Do you know how much a septic system costs? It's a lot. There has been so much to do to get our property ready for us to be able to live out here (while we are living out here, I might add) that we haven't been able to afford to finish the system. Of course, that's a choice. If it was high on the priority list, we'd make it happen.
Turns out we are more interested in getting our gardens in place so we can grow our own food and have some for market, as well as prepare for animals. So for now we have an outhouse.
I am very fortunate that Troy is so handy. He built it for us and it's a lovely little room, really. We call it the Loovre. There's even a plaque that my Mom's husband made for it (see below).
There are plans in the works to make it look artistic - as opposed to its current white base coat look and drab interior. I'll update you when I figure out what it might be. My niece, Jayde, suggested getting a projector and using it to paint an appropriate image on an outer wall and I may just look into that!
Kerry carved out this plaque for us and we love the nod to both our new-found country life AND the art work from the Louvre.
You will note the Mona Lisa and the bug, for example. Kerry informs me based on his Flin Flon, Manitoba experience, that the bug is a Spruce Bug.
It's odd as I watched them all last summer and they didn't phase me at all. Not until Kerry told me that get stuck in your hair and that they bite!
Turns out there are decisions to be made. Do you want to be able to compost the, um, 'results'? Do you want to move it around as the hole fills up? Things like that. There's also the matter of cleaning the thing. And another thing: this year I have been aiming more for pretty and comfortable; not just functional which was last year's goal.
Pretty?!?!?! I'm guessing that's what many of you are asking incredulously. It's an outhouse! yes, pretty. You've already seen the plaque that Kerry made for us. Troy's Mom gave us a very pretty bear's head toilet paper holder but it fell off some insulation and shattered.
I'm in the midst of painting the undercoat on the outside and the inside. I got side-tracked by working for a few weeks and it's been raining for most of July so that's currently on hold.
I did manage to get in an Iris garden at the pathway entrance and Troy laid out some logs and a couple of solar powered pathway lights so it is inviting, we think. The walk-way is also full of wood-chips so it's not slippery, nor does it get overgrown with weeds, etc.
It's a bathroom. Ours just happens to be outdoors but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in keeping it clean, fresh-smelling and ensuring that we are hygienic.
I've done some research and read that ash is an odour suppressant. It is honestly remarkable how true this is! At the appropriate time (I don't think I need to explain!), I sprinkle ash into the hole and walk away. Beats the heck out of those air-fresheners as I find their scents to be very cloying. This is a daily maintenance thing. I collect the ash from our fire pit and stick it in an old garbage can. I won't be using the plastic one again - metal from now on. The plastic one didn't exactly melt, but it looked kinda like Freddy Kruger coming through the walls - all melt-y. The ashes were still pretty warm when I collected them. I didn't have much choice at the time because I read you're not to let the ashes get wet and the rain was coming.
As necessary, I like to clean the inside of the outhouse. Oh, the exhaustion of emptying the outhouse of the garbage can, toilet paper, etc and then hauling over the hose and spraying the entire thing down. Done and done. So far, I've done this once. Oddly enough, it just doesn't get dirty. I still wipe things down and sweep it out but aside from that, not a lot of scrubbing... Ok, none.
Our current issue is based on the fact that we don't want to move the outhouse. We find it quite charming where it is. At the moment, I am experimenting with lye crystals/pellets. One of the purposes of lye is to break down organic matter. I've only just started using it this week but it does seem to be making a difference. I admit I was nervous about using lye as I gather it is extremely caustic. I think I've got a good system worked out, though.
We've been through a fall, winter, spring and are now in mid-summer and I can say with all sincerity that I do not mind using an outhouse at all. It isn't far to go from anywhere on our developing farm. I'd say it isn't any farther than being outside in the yard and having to run through the house to an available bathroom. Plus, there's the added benefit of not worrying about how dirty you are (from gardening, for example) when you tramp through the building.
The only worry I have had relates to wildlife, especially at night. To remedy that, we purchased something called a marine toilet and we use that for over-night requirements. I empty it a couple of times a week into the outhouse and rinse it out with the garden hose.
So that's it. Short and sweet - and even sweet-smelling.