Out House

Out houses, if done properly, are no more a health problem than ones in homes.  Our two holer survived after our house was built in 1944 until well into the 60s — by choice.  In fact, I preferred it. It was out by our barn, and other outbuildings and very handy when working outside.  It did not mind if you had muddy boots, etc. Much handier than inside bathroom.   It got drug to a new spot every six months, always a nice open view, door lost many years before, always in the shade.  A favored place — out in nature — in the rain, or early morning, or even late in evening.  You might expect it to smell, but being so “out-doorsy” and moved often, it really didn’t.  Of course, there are those who do not understand out-houses, and those can, indeed, be smelly — or have lots of flies.  I cannot abide porta potties — gov’t’s idea of outhouses is like enduring a boil!  And, they are extremely unhealthy.

A favorite place to visit on traveling, while my kids were small, was to Body, CA — the old ghost town up by Mono Lake.  To my kids it was favorite because it had many outhouses — many being doubles and triples — and even a 4 holer.

Old Sears and Monkey Wards catalogs all went to an outhouse to die.  And, were favorite reading materials.  Out house users rued the day (~1938) when catalogs began using color in catalogs — they always used clay on paper in order to catch the color printing — but that made those pages not very serviceable for toilet paper.  Couldn’t use newspaper because the ink came off on you.

Working for many farmers back when, it was common to use their out houses.  Always very interesting.  Each gave insights into the family obtainable no where else. Albert Garner, a close by upstream neighbor would drag his out house over the ditch, during the summertime — the water lateral bringing our irrigation water– with interesting results.  All outhouses had little pathways to them thru the grass or weeds, winding around other outbuildings.  I have always loved small dirt winding pathways.  They simply had “character” to spare.  Wasps especially liked outhouses, and made their nests in and under them — but rarely caused problems.  Contemplating nature gave one time to watch the wasps come and go–we left their nests alone on purpose!  Maybe unfathomable to you, they were much a part of our individualism of living on a farm, out of gov’t’s way, and its over-weaning need to regulate everything under the sun.

Were it not illegal today, I would still have one for my home — at least as an extra.  Contemplating nature while, well, contemplating nature, brings a certain peace and placidity to one’s life.  Everything simply stops, time stands still, while unhurriedly contemplating the business at hand.

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