Eve McKie

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since Aug 17, 2012
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Recent posts by Eve McKie



I've only found sawdust by the yard at places that sell things like bark-o-mulch by the yard. Good luck and hope you get your septic system working again!
5 years ago

Ben Mosley wrote:Thanks for this post.Now I feel like such a dope.We recently experienced a septic system break down that filled our house with raw sewage.Still trying to rebuild the bathroom,utility room,and hallway.Yep,it was that bad.So we decided to go on the bucket so to speak.We do use liners and cedar shavings.We have had a smell issue.Us boys go wee outside.Maw uses the same bucket as the solids.We always add a little covering of shavings after every potty trip.We have the stink issue.Now I believe it's due to two things; 1)urine in the waste and 2)the medications I take.Hopefully I will have my health back in order over the next year and I will be able to cut back on the meds.Hope to eliminate the need.For now,I guess I will deodorize the bathroom.



No, your problem is the cedar shavings, they don't work well at all. You need sawdust. You will have no smell if you use sawdust and take out the buckets when they get about 3/4 full. We mixed urine and poo for 2 years with no smell (5 people), you are only using the wrong medium. Like I said in my previous post, the problem with urine is the weight, so take it out before it gets so heavy you hate yourself.



5 years ago

Alex Love wrote:@Eve - My understanding of the Pockets of Freedom map is that it is asserting it's possible to get building permits for alternative buildings in that county (or at least earthships), not that the county does not enforce the building codes. I would love to be able to ignore the building code, but I'm not comfortable with living life looking over my shoulder like that. We're now leaning toward avoiding the sub-division and setting up the land trust or a non-profit corp. Agree with you that finding a pre-existing permitted residence seems the way to go ... although it raises the buy-in price, and we are determined to do this debt free.



I'm not sure where they got their info but I would certainly take that map with a very small grain of salt. Lane County sorta of, kind of, will allow alternative buildings. It will allow you to use some natural materials but we have some of the strictest building codes in the State. An earthship as built in the books and New Mexico would never be allowed here, you wouldn't be able to obtain a permit. In Lane County everything must be engineered and stamped from an Oregon Engineer, if you were buying bare land you would also have to engineer a road, let alone septic and electrical. Everything is also very expensive here, land and permits. I talked with Lane County once about a strawbale home, they said they would allow straw to be used as insulation only and nothing structural, when you figure it out it is much cheaper to go with a stick built versus trying to engineer something like an Earthship or Strawbale home. I was talking with someone here and Lane County wouldn't even let him permit an alternative heat source for his house, he had to put electric cadet heaters in every room, he said he hasn't turned them on in 10 years and does use his alternative system instead. In short we are very regulated.

As to the water, I think there are some misconceptions. For one thing, we have a lot of water here, in that it rains a lot. We get about 40"-45" of rainfall a year. Many years you will have many more problems with too much water versus too little (your fields get too soggy for livestock and mildews your plants). Also you can have irrigation wells, they are very very common here. I have both a residential well and an irrigation well myself, plus collect water. I don't know of a regulation that limits your irrigation wells (but you must obtain a permit for them, which is cheap and easy to obtain, our well guy got ours for us). The State owns the waterways but many places have seasonal creeks and ponds that are not considered waterways but if you have a tributary or official creek running through your property you can't damm it up or use it unless you have irrigation rights (I know many people that do have irrigation rights to creeks, it's not unheard of). Another thing to consider here in the Northwest is Wetlands, these also are regulated and can not have livestock or buildings on official Wetlands. You do need to check all the restrictions that will come with any property.

I hope you find what you are looking for!
6 years ago
Like others said, you can collect rainwater off your roofs in Oregon, it actually seems encouraged around here.

The creeks, tributaries, and rivers do belong to the State and you can't mess with them. If you have livestock they also want you to fence them out, there was just an article this week in a local small paper about a family with 440 acres who is working with groups to save the streams and creeks that run through their property, it's been a good partnership.

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/article/cows-and-creeks

The fellow in Jackson County built a series of dam's and was actually diverting water from the creeks and tributaries, he was not collecting rainwater, he was creating huge reservoirs that he was actually stocking and using for sport fishing (complete with a boat dock). This is not allowed. This is a long standing fight on both sides, they have been trying to work with him for 10 years, it is not like he was not given warnings.

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/07/jackson_county_man_sentenced_f.html

Not arguing for or against the guy in Jackson County but somehow this case has gotten turned into that we can not collect rainwater in Oregon, which isn't true.
6 years ago
I was on another board and saw someone say that Stevens County Washington has no building codes, keep in mind though that that area is close to the Canada border and cold during the winter! Or I should say they have building codes but no permits or inspection requirements. I have seen some nice things though about Stevens County, they have a decent alternative community (or so I have read, no personal experience on that).

6 years ago
I have no idea why Lane County in Oregon is on that map, it is the exact opposite of a "pocket of freedom". You can't even camp on your own land, let alone build without building codes. In fact they will levy $1,000 a day fine until you take down whatever structure you built without permits (ask me how I know). You can also not live in and build at the same time, you must have a certificate of occupancy before you can move in. We have some of the strictest codes in Oregon. I don't know about the other Counties on that map but I would disregard it just for putting Lane on there. We do have a gray area where you can build under 200 sq ft without a permit but this is not for a primary living residence, more along the lines of a shed but some people do push the limits of this, maybe that is why it is on the list?

Tillamook is our dairy cow County by the way, not much else there. Very green and pretty but wet.

Where are you moving from? I am not as familiar with the other Western Counties in Oregon but I would look farther south, like Douglas or Josephine and try to find out about their building codes. I am not sure of any county that allows building in Oregon without permits but you never know. If you want to buy in Oregon I would look for something with a permitted residence already there, we have gotten around some of the codes by having a permitted single wide trailer as the "residence", this only gets you so far if they want to mess with you though.
6 years ago
That's Awesome! I am totally using that photo, thanks for sharing!

6 years ago
We've used a bucket system for probably a year and a half or so, family of 5 with 3 girls.

Urine is a bigger problem, with any "alternative" system, including composting toilets. We started out with a 2 bucket system (one for pee, one for poo), this ended up being a bigger hassle then necessary for us. The pee gets SO heavy, insanely heavy, I found it better just to co-mingle.

What we do is layer wood pellets (either stall dry or wood pellets like you would put in a stove) in the bottom of the buckets, I use a 3lb feed scoop, and put a healthy amount in the bottom. Then use ONLY actual "sawdust", we've used everything and nothing comes close to keeping everything kosher as much as sawdust does. If you keep the pellets in the bottom and use sawdust you'll be fine.

We use about 1 bucket per day, we have 2 in the house, I take the buckets out every other day and clean them once a week or so. It's not a huge hassle but it is another chore that will need to be done. The emptying and cleaning won't be as big of a problem if you keep those wood pellets in the bottom, they soak up the urine. It is always a real bummer if we are out and I have to start a bucket without them.

Overall they have basically zero smell inside and for the most part it really isn't grosser then anything else. I find the cat box grosser.

Humanure by Jenkins is a must buy, great book.

Oh, and yes, people that come over are usually yucked out, I try and feel out how outhouse type friendly in general they are before inviting people over


6 years ago