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Friday, December 19, 2008

Simple Solar Homesteading Book Review

Before our big move off the grid, I did a lot of research to learn everything I could about living off grid. I used the internet as my main source of information. I quickly found a great source of info at LaMar Alexander’s website. In following with my Off Grid – On The Cheap message, this is a very practical, hands on approach to how to get off the grid without having to spend lots of money. Who is LaMar? I can tell you that LaMar is genuine, he is one of the few people talking and teaching about living off grid, who is actually living the off grid lifestyle. I’d say that LaMar knows what he is talking about. LaMar has taken all of his experiences and put it all together in an ingenious book called “Simple Solar Homesteading” This book comes as both a hard copy and in digital format. It is written in a down to earth language, complex ideas are broken down into easy to understand solutions. You don’t have to be a professional to understand and follow the directions found in this book.
The book is well laid out and easy to navigate. It covers a myriad of subjects ranging from how to build your own cabin to dehydrating food and many other great ways to live off grid and be more self sufficient.
Here are a few of the how to projects in this book:
  • How to build a solar cabin
  • How to build a solar panel and generator power station
  • How to build a solar composting toilet
  • How to build a rain water and gray water recycling system
  • How to build a solar oven
  • How to build a food dehydrator

LaMar’s Cabin
When you open the book, the first thing you see is a picture of LaMar’s cabin. This cabin was designed and built by and for LaMar. He lives here full time, so it has to be functional, yet it is also has a simple charm and style that easy to customize to fit your own needs and tastes.
The book is full of step by step directions as well as lots of pictures. LaMar includes many tips and tricks to help you get things done quicker and cheaper. Not only does he show you how to build your cabin, he also helps you to figure out the best location and proper orientation. The price of this book is incredibly inexpensive, both the hard copy and the digital, it would be a bargain at any price though. It’s very clear that LaMar is more interested in passing on his knowledge than getting rich.
The book also contains LaMar’s history, how he became interested in living off grid, he discusses his childhood living in his grandfather’s and father’s homestead. It certainly is clear where he got his inspiration and interest in cabins and being independent.
What is my favorite project in the book? It has to be the solar composting toilet, or is it the solar oven? What, you expect me to pick just one???
I was able to talk LaMar into taking a few minutes out of his day to answer some questions, a small interview if you will. :)

Why did you decide to build your own cabin, of your own design and go off grid?
I was raised by homesteading parents so this lifestyle was in my blood. Since I was a teenager I have had a dream to build my own small solar cabin and when I quit teaching high school and moved back to my home town the timing was perfect.
When did you do this?
I started living off grid about 15 years ago in RV campers and small cabins but I built the solar cabin I live in now about 5 years ago.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My grandparent and parent who were true homesteader that lived in cabins and supplied their own food through 3 wars and the great depression.
Is your cabin complete or are you still working on it?
My cabin is always a work in progress as I add things all the time. I recently rewired my lights for fluorescents and will be building an extension next year.
What are you working on now?
I am busy getting www.homesteadernews.com up and running thru winter and in spring I plan to build a deck and room extension. Lots of stuff to do!
What is your next project?
see above
What is the hardest thing about your off grid lifestyle?
Going out in the cold to feed and water animals. I am working on self feeders and waterers.
What surprised you the most about living off grid?
Peoples reactions to my cabin as they think it looks small from the road but once they get up close and see the inside they are amazed at how much room and all my amenities.
If you had this to do all over again, knowing what you know now, what (if anything) would you do different?
I don’t think I would do anything different as I am very happy!
Is money were no object, what would you like to do?
Money has little meaning to me and isn’t a desire but it would be nice to travel to foreign countries.
What do your friends and family think of your off grid lifestyle?
At first they thought I was crazy but after seeing my cabin they were impressed and two of my brothers want to build one for vacation homes.
How far is your property located from your nearest neighbor? Town?
I am ten miles from a small town and a mile from neighbors which are family.
Living in your cabin, space is a premium, what do you do to combat clutter?
Throw stuff away that I don’t need. I give away stuff all the time and keep my necessary items to the bare minimum.
What do you do for fun?
I play guitar and write songs, write books, hunt, fish, play pool, and spend time with Patty and the dogs.
What would you like everyone to know about you?
I enjoy helping people to simplify their lives.
Learn more about LaMar and his book here:


Thanks for visiting.
Click here to read my book review process.


  1. Wishing you and Bob and Pekoe and very Happy Christmas and a great new year!

  2. Thanks Seth!!! We all wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a great new year, may we all get what we need and want! :)


  3. Wretha,
    I had read the Simple Homestead review and reread it a couple of times. Finally decided that I would mail him $5 so I could read all of it.

    Worth the $5. Even if I modify his plans it gives me a jumping off place and lots to keep thinking about.

  4. TexasMan, you will not be sorry, LaMar has added to the ebook since I wrote about it too, it's even better! :)


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