Is there a chance you could do a basic sketch of the toilet with the diverter itself? What I see in the pictures all make sense.
Sure Tim, I'll see what I can sketch up quick after work today as well as our other option we're considering instead of the very expensive SunMar. If I wind up building a large scale chambered unit similar to the SunMar, I'll use the same urine diversion I built for the bucket system in the woods. We've considered the cinderblock chamber like you mentioned, but it's not as feasible on our location. I like the idea of longer time between clean outs too. Hopefully I'll have something posted this afternoon.
First off, Tim I just clicked over to your YouTube channel and I love what you guys are doing. Great job doing life together as a family.
We are a family of six starting a homestead on 16.5 acres in Central Kentucky. We are also planning on using a composting toilet. I think that we will eventually use a SunMar unit (maybe) or a similar design (we're permitting our timber-frame and straw bale house, so we've got to work with inspectors who won't issue a certificate of occupancy with just the humanure bucket system. But, right now we use a simple bucket system when we are camping on our property. I'm a teacher (for now) so we have summers off to work on our land, so this is our only toilet when we live in the camper for two months, and it works fine. I'm attaching a few pictures of what we have now, and I'll describe the rest and try to post some pics again later when I can get through the snow-pack to our place. These pics are in our summer bathhouse which has a loo on one side and a shower on the other. This is the bucket loo in the bath-house before we put the skin on. The water is gravity fed from rain catchment up slope, there is a homemade urine diversion unit underneath that seat which separates our solids from the liquids. The urine diverter is flushed by the sink water, and it simply empties into a mulch pit down grade at the base of a big cedar tree. The solids are then composted. Here's closer look at the toilet itself when it was just surrounded by a tarp on a clothesline in the woods. The wood is just scrap that I salvaged. The top piece had a big map painted on it. (sorry no inside photos, but I can arrange that if you like). The two black pipe elbows you can see are air intakes that allow air into the chamber, and what you can't see is the tall black chimney that rises out the back to vent air out. Not as important in the woods, but I'm experimenting for the future. That "tank" on the back of the toilet is for our carbon (sawdust, coffee hulls, shredded barley straw, etc.) We put in a scoop each time we poop and and it works to break down when the bucket is emptied into the compost bin. Right now ours only gets seasonal use by the family. I hope this helps. Good luck on the homestead.
Greetings my gray-wet permies,
This is a question about gray water, but here's some context first. My family and I are in the process of working with our local county building inspector to permit a timber-frame and straw bale home in central Kentucky, USA. He's agreed to use NM building code and learn as he goes, so we're excited, but we've hit one more hurdle to jump over: gray-water. Before we can even move forward with the building inspector, the environmental services branch of the county health department has to sign off on our system. We are planning on using a Sun-Mar Composting toilet (we already have a humanure bucket system loo I built that we use when we camp on our property) to eliminate black-water from being an issue.
My question is this: Has anyone successfully permitted a gray water system in Kentucky or one of the surrounding states (or anywhere?) that didn't use an in-ground septic tank. Our goal would be that we'd have our sinks, tub, and washing machine (we don't plan on having a dishwasher) plumbed to a surge barrel (60+ gallons) in the Laundry to Landscape scheme. This would then (added step) empty into a gravel/plant filter bed which would then empty into a branched system watering perennial fruit trees and berry bushes.
Our local environmental services guy at the health department has been super friendly and helpful with answering questions, but he has referred us to the state level with the suggestion to write a proposal for experimental status - state code mandates a septic, so we need a waiver if we're going to avoid it. If we are granted an experimental waiver, then he'll sign off. We'll have to make our case that we can address the requirements for water safety and then hope that the folks at the state level will be as willing to learn and go along with us as the folks at the county level have been.
We're very rural (but not remote) and decided to go ahead and go the permitted route because we A) don't want to invest a ton of effort only to have someone come along and shut us down, push to condemn the system/house, or worst case scenario involve CPS because someone decided water flush toilets and a septic tank for biodegradable soapy water are necessary to good parenting. B) we're piggy-backing on other people advancing the paradigm shift, so we want to at least try to put in a permit-legal system for the sake of those who might follow if the path were a bit more trod.
The composting toilet is not a problem; it doesn't require a permit for us. Even if we had flush toilets and were on a septic for black water, the ground in our part of the state doesn't perc correctly, so we'd wind up with a lagoon evaporating area anyway - so basically a big pond we can't go near. If we have to have a septic tank and lagoon for gray water...we still wind up with a pond we can't go near because now we've got stale gray water breeding funk. We figure the system we are proposing takes care of the evaporation, filtration, and eliminates open water hazards.
So, any suggestions? Anyone ever written a proposal or asked for a waiver in the past? Thanks for any feedback
Thanks Miles, I have found it to be a lot like building with legos or prefab panels, and it's gone up a lot easier than I thought it would. I'll look forward to pictures of yours if you decide to build one.
I just wanted to share a little project I've been working on re-purposing pallets. We needed a shed to store tools and keep chicken feed dry while we tent-live in the summers on our property. We bought raw land and lived in a camper last summer, but when my job as a teacher started back up in the fall, we moved back to town. My winter project has been to get this shed up and weatherproof before we head back out in June to tent-live while we work on infrastructure and earthworks. The shed has cost $50 so far due to salvaging the pallets, the roofing, and much of the hardware. The money I've spent has been spent on screws and nails. Eventually there will be two more "wings", one on either side of the structure pictured here. To the left in the photos there will be a greenhouse lean-to with an insulated roof and windows for catching early spring sun. We'll mostly use it for seed starting, and it won't be heated. On the opposite side there will be a lean-to fully roofed an enclosed but with a gravel floor. We'll store firewood and keep the timbers for our home dry while we wait to build.
This has answered so many questions and raised so many more. Currently we use a humanure bucket system but have tossed around the idea of biogas. Thanks for the wealth of knowledge you folks have shared. As usual, an hour on premies is like week in a textbook and class. Hats off to you all.
Ray, We're establishing a permaculture homestead (and hopefully multiple streams of income off the land in the future). We've got 16.5 acres in Mercer County (Harrodsburg Area) and the land here is fairly affordable, the code enforcement people scarce and the codes while present are largely ignored if you have more than 10 acres and are zoned agricultural. Good luck on your adventure, I'd love to get in touch once you're down here. We are building a timber frame and strawbale home which we will be chronicling here on permies as we go; right now we've broken ground and are getting ready to set footers. Cheers.
Excellent suggestions folks. Thanks for responding! I've suggested the kefir to my friends, and they've tried the homemade yoghurt route recently with much better success than with store bought. I'll pass along all of these ideas. Again, thanks for the sharing and willingness to help.
Thanks folks! I actually found out in another roundabout way about disputanta cob almost simultaneously with checking my email and seeing your posts here. I really appreciate the suggestion in Missouri as well. I'll be contacting both sites. Thanks again!
I'm looking for any cob dwellings, barns, projects, or workshops in Kentucky or the surrounding area. My wife and I are considering cob as a path to debt freedom and rural living, but we'd like to talk to someone who has built in KY and can share their experiences/pitfalls/tips. Anyone know of sites in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Illinois, Tennessee, or Missouri that would be able/willing to let us come visit and chat for a bit?
Thanks so much for posting these pictures Kristie. You guys are doing an amazing job getting the place established and building your permaculture around you. So good to see a family living and working together. I'm sure someday your kiddos will enjoy looking back on this time in life and seeing what you, Tim, Jocelyn and Uncle Paul have involved them in creating. Keep up the good work and thanks again for letting the rest of us look into your lives and learn.
Thanks for the suggestions guys! I'll pass those along to my friend. I'm still fairly new to this whole idea of fermentation in general, so I'll look up some recipes. I just got a note that Wild Fermentation is on hold for me at my public library. Maybe there are some recipes therein.
Wayne, I'm from Central Kentucky south of Lexington (just saw you are from Western KY) nice to see a fellow KY permie.
Does anyone have a good recipe for making non-dairy yogurt? Can you make homemade yogurt with soy/almond? I have a dear friend whose little boy has rather nasty tummy trouble when he eats yogurt made with cow milk and I'm hoping to help her out. He's ok with soy and almond. Any suggestions?
So I admit this at the risk of seeming an idiot...I googled "social media for video". I know not the brainiest of options but certainly a simple one. In addition to several listings of video hosting sites (yahoovideo and youtube topping the list along with a slew of others I never heard of) I also stumbled upon a site (linked below) specifically addressing your original question.
Again, I know this is basic and you've probably already done a search of hosting sites like this before, but in the interest of brainstorming I figured I'd throw it your way. I watched the clip and read the article, and I think you are already doing much of what this guy suggests for bringing about more views, but it might be worth checking out. I've not been a huge social media user up til this point, but seconding the previous permie, I know I can do a better job of sharing a video when it's posted.
Adding a tag requesting the videos be shared via G+, Facebook, Twitter etc. Good idea, but I'll second the reply below about length. I'll sit through four hours of video on diatomaceous earth, but my permaculture virgin friends (i.e. future proselytes not yet indoctrinated) need a gradual indoctrination - I mean introduction.
What about making a long video and short video trailer uploaded as a playlist rather than as individual videos. Then you can lure in more minions with the trailer and the ones who are going to give a care in the long run are going to keep watching the full video. You could do a comparison on this and see how many people view the trailer compared with those who follow through on the whole 80 minutes.
What about a bit of "PaulWheaton12 Branding" You've got great clipart/graphics on the main page of permies. Why not have something eye grabbing and professionally appealing that makes a viewer recognize it as one of your videos. I know that given a choice of permaculture videos to view I'm going to go with the one that looks like it has quality editing from the thumbnail rather than the one that has half a shoe and a pile of chicken manure because that is where the camera was pointed when the videographer turned off her camera (not your videos Paul ;P just an illustration of how I select my videos to watch)
What about a brief intro to each video like you have the common outro (If you like this sort of thing...). Again, its not multiplication by exposure (people still have to click the video) but it's multiplication by branding and making the product something a discriminating video viewer will be more likely to share.
Keep up the good work. I enjoy your videos and I'm so thankful you introduced my to the music of Jimmy Pardo. We literally put our house on the market and are moving to a 5 acre mini-farm in central KY because you, Geoff Lawton, Ben Falk, and a little show called Peak Moment kicked us into reading the design manual and deciding we were going to raise our three kids as permies from thenceforth. Thanks for all your work spreading the word.
As an aside, I listened to your podcast with Adrian about how you worry that when you work hard you save a life and when you screw around for an hour, someone dies. Morbid? - yes, Plausible? - meh, but you also have inspired quite a few others who are spreading the word locally (I've got five or six other families from my church who are currently discussing doing what my wife and I are doing and I feel confident I'm going to get some of them to take the leap with us). I teach third grade and this fall we're going to be planting a couple of food forest guilds in our school courtyard as a part of my "hey, I'm sneaking permaculture into how I teach science" plan. So in some ways, you can take a bit of the credit for anyone we save and buy yourself an hour or two of screw around time.
Also and on the DL I've been completely poo-less for three weeks now and the wife hasn't noticed anything so...we'll see how long I can go.
Welcome to Permies Dave. I live in central Kentucky and am surrounded by land that was cleared for Horse and Tobacco farming centuries ago. My wife and I just put an offer on a 5 acre homestead with perimeter scrub trees, but the land is all pasture. We would like to reforest about 2/3 of the forest in a combination of food forest and usable timber (black locust for fence and fuel, etc.) I'll post in the forum with a couple of questions for you this week. Thanks for giving your time this week.
Wow, this certainly is a challenge with the strict restrictions on building eh? I'm getting ready to move with my family to a new piece of land, so it might take a bit for life to settle down, but I'll try to sketch out my ideas and get back to you.
(I think I just saw your name in the forum on my comment for Sandor Is your plan to build an updraft solar dryer or a down-draft solar dryer? I'm intrigued by your idea to use stone, but it might prove to be a difficult material to work with as far as a conventional dryer. My dryers have tight seals except for the vents/chimney and the air inlet, so I'm thinking about how many gaps you'll have in a stone wall (I'm inexperienced with this idea of stone drying, so that may not be a problem)
Also, which way am I facing as I look into your picture. You said that it was going to face south. Is south to the left in the picture? I have some ideas coming to mind right away that I'd love to sketch out for you and scan in as a picture so you can see, but it will help if I can orient myself to that picture. What sort of materials do you have to work with for drawers, solar heat accumulator, and chimney? If you were to build an updraft dryer I think you would just need wood/screen/lathe for your drawers, and the rest could be stone. If you were going to do a downdraft, it would take up less space if you used wood for the internals to separate your down draft cavity and the chimney on the back.
I really hope this works for you, and I'd love to help in any way I can. I've progressed from simply drying on screens in the open sun, to updraft with/without fans, and now I'm building a solar downdraft dryer out of salvaged wood and stovepipe. I'm definitely no expert, but I've had fair success drying food and I'd love to be useful to you. Cheers
Thanks for the reply Sandor, I keep having to remind myself that we're talking about fermenting (not pickling with brine right?) My context is for pickling and all of these threads are blowing my mind with possibilities of fermenting.
Xisca, I had only been thinking about veggies so great addition to the question. I'd love to know Sandor's answer to your question as well.
Mr. Katz...or all you permies who know more than I do -
My current preservation method of choice has been drying (I used to freeze but I don't like all the electricity it takes to keep that going) and I have experimented with drying just about everything I grow. I'll get your books for the specifics on how to do it, but my question to you would be what CAN'T be fermented. Or rather, what things should I avoid trying to ferment because either the end product or nutritional value is not significantly impacted by fermentation.
I love this topic by the way. I live in Kentucky, so my winter garden is still producing tons of Kale and Spinach, and my spring garden is breaking through the mulch as I sit here. I feel almost giddy thinking about preserving the yield with something other than my homemade food dryer. Awesome subject matter.
People often add grape leaves, oak leaves, horseradish leaves, sour cherry leaves, or other tannin-rich leaves to pickles
so, how subtly do these anti-pectinase additives affect the flavor of the pickles. I make garlic/dill pickles and pickled onions but I don't really want to mess with the flavor. I've had the same issue with the pickles losing their "crunch", so this sounds appealing...but at what cost? Thanks!
I must admit I know very little about fermentation but I'm excited to learn. I suppose in my perfect world I could get my hands on a copy of your books and then not ask redundant questions that can be answered by reading (I'll check my local library to see if I can find a copy). As a newcomer to the idea of fermentation as preservation, I apologize if my questions this week are overly simplistic. I'm super excited to have this access to your expertise. Thanks for partnering with Paul and Permies.com to share with all of us.