outhouse

My new outhouse is built with old things and I love it.

There’s the old pallets for walls – washed up in the floods and painted with old paint a friend no longer needed. There’s the old sheets of corrugated iron for a roof from a guy who wanted it gone from his place.

There’s that old bucket loo with the old buckets inside that a couple of old friends didn’t want. Loo paper comes in the form of old serviettes and old fabric cut into washable squares (‘family cloths’).

There’s the old signage from Joline’s café that is no longer needed there.

The old table, the solar hot water bag and the little blue vase were all collected from the flood damaged wreckage in the neighbourhood that was destined for the rubbish.

It’s all brought together in a flashy floral flourish with some old bits of fabric, a particularly delightful cotton sheet and a piece of old Mexican oilcloth gifted years ago by a dear friend.

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A necessary addition to my camp, the outhouse took a while coming together as I’ve been in flight of late. Finally, with the help of a dear Rose, we threw all the bits together in an afternoon. Et voila!! ‘A loo with a view’!

There’s even a timber yard within a couple of hundred metres of my place where I can source the aromatic wood shavings used to cover my business.

By the way, if you’re wondering how I bathe, wonder no more. I go Asian style. I fill a little bucket with, hopefully, warm water from the solar shower or the rocket stove (or my hot water system when I get the flood mud out of it and set it up in the sun next to my water tank). Then it’s a squatting position behind my lovely pink floral curtain and facecloth job using bits of soap collected from the excess of the world around me.

To some, this may all seem a bit last century. To this sentiment I would reply: the compost loo is making a big comeback. Mine is just a bit less fancy than some but very comfortable all the same. The Asian bath is a respectable cultural tradition, good enough for millions of people so, once I learn the art of crouching and scouring myself simultaneously without toppling backwards, it’ll be good enough for me!

The next part to this story is working out the finer details of the wheelie bin worm farm I want to use to dispose of my bucket contents appropriately. Living in a flood zone means the usual method of burying the contents and planting a tree on top are not going to cut it!

Ideas are warmly invited…..

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11 thoughts on “outhouse

  1. Amazing effort to show how we may have too much. I’ve been reading the blog quite often and I wish you could upload more! Well, I was wondering, what do you do with the grey-water. What are your views on using any grey water natural recycling system, by the way, like the one that uses gravity, plants and fishtanks?

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    1. Thanks for your feedback, Diogo. I will get myself sorted out and start posting a bit more soon I hope. I just have a bucket under my sink for greywater and empty it onto plants. I am a big fan of the recycling system you are talking about. My parents use one at their place. I call it a reed bed system.

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  2. Hi Jo, as always an interesting narrative.
    I do remember my teenage years on a farm with a corrugated iron dunny, no door so a poo with a view. Emptying the pan wasn’t a fun job but hey, it had to be done. We could bury ours, in one of 6 reusable & rotated holes.
    But back in suburbia and currently… my dogs’ waste goes into a worm farm in a half buried plastic drum with the bottom cut out of it. other stuff too, not just the dog poo, like banana peels means that the worms have heaps to eat and turn into soil.
    Just remember that if a trip to the Drs (or chemist) means worming tablets…. don’t try to compost for a few days in the worm bin, the vermicide stays active through the gut and will kill off the compost worms too.

    best wishes,
    Ralph

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    1. Thanks Ralph. Nice idea for the dog poo. It would be so much easier if I could just compost my waste in the ground but, sadly, this is one of the downsides of living on a floodplain and never knowing when it might flood (there actually aren’t any upsides that I can think of). 🙂

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  3. Hi Jo! I have just learnt about you via a shared facebook video and much of what you are doing resonates with me. I have been experimenting with composting toilets as well and have found an excellent resource called the Humanure Handbook which should come up in a google search. Good luck! And please keep us updated on how it all goes 🙂

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    1. Hi Peta. Thanks for connecting. Yes, I have a copy of this wonderful resource and you have reminded me to have a look back over it. I guess my special circumstances (being in a flood zone) means I have to be able to move my humanure off the property in a flood so I am looking at ways to do this – worm farm in a wheelie bin idea……

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  4. As I recently researched composting toilet for my Tiny House it occurred to me that there needs to be very little difference between the flushable and dry toilet. With a urine separator you eliminate the largest possible source of smell – urine can be diverted into the ground (even on flood plain I think), and then you have less work to empty the bucket… Have you thought of building it that way – instead of having two toilets..?

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  5. Hi Jo, I gave you a lift between Lismore and Nimbin last year, and I am thrilled to see you are STILL living without money! Congratulations! Are you familiar with Djangbung Gardens’ wheelie bin compost system? I think if you had two you could get a really efficient system going that would be safe to use around trees after a suitable amount of time and wormy processing!?

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