Self-Sufficiency on a Shoestring: Recipes for a New, Fun and Free Lifestyle Paperback – 24 Apr 2012
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About the Author
Alan and Gill Bridgewater have in-depth knowledge and long experience of self-sufficiency. Their enthusiasm for growing their own food and caring for animals is well known and in this authoritative book they also share information about generating offgrid energy. They have written several highly acclaimed self-sufficiency books.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The authors chose not to instruct the reader on anything. They write about how their grandfather went to great lengths to make everyday objects with scraps lying around, going so far as to make a knife out of a melted spring, but went into absolutely no detail on how to accomplish such a thing. I'm not expecting a how-to on how to make every little thing, but it would have been nice to have a little more detail other than generic McGuiver statements on how he built a boat with nothing but a shoestring and old gum.
I'm also really bothered by the section on "Off Grid Living." It seemed to insist that to live off the grid you NEED to move. The options they listed were A.) to move somewhere where there are no people at all, or B.) move to an off grid community - and that's it. How absurd! They later discuss how they renovated their own farmhouse (without going into details of course, except to say that they "added more insulation.") Which brings me to ask why that farmhouse needed to be in the middle of nowhere since they were renovating it anyway. Surely logic dictates that renovations are not reserved solely for the wilderness.
The one section that could have truly saved this book was the section on off-grid power. Apparently this couple purchased solar panels straight from China and installed in themselves. Surely this unique experience was worth many pages of explanation, directions, and personal perspectives and was wholly unique to any other book on the topic. But no, instead of going into greater detail they just made a bullet list of their timeline. Seriously. The list included such insightful statements as "Found a chinese company" and "Installed the Solar panels ourselves." Aha, so all I have to do is "Buy Panels" and "Install" them! How simple! But wait, there's more! They say that they built their own wind turbine using scraps and recycled materials, and have become such experts on the topic of wind energy that they're regularly called for consulting jobs. At that point all I could think was "Wow! Sign me up, how do I try to build my own?" Only to be dissapointed to find that this was just another topic that they went into absolutely no detail on. The only thing they wrote was more vague blanket statements such as "Build your own using old bicycle and engine parts."
This book is at best a table book that guests flip through while they wait for dinner to finish, and at worst an empty cash-grab by the authors to supplement their not-so-shoestring budget.
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