Dull Thuds And Sprinkling Sawdust: The Joy Of Composting

I always look forward to Sunday mornings and the simple pleasure of visiting the compost heap with our latest offerings. For 4 years now we have had a dry toilet, which, for those of you unfamiliar with the parlance of composting, means collecting your poo in a large bucket, covering your deposits with sawdust, separating the urine (to keep it dry and the bucket light) and then creating an active compost pile in the garden somewhere. 

No matter the weather, even in the depths of winter, upon peeling back the top layer of grass or leaves, which both stops any smell and reduces evaporation in the summer, I am greeted by a universe of microbial activity and a delightful aroma as the residents happily digest the previous week’s gifts. I am always astounded that even in that short time, these unknown miracle workers have gone a long way in transforming my excrement, broccoli stalks, lemon rinds etc. into rich, dark compost.  

It feels like we have a pet in the garden, comprised of an untold number of unrecognised samaritans, grateful for our waste (a concept unknown in nature), and, if it were possible (perhaps it is….), perplexed at the lengths to which we go to turn our benign faecal excretions into a toxic slurry requiring enormous amounts of energy and chemical intervention. We are equal, symbiotic participants in this unfolding drama, the elegance of which both fascinates and enchants. 

Why are we obsessed with such fancies at space travel, gazing at distant worlds and marveling at our own gadgetry but so afraid to tackle what we all produce on a daily basis? Nature has given us all the pieces of the puzzle and what’s more, having combined the elements (poo, sawdust, urine, leaves, anything organic) not only does it just get on with it with zero effort on our part, we are also pointed towards other, sacred truths: Our connection with this great earth, our participation in a life cycle and the wisdom of symbiosis being but a few of them.

So, don’t be shit scared of your shit, give a crap about your crap, don’t waste your waste and, failing that, watch your cat for inspiration!

5 Comments on “Dull Thuds And Sprinkling Sawdust: The Joy Of Composting

  1. I always love reading about a happy heap. I’m in the process of building new structures as the wood I used for our first enclosure has now become one with the pile 🙂


  2. I have had a compost toilet for a year now, have not used any of it yet as l am still a bit worried about lingering pathogens. Any way to mitigate the risk of bad germs remaining?


    • The heat of a compost pile will kill any pathogens. Mix all the toilet waste with your kitchen waste, keep it covered with dead grass or leaves in a 4 sided, open-topped pile and it will become aerobic, and hot, this will ensure any pathogens perish within a matter of days.


  3. Great to read about your relationship with humanure! We are just embarking on our permaculture journey in Ariege too! Would love to connect to hear more about the composting and the greywater filtration. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: