Francisco. (4500 Irving St., 7 PM, Saturday, March 16), and Tuesday, March 19th at 7 at Bookshop Santa Cruz on the main drag in SC.

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Jay Nelson’s Latest Treehouse

Jay Nelson’s latest treehouse, now under construction in a redwood grove in Northern California. It’s about 10 by 11 feet in floor area. The round window pivots open on center pins. There are two climbing ropes attached high up so Jay and Max can work on the curved roof. Almost all the wood (except for floor framing and plywood sheathing) is used.

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