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The sniff test

Composting toiletThe weather this past November was a lot more like December, but once the calendar flipped over, we got a welcome thaw.  As the day warmed up, I was astonished to notice that the ouside world had smells again!  I guess when the ground is frozen, odors have a hard time reaching our noses.

Although I enjoyed most of the scents, I was a bit afraid to drop by the new composting toilet because the goal there is a complete absence of odor.  I shouldn't have worried.  All of that sawdust we've been dropping down the hole has done its job --- the composting toilet is currently smell-free.

The next test will wait until summer --- presence or absence of flies.  After that, we won't get more feedback until two years from now when I scoop this fall's poop under the fruit trees as compost.

That's assuming something doesn't go drastically wrong.  I'll be sure to report if there's any seepage, slumps, or other disasters.

Our chicken waterer keeps your flock's water POOP-free.

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Have you thought about adding worms to the composting process?
Comment by Gerry Wed Dec 5 10:35:31 2012
Gerry --- We've designed our bin to be a hot-composting system like the one explained in The Humanure Handbook, which means it would kill worms. We might consider seeding the bin with worms for its waiting year, during which the compost should cool down and finish, but we don't want worms in there for the filling year.
Comment by anna Wed Dec 5 11:08:51 2012

I thought you might be moving some of the pile. Regardless, the material you move after the winter should not be a hot pile. Some of what I have read suggests the worms would assist the break down of what might still be pathogenic. In any case, after two years it should be perfectly clean.

I hope for the winter you have a backup plan. Looks like it would take dedication to use your loo all winter.

FWIW, I really liked the Milkwood's barrels with drain taps.

Comment by Gerry Wed Dec 5 13:37:24 2012
Gerry --- We've been using an outhouse much less protected from the elements for the last six years, so I don't think it'll take any particular dedication to enjoy our composting toilet this winter. People seem to get freaked out by using the bathroom outside in the winter, but Mark and I really enjoy it (and seem able to time our urges for the warm periods of the day.... :-) )
Comment by anna Wed Dec 5 13:52:41 2012
The joke goes that the Frenchman said, "zee Americans, zey are crazee; they go outside to eat and inside to sheet."
Comment by Errol Wed Dec 5 15:02:09 2012

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime