half-acre homestead (2)

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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Gimme Shelter: February, 2019 — Driftwood Shacks Is Finally Done.

I started sending out newsletters to Publishers Group West reps (our distributors) in 2001, one every month or two — news of our books plus a few extracurricular things thrown in. I started adding friends and people I met who had common interests, and it got up to about 600 people. Then along came blogging, and later Instagramming, and I’ve been sending out these newsletters a lot less frequently.

Recently I’ve concluded that newsletters are a different and more direct form of communication than blasting everything out to the world via “social media.” So I’m building up this mailing list and now going to do them a little more frequently — once every month or two.

You can sign up for email delivery of the Gimme Shelter newsletter here:


Driftwood Shacks: It’s done!

Analog layout:

I print out photos on an old Brother copy machine to size, and print out text in two or three columns. (I actually write a lot of the text during layout.) Then I use a proportional wheel and scissors and an X-Acto knife to arrange a two-page spread at a time, then affix it with removable Scotch Tape. Yeah, can you believe it? Coffee, music, right brain function occasionally ganja-enhanced.

Sure, I know it can all be done on a computer, but I prefer to stay out of the binary world for creative work.

Digital preparation for printing press: Rick transforms the crude pasteups into precise files, using Photoshop and InDesign, and voila!

Hardcover • 8½″ by 8½″ • $19.95
160 pages • 176 color photos
ISBN 978-0-936070-80-3
Publication date March 12, 2019 (but it’s shipping now)

Info on it (and early copies): www.shelterpub.com/building/driftwood

Review copies: If you or someone you know wants a copy for review, click to send us address(es).

The Half-Acre Homestead

I’m working on this now, the 35th book I’ve published in 48 years (the tenth that I have authored). It’s the story of our lives for the last 40+ years: building a house, gardening, cooking, foraging, fishing, crafts, etc. It should be out in early 2020.

I’m using Google Photo, an app that, once installed, downloads all your digital photos. Then you can do a search: “garden,” “fireplaces,” “kitchens,” etc. and in a few seconds it pulls up all the images of the selected category. It was hugely useful for the driftwood book; dozens of photos I’d forgotten about.

Books in the Pipeline

After the homestead book: The 40th anniversary edition of Stretching (with stretches for the bad posture encouraged by cell phone usage); Hit the Road Jack, the latest on rolling homes; books on barns, Baja California Sur, the ’60s (through the eyes of a San Francisco native. Don’t get me started!

ABA Winter Institute

With Jamie Byng of Canongate Press, London

I had a great time at this event in Albuquerque (in late January). I signed about 70 copies of the driftwood book for book buyers; There were two authors at each table, and my tablemate was Mark Kurfansky, author of Salt and Cod and now working on a book for Patagonia on salmon.

I met a bunch of great people — book lovers all.

I spent two days before the conference at a hot springs spa in the town of Truth or Consequences, two hours south of Albuquerque, and had other adventures documented here:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lloyd.kahn
My all-over-the-place blog: www.lloydkahn.com/… (Links to posts from Albuquerque.)


Two photos from Albuquerque:

Who could resist stopping at Carmen’s (in Truth or Consequences)? Blue corn enchiladas and green chile. Carmen cooks; her daughter is the waitress.

 

My friend Ned Cherry at his man cave in the backyard of his adobe house in Albuquerque. We hadn’t seen each other in 30 years. (We’ve known each other for 65 years — since we were 18.)


Sorry this is so long, I didn’t have time to make it shorter.

“I love the life I live and I live the life I love.”
–Muddy Waters (written by Willie Dixon, 1915-82)

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