Chris Miller

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since Jan 13, 2014
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Recent posts by Chris Miller


I am very interested in this. Do you have any more details? My biggest concern would be with pests. I have heard of similar setups that are quickly overrun with roaches. Does this system use any sort of cover material? Is there a vent in the "vault" to allow it to breathe?

If you have a drawing and could email that to me, that would be awesome. My email is chris _AT_

This sounds interesting to me and i would love to learn more.


Jerry McIntire wrote:The most impressive composting toilet I've had the pleasure of using has much in common with Steve Heckeroth's progressive chamber design, which needs so little attention and involves no hauling or emptying of buckets of poo. I have a drawing of the design, which I'll share once I figure out how to do it. Meanwhile I'll describe it.

Like the Sunny John, it's a vault toilet technically. Under the bathroom in a building (house) is a large concrete vault-- but not as large as you'd think. The secret is a metal mesh with 1 - 2" square openings midway through the drop zone. At start-up, the mesh is covered with several layers of newspaper, then some fresh compostable material, and a heaping handful of worms.

Begin use. When I was using these toilets, they had been in operation for fourteen (14) years and they HAD YET TO BE EMPTIED. Not enough had piled up in the bottom of the chamber to need emptying. Worms are your friends! Amazing reduction in volume. The compost could be removed at any time and used on trees, etc. This is permaculture at its best, big return for a well-designed, inexpensive system that is so low maintenance it's hard to believe. The residential building code in my state will allow these because they are a vault toilet. Vault toilets need to be emptied-- if they ever get full!

These toilets use a urine diverter to keep the solids from getting too wet, and because urine is such an easily used source of fertilizer. Dilute it 2:1 or 5:1 or 10:1, water:urine, and apply it.

6 years ago
I pledged $60. I'd like to see this. I'd really like to see what someone would do with our 85 acres of desert. It's a strip of land that goes from 3200 feet in elevation to around 3700 at the base of a mesa. Lots of water comes thru during seasonal rains but i'm not so sure our trincheras and ponds that we've built in the arroyos up the mountain will do anything to keep water on the property and reintroduce hydrology because we have very rocky soil. The ponds were build with good clays but not sure what our possibilities are with the rest of the land.

If you're ever in the area - I think we could put together a workshop here and get a good turnout. Lots down here are interested in this stuff.

Hey Katie,

Ours is indoors but we just use the bucket system. We've got 14 buckets and when they all fill up we take them out to the IBC tote composting bin for dumping and cleaning. We love the setup and this keeps it very simple with less moving parts and all.

The best setup I have seen is the one below and we plan to make one like it soon. With the roll off trash bins you never have to clean another bucket again. Just roll the bin out into the sun and let it sit for a year. Obviously you'd need quite a few of these bins but I think it's a great system. Here's the link:

6 years ago
We bokashi compost ours.... stole the idea from these folks:
6 years ago
We've been using the basic humanure setup for about a year now. Everything goes into the buckets and everything then gets dumped into the big compost bin. The urine keeps the moisture up without having to add supplemental water and works out great.

A humanure bucket should never smell if covered correctly with suitable material after each use.
6 years ago
My initial thoughts on fodder from an off-grid standpoint.
6 years ago
I am actively seeking some larger palo verde trees here in SW Texas to plant around our homestead. So far I am not finding a good source any closer than Houston - 600 miles east. I'd like to start with 5-10 and as large as possible.

Any leads would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!
6 years ago
If you're ever down in SW Texas - get in touch with us. We'd love to show you what we're doing out here at Timeless Ranch. We're only 10 months in and our knowledge is somewhat limited but we have come a long way and we love visitors. Everything is experimental at this point - we haven't even had a good rain since building our trincheras and ponds but the stuff is in place if you would like to check it out.

We're completely off-grid too and could show you our solar setup, rain catchment, building projects, etc.

We can be reached thru our blog anytime.

6 years ago

I am looking to connect with others who are dedicated to regreening the deserts of the Southwest US. If you have a blog we could check out please share that as well.

We're down here in the Chihuahuan Desert in SW Texas on the border of Mexico. 85 acres right now, completely off-grid. We catch all of our water from a pretty good sized roof we put up. We've built at the first small hill coming out of a giant draw at around 3200 feet and the rest of our property is up behind us and continues to increase in elevation before dead ending at the base of a big mesa at roughly 3700 feet. We've begun putting in a series of trincheras to slow the flow of water in the arroyos and have begun putting ponds in as well to keep the water as high up on the property as possible.

We're only into our first year at our homestead but we've come a long way in a short time. We're hoping to learn more and get even more done in 2014.

If you're interested in checking out our blog, it's in the signature below.

Thanks and i'm looking forward to connecting with you!
6 years ago