Water Works, Public Sanitation and Personal Hygiene – 4

This post contains personal info you might not want to know, so you might want to skip this post if you are not interested in details about personal hygiene in the deep woods.

The plumber who was supposed to show up the Tuesday after we arrived never came. The Seller (coincidentally) did backhoe work for a plumber and gave us a number to call. This plumber said he might stop by on Saturday if his wife didn’t have him too loaded up with stuff to do. This would just be for an initial consultation and estimate…not the actual work. We had hoped to have plumbing by this time, however, lack of a plumber and finding the floor in the bathroom so rotten means we will probably have to continue our Ozark Hillbilly methods for the duration of our time here.

It’s a whole different way of life out here and dirt is everywhere. I never understood the need for these fly strip things, but I totally get it now. We have caught many flies since this picture was taken. These things are really impressive!

Since the plumbing work has been delayed, we have had to adjust and just ‘deal’ with what we have to work with here, accept a little more dirt and compromise where sanitation is concerned.

We came semi prepared. We brought a portable camping toilet…the kind that has a ‘flush’, but which has to be emptied periodically. We were worried about that part, so we have been using it sparingly and only for ‘the big jobs’ (number ‘2’). For everything else (number ‘1’), we have used the latrine in the woods to extend the use of the toilet before it has to be emptied.

One bag has a roll of toilet paper, and the other one has used toilet paper in it. Here is the view while using the facilities.

Not bad, huh? One thing is for sure…I’m developing some mighty powerful hamstrings. It’s really not that bad. Sometimes, I even have some company out here, which is surprisingly kind of nice.

On a side note, I think it’s amazing that everyone, regardless of age, understands this universal number system for bodily functions. There use to be a plumbing business in a town we lived in whose slogan, plastered on the side of a van, was:

“We’re Number 1 in the Number 2 Business.” Cute, I thought.

I also thought to buy a big stew pot for the tent at night so I wouldn’t have to wake Bud to take me into the woods. How many times have we been camping in a tent, and I would wake him up in the middle of the night to take me to the potty? Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Anyway, it has been a godsend, because I go a lot at night! It’s just the right size that I can actually sit on it, and has a lid to cover it afterwards.

Sorry, but doesn’t everyone wonder about this stuff? I know I do. So there you have it.

Though we can pour water down the drain in the ‘new’ kitchen, there is no running water. We have to haul it from the spring for washing dishes. Bud dammed up some places so that we have a deeper reservoir to scoop from. We brought our Berkey Water Filter for drinking and cooking. We just fill the top with spring water and then clean, filtered water comes out of the spout.

Yesterday, I heated up a big pot of water, and mixed it with water from the spring to get it to the perfect temperature for bathing. The spring water comes out at a constant 57 degrees. It’s painful to even dip your feet in it to cool off. Can’t leave them in there for very long. Anyway, We took a spit bath, and I washed our hair. I also shaved my legs. Afterwards, we felt more human than we had in several days. Prior to that, we have been using baby wipes to bathe with.

The neighbors we met from down the road (Non-Mennonites) have experienced the same thing we are going through, in fact, they did it for six weeks! They invited us down for a shower. Oh, it felt so good! They also cooked burgers on the grill for us. Very nice family! The sellers of this property have also offered to let us use their shower as well. So far, we have only had that one shower since we have been here, but we have been surprisingly okay with it. This is coming from someone who has to have a shower in the morning, and a bath at night. Wonders never cease, I guess, and my inner Hillbilly is coming out.

When we have gotten really sweaty, we have gone down to the river in the afternoons and it has been surprisingly refreshing. The water is more stagnant and dirty than I had imagined it would be, but it has been so nice and cool after a hot sweaty day.

So now you know the rest of the story! (The story that most people don’t tell).

6 thoughts on “Water Works, Public Sanitation and Personal Hygiene – 4

  1. There is a camp potty that comes with a seat that we have stored in the garage. We put plastic bag in to line it with and seems like there was a chemical to use, too. Been a long time and I can’t remember all the details. Then , we bought one of the flush kind, which was more like “living”. LOL

    I found out recently that you could scrub the Berkey filters with a brush and use them over and over before buying new ones. We have not used ours, so I don’t know first hand about it. But I thought the filters were kinda pricey if you had to replace them often. And I never bought them, so we are stuck with the ones that came with it. Hvae you heard of the straws that come with a filter in them so you could take to a restaurant and feel safe about drinking the water?

    All for now.


    1. Camp potties have come a long way! This one ‘works’. Dumping it was not fun. We didn’t buy the deodorant that goes inside of it the first time around and that was a big mistake! We’ll never forget that again.

      I think you are thinking of a sports Berkey, and we do have one of those. Bud has been using it. You just fill it up and then suck on the straw, or you can squeeze it out with a lot of muscle.


  2. LOL!!!!!! This was worth the wait!!!! I knew we would be chuckling over this subject “matter”. Ha!
    Loved this slogan! “We’re Number 1 in the Number 2 Business.”


    1. LOL! It has been interesting, to say the least. I haven’t used my ‘camp potty’ skills in a very long time.When we’ve gone camping, it has always been to places with restrooms and showers. I was surprised at how easily it all came back to me…like riding a bicycle. :-/


  3. Great post, yes, I do wonder about those things especially in books when survival in the wild sometimes seems too clean! You’re doing it, my friend! I would love to know how your spirit is, do you feel a difference inside of you being outdoors and being this primitive? In my romantic soul I always imagine living like that to be deep down BETTER for you, is it true? Or is it too soon to tell?


    1. Shanda! Funny you say that, but YES! I do. I think we are kindred spirits on this subject. I feel so at peace out there. I feel like I am being nourished out there. I’ve recently been reading a lot about Introverts, and one of the things they really crave and which NOURISHES them and recharges them is being outdoors in nature, and I really do feel that it is true. I feel more alive out there.

      I think you are talking not just about being outdoors, but being more primitive (no showers, sleeping outdoors, being in a really wild place). I guess this is a little taste of it. I have recently been very intrigued with the whole idea of seeing if I could live primitively. I didn’t really think of this as being it, since we do have electricity in the house, but I guess you are right. It is pretty primitive.

      I had been reading books about people who hiked the Appalachian Trail, or the Pacific Crest trail with everything they need in their backpack, going weeks at a time outside with no shower, all of their food in their backpacks, etc. This has been a little different than that, but I guess I’m selling myself short, because it has been primitive camping.


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