Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ode To The Turdbox

Without a doubt the septic system and drain field has caused the most consternation in the construction of the cozy cabin. On a regular basis I drive by herds of cows grazing in or at the edge of streams. They just do their business wherever with out a single concern or regulation governing their poo.

In my case, a herd of one, an entire system of separation and disposal is required. Then the soil has to be just right and the hillside of saprolite where the cozy cabin sits was rejected as substandard. The drain field had to be moved to the other side of the sunny utility valley where I was fortunate to have acceptable soil.

When the turdbox that will collect my poo and send the effluent off to the drain field was installed it ended up being a foot higher than was anticipated. A retaining wall was needed to be able to bury the sewer line on it journey from the cabin to the box. So I shovel buckets of dirt from the basement patio floor to use as back fill behind the new block wall. That works out fine because I did need to lower the patio floor to get a proper base under a future stone floor and maintain the 6' 9" head clearance under the main girder of the cabin that I wanted.

It's all about adjusting. A single word in a comment on the previous post, Stonehenge, changed things. The previous patio sculpture #1 unwrapped and lined out. It is a shorter segment of the similar boulder lines I had on my Maui lawn.

All this digging has allowed me to act on ideas I held in reserve for the basement patio. Half of the pot belly of an old furnace that was discovered in Fort Collins Colorado in 1981 was laid next to patio sculpture #2. This new juxtaposition of metal, stone and cement has more appeal and is cause for more thought. It moves me more than the stone alone. Now this hunk of metal has a home.

The nice round basin and rectangular stone backing is reminiscent of something, almost fountain or pond like. Maybe I could add water to this somehow in the future.

But something else comes to mind. It also has the feel of a chair, even a throne.
Deep thoughts.

In the midst of shoveling buckets of dirt to make a turdbox that is too high for comfort work with the flow of gravity, time for contemplation is found. A little satisfaction is wrested from an uncomfortable situation. Patio sculpture #2 is properly christened just like the cows do. All lines lead to the throne.


Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Um, Christopher... I don't know how to say this, but your basin does look like a thrown, albeit stone, not porcelain. Sorry. All the talk about septic systems & poo had me thinking that's where you where going with the stone & basin.

Would an outhouse have just been easier?

Christopher C. NC said...

Actually Jim I think there is some loophole in the code where you can build an outhouse directly over a turdbox that is connected to a drainfield. Winter temperatures and the rest of the indoor plumbing would have made that difficult.

Maybe if I paint the throne white?

Frances said...

From stonehenge to that kind of throne? It is all a swirling miasma of symbolism. Love the furnace piece. Can it hold water?


Christopher C. NC said...

Frances it would need a liner and backing on the open part to hold water, but it could be made into a small water garden I think.

Lola said...

I think it would make a fine water garden--quietly trickling when one sits on the patio in late evening. The placement of the rocks looks terrific.

Christopher C. NC said...

Thanks Lola. I am liking this arrangement better.

Rose said...

I had to come read this when I saw your title, and I'm so glad I didn't miss this philosophical musing. Shoveling lots of dirt certainly gives one time to meditate:) I do love the mini-Stonehenge!

Isn't bureaucracy wonderful? We have to put in a new leech field, which meant having some official come over to inspect the area.He said we may have to cut down the redbud tree. Over my dead body...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This reads as a very eloquent rant to me. Curse the powers that be making your Turdbox such a chore. I can see the the kingdom being coaxed into existense. Of course the King needs a throne.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting comparison about the cows. You are right, they are the ones who need turdboxes, comparing daily poo outputs!
I like the idea of using the basin as a small water garden/fountain.


chuck b. said...

I was also thinking what Bev said. Maybe if you were a vegetarian you too could just poop anywhere. You could cut a hole in the floor under the toilet and let it fall below.

I like the Stonehenge idea. Even propping them up like that along the stairs down the slope could be a strong unifying element and would look cool in winter. Of course, that might not be practical. I know they're very heavy.

Still it's nice to have material to work with.