animals (147)

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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Masked Bandidos in the Chicken Yard

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Two young raccoons got into the chicken yard by ripping a hole in rusty chicken wire the other night. Luckily I went out to close in the chickens in their (secure) coop before raccoons got to them. I have a lot of respect for these guys, called in Spanish mapaches (pronounced mah-PAH-chays). Like coyotes, they’re survivors. I’ve patched the roof.

When you live on a piece of land like this, multiple critters are constantly seeking food. In our book The Half-Acre Homestead, I list all these would-be intruders, along with various methods and traps for controlling them.

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