Our new house doesn't have a bathroom. This is admittedly distressing. We are going to add a bathtub in a corner of a
room with a screen of some kind for the short-term (until major construction can be done... you know, after we win the
lottery). And, we're going to build a composting outhouse near the main house.
Pat has lived with a composting outhouse near the boxcar for more than a decade now... and we've always liked the idea
of adding one to our house.
But the other night, it was really late, and Kristen was getting ready for bed... Ella had been sick that day (throwing
up), and Avrum had come down with the bug, too, and Kristen was exhausted and brushing her teeth and she
thought, "Oh my god. A composting outhouse ... a whole family of stomach flu victims, 2 a.m. on a snowy winter night...negative
10 degrees... no bathroom in the house .... GAAAAAHHHHH"
Well, in the light of day, it doesn't sound so bad. Surely we'll manage.
A composting outhouse is actually a much more pleasant thing than a regular outhouse. They stink less, and are really
eco-friendly, in terms of this whole circle-of-life business.
Although "composting" toilets are all the rage in certain eco-circles these days, we've noticed that most of them don't
actually make compost. They just collect human waste without flushing it into a septic and then you've got bags of nasty stuff
mixed with other nasty blue chemical stuff that you've got to deal with. This strikes us as infinitely stupid.
Pat has been composting humanure for nearly a decade and the finished product is just as sweet-smelling and nice as any
other compost. Composting humanure is actually quite safe, although we have decided we won't use composted humanure on
any edible products to be sold at farmer's market-- just on our own garden.
The process of making compost from an outhouse takes three years-- one to fill up a bin, and two to compost it. In the
first year, it gets heated to temperatures that kill all pathogens, and then Pat lets it sit a year just to make sure.