Ok, I had some laptop issues the last couple of weeks, which is why I haven’t posted anything recently. But we’re back up and running now, so here’s what’s happening with our toilet (because I know you were wondering about our poop)! 🙂
If you’ll recall, we had a Nature’s Head composting toilet. And it served us well for the last almost 2 years. However, that system definitely has its flaws. The toilet itself had too many small spaces that were hard to clean and, as we discovered, housed flies. The urine collection was hard to clean, and got pretty gross over those 2 years. We had been quietly dealing with these various issues, and I feel like I’ve been battling flies for two full Summers now. Occasionally I defeated the flies, but this Summer, the flies defeated us.
I ordered us this awesome book at the beginning of the Summer: The Humanure Handbook. This has turned into a must-have for living off the grid. As we read more into it, we had been discussing making a simpler move to a bucket toilet instead of our “fancy” composting toilet. We started making some plans, but it was a project that didn’t seem like a big priority at the time, just whenever we got around to it.
Then we had a Code Red Situation.
We came home from work one day, one regular normal day, and R had to use the toilet. When he opened the seat to our composting toilet, a whole swarm of flies flew out. A SWARM OF FLIES. THAT HAD BEEN ALL OVER OUR SHIT. AND WAS NOW OUT IN THE HOUSE. I was outside with Loki at the time, and R came out of the house and declared with urgency, “we have a Code Red Situation. Flies. The toilet is coming out. Now.”
And it was so. That toilet was out and dismantled in a matter of about an hour. While the toilet pieces laid out in the sun in the driveway until the flies all left, I went about deep-cleaning the bathroom. Ceiling to floor, every single little fucking fly (pardon my language), was destroyed. DESTROYED. I waged war on those little bastards. We sealed up the hole in the wall that had been used as the vent for the toilet, and we both felt a lot better, and cleaner, about the whole thing. It was seriously so urgent I didn’t take any pictures of the old toilet at all. I figured you’d understand. Then we went about putting together real plans for our bucket toilet.
The next day we hit up the local lumber store, and purchased a 5 gallon bucket and a toilet seat. $20 total. We then stopped at the saw mill on the way back home and chatted with the owners, who we’ve gotten to know pretty well over the past 2 years now. The saw mill here has started to get into the tiny house business, and had a tiny house in progress on the property that they’ve been building. As we’re looking at rough-cut lumber to finish our toilet project, they mention that they’ve been looking at composting toilets for the tiny house.
Ok, to be honest, we were just going to throw the thing away. I mean, who sells a used composting toilet? No one wants that. Well, turns out the saw mill wanted it. So we made a deal: we’ll bring them our cleaned out used toilet, and we get the rough cut lumber to finish our new toilet project free. We also get all the free sawdust we want from them for use as cover material for the bucket toilet.
We got home and busted out this project in just a few hours. It was really just a matter of sawing and sanding the rough cut, attaching hinges to the top, cutting a hole for the toilet seat, attaching the seat, and putting the buckets inside. One bucket you poop in, the other bucket holds the sawdust that you cover your poop with.
For a tiny fraction of the price of what we bought our composting toilet for, this bucket toilet system is SO MUCH BETTER. It’s easier to clean, easier to empty, smells better, is more comfortable, looks better, and so far, no flies. We love it. I can’t tell you how happy we are to have our old toilet gone. Look how awesome this one is!
I cleaned out our old composting toilet, and now it sits in a mobile tiny house at the saw mill. Success.