It is as the days start to get longer again and the odd shoot of wild garlic starts to show itself, I find myself digging up a rather odd crop. …. I should first explain …. I have been working in outdoor education for twenty five years, much of that time providing camping expeditions for school age children. This takes place in a range of settings. Amongst the challenges these trips present, toileting looms very large. Although bears may have no trouble in the woods, we humans sometimes struggle.
Our options range from chemical porta potties to full composting loos in a cabin, or sometimes just a quick hole in the ground. Our off-grid woodland camp sports nine composting loos spread across the 150 acre site!
When I became the proud owner of my own 5 acres this year, I realised we needed something simple but effective there too. I went for the simplest option, high dead hedges of spruce brash (made into a square, leaving a gap to get inside), with a right-angled hedge covering the entrance. I carved a simple seat over the long drop hole and …. job done (if you excuse the expression).
So back to the unusual crop, as the boss I get the unenviable task of emptying the compost loo pits at our Bushcraft sites. We have got the chemistry of the pits sorted. The correct mixture of sawdust, wood ash and moisture, means it not too unpleasant and some newly planted trees benefit from the result. The strangest thing though, is the number of torches that I’m finding buried as I dig. I must question how they get there, are they growing?
The benefit of my simple brash loo, is that it will not need emptying. When the time comes, I can back fill the hole, chop the brash, pile it over the pit and move on to a new site.
Oh yes, it has just occurred to me, maybe the torches are appearing, because someone is planting “bulbs”(sorry could not resist). On second thoughts, we had better just keep reminding our visitors to make sure that they hang on to their flash lights when they visit the loo. As to what I do with the latest crop of torches, I am still considering this!