Friday, June 20, 2008

Farewell My Subaru-- Doug Fine-- Thoughts

Farewell My Subaru An Epic Adventure In Local Living by Doug Fine is a back to the land type book. Doug Fine decides he wants to live sustainably, so he buys a house in New Mexico which he calls the Funky Butte Ranch. (A butte is an outcrop of land overlooking an incline).
He starts the process of changing his life to a more green lifestyle. The first thing he does is buy a pair of goats for dairy, which he names Nat and Melissa.

Then he describes how he changes his house into a green "ranch". He buys a diesel truck and has the engine converted so it runs straight vegetable oil (svo). This process is described at a website called if you want to find out about it.

Then he goes into the hard work of transforming his life and his land. Everything from a homemade solar water heater, building a garden, starting a chicken hatchery, and putting in a solar powered pump for a new well is described.

There are small factoids peppered throughout the book. For example, "It takes three to four years of powering your home to offset the energy used to make your solar panels." These are all small green statements.

Also he includes some recipes in some of the chapters. These recipes often use ingredients from his garden. For example, there is a recipe for "Valisa's Kung Pao Chicken With Cold Sesame Noodles."

A lot of the book is about his hands on experiences dealing with people in his new "sustainable life". There is the army man who works part-time converting diesels to to straight vegetable oil, and there is the positive minded hippie who helps him put in his solar water heater.

Doug Fine is making a political statement in support of sustainable living. He is doing this by showing that you can take the time to do this.

The book has quite a bit of light humor in it. The writing is very easy to read. It is the kind of thing which you can read in one or two afternoons.

Doug Fine also shows how hard it can be to succeed in this kind of lifestyle. He fails in his attempt to learn how to hunt, and has difficult with the local predators who attempt to steal his chickens.

This book is an entertaining story. It is a slice of life book. If you like stories about the environment, or have a crunchy granola style of philosophy you might like this book.
He has a set of links at the back of the book to different websites which support sustainable living. The website for the book is

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