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Kitty Ladder + Other DIY Projects in (State of) Washington

"Hey Lloyd, I've read all your books, or should I say I look at them before work every morning, I read your blog and needless to say i've been really inspired by your work. I've been working as a carpenter for a little over a year and I'm working on my first full build.  The house is located in Rochester, Washington, it's a 900 sq ft footprint with a 100 sq ft loft.  We got the exterior done for the fall and we will start the interior when the client returns from a trip to Romania. I've been taking pictures of the process and writing a little bit about it.  I also just finished a micro house for my new pup.  I thought I would send you a link to my blog.  Thanks so much for all of your work
-Travis Skinner"
At left, Travis' "Kitty Ladder," so a friend's cat can go in and out without being bothered by an aggressive dog. Check out other homemade stuff by Travis: http://www.pairoducks.blogspot.com

Carville on Bubba

Last night James Carville, in a discussion with Leon Panetta on PBS, said: “Bill Clinton could talk a dog out of a pork-chop.”

Useful Homesteading Tools at Mother Earth News Fair, Puyallup, Washington, June 2013

"Take what you can and let the rest go by."
                                                        -Ken Kesey
This fair is a good-vibes event with many useful tools for homesteaders. This isn't a comprehensive report; there lots of things I just don't have time to cover, but here are some items that caught my eye in two days wandering around at the fair. Note: there will be two more Mother Earth News Fairs this year: Sept. 20-22 in Seven Springs, PA, and October 12-13 in Lawrence, Kansas.
Yurts made in Mongolia Unlike any of the US-manufactured yurts I've seen, this one has a hand-crafted look when you step inside. "The hand painted rafters and natural wood latticed walls covered with a clean white wool felt create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. The thick felt dampens outside noise, holds heat in the coldest of winters and keeps heat out in the hottest of summers.…" http://www.suntimeyurts.com/
Bamboo Clothing Beautiful fabric, soft as silk, some 100% bamboo, other items bamboo/organic cotton combo. I bought 2 T-shirts, pair of shorts. Wayi Bamboo Apparel, click here.
JapaneseTripod Ladders Never seen ladders this sturdy or sensible, and I have lots of ladders around my place (like maybe10). I don't know about the logistics of getting one of these shipped, but they're a notch above (sic) any ladders I've seen.
Olive Oil From Greece Unique organic olive oil and olives from a family estate in Sparta, Greece. www.oleaestates.com
Chicken Butchering Tools The stainless cones make for a neater way of offing chickens than chopping heads off and having them thrash around like, well, like chickens with their heads cut off. The other tools, like the rotating tubs with rubber fingers and the scalders are for larger-than-homestead size chicken operations and are a whiz bang way of plucking feathers. www.featherman.net
Rototillers In the '70s, I had a Troybuilt rototiller. It was a much-beloved serious gardener's tool that came with a brilliant manual that told you how to do just about anything with it and how to fix just about anything that went wrong. Like a Model A Ford. These days it looks to me like the BCS tillers (formerly Mainline) are the next generation. All gear drive, automotive style clutch, a lot of possible attachments. www.bcsamerica.com
Scythes These guys from British Columbia offer a collection of beautiful scythe blades. Some of them are shorter than scythe blades I've seen. European scythe blades, ergonomic snaths and sharpening accessories. http://scytheworks.com/

Composting Drum Sun Mar makes two sizes of these drums and they look sturdy and animal-proof. Being able to turn the compost is a big advantage over stationary piles. These would work well in cities as well as country. www.gardencomposters.com
Water Pump This is a different principle than the ram pumps I've seen. They say it will put 200 to 1500 gallons a day in your tank with no fuel or electricity and "pumps from 100 to 1,000 feet high depending on your water source." Click here.

Dumpster Diving

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Extreme Recycling":
How about this for “Extreme Recycling”?
From Germany: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/07/us-germany-foodsharing-idUSBRE9160NZ20130207
Interesting Fellow – “Martin Gregory” – Montreal, Quebec, Canada: http://www.leaderpost.com/entertainment/mans+trash+another+mans+treasure/8370721/story.html http://garbagefinds.com/
Another Interesting Fellow "Patrick Sperling" Edmonton, Alberta, Canada http://fromthedumpstertothegrave.blogspot.ca/ 

Coffee Huts as Tiny Houses

"Each time I see a coffee hut by the side of the road, I not only get a craving for caffeine, but I wonder if some of these structures can be turned into a tiny house. Many of them are already on wheels and are the perfect size for living in. Some coffee huts are not affixed to a trailer, but are still small enough to be moved to a new location for a smaller life with a much smaller price tag than many tiny homes.…"
By Christina Nellemann on Tiny House Blog here.

More on Compost Heated Showers

Dana has left a new comment on your post "Compost Heated Shower" "For those who may not be familiar with Frenchman Jean Pain's work, he managed to produce hot water, year-round heating for his home and biofuel for an automobile with a single, great big, annual heap of compost, which met all of his energy needs. Pain was able to do this as he lived in a rural forested region, replete with large quantities of natural organic material, branches and bush. This can't/shouldn't be done on a large scale, by masses of people, but certainly small installations, such as Lawton's compost powered shower, are do-able, fun and sustainable.
Pioneer Jean Pain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Pain"
See also: http://www.journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/methane_pain.html

Old Farm House

This home by the side of the road during my barn quest yesterday had a feeling to it. Like lives had been lived there. Sure enough, the owner wandered over from across the road. He was 75, had been born in the house, which had been built in 1937. His family had had a 120 acre dairy farm. When he was in high school, he'd had 100 chickens as part of a 4H project, and he'd sold then eggs at a corner. market.
   We stood around for about half an hour, talking about dairy farms, chickens, and homestead lumber mills. It was nice there in the morning sun. It was nice being in this part of America that is so different from the coasts and/or large metropolitan areas.

Mt. Rainier!

Last night, warm evening, I was walking around in Puyallup, looked up and saw Mt. Rainier. What a presence!

Two Gambrel Roof Barns South Of Puyallup Yesterday

2nd Day At Mother Earth News Fair

The "Half Acre Homestead"presentation went well. Preaching to choir. This is Cheryl Long, editor of The Mother Earth News introducing me. I'm always nervous for these things. Mostly that something technical will go wrong, and sure enough, I forgot the connector of my MacAir to a normal projector, put the slide show on a key drive, fired it up, and it woudn't work properly. Luckily, Chris McClellan had his natural bldg. materials booth nearby, and he figured it out. Whew! It used to be so simple when I lugged around Kodak Carousel projectors with slides.
   Links for all the tools I showed are at: http://www.shelterpub.com/_homestead/tools.html
I'm going to write up about maybe a dozen tools or products I discovered at the fair -- when I get the, aha, time. Such good stuff, all super relevant to the life I'm leading now.
  Right now I'm heading out to barn country.

Flat Earth Kayak Sails

From Godfrey Stephens this morning. If I had an ocean kayak, I'd sure get a sail. Hmmm…wonder if one of these would work on my 12' aluminum boat. Use the wind when it's there.


From Anthem cafe in Puyallup, overcast warm Monday morning. I'm getting ready to spend a day doing one of my favorite things: driving on unfamiliar country roads looking for barns to photograph. I love small American towns. It's good for us coastal sophisticates to get out into the Other America once in a while.

Kim Is Rebuilding Her Fire-Destroyed Tiny House

From Dee Williams today (what a nice video!):
"Hey, I hope you are doing well and enjoying this roll toward summer!   Hopefully, I'll see you at the tiny house fair in Vermont... and if not, sometime soon.
   Last summer I sent out an email to try to encourage folks to contribute to Kim Langston's rebuild of her little house.  As you might remember, her house was destroyed in a fire last year.  The cool thing is that this summer, she's going to rebuild!  This is it!…"

House in Middle of Serbian River

I had a still photo of this on the blog in 2012. Now, from Rich Jones, this film.
"Nobody can stop this river, so it's better to make way for it."

Culture Shock: Manhattan to Rural Washington-The Mother Earth News Fair

Boy, what a difference. From the intensity of NYC to a laid-back medium sized town in farmland with wide streets and houses with porches…I got here (Puyallup, Washington) yesterday around noon. About half an hour in my rented Ford Focus south of Seattle. Town of about 35,000, Puyallup is in a fertile farming valley. With about 5 hours sleep in 2 nights (haven't I said this before?), I checked into hotel and went to The Mother Earth News Fair in the giant ("6th largest in world") Puyallup Fair Grounds, got sucked in and stayed all afternoon (rather than taking a nap).
   I absolutely love this fair. Totally up my alley. First thing off, I went into the chicken building, where they had some 500 chickens on display. Chicken aficionado's paradise. I lost track of time looking at all  these beautiful birds. Rest of afternoon: prettiest yurts (for sale, made in Mongolia) I've ever seen, a tiny high-tech exquisitely built stainless steel stove, tons of tools, ideas, inspiration for gardeners, builders, homesteaders...
   Writing this on rainy Sunday morning from the Anthem Cafe in downtown Puyallup with a triple shot (very good) latte and heated cinnamon bun, getting ready to go down to the fairgrounds, wander more, shoot more pics, and get ready for my "The Half Acre Homestead" presentation today.
   I'm way backed up on photos to post, will do so when I get time. Experiences too like last night's fish and chips and 2 pints of Irish Death chocolately dark porter at the TK Irish Pub & Eatery with 6 sports TVs going, good hometown bar ambiance and some pretty drunk Puyallupers cheering on Seattle's soccer team and singing one song after another…
   I just handed one of the Tiny Homes mini books to a little curly haired lively looking 4-year-or-so-old boy in the cafe here and he's been thumbing through the pages for several minutes…
Chicken pictured here was listed as: "Classification: Modern Game; Variety: Brown/Red. Elegant little bird.

Compost Heated Shower

From Mike W this morning:
"I thought this was pretty ingenious.. several others on the same YT page...skip the ad in 3..2..1..."   "This is an example of a compost heated shower, built by Geoff Lawton for the students of the Permaculture Research Institute's 10 week internship. The shower itself is a temporary setup while the student centre is being built but the water temperature is excellent and is almost too hot. It's been going for 3 weeks now without any sign of giving up and all completely free!"

In all these years of composting, why didn't I think of this? -LK

Sleepless in Seattle

I only got maybe 5 hours sleep in the last 2 nights and got up at 4 this morning, took the Supershuttle ($20) out to the Newark airport and am now about a half hour from landing in Seattle. Writing this to kill some time.
   I ate at two well-kmown NYC restaurants, David Chang's Momofuku, and the Legend Bar and Restaurant (spicy Szechwan) on 7th, both with great food. I also discovered The Piccolo Cafe, around the corner from my hotel, with excellent latte and a tasty organic egg omelet with thinly sliced ham, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes for $10. Three mornings I got a latte and really good almond croissant at Culture on West 38th; good wi-fi connect. I'm partial to Vietnamese food and always eat at least once at the Saigon Kitchen on McDougall. Also, Cafe Reggio on Mcdougall is still the same richly tapestried bohemian/European coffee house it was 50 years ago. And one of my favorite restaurants anywhere is Caracas, serving Venezuelan food (incl arepas) and killer rum drinks (they list 40 types of rum on the menu), on Grand Ave. in Williamsburg.