The outhouse updated! This Envirolet composting toilet, the deluxe AC electric model, is possibly the most unusual farm purchase I’ve made so far, mostly because it was quite expensive and I’m not 100% sure why I got it. With a hefty $500 off on special, it was still somewhere around $1,200, which on the tiny farm budget counts as a major purchase (the used John Deere riding mower cost the same, and it does fieldwork!). And considering that you can build a composting toilet for little or no money, from scrap wood… Call it divine inspiration, like: “You must get this toilet”? Anyhow, it’s here, it’s been here since around Feb. 2007 (the special offer was expiring), it hasn’t gone unthought-of or unmentioned,…and it’s finally, slowly, getting installed for this season! The general idea is to have facilities in the field, which is a lot more convenient than heading into the house. Still… These toilets do sound quite amazing: odorless, comfortable, able to compost six months of humanure into a thin layer in a slide-out tray. Models range from no power, to AC/DC (has a fan), to regular AC plug-in (fan plus heater for the coldest days). The more power, the higher capacity, as the fan or fan/heat speed up evaporation: this one is rated for 8 people x 3 “uses” per day. I guess I had visions of LOTS of toilet traffic from the field. And this attractive little waste-handler is quite an inviting intro to personal waste recycling, compared to a hole cut in a board (and you can use these in homes to replace regular flush toilets as well!)… For installation, the original plan was to build an enclosure, but this discarded ice fishing hut came up as a ready-built alternative. Converting it is only a few hours work, but it’s being done in little bits and pieces. First, the rotting door was removed and the frame widened to let the toilet in, the various built-in ice fishing conveniences—bench, shelves—were removed, and some rotting floor replaced. Next step, fitting the toilet’s ventilation pipe through the ceiling. And then, interior decoration! A coat of whitewash for a start… Coming soon!