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Friday Fish Fry

Swimming After decades, I'm back in the water. My 20+ year competitive running career ended with knees that needed to be preserved for old(er) age. I was swimming from age 4, competitively in high school,  teaching swimming to kids, then surfing, lifeguarding. Still surfing until the 80s, when I got into running. Looking back, I went from the ocean to the mountain—Mt Tamalpais—running its trails, including the Dipsea Race about 15 times.
   Like a dolphin, I'm back in the water, and realize how I've missed it. I'm wet about 5 days of the week now—ocean, lagoon, bay, rivers, ponds, or creeks (waterfalls). I love to swim, especially in beautiful spots, feeling the pull.
   I swam butterfly in high school, was never much of a freestyler—just didn't have the stroke down. Well, in the '90s we started taking our kids to the Ann Curtis School of Swimming in San Rafael. Ann was a gold medalist Olympic swimmer from San Francisco in the '40s, and all of us swimmers idolized her.
   One day, when the kids were taking their lesson,  I asked if she'd give me a lesson. Well, yes, something like $35. She gave me 3 exercises to do that she'd been taught by her coach in SF, Charlie Sava. When you take a stroke, leave that arm out until you bring your next arm around and touch it -- then take the stroke. Another trick was to have your thumb brush against your side as you pull past your body. My stroke straightened out in 15 minutes and I was stylin. She got really excited. Since that day, I've had a relatively smooth freestyle, and never feel better than when I'm swimming.
Left, Kirsten Dirksen of Fair Companies was here last week, filming our homestead. Click here to see her impressive lust of videos, many on tiny homes and owner-builders.
Close encounters with animals A cottontail was scampering across the trail Tuesday evening, so I froze. So did she. We stayed like that, eyeball to eyeball for maybe 30 seconds, then she scampered off with flash of white tail. Then yesterday I came close to a young strong buck on my bike, stopped, and more animal/humanoid eyeball contact. Admiration on my part. Deer rotate their ears, like sonar dishes. Finally he scampered into the bushes, where there was another buck about his size. Buddies.
Foraging I'm getting my kayak/clamming operation together. Got 10 horsenecks, 40 cockles. Boy, is it hard to get the skin of the necks of horsenecks—any suggestions? We Cuisinart up the white meat, add fresh corn kernels, dip in flour and egg, fry in hot oil. Last night I had a salad of crunchy cattail shoots along with our own cucumbers.
Irrigation I'm working on installing a new jet pump and pressure tank for our shallow (15' deep) well. It's been a hassle—haven't got it working yet, but determined to.

Hitting the Road

I went on a short bike ride last night and stopped for a few minutes. When I went to get back on the bike, I put my weight on the left pedal with my left foot, gave a push to get rolling, and swung my right foot over the frame to get to the other pedal. As I did so, my baggy shorts caught on the seat, and I couldn't get my foot across. Momentum carried me and the bike over to the right and I hit the pavement, taking most of the blow with my forearm. Man, did it hurt! (Now I know why cyclists wear tight shorts.)
   You know the first thing I do when I fall (usually it's when skating)? I look around to see if anybody saw me. No one was there, no cars on the road, so I just lay there for a while. Next in my sequence is to assess the damage; how bad am I hurt? I felt a real strong pain in my right lower ribs, and groaned really loudly. It seemed to help. I started taking deep breaths, still lying there, and the pain got better. Voila, I was off again, and lucky to just be a little bit sore today. Let's hear it for Ibuprofin (+ hot baths and Tiger Balm)!
Go Right Ahead by The Hives on Grooveshark

Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott - A House of Gold

We have a world-class radio station right in our neck of the woods, KWMR. I've taken to listening to it around dish-doing times of the evening, like 7-8 PM, when they play variety of music I like: bluegrass, country, blues, reggae, rock n roll, celtic…Last night I heard this, what beautiful harmonizing…

Red-shouldered Hawk Last Night

This young beauty (Red-shouldered Hawk) showed up around 6 PM last night. Shot this through the kitchen window. It's been circling at times of the day, with its kee-ah, kee-ah cry. We think it's a young one, and that its mom practiced some tough love and kicked it out of the nest to search for mice and snakes on its own. Kee-ah,kee-ah…

Toots Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No More…

Maggie's Farm by Toots Hibbert on Grooveshark

The Shelter Blog and Lloyd's Blog

I'm changing the nature of this blog. I (we—Shelter Publications) are going to focus on building, carpentry, homes, gardening, and the like on our brand-new -- ta-daa:
   It's been up for a couple of months now, and its look and function have been steadily improved by Mac Wizard Rick Gordon. Evan's doing most of the posting (I'm funneling my posts through him), Lew is starting at 3 posts a week, and we're encouraging builders to send us photos and descriptions of their latest creations.
   We hope to build this up so it's a player in digiworld —we're aiming for some major readership. We don't think there is any blog or website out there with the type content we are generating. Think of all the buildings and builders in our books—now coming out daily.store appearances (a slide show and book signing for Tiny Homes on the Move), and getting such good vibes. It feels like we're a tribe. We're interested in the same things—doing stuff for ourselves (as much as possible), having a warm, attractive, natural-as-possible handcrafted home, growing some of our own food…
   Remember, it's "theshelterblog," not "shelterblog." The "the" is necessary to get to the right place. This blog—my own—will continue to follow my idiosyncratic path through life. Wherever I go, I'm taking you, the reader, along with me, riding shotgun. It gives me an extra incentive to explore, to search, to inquire, to shoot photos—if I can come back and tell others about it.

Wicked as It Seems - Keith Richards

Wicked as It Seems by Keith Richards on Grooveshark

Halibut Are Biting

This is a 12 pound halibut from fisherman Andrew. The orange stuff at lower right is roe. I wanted to prepare it for eating, but it didn't appear to be fully formed enough to use. Cooking with roe seems tricky. After filleting, we got six meals from the fish (4 vacuum sealed and in freezer).

Photographer Nina Glinsky

Great photographer! I just clicked through all the black and white photos on her home page: http://ninaglinski.com/