Sitting at Albina Press, trying to get my thoughts together. After a stretch of sunny days flirting with the 90s, a moody cloud system hangs grumbling overhead. I've been in Portland just over a month and settled into Smidgeon just three weeks ago. While I'm acclimating well to new work routines, sudden relocation trails persistent disorientation. Case in point: I've locked my keys in my car (doh!) twice (argh!). Meanwhile, personal infrastructure details continue to vie for attention--auto registration, bills, where to get a haircut, where to live in August... I stepped back from tiny work parties to attend to self-care. Happily, while I reside in Smidgeon, there is opportunity for continuing tiny education of critical import. To state it bluntly, it's time to revisit the loo.
DISCLAIMER: Those of a delicate sensibility, may wish to skip this section. If, however, you are considering tiny-izing your life, or are already in the build process and, as yet, undecided on 'facilities,' bear with me.
If you have followed my adventures in The Mighty, you may remember that I had decided on outside facilities, the original plan being a finished bath house of equal aesthetic. I had stalled short of full realization of the vision leaving off in the tar paper bath house manifestation. Having decided to sell and move to Portland, I am now living the research of the indoor bucket composter.
Smidgeon had been originally outfitted with a standard flush toilet. During a challenging winter of utterly insurmountable system-freeze, Stacey found herself utterly stopped up (forgive me) and hurled unceremoniously into bucket system initiation. When she and I first met to discuss the possibility of my sublease, we got right down to business discussing the particulars. She was still contemplating the ideal additive for small space compatibility. Coconut coir seems to be the way to go.
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I moved into Smidgeon on a Monday after work. As yet unfamiliar with the suppliers of my most basic needs in the area, I acquired a bale of hamster bedding (white wood shavings) from the local pet supply to get by for a couple of nights. Akin to living with a giant litter box. I don't recommend it. Last year, I stayed in Gina's tiny house, where coconut coir was used in an Air Head sailboat composter. I also had the opportunity to visit and document Bayside Bungalow's composting system, employing the same. Until now, I hadn't fully investigated the origin and preparation of the wonder product, itself--minute details I don't think about until I must. Thanks to Lina Menard who donated a brick of coir--my heroine!--I've come to more fully appreciate its virtues. Allow me to elaborate.
Well-known to avid gardeners, coconut coir comes in (roughly) 4x12x18 inch bricks. In order to rise to the level of performance necessary for the humble purpose at hand, it must be properly hydrated in advance. I added about 22 quarts of water. Waited about an hour. Broken up and hand-fluffed, the brick expanded to at least 6 times it's original size. For direct system application, add a scoop of hydrated coir big enough to cover each deposit completely. In combination with good urine-diversion practice (translation: pee elsewhere. Google urine diversion toilets for more info), odor is mitigated. Home air quality is greatly improved.
And so the journey continues. I'm shopping for my ideal neighborhood and a long term lease, all the while eager to get back to assisting with tiny builds (Lina's, Laura's, others...), dive into the tango scene and yoga classes, explore Portland summer (farmers market, free park movies and concerts, new friends like Jeff who is building on a 30' trailer and incorporating a gourmet kitchen (gotta check that one out). Portland is weird and wonderful. Such is life in this strange new land.
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