Robin Brewer

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since Sep 04, 2016
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dog tiny house wofati
Kentucky - Zone 6
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Recent posts by Robin Brewer


This absolutely helps and thanks for being brave enough to answer.  Like another poster, I am feeling a bit hurried to get this enclosed before it gets cold here.  With that pressure, I have already accepted cutting some corners that would normally be totally natural, land- and earth-sourced...  I have little experience building and YES, have been told "it's not done here", "sure, up NORTH"...   Since I first dug my uphill patio, (which promptly collected water), I have researched and changed the plan.  Like Paul's WOFATI, where he suggests (in the drawing at least) the uphill should be lower than the home, I intend to raise the home level off the original (totally UG) home plan.  But, in keeping with Oehler's MORE underground, I want to keep it incognito more than a mound of dirt. At the risk of offending, (please, it's not on purpose, but of ignorance), is Paul's dislike of the word "underground" due to perceived negative?  I have been grounding a while and LOVE the idea of a GROUNDED home...  solid, good air, etc.  I will compromise.

What would you think of a double-layer on the floor, i.e. two layers of poly or moisture barrier on the FLOOR  - with soil in between, like the top of the house -   to keep seepage/humidity/moisture out?  What would you suggest to segregate the gravel layer from what's above it?  I can only think of plywood, because of the size/level surface.  If I revert my plans back to timbers from the property, curing and debarking time is involved. I could mill some trees into wider boards over poly/barrier.

Thanks again!  Time permitting, if you want, feel free to PM me.
3 years ago
I want to field this question on flooring, insulation, and moisture.....   building a la WOFATI.  I know Oehler's love of earth because it WAS insulating, placed poly/EPDM on top and then (natural fiber) carpet.  

Average AM Precipitation ranges from 3" to 5.25" per month, and humidity from 78% to 88%, and PM from 57% to 68%.

I'm being told, by local - albeit conventional - builders in my area (South Central KY) that I'll need gravel -- lots of it - beneath any floor.  

I resist this with a passion, because then I need a floor, need a moisture barrier (right?), floor (treated? Which i don't want) or wrapped in poly?......  

If I provide adequately for drainage,  as I plan to with the uphill terrace, a curtain drain uphill of that - and the Oehler lowered trough around/outside my main floor level - do I need to have gravel beneath my floor?

Thoughts?  Thank you in advance  -
3 years ago
Zac,  This is wonderful!   I had dreamed for years of what kind of sustainable living space I might build, and immediately felt I'd found THE ANSWER when I found and read Mike's books and then, DVDs.

I am in the very first stage, have started excavating the uphill patio. My question is, your site being in MO, at least we're in the middle Midwest -South (I'm in S Central KY).  Though I'm 500 feet above sea level, I'm getting some groundwater accumulation.

What do you, or others, think about design modifications to Oehler's main plan to make it work?  (Without concrete pref.).  I consider leaving the lowest level as a gravel pit, put in drain pipes from the bottom.  Keep my living level the step above and, if I need to, have the roof start above the existing ground level. Shed roof slanted per Oehler design.  My footprint is a basic 16' square, much smaller than yours, one level.

Anyone else dealing with rain, and water?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
3 years ago
I have used the Jenkins Humanure toilet with sawdust, and had only "some" odor indoors. It was perfect for summer outdoors.  Summers, we often found lots of grasshoppers/katydids collected in the bucket, and butterflies around it.   We never put TP in.

Variables- hybrid of Jenkins and Nature's Head methods:
Divert Urine  - or otherwise separate it
Vent Hose and small fan
Sawdust versus sphagnum peat moss (or cocounut fiber)
In-bucket Paddles to aerate the mixture

Call it my laziness, or procrastinating, that lead me to invest in the Nature's Head.  They are both great methods, but I would say the Jenkins takes strict discipline.  Processing my buckets was put off until the absolute last thing I had to do. However, the Nature's Head works very well.  

3 years ago
I want to clarify what seems is interpretted as a criticism of Jenkins toilets, and detach the comment about "buckets of poo" from the Jenkins.  This from my earlier post......  

It was the comment of the sanitation engineer at County level, saying that compost toilet users collected buckets.   While the intent of the Jenkins "Loveable Loo" toilet is to compost and create humanure, his point (and I must beleive it has merit) is that, many people "think they want to" do it, but don't...   I would say the commentor

My statement, and the affadavit made to my County engineer to "not discharge sewage" satisfied them.  I would never, you would never, and Jenkins users who really use them as designed, WOULD NEVER EVER discharge sewage to property.   My comment was to show how their thinking was.  The fact that I had to go "all the way there" (making the affadavit), proves how far they are away from - or how many times they've been burned by well-intentioned people - accepting composting as an option.

Also, in the area (Kentucky) outhouses are totally acceptable and have been in use - and still are in use - for a hundred years and maybe more.

I apologize that my post sounded critical of any Jenkins users (I have been in the past too), or any compost toilet user, or any composter.
3 years ago