Our Outhouse – Part 2

Last weekend we did a bit more digging – we are down to 5 feet now and think that should be enough!  If you haven’t had a chance to read why we are building an outhouse and our first weekend of work, you can see it HEREAbout 3 feet deep  Two weekends of digging in clay dirt gives me a lot more respect for our ancestors! By the time we were down below 3-3-1/2 feet, it was much more difficult to dig and pitch the dirt out with a shovel because the hole was only about 3 foot by 3 foot. So, for the last foot or so of digging, Ray would go down into the hole and loosen up the dirt with a shovel, then I went down into the hole (while he took a much needed break) and scoop the dirt into a 5 gallon bucket, which was then hauled up and out!

About 5 feet deep

Yup – about 5 feet deep – that’s deep enough!

The next step was to pour a concrete footing around the base of the foundation, but first we had to figure out how big to make the actual structure of the outhouse.  Since we were going to use concrete block and didn’t want to bother cutting any blocks, we just decided to lay out the concrete blocks to a configuration that looked good, and went with that.

Laying out concrete block

This configuration of concrete blocks looks good.

Once we figured out the footprint of the foundation, we had to dig a trench for the concrete footing to be poured, which the concrete blocks would sit upon.  Not only will the concrete blocks and footing help keep the structure off the ground, it will also help to keep critters from digging underneath to get into the waste in the pit.  Believe it or not, raccoons and skunks are known to dig into the waste pits to dine!  Eeeewwwwwwww………

digging the footing

Digging a trench to pour concrete, upon which the concrete blocks will be placed.

Once the trenches were dug we were done for the weekend.  Our backs were sore and our shoulders were almost frozen in place.  We knew this project was going to take some time, but isn’t it funny how it always takes longer to do anything than we originally think it will?  While inspecting our handiwork we came to the realization that this hole could be potentially deadly for any wildlife or our neighborhood dogs, so we covered over it with a wooden pallet and some scrap wood.

Cover to protect deer & dogs

We covered the hole with a pallet and some scrap wood to protect wildlife and neighborhood dogs.

So, next weekend we hope to get the footings poured and the concrete block set, pour the floor of the outhouse with concrete and lots of rebar, and then begin building the actual structure of the outhouse!

If you have any suggestions or see any potential problems, please let me know!  I have done a lot of research on how to build outhouses (there are so many ways to do just about anything), but no amount of research can compare to those who have done this before!  Thank you!

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17 thoughts on “Our Outhouse – Part 2

  1. Wow, I don’t envy that digging job! When we lived up the mountains from Canberra when I was younger, the ground was a mixture of grey and red clay. Verry difficult to dig, and even harder to grow anything in! Your dunny be lookin’ good 🙂

    • Thanks, Ms. Yub! Dunny – is that what you call it? Thank goodness the digging is pretty much done – just need to clean it out a bit and straighten the sides, but that won’t take long. I can’t wait until we get to actually build the structure! That’s going to be fun!

      • Ha, yeah, ‘dunny’ is one of the words we have for them. Some, like this one, are polite, others not so much O_o
        May I ask, what of the smell this could potentially create? Most of the out houses I have come across have a pervaiding smell about them.

        • Yes, this could potentially (probably) have a bit of an odor – but at least it won’t be inside the trailer where we cook, eat and sleep! I’ve read a lot of solutions to the odor thing and we will try several. Only the future will tell!

  2. Ah, an outhouse. We have one for our cabin (upstate NY) and I chuckle now because when I first went up there, I could not use it. Yup, held it in the entire weekend until we hit a diner. Now, I’m a pro! =) Coming over from the Creative Home & Garden Blog Hop.

    • That’s so funny! When Ray was a little boy they had a cabin on a lake that also had “outdoor” facilities! He talks about how he would hold it all week until he got home! I think it’s always the “spider under the seat” factor 😉 I think I’ve got that covered – see tomorrow’s post! Thanks for stopping by from the blog hop and for your comment!

  3. This looks good to me, but I have absolutely zero experience in building an outhouse! I wish you luck with the process and hope it turns our well for you!!!

  4. I used to live in a small town in WI where a lot of people had cabins on the lake. I have been to many an outhouse in my day. 🙂
    My favorite was a large, double seated one that was decorated the same as the cabin it belonged to. What I remember of outhouses, was in WI winters, they are no fun at all. And in the summer, they stink to high heaven. My only suggestion for you is to make sure you have a way to remove the house easily to be able to burn the contents of the hole. Can’t wait to see it finished!
    Visiting from That DIY Party.

    • Burn the contents of the hole?!!!!! seriously?!!! I have never thought of that and now I will have to look into it! Thanks! In the research I have done, I found that two seaters weren’t necessarily to be used at the same time, but usually one was smaller than the other – for the children! I thought this was a great idea because you certainly wouldn’t want them falling in! Hahaha! Thanks for reading!

      • Ha ha indeed. WE had a two seater when I was a child. WE had to walk down the jetty to the block where all the privy’s were. There were always loads of marigolds planted out he front and to be fair I don’t recollect a bad smell at all. But! I do remember having being told by my Mammy to take my little brother to the privy and being cross because I was playing. Long story short, I popped him on the seat without thinking and he promptly fell in as it was the big one and he was only three! He shouted, I shouted and poor old Grampa Holder who was digging in his patch rushed in to be confronted by a five year crying, a three year olds arms and legs sticking up while his bottom was down the hole!. HE picked him up arms and legs together, pulled him out and then dumped his backside in the water barrel just outside the privy!!! I don’t think he told Mammy, but it is a vision I will never forget. But do you know, I see arms, legs and hundreds of marigolds! lol

        • Oh Lynne – that’s hilarious! The only thing I remember about outhouses when I was a child was when my family and I were camping and I had to use the outhouse. Well, sometimes kids wait until the last minute, and as I am dancing and trying to get my shorts down to my knees, my precious quarter popped straight from my pocket into the hole! You know, after I did my business, I remember actually thinking of ways to get that quarter out! In the end, the quarter was lost (along with a few tears) and I remembered to take care of money in my pocket after that! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story with me!

    • We considered a composting toilet, but those things are so expensive! Since this is really a temporary situation for us, we figured an outhouse would be just fine. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.