For five bucks Lamar’s ebook Simple Solar Homesteading is a bargain. You can also order a print copy for $15 plus shipping but buying the ebook pdf version will give you quicker access to the information. I ordered the book yesterday through the paypal link on LaMar’s website and he emailed me the book this morning. I haven’t read through each section yet but scanned through the whole thing reading the parts that interested me most. It’s like a little encyclopedia of great information on homesteading on the cheap.
Update: I’m not sure this version of this ebook is still available since I first posted this review in August 2008. Lamar now has a bigger and better version of the ebook content available (but now in print) and offers a $5 ebook on off-grid solar.
LaMar’s writing style is very direct and clear which helps the book deliver the information you’re looking for quickly. In other words, no fluff to read past. In fact I think LaMar would make a great blogger… (hint hint… LaMar get a free blog at wordpress.org… then hook up Google Adsense) But I digress…
Each chapter covers a specific topic starting with designing and building a tiny house for $2000. The text is accompanied by a lot of photos and a few sketches. If you have some carpentry skills it would be easy to build this little cabin from LaMar’s description. There are no detailed architectural plans but the photos and sketches are ample to show what’s needed to build this tiny house.
The tiny house in hos book is 14′ by 14′ and has a full loft making the total interior space 400 square feet. He built the cabin in two weeks from start to finish working about 4 hours a day during the week and 8 hours a day on the weekends. Two people could built it even cheaper. The structure cost less than $2000 in lumber and hardware but windows, doors, and desk would add to the cost. LaMar also highly recommends buying from local mom and pop stores instead of the big box hardware stores. (I have to agree with him completely. If you’re going to spend money in your community spend it so it stays local.)
The book also contains a lot of things you’d want to know if you were really going to live off the grid and homestead like how to set-up a small photovoltaic system for less than $1000. You can always add onto a solar systems but it’s nice what you’d need to get started cheap.
He also covers how to build a bunch of stuff for less than $50 like composting toilets, food dehydrators, solar ovens, garden composters, portable chicken coop/tractors, and solar water heaters. The book also subjects like how to handle rain water collection and gray water recycling and there’s even a section on drilling water wells by hand.
My favorite section is on how to buy land suitable cheap for homesteading. LaMar has bought a few pieces of land himself on eBay and describes those experiences. I think the best feature of the book is that LaMar has is really writing directly from experience. It makes for a more interesting read and gave me a lot of confidence in the information. Simple Solar Homesteading is a bargain at $5.00.