When I start working on a book, it’s like setting out on an ocean voyage without a map. I get a theme, an idea, some kind of coherence on a subject, then start.
When I built my first house in Mill Valley in the early ’60s, my friend Bob Whiteley and I laid out the foundation lines in chalk on the ground. “What do we do now, Bob,” I asked.
Bob said “This,” and took pick and shovel and started digging the foundation trench.
It’s been my M.O. all my life. When I don’t know what to do, I start. Things (usually) sort themselves out in the process. (I know, I know, I’ve said all this before…)
This book is about the tools and techniques Lesley and I have evolved in building a home and growing food (and creating a bunch of things) on a small piece of land over a 40+-year period.
I started by writing it in chapters: The House / The Kitchen / Kitchen Tools / The Garden / Garden Tools / Chickens / Food / Foraging / Fishing / The Shop / Shop Tools / Roadkill / Critters … What we’ve learned; what’s worked, what hasn’t…
Then I went through some 50,000 digital pictures and picked out 700–800 photos, printed them out contact sheets (12-up) and started organizing them under the above categories.
Next step: starting to put pages together; I am totally excited. I have (kind of unknowingly) been gathering material for this book for decades.
Now I gotta get out of here. Not only is it a gorgeous fresh spring day, but it’s my time of the year. Tauruses are feelin’ good…