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About Spike Carlsen
He is former Executive Editor of Family Handyman magazine where he wrote hundreds of articles on home improvement and oversaw the creation of dozens of books including the revised "Readers Digest, Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual". He has written articles for The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Men's Health, MAKE, Fine Homebuilding, Mother Earth News and other publications. He has made appearances on Modern Marvels, the CBS Early Show, Cabin Living, The Weekend Today Show, HGTV's "25 Biggest Renovating Mistakes" and many other national radio and television shows.
His checkered past includes working as a carpenter for 15 years, teaching elementary school in Denver, working at a secondary school in Tanzania and building hurdy gurdys and harps. He and his wife Kat have five adult children and 8 grand daughters (yep, all girls) and live in historic Stillwater, Minnesota. In his spare time he enjoys riding his wood Renovo bike, serving on the library board, teaching woodworking to kids and renovating (and renovating and renovating) their 1850s Greek Revival home.
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Gardeners, small farmers, and outdoor living enthusiasts will love this compilation of 76 rustic DIY projects. From plant supports and clotheslines to a chicken coop, a greenhouse, and a root cellar with storage bins, most of the projects are suitable for complete novices, and all use just basic tools and easy-to-find materials. You’ll find techniques to build whatever your outdoor world is missing, with additional tips to live sustainably, happily, and independently.
Also available in this series: The Backyard Homestead, The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner, The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals, and The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How.
A carpenter’s humorous story of building a cabin on Lake Superior with his family—“part how-to, part memoir and part love story” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
When carpenter Spike Carlsen and his wife set out, with their recently blended family of five kids, to build a cabin on the north shore of Lake Superior, they quickly realize that painting, parenting, and putting up drywall all come with both frustrations and unexpected rewards.
Blending practical information with lively personal memoir, Cabin Lessons tells the wryly funny, heartwarming story of their eventful journey—from buying an unforgiving plot of land on an eroding cliff to finally enjoying the lakeside hideaway of their dreams.
“Spike Carlsen’s book . . . chronicles the family’s route from a scenic dream (with a modest budget) to designing and building, to filling the space with family, to a (rejected) blank-check purchase offer from a slickster driving an Italian-made car. And it’s all told in the voice of someone you want to see sitting on the other side of the campfire, sharing a blanket with his wife, dispensing charming tales and life lessons.” —Duluth News Tribune (Minnesota)
In a world without wood, we might not be here at all. Without wood, we wouldn't have had the fire, heat, and shelter that allowed us to expand into the colder regions of the planet. If civilization somehow did develop, our daily lives still would be vastly different: there would be no violins, baseball bats, chopsticks, or wine corks. The book you are now holding wouldn't exist.
At the same time, many of us are removed from the world where wood is shaped and celebrated every day. That world is inhabited by a unique assortment of eccentric craftsmen and passionate enthusiasts who have created some of the world's most beloved musical instruments, feared weapons, dazzling architecture, sacred relics, and bizarre forms of transportation. In A Splintered History of Wood, Spike Carlsen has uncovered the most outlandish characters and examples, from world-champion chainsaw carvers to blind woodworkers, the Miraculous Staircase to the Lindbergh kidnapping case, and many more, in a passionate and personal exploration of nature's greatest gift.
A simple walk around the block set journalist Spike Carlsen, bestselling author of A Splintered History of Wood, off to investigate everything he could about everything we take for granted in our normal life—from manhole covers and recycling bins to bike lanes and stoplights.
In this celebration of the seemingly mundane, Carlsen opens our eyes to the engineering marvels, human stories, and natural wonders right outside our front door. He guides us through the surprising allure of sewers, the intricacies of power plants, the extraordinary path of an everyday letter, and the genius of recycling centers—all the while revealing that this awesome world isn’t just a spectator sport.
Engaging as it is endearing, A Walk Around the Block will change the way you see things in your everyday life. Join Carlsen as he strolls through the trash museum of New York City, explores the quirky world of squirrels, pigeons, and roadkill, and shows us how understanding stoplights, bike lanes, and fine art of walking can add years to our lives. In the end, he brings a sense of wonder into your average walk around the block, wherever you are. Guaranteed.