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Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen celebrates after the Pirates victory over the Baltimore Orioles 5-3, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Pittsburgh. Look at that elevation! (And joy.)

Photo by Keith Srakocic/AP

I picked this up from here, a great blog:

Driftwood Beach Shack

This is from a 64 page book I'm just finishing laying out: Driftwood Shacks: Anonymous Architecture Along the California Coast. It's a new format and if it works, I'll be publishing a bunch of smaller books on various subjects. Limited print run. not one of our major bookstore distribution books.

Red-shouldered hawk got trapped in netting box over strawberries this morning. I let him out after a few photos.

The California Fires, October, 2017

By Lloyd and Lesley Kahn
Saturday morning October 14th
We went to bed last Sunday night with no inkling of what was happening. About 3 AM, a fierce wind started blowing and we smelled smoke. At daybreak we learned that it came from fires some 60 miles away, mostly in neighboring Sonoma county. It’s been a grim week.

Everyone seems to know people or have relatives that have lost their homes. My brother was luckier than most with his farm in the Napa Valley: he lost a barn, tractor, Toyota Tacoma, and an accessory building, but his house was OK. He has 2,000 olive trees and they were not burned, but he’s not sure if they’ll be ruined by the smoke. It was his biggest crop ever.

Local radio stations have devoted large parts of their programs to the catastrophe; this morning there are 21 separate fires. There’s speculation they could have been started by 50 mile per hour northeastern winds knocking trees down onto power lines, exacerbated by a long drought, which weakened trees, followed by a wet year, a lot of vegetation and dry hot weather in recent months. The winds catapult embers along, and fires are said to outrun humans.

Refugees have flooded south. Many of them await news anxiously to see if their homes have been destroyed. This weekend looks ominous. Sunrise was a deep red this morning. We can smell smoke inside our house, and it's coming from 60 miles away. The sky this morning looks like a science fiction movie of the apocalypse.

Fire and earthquakes have always been part of the California cycle. It’s the other side of our paradise of warm weather and fertile soil. In the old days, fires happened regularly, burning out underbrush periodically. The Native Americans incorporated it into their cycle, sometimes setting fires to clear brush so grass would grow and attract animals to hunt and to clear land for planting. These days we’re so good at preventing (most) fires that forests become tinder boxes of fuel.

While big storms can be tracked and predicted, fires strike with no warning—no time to plan, to get ready. Saving lives is of utmost importance, but homes, records, papers, and belongings will have to be resurrected or replaced in months and years to come.

Having worked for over 40 years in helping people build their own homes, our thoughts are with all those who will have to start rebuilding their lives. I wish there were some way we could communicate our experience in building small, simple homes to those who will be rebuilding. For those who do not have adequate insurance, it seems especially important to consider the advantages of scaling back and simplifying.

The effort of first responders continues to be truly inspirational. Even those who have themselves lost everything are participating in fighting to save the homes and lives of neighbors. Aid is being rushed in and will be needed for some time to come

Evacuees have been pouring into the small towns of West Marin. Local homeowners have taken people in, made soup, donated clothing and are helping in many ways. It’s heartening to see such actions.

The people will survive and new homes will rise out of the ashes.

Whale Skull on Beach

Skull of 79 foot blue whale that washed up on local beach 5 months ago. This is about 8 feet across. These creatures are enormous; this one probably weighed 150 tons. The tongue weighs 3 tons. Baby blue whales gain 200 pounds in weight every day when growing.

Fishing Shack in Italy

In 2003, after the Frankfurt Book Fair, I took a RyanAir cheapo flight from Frankfurt to Pescara on the Adriatic coast of Italy. From there I took a train south, then a ferry to Isole Tremiti, an archipelago of islands. I came back to the mainland and drove along the coast and spotted this shack, called a trabucco. Said to have been invented by the Phoenicians, trabucci allowed fishermen to cast nets without being tossed around in boats in rough weather. (Just ran across this in going through old photos.)

Footwear of Cinderella's ranchero boyfriend

Santa Rosa Fires

Fountain Grove, near Santa Rosa yesterday. We're not in any danger (so far), but it makes me realize how vulnerable we are in this part of the world. 15 dead so far, Santa Rosa devastated. Winds down today but air still smoky here, 60 miles from nearest fire.
Photo: Ken Porter, The Press Democrat

#beach bunker

Skeleton on Beach Yesterday

 Don't know what kind of animal. Harbor seal? Beautiful warm late afternoon, I swam out, harvested fresh seaweed, then picked watercress next to robust beach waterfall for dinner. If you're willing to walk a mile or more, you can get to beaches with no other people.

Primitive Technology: Tiled Roof Hut

Be sure to read the 'SHOW MORE."

Photo of Earth From 106,000 Miles Up

"The first image taken by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft after completion of its Earth Gravity Assist maneuver on Sept. 22, 2017, cropped to show in greater detail the spacecraft’s view of Earth from 69,000 miles (110,000 kilometers). The image has been rotated so that Earth’s north pole is located at the top, and the Baja Peninsula is visible above and to the right of center. Cloud cover and the Pacific Ocean dominate most of the image, but Hurricane Maria and the remnants of Hurricane Jose can be seen in the far upper-right portion of the image, off the east coast of the United States. This image was captured by NavCam 1, a black-and-white imager that is one of three cameras comprising TAGCAMS (the Touch-and-Go Camera System), which is part of OSIRIS-REx’s guidance, navigation, and control system."
Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona"


Note: you can see the outline of the Baja peninsula, delineated by the narrow black band running at an angle, up and right of center. The black is the Sea of Cortez.

So Long, Tom

Asian Vitruvian Man

Leonard Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man: