We are off-grid again. I like that life, Nicholas doesn’t notice the difference, really (except for missing the last Stanley Cup playoffs) and the dog is in heaven. This is really nice off-grid – woodburning cookstove, beautiful natural spring, and a luxurious, well-ventilated, shaded outhouse.

I am not ashamed to say that the little shack out back is much preferable to the “throne room” of most homes. I dislike in-house toilets, I really do. That stuff belongs outside! And the outdoor room doesn’t break down (except from rot eventually) and never requires a plumber, just a shovel, a strong back, and someone to help move the shack.

Weekly maintenance means a quick scrubdown, sweep-out, and a shovelful of leaf mould down the hole to speed up decomposition. Some people, with big families, like to use some lime to keep things breaking down and smelling sweet.

The most important consideration is that the outhouse be downhill of the spring, to avoid contamination. Make sure your neigbours don’t install their thundershack uphill or upwind of your place, either!

Ours is framed of one by twos, with rough boards, which makes it breezy and pleasant in the summer, but for winter, I would suggest shingled, board and batten, or at least tarpaper to keep out the drafts and snow.

The door should latch from the outside as well as the inside, since you don’t want small animals deciding it is a really nice abode or winter storage shed.

As for the required cleanliness paper, standard, unbleached TP will do, or plain newspaper if you are the uber-recycling type. Small rodents love to steal TP as nest lining, so keep it in a covered coffee can.

For handwashing, I keep a basin and hot water on the stove, along with soap and a towel near by. We have had no problems with this system, and the only downside is when you have to get up in the dark hours, find the flashlight, and make yor sleepy way down the path…

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