Hello Joe it has been a while. I am at 5 1/2 years without a flush toilet in my house, after replacing my septic system two years before that, so I feel qualified to comment on this topic. I found that all of the statements in the book about odour, covering and composting proved to be accurate in practise. I highly recommend the book as a resource for anyone wanting an alternative to traditional sanitary solutions. I also found that the portability of the toilet was handy during renovation and sickness as well as during hydro outages. It is amazing how little water is needed in a house on any given period of time without a flush toilet. Not a system for everyone but it has worked well for me. Thanks Joe for the enlightenment.
Since I don't have blackwater, or a flushable toilet in my house, it would be very easy for me to tap into outgoing greywater. Unfortunately I am also on a small town lot and use very little outside plant water so at this point there is no reason to. I do like the concept though and for very little extra piping a future diverter could be allowed for in a new drain system. Oddly enough unlike most people I would consider urine safe for food plants but not greywater.
I try to do my part, today I killed134 deer flies. I dont count one unless I see a dead body. About 120 of these were killed in my truck cab in two go's. They follow me in to the cab, I roll up the drivers window and don't stop killing until it is just me in there. Not very practical but if you have ever tried to work around them using both hands you will know how satisfying it is to me.
I have wondered about a grid of pipes just under the driveway surface to carry water from a submerged tank pushed by a small sump pump. The tank would need to be below frost and the pipes would have to be self draining. Ground temps are 45 to 50 F so circulating that temp under the driveway would thaw snow...eventually. What I don't know is how big the tank would need to be to absorb that much cold without freezing and have enough surface area to shed it before the next use. Or maybe like a ground source heat pump there would need to be deep buried pipes to spread the cold out.
Insulating your arch would save fuel, but for speed you either need to increase pan area or increase burn temps. Without a lot of work or money pan size area is the way to go, longer arch, more pans and only have the fire at the front with a limited amount of depth below the back pans so the smoke/heat has to rise and contact the pan surface instead of sneaking by to the chimney. I would avoid a water heater for boiling for toxicity sake. Saving time however can mean just not being there when it is boiling. On my setup I use deep pans and a large firebox. I am rarely near my boil more than 15 minutes per loading. I fill my pans, fill my firebox and leave to repeat either hours later or the next day. This does not give me a good gallons per hour boiling rate overall but my rate for boiling per hour I am there is decent. My ideal is at least two fires per day, the first heats everything up and removes some liquid, the second while everything is hot removes much more in the pans overall. My rig is remote to my house so this works best if I am doing some other chores nearby like cutting firewood. Fire, cut wood for a couple of hours, repeat. On a day where I can fire four times I boil off quite a bit and only spend about an hour doing it. My pans are homemade stainless steel, about 8 inches deep and the stove has a firebox that will hold a small wheelbarrow of wood.
Excellent news thanks for sharing. I too am a firm believer in making authorities quote the details for a decision, very often they have misinterpreted or misapplied a rule and cannot justify their initial reaction with facts. At other times they misspeak and should be saying " we don't want you to do this " instead of " you are not allowed to do this."
I use to climb hydro poles, which are easier to climb than trees, and I have pruned from the ground and from a ladder and my advice is use a long ladder tied off at shoulder height and then at the top first time up if you have to prune. Having been around dying and iffy trees though my preference is to drop the whole thing and even then many safety precautions are needed. Any chance you could trade off a personal skill for an foresters time? Technically you don't even need a forester, just a feller, and no that is not a typo.
I have never skinned a gopher but I did wonder if there was a market for their hide as well as consuming the meat and using the rest for compost. I expect they are similar to a weasel, mink, muskrat or other small fur bearer. My older friend who has done a lot of trapping/skinning use to refer to muskrats as the easiest money in the bush based on numbers and time required to process an animals fur for sale. I expect gophers would be in that category, fairly easy and not very time consuming. The Farm Show magazine had an article years ago about the developer of a gopher trap, easy to set and cheap to make. He removed 6000, yes that is a 6 with three zeroes, gophers from a 30ish acre field after they ruined a years crop. Most say that with a large infestation if you set dozens of traps you will hear the first ones triggering before the last are set. That would be good if you wanted to both eat the animal and harvest the hide.
My area was the health department but they gave it over to the municipal building department. We got them to lower our minimum square footage bylaw to 500, I think it should be abolished altogether but this is a start, I think it is probably past time to prod them about alternative sanitation. Any jurisdiction that says an outhouse is ok should be happy to explore composting alternatives.
Two suggestions, one from Joe and the other from me. If your bucket smells let it stand for a period of time with soapy water in it, I think the suggestion was a day?? maybe. The second is mine, I inadvertently have two different bucket heights but lucky for me I made my frame for the slightly taller buckets. For the shorter ones I keep a scrap square of plywood standing in the frame next to the lid. If I put in a shorter bucket I just put the plywood shim underneath it. I would suggest you scrounge the closest size to what you have and build a shim for the floor of the frame, doesn't have to be elaborate or pretty, just the right thickness to raise a pail to the original 6 gal pail height. Drop it in for the shorter, stand it up for the taller, this allows you to use the new bucket(s) as well as the old. All of my pails held frozen eggs and were from the same supplier so I was surprised when I learned that they were more than one height.
A couple of clarification questions. Do you have a well head, usually a pipe coming out of the ground, and what style of pump do you have. Jet and piston pumps are above ground, usually in a basement or well house, submersible or drilled well pumps are in the well itself below the water level. Is there a filter or screen on the water system and do you know anything about your water depth, well depth, recovery rate etc?n
I am going to answer this one, even though it is very old, in case this thread comes up in a search. 220, 230 or 240 single phase receptacles ( all the same thing basically ) have two live wires and a ground.
In your case Paul, as I hope you found out, the white goes to either live connection and black goes on to the other and the green or bare copper goes to the ground. The white should be identified with black or red tape at both ends to let the next person know it is not being used as a neutral. In the electrical panel the white wire, identified with black or red tape, would go on one half of a double breaker, shared with the black, to get the 240 volts.
I am not familiar with particulars but a UPS would be the way to go from what I have picked up over the years talking to computer people who operated with unstable grids around the world. Solves all short term problems and will protect the device from damage by shutting down if the problem persists past its ability to maintain voltage. I was offered one a couple of years ago but had no use for it since my grid is very stable. I did just meet a software geek who has a pile of sensitive hardware running most of the time and she has seven individual UPSs running all of the time.
If they are using the frame as a breeding storage area then replacing it should solve the problem. I would consider shifting to another room for a few days as well. I would not get rid of the original frame but I would leave it in the hot sun for a few days, maybe inside a sealed garbage bag? Not sure if direct sunlight or built up heat would kill better.
Hey Su, I have heard of the bedside commode being used, as well as a wooden chair, wooden chair commode and a few others. At least one of the wooden commode chairs had an easily removed lid to air seal the container. Whatever works for an individual is good in my books. I am interested in your aging compost in the pail. Have you done this for long and do you have any results to share?
I totally agree that the bucket with a lid or even a piece of plywood on top will get you by but I worry that a tipping accident would put people off further experimentation. A frame makes the bucket system as stable as a porcelain toilet and should eliminate any potential tipping problems as well as making the system more aesthetically pleasing and familiar seeming.
The Jenkins system fits emergency criteria better than anything else that I have heard of. It stores indefinitely without any maintenance, is easy to build, use, move and set up and requires very little instruction or skill for longer use. What I am proposing is aimed at people who have had a localized infrastructure failure, possibly as small as one household. I have read about one household who had such a failure, brought in a sawdust toilet that was in use in an outbuilding and never went back to the flush toilet. In a post on this site I read about a spare sawdust toilet and all its components being delivered to a friends household by bicycle for a week long loan while a septic system was repaired.
Now that was odd, this morning I wrote this post about emergency facilities and slightly later my wife received a link to a post from a blogger she follows who deals mostly with food storage. Today she was talking about how to make an emergency toilet.
There is a fair bit on the web about disaster emergency sanitation, how to make a porcelain toilet a temporary dry toilet and other fairly icky alternatives, but I am thinking that having a usable alternative would be a good idea for non apocalyptic events. ( ever notice that the post apocalyptic movies never talk about sanitation? )
I do a fair bit of household repair that includes toilet maintenance so I hear about failures quite a bit and the latest story got me thinking about back ups. A couple with two youngish children and friends in tow drove the two and a half hours to their cottage for the first time this year. Part way through the weekend the toilet plugged and despite repeated attempts to clear it they were not successful, so unable to get a service person on a summer Saturday they drove home early.
I am going to start promoting a basic Jenkins sawdust toilet as either a stored backup or as an outhouse alternative that can be moved indoors in the event of a flush failure due to blockage, septic failure or water loss. Longer duration power outages are not unusual in cottage areas here and certainly other failures are common as well.
Forgot to answer how I store full pails. I use 5 gallon plastic pails, most with handles and all with snap on liquid seal lids. When a pail is almost at the " too full to be comfortable " point in the frame I add the latest used kitty litter along with the first rinse water from the kitty litter container. I then snap a lid firmly on and move the pail to a discreet covered storage area in our entrance way. Normally it would stay there for about a week and then travel with two other full pails to the compost pile to be emptied but if the weather is bad or I am busy or any other excuse that keeps me from the compost I move the full pails to the back yard or right to the compost pile to await dumping. With the lids on I have stored pails for up to 2 months in the colder weather with only a slight change in contents and no problems.
Our system does not divert urine. I expect that makes a huge difference in the composting as well as the use of hardwood sawdust as a cover material. It also means a difference in overall volume of sawdust used and compostables produced.
Those ten buckets represent about a months worth from our household, two adults in our 50s, plus one adult in their early 20s for a few days once in a while, occasional use by someone else but not very often, we are a fairly quiet reclusive household. The kitty litter is what ever sawdust we are using for cover material inside at the time. I normally wouldn't have that many full pails on hand but I have been busy, tired and lazy for the last while and I also knew that I wanted to shift my harvest date back to July 1st. Next year I will probably shift a month earlier again to get to a spring harvest date for planting.
10 pails of humanure, which in our household includes the contents of our sawdust kitty litter from 2 adult cats. We are an all in Jenkins style household, no other toilet on site. For the past few months our sawdust has been hardwood chainsaw sawdust which sat outside in an open pile for about 10 months. I keep a tarp spread out next to the pile on a slight slope and throw a few inches onto the tarp to dry in the sun. When I collect a bag of dry sawdust off the tarp I spread more. I have also started dumping the kitty litter container rinse water into the compost pail since the kitty litter itself is fairly dry overall. I am lucky that I have about 15 pails that I can use if needed, I do expect to eventually have at least three systems going so I have managed to accumulate enough pails for all three.
For my most recent compost pile start up I had a few more pails of compostables available than usual. There were 10 pails plus one third pail of kitchen compost. I was happy to see that the temperature of this fairly large start up climbed to 125 F within 7 days, definitely the fastest climb to the active zone that I have had. In the previous three piles I started with 2 to 4 pails each time and the climb to active temps was quite slow.
Getting a joke later on is like finding food in your pocket, a nice surprise. I love hearing about people getting jokes later at inappropriate times for laughing. With friends I try to time a funny comment just as they are taking a drink, why should they be the only ones laughing. That is a nice looking outhouse.
Mick, pails of compostable material do not compost in the pail itself oddly enough, the conditions are not right. With an vented lid I suppose some type of positive change would happen but based on my experience with shorter term storage, three months, a closed pail gets worse not better. The Jenkins system requires a change of venue for the material, whether it goes into a compost pile, a vermiculture environment or into some sort of composting vented container.
I have used those types and size of pump many times and I can say that it takes a fair amount of effort to pump any water with one. A good modification for a pitcher pump would be a handle extension to increase leverage. I expect a small windmill would have to be hooked to a small pump.
On this one as well as the Humanure Handbook. I am about to cap last years pile so I will see if I can come up with a few road kills to try once I get started with the 2016/2017. Patience is a virtue, results in 2 years time.
The answer is it depends. The fellow that composted the largish pig said that there were only small bone shards in the finished good compost 2 years later. He was quite happy with the end result. I do not have much personal experience with this since I am just approaching the opening date for my first large compost pile. I had a smaller aged compost from the very first few months of our humanure beginnings 2 years ago and it did have some larger turkey bones still identifiable but I don't know how representative that pile was due to its small size. My guess would be that whole animals are more likely to disappear fairly completely because of the volatility of the complete soft tissue system compared to individual bones dropped in. This is just a guess, eventually I expect to have some first hand knowledge, I have been thinking of adding some road kill as an experiment, although I should really have a control pile as well.
Read the forum on Humanure Handbook if you are interested in composting Q and A, specifically for humanure. Joe Jenkins, the poster boy for the movement, specifically says that meat, bones and fat can be added since the human feces makes it unpalatable or possibly unnoticeable unlike the advice given for regular composting. So far I have put in chicken beef and pork bones as well as pan fat and any kind of oily rinse water. I have a 5 gallon kitchen compost pail and everything that isn't eaten goes in it.
I don't attach the wire in any way, it is laying right on top of the cover material inside the frame. It is meant to interfere with a digging animal, not keep them from coming into contact with the compost. You could toss on some old fridge or stove racks or anything like that. Just needs to be annoying to the animal and keep them from easily penetrating the cover material.
Hi Nancy, is it literally a compost pile or is it in some sort of frame? Either way you should be able to put a bit of wire fence over the whole thing, doesn't take much, not very heavy and easy to put on and take off. Mine is a three sided frame, soon to be four sided, and I use a piece of page wire fencing draped over the exposed side and the top to discourage animals digging. I think a piece of chain link fence would work better but I didn't have an easy available piece. I also started flopping the fourth pallet over the one side once it popped out of the frozen ground. I did have something digging once and that is when I started putting the pallet on as well. Hope this helps.