Yesterday, we finished up the project. The wind we've had lately had further loosened the roof to the point where it looked as if it would take flight. At the close of the day, here's the lovely little building, spruced up and ready for summer.
I love using the outhouse. The music of the rain and birdsongs makes a delightful contrast to the sound of five gallons of precious water being flushed through a drain and concentrated in places where we don't want water and hyper-fertility.
The outhouse has been the butt (couldn't resist this pun!) of jokes, the object of ridicule and scorn, and on Halloween nights has even experienced transmigration and levitation. Outhouses were often hauled several miles distant simply for the "fun" of it! Sometimes, with the occupant still inside, if those stories can be trusted as true.
In the book, Tisha, a story of a teacher in Alaska, the story is told of one poor soul who froze to the seat in that awesome cold! It was quite a production setting the prisoner free!
It used to be that everyone had an outhouse, including schools. Here's one for both boys and girls. Not sure what the hole at the bottom on the left is for!
Nowadays, however, Americans with their "tidy" mentality about bodily processes have all but shut off debate about the upside of using one of the oldest fertilizers in the world, still used today in other "less developed" places. (notice the language putdown of those who treat human waste intelligently).
Here's an outhouse (if you can believe...!) 7,000+ feet about sea level...hello?.....why would anyone concentrate human waste at 7,000+ feet?! But you know, this really makes sense:
In 2007, Europe's highest outhouses (two) were helicoptered to the top of France's Mont Blanc at a height of 4,260 meters (13,976 feet). The dunny-cans are emptied by helicopter. The facilities will service 30,000 skiers and hikers annually; thus helping to alleviate the deposit of urine and feces that spread down the mountain face with the spring thaw, and turned it into 'Mont Noir'.
Below is an outhouse with a view...and two stories...not sure I'd like to be on the first with someone on the second....
And a different approach to the two-story method...
Here's a Polish "squat" outhouse....no seat!
For other, more elaborate constructions.....take a peak over here:
Wikipedia has a site entitled "Outhouse" and a good bit of outhouse humor and lore is listed. Under "Terminology" it mentions the name "thunderbox," used in Australia. (also, "dunny house"). Actually, when we lived in Australia, we had an outside toilet. Mind you, it was a flush toilet, but the little house originally had had an outhouse (no-flush) but the town gradually crept in and eclipsed the property, and ultimately city fathers declared that "modern" plumbing was the way of the future (just outside of Cairns) so the old couple (about our age, now!) were forced to "modernize." The thing I remember most about that "outside toilet" was my terror when I sat down on the seat to "use the facilities..." About three feet from my nose were five HUGE spiders on the opposing wall, each about four inches in diameter including legs--all eight of them! In retrospect, I could call that experience "the scream heard round the world."
MM came running, shovel in hand, and dispatched what (according to our wonderful neighbors) had been "pets" of long-standing! Thanks to my narrow-mindedness, we had murdered what had been the sole pest control contingent--these super-sized, but gentle beings. I've never gotten over my shame.
The well-known crescent moon on American outhouses was popularized by cartoonists and has a questionable basis in fact. There are authors who claim the practice began during the colonial period as an early “mens”/ “ladies” designation for an illiterate populace. (The sun and moon being popular symbols for the genders during those times. Others refute the claim as an urban legend. What is certain is that the purpose of the hole is for venting and light and there were a wide variety of shapes and placements employed
For more informative and interesting discussions of outhouse lore and facts, go to: