Constructing a place to solve all the world’s problems

Outhouse door

So last week I recommended every home should have a bucket toilet. There’s simply no reason not to, and plenty of reasons to do so. In the case of our city cousins, it’s pretty much the only thing you can do, short of heading out of town, in the event of a failed sewer system.

But suppose you live out beyond the city center, maybe in one of the older residential parts of town or the suburbs or even a bedroom community adjacent to a metropolis. The same conditions apply, right? I mean, just because you have a back yard doesn’t mean you can just dig a hole and squat. After all, there are regulations … oh so may regulations … from neighborhood covenants, county requirements, state edicts, federal mandates and probably even United Nation treaties, that tell you this would be a bad idea.


So of course – in the interest of national security and the rule of law – I won’t tell you how to do just that and disguise your unlawful behavior. But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you how to catch out your scofflaw prepper neighbors should they decide to take the law into their own hands.

It will begin something like this:

You’ll be harmlessly peering over the six-foot privacy fence between your place and the backyard of your whack-job “self-dependent” neighbor, the guy who’s always going on about food preservation and the best city egress routes. Your suspicions had been righteously aroused by the sounds of digging. And there’s your neighbor, shoveling a hole in his lawn about three feet deep and maybe a couple of feet in diameter.

Naturally, you ask him what he’s doing. He tells you he’s getting ready to plant a tree in keeping with EPA recommendations to help reduce urban heat islands and thereby save the planet. Mollified, you return to your garage to finish up your anti-fascist parade banner. But a week later, another casual glance into the “probably-racist” neighbor’s yard shows that, instead of a tree, there’s a garden shed like the one below:

garden shed

To your inquiry, your neighbor – who’s busily cleaning a scary black rifle on his picnic table – tells you he decided against the tree because it might eventually block the view between the two houses. Instead he decided to put up the shed, the better to keep his garden tools from cluttering the yard and thereby helping to keep the neighborhood property values high.

Mentally laughing at his indecisiveness, you return to your home to finish up your letter to the editor demanding that firearms should no longer be sold with triggers.

Is prepping the right thing for to do for Christians? Or should we just be trusting in the Lord? Learn about that balance in “Be Thou Prepared” by Carl Gallups – “Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”

And here, my brave social justice warrior, is where you missed some vital details. Although you could see into the shed, you paid no attention to the wooden box at the rear with a padlocked lid (storage for garden chemicals) or the PVC pipe that runs from the box through the tin roof of the shed (ventilation for said chemicals). Neither did you take note of the two bales of wood chips stacked on the side (mulch for the flower beds).

Now there are a few of my readers already smugly laughing. “What a bunch of nonsense, going to all that effort to make an outhouse that will never be used!”

But they miss the point. It isn’t an outhouse. It’s a garden shed. It holds tons of stuff for your lawn and garden needs. Maybe you store the lawn mower there, or the kids’ badminton set, or the barbecue grill. It’s incredibly useful and something you see in suburban backyards all over the country … because it is so useful. But if a large scale failure of the sewer system ever occurs – and they do – well, it’s a multi-use building after all, isn’t it?

Now for those of us who live out beyond the street lights and who like to play with power tools, outhouse construction isn’t just easy, it’s fun. There are e-reams of photos on the Internet of nifty designs made by folks who have way too much free time.

But the basics are all the same. The hole needs to be dug first (it’s hard to swing a shovel in a three by three box). Make sure the location for the outhouse is at least six feet above the high groundwater table. If it isn’t, or if the soil is too loose to maintain a hole, you’ll probably need to put in a holding tank (which means you’ll have to clean it out as needed). However, there are a few ways to keep a hole open in loose soil while still allowing proper drainage. For example, you can add a piece of vertical corrugated pipe, or create a “pipe” by bending a portion of hog panel to fit. Build well away from any wells or water sources, and mound the area around the hole so as to create surface runoff away from the outhouse (and to keep drafts out).

The basic outhouse design is pretty universal and you can find free plans online. It needs to be big enough for someone to stand and sit with the door closed. It needs to be sturdy and wind-resistant. It should have a sloping roof and be able to withstand a snow load. It should have a floor. The “throne” should be enclosed with a lid and a vent pipe leading from the box above the pit all the way up and through the roof. A few screened vents on the walls are a good idea as well. A window or two is also a plus.

Make it comfortable. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in outhouses mentally solving the problems of the world.

Privy rules

When you build your outhouse, think about the fact that every now and again you’ll need to move it, normally when the pit is getting about half full. For that reason I’ve taken to building outhouses with a sturdy wood floor (for shear-strength) on pressure-treated skids. That way I can back the tractor (or the kids) up to the outhouse, connect a chain to a couple of sturdy eye-bolts installed for the purpose, and haul away.

Be sure and find out what codes apply in your area to outhouse construction and use. Usually outhouses are too small to require building permits, but outlaw compost toilets are generally frowned upon by the powers-that-be because they don’t generate any revenue for the controlling legal authorities.

Check out some options in the WND Superstore preparedness department. New products of all kinds being added regularly for all your prepper needs – from informational books, movies to shovels, water purifiers, and food from soup to nuts!

And determining your outhouse has declared illegal, immoral and fascist by a bunch of yammer-heads located in the state capitol some five hundred miles away from your mile-long dirt road, you should, of course, not build one. So just get out the tools, some lumber and build that tool shed. You’d be surprised how many three foot by three foot tool sheds there are in my neck of the woods. That’s a whole lot of “outlaws” solving the problems of the world on a daily basis.

Stay warm and dry. Solve some problems. And get prepared.

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