It is Time… Finally!
The compost toilet was the first major project we started at Rak Tamachat. What have we learned from it thus far? Well, many things of course, but most importantly finish what you start! This blog is being written on Nov 2, 2012 about finishing up the second stall… but to be completely honest, the first stall isn’t completed yet! I mean, it’s been put to good use having gone through 2 PDC’s, an Intro to Permaculture, a teacher training, plus all us members using it for the past 7-8 months or so, but it’s never been complete. Rather, we just stuck up some plywood for privacy, cut a hole in the floor, attached some netting to keep the flies out, and started making deposits! I’ll briefly go back to the start before getting onto the more fun and artsy 2nd stall.
Obviously, we did not expect to be pouring cement on our first week at a Permaculture site! But, gotta do what ya gotta do! Plus, termites would’ve just loved the toilet had we not done the cement base, and our adobe would have had to have been much more quality controlled had we not used cement supports. Good use overall for our first mostly Earthen building I’d say.
Here you see the Thai construction crew up on the metal roofing frame, while we’re comfortably down below laying the adobe to make 4 deposit stalls. Must add that it wasn’t all that safe on the bottom, you’ll know what I mean if you ever stand under someone welding.
We soon learned that the Thai crew is much more efficient and willing to do this kind of work. So we left the foundation and roof up to them, and took on the rest.
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We even had some filming for Seeds of Permaculture happening this early on, even more inspiration to give it our best!
We made a lot of bricks, and freak storms put many of them in jeopardy. We also didn’t have much option at first of where to make them, so they needed a lot of transport after drying. Finally when we got around to actually using the bricks, we were quite excited! We did pretty good on getting the bottom floor done, minus the plaster.
But like I mentioned before, with the ‘necessities’ for the moment ‘completed’, we moved onto other tasks, as we were all eager to do as much as possible at the beginning of a project, not just focus on one thing. I still understand our thinking, but now realize that once you put something off, it’s very hard to go back.
[singlepic id=1603 w=320 h=240 float=left] Then came along our friendly neighborhood Irishman. We’ll call him Paddy. I’m sure many of you know an Irishman named Paddy so feel free to buy him a pint and say a kind word for us to him. Paddy came here and took to the toilet with a passion….er, saw the need for finishing the unfinished building and took the responsibility on to do so. With dogged determination he arose every morning bright and early and mixed the mortar he would need for that days work. Then a quick break for some potatoes and eggs and right back to work he would go. His energy soon galvanized other members of the crew and he had no lack of helpers. After about two weeks all the upper stall walls were laid to hip height and ready for the more artistic development of the top parts of the wall.
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Then came the experiments and fittings. We have four stalls and everyone was not satisfied with the performance of the 1st stall. It was designed to have the poo and urine mixed in it then mixed with our carbon source (rice and corn husks) it would compost over a long period of time. However the reality was that it was still composting too slow and so there was some ….aroma from the 1st stall that was less than pleasant. So Paddy designed and built a pee separator for the 2nd stall and the requisite toilet seat to go with it.
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So now each stall will use a different method of composting so that we can determine which is the best method for our site.
We did manage to get the plastering stage and had a big day of mixing plaster and applying it to the walls.
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There is still more to do but we have completed a huge amount in just the last three or four weeks.