Adam Chisholm

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since Feb 19, 2013
Born in Kentucky, grew up raising sheep in northern lower peninsula of Michigan, moved back to KY with lovely wife, I teach third grade, I have three kids, I grow things, I build things, I'm trying to move outside the city limits to a place where I can do a lot more with a lot less.
Bluegrass region of Kentucky, USDA Zone 6a - unpredictable but manageable
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Recent posts by Adam Chisholm

Hi, I got the email from kickstarter saying that things were delivered.  I haven't received a scubbly email with a token.  I've checked spam and all the other folders, but it's not there.

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.
3 years ago
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.
3 years ago
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

Cheers,
Adam


3 years ago
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.
3 years ago
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.

I've really enjoyed seeing the money-saving uses of pallets that others have posted on the forums, and I hope you'll enjoy seeing this one. If you want to see photos of the whole process from start to finish, I've got a slideshow on my blog. https://kentuckyfarmstead.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/im-getting-my-shed-together-finally/

Cheers
3 years ago
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.
4 years ago
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.

Adam
4 years ago
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.
5 years ago
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!

Adam
5 years ago
cob