Signs of Occupancy

By , May 13, 2010

I noticed a problem with the “pee” tent that Michelle had set up in the dooryard to provide a bit more privacy for ladies on the homestead. I mentioned it to Michelle, and she solved it in a rather unexpected way.

One of the realities of off-the-grid living is dealing with outhouses. A key to keeping them from smelling too much is to separate wet waste from solid. The homestead rule is that solids go in the outhouse, liquids go . . . elsewhere. As a guy, I have little problem being discrete, but Michelle and Aly prefer a bit more comfort and seclusion, and like to offer the same to female visitors. Thus, the pee tent.

The problem I saw was that the lid of the toilet seat often flipped backward, where it pushed against the back wall, threatening to wear through the nylon. To prevent this, Michelle tacked a piece of wood onto the back of the box to create a lid stop. The unexpected part came when she chose the piece, thereby carrying on a tradition of the homestead’s original family.

They put up a fair amount of signage around the homestead, much of it humorous, such as the door of the outhouse: “Danger: High Explosives.” Besides being a pretty good example of bathroom humor, it’s handy to have such a big, reflective sign in that location. Coming home in the dark, our headlamps make the door into a beacon of home and, well . . . comfort.

Inside the outhouse, they hung a sign taken from a cave. The sign says, “Warning: this is not a safe cave” and goes onto recommend that it be entered only by those “with proper training and equipment.” I’ll say!

The sign Michelle put in the pee tent says, “No Camping Here.” When we first came to the homestead, that sign hung on a tree behind the veranda. They probably found it on the beach, and chose that spot on a whim; we took it down when we removed the tree, but haven’t been overrun by squatters. It’s new location, and perhaps a lack of a magazine rack, might be a gentle reminder not to linger too long.

Just don’t plan on taking all day, all right? (photo: Michelle Zeiger)

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