January, 2011

Our tower with its new shake roof in sunset last month

The frequency of these email newsletters has dropped of since I got into Serious Blogging. But I still try to send these out because many many people (including me) don't follow any blogs.

That said, recent photos on my, ahem, ahem, blog:
-Treehouse in LA
-SunRay Kelley's Goddess of Contentment soapstone woodstove
-SunRay's solar/diesel-powered electric mo-my progress on the Tiny Homes book
-Bear-proof chicken coop
-sculptural treehouse in Oregon forest
-my new mountain bike with disc brakes and air shocks. Yahoo!
-me wimping out on a run in the rain
-Translucent bamboo house in Costa Rica
-Olive harvest at my brother's farm
-a bunch of darn good music

Click here for the above and more:

BTW, I don't mess with Facebook, LinkedIn, or a bunch of other networks. Blogging is all I can manage regularly out there in the Technium. I only manage a tweet every week or 2.

Most of this was written 3 weeks or so ago:
Right now I'm on a 5-day trip to the north to photograph the olive harvest at my brother's farm, go soak in nature's hot waters, photograph SunRay Kelley's latest creation, a 12-sided "man cave," and hang out with my friend Louie in Mendocino county…I'm writing this at various times during the trip, and will get it out when I return. (A lot of the trip is already on my blog.)

Now to the trip:

Above, photo in a room at Harbin Hot Springs Monday night -- my first stop after photographing the olives and lunch with my brother. The hot springs there are just awesome. Star of the show is a pool about 12' by 20', filled with hot water. And I mean HOT. 114 degrees, baby. When I walk down the ladder into the water, it feels like bee stings. Yeow! It's coming straight out of the earth, very powerful. My body adjusts to the extreme heat, and then after maybe 3-5 minutes, I head outside and up to the small cold pool at an upper outdoor level. This is fed by cold creek water, and immersion therein is great after the heat. I go through this cycle 2-3 times for chi recharging maximus. I don't really relate to any of the woo-woo stuff at Harbin, but the springs are fabulous (and well-tended).

Then Tuesday afternoon, I drive over 2 mountain ranges to get to the coast. Now I'm in "my room" in Louie's shop, it's early morning and I've got a fire going, sitting at the desk, looking out on a little vineyard, with redwood trees in the background. Honky tonk song on satellite radio:
"The way you're all over him,
you must be all over me."

Above, perfectly-proportioned farm building, Sonoma County. Why do architects seldom get such harmony?

Yesterday we had (a great) breakfast in town (Pt. Arena), then I spent a few hours at a wi-fi cafe with a latte, checking my mail, downloading photos, and doing some blogging. I came back out to Louie's, which is on an old homestead in a river valley. I rode the cable over to Louie's cabin (in a few weeks I'll have a YouTube video of the 500' ride across the river) -- and lo and behold, Louie had made a dish of roasted quail with vegetables. We had a pre-meal drink of Ouzo on ice (must be stirred until milky), then the quail with Louie's red wine. Two old guys at a remote cabin in the woods, listening to music of the '40s (Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan), on a dark cold December night, with a fire burning. Oh yeah…

Louie over at Pepe's for breakfast and espresso the next morning. Shot this with Pepe's Canon Rebel T1i, with EF-S 15-85 mm zoom, a very fine less-than-ultra-expensive Canon. No shutter lag.

Tiny Homes book

This is the big news. We're finally deeply into production, and the book has a life of its own. It's gonna be a lalapalooza, like Shelter was in 1973. There are a lot of similar vibes now to those of 35 years ago. Building small and simply makes sense for a lot of people these days -- even if only temporarily. The timing of this book is right.

People all over the world have been creative, resourceful, and artistic in creating tiny homes, and we have a flood of material. We're getting new material daily (this might end up being a series).

How will this book differ from all the many books on tiny houses? Completely different style, with 1000+ photos of builder- and owner- (not architect- or developer-) based creations, our typical graphics-intensive page design. Tiny homes delivered on wheels, or prefab sections. Women builders (many). Lots of cob. Living on the road in a variety of vehicles. Sailboat homes. A surfer's beachside palapa. A world-class snowboarder's eagle's nest solar-powered pentagonal cabin deep in the mountains…

It should be out by Fall 2011. Taking forever.

Marathon an eBook!

Our computermeister Rick has done a fantastic job getting Jeff Galloway's Marathon - You Can Do It! --designed (and up and running) on the iPad. I kid you not, it looks better than just about any other iPad book. Check it out against any of the iPad's running books.

The training charts work not only on the iPad, but on the iPhone. Take your training charts along in your pocket on trips.

Runners, click here for more info:

Foreign versions of Stretching
We've licensed about 8 countries for the 30th anniversary edition of Stretching, including a pocket book deal with Random House in Germany. It's in 23 languages. Shelter is going into Chinese. All in all, 50 foreign editions of our books.

Here is a link to all of them:


Weeping cherry tree in garden

Lesley had been telling me to watch this tree, and one day last month it went orange-yellow like this for a couple of days, then lost its leaves. Not hardly New England, but a treat for us.

Bantam chickens

We've gotten used to the small eggs, and these little birds work great for us. Our Silver Seabrights are stars of the show, with their black and white feathers. This little rooster is the bossiest we've ever had -- runs a tight ship.

Music of the month: "Mocking Bird," by Charlie and Inez Foxx (not Carly Simon/James Taylor) I must have listened to it 20 times. Unique vocal duet, + it r-r-rocks.

Big surf swell downtown last month…

No kidding, if you're interested in stuff like the above, check my blog once a month. I do at least one post per day.

Also check Lew's Shelter Publications very active Facebook page:

Although I don't use Facebook, all my blog posts are posted on my Facebook Author page: <> <>

Lastly, I don't recall if I included these videos in previous newsletters:

1. My brother and I backing up 91-yr.old ragtime piano player Phoebe Babo at my Mom's rest home, "Bye-bye Blues":

2. CBS Sunday Morning show on dream houses, including our homestead:;lst;1

3. 6-min. film of our homestead by Stanford film school grad students:


I'm hearing the first frogs of the year in ponds out in the hills. Each day gets a little bit longer now. C'mon, Spring!


Take it easy
And if you can't take it easy,
Take it as easy as you can