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Humanure (human manure) November 14, 2008

Filed under: health,organic food,organic gardening,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 4:56 pm
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I must admit, I am intrigued by the whole concept of composting human manure. I am by no means ready to start doing it, but I am taking steps to adjust to the possibility of ever going through the process.

The Joseph Jenkins composting toilet I bought came with 4 large green buckets with lids. They are the recepticles in which you are intended to eliminate. Well, rather than have these great lids sit around, I decided to use them for composting. The last time I composted on my counter, I had a huge issue with flies. I was using a proper container intended for the purpose of countertop compost collection (say that three times fast) but the flies made the whole thing unbearable so into the freezer it went. But it takes up too much valuable real estate!

The big green bucket thing is working great! I don’t actually know how to put the lid on and it would be too much hassle to do that every time anyway, so the lid just rests on top of the container. Because it’s so large, I am more inclined to throw extra non-food stuff in there, like a bit of junk mail or floor sweepings. I am learning to put more and more stuff in there rather than in the trash and also training my family.

I’m sure Joseph Jenkins would not be proud, but it’s a start! I am getting to practice hauling that large bucket out and deal with cleaning it outside while not actually having to risk splashing human pee and poop all over myself.

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What instincts have we lost? November 7, 2008

Filed under: unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 1:50 pm
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It’s amazing to watch how instinctual animals are. I’ve almost always had indoor-only cats. Since we moved to a house with a fenced in yard, we’ve decided (or rather, our cats have forced us to decide) to let our cats out within the yard, so long as they are supervised. As cats are invasive exotics, I’d rather not have them just go loose on the environment. But so long as we’re watching, I can’t see the harm in it.

We’ve been doing this for just a few weeks and so they are still doing new things all the time. Today, I saw my male cat stalk a bird for the first time. I am not pleased about this and will be off to get the noisest bell collars I can find right away, but still, it was interesting. Both cats also have amazing tree climbing skills. Not only to they float up to dizzying heights in the time it takes me to exhale, they both seem to know how to get back down (thank goodness!).

One also loves digging (was he a dog last lifetime) and I’ve seen him pee in a hole and cover it nicely at least once. As he’s had issues with peeing all over the place, I’m hoping he enjoys his outdoor pees and perhaps we can start to think about letting them back into the bedroom. We do miss them and they’ve been locked out for most of his life because of this issue. I’ve never closed my door to cats before so this is really something we’d like to put behind us!

So what instincts do we have that we override in our youth? Are we meant to eat bugs? When I watch other children (not my own), they have a keen interest in handling bugs. And of course other cultures still eat them. Are we missing critical nutrients because of this? Are we meant to dig a little hole and defecate wherever? Probably. Why are we so out of touch with basic interaction with the earth?

I can see the difference in the cats already. I have never seen them move so swiftly! My male cat was so nervous at first, he did a weird high stepping walk over the ground cover. But now, he flows and bounds and bounces. The both fly into the trees. They look fully alive in a way they never have being stuck indoors all these years.

Our composting toilet arrived yesterday. It came with a book which I’d already started reading as it is downloadable as a PDF from the website. Very informative! I am learning so much about composting. Even if I never attempt to compost human excretions, I feel more confident by leaps and bounds about my compost bin. We still have no immediate intention of actually using this toilet, but that could change! We really would like to add a 3rd bathroom but the most logical place is a closet that is about 35″ X 35″; much too small to put in the necessary plumbing according to my research. This toilet would fit with room to spare for the sawdust or whatever material is to be used on top of the excrement. With the addition of the portable bidet I bought, there is no need for hand washing!

So today, we get bell collars for the cats. And I’ll think more about getting closer to nature.