Building the Humanure Hacienda

The turd tower, the poo palace, the colon cabana…  Over supper we worked hard to come up with different names for a permanent place to store our sawdust and compost our kitchen scraps and nightsoil production.  Kenny enjoyed learning about alliteration, and took to our game with great gusto.

Recently we have simply been dumping everything in an area bounded by a number of trees and marked off by some bright orange snow fence.

During winter we had quickly filled the pole and pallet frameworks I had built, so as an emergency measure, I marked off the trees with some cheap snow fence, and we began using that.  It worked well, even if unsightly, and there wasn’t much compunction to change it.

One big drawback though was that the sawdust generated back at the sawmill was completely exposed to the elements, and was getting more and more soggy and less and less useful as a covering agent.

I also knew that eventually the snow fence area would fill up, and I would have to find a new location to dump our buckets.

Having seen some pictures of other people’s “Humanure Haciendas” online, I had a fair idea of how to construct one.  

Kenny and I gathered together a bunch of my rough cut 2″x6″ boards, and then yesterday Grandpa and I cut them to size.  I opted to make the entire structure 13′ feet wide, as that matched the longest boards I had at the moment.  I then made it 5′ deep.

We divided it up into three sections, the two outer ones were 5′ wide, and then the centre section remaining was 3′ wide.

I put in posts in the outer corners that were 4′ high (I wanted initially to go higher, but then realized that 4′ was about as high as one could even remotely, comfortably hoist a bucket).

On the inner, 3′ wide section that was to be dedicated to storing the sawdust, I put 5′ posts in the back, and 6′ posts in front.  Then I covered it with a leftover piece of steel roofing from the sauna.  This gave it a nice sloping roof to shed most rain, although the top foot or so was unprotected at the sides.  I’m hoping that it still will allow the sawdust to dry, and remain mostly dry.

I used scrap 1″ thick boards to box up the sides and back, and then cut more boards to use in the fronts, where we would insert and remove them as needed.

The rest of the day was spent hauling the sawdust pile from the sawmill back to the hacienda.  Kenny was eager to help at this point, until the bugs got to be too demanding, even for him!

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