Wednesday Morning Fish Fry

I seem to be in a period of dicking around with extracurricular pursuits. I’ve been playing the jug and my box bass today along with a CD of The Memphis Jug Band, recorded in the 1920s. These guys preceded Robert Johnson. Jug, kazoo, harmonica, vocals. It’s all there, blues in rudimentary form; I play the jug with sliding notes, like Jab Jones does here:

Usually I play the jug like the Mills brothers did with their voices, with a plucking sound.… hey, listen to the next one, Blues in the Bottle by the Jim Kweskin Jug band.… My friend Louie got me started with a blowgun he made; I bought some darts and have been practicing with a target outside the office.… The little book we just did, Driftwood Shacks, opens up a whole new octave for me with books; I don’t think they’re very saleable, but they are fun to produce, and can be done at a reasonable cost. I love giving books away, not having to sweat marketing, etc. If we can keep the machinery rolling here, I think I can do a couple of these little books each year.… I am looking forward to doing one on my 12 years exploring Baja California Sur…

Been gathering seaweed, drying it, grinding it into powder/flakes, and putting it on just about everything… Am starting to go clamming seriously, both for littleneck clams (cockles), and the deep-in-the-mud horseneck clams; clam broth, steamed clams, clam pasta, and (with the white meat of horsenecks), clam cakes… I’m working on a garden chair made out of old split fence posts… Also fiddling around making abalone shell neck pendants; dust from the cutting, grinding, and polishing of abalone shell is a serious lung problem, so I’ve got a dust collector that attaches to my shop vac, and just got a grinding wheel with a water trough from Grizzly Tools… Our homestead is working pretty well; we’ve been on this half-acre for 47 years now; new batch of baby chicks coming in a couple of weeks; this time, Rhode Island Reds and Auracanas, both heavy layers; I’ve had enough of the beautiful, but not-so-productive birds. Will however probably keep the little Silver Seabrights, they are so beautiful… Taking off tomorrow for the Rebuild Green Expo in Santa Rosa Friday, Feb. 23rd., for people rebuilding after the fires… Over and out…

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Michael Kahn's Sculptural Village in Arizona

I’ve just been going through old photos and came across photos from 2002 of my cousin Mike’s place in Arizona, which he called Eliphante. Mike was one year younger than me and we hung out when we were kids. We looked a lot alike.

He was an artist all his life, painting and drawing from an early age. After high school, I went off to Stanford and he went to UC Santa Barbara (where he threw the javelin on the track team), and we didn’t get back in touch until the ’60s, when we both were caught up in the cultural revolution, psychedelics and all.

By then, he was living New York, where he did portraits and sold paintings on the sidewalks around Washington Square. Then he moved to Provincetown, Cape Cod, where he worked as a waiter to support his painting habit.

In the ’70s he moved to the Arizona desert and, and partially based on seeing Bob De Buck’s wild creations in Shelter (pp.144-147), he started building what turned out to be a series of buildings. The windows in the room above are auto windshields he got for free, and stained glass applied inside with silicone caulk. There is a section on Mike and his wife Leda in our 2004 book Home Work (pp. 121-129).

Mike passed away 10 years ago, but Eliphante lives on.

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