Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bathroom update and more on the composting toilet

Team KBAB is happy to report great progress on the tiny house bathroom and has provided these snapshots to illustrate.  
Keith wanted to raise the existing floor of the bathroom to be level with the threshold so we added a sheet of CDX to the subfloor.
Keith traced the footprint of the stock tank tub and cut that hole out of the CDX with a jigsaw so the tub/shower basin will sit just a tad lower.

A view of the floor with all the CDX in place - next step, underlayment. What is underlayment? It provides a cushion between the subfloor and bamboo flooring we're going to install and also acts as a vapor barrier.
We cut the underlayment to fit and then placed the tub in its hole so we will have a seamless vapor barrier for the floor. Especially important once the shower is operational. After the underlayment was in, of course we had to see what the flooring is going to look like so we laid down some pieces for fun and also to protect the underlayment while we're using the bathroom and finishing the flooring.
After checking out all our drain options at the local hardware store, we chose this set for its simplicity. We probably won't worry about plumbing and drainage this year, though, since we don't have a water line to the house.
entering Clearwater, the welcoming free-range cows

In a that's-the-way-the-universe-works kind of way, we volunteered to deliver a lawn mulcher my dad sold to a guy who lives in a nearby town (nay, village). As we drove up the road looking for the landmarks he'd given us to find his house, I said, "This is a cute place!" and it just happened to be where we were going.
We ended up chatting with him for about an hour about composting toilets and more. He's lived there off the grid for 16 years and composts everything (including poop), has built up a small garden (thanks to his compost) despite the land being VERY rocky, has a neat rainwater catching and storing system and has done all of the work himself. 

We told him of our plans to have our own composting toilet and he gave us a tour of his set-up and showed us the 2-year-old bin (which is how long you're supposed to compost poop before using it on a garden) where he buried a rooster that was completely consumed by the microbes in the pile. We talked about the Humanure Handbook and how a lot of people have "fecalphobia." He encouraged us to jump right in and just start the composting toilet and even offered to send us home with a bunch of sawdust to start. 

It was a great experience to see humanure composting in action instead of just reading about it online and in books. After talking to him we decided against diverting the urine (less plumbing - yay) and promised him we'd definitely follow through with our plans ASAP.

ASAP turned into This Week. Monday while Keith was working on installing the bamboo flooring he stepped off the deck into a hole the dogs had dug and badly sprained his ankle. (Immediately followed by threatening the dogs with bodily harm.)
 totally not concerned about her owner's physical pain and/or dr. bills

It became apparent that we'd need our own functioning toilet sooner rather than later so Tuesday morning I filled up a bucket with the leaves I raked up from under the cherry tree. Viola! Composting toilet!
Sawdust is rumored to be the best "cover material" for composting toilets and hopefully our source will come through for us sometime this week. But until then leaves are working and we can now use the bathroom in our own house! This is HUGE - especially since one of us is on crutches. We've already decided we'll be taking turns emptying the bucket into the compost pile and then washing it for the next round of use. (More on that as it unfolds...)

4 comments:

montana mama said...

Bummer about Keith's ankle but all that progress is really exciting! We've been talking about planning a big move to off grid living which would likely involve composting toilets so we may have to pick your brains and get advice when that day comes!

george smith said...

enjoyed reading your blog. I have been trying to convince my wife to downsize and do our own small place so your blog may come in handy. I didn't see where I could subscribe to your blog but would love to follow along on your journey

george smith said...

loved your blog. Have been trying to convince my wife to do our own small house. Did not see a space to follow your blog but I will try and find it in the future. Thanks for sharing your adventure so far.

April said...

Hi George - there's a place you can get the RSS feed (updates) right under the group of links on the top right of the page and right above the Hype Machine widget. Hope that helps!