Building a Stone House, Raccoon Control, and Other Wisdom From Helen and Scott Nearing

Helen and Scott Nearing respond to inquiries about building a stone house and raccoon control in this installment of their column.

| May/June 1979

The following are questions readers submitted to Helen and Scott Nearing in their regular column on homesteading.  

Building a Stone House

Q: We're making plans to build our own stone house. Can you tell us how to eliminate the problem of moisture that we have in our area? Also, are there any how-to books on this subject that you could recommend?  

A: We built our home in Vermont when commercial insulation was unknown to us, so we left an inch of air space between the stone-and-concrete walls and the inside paneling. That house was never damp. Our dwelling here in Maine is protected by an inch and a hall of commercial insulation, which also effectively eliminates the problem.

We can recommend the following books on stone house building: The Owner-Builder's Guide to Stone Masonry by Ken Kern, Steve Magers, and Lou Penfield (Owner-Builder Publications, 1976) $6.00 ... How to Build a Low-Cost House of Stone by Lewis and Sharon Watson (Stonehouse, 1975) $5.95 ... Build Your Own Stone House Using the Easy Slipformed Method by Karl and Sue Schwenke (Garden Way, 1975) $5.95.

Raccoon Control

Q: Is there any way—short of building a wall—to keep marauding raccoons from devouring our sweet corn every year?  

A: Even a stone wall doesn't keep out raccoons, simply because the masked animals climb about as cleverly as house cats. If they can't manage your walls, 'coons will clamber over the wooden gates. Only adequate electric wiring will keep the cunning rascals out. In fact, the persistent beasts have just about convinced us to give up on trying to grow corn. Though last year—with late planting—we managed to harvest a fair crop before the little marauders broke in.  

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