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outdoors the ancient past

Handmade

Handmade Houses - bed and domeThis pho­to is from an excel­lent 70s pho­to book called Hand­made Hous­es. I bought it after I read this inspir­ing lit­tle piece on Inhab­i­tat, and it has got me think­ing about get­ting back to basics. In this econ­o­my, basics may be all there are. In the win­ter and spring of 1997, I helped my friend Steve make a house by hand on the Cal­i­for­nia coast. At first, it was like Robin­son Cru­soe. No pos­ses­sions to speak of, oth­er than my ham­mer, some books, the sun and ocean, fresh air and work. We worked all day, doing what felt like good, whole­some labor in the sun, bang­ing, saw­ing, siz­ing things up. Slide Ranch - blue trailer - 1996This is where I lived for a while.Then El Nino arrived. After a few weeks, the whole thing had become more like Lord of the Flies. Days and days of rain, mud­slides on High­way 1, crazy-mak­ing iso­la­tion. In between squalls, we framed the house, affixed the ply­wood sheath­ing, put on the deck and roof, and ran the wiring. At some point, I came down with a cold, which even­tu­al­ly became pneu­mo­nia. In the spring, I retreat­ed to the warmth of Doug and Ted's house in Berke­ley to recu­per­ate, a few weeks lat­er I'd tak­en a job at a muse­um, and that was the end of sim­plic­i­ty. For the time being, any­way.

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