animals (150)

The Family Raccoon


This is our long-time friend Ratty Raccoon (so named because he doesn’t have a tail — probably lost in a fight), acting cute. For some time I would get him to take dry cat food from my hand. He would pat his paws on the ground groping around, as if he couldn’t see until he got to my hand.

I read that a raccoon’s brain is “…highly specialized to interpret tactile impressions,” so it seemed like he was seeing with his paws.

I eventually quit doing this, as it doesn’t seem right to get wild animals dependent upon food from humanoids.

But once in a while now, I’ll get him to take peanuts from my hand, marveling at his dexterity.

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Homesteading in Alaska, 2020–2021

Hi Lloyd and company,

Greatly enjoyed your book, Small Homes: The Right Size. My wife and I live in a small home on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. We bought the land and the original cabin, which, according to the realtor, had no value: “free firewood.” So we of course did like some of the homeowners in your book, and decided to restore the place.

We added a 14×16 foot room and went from 500 sq. feet to now 830. Added a few outbuildings and now have a lovely place to call home on the edge of the wilderness. Moose, bears, lynx and more in the area.

Hope to make a second addition next year if time allows, so we can have a little more room; my wife would love a larger kitchen, and that should be it. I did all the work, with help from one of my sons and some occasional help from other family members.

If you ever are in Alaska, do stop by and visit.

I’ve attached one shot of the place, original log cabin on the right side and the 2019 addition on the left side. I’ve also attached two photos of our garden.

Keep up the good, inspiring work with your books!

–Ed and Theresa Gonzalez
Ninilchik, Alaska

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Scottish Highland Cow

There’s a herd of these just south of Tomales (Marin County, Northern California). Wikipedia says this breed: “…‍originated in the Scottish Highlands and the Outer Hebrides islands of Scotland and has long horns and a long shaggy coat. It is a hardy breed, bred to withstand the intemperate conditions in the region.”

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Dieter’s Compost Bins

My neighbor Dieter came over and looked at my compost bins (with adjustable sides) a few months ago and then built these — a great improvement over my funky bins. He said he added the concrete around the bottom because the rats (or skunks) were getting in. The idea here is that you add the slotted boards as you build the compost pile higher. The screened mesh keeps out varmints from the top.

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