When you decide to build sustainably
there are gobs of decisions to make
and they aren’t as obvious
or as easy
as one might think.
In the permaculture way,
one makes decisions based on care of planet,
of people
and return of waste
for the care of planet and people.
When we were building the strawbale hermitage,
what we wanted to do
for care of the planet
often had to be weighed against
care of the peoples’ pocketbook.
In the case of a solar hot water heater,
the conditions for installing a solar hot water heater
were such that we decided against it.
Instead, we heat the water (with electricity)
just before guests arrive
and then we switch it off when they leave.
In the case of a composting toilet,
we knew we were going to install a composting toilet.
The choice was between one that was a five-gallon-bucket
with a toilet seat on top (a “luggable loo”)
and one that we would empty every week or two
and a 35-gallon barrel that we would change out
every six months or so.
We decided on the biggest one.

Today was the day the almost-full barrel
was taken out
and a new barrel set in place.
Two very, very nice friends came
with come-along,
which they secured to the roof,
and hoisted out the full one.
It was fuller than the last time
and it was a very windy day.
Everyone was a bit nervous
and there was a moment
when they almost abandoned the operation,
fearful of dropping the barrel.
But they proceeded
and succeeded
and are re-devising how to do it
a tad less risky
next time.

Two barrels now age
rich, nutritious compost
that will one day be applied
to fruit trees.
No water used;
nothing gone to waste;
waste applied to care of Earth
and people.
Thank you, thank you Tom and Matt!