homesteading (252)

Handmade/Homemade: The Half-Acre Homestead

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…
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Woodrat Nest.

These nests are pyramidal, about 3 feet tall, all over in the woods around here. Woodrats are kinda nice critters, compared to disgusting Norwegian city rats. They’re like big mice, live communally, are craftily smart at getting bait off traps without springing the trigger. The ones around here are dusky-footed woodrats, often called “pack rats,” have bigger ears and eyes than city rats.

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Two Great Home/Garden Catalogs

Two great catalogs just arrived. https://www.lehmans.com and https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com The former: do-it-yrslf tools for home, kitchen, garden; the latter for chicks by mail — which we’ve been doing for over 30 years.We’ve got about 25 baby chicks coming in March. It’s great: we get a call from the post office: “We’ve got a box for you that’s chirping!” We pick them up and put them under an infrared light until they feather out. This year mostly Rhode Island Reds and Auracanas.

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A Book For San Francisco Bay Area and Coastal California Gardeners

Lesley’s been gardening on our piece of Northern California coastal land for over 40 years. For vegetables, she’s come to rely on the book Golden Gate Gardening by Pam Pierce.

• Foggy climate charts
• What to plant when
• Encourages year-round vegetable growing.
• For the the San Francisco Bay Area and coastal California.
Over the years, we’ve given copies to our boys, as well as friends who are starting out to grow vegetables in the area.
Below: garden at its most barren right now. New hoop greenhouse from Farmtek, a great source of greenhouse supplies and all kinds of agricultural products. We just added walls, 2 concrete blocks high, to get more height. Doors by Billy Cummings. Foreground: raised beds of redwood 2×12’s, 1/4″ wire on bottom for gophers. Lightweight lift-off  covers with netting to protect strawberries from birds
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Seven Useful Tools in My Shop

Our newly-formed Shelter film crew has started making short videos. With producer Em-J Staples and cameraman and film editor Evan Kahn. Listed in in order of production here: 
https://www.youtube.com/results?sp=CAI%253D&search_query=lloyd+kahn

To see URLs for buying any of these tools, click on the YouTube icon at bottom after video starts.

Our next video will be on my return, albeit more cautiously, to skateboarding.

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