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What are the necessities in an outhouse?

 
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What are the essential qualities in an outhouse?

I'm guessing, based on past experience...
  • something to wipe with
  • ample air flow
  • privacy
  • shelter from extreme weather
  • somewhere to deposit your, um, deposits


  • Am I missing anything?
     
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    R Ranson wrote:What are the essential qualities in an outhouse?

    I'm guessing, based on past experience...

  • something to wipe with
  • ample air flow
  • privacy
  • shelter from extreme weather
  • somewhere to deposit your, um, deposits


  • Am I missing anything?



    ours had a framed degas print and a nice handmade broom for sawdust spills.
    I liked having an essential oil and a candle, just foo foo, not necessary, I guess

    for parties we would set up a jug and towel for hand washing on a bench near the outhouse. Otherwise we went back in our house for handwashing (unless we used the indoor sawdust toilet and pee bucket and we were already indoors...).
     
    gardener
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    Put the TP in a metal breadbox (or something similar) or the mice will shred it. Magazine or two will fit in there too.
     
    master pollinator
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    Perhaps a can of bug spray or a flyswatter for the occasional spider that sets up housekeeping there. Black widows get most of the attention, but spiders in general like outhouses and can give a nasty bite.
     
    pollinator
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    An absence of interference from the Departments of Sadness?
     
    gardener
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    My mother was a firm believer that an outhouse should have posters. Funny, educational, odd -- it didn't matter. She put them up. One of ours was a color poster illustrating and identifying all the common chicken breeds. Others had philosophical sayings she agreed with. There was a "flags of all fifty states" poster too. One thing is certain: if someone stares at the same poster every day for years, they will remember whatever is on there for decades. So pick wisely.
     
    pollinator
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    Karen Layne wrote:Put the TP in a metal breadbox (or something similar) or the mice will shred it.




    OOOOhhhhh, THATS why!!!
     
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    We use a sawdust toilet so have to keep a can of cover material. In a conventional outhouse it doesn't hurt to keep some lime or wood ashes to dump in and help keep odors down. We also keep hand sanitizer and a container of cleaning wipes for quick seat wipedowns. Also, a solar light for night visits.
     
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    Someone pointed me to The Humanure Handbook. Stink free outhouse. Lovely.
     
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    I am about to replace the bench, chute and hole in my existing outhouse with a normal solid floor and a Jenkins style sawdust toilet. This outhouse is a stand alone building on a rural property. If I had an outhouse at any type of sleeping building I would install a sawdust toilet inside the accommodation , even if I had to attach the former outhouse to the side of the building to make room. No need to segregate when using a sawdust toilet. If someone wants to make their outhouse more pleasant without switching I would advocate using sawdust cover material. I would advise against using lime and or ashes since they stop bacterial breakdown and can cause the waste to turn into a cementlike substance which is hard to deal with if moving the outhouse is not an option.
     
    gardener
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    My suggestion: a fly trap. Over the years, I have installed dozens of fly traps in outhouses.

    Materials needed: an 8 foot piece of PVC (2 or 3") -- scrap is just fine.
    A hole saw the same diameter of the PVC pipe, and a cordless drill for your holesaw.
    Caulk
    A piece of nylon window screen
    A rubber band


    Cut a hole in the roof of your privy and fit the 8 foot piece of 2 or 3 inch pvc pipe down through the roof. Drop it down to the bench where your toilet seat is located, and mark a spot for the pipe to go through.

    Cut a second hole in the bench and fit the pipe through the bench. Don't put it too close to your toilet seat, or it'll be in the way. You can put it right up against the wall. Perhaps I should have said this before step 1: don't cut a hole right in the center of your roof --- locate it to the side or in the corner somewhere, but it's got to be over the bench.

    Fit the pipe up through the hole in the roof, and then down through the bench. Attach the piece of pipe somehow so that it doesn't slip down and drop into the pit below. From the outside, it looks like your outhouse has a stove pipe sticking straight up. Caulk around the pipe where it passes through the roof and the bench. You want a tight seal so flies can't get in or out through that gap. Important: the pipe should just barely pass through the bench a half inch or so -- you don't want it sticking down into the pit a long way -- only a little bit. Thus, any excess pipe sticks up through the roof.

    Climb up and cut off the pipe to whatever length you wish -- I usually leave it sticking up 3 or 4 inches above the roof. In snowy climates, perhaps a bit longer.

    At the top of the pipe, stretch the window screen over the pipe and hold it in place with a rubber band. This now seals the end so any fly that enters the pipe from down in the poop pit will be trapped and not be able to get out. Squirt a bead of caulk through the screen onto the pipe to glue it into place. You can remove the rubber band when the caulk is dry, or it will eventually fall off as the UV rays cook it.

    Done.

    What happens is that when you are done using the privy, you drop the seat down and any flies that are down in the hole will be attracted to the little circle of light that they see coming down from the pipe. They fly up into the pipe and try to get out of the top. The window screening keeps them from getting out, and they die up there. Their dead body drops down into the pit and you've eliminated one more housefly who would otherwise have been buzzing around your ass as you sat down to do your business.

    If you have a black soldier fly colony down in the pit, this system is hard on the adults that want to get out. But if they have already laid their eggs, it doesn't matter, as their adult lifespan is only 5 days anyway and once they've laid their eggs they will just fly off to die somewhere. But if you have a housefly colony in the pit, this is a natural way to seriously knock down their numbers and take out the adults.

    Another nice feature is to build your privy on a pair of heavy skids, so if you wish to move it, you just hitch it up to a tractor or pickup and drag it to a new location. Then fill in the hole with some fill dirt and plant a tree in that spot. If you move your privy once a year, you don't have to dig so deep, and you can plant a series of trees to mark where your persona business when to its final resting place.

    Finally, no outhouse is complete without a crescent moon on the door, either as a cut-out for ventilation, or simply paint one on the outside of the door. Just because.

     
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    A sense of humor should always be included with any outhouse design.    Mine has a pull chain to flush it.   And a rubber mouse covers the handle to the hole lid.
     
    Wyatt Barnes
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    If you had a particular bent to your sense of humour the lid to the outhouse hole would not lift.
     
    Nancy Troutman
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    Wyatt Barnes wrote:If you had a particular bent to your sense of humour the lid to the outhouse hole would not lift.



    If you lived anywhere around me, I would build my outhouse out of brick.   So that you wouldn't tip it.  
     
    Wyatt Barnes
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    No one tips outhouses....... you quietly move them 4 feet backwards.  
     
    Nancy Troutman
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    Wyatt Barnes wrote:No one tips outhouses....... you quietly move them 4 feet backwards.  



    I just got this.   >   Pictures a victim crawling out of a hole.

    We made it so that when one hole is full, the outhouse can be easily shoved to the next hole.   This guarantees no rocks during the digging of holes  

    So the outhouse stays pretty much in the same spot, just shoved back and forth 6'.

    We are of the "small hole - move frequently" camp.   We dig about 4' down and 28" wide.   It takes several years to fill the hole.   We have urine diversion in our outhouse, so there is almost no stink to it.   The urine is directed to a nearby septic tank because it is used by guests.   Rather than educate guests on how to use a 2-bucket system, we have the outhouse for their use.   Family uses Pee & Poo buckets inside.  We do not use the urine or humanure from it because of "other people's germs" and we do not know what drugs they are taking.   So we consider guests non-organic and therefore do not add their waste to our garden.

    Outhouse-04-20-10.JPG
    [Thumbnail for Outhouse-04-20-10.JPG]
     
    Wyatt Barnes
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    Getting a joke later on is like finding food in your pocket, a nice surprise. I love hearing about people getting jokes later at inappropriate times for laughing. With friends I try to time a funny comment just as they are taking a drink, why should they be the only ones laughing. That is a nice looking outhouse.
     
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    if using wood or wood byproducts...

    you might go over the toxicity lists : http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-allergies-and-toxicity/


    if you've adapted or are unaffected by what you're using, you might also keep in mind, your guests might not be...

    some of the most common allergies are with the two most popular choices due to their tendency to mask the scent

    cedar and pine

    the scent of pine alone can triggers breathing and asthma related symptoms

    while with cedar, many tend to break out or swell through contact with as little as dust particles.

    And of course, if you're using humanure for composting for your crops.. there are some wood that might inhibit plant growth in excess quantities.

    Though, I'm told a mixture is usually a little safer all around...

    In general, if you're going to have a guest outhouse.. making it a bit more roomier inside tends to be helpful for the uninitiated. And it doesn't hurt to have an 'adjustable' seat or more than one place to sit for your super sized friends (might need some reinforcement), just enough space for great grandma and her walker (so maybe some rails) or little timmy being a risk for falling down the pit toilet (and so a ladder down the hole for those that are willing to swim in the sludge for lost wedding bands or iphones).

    And with you frugal builders, it should have a rear view mirror and set of tweezers.

    of course, you could just keep some blue bags on hand... certainly might help for the my poo is more holier than thous crowd. Although, I get it, there isn't much use for it in and of itself. one of my friends has attempted but hasn't had much luck with trying to redirect that waste to heat to the edge of her property when snowfall reduces the effectiveness of her fence by a couple feet.
     
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