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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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Randy's Road Rig

Hi Lloyd,

I ran into Randy in Folsom, CA.  I figured for sure he’d heard of Shelter and Tiny Homes on The Move, but he had not. Randy’s in his late 50’s and found himself in the middle of a late in life divorce and didn’t want tot have to work to own a house.  He’s a metal worker by trade and modified an old utility trailer with the camper shell from his old Dodge pick up into his new home.  It’s pretty cool.  I shared with him your website information too.

Dan Varvais

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Advice to Californians Building New Homes After The Fires

I’d like to get this out to as many people as possible. Please send it to anyone you think might appreciate it.
       -LK

Poster from 1885, designed to encourage people to move westward

I would like to offer some suggestions to people whose homes were destroyed by the California fires of 2017. I have built three homes of my own and, as well, been publishing books on building for some 45 years now. From this experience I’ve come to some conclusions about practical, sensible building.

Much of the emphasis in our books has been on owner-building, and if you will be doing design and construction yourself, these are things for you to consider. If not, these are ideas you can discuss with architects and/or builders you may be working with — the principles are the same. 
Much has been learned about building homes in the last two or three decades. You may be able to take advantage of building materials and techniques that weren’t available when these homes were built. Here is a chance to do things better, to learn from experience, to create a home built from sustainable materials that will save energy, that will be better for you and the planet.
Please note: These are just random ideas for your consideration. This isn’t a check list, where you try to incorporate each suggestion in your plans. The purpose here is to stimulate thinking. Maybe you’ll find two or three ideas that will work for you.
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The Shelter Blog (theshelterblog.com) is Alive!

Rick Gordon has built it and we’ve been tinkering with it for a few months, and finally it feels ready to go. Whereas my blog is all over the place, The Shelter Blog will focus on homes, building, carpentry, gardening, farming, foraging, fishing, homesteading and the home arts. Check it out here:

https://www.theshelterblog.com

Note: it’s theshelterblog.com, not shelterblog.com. You need the article the.

I’m really excited by this. It’s as important — maybe in the long run more so — than one of our books. We have no competition here, since we have feedback from our 40 years publishing books on the subject of shelter. Plus we can share brand-new incoming photos and stories rather than wait years to get same into a book. It’ll be complimentary to our books.

We guarantee at least one new post per day, hope to get multiple posts daily as we get rolling.

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