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tree bog vs. dry outhouse

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Something that has been rolling about in my head lately ...

Why are so many permies keen on pooping in buckets and then dealing with a bucket of poop?  Yuck!

For the last few years I have seen this practice repeated at several farms in the area.   

The dry outhouse seems like a superior choice:  A hole in the ground located on a higher spot and signs inside that say "no pee!" plus lots of sawdust. 

There can be some other improvements, like ways to keep the area drier, but for the most part, this is all there is to it. 

Today, for the first time I learned of something called a "tree bog" (treebog?).  A pretty similar idea, but add in a willow tree right next to the outhouse.  Apparently the willow is such a heavy feeder that it will consume the poop!

It sounds like there could be a bit more to the treebog approach.  I would still like to know more about how clean it is.  I'm also curious about the quality of work that it does in the winter.  I would suspect that anywhere that gets close to freezing, the willow will go dormant in the winter - thus not doing its job and basically becoming a wet outhouse - complete with the problem if ickiness getting into the ground water.

More odd thoughts: 

what about other trees?  Are there other trees that feed as heavily? 

Why a bunch of willows and not just one big one?

Maybe if there are other trees and a big one is just as good as a bunch of little ones, you might be better off building your outhouse 10 feet away from an existing large tree.    As you dig your pit, try to leave the roots in tact. 

Here's another thought:  I wonder if there are trees that are heavy feeders and continue to feed in the winter.  Such a tree would probably remain green in the winter.  Maybe conifers? 

Has anyone here used the treebog approach?

Anybody know of trees other than willows that could be heavy feeders?


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paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Wikipedia on tree bogs:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_bog



Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
People probably use buckets because they don't live in Florida. The idea of getting out of a nice, warm bed at 3:30 a.m., and trudging out to the outhouse in January in winter is probably the #1 reason that indoor plumbing was invented.  If people are willing to transport their buckets outdoors every few days, what's the difference?  In the pre-flush-toilet days (a few thousand years), people had containers they used at night and emptied the next day.

I think most of the trees that are heavy feeders are tropicals:  citrus, bananas, guavas, frangipani.  But elms, Norway maples, pecans, magnolias can probably hold their own in most climates.

I read that tree roots feed as long as they aren't dormant, and they aren't dormant unless the ground they're in freezes.

I can't find the site, but I read of a woman in Africa who is teaching the local people to make portable outhouses that they place over a hole in the ground. When it's nearly full, they move the outhouse and plant a tree on the spot.

Interesting article:  "Tree Roots -- Where Are They?" http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/envirohort/factsheets2/tree/aug93pr1.html

Sue
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
I wonder if having your outhouse surrounded by an asparagus bed would work? They are real heavy feeders. Willows drink alot too.


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"One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
you might be tempted to eat asparagus.  That might be good for an abandoned hole.

Buckets and the cold:  The buckets I've seen have been outside.  I guess my thinking is:  I would gladly trade the bucket for a little more thought in outhouse placement/design.

Sue, are you saying that you think elms, norway maples, pecans and magnolias might make for a good willow substitute in the cooler regions?

Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
Paul, I don't know.  I hadn't even heard the term "tree bog" before I read it here.  I was simply googling 'trees heavy feeders' to see what came up.

The one thing that might affect nutrient uptake might be growth rate of the trees.  I don't know enough about it to really say, though...  Even though roots grow in cooler weather, if the tops are dormant (conifers or deciduous), do they still take up much in the way of nutrients

The one thing about the tree-bog idea that kind of bothers me is the possibility of groundwater contamination.  That's the real bugaboo with using holes in the ground.  I understand Joseph Jenkins' method of dealing with humanure (The Humanure Handbook, free online at http://www.joseph-jenkins.com/books_humanure.html), but he is making the deliberate effort add the waste to the center of an active compost pile, and he has paid to have tests done that prove the contaminants never reach the soil because the microbes get them first.

I must admit that the tree bogs sound okay, but it would be good to know if water table heights have a good/bad effect on them, what exactly happens to the bacteria in colder weather (or ice), and if the nitrogen is escaping the system and just adding more to the water supply (like septic tanks and chemical fertilizer run-off from farms is doing), or if ALL of it in ALL weather is being absorbed by the trees.  Living in a high-rainfall, fast-drainage area like I do, I have to think about things like this.

Jenkins had done the research and paid money to have tests done, which has indicated that handling human waste as he tells you confines the material to where you want it confined, and it doesn't escape.

The problem with many ideas like this is that they make sense and are low-cost.  Few people and fewer companies want to spend a lot of research money on something that isn't going to provide profit.  It's the same way with herbal medicine: no drug company does research on it when they can make chemical meds that they can charge $150 for a 30-day supply.  There may be a bush that cures every kind of cancer known, but without solid (and expensive) research, we won't know about it.

If the Bill Gates of the world would put some money toward things like this (instead of $30 million toward an inaccessible seed vault buried in ice), it would probably kick some of the common-sense, ecologically-sound ideas of the world right out into the center ring of common knowledge.

But I'm not going to hold my breath for that.

Sue
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
paul wheaton wrote:
you might be tempted to eat asparagus.  That might be good for an abandoned hole.

Buckets and the cold:  The buckets I've seen have been outside.  I guess my thinking is:  I would gladly trade the bucket for a little more thought in outhouse placement/design.

Sue, are you saying that you think elms, norway maples, pecans and magnolias might make for a good willow substitute in the cooler regions?




well...yeah..thats the point! from my understanding bacteria don't travel up the asparagus or any other plant by way of osmosis . A good vinegar wash would take care of any splash. I fertilize my vegies with manure but I don't think I'm eating poop when I pop a mater in my mouth just because there are some un composted goat berries nearby. Now I wouldn't want the asparagus growing right next to the outhouse but a few feet away wouldn't bother me a bit.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
The one thing about the tree-bog idea that kind of bothers me is the possibility of groundwater contamination.


I have to say that with both the tree bog and the dry outhouse, I have concern along these lines.  I would very much like to know more about that space. 

But even if you put this waste into the middle of a compost pile, you are not getting rid of 100% of it.  So I still have concern there too. 

The more I read, the more I feel there are constant concerns.  And I worry still about general expense.  A lot of these approaches are pretty spendy. 

I kinda want to see something where the aprovecho folks go to africa with jenkins for five years and see what comes of that.  And I want to win the lottery too.

I wonder ....  what if the tree bog system and the dry outhouse system were combined.  And the dry outhouse was surrounded by evergreen heavy feeders that would feed all year.  And the outhouse was set up in an existing forest ...  existing septic systems have a drain field, and that seems to be working relatively well ...

Leah,

I, myself, would worry about icky things getting into the asparagus.  I think about it being one of those things where eveything is fine for five years and then one day it isn't fine anymore and you die.  But ... hellifiknow....





Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
now that I think about it asparagus does have to push up through the soil and we eat the part that has made contact with it. That wouln't be good. heavy feeding fruiting plant would work though!

"The dry outhouse seems like a superior choice:  A hole in the ground located on a higher spot and signs inside that say "no pee!" plus lots of sawdust. "


want to point out that your "no pee" sign would only work if you are in an all male household. There is really no stopping it if your a woman 
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I've seen places that do "no pee" outhouses and the women seem to have no trouble wetting the local flora. 

Is it possible that you might be the exception more than the rule?  And, if that's the case, is it something that can be mended with a bit of practice?

Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
I pee outstide all the time! but when it comes time to do other business there is no shutting of the valve, relaxation of the musculature sling that supports the perinum generally results in evacuation of the contents of both the bladder and the bowels as long as one is not blocking the other temporarily I sure as hell am not going to poop in an outhouse and then try and run outside to pee in time. I probably could if I really didn't have to pee much but..... And no I'm not an exception. womens urethra is about 1-2 inches long compared to the mans 8. It doesn't take much to get urine from point A to B. which is why even women who haven't had any babies or trauma pee in their pants sometimes when they cough, sneeze or laugh. just reality dude!  the same muscles that hold in the poo are the ones that hold in the pee ,you boys just have a little more time to stop the flow since you have a hose.

nope. just tried it. absolutley, positively, 100% impossible, to poop without peeing unless the bladder is comletly empty. I suppose you could pee outside and then go in to poop but things are pretty much on a roll by then. not happening. 
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I suppose that with the "no pee" signs, the fellas will have no trouble and the gals will do ... what, maybe 80% of their peeing in the bushes?  So we've at least eliminated 90% of the pee?

I suppose that all of the techniques discussed deal in worlds of probability.  It's all a matter of getting the danger down to something like 0.0001%

Gwen Lynn


Joined: Sep 04, 2008
Posts: 736
Well, I'm gonna be 48 in a month & aging is NOT very supportive of controlling bodily functions. I've been told having had children & aging are a double whammy. "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman!"

Maybe younger women might have more control over "what comes out when"...but I sure don't anymore! And adding a "where" to the equation definitely complicates the issue. Not having considered separating the 2 functions before, this gives me something new to think about when I'm on the "throne".

My house is only 1000 sq. ft, but I have 2 toilets that aren't far from each other & (thankfully) the short distance between them is vinyl flooring. Maybe I'll try an experiment...on a day when I'm planning to wash the floors anyways! 

Regarding peeing outside, it's a great way to (slowly) remove a stump. We cut down a silver maple almost to ground level. My husband & his friends always made a point of peeing on the stump if they peed outside. That stump was in loose chunks in a little over a year. Granted, it was a small stump (Maybe 10 or so inches wide), but we're all convince that the urine accelerated the process.
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
I've read about these 'no-pee' toilets, and think they leave a lot to be desired.  If the situation absolutely requires it, then maybe the plan for the solution needs to be re-thought.

Back to the compost pile!

Sue
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
to be quite honest...If I approached an outhouse with a "no pee sign" I just wouldn't pee and tell. its not quite as easy for a girl to whip it out and do it behind a tree (or on one, wenvan). It usually involves squatting and removal of pants or leaning way back against a tree if not wearing a dress or er..nothing  . Most women I know don't have the quads to do it that way. The cute pictures of girls standing up peeing only show the first part.....erased the rest of that sentence ....TMI.  Basically, I think the "no pee" outhouse would only work for a bachelor pad in reality.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Well, I've gained valuable knowledge here.  Thanks everybody for setting me straight.

I suspect that it would have to work such that a sign would read "no pee" and it would probably end up a "pee and no tell."  Maybe there can be some tiny print at the bottom of the sign ... there for reading when you are sitting ... saying something about how, well, sometimes you just can't help it and a little is okay.



Gwen Lynn


Joined: Sep 04, 2008
Posts: 736
I'm guessing you probably learned a whole lot more than you'd bargained for! LOL! 
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
He is probably wishing he never started this thread!! sorry paul I sorta hijacked it.  Don't get between a woman and her bathroom! 
Gwen Lynn


Joined: Sep 04, 2008
Posts: 736
Right on, sistah! 
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
ATTACK OF THE BATHROOM BRIGADE!  RUN!



Sue
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I now own a fantastic book "Liquid Gold" by Carol Steinfeld.

The book is tiny, inexpensive, and packed with excellent info.

A few things that are super important to add to this thread:

22) Pee and poop together are more toxic than when kept separate.

33) There are gobs of designs that allow a woman to sit down and keep the two separate.  A typical outhouse hole would have a collector toward the front that would re-route the urine somewhere else (tree bog?). 

In a nutshell, I think this book solves all of the concerns we had in this thread.  The dry outhouse when combined with a urine separator is just ducky.  Having a couple of willow trees nearby might be an added bonus.

Gwen Lynn


Joined: Sep 04, 2008
Posts: 736
It's diagram time! My curiosity is piqued! I am keen to know what a urine separator for an outhouse looks like. Makes sense that urine combined with feces is more toxic together. Always an education on the permies site! 
Kelda Miller


Joined: Jun 30, 2007
Posts: 763
Two thoughts:

1) My trick with no-pee situations. I pee Before I go to poo. That's usually much easier than trying to poo without peeing. Though of course it depends on how badly I need to do either. !

But add that to the list of experiments because it works great for me. Squat to pee somewhere on the trail to the outhouse. Then go use the outhouse. It's definitely not 100% urine proof, but it's less. And there are certain times when this method is impossible and I would want some kind of Options, but anyway...

2) I was awful confused about the preference for 5gallon over outhouses too. I figured it out somewhere in a book this fall. It's because outhouses are thought of as not great composters. They're roofed and deep and not combined with carbon. Aha! But outhouses that I like and use are 1) in the PNW, which means moisture-for-composting can get to them through soil 2)not That deep, like 7' max, worms could live there while it's filling up and 3) with added carbon.

So, from my point of view, both 5gallon-bucket and outhouses are composting. Just differently.

and by the way, I also read in Toolbox for Sustainable City Living, a good trick for using the buckets and dealing with crap stuck on the sides of the bucket. (wash it? where to pour the water?). Simplify it by putting a paper grocery bag in the bucket and pooping in that. Easier cleanup.


Divine Earth Gardening Project
Steve Nicolini


Joined: Nov 15, 2008
Posts: 224
My friend has a piece of land with a composting toilet. At least that is what he called it.  He has this huge drum underneath an elevated toilet.  Once a month he takes the drum and empties it into his hugelkultr berm that is ever expanding.  It is letting off steam as we speak. 

I think seasonal tree bog toilets are a magnificent idea.  Willows will supposedly take our crap and turn it into usable energy for us (firewood, baskets, etc.).  Thanks there willow.  I have another friend making a dreamcatcher using a willow withe. 

I wonder if anything planted with the willow would assist the energy conversion?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
This is my feeble attempt to draw a toilet bowl according to all the pictures I saw in the "liquid gold" book. 

This is a side view.

The idea is that somebody would be facing to the left. 

There is a small ridge in the bowl so that liquid projected toward the front of the bowl will probably stay behind the ridge and be directed down the small hole there.  The rest of the toilet bowl is normal.

I think that one could build something similar in an outhouse with a one gallon plastic jug mounted toward the front of the hole.


[Thumbnail for bowl.gif]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Kelda,

In response to your #2:  I would think that this material would compost just fine in an outhouse.  There could be some question about how fast or slow it might compost, but it certainly will compost.  I suppose there could be some concern about how aerobic it might be.  I would like to think that with enough sawdust it should be plenty aerobic.

The 5-gallon bucket stuff:  for me, I draw the line at any bucket or barrel or container that would need to be emptied.  I just don't wanna fool with it, or ask anyone to fool with it.  I want a solution where there is no fiddling with that aspect later.  And, frankly, I'm a bit mystified by those that use a bucket or barrel or whatever.  But ... different strokes I guess.



Steve Nicolini


Joined: Nov 15, 2008
Posts: 224
I think most people would rather not carry five gallons of crap back and forth.  I know I don't want to clean human feces that got stuck to the side of a bucket.  It is just gross to me. 

That is why I am all for the tree bog.  The earth is constantly working for us.  This willow idea is incredible I think.  It deserves a try.  An experiment.  How cool is it that a tree will lovingly and happily take all the crap humans give it?

Would this toilet, or toilets, be surrounded by numerous willows?  Seasonal toilet?  Which season will the willow actively break down the poop?

And your picture... is that the toilet for the tree bog or dry outhouse? 

I would think that before entering the tree bog to poo, there would be a sign that says: Release all fluids before entering bog.

I may be mistaken though.  The willows might take our pee too.  Will they?
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
I have a 5-gallon bucket with a clip-on toilet seat on it in the bathroom.  I can sleepily stagger out of bed at 3 a.m. and pee in the bucket, close it, then stagger back to bed.

I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY am not going to put on a heavy coat, boots and woolly hat to stagger out of the house at 3 a.m. out to the willow toilet through 18" of snow with 17F degrees of temperature, and kick my way through three foraging raccoons, just to discover when I return to the house that I accidentally locked myself out of the house.

No.  Huh-uh.  Nope.

Sue
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
that is exactly what would happen to me too i'm sure. really though what is the biggest difference between this and a septic system. both put the waste into the ground. is it the water usage that is so distastul about a traditional system? the initial cost? excavation?  I guess maybe I just need to read the book but so far I just don't see how there could be that much difference as far as enviromental impact goes. why is it different to let waste compost in a tank rather than a hole. a well operating/maintained  septic system completely breaks down  all the waste by the same basic method as composting, utilizing micro organisms. then neatly disposes of it via  passive irrigation to your pasture that you can easily and safely grow a variety of things.  kills two birds with one stone and seems very permie compatable to me. if you are really worried about the ground water get an aerobic system. that is what we have. the water is safe enough to drink before it ever leaves the tank, the onlydown fall is that it is not passive and requires a pump, but a small solar system could easily power that.

paul you say ick when it comes to a bucket, how ick are you gonna feel when you have to clean diarhea off the sides of that seperater bowl, or blood (sorry if that is tmi but we are talking about reality here) there are many unpleasant things surrounding the toilet and it even if we have to take some care to make it safe for the enviroment a septic system and toilet seems like one of those things that is worth a little extra effort to me.
Steve Nicolini


Joined: Nov 15, 2008
Posts: 224
The willow bog is a seasonal toilet.  In the winter months it would not be active anyway, so trodding through snow wouldn't be a possibility. 

There are some habits we have that might need to change in order to live sustainably... if that is indeed what we want.  When the natives were living in their shelters, they didn't shit inside of them.  They had to get up, walk outside, do their business a little ways away from the center of the village, and come back.  I am not saying we have to do this, I am saying we might need to change our habits a bit.

So the traditional system, to me, uses too much clean water per flush.  I have done the "don't flush your pee" thing.  It sticks to the toilet bowl, which I then had to clean more often, using more supplies and more water.  We use 1.5 to 3 gallons of clean water in each flush, which is ridiculous in my eyes.  We were told that we cannot grow any perennials or trees on top of our drain field in our front pasture, which is 100' by 100'.  Pretty big chunk of space. 

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Suppose you live in a farm community.  You have 15 people that live there year round and you have 20 more people that live there throughout the warmer months.  And you have a permaculture class that draws 20 people for an extra two weeks.  And ... maybe you have one other grand event that draws 100 people for three days. 

How do you deal with all of this? 

Plus ... supposing you have 80+ acres and you are way on "the other end" and mother nature calls.  An outhouse would be mighty convenient!

Of course, once you start to study all of this stuff, things are a lot more complicated than they appear at first glance.  It is worthwhile to get a greater understanding.
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
steve- cleaning a toilet bowl a bit more often seems to be alot less pain then having an outhouse and a very easy habit to change. we had to do the " if its yellow let it mellow if its brown flush it down" thing for a while because our traditional system was failing (the place won't perk and shouldn't have had it to begin with) so I had to use a toilet brush once a day instead of once a week . there is absoultly no reason why you can't grow plants that don't have invasive or deep roots overyour drain feild. generally its grass,. but don't scoff at grass! grass can grow meat, milk, chickens and their eggs. how about strawberries, bush berries, field crops, in fact having a good root system will help keep the ground porous and the septic funcitoning as long as the roots don't interfere with the lines.

our current system is an aerobic system which in many places is becoming the standard due to its eviromentally freindly traits.  the "finished" water is pumped up and out through sprinkler heads. you could easily work it out so that you could turn of or on certain sprinklers to water specific areas as  needed and the water wouldn't be wasted. or install an additional holding tank to act as a cistern to use when irrigation was neccesary.

what ancient peoples did or did not do is useful to determine some things, such as evolutionary suitability for certain foods, or rooting out reasons for particular traits or behaviours but realistically the average life expectancy of more recent ancient peoples in good times was probably around 40. in ancient egyption times more like 18-25.  and they didn't not live a life i want to emulate. ancient humans didn't live in harmony with nature they exploited it just like we do they jsut didn't have they tools to do it on as large a scale or as quickly as we can now. they were likely at least partly responsible for the great north american extinction of large animals. native americans used to run hundreds of buffalo of cliffs, way more then they could ever harvest or use. Easter islanders completely deforested their islands sealing their fate.
Steve Nicolini


Joined: Nov 15, 2008
Posts: 224
I know about natives running bison off cliffs.  I know some of them exploited the land. 

We need to take from the land to ensure our own survival.  Every animal does it.  But there is a way to do it with respect.  There is a way to live more harmoniously.  Some native groups have a "next four generation" approach to working the land.  They did what they could to ensure that the next four generations would have enough to survive.  We, as a culture, do not think that far ahead. 

There is a tribe in Ecuador, the Achuar, who I visited last year.  Until recently they had no contact with "civilization."  They have been hunting their forests, harvesting from their wild gardens, drinking Amazon river water, etc. for over 2,500 years (diggers uncovered an old Achuar bowl and carbon dated it).  Their forest is still there, and vibrant at that.  When I went pee on the ground at the edge of the village, one of the guys patted me on the back and thanked me. 

So, back to the tree bog.  I think it is worth a shot.  I think it is a great example of permaculture practice.
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
I've been looking up tree bogs online, and while there are a few sites with descriptive text (mostly duplicated info, word for word), Google Images was able to provide a whole TWO sets of poor photos of two tree bogs.  A rather pathetic showing for something that was (modern-style) 'invented' in 1995.

And there's virtually nothing about any tree bog that has been in existence for even a full year from what I could find.

No matter.  Paul and Steve can be the Tree Bog Masters, write up a couple of good articles, and provide some decent PHOTOGRAPHS of the construction and the finished bog.

It might work just fine for a warm-weather toilet ('bog' means 'toilet' in Britain --- I learn something new every day).

I do have some questions, which I don't think theory can answer...

Is the tree bog really supposed to be 'no pee'?  What do you do with the pee, then?  Having any kind of toilet-thing where you can't do what you do half a dozen times a day or more, and where you can only do what you do once a day, seems to be lacking something in the conceptl

And WHY is urine and poop together more toxic than they are separately?  Is that her opinion or fact?

Has any research been done on pathogens?  Do they get digested just like in a regular (good) composting toilet?

Does all the deposited matter break down quickly, and get absorbed by the willows before it leaves the willow root area, to follow water courses and add as much nitrates to groundwater as septic tanks do?

One of the (few) tree bog sites with photos appears to show an elevated toilet at least four feet above the ground.  What is the purpose of this?

If it really is a viable concept, here's what I visualize:  an extension attached to the house with the entrance indoors, planted with willows all around it outside (facing south for max photosynthesis).  Attached to the house, the tree bog might be able to be used all year, as long as the inside of the box was approximately the same temperature as the inside of the house.  Maybe the part that is below the surface of the ground, where the digesting is going on, won't freeze, and absorption will take place all year.

Okay, get to it guys!  And be sure to let us know how it all turns out.

Sue
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
Steve Nicolini wrote:
We, as a culture, do not think that far ahead. 






most people I have dealt with think only 4 days ahead! I don't think it is a bad idea. and in some situations would be the best. I just think that there are already systems out there that are permie compatible and that allows us girlies (and our more difficult hygiene/waste issues) our much appreciated toilet. 
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14849
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I think a tree bog is fine with pee.

I think the idea of the tree bog is that it will completely consume everything you can throw at it. 

Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
Actually, it sounds like a great place to put cat litter box contents.  I use litter that is/looks like broken up stove pellets, pure sawdust.

Now, just teach the kitties to do it there...  =^..^=

Sue
Steve Nicolini


Joined: Nov 15, 2008
Posts: 224
Sue, did the bogs you saw list a willow species that was used?  I got an idea... plant different willow species around your toilet.  See which ones take better.  Then have a pipe going down into the ground near the crap, but deeper.  Then smell the end of the pipe after a month and see how the willows are doing.  Give me more ideas on how to monitor the willow's crap-eating-efficiency.
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
They mentioned 'osier' willows, which I think is Salix viminalis.

Sue
                                      


Joined: Nov 10, 2008
Posts: 92
Interesting thread, and I'll refrain from comment due to having a "hose" , but I do need to get an outhouse up this year on some acreage we have and I am interested in the willow thing since we have willows growing pretty freely. They are not trees, but willows all the same and willows are pretty prolific growers of any sort.


Laughter is the best medicine.
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subject: tree bog vs. dry outhouse
 
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