Answering the call of nature

composttoilet

In my last blog I was lamenting the lack of help to move the compost toilet. Thankfully, someone actually read it and emailed me straight away to offer another pair of hands (thank you Garry, and for the numerous toilet-related puns which I will try and get into this post!)* This was just what we needed, giving me a real lift and an extra burst of energy to flush out a few more potential volunteers.

As the sun rose on a beautiful autumnal day, everyone who had promised to come kept their word and it was soon all cisterns go to finish clearing the site and moving the toilet into position.

moving

Well, it worked for the Egyptians and Ancient Britons so why not for us? Using rollers and some co-ordinated teamwork, we managed to shift the toilet from the bottom of the garden to its final resting place at the top, with hardly any swearing or squashed feet.

It sits on a raised base under which a wheelie bin is placed to catch any poo (mixed in with shredded paper or sawdust each time) and a diverter sends the urine off into a separate container ready to kick-start the compost heap. A finished full bin is left sealed for a year or more to rot down, after which it becomes an excellent mulch for fruit bushes and trees.

lunch

So, I did resort to a bit of bribery to get extra help in, with the promise of some homemade cheese and chive scones and hot tea enough to convince the doubters to take the plunge.

sarahtoiletoct2012

I decided to check out the view from the loo (see below), which is a rather good one. The lovely stable door is beautifully crafted, as is the entire toilet, which came courtesy of FreeRange Designs (this link will tell you more about how they work - some readers have said they don't want more detail in the blog; I've no idea why as I think it would be good for all of us to think a bit more about where our waste goes, but maybe that's just me Winking and a generous grant from those lovely people at the Community Foundation. I caught a few people out as they were investigating the loo, and every one of them was wearing a big grin.

toiletview

At the risk of people thinking I am rather pre-occupied with all things toilet-related, there is some not-so-good news about the garden which is summed up by the pile below. We had some unwelcome visitors to the allotment last week who caused a considerable amount of damage and it is only thanks to a sharp-eyed neighbour that they didn't completely trash the whole site.

As anyone who has visited the garden will know, we are surrounded by some lovely countryside and woodland, including the field in the 'view from the loo' photograph above. This is a grazing spot for some very large horses who noticed a break in the farmer's fence and took advantage of their new-found freedom to drop by, finding the equivalent of a drive-thru fast food joint for their trouble.

Trampling strawberry beds, green manure and munching the tops of raspberries, artichokes and the willow dome, they worked their way systematically around, savouring interesting titbits such as my newly-planted chocolate cosmos and mints and of course, our straw bales.

poo

The saddest part was that they completely stripped the children's Greenfingers beds, now with nothing to show for the cabbages and sweetcorn they grew from seed months ago. But we'll start again; and on the plus side we've got plenty of free manure for next Spring.

*I think there was only four, to be fair...
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