I haven't talked much about the composting toilet I have been using for the last three years. I am using the lovable loo setup as described in the excellent book "The Humanure Handbook". The book is an well researched and detailed why and how to book that should allay any fears about germs and the general eww factor. Anyone serious about homesteading sustainably, and trying to minimize water and purchased fertilizer use needs to get over it and switch to this system.
We only moved here permanently this past July, but I would use it every time we were up here on weekends before our move. It now fills up considerably faster, but is still out in the unheated garage, pending any break in negotiations with my wife.
So, it was -14 F last night, and still well below zero when I had to answer nature's call this morning. The toilet itself is fine, with a regular toilet seat like anyone might use, but the rest of the amenities are rather Spartan. There is no magazine rack, but be assured I would not have chosen any reading material this morning anyway. A new low for me. Got me to thinking about the millions of people in the past that had no heated bathrooms. Both the more recent past when outhouses were the norm, and further back when indigenous folk had not even that. ( What DID they do before Sears catalogues???) We are such wimps. Here is the "throne".
The key to this system is access to lots of sawdust or other fine cellulosic material to get the carbon nitrogen balance right, and of course to cover each deposit to alleviate odors and risk of flies. Since there are a lot of small Amish sawmills in the area, this was easy for me. For $5, I got enough hardwood sawdust that it should last me for two or three years, and I could probably have got it for free with a little searching.
This spring will be the third year of the three year rotation described in the book, so I'll be putting the first batch on the garden soon.
Other news: The last of our Butternut squash in the root cellar finally started showing signs a couple weeks ago that we needed to cook it up quick. Here is the last batch coming out of the oven. The potatoes are storing really well, but the garlic is starting to soften up a bit and show a few sprouts.