A Squirrely Situation

What to do?

Think of them as cuddly, cute creatures or as the more deservedly descriptive title of “tree rats”, squirrels are a hazard to gardening among other things but especially gardening. My first negative encounter with the furry little guys was when one day Nancy came up to me while I was working in the garden shed and said, “There is a squirrel living inside the sail cover.” Immediately, I suspected the worst and sure enough the little bugger had made a nest inside our mainsail cover using the finest dacron she could find and turning it into a fluffy, comfy, show white bed for her and her soon to arrive family. She had eaten holes in every panel of my $2400 mainsail. AAAHH!

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The Problem with Toilet Paper

Can you put it in the toilet?

We come from a magical world where you simply flip a handle or pull a chain or push a button and all your nastiness simply swirls away down a hole off to some other place that is far, far away. Not one person in a thousand has any idea where it went. With that mind set, the issue of toilet paper becomes a non-issue. Using toilet paper is without doubt the crudest ritual that people of European heritage practice. The toilet paper business is a well entrenched industry with jobs and fortunes at stake. Vast amounts of money are spent every day advertising its existence, so much so that no other method of cleaning one’s bum is given any serious consideration. Hold that thought and read on.

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How to make a wire hose clamp

Knot a bad job!

Wire hose clamps have a lot going for them. For one, they are low profile and don’t tend to gouge chunks of meat out of your fingers and knuckles when working around them. Having done almost everything around my house and on my sailboats for years, I have come to appreciate a good thing. Here is a quick primer on a wire hose clamp that I invented. There are several tools on the market that make nice wire hose clamps. I have owned two and used them. They have their limitations, especially in confined areas where you are likely to find need for them. Anyway . . .

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Pump Tank Siphon Systems

12 volt and manual pumps

I have been experimenting with several pump types to use in conjunction with the pump tank accessory. The pump tank accessory, to review, is a reservoir that holds the urine until it can be pumped out to a holding tank. The pump tank isn’t necessary in situations where gravity feed will empty the tank, that is situations where the holding tank or drain field is below the toilet all the time. There are a few situations where the holding tank or drain field sits above the toilet or where the drain line must clear a hurdle that is above the toilet. Most sailboats have the holding tank mounted higher than the toilet because they don’t have room in the bilge. Also, Granny in the basement installations and most below-ground prepper bunkers will need to pump the urine uphill. In those cases, the pump tank is a good accessory to have. The pump system can be manual or electric.

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Should you try to DIY

A crappy idea?

I know it sounds self serving for me to tell people that they shouldn’t build their own toilets but hear me out. Live aboard boaters and RV owners are usually very handy. You basically have to be. You’re out in the middle of no-where and something goes wrong and there is nobody you can hire to fix it and no place to go to get parts, at least proprietary parts. When I built the C-Head I kept this in mind and made it so that parts could be easily found at local hardware stores. Having lived aboard two sailboats for a total of nine years, I knew that that would be a valuable consideration for my product by people who would use it. I also knew that because of that, people would try to imitate the design, thinking they were saving money and getting the satisfaction of being creative all in one deal. I mean it’s just a bucket and a jug and a box and a toilet seat, right? But let’s look at that.

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Ventilation Systems Part 1 – Boats

The first in a multi-part series of articles on ventilation

Ventilation is one of the most complex aspects of any composting toilet system, but it shouldn’t be. Almost all urine diverting standard sized and compact composting toilets require ventilation. In some, like the Separatt, it is the sole means of removing the smell and moisture produced by processing the solid waste. Urine odor can be fairly well confined to it’s container, but pouring it out is a stinky process indeed, unless you have treated it with a holding tank solution. Treating it is common with mobile applications like boats and RVs because public restrooms are often the place they get emptied and you don’t want to chase everybody out of the bathroom and have them complaining to the management. But I digress . . . This is a series of articles on ventilation. First I will discuss boats, except for houseboats with RV type flush toilets that use a floor flange which I address in the Part 2 which is RV and travel trailers. Part 3 will be fixed applications like homesteads, cabins, tree houses, etc and Part 4 will be prepper bunkers which are a special case and Part 6 is tiny houses, also a special case.

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The Bottom Exit Kit Accessory

Installing or converting to the BEX kit

One of the great advantages of the C-Head is the ability to easily funnel the urine out of the toilet into an outside receptacle such as a black water holding tank like those found in boats and RVs, or an agriculture type storage tank for permaculture use or into a drain field. You can do this using what we call the “bottom exit kit.” In addition to home and cabin installation, this can be done with most RVs, travel trailers and houseboats that have an original, factory installed toilet that flushes into a holding tank through a standard toilet flange that is mounted on the floor. Diverting urine to the holding tank in its concentrated state takes much longer to fill the the tank up and thus significantly extends the time between dumping the tank . In addition, it makes the disposal of urine much easier for both boondockers and for RV and travel trailer owners who prefer to use dump stations. More on that in a minute.

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