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The Half-Acre Homestead Book Is Finished!

(Subtitle: 46 Years of Building & Gardening)

You know, it’s Thanksgiving morning, both boys are off for the holiday with spouses’ families, and Lesley and I are working on our separate crafts. What a difference with no phones, no email, no business necessities, no one else around. Witness the fact that I’ve hardly blogged at all lately. Gonna have to get one day a week here with no distractions. A right-brain day!

The unbound pages came in from the printers a few days ago. What a thrill! The book’s getting bound (in Hong Kong) this week, shipped and will be available in early March, 2020. When we get it together, we’re going to take pre-orders.

I’m still getting used to the book. After covering hundreds of builders over the years, this is the first on my own (and Lesley’s) work.

Stay tuned.

These photos shot with iPhone. We just got these early pages.

Music de éste día: The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers, 1969
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUeFJ7QIRbE

Here’s how I make books:

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Which Cover Do You Like Best?

We are in the final stages with our latest book, The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening. It’s 8½″ square, 168 pages, with about 540 photos of these things:

House/Kitchen/Cooking/Preserving/Foraging/Fishing/Gardening/Chickens/Crafts

It’s a book I’ve been meaning to put together for years, and it feels good to be in the final stages.

Above are two choices for the cover. Click either image for larger view. Whichever image we choose for the front cover, the other one will go on the back cover.

What do you think?

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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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Rain in San Francisco, Mellowness in Albuquerque

I took off from San Francisco on a rainy Sunday morning. As soon as I got off the plane in Albuquerque, things felt different. Relaxed. Mellow. Palpable low stress level.

Picked up rental car, punched in address for Canteen Brewhouse, where I had scoped out beforehand there was a local bluegrass band playing at 4PM. Garmin magically delivered me to the pub. Good vibes. Community tables. Got dark porter, alc. content 10%, aged in whisky barrels, had best bratwurst I’ve ever had, homemade mustard, cole slaw, black bean chile, guy next to me at bar was carpenter; we had things in common. Perfect.

The band, Squash Blossom Boys, was good. Occasional 3-part harmony. There’s just something about a local band, a local crowd, relaxed atmosphere…

I took off heading south for Truth or Consequences, a town of hot springs I’d read about, at dusk. Cue Willie: “On the road again…”

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Taco Stand in Mexico

Photo by Chilón Amora

Typical Mexican ingenuity. Photo shot in San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur by my long-time friend Chilón (Isidro Amora)

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Coffee, Food, Pubs in NYC

Coffee

-Cafe Reggio on Bleeker

-Stumptown Roasters: 30 West 8th (2 blocks from Washington Sq.), and in the lobby of the Ace Hotel at 18, W. 29th (which looks like maybe a good place to stay)

-Blue Bottle: 450 W. 15th, 54 W. 40th

-Abraco, 81 E. 7th Street. All time great place. https://www.abraconyc.com/

Restaurants

-Saigon Kitchen, 114 McDougal Street

-Snack Taverna (Greek), 63 Bedford at 7th Ave.

-Periyali (which means “seashore” in Greek), 35 W. 20th  between 5th and 6th. https://www.periyali.com/

-Rosemary’s, 18 Greenwich Ave. https://www.rosemarysnyc.com/

-Blue Ribbon Sushi, 119 Sullivan St.

-EAK Ramen, 469 6th Ave.

-Cafe Mogador, 101 St. Marks Place. https://www.cafemogador.com/

-An Nam, 234 W. 48th, Times Sq. district. Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese food. Normally this combination would make me suspicious, but this place, in an area I wouldn’t normally eat in, was really good — and inexpensive. I had a big plate of duck on brown rice, nicely cooked vegetables on a lunch special for $9.50. Plus delcious spring rolls.

Pubs

St. Dymphna’s, 118 St. Marks Place

The Blind Tiger Ale House, 281 Bleeker

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