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Back to Book Production

On the road from Ullapool to Gairloch on the northwest coast of  Scotland
My trip to Scotland was an overwhelmingly wonderful experience. 30 days of people who were friendly, cheerful, and helpful—civilized society!

I shot maybe 1000 photographs, with three different cameras. I posted (mostly photos) on Instagram and this blog almost every day.
I could do a book on this trip, but the reality, the priority right now, is to get our new book, Small Homes, finished.

So I will be posting less for a while, and certainly not posting daily.

I had an epiphany, as they say, yesterday: I can reach a lot more people by turning out books than I can by posting things on my blog or via Instagram—at least with my present internet followers (about 500 people a day).

Plus the feedback from our books is phenomenal. Just about daily: people inspired, lives changed, abilities discovered.

I want to get this book finished and then try to get one new book published each year (instead of one book every 2-3 years, as now).

I’m thinking of three possibilities for the book after this one:

Trips I’ve taken over the past 40 years, with photos and text. Readers can ride shotgun with me.

• My favorite builders: about six or seven of them, describing not only their work, but their personalities. I just love all these guys.

Barns: a scrapbook of my photos over the years and reference to the many (not well-known) books I’ve accumulated on barns; we have over 3 feet of barn books in our shelves.

So it’s back to book making for me. I’m really excited by this new one. I’m gonna get oan wi it.

Check out https://www.theshelterblog.com/ for daily postings on building, homesteading, gardening, carpentry. tiny homes, small homes, and the like.

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What I’m Doing These Days

Three to four years ago, I did a lot more writing of posts than I do now. These days I’m working on other digital forms of communication (takes time) as well as our old school hold-in-your-hands treasures called books, and in the midst of writing, photographing, editing, and laying out our next major book, Small Homes.

Once in a while I like to slip in a post as of the old days. Can we talk?

It’s been raining like mad. Marin county reservoirs are spilling over. Shasta Lake, NorCal’s big one, is at 81% now—a welcome relief after all the sad years of bare banks. Went out a few days ago with friends to see cascading waterfalls; power of our magic mountain. Toots: “Love the Rain”: 

Small Homes, Our Next Book

The book is growing daily. It’s a lot like gardening. I am having a lot of back-and-forth emails with builder/contributors, often in search of large enough photo files. (What works on a monitor won’t work in high-quality printing.) I’m over half-way through, doing layout with a 5-year-old Brother color copy machine, scissors and scotch tape before they go to Rick for InDesign/Photoshop precision, enhancement, and preparation for our printers in Hong Kong. You can see 17 sneak previews here: https://www.theshelterblog.com/?s=preview

Scotland Shelter Exhibition

There is a festival of architecture in Scotland now, sponsored by the Fife Contemporary Arts Center. It’s called “Shelters,” and features an entire room exhibiting our work, with photo and page blowups, and our building books on tables (below). It’s open now at the Kircaldy Galleries (Kircaldy is about 12 miles north of Edinburgh, on the east coast of Scotland) and runs through June 5, 2016.

I’ll be doing a slide show presentation on May 10th, at Kircaldy Galleries, titled “50 Years of Natural Building,” chronicling our building books from Shelter in 1973 up to the present.

The Shelter Blog

We have finally increased the amount of original material on our blog (as opposed to mostly references to material already posted elsewhere). Check it out: https://www.theshelterblog.com/. Note: when you go looking for it, you need to type in the “the” to get the correct URL. If you type in “shelterblog,” it will go to the wrong place.

Driftwood Shacks: Anonymous Architecture Along the California Coast

My first ever art exhibit; I’m pretty excited to be doing this. On display will be about 24 of my photos, shot on various northern California beaches over the last 15 years. At the Bolinas Museum, opening reception April 2, 2016, 3-5 PM, 38 Wharf Road, Bolinas, Calif

https://www.bolinasmuseum.org/calendar.html

Healing Broken Bones (and Injuries)

(Of interest only to people with injuries.) My broken wrist (skateboarding) is maybe 80% healed (hmm, Shasta 81%, wrist 80%—all to the good!). I explored a lot of modalities, including comfrey (also called “knitbone”), calcium citrate, bone broth, prunes and bananas (yes!), marijuana patches and salves, stretching, and wrist braces. Info on my previous posts (including over 30 comments here: https://www.lloydkahn.com/2015/12/20/did-i-say-i-was-going-to-give-up/ and I’ll soon be doing a special post updating the methods for hastening healing. (I did a lot of research.)

45 Years of Publishing

I can’t believe it. I’m 80, and have never been busier or more productive in my life—and in an extraordinary profession full of wonderful, intelligent people. I don’t even mind all the email and business stuff, but I love shooting photos, doing layout, and especially having the chance to do an exhibit of my photos.

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My 5000th Post!

For some years I was really into blogging. These days I post a lot less, what with doing Instagram, contributing to theshelterblog, Tumblr, Twitter, and reluctantly, Facebook. A blizzard of internet activity.

The idea is to get our “content” out in digital form to compliment our publishing of hold-in-your-hands books. All this with “build it and they will come” approach. We’re working at having theshelterblog be more and more of our original material as opposed to stuff already on the web.

We’ve also upgraded our website in the process.

I’m also posting less because I’m immersed in production of our next book, Small Homes. Which is looking, ahem, incredibly good. This may end up being our most relevant building book ever, with a variety of simple homes and lifestyles that will give lots of people ideas and inspiration to create their own shelters.

Sure, tiny homes are wonderful and photogenic and a welcome relief from homes that are too big and expensive and rents that are too high. But small homes are relevant for way more people.

So far we’ve done 97 (out of approx. 200) pages. A sample we just completed today:

So onward I go with the book, posting less. But hey, 5000 posts is a body of work (along with all time history page views of 7,448,979)…

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Mother Earth News Looking For Editor-In-Chief

15 years after resurrecting and refining Mother Earth News, Cheryl Long is retiring, and they are looking for a new editor-in-chief, as follows:

“Topeka, Kansas-based Ogden Publications is looking for an experienced professional with passion for, and knowledge of, all things sustainable to lead its flagship media brand, Mother Earth News into the future. Ideally this person will have first-hand experience as a sustainable lifestyle community member as well as an impeccable record of innovation and leadership in the publishing business – or other closely related media area. But don’t let us define you too narrowly. If you have related experiences and the drive to lead a highly collaborative team devoted to creating and delivering the best, most relevant sustainable lifestyle content possible, we’d like to hear from you.

Read More …

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Superforecasting — Stewart Brand’s Summary of SALT Talk by Philip Tetlock

Will Syria’s President Assad still be in power at the end of next year?  Will Russia and China hold joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean in the next six months?  Will the Oil Volatility Index fall below 25 in 2016?  Will the Arctic sea ice mass be lower next summer than it was last summer?

Five hundred such questions of geopolitical import were posed in tournament mode to thousands of amateur forecasters by IARPA—the Inatelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity–between 2011 and 2015.  (Tetlock mentioned that senior US intelligence officials opposed the project, but younger-generation staff were able to push it through.)  Extremely careful score was kept, and before long the most adept amateur “superforecasters” were doing 30 percent better than professional intelligence officers with access to classified information.  They were also better than prediction markets and drastically better than famous pundits and politicians, who Tetlock described as engaging in deliberately vague “ideological kabuki dance.”

Read More …

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Why So Few Blog Posts of Late?

1. Working on Small Homes.

2. Doing the “social media” thing. A lot of effort in these early stages, what with coordinating Instagram, Twitter, et al. Still some rough edges to smooth out. I’m not sure if this will pay off, but we’ll give it a try in the next year.

Just rebuilt by Rick

Shooting on my new iPhone 6s Plus. What a tool!

Check this out on your phone:

managed bySean Hellfritsch

And, our new website, also by Sean (Squarespace format):

3. Riding my new “Overland” from my sponsors, Loaded Boards. Skateboard of my dreams. More on this to follow. https://loadedboards.com/
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Why I’m a Publisher — 3 Minute LK Interview By Yuichi Takeuchi

Last April, I was visited by Yuichi Takeuchi, an artist, carpenter and treehouse builder from Japan.

Yuichi said he’d been heavily inspired by our book Shelter. He was making a movie called Simplife and wanted to interview me.

Here’s the result, 3 minutes long. In the last part, I say, “I like to tell people what I see going on in the world…” Yeah!

I’ve had a lot of Japanese people come here — media, builders, artists, publishers —  in recent years and they’ve all been wonderful — kindred spirits of the Pacific Ocean.

Yuichi’s website and on Flickr:

https://www.treeheads.com/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/treeheads/sets/

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We’re Up On Tumblr!

The first part of the complete reorganization of our “social media” is now up and running: https://shelterpub.tumblr.com/. To start, we’ve posted 10 photos from our building books. This was set up by Sean Hellfritsch. Tumblr will be our photography platform.

We have over 7,000 photos in our 6 building books, and I have something like 15,000 photos (film and digital) dating back to the ’60s, maybe 1/3rd of them on building(s).

We are currently working on redesign of my blog, the Shelter blog, Twitter and FaceBook pages, Shelter’s website, and getting Instagram rolling.

With all this going on, I’m not posting very often these days, but I intend to get rolling with Instagram soon, and coordinate my Instagram photos with this blog.

Stay tuned.

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It’s A New Dawn, It’s A New Day…

This is the most vital, vibrant time of my life. A lot of things are falling in to place, or about to.

I look around these days, at the garden, or the book production process, or attempts to gather, hunt, or fish for food, or my workshop—and think, this is pretty good. A lot of it a long time in the making.

The book SMALL HOMES continues to unfold before my eyes. I’m in daily touch with, typically 4-5 contributors (as many as 25 emails in some of the folders), getting large enough photo files, editing text, doing pasteup. Not in any special order — well actually, in the order in which it comes in.

I’m really excited about getting a new iPhone 6 (s Plus) (hoping tyo make my way through the AT&T maze so as not to pay full price — I have another year to go on my present contract). I think Instagram will be perfect for my daily photos, I may be wrong, but it seems Instagram is replacing blogs — at least with the millennials. BTW, there’s a good article on this age group (11-33-year-olds)by James Wolcott (an excellent writer) in this month’s Vanity Fair. I think I can get a journalistic flow going this way, and use blog for the writing impulse– like here (and link them together).

We’re revamping our website (being built in SquareSpace as we speak by Sean Hellfritsch) and it’s lookin elegant. By the end of the year, we’ll have a completely different looking internet “presence.” It’s important for us because we have so much”content” — maybe 15,000 photos, a good portion of these on homes and building. We’re also going to redesign theshelterblog and make good on my promise of getting mostly original stuff there, rather than recycled material that’s already been posted (much of which, however, is great and worth sharing).We’re going to build it, with the hope they will come.

I’m negotiating with publishers in Russia,China, and Brazil about foreign translation rights for our book Stretching (now in 24 languages).

Got my (12′ Klamath aluminum) boat with15 HP 2-stroke recently rebuilt Evinrude motor working well and improving my lame backing-up-of-trailer technique.

Going to build a sleeping platform. I got really excited yesterday laying it out — 10’x10′, — just putting 4×4’s on pier blocks, 2×6 joists on top of them made me realize that I miss building. This is gonna be fun!

The Monarch butterflies are back in greater number than years, there are big flocks of quail patrolling every corner of the garden, a beautiful young fox appeared this morning, scaring the chickens, and them scaring him too. At the beach yesterday, windy, high tide, I got 3 weathered 2x4s, 3 bird skulls — each a different bird — a lot of dead birds the last month, big bag of seaweed for garden, and check out this bit of avian skeletal artistry, what is I believe the sternum with cortacoid/clavicle still attached by one remaining tendon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfJRX-8SXOs

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