Compost Toilet in Suburbia (Update)

So we’re about 8 days into the compost toilet experiment, and I can report that the Humanure method of collecting your waste is extremely well received. I have had waste in the bucket inside the house now for over a week (here’s the original post.) There is absolutely NO smell to it. It’s really quite remarkable. It makes you wonder why all of suburbia doesn’t just use this method. If you have a spot to compost somewhere on your lot, it would save the average household a LOT of water and give you ongoing, great compost for your flowerbeds or garden…etc. I guess water isn’t expensive enough yet. Ha!

Anyway, what a great system for off grid living. That is one challenge overcome. On to the million other challenges.

I’m still experimenting with my water catchment system. I’ll post some pictures and perhaps a video, soon.

One of the ways I’m looking at building out the mini basement (inside crawlspace for the kids to play in, under the house) is to use ICF forms. These are relatively inexpensive, great for insulation, awesome for below grade use (below ground level) and is really, really simple to construct. I think I’ll use them to build the crawlspace area, up to where the first floor joists will hang, and then assess it from there. They are more expensive than just using traditional stick framing so I’m not sure if I’ll use them for the entire shell of the house. But they’re darn near unbeatable for below grade walls. So, I’ll definitely use them for the crawlspace “stem” wall. Then I’ll see if I want to continue and just build the entire structure out of ICF. We’ll see.

Cabin update…after a LOT of thought and planning and mulling over things… we’ve decided to build a 14′ x 14′ structure, with a full second story (no loft overlook.) So, the official footprint size will be 196 sg ft. But the upstairs will be about 172 sq ft of usable, open space. Then we’ll have a flat roof that can be used as a roof deck.

Of course, I say all this but then I’ll probably keep changing the plan until the last nail is in place. I just want it to be exactly what we need for the second cabin. No more, no less.

My HOPE is to break ground sometime in Oct. But you know what they say about the best laid plans….

Welcome to Grid Rid

This is the first post of what I hope will be an interesting blogumentary about getting rid of the grid. (Hence the not altogether clever name of the blog and web address.)

I’m going to blog, in detail, my family’s move (two young daughters and a wife) from a 5100 sq ft home in Gilbert, AZ to a 1000 sq ft cabin (not yet built) on our 40 acre piece of land in NE Arizona. (I’m actually going to build a smaller cabin first, for practice.) We’ll be completely off grid as our property is no where near electricity or any other modern amenity. The nearest town is St John’s, which is about a 30 minute drive away. Cell service is spotty to none and there is no well or water source. Nothing. It’s simply a beautiful piece of land, waiting to receive our guiding hands.

My goal is to have a small cabin, power, toilet, water and high speed internet, all in working order, by August 1st of 2013. That is 0 to livable in exactly 1 year.

My experience in such matters? None. Zero. I am an entrepreneur. I have exactly no skills in building, power creation, water management or any other skill that will be required in the next year.

God help us all. 🙂

The picture you see here on the blog, in the background, is a view from what we call the “gulch” on our property. Over time, you’ll be able to recognize the different features of our ranch, of which there are many and varied.

Anyway, here goes nothing. As they say in showbiz… stay tuned!