Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Shit and pee wherever you like"

Andy + Coconut tree = <3
We have been at Solitude a week now and we are much happier here. Sadhana Forest had many rules including: no competitive games or sports (including card games), no non-vegan food allowed on campus and (possibly the worst) a very extensive toilet procedure. Using the compost toilets at Sadhana Forest was a non-trivial procedure. There were at least two different holes, and three different buckets per cubicle. One hole was for liquid and only liquid waste, the second for solid and only solid waste. If you went poop, you had to scoop one scoopful of sawdust into the hole and then waddle over to the liquid waste hole in order to use the bum wash because no liquid could be in the solid, dry waste hole. If you had to pee while you pooped, you needed to use a pan with a handle on it to catch the pee and then dump that into a second bucket that was used to water the flowers. Needless to say, this was more complicated than necessary (especially when suffering from diarrhea). When we arrived at Solitude Farm and the owner, Krishna, was giving us an orientation, his description of toilet procedure were music to our ears: "Yeah, so basically you can shit and pee wherever you like." We knew right away that we would like our stay here at Solitude.

The windmill pumps water from the well. At the top, it says "varagu"
a local millet that Solitude is trying to re-establish.

We are lucky to be at the farm during this time because Krishna is hosting a 9 day workshop on Natural Farming and Permaculture techniques. We read aloud from the book, One Straw Revolution and discuss the techniques that are used on the farm. Our work so far has involved some weeding, mulching, planting in the nursery and harvesting dahl (lentils) and rice. Middays get pretty hot and sticky, but that problem is easily solved by taking a dip in the well.

This is a maniac Italian named Devid. The water is about 20 ft down!

Milling varagu the old fashioned way.
Andy and I are finally getting used to thin mattresses, and have come to the terms with the rats that share our hut. All is going well in Southern India!


  1. Well I for one am grateful that you both can shit and pee wherever you like. Shitty rules just piss me off. Be kind to those rats, you may be related. And watch out for crazy Italians. I am proud of your path.

  2. Sanitation aside, that place looks fantastic. I'm glad that you two are doing well. Perhaps the most genius bit is the fact that you escape the michigan winter. On a side note, I doubt that Paige would be impressed, but for Andy: we have continued and will continue to lift heavy shit thrice weekly. Thanks for the weights, good sir. Stay safe, and keep the updates coming. We do so enjoy them.

  3. Grandma W. isn't going to like it that you wrote SHIT...and the rats will freak her out! Oh, well. On a serious note about the rats...will snakes come in after them? You both continue to look so strong and healthy and I am glad for that. If you learned to squat on your haunches like the lady in the picture, your legs would get really toned!

  4. It sounds like you have gotten into a groove with your farm tasks. As for the graphics of toileting, I get Number One and Number Two mixed up, but poop and pee get the message across sufficiently. Do ladies in India swear? I'm just "relieved" you now found a way to void to your satisfaction and comfort.

    The cable dangling from the windmill in your photo has my curiosity as to it's purpose. I do not recall that sort of attachment to the windmills on our farms in Minnesota.

    As for rats, when I was a kid on the farm, pitchforks and a Dalmatian dog worked wonders. Keep the hut totally devoid of any scent of food. Do you have traps, or are they frowned upon? I would think rats can do a number on the crops, so the snakes would be an asset there,...or not?

    White and Davis from the U of MI medaled in skate dance at the Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. The Olympics have been uplifting and great entertainment with the full range of every human emotion possible. The U.S./Canada hockey game for Gold and Silver is tomorrow (Sunday, Feb 28); as well as the closing ceremonies; and then we wait for another four years.

    Our winter in the north woods of Michigan continues to be mild in temp,right around 30 degrees, as well as amount of snow, which actually is below average here (March will be coming in like a lamb); while weather conditions continue to be much more severe almost everywhere else in the nation.

    I so enjoy the sharing of your learning experiences. "Met-Him" i.e., Grandma Wanda