building (322)

Homesteading in Remote Parts of Alaska and Massachusetts

Hi Lloyd,

I’ve been digging through your books hard lately. We bought a house with 3 acres about an hour north of Boston and I’ve been homesteading it up. Building terraces for the garden, stonework, improvements for the sawmill barn, and extensive landscaping. I’ve yet to dig into the inside house work.

Anyway, I first heard about your work while up on an 80-acre parcel with a homestead in the deep interior of Alaska. My buddies dad quit architecture school just before graduation and got a big chunk of land under the homestead act in the late ’70s. Out of Anchorage, I took two small planes to get picked up by a boat for another 1.5-hour boat ride upriver.

Anyway, my buddy who summers there, said you gotta look at this book.  It was: Shelter. I was intoxicated. That was 15 years ago. You know in life we seem to find things at the right time in life?  Now sorting through your recent publications (early 2000s on) it’s the perfect tonic as i dig into new crazy projects. I’ve got a sauna and a treehouse on my mind right now.  I run a fancy-pants tree pruning company and run a backyard sawmill operation while also a full-time high school arboriculture teacher. Well anyway, thanks for all your work on these magnificent publications.  The Builders of the Pacific Coast book was possibly my favorite for my needs right now. I liked seeing you really dig into some talented individuals.

What is next for you? One book that I think would be interesting is some exploration of East Coast modern homesteaders. I’ve got a bunch of friends in the Maine/NH area that are doing some pretty special things. A book I started, but shelved was interviewing Massachusetts Sawmills and photographing sawmills today and discuss the changing paradigm that sawmills are faced in a world lumber market. It’s a weird world.

Anyway, I’m just rambling, but just wanted to say thanks.

I document some of my homestead efforts on instagram @sherwood_homestead.

Chris Wood
Ravenswood Tree and Landscape LLC
Newton, NH 03858

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Shelter Books Inspire Carpentry Career

June 20, 2019

Dear Lloyd,

I am writing to thank you for your work as a builder/publisher/disseminator of alternative building inspiration. Your books are what initially set me on the path which I am on today, and I’ve never been happier. I was staying with a friend in Oakland on my way home from hitchhiking the country when I was first shown Shelter II. This must’ve been 2013. I told my friend’s housemate that when I made it back to Washington, I wanted to build a tiny house. “Oh,” he said, “well I have some books you need to look at.” I spent the next two days sitting in their garden, pouring over Shelter II and Builders of the Pacific Coast. Completely engrossed, desperately excited.

Well, I made it back to Washington bought a hammer, and got to work. My blueprints were drawn on 2×4 off-cuts, mostly making it up as I went. Square enough, level enough.

I moved in once the roof was on and spent the next three years finishing it (I never finished it). When it was time to move on from “Shackie Onassis,” we hitched it to a tractor and took it down the road a ways to my friend’s farm where it resides today. While the house was being moved, I rode alongside in my skateboard — I am one of the only people who has skitched their own house (skitching is when you get a vehicle to pull you on your board, but you know that!).

That was years ago now. Today I make money as a carpenter, and I just can’t believe people pay you to do this shit! I love my job, my coworkers, and the places I get to work. I have a regular yoga practice, which is the only way I believe I’ll be able to keep doing building work as I age. I’m 32 right now and I want to keep at this for as long as possible. Yoga is key.

Anyway, I’m just trying to thank you for the work you’ve done. Your aesthetic and approach to building are foundational influences for me. That pic in Builders of the Pacific Coast of Sunray Kelly, barefoot, shirtless, on a roof with an electric chainsaw is still a “Fuck yeah, that’s what I want to be when I grow up” image for me.

–Take care, man, thank you so much for being an inspiration!
Marshall

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Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur

209790

The inn was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright student Rowan Maiden some 70 years ago and is still lookin good. It was built by brothers Frank and Walter Trotter in 1948. It’s unique in that it’s framed with local 1×12″ redwood, interwoven and sandwiched together. There is no 2″ lumber in the framing at all.

You can sidestep the expensive dinners by getting a draft beer and an “Ambrosia burger” at the bar.

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