Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I was travelling over the mountains and saw at close quarters the destruction caused by the fires.

the forest at the top of the beloved Trassey Road - completely destroyed

in the centre there's little left

this used to be the way in

looking down towards Clonachullion - the fires swept down the Shimna river

Despite it all, as I was taking it all in, clearly across the forest - the sound of the Cuckoo.

How to build a composting toilet

We always planned to be 'green' meaning that we would think about what we were doing - how much our activities would compare with the one planet philosophy, and aim to work towards sustainability and a 'sufficient' lifestyle.

We are lucky in many ways; one is that we have a well that we can take water from. This has been in use for generations, and served our predecessors well, as it does us.

If we take water off at too fast a rate for long periods, like watering plants, the well level drops, the pump runs dry and cuts out.

It's OK the pump has sophisticated electronics, so it looks after itself. 

After an hour or so, the water is back up, and all is well (!)

It does focus the mind however, and it feels like there is not a limitless supply (as there isn't of course!)

We are gathering the grey water in a primitive bucket based system, to be improved in due course, and we are now going to install a composting toilet.

So much of our beautiful clean water is used to flush away perfectly suitable compostable waste into a septic tank (in our case) or the sewage system, only to be cleaned up at later date. What a waste - why not keep it and use it ourselves? 

A bit unorthodox perhaps!

But as Kevin McCloud of Grand designs says:

But human poo? Who’d put that on their garden? Anyone who has a composting toilet. These lucky souls use their large intestine to create a supply of rich, sweet-smelling fibre (and it’s fine, I have smelt it) that, to all intents and purposes, might be the finest prepacked Arthur Bowyer’s: wholesome, healthy and about as recycled as you can get.

With no better an advocate here we go.

We have a ready made enclosure: an outside loo with more or less a roof. 
It's attached to remnant of other buildings - 

That will need tidying up!

Today we set about removing the unstable, and the unwanted.

The result:

the roof is off - and much of the side wall - but at least the greenhouse will get more light!

what better thing that smashing away at a concrete wall?

broken toilet pan, and overhead cast iron cistern made in Newry - a treasure

more rubble - oh joy

that's about it

ready to start!