Thursday, 21 June 2012

Architectural Outhouse Digest...sneak peek

True to our promise of building in the spring of 2012, the outhouse is now finally built! There are still some finishing touches necessary but it is fully functional and rain and mosquito-proof. If I wait 'til all the details are completed this post may never happen. Soon to appear in the pages of Architectural Outhouse Digest...ha!

Some will recognize the yellow door - rescued from the demolition of the back porch at Casa Smalla to make way for the
new addition. Sizing the outhouse meant building to accomodate the door. Note how colour co-ordinated the tools and
 milk cartons are to the door. Spectacular dontcha think?

Cutting the hole in the floor for the composting toilet. Again, notice the colour co-ordination of tool to outfit.
Not all trailer park girls are so conscious of this.

The building takes shape with the installation of the cedar siding.

This particular Biolan composting toilet uses no electricity or water, but rather a mixture of peat moss and pine bark to get the job done. Here, I'm priming (for lack of a better word) the toilet with the initial 4 inches of peat moss and pine bark. And as always, one must make due with the tools on the land...the scoop is made from a plastic Clamato container. At least it's not a pickle jar.

Attaching the tin roof. We chose a metal roof because we are collecting the rain water from this surface and didn't want the asphalt shingle grit in the water. We kind of forgot about the 10 million pine trees on the land and all the bits they drop on this roof. Oh well, I guess straining out pine needles and pollen is better than straining out tar-covered grit...?!

The building is finally finished. Just a few details to take care of before the inspector (Ras) gives the final approval. For one, I know you can see right in through the screen. The bottom portion of screen will be replaced with something solid to offer a little more privacy to the shy outhouse-goer. And eventually there will be some exterior stain once we decide on a colour.

The interior will be left the natural cedar. It offers a most wonderful aroma (I kid you not, this is the best smelling outhouse you have ever used) and it looks fantastic as is. The box holding the peat moss and pine bark is on the right. One scoop after each use...easy peasy. TP holder and trash on the left and TP and accessories in the cabinet above. One of the most enjoyable things about this composting toilet is the crazy thermal styrofoam seat. No matter how damp or chilly the day is, this seat is always warm when you sit. Totally unexpected...and a very comforting sort of thing!

The solar lighting system. Because the building is so shaded, it was necessary to put the whole light system on a board that can be moved into the sunshine when recharging is needed.

A celebratory moment after construction is complete. It's uncanny, but once again there is a colour co-ordinated theme going on here...from the red Crocs and t-shirt to the glass of red wine. It all goes beautifully with Pooh's red shirt. One would almost think there was much thought put into my work outfits.

And really, is there any better use for a Pooh door than on a compoosting toilet outhouse?

'Nuf said,

Monday, 11 June 2012

Playing with blocks

No, this is not the outhouse post. I know, I'm slower than molasses in January (or July if you're reading this in Australia). But quality outhouses take time and attention to detail, dontcha know! Time has not been on my side during our visits to Turtle Falls over the last two weeks. It's getting close though...composting toilet working...finishing touches of building nearing completion.

Girl Power...Alysha Newman of Mother Theresa High School
sets 2012 OFSAA Senior Girls Pole Vault record @ 4.06m
This past week, we volunteered at the big Ontario provincial Track & Field meet (OFSAA) at Thousand Islands Secondary School in Brockville. Seeing the finest high school track athletes in action was impressive to say the least; many OFSAA and Canadian records were broken over the 3 days of competition. Ras's favourite moment (that's Ras's photo, taken with her iPhone) of the whole meet was the senior girl's pole vaulter as she broke the OFSAA and Canadian Interscholastic records and then immediately broke her own record 2 more times soaring to a height of 4.06m. To put this in perspective the senior boy's winner finished at 4.50m. Way to go Alysha! Maybe we'll see this young woman at the 2016 Olympics.

Back to Turtle Falls now. The week before last we had a fun meeting with Architect Chris. We are getting to the exciting parts of this process now...planning the house! Nothing against Priscilla but I, for one, look forward to a little more than 250 square feet of dry, mosquito-free living space and running water that doesn't have the distinct aroma of RV anti-freeze and chlorine. We probably won't miss the oh-so-fun holding tank pump-outs either...although those should be less frequent now that the composting toilet is finally functional. Anyway...on with it!

Ras rearranges "rooms" to define the floor plan with Architect Chris, Vert Design
Ras was in heaven during our meeting with Chris. Playing with floor plans can keep her enthralled for days. Playing in general gets me giddy. Chris is ok in our books because he obviously likes to play too. He presented us with a stack of what I'll call building blocks. Actually, they were cards rather than blocks. Chris had pasted an individual "room" on each card. All the rooms that we want in the house were included. Our task was to rearrange the cards until we arrived at a floor plan that appealed to us. How fun is this? Not as easy as you'd think to arrive at something that makes sense. After much shuffling we did find an arrangement that got us all jazzed. Chris will put that arrangement into a typical floor plan format for the first kick at a design concept for what we are currently calling Casa Tortuga. Can't wait!

Coming soon...the unveiling of the outhouse.

Stay tuned!