An Adventure in Self-Reliance and Creative Poverty
By Some Crazy Old Guy in the Desert
I have a stack of books to read and review… rearranged occasionally when the stack falls over and I don’t remember what order they were in. This book magically avoided that fate because it was in pdf form on my Android Tablet instead of the unsteady pile on my night stand, so that has to be a new plus for E-books – the only format in which this book is currently available.
And that, of course, is a lame segue into the actual subject of Joel’s book.
Please take for granted the usual disclaimers. I am not an engineer, nor do I know anything at all about solar energy – and darn little about electricity in general. I can manipulate switches and knobs to get light, heat and so forth, but I’m not really handy with tools outside the garden.
That being the case, I was both pleased and encouraged by the fact that I actually understood the process described in this small book, and might at least be able to participate in such a project if it ever became necessary. By that I mean hooking all that stuff together to make a working system, of course. The scrounging and “re-purposing” of things part is something hardwired into me by my Scottish ancestors.
Not having access to the “right” parts and equipment is something most of us face – at least among us scroungers and frugal sorts, and it is very encouraging to know that it’s not always necessary to have the latest and greatest, even when it would be so much easier. The author carefully lays out the circumstances of his first efforts and what he learned in the process, taking it step by step with pictures and diagrams as he finds and utilizes better equipment and some handy expertise from a friendly neighbor.
I’ve saved the best for last, of course. You don’t even have to be truly interested in building a hermit’s solar energy system to appreciate this book. The subtle humor and wry turns of phrase by this truly remarkable and likable individual make an otherwise fairly dry subject a real pleasure to read, planting much of the sage advice into your mind to apply to other areas of self reliance and making do.
Visit Joel’s blog for daily hints about semi hermit life in the desert, and pithy commentary on many issues important to most of us. You can download the book from there with the icon for PayPal in the upper right corner. If you don’t care to deal with PayPal, send Joel an email and you can make other arrangements.
Now we just have to figure out how to get Joel to write the next book. Some of his friends think the title should be, “Chickens is Stoopid.” And if you want to find out what that’s all about, you’ll need to read the blog.