Building a Composting Outhouse on our Modern Homestead.
We have been getting a lot of questions lately about our composting outhouse that we are building and making videos on. I wanted to share with you why we are building a composting outhouse.
We have recently built an off-grid outdoor kitchen. It is detached from our house. Here is a post about the kitchen. When we are outside using the kitchen or any yard work, playing in the garden or just getting dirty, and I/ we need to go to the bathroom I don’t want to take my muddy urban farmer boots off before I go in. Gina doesn’t want me tracking my muddy boots through the house. Nor do I. We built our house ourselves so we know what went into every detail. And we know what it would take to fix it.
A Solution to a Problem
So what is one to do? You build a composting outhouse on the back of your outdoor kitchen. No need to worry about having muddy boots on or all the hay that is on your clothes. Or when we lost power for a few days this spring. We lost the ability to have running water without running a generator. Without running water you cant flush a toilet. We ran our generator when needed but it is noisy and uses gas. But what if you are out of power for a few weeks. Will the gas stations still have gas?
If you sit back and think about it how much sense does it really make to use one of our precious resources to flush our poo down the drain. We are taking something drinkable and making it NOT! If you live where you have city sewer we think about it even less. If you have a septic tank you need to get it pumped out every few years and then it ends up at the same place where the city sewer ends up.
What becomes of our Poo
At the sewer treatment plant, there are three stages of cleanup that your poo goes through. I am just going to give a quick explanation of what happens to our human waste there. First, the sewer goes through a big filter it takes out all the big stuff, not the poo. And that will go to the landfill. At the second stage, the poo gets broken down by bacteria and other methods and then dried, and sold to farmers for fertilizer! Yup think about that! If you think a composting toilet is nasty. At least I know who’s poo I will be putting around my fruit trees! Whose poo is growing your veggies! The third stage brings the water back to a more natural state and then its released back into the wild! “streams and oceans”
Is there a better option
Now we still have a regular bathroom in the house and use it daily. But sometimes I scratch my head and think do we have it all backward. I want to try our composting toilet and see how it really works. I am going to let the poo and other materials compost for two years before we use it around any trees. To me, it is a more responsible way to handle our waste. Then again if it is handled the right way it is not a waste but a commodity.
We would love to hear your thoughts on a composting toilet or different ideas and opinions you have. We are looking forward to reading the comments
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I use my compost toilet all summer & occasionally in the winter. I’ve also set up humanure compost piles. 😀
I found the most awesome rustic sink design for you but I don’t know how to send a picture! 🙁 As soon as I saw it, I thought of you! 🙂
could you post it on our FB page?
The fact that you’ve explained makes the composting outhouse more plausible….Here in B’dos way back in the day before water borne toilets….Outhouses were made with the hole in the ground that had to be cleared when full…..My granny had one and I was so afraid to use it when I visited her….I never sat on it always crouched for fear of ‘things’ inside………..Modern times now ‘big business..hotels..etc..are all hooked up to the sewage system…..Those who aren’t must build their homes with certain guide lines….We all have a 25ft or 30ft deep well in our backyard which must be dug till you find water…..’a suck’…..Where all of our various household waste fluid connects and flows into!
I don’t blame you I would have been afraid of spiders and snakes bitting my bum too! 🙂
We live on a property that had a 1-room school built 100-plus years ago. When initially excavating for the basement of our new home, one of the dirt ‘walls’ had a section of very rich-looking soil that was about 4’x4′ and started about 2 feet down from the top. It looked so different from the poor, powdery, silty soil that we have everywhere else here. My husband and the excavator called me over, saying “look at this section of dirt, isn’t it strange”. Of course, I dug my hands in the compost, crumbling it saying, “oh my gosh, this section is so strange…”. Then it hit me. I looked at them saying, “You dirty rats! This is where the outhouse was!” They, of course, were laughing hilariously at this point. ;o) However, that soil certainly was incredible.
I bet that was some amazing soil. It would have been so old it decomposed it would have grown the best veggies! I can see your husband having a good chuckle too!
I think compost toilets and humanu are great. I love your composting outhouse, it turned out fabulous.
Thanks, we have been using it and it is working great! I just got the running water in the sink hooked up today! Shhhhh…. The video will be out on Thursday.
Most of the crowd I am usually around; family, kids, etc., they say “EEWWW!” when I bring this subject up. I think there is a lot of negative connotation around composting toilets. Trying to guilt them about wasted water in our limited environment does no good. Now, I have a place to take them to show them the practicalities and wonderful place it can really be! Yours is so much better than mine was when I was a kid . . . and that yearly dig out with lime was no fun for anyone! lime or lyme?
Thanks, yes I think a composting toilet is a lot nicer than the old Outhouses. It sure smells a lot nicer than a porta potty!
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I must say, as a lot as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while.
Electric tillers lend themselves to home garden use because they are perfect for small patches of land; they are cleaner, quieter, and easier to use.