Today Jay posted this 5-minute video on Instagram:
To know what you are going to draw, you have to begin drawing.
Today Jay posted this 5-minute video on Instagram:
To know what you are going to draw, you have to begin drawing.
On Thursday Louie and I, plus our friends Titsch and Pepe, drove up to the Noyo harbor just south of Ft. Bragg to have lunch at Silver’s At The Wharf, which is as good a seafood restaurant as there is anywhere. I not only recommend going there if you are ever in the vicinity of Fort Bragg, but also to check out the little harbor community of restaurants, fishing stores, trailer park, and other real life, non-tourist businesses at the harbor.
It’s a serious fishing port, with fairly hazardous channel lined by boulders out into the ocean. Fishermen along the coast have my utmost respect, especially if they have to get out into the ocean through the waves; not for the fainthearted, for sure. Same thing with farmers: they have to deal with the real world; so different from most other occupations.
This boat caught my eye.
This octagonal wooden structure is one of the beautifully reconstructed buildings at Fort Ross, “…the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America from 1812 to 1841.” See: wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Ross,_California
If you are ever driving north along Highway one towards Mendocino, and are at all interested in building or California history, I highly recommend stopping in at this spectacularly reconstructed fort.
I just ran across this post (below), done in 2006. What a difference 14 years can make! Our books were selling way better in those days, so I had the time to do blog posts.
These days — right now — I’m swamped with the business side of publishing: reprints, marketing, sales, publicity, foreign translations, interviews, podcasts, metadata as well as social media, and I’m getting very little time to work on new books.
My plan is to get as much of this stuff done as possible right now and, as well, farm out as much of it as I can in the future, and free up time to get going on the next book (which I’m really excited about): Rolling Homes.
I ran across the below post while doing a search on my blog for Godfrey and Bruno — this post came up first. If you’re interested further in these two amazing guys, scroll on down.
Note: When Godfrey first told me about Bruno (who I hadn’t met), he said: “He’s the ultimate guy.”
Note: If you want to get on my GIMME SHELTER email newsletter list (goes out every month or two to about 4000 people), go to: shltr.net/gimme-signup
Nixon brings together larger-than-life surf legends Herbie and Nathan Fletcher for a road trip down memory lane in a new short film entitled Peninsula South, where the father and son team head down to Baja and revisit some old haunts from previous adventures. Director Riley Blakeway captures Herbie’s pioneering spirit and the close-knit relationship he has built with his son Nathan as they set out on an expedition they’ve not made together in over twenty years, reignites both their love for Baja and their deep appreciation for one another. By the late ’60s, Herbie had already begun exploring Baja in search of uncrowded lineups and adventure. As his life moved forward, he built a family who share his love of travel, and who have joined him countless times to explore the fickle southern peninsula. On this latest mission, Nathan discusses his father’s contagious, childlike enthusiasm for surfing and life, and shares how he hopes to pass those ideals down to the next Fletcher generation. See more at nixon.com/baja
From Gary at Tin Roof Ranch on the North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
In order: Red Rockfish, Red Salmon, (breeding male), Red Salmon (breeding female), Dolly Varden Trout. There are a total of 20 such drawings in the book.
This is a newsletter I send out maybe once a month. If you’d like to be on the list to receive it, you can sign up for email delivery of the Gimme Shelter newsletter here.
To those of you receiving this for the first time, this is an intermittent and infrequent newsletter that describes what’s going on with our publishing operation and daily lives. The last one was two months ago. I’m sorry these are so interminably long, but (yes, I’ve said this before):
“I have made this [letter] longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”
–Blaise Pascal, 17th century French mathematician and philosopher
So much of what I write these days has to be short (tweets, Instagram, etc.) that it feels good to just let it rip once in a while.
The big news around here these days (other than the end of the world as we knew it) is (was) the article on Lesley and me in the New York Times on March, 11, 2020. Journalist/writer Penelope Green and I have corresponded a bit over the years, but not in any depth. To my surprise, she emailed me after getting my January GIMME SHELTER newsletter, proposing she do a story on us in conjunction with the publishing of The Half-Acre Homestead.
Interesting, I thought, a sophisticated New York journalist picking up on our do-it-yourself California homestead.
When doing the book, there was always the issue of how much of our private lives we wanted to include. Getting covered in one of the biggest (and best) newspapers in the world was even riskier. How would we come across? A lot of it had to do with journalism. After emails and talking on the phone with Penelope, I felt comfortable with her.
She flew out on a Wednesday, came out here for about four hours, including lunch, on Thursday, and went back to New York on Friday. She got it. She liked what we were doing, what we’d done, loved Lesley’s weavings, got the history right. I was happy with the article.
It caused an explosion of emails, phone calls, and book orders. Things are just starting to settle down now.
A lot of people are saying that this is a perfect book for these troubled times. That using your hands to create food and/or shelter is not only still relevant in this digital age, but especially applicable now, when people have to stay at home. Bake some bread, fix that leaky faucet, build a table, knit a hat, plant a vegetable garden.
We got a long handwritten letter today from a 29-year-old woman who said, “Every time I open the book, it makes me excited for a future when I can build a beautiful life with a loved one…”
If you want to review the book for any type of media, send us your address and we’ll send you a free copy. To buy a copy, contact your favorite independent bookstore, or go to our website (we have free shipping + a 30% discount on two or more books): www.shelterpub.com/building/halfacrehomestead
Note: You can get a sneak preview of the book by going to: shltr.net/homesteadflipbook. It gives you about one-third of the book.
I gave one of our Tiny Homes mini books to a 10-year-old working as an apprentice at the Proof Lab Surf Shop in Mill Valley. He flipped through the pages excitedly and then said, “This is what I want to do. … This is so sick!”
This architectural exposition scheduled for this summer in Venice was to have an exhibit of “…the content and influence of three iconic counterculture publications on organic architecture published half a century ago by now 85-year-old publisher and builder Lloyd Kahn — Domebook One (1970), Domebook 2 (1971), and Shelter (1973) — on contemporary architecture practices.” They sent me a round-trip ticket and three nights lodging, and, as you might guess, it’s been called off. I’m hoping that sometime in the future I can finally see Venice. And boy, to be recognized by architects — that’s something new.
By having to stick around here, I got the layout done a lot sooner than if I’d been running over the hill every week. Publication date is October, 2020. Here are two of the new pages:
Working on it has made me think about posture. Hold your phone up at eye level. Stop bending over to look at it. Pull your shoulders back and relax them. Try a few of the above stretches if you’re at a computer reading this.
Our life isn’t all that much different. Lesley doesn’t have her friends over for tea these days, I don’t meet my running pals on Tuesday nights, but we have a lot to do in our daily lives around here that’s pretty much unchanged. The cooking, gardening, fixing stuff, weaving, getting firewood, dealing with critters such as mice, ants, skunks, and gophers — running the publishing business — it’s not like were cooped up; it’s pretty much business as usual.
And there are the good things amidst all the gloom, throughout the state. LA has some of the “cleanest air of any major city in the world.” The tourists, which have become onerous out here in recent years, are not clogging the roads on weekends. People are cooperating and helping each other out, neighbors helping neighbors, masks (Lesley’s made about 30 of them for friends) and gloves and distance now part of daily life just about everywhere.
I like it at home! By staying home, I’m more in tune with the weather, the tides, and the rhythms of the surrounding land. I’m doing more foraging, hunting, and fishing. I’ve been making nettle tea every morning; it tastes good and has a lot of healthy ingredients (steep leaves 3 minutes in boiling water, add small amount of honey). Also collecting and eating miners’ lettuce, watercress, a few mushrooms, wild onions.
“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”
–William Morris, 1834–1896
A few weeks ago I took a 3-mile round-trip kayak paddle and got clams, mussels, and seaweed (the latter to dry and grind into powder to put on just about all foods). I’m making an annual calendar with harvesting times for various wild plants, Like like early summer for cattail pollen, later summer for cattail shoots, early fall for Manzanita berries and huckleberries … there’s a lot of wild food everywhere. Now there’s more time to get it.
I’m certainly not the first to say it, but things are seriously out of whack on the planet — all being made worse by our loathsome president and his greedy, vicious cohorts. It’s as if the planet is conscious (the Gaia hypothesis), and taking steps to stop planetary abuse and untrammeled consumption. One can only hope that when it’s over, the world economies will do a reset. The problem is, the most vulnerable are suffering the worst.
One of the things I learned working on fitness books in the ’80s and ’90s, was that it’s not so much age that makes you lose strength and agility, as it is disuse. People stop using their muscles and they deteriorate. I read about a 35-year-old doctor who broke his leg skiing. When the cast came off, his leg was shriveled, “…like the leg of an old man,” he said. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle. If you stop using your muscles, they’ll shrink, and you’ll get weaker. It’s not that aging doesn’t take its toll, but steady exercise — if possible — is key to staying healthy and fit.
Bob Anderson, author of Stretching, my frequent running partner through the years, told me once: “You never hear anybody say, ‘I’m sorry I worked out.’” So true. Every time I hike, walk, paddle, ride a bike, or lift a few weights, I feel much better. Especially paddling; something about being in the (cold) water and getting an upper body workout leaves me feeling energized and happy.
I started competitive running at around age 50, did it for 20+ years, and quit racing 10 years ago due to knee problems (I wanted to be able to walk for the remaining years of my life).
I started skateboarding at age 65, and kept at it for maybe 20 years until I broke my arm pretty badly a few years ago. I didn’t give it up right away, but the trauma made me tentative, my skating awkward, and I lost my confidence. Sigh!
My latest activity, at age 85, is with my new Specialized Turbo Levo Fattie pedal-assist e-bike, Is it exciting! I know that hard-core mountain bikers don’t exactly love bikes with motors, but there are three reasons I finally made the jump. First, you get a break when you’re over 80. Second, our good family friend Bryce, a professional bike guy, had bought this bike for his wife, and she decided not to keep it. It was the perfect size, the perfect bike, and I got it for a healthy discount. The third reason, which I discovered on my first ride out into the hills, was that it was fun. Really fun!
It’s changed my life, in spite of the fact that I was crossing a big puddle on a fire road yesterday and the wheel sunk down, and I went over into the water on my side, along with the bike. That’s why my leg and arm are covered with mud here. No real harm, just embarrassing. I squirted the bike and me off when I got home, and I’m going out again today to pick nettles and mushrooms. After a lifetime of riding a bike, this is like having superpowers. You’re going up a steep hill and you kick in the motor and it’s like someone is pushing you from behind. And this bike is beautifully designed, it not only has power, but it’s a kick-ass trail bike.
Lesley has had a Rad eBike for about 6 months now, that she uses to pick up groceries downtown and to visit friends (once that’s possible again).
The coronavirus has closed bookstores, and much of our income is cut off. This isn’t exactly unchartered territory for us, because we’ve been in the red for about two years now, and could well be out of business in the next year. We’ve applied for a Payroll Protection Program loan, as well as an Economic Disaster Loan, but the processes are confusing and disorganized. We’re looking into getting a grant, or an angel that would help us keep us rolling (paying printing bills of about $40,000) until we get some income from the new version of Stretching. At that point we hope we’ll be self-sufficient enough to do another 5 or 6 books and keep our communications hub operating for another 5 years. We’ll see.
In any event, it’s been a great 50 years, and a privilege to have been in such a wonderful business, and to have followed our hearts in whatever we’ve done.
In the meantime, we’re going to, as the Scots say, och wheesht and get oan wae it.
My Instagram account (8400 followers): www.instagram.com/lloyd.kahn
Shelter’s Instagram account (13,000 followers): www.instagram.com/shelterpub
““Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”
–High school football coach Eric Taylor, Amazon Prime series “Friday Night Lights”
Over and out…
I found this on a beach on the East Cape of Cabo San Lucas.These fish inflate to discourage predators (and how!). They have no pelvis and few ribs, allowing them to inflate and become spherical without breaking bones. Their skin contains an abundance of collagen fibers that allow it to expand 30 to 40%.
From National Geographic:
…Toxicity A predator that manages to snag a puffer before it inflates won’t feel lucky for long. Almost all pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish. To humans, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.
As Food: Amazingly, the meat of some pufferfish is considered a delicacy. Called fugu in Japan, it is extremely expensive and only prepared by trained, licensed chefs who know that one bad cut means almost certain death for a customer. In fact, many such deaths occur annually.…
I have it hanging in my shop. Kids love it.