living on the farm, with nine zillion projects.

The Humanure Handbook turns out to be surprisingly compelling reading. because it’s self-published by a person who is more interested in education than profit, you can read the whole thing here:

and a super gallery of composting toilet photos:

and a beautiful outline of the whole process, with photos:
and here:

did you know that the largest producer of groundwater pollution in the united states is septic systems? i’m doubly glad we’re going over to composting, as this place was on septic until the city brought the sewer lines down a year or two ago. that, fortunately, included the 20 years in which it sat vacant, and we can safely presume the septic system to have been unused during those years. which should reduce the liklihood of contamination pretty significantly (and the well report showed no signs of bacterial contamination of any sort, nor any nitrates from pesticides; nothing wrong with the water but high iron levels).

a spirit of the land is eating our chickens. or something is, at any rate. it doesn’t burrow under fences–there are no holes, no disturbed wire, and the available evidence indicates that it probably doesn’t go over them. thinks it’s a hawk. we’re missing two chickens, Cori (the little poofy one), and one of the brand new Rhode Islands. Ora, being smarter than i am about this, is roosting in the barn, on top of a pile of boxes–possibly because danger came out of the sky, and the barn is securely roofed. the hens have an enclosure with a roof, but it is 3-walled, and they don’t stay in it. we did find an egg, and i asked her to keep laying in the spot where we found that egg. it was precisely centered on a large blue roll of batt insulation. very picturesque. it would be nice to know where she’s laying, so we can reliably find her eggs, at least. i hope she is willing to continue laying there. alan’s willing to acquire and string up deer netting. when i stop feeling traumatized about the chickens, i may be up for helping. unless i’m digging greywater trenches.

john (bugeye) rescheduled for the 15th for the greywater replumbing. go, mercury retrograde. this at least takes the pressure off to get the trenches 100% complete by this thursday, which was turning out to be not possible. and by the time we divert the water, it would be good for the trenching to be in place to carry that water to plants. ideally, we’ll get all the digging and arranging done (the whole 1″ per foot drop in the trench for optimum water movement, and all that), and the pumice & compost/soil mix ready to go in, then he’ll come over, we’ll spend several hours crawling around under the house and diverting the pipes, then i’ll run some water in the sink and make sure the water moves. then i’ll either dig around in the trenches until things do move properly, or set it up. next is putting in the flowerpot/rock/mulch basins around the drain outflows, the pumice into the trench 8″ deep, the topsoil/compost mix into the top of the trench, and planting the plants. i was hoping to have this done for the party, but bugeye’s schedule is crazy, my schedule is crazy, and it really does make sense to give it another week or so for us to get the trenching ready and for him to be genuinely available. and for the mercury retrograde to end. this astrological aspect doesn’t seem to be terribly compatible with plumbing.

and in the process of talking about the plumbing, i got called “a studly babe.” actually, that was for informing him that i’d crawled around under the house and cleared cobwebs. i laughed, and said it was because i’m the smallest person, who therefore fits under the house best–it really is a crawlspace. besides, was fixing the chicken coop. i think i’ll tell bugeye how much he reminds me of my uncle john next time we talk.

still, we do have to get the compost for the herb gardens this weekend, while we’ve got jaime’s truck. and western organics got a hell of a lot closer when we moved.

other pressure for greywater is still on; there are unwarranted six-leggeds invading the house by way of that unwanted city sewer connection. disconnecting entirely from that system is going to go a long ways towards mending the cockroach problem here. at least they’re not those enormous UNM special roaches endemic to the university area, just little bitty local ones, and a heck of a lot less of them than around the UNM area. got half the box for the compost toilet built last weekend, and hopefully we can finish it this coming weekend. that’ll get one main source of roaches–we’ll pull out the flush toilet, cap the pipe, seal the hole in the floor really well, and set the sawdust toilet down on top of it. and type up a nice sign explaining how to use a sawdust toilet, to hang on the wall across from it, for the benefit of visitors.

there are a lot of things we need to get done before the party. building composting bins–anybody got any spare pallets laying around? we could use some more–; sharpening the chipper and shredding a couple piles of weeds into buckets for the toilet, the toilet itself, the fire circle, indoor cardboard box elimination, hanging art. and then the whole long list of other things to do, upcoming projects–painting the pump house, clearing dead wood out of the ritual circle, clearing saplings out of the ritual circle, stacking deadwood, clearing the deck area for the yurt deck, then building the yurt deck so we can set the yurt up on it. that will make the house bigger.