Personal hygiene al fresco has been quite a joy over the summer, but it’s now time to move our most important business indoors to the newly opened outhouse!!
Over the past few weeks (and not without plenty of mistakes), Ben and I designed and built a 4′ x 8′ dual-purpose outbuilding to house the composting toilet and provide some much-needed storage space. (We took down Terry’s big tent to make room for the construction and relocated all our stored items to a smaller tent while we were building.) The sloped-roof design has skylights in both sections for natural light, and will give us a chance to channel and catch some rainwater.
You can see our MTSUAYG methods – Thanks, Carol Craig! – in the progress photos below (more to come as we trim and decorate with the finishing touches). We think not bad for a couple of kids with no more than a little bit of shop class and fort building experience!! 😉
Our first real build project was a great intro to what lies ahead as we have a few more things to go up in the coming weeks that will help us weather the winter a little better. One thing that, I admit, came to bother me during this process was how reliant we are upon conventional materials, with some of them being far from eco-friendly or not falling within the preferred reuse/upcycle routine.
Specifically, using the conventional pink insulation batting really makes me itch- in more ways than one!! I’m really kicking myself for not doing some research ahead of time to find more environmentally-responsible alternatives like this fiberglass-free wool batting (though, turns out to cost about a third more). I was even thinking that the yurt felt would do just as well!! When we’re ready to build our permanent home down the road, I’ll definitely be making good use of the more natural version of insulation wherever I can.
Aside from that, I was also hoping it would be easier to find reclaimed materials like decent scrap wood, metal roofing, siding, etc., but to no avail. People here are pretty resourceful and keep hold of things, or are quick to snatch up any goodies that might come available. We’ve even tried to make a couple runs for free pallets via Craigslist, but are always too late to the party. We did come to meet the very kind and talented Gilbert at Second Hand Sawdust who confirmed the competitive market for reclaimed wood. And when we asked the gentleman at the feed store about where to find some old straw bales, he pretty much laughed at us while saying nobody really gives them up because they can be used for something (covering flower beds, for example). So, I guess we’ll count on making use of our HD Pro account, and consider ourselves lucky if we are able to scavenge materials in the future.
BIG THANKS to Mark for donating the overages from his deck build… We could not have finished the outhouse without him!!