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Off On Our Own: Living Off-Grid in Comfortable Independence: One Couple's ""Learn as We Go"" Journey to Self-Reliance Paperback – October 1, 2011


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Off On Our Own: Living Off-Grid in Comfortable Independence: One Couple's ""Learn as We Go"" Journey to Self-Reliance + DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner: 25 Ways to Build a Self-Reliant Lifestyle + Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Lynn's Press; First Edition, Illustrated edition (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983272603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983272601
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Off-Grid but Not Out of Touch
 
Ted and Kathy Carns are living a 21st century success story of zero waste, total recycling and astonishing inventiveness. Their five-acre home in western Pennsylvania is a warm, inviting showcase of self-reliant living. They have all the comforts of modern life, from flat screen TV to morning smoothies from their solar-powered blender. Necessity has become an art form.
 
“Through a series of small steps, learning as we went, Kathy and I have designed a lifestyle that can survive and flourish even if we were totally cut off. This book is about how it happened, why it happened and how anyone can cruise the archetypal avenue we're on, in whatever way works best for them.”
– from the Introduction

Told with humor and insight, Off On Our Own makes a powerful case for sustainable living and environmental stewardship.
 

About the Author

Ted Carns is a true American original...a self-taught techie who approaches every environmental challenge with a rare kind of creative inventiveness. He and his social worker wife Kathy live in their one-of-a-kind home on 50+ acres of land, run entirely by alternative fuels and power systems: alcohol, methane, solar/wind electric, wood gasification, biodiesel...all manufactured on site, except for biodiesel. Ted has become an almost mythic figure to the thousands of people who have made the pilgrimage to Stone Camp.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Both easy to read and very informative.
AimeeM
I think if you are living a more simple life, or thinking about it; then this book will help.
Chelsea Leonard
I have known Ted since 1980 and this is a story well told of a life journey well taken.
Andy Baker, PE YourCleanEnergy LLC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 148 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on August 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book might be interesting to those who grew up in the 60s. He rambles on and on about his way of thinking but never really says anything. I never did understand why guests came to visit the place. There might be three chapters at the end of his discourse that share some information about living as self-reliant. I don't really care if he has 300 Madonnas placed here and there about his house, I want to know more about solar energy, gray water recycling, composting, and other ways to live outside the suburban grid.

The blub says, One Couple's "Learn as We Go" journey to self-reliance. You hear little to nothing from the wife who is working a 40-hour week but you read an entire chapter about his lid collection.

I'm so glad I checked this out of the library before buying it. Obviously, I am not going to add it to my collection.
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144 of 153 people found the following review helpful By A.A. on May 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't really have something against memoirs that ramble with religion and promise that providence looks out to people who surrender to it. I just didn't expect that from this book. It's marketed and reviewed as a well-written, cheerful guide to living off the grid.

I don't use the word rambly loosely: the first half of the book is an exploration of the author's philosophy -- some of which I happen to agree with -- but it's drawn out and he has a habit of interrupting his own thought trains with asides to his asides. I wish that his editor had worked to tighten things up a bit, and make it so that paragraphs and chapters felt like they built toward something. They instead feel like they'd be more appropriate as one-off blog posts. It would also have benefited from better copy editing.

Halfway through the book we start getting the story of how different structures in the compound arose, peppered with their spiritual effects on visitors. There's also a short section on projects, but I found them too full of jargon or flat-out confusing to be practicable.

The author admits that since all of the DIY information you need can be found on the internet, his book was meant only to give you some sort of inspiration to seek those projects out. It falls short of that mark for me, and you could say that he's even had the chance to preach to the choir. I suspect that the book will only appeal to people who are already enthusiastic about Carns' compound and philosophies.
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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Shak on October 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was a little dissapointed in the authors rambling writing style, and I was very dissapointed at how religion-centric a lot of his view points came from, but that's not why I'm writing this review right now.

I'm writing because I'm absolutely horrified at what great lengths the authors friends and family have gone to attack any and all negative critisisms of this book. These aren't intelligent counter arguments, those could be appreciated and expanded on, they're downright mean spirited personal attacks.

When someone accused the author of being a mooch, the family responded by dogpiling the reviewer, desperately attacking them personally to invalidate their opinion. That line of reasoning went something like, "You're just jealous because Ted is so great and you're so [insert random insult here]." And that attack line was used by several different people, all friends and family of the author. Good Christians, indeed.

Look, I get that people want to defend their friends and family. And I'll even conceed that there are counter arguments that can be made to the critisisms. But responses should be made in a calm, logical manner using insight and reasoning. Knee-jerk responses that amount to little more than blurting out, "Yeah, well, you're a jerk!" invalidate your response and make you look childish.

Edit: It looks like the majority of the 5-star reviews are from this same band of friends and family.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Any Matters on September 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
More of a self-centered ramble than a guide. Utterly useless for anyone looking for some serious advice on off-grid living.. Even as a life-story it sucks and does not warrant the purchaseprice.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia G. Barley on November 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first part of the book is autobiographical. I stopped reading the book because I could not see how everyone could get a house to live in for free a car for $1 when they needed it and I am not that much into reading autobiographies. However, I picked the book back up and muddled through the first part and arrived at Part 2 in the book. The systems part. It got more interesting then. While not exactly a how to do it manual (there are more details on a few of the systems projects). It truly was inspirational. If you want a glimpse at how a person could cobble together alternative energy and water systems for very little investment over several decades you need to read this part of the book. Don't know that I would part with hard earned money for it but check it out of the library.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By LLB on April 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The guy just brags about how cool his property is. No useful instruction on how to do it yourself. He brags about not working and living off the land while his wife goes to work and earns the money to keep "his" place going.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Cindy on August 18, 2012
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This book was only mildly interesting. Mostly the author talks about himself. I would not recommend this book nor would I add it to my library.
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