Two words to describe this book: inspiring and entertaining.
Since I met husband, his passion for simple living has easily infected me. Probably because I’ve become slightly knowledgeable about tiny houses since meeting him, folks that live off the grid capture my attention a lot these days. I recently read Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America, by Nick Rosen. And will soon be starting The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing’s Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living. I supposed its safe to say I’m nearing obsession.
But I really just like the stories that are found in all of these books. And this one by Ted Carns was no different.
Towards the end of it, I found myself writing lists of things that I want to work on either learning or creating to make our lives more sustainable. And I really want to make this someday…
Ted Carns appears to be slightly brilliant, although (like many folks who live off the grid) – slightly odd. This makes him endearing to me, and possibly just cooky to others who are less inclined to enjoy crazy people.
I say brilliant, because of all the various systems he’s concocted in his compound over the years. To start out, he has around 15 or so buildings on his property – all with very specific purposes.
He goes into LOTS of details (although not nearly enough to recreate it) with his various systems. Like their water filtration system (which passes through somewhere around 10 different filters before their grey water is deposited into the garden. They have MANY power sources at the “Stone Camp”: wind, solar, ethanol, thermoelectricity, methane, wood gasification, human power (bike with 12 volt alternator), hydrogen cell, steam generation, hydropower, and biodeisel. They make their own wine and maple syrup by the gallons. They are aspiring to make buildings made out of their trash from the past year.
Other impressive features to “Stone Camp”:
– a homemade, 40 ft windmill tower (which he CLIMBS in the middle of a blizzard)
– a “sugar shack” where he and he wife Kathy collect sap and create syrup
– His library which is described like a hobbit hole that I want to go snuggle in.
– I can’t remember what right now, but he makes something useful from hunter’s cigarette butts he finds while hiking. #nastyyetresourceful
I found myself wishing there were more pictures in the book. THANK GOODNESS I decided to visit their website, although I was quite surprised after reading their book to discover that they had a website.
Like most off-the-gridders, Ted Carns has really strong opinions about most things, and is also a deep thinker, and communicates his life philosophies in an overall inspiring way. He is super passionate about preserving nature, and mentions a little bit from lots of religions that support his deep roots with all things green, organic, and untouched by humans evil desire to conquer the world.
Overall, its a great and entertaining read that will have you wanting to go start digging a hole in your front yard with a backhoe and calling it a greenhouse…. that might have happened in this book…
Here’s a quote to either throw you off the scent of this book or get you completely hooked (I don’t see there being much middle ground):
“You can buy out a company and increase your net worth 20-fold, but that kind of shit pales besides getting up at 5am, firing up a the tractor and going out in the woods to gather sap.”
Also: this documentary-style video, made by some Buddhists missionaries, really paints a good picture of Stone Camp with Ted and Kathy Carns. In fact, if you watch this video, you might not even need to read the book.
(All pictures, unless otherwise noted, are from Ted and Kathy’s website)