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How to build a Luxurious Treebog

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default How to build a Luxurious Treebog

Post by Compostwoman on 27th May 2011, 12:02 pm

Rebecca Hosking and Tim Green made the BBC2 film, 'A Farm For a Future' which explored peak oil and climate change in relation to farming. Whilst researching, they discovered permaculture and decided to return to the small mixed farm that Rebecca grew up on in Devon, help with day to day tasks and experiment with some cutting edge ideas and techniques. They regularly report the results for Permaculture online.

Down on the farm with no mains water supply, going to the loo in the spring drought can prove rather tricky so Tim and Rebecca decided to build a compost toilet that the trees could look after. The only problem is, once you've been in the best bogs of the world, one's own construction has a lot to live up to...

In my life I've been lucky enough to use some of the most beautiful toilets in the world. In an open-fronted affair in South India there was nothing between me and the Indian Ocean sunset but a vast empty white sand beach and in Nepal the vista from the smallest room (or shack) was the snow-capped peaks of the tallest mountains on Earth. Nothing compared, however, to a 200ft long-drop perched on the top of the Mara escarpment in Kenya. As I sat, behind me was a simple woven screen and before me were eagles and vultures wheeling above vast herds of migrating wildebeest hundreds of feet below.

Clearly the bar had been set rather high when it came to constructing a toilet of our own. Unfortunately, although not entirely ignored, lavatorial aesthetics had to play second fiddle to some practical considerations. The early drought last year highlighted an urgent need for a composting loo of some kind on the farm. The old adage of "if it's yellow let it mellow; if it's brown flush it down" is all very well if you have at least some flushing potential. We have no mains water supply and last May the spring that supplies our domestic water had ceased to spring forth.
Quick and simple to build: Planting the willows

So the design brief Mother Nature had set was to build a waterless closet that could be up and functioning within a couple of days. To that I added "and requires no maintenance". It's not that I'm overtly squeamish about poo (hard to be a livestock farmer if you are!) but given a choice of emptying toilets or not, I'd always choose the latter. To my mind the only answer was a treebog.

The treebog is a breathtakingly simple idea. It's a shack on stilts surrounded by hungry plants – of which willow trees seem to be considered the favourite. As the human deposits accumulate they begin to compost and the hope is that the willows turn that compost into more trees at a similar rate. The only maintenance required is coppicing the trees and an occasional "peak-knocking" (I'll let you work out what that is!)

Read the whole article ( it is really good! ) here


Posts : 5689
Join date : 2009-11-08

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default Re: How to build a Luxurious Treebog

Post by John Cossham on 27th May 2011, 1:09 pm

The film A Farm For The Future is available on the 'Net and it is one of the best introductions to the issue of Peak Oil, very accessible and understandable.

As part of my work with York in Transition, I played the local WI group an excerpt from the film and it left them quite shocked. Few of them had really comprehended the immensity of the situation. I think it's mandatory viewing... should be played to teenagers in schools.

I have a copy on my 'puter which I can play to visitors... but the file is too big to send by email, I think.

John Cossham

Posts : 36
Join date : 2010-01-16
Location : York, UK


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