• Subscribe to
    Lloyd’s Blog via RSS.
  • Check out TheShelterBlog.com
  • Tools for the
    Half-Acre Homestead

The Willamette Valley - Hey Hay!

I headed south from Portland Thursday about noon. I meandered down to Corvallis on side roads to the west of I-5, shooting pictures of barns, picking berries, enjoying the beauty of this valley. It is uber-agricultural. Rich soil, lots of water, 3 months of summer heat. It's hay harvest time and I saw more hay here in 2 days than I've seen in all my life.

Huge bales, way different from my hay-bucking days in Colusa, Calif. (2 guys, a flatbed truck, hay hooks). It's now a big machinery operation. Hay everywhere—just cut, or baled into huge rectangles or cylinders sitting in the fields.

This valley is on a more human scale than say, California's San Joaquin Valley (along Hwy 5), with its bizarre monocropping. It's a little like the fields in England, but on a larger scale.

Had standing room only at my event in Corvallis. Sending this from Portland airport -- on me way home. Got a number of really nice barns -- will post when time.

Curved Roof Barn in Oregon/The Largest Bookstore in the World

Barns and Books
There are buildings that have—for lack of a better word—a sweetness to them. Like a small abandoned cottage in an English field I once found, slowly disintegrating back into the soil from which all its materials came. Inside, I could feel the lives that had been lived there. Or the buildings of master carpenter Lloyd House. It happens most frequently in barns, where practicality and experience create form with function. No architects needed, thank you.

The unique feature here is that the roof's curve is achieved by building the rafters out of 1" material. 1 x 12's laminated together (I believe 4 of them) to achieve the simplest of laminated trusses. I shot photos here pretty extensively, and I'll do a piece on it when I get time. The barn is 24' wide, 32' long, 26' to the ridge. (Thanks to Mackenzie Strawn for measuring it;  he also wrote: "I have a carpentry manual from the 1930's with a short section on the Gothic arch barns, they suggest making the roof radius 3/4 the width. ")

We are about to build a small shed and I'm going to try to figure out how to do a curved roof this way.

Another building I've always admired is Nepenthe, the cliffside restaurant in Big Sur. Rafters and beams are strong triangulated laminates of one-bys. No two-bys in the main roof structure. (It was designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright protégé, I've heard.)

I had a great crowd last night in my presentation at Powell's, which is just the most super bookstore on the planet. An entire city block, 4-5 floors of books. I could spend days there. You wander around, looking at all the face-out books, and the hand-written staff picks, and realize the paucity of buying books at Amazon. If you love books, friends, hie thee to bookstore. You'll find tons of books you've never heard of. Support bookstores!

It's a warm sunny morning here in Portland, just a lovely, friendly city. I'm at a Stumptown cafe, getting ready to hit the road south, searching for barns on my way to Eugene.


Jeez do I love it up here. The first time I came to Oregon, in about 1969, I pulled in to a gas station and a guy walked up and handed me a joint (I had long hair).

I've been here about 48 hours and swam in 2 rivers, soaked in hot springs, met lots of wonderful people, and yesterday fell in love. With a barn.

I fall in love with buildings, and this little curved-roof barn just took my breath away. Hasn't happened in years. I walk inside and go (out loud), oh yeah! I'll post pix soon.

Book signing at Powell's tonight.  Maybe I'll slip some barn photos into my slide shows this week.

Photo: No one told me the Clackamas River was emerald green!

Tree House in Woods in Germany

Hello Shelter Team,
First all the books of you was a nice inspiration for me and my project. The last three years a was planning a tree house lodge here in my beautiful hood. I rent a part of a forest close to an old castle.
   For two weeks we had the opening and now you can rent the house and go for a deep walk in the forest. I’d like to share the pictures with you in hope that you will like it and we can get in contact to show to more people outside what we did here.
   Best, Peter
You can find more pics on our Homepage and Facebook.