Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Outhouses and Summer Plans

An uncle on top of the outhouse said “Hand me that board and don’t break it.” It was an old rotten board that was being used to measure new boards to repair the building. I hadn’t started school so I was probably about five years old. As I picked up the board I jokingly said “I’m going to break it.” In my memory the board is twenty feet long but in truth it was probably only eight feet and much heavier that I expected. Unintentionally, due to its weight and my lack of enough strength, I dropped one end to the ground and it broke into two pieces. The joke was on me.

I hadn’t thought of this memory in years but it came back this week as I researched composting toilets and humanure. I’m planning my summer’s work and an outhouse is on the list. Perhaps no one will use the composting toilet except me but that’s not important. I’m going to build it. Also, I’m going to replace the toilet in the house with a dual-flush model that will use less than half the water of the current toilet.

Every summer I tell myself that “this summer is going to be the best summer of my life”. Thus far, this spring has promised that perfect summer. A rock squirrel came to our watering tub last week. Three mornings in a row a raven brought breakfast – a rabbit’s leg one morning and some unidentifiable meat another morning. He would alternate between eating and drinking. Last Sunday morning we had breakfast on the new deck and antelope passed within two hundred yards of the house. Doves have returned and hummingbirds are on their way. Tonight, coyotes began singing only a hundred yards from the house. Yes, it promises to be a wonderful summer.

I’ve almost finished the deck. Only the railing remains to be constructed. I plan on letting the lumber weather a little longer before sanding and applying a finish. Other items on the list are a back porch, awnings for some windows, stone walkways, a greywater system, a batch solar hot water heater, a solar oven and guttering on two out buildings for harvesting the eight inches of rain that we may get this year. This Saturday I’m taking a beekeeping class at the local community college while Julie joins a group that picks up the litter on a four mile section of our road.

It has been two weeks since my last post or commenting on friends’ blogs. There just isn’t enough time in a day. I suggested to Julie that I retire and she support me but she reminded me that she works one more month and is off for the summer.

This summer is going to be the best ever. Next summer will be even better because I plan on taking off with her!


Blogger Bonita said...

I've enjoyed reading about your projects here, and think you are most fortunate to have the coyotes and antelope at your back door.

I just wanted to drop a comment about the limited water toilet you plan....we have them and I'm quite disappointed with them. We have to have a gallon pitcher handy sometimes, to pour additional water through the system, to get it cleared. The alternative (pardon my language) is to poop, flush, wipe, flush, wipe, see the paradox there? It doesn't save water, it just complicates flushing.

4/27/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

I have missed you, Paul! But I also understand how there isn't enough time in the day... have been having the same problem for the last couple of weeks, two of the best weeks in my recent memory, no less.

As they said when my sister was on a missions trip someplace in south america, "if it's yellow, let it mellow. if it's brown, flush it down."

Keep living to the full!

4/28/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

I love how you have such great projects, ( and apparently the time and money to tackle them) to keep you occupied in such a rewarding manner, both for yourself and the environment. As far as those reduced-water toilets......sound sorta like a half-assed solution.....the composting toilets might add a tiny bit of work to the mix, but they would be the most benign, impact wise.
Whatever you do, make sure you budget time to keeping us informed of your progress. Think of it as quality downtime and a vital part of your audiences lives.....we all value you and your family that least we do here at Pendragon Hold.

Damn, Paul, it just occured to been adopted, son! smile......

your word verification for this comment was aint that a cool word or what? lol!

4/30/2006 01:42:00 PM  

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