Composting toilet second story
When Mark got home, he had
some great suggestions for making the
first phase of our composting toilet system more ergonomic.
His biggest concern was
that my straw bales on the downhill side would drift out of place (or
get torn apart when Lucy heard a mouse inside), resulting in a
landslide of humanure.
That sounded pretty
terrible, so I was glad Mark also had a suggested solution --- screwing
some two by fours on as a temporary retaining wall between the compost
and the straw bales. By using screws, it'll be easy to remove the
wall in two years once the bin has filled and mellowed and is ready to
hit the garden.
While he was at it,
Bradley added a shorter wall for the sawdust storage compartment to
make sure we don't lose too much of our precious carbon, while still
making it easy to scoop out bucketsful to bring upstairs.
"And about that sawdust
storage compartment," Mark added. "How exactly are we going to
get sawdust into it if there's a floor over top?"
Bradley had an ingenious
solution there, turning the central floor into a trap door by setting
decking boards on a ledge of other boards. The floor feels very
solid when you walk on it, but the boards are easy to move to the side
so we can pour sawdust directly into the central bin.
Mark's last concern was that
rain might cause runoff to roll down the hill during heavy storms and
wash under the compost bins, causing lots of seepage. A lip on
the uphill side of the compartments should serve to channel the water
Meanwhile, Bradley was
busy putting the second story on top of the composting bins. He
built a beautiful set of steps without risers (just like the
second set he made for Mark's porch) and constructed a very
sturdy box for us to sit on. (We'll close in the sides with
plywood once we rustle some up.)
To keep the open air effect
that Mark and I both enjoy, Bradley chose to make a low privacy wall in
the front and a slightly higher wall in the back. The composting
toilet faces away from our core homestead, so there's next to no chance
someone will accidentally walk around to the front while doing other
Mark had the great idea
to pin a brown tarp up around the walls rather than using plywood since
the tarp will likely last longer. We don't have the tarp yet ---
that's on the shopping list.
What you also can't see
(because it doesn't yet exist) is the roof. Bradley's going to
make that free-standing and large enough to keep the straw bales in the
back dry. We've got enough scrap tin lying around that we should
be able to build the roof without any extra purchased supplies.
Here's the second story
so far. We hope to finish it next week around the same time the
driveway dries up enough to allow us to haul in sawdust and
straw. I think I'm going to have to put "anticipating using your
open air composting toilet for the first time" onto my list of
characteristics that brand the permaculture
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