Five to seven cold days, followed by two or three warmer days, and then repeat. This has been the pattern for the last couple of months, teasing us with the possibility of an early spring, and then slapping us with another dose of winter.
Progress on the homestead has been slow. The outhouse/generator shack is coming together, but warmer weather would be welcome. The RV style window has been mounted temporarily to check fit and function (and to keep the cold wind out). The chute between the floor and seat is a scrounged piece of ABS pipe (thank-you Mr. T). With the wood seat placed on top, I sat down to check the positioning of the window. My first impression is good, it seems roomy and comfortable. The window is ideally sited for the contemplation of nature. The screened slider can be operated easily from the seated position, allowing quick, easy adjustments to cooling and air supply. This test was of course a “dry run” because …. Well, I didn’t have a magazine handy.
It got me thinking more about another looming issue, and that is venting. I have visited enough outhouses and porta-potties in my day to have formed a firm opinion that the two biggest issues with this type of waste management are winter cold and bad odours. The most common method of venting I have seen is a tube that runs from under the floorboards straight through the roof terminating a couple feet above the roofline. The problem I see with this is that it allows two or three cubic feet of foul air to collect above the vent, just below the lid on the seat. I am hoping to mount a vent in the side of the green pipe just below the lid. This would be piped outside and up at least two feet above the roofline. A 12volt fan might be incorporated if needed.
Having the entire structure insulated R-8 in the walls and R-12 in the floor and ceiling, will make it more comfortable winter and summer. The generous overhangs will also help prevent quick heating, which translates into more bad smells. As for winter heat, I will try a large oil lamp that will be left burning 24/7 during cold weather. If that is not adequate, an electric heater can be operated at least when the generator is running. More elaborate provisions for heating, will hopefully not be required as we expect to have a conventional water closet and septic system in place by the second or third winter. When that happens, this structure will be moved to a new spot near the future workshop. Because the cabin will be part of the permanent East homestead, and the new workshop will be part of the future West homestead, the distance from the cabin to the new workshop may be 500 feet or more.
I apologise to all readers for the outhouse theme on the blog lately. The insanely unseasonable weather has brought progress down to a crawl, which makes it seem as though this project is going on forever. Even as Picasso progressed beyond his “blue period”, I will move beyond my “outhouse period”. This first winter of trying to stay productive on the homestead by commuting from town and working in a ramshackle shed, hammered home the value of a good workshop and being on the homestead full time and permanent. In about 40 days we will finally take up that permanent residence. It has been a long time coming and it will take a very large crowbar to pry me out of that place. My plan is to stay on my fifty acres for all eternity. I have left instructions that after my passing, that I should be “composted”. I suspect that I will in death, as I have in life, produce very good fertilizer.