Most women I meet have a spontaneous “ugh” reaction when they learn that we rely on an outhouse at our off-grid home. Then they are silent. Maybe they can't imagine it. Or maybe they picture a disgusting porta-potty at an overcrowded public venue. So, as a public service to polite, silent, curious people, here is a ”tell all” about what it is really like living with an outhouse.
There are other inconveniences, no doubt. It is outside and unheated, and in Alaska! So, in the corner of our bedroom, we have a “chamber pot” like your ancestors did. For us, it is a white 5 gallon bucket, on top of which sits a camper's plastic toilet seat with a round aperture for just such an application, topped by the bucket lid. The arrangement is about the same height as a regular indoor toilet, so it is easy enough for a sleepy person in the middle of the night, except for the privacy issue, which took me some getting used to. Every morning, I dump the bucket in the outhouse and rinse it at an outdoor spigot. About once or twice a week I swish it out with vinegar.
OK. As a long time suburban woman, I learned to deal with the “necessary room” outside, and with having no privacy inside. For me, the “ugh” part of the outhouse is creepy crawlies. The first July we lived here, I was so appalled by the number of flies crawling up the walls (from the hole, I assume) that I wanted to remain constipated all month to avoid entering. Even mosquito coils did not seem very effective. But then, we got chickens. Thank goodness for chickens for so many, many reasons! One is that they love bugs, dead or alive. Every morning during fly season (late June through July), whoever opens the outhouse door first calls the chickens. They come running as though to a free pizza buffet. It is immensely satisfying to hear the “peck, peck, peck” sound they make on the wooden floor as they chow down. With a handy rag, I swipe off flies that died on the window sills and shelves. At those extras, I swear; the hens make a delighted, giggling sort of utterance, like a diner who receives an unexpected amuse-bouche at a first class restaurant. Overall, the "girls" rapidly decrease the number and duration of these unattractive seasonal visitors.
|Chickens cleaning the floor of the outhouse|
Pay back in the outhouse, buddy.