fishing (108)

Fort Ross, Recreated Russian Fort on NorCal Coast

Last week Yogan and I spent an hour exploring the Fort Ross State Historic Park, a masterful re-creation of the Russian Fort built on the Northern California coast in 1812. The Russians brought down Native Alaskan hunters who speared sea otters from seal skin kayaks. Most of the hunters came from the Kodiak Islands and their kayaks, spears, and hunting techniques were extraordinary (more on this later).

If you are ever driving up the Northern California coast, I highly recommend going to this site.

Here is the chapel (star of the show), metal shop, and wood shop. Roofing on these buildings consisted of 2 layers of long planks, laid with the cracks in the top layer over the centers of the under layer.

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Local Food This Week

It’s been a good week for food from close by. I went out Friday in my (12′ Scrambler) kayak and spent almost 5 hours between paddling and digging (and raking) for cockles and horseneck clams, resulting in clam fritters and tonight, clam linguine. Got 4 rock crabs that were scooting around in the shallows.(Also ended up pretty exhausted.)

Bought a small halibut from a neighbor fisherman, was given 4 rock fish by a friend, and got a bunch of smelt at night.

On Tuesday I was going to hike along the coast and noticed that the cattails were pollinating and got the pollen shown in the photo (you bend the stalks over and shake into a paper bag) — took maybe a half hour to get this much. I added it to oat pancakes this morning. All our vegetables are coming from the garden this time of year.

(Two weeks earlier I burned up my Evinrude 2-stroke outboard motor (seaweed clogged water intake) AND on same day got truck stuck in the bay and was pulled out by tow truck just as the water got up to the floorboards — close call! — but that’s all another story…)

Listening to Mojo Nixon’s “Loon in the Afternoon” program on Sirius Outlaw Country station right now.

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A Bit of What’s Going on Here in the 1st Week of 2015

Blogs I’m putting most of my posts on building on TheShelterBlog now. I’m starting to link to those from this blog. TheShelterBlog focusses on building, homesteading, gardening, and the home arts, whereas this blog tracks my eclectic path through life. Note: if you go to the “Categories” button on the right and select a subject, like, say, “Natural Materials,” you’ll get all the posts on that subject. The info available this way is growing each day. This is getting to be a body of work.

Dwell Magazine I can’t help myself from continuing to knock this soulless, sterile publication. Who are the people that live this way? Certainly different from our tribe.

Stretching—The Pocketbook Edition Rick Gordon is about halfway through building a 5″ x 8″ pocketbook edition of our best-selling book (3-1/2 million copies, 23 languages). Pocketbook editions of Stretching have been very popular in Spain and Germany and we feel it’s time to introduce it in English. Out in 2015.

Small Homes Our next building book is under way. Contributors are beginning to send us photos, descriptions. Note: Contact us if you know of (or have built) an imaginative, artistic, practical, and/or economical home in the 400-1200 sq. ft. range: lew@shelterpub.com

Mini-Skeleton I was looking through Cool Tools for Christmas present ideas and one of the items led me to this unique little (9″ high) skeleton, available from Amazon. One of the comments from a nursing student said that both the leg bones (tibia and fibula) were switched; same with the arm bones (radius and ulna) This is true, but I was able to switch all 4 of them into the right positions. This is a fine little skeleton, ingeniously produced, for a very low price. BTW, there is a great children’s book on anatomy that’s selling on Amazon or $.01 these days: The Human Body by Ruth Dowling Brunn and Bertel Braun.

My Life Since I quit competitive running, I’ve been taking long walks in the woods, looking for mushrooms, wild foods such such as yerba buena tea, cattail pollen, watercress, miners lettuce, etc. Been getting clams, fishing for eels. Picking up oak trees knocked down by storms on the roads for firewood. Skateboarding when I can.

Yoga started again after a year’s absence, it’s so good for stiff, banged-up bodies like mine.

-Kauai Going there the last 2 weeks of January, to get in the warm water, do some hiking, shoot photos of small homes.

Comedian David Dean on the radio last week:

“Honk if you love Jesus.

Text and drive if you want to meet him.”

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Crab Fishing From A Kayak

This guy brought this unusual shaped kayak to the beach on top of a compact car. He paddled out through the  surf, dropped off his (collapsible) crab traps, picked them up in a few hours, and went home with 4 nice crabs. In a small car.

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Salmon, Stripers, Halibut


There are fish everywhere this week. Two friends have brought us salmon (had some for dinner, and now smoking and making gravlax with the rest of it), and someone gave us this striped bass. I forgot how striking (sic) they are. Stripes. Gonna smoke this as well.

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Water Skeeters, Mountain Lion, Coyote, American White Pelicans, Clams, Seaweed

Intersections with the natural world the past few days: I studied water skeeters in a hill pond Tuesday; a brilliant design by mother nature. They float on 6 legs; 4 long ones for skittering and 2 short legs in front. They move mostly with breaststrokes of the 2 front legs and when startled just zoom. I was transfixed, watched them for 5 minutes or so, the fact they float on their legs…Doug saw a young mountain lion; we always look for the long tail to be sure it’s not a big bobcat…Yes, a long tail, he said, also that it appeared to be a young one, with spots on its skin…I saw a big healthy coyote crossing the road Tuesday night…Yesterday I paddled my kayak across the bay and dug clams…saw 4 of the huge American Pelicans; wingspan of 8-10 feet…harvested some seaweed — Macrocystis integrifolia, a smaller cousin of giant kelp; I’ve been bringing home all kinds of seaweed and this one appears promising. It’s flavorful, with salt crystals that sparkle when it’s dried. I’m grinding it and using it instead of salt on meat, vegetables. salad.

Summertime by The Zombies on Grooveshark

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