The outhouse isn’t finished and yet it’s already been christened by all three kids! The roof was completed and the seat worked on.

Saving and recycling your poop is “gross”. Not many people are willing to consider composting their poop and frankly, many probably don’t even want to acknowledge they have poop at all. What, I don’t poop. That’s gross.

I’m reminded of climbing trips to popular crags like Skaha in the old days. I’d get up in the morning, head to the campsite bathroom for my morning poop (yes, I poop) and being given the social evil eye by the other women, often applying makeup, upon my exit from the stall. No, I wasn’t especially loud or smelly. It’s like you’re supposed to pretend you don’t poop. Like you’re supposed to hold it until the bathroom is empty so you can do this dirty dirty deed without witnesses. Like it’s rude to use the toilet facilities to their full intended purpose. Well, I refuse. Pooping is normal. Everyone poops! Viva le poops!

I think many people prefer their waste to go away without further thought of where it goes or what happens to it. Sewage plants, dumping in the ocean and other mass disposal of human waste is well… a waste. These mentioned methods contribute to environmental destruction and is obviously harmful to our health. Poop is nutrient rich and safe to use on crops, once it’s been composted, not to mention the numerous other benefits to recycling human waste.

More links on Humanure

This is the view from the toilet seat. Not that pretty yet but one day soon…

The first part of our day.

11 Responses to Humanure

  1. peggy says:

    So awesome. And I think the view from the seat is grand!

    When I lived in a yurt and had a composting toilet I developed a whole understanding of poop and its normalcy in the world. I mean of course its normal, but we don’t DEAL with it. Poop and death, they don’t exist.

    Sometimes I would mention the words “composting toilet” just to freak people out.

  2. Annie says:

    Ahhh… the horrors… the audacity… the insolence! Composting toilet, indeed. :D

  3. Ah yes, open air toileting at it’s best! The shack on Lakit was my first taste of a poop with a view facility and in my JFR summer we improved upon the design and went with the open air concept. It was a little too open for some so we never really had much of a problem with smell or bugs. Maybe it’s because we weren’t so ashamed of poo or stirring the pot?

    I’ve always been much more interested in a composting toilet but I’m not quite sure why we haven’t gone that route yet. They’re almost normal in Ontario’s cottage country and I have used a few. Thanks for stating your view – I don’t think this was anything we ever talked about in Cranny so I never knew we were on the same page. I can’t wait to see an ooh yuck comment now!

  4. Annie says:

    Stirring the pot… Ha!

  5. Sarah says:

    I just got a book about humanure recommended to me – it’s really an interesting subject, and you’re right – in our culture it’s definitely out of bounds.

    In some areas of the world where there’s not enough land for animals that will supply manure or for growing enough plant material for compost, humanure composted sanely is what keeps the crops and gardens going.

  6. Sarah says:

    You can trust me to chime in on the subject of poo! What a fantastic toilet Annie. I am so jealous!

    I read in a parenting book (perhaps a Sears one) that you shouldn’t grimace and tell your baby they have a horrible smelly bum when changing a nappy, but to say they have “treasure” in their trousers!!! Ha! Presumably for most people this would be through gritted teeth as they scraped the turd off a diapered bottom! I love EC for the fact I am usually pleased to greet a poo instead of feeling disgust towards it. I am trying to foster a healthy attitude towards it in the kids. E used to comment what hers were- “Look it’s a frog” or “Mummy, a rainbow!”. Today we both concluded that M had produced an enormous German pretzel. Am I going too far?! LOL.

    Perhaps I should look at humanure and composting to relieve our ancient Victorian Sewers. I wonder if it’s possible here, we live in such a densely populated urban area. I will investigate. Thanks for the links, and the laughs ;)

  7. Shannon says:

    Great post! We have a composting toilet to put in our new house which I hope will work well, but if you ask my kids about outhouses they will tell you about their “favorite.” (Which for some reason I think is funny, that they have a “favorite” outhouse) It is a similar, open air one that you climb steps to (so I think they think it is grand or something) and has an AMAZING view of a garden and valley up a glacial river in Alaska. They LOVE that toilet. If our composting one doesn’t work, hopefully we can have a “loo with a view” too!

  8. Lindsay says:

    I’m probably doing some really taboo blog thing by commenting on a post this old, but Kris and I are considering building our own house and when we were talking about toilets I immediately thought of this post of yours. Didn’t want to ask on Facebook because, well, poop is gross dontcha know, and my relatives would be horrified. =P

    We’re discussing composting toilets in the house itself, but I’m curious about this open air toilet (as we may do something like that at the back of our hypothetical property). Does someone just come and empty the bucket somewhere?

  9. Annie says:

    Not a faux pas at all. At least I don’t think so.

    I think this outhouse’s bucket gets dumped when it’s nearly full or if it really needs it. I believe the collected poop sits for a couple years before it’s ready to be used as humanure. The poop from each year is in it’s own pile not too far away in a compost bin type arrangement.

    I’m not sure I would opt for a bucket needing to be dumped arrangement or maybe an outhouse a bit further away over a large pit.

    Why wouldn’t you compost at least some of your poop if you had the property to do it?! Can’t wait to hear about more about your potential move to have your own land!

  10. Lindsay says:

    Thanks Annie! That’s sort of what I figured. Not sure I am up for that either. =P The properties we are looking at are only 5-10 acres each so it’s not like something like that is even necessary, we can always just walk back to the house (or you know, squat). ;)

    I’ve been reading about composting toilets though, and the Humanure book is online and I think it’s complete, so I’ve been reading that too. Interesting stuff. I’d never even heard of the concept before your post, and everyone always says never compost poop from meat eaters, but I love the idea. It would mean we wouldn’t need a septic field too.

  11. Annie says:

    These guys don’t have a lot more land than what you’re looking at and it’s got bedrock not far under the soil in some places which I think in part guides their choices. The toilet that they had to put in the house because of the building code almost never gets used. How amazing is that?! Their outhouse is not far from the door to their bedroom.

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