Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Problem #35624: Crazy Culvert Lady Woes Part 1

Now that tour season is over, we should be free to move on to working on Castle Aaargh or other things we've put off while dealing with weeding and building outhouses and whatnot.  But alas, another problem cropped up in our driveway in early June after our one hard rain this season:
 Yep.  That's a hole, all right.

I was on my way out to the mailbox and noticed some of my marigolds were missing.  Oh dear, what happened? Was it another pesky woodchuck, burrowing under the culvert?

All rusted out
 Nope.  A quick look in the ditch told me the sad story; our 1939 driveway culvert has finally reached the end of its lifespan, poor thing; it was here when we built the house.  When our little dirt side road was widened in 1972, the powers that be (or were, at that time) installed a used forty year-old culvert for access to our farm field.  

Since 1978, when we built our house here, we simply used the farm driveway as our driveway.  We've had problems with the culvert many times over the decades, but Carl's always managed to fix them.  This time, we have to admit defeat, though. The bottom of the pipe has rusted out and the water passing through during the high water in spring washed all the gravel to one end, causing a hole to open up on top of the culvert. 

The culvert is going to have to be replaced.  Which means we have to remove all the landscaping.

We had high hopes for the driveway landscaping this year; Carl had finally had the time to build me some heavy frames for the tree grates over the culvert.  Time flies; the grates have been in place in our driveway for six years already.  I always wanted them to hang from a frame, though, but Carl hadn't had the time to fabricate some until late this spring. 

Below is a photo from while Carl and Joel are installing the grates in 2012:

The grates are heavy, around 425 pounds each.

July 2017
 The grates were situated right on top of the driveway culvert.  When Carl brought the new frames home in April 2018 to hang them from, he removed the grates so he could attach them. 

 The frames Carl fabricated are lying to the left of the grates in the photos.
Waiting for their new frames

 We were going to bury the long posts in the ground, but when the culvert failed, we had no choice but to put the grates back out by the windmill in the rustic area again, where they are awaiting their fate.

 The cedars out by the end of the driveway took a beating this past winter, especially the one on the right.  The driveway looked so empty with the grates missing.

I did my due diligence back in July and contacted our township about our predicament.  A town employee came out and surveyed the situation and told me what size of culvert I need, 36" in diameter, 45' long, the exact same size we have now.  I secured a permit for $25 and called around for an excavating contractor to put the new culvert in. 

I talked to two contractors, and their general consensus was, "That is going to be one expensive culvert!"  Yes.  I know, culverts aren't cheap and the side flares required aren't either. 

 If all goes well, we have a contractor arriving in two to three weeks.

We could replace the culvert ourselves, but for once we've decided to hire the work done; it's a big job and we're short on time this year.  We've fixed the driveway at least five times due to flooding in the forty years we've lived here; and frankly, we're tired of it.  This job is going to come with a very high price tag as it looks like culverts our size run $30-$40 a foot plus flares and installation, but we hope it's the last time we have to deal with it. 

Somewhere around here I have photos of what the driveway looked like in 1978 before we landscaped it but I'll be dipped if I can find them.  Anyway, imagine cattails and willow brush and weeds in abundance.  The ditch was not mowable and it was an eyesore to be sure.  Over time, we removed the brush and when we acquired the tufa stone back in the mid-1990's, the first place we used it was to dress up the culvert.  

This was a mid-1990's rendition of one side of the driveway with split-rail fences scrounged from the city dump.  Carl made an arch out of an old tank to support the tufa stone and it formed a mock bridge look.

Same view below, 2018, after I started removing some of the tufa for the Outhouse Gabion (and because I knew we had to take it down anyway.)   
The township rules on my permit read:  Apron end walls shall be required on all culverts.  Culvert shall be new and of corrugated material.  Used culverts will not be accepted.  Driveway side slopes shall be of earth material only.  No concrete, stone or bituminous side slopes shall be constructed.

Oh, dear.  No stone.  Just earth.  Phooey.  (In case you were wondering, bituminous means blacktop.  I had to look that one up.  And, I wish the town had used a 'new' culvert back in the day when they installed it in the first place, but I guess, the culvert served us well for forty years.)


The view above was when Willie the Willow was still with us, sometime in the early 2000's.
 Here is the same wall, taken August, 2018, just before we started to dismantle everything this past weekend.

We're very melancholy about this project; it took us years to get the driveway and ditch straightened out.  People often commented on how they liked our driveway landscaping, too.  The reasoning behind the new rules for culvert flares is to prevent fatalities should someone run off the road and hit the culvert.  We live on a sleepy side road, but there are times cars go flying past here at high rates of speed and accidents do happen.  I don't know if hitting any type of culvert would be 'safe' but we will comply with the rules.

On Sunday afternoon, we took a drive around the township specifically looking at people's driveways.  For the most part, very few driveway culverts around here would pass culvert safety regulations.  The vast majority of them have no flares, have blacktop or cement sides or stone, concrete block or other treatments that make them look very nice, but also I guess, very dangerous for anyone running in the ditch and striking them. 

Most of the culverts we observed that had no 'not approved' landscaping stone or blacktop added struggled to keep the weeds trimmed as it is impossible to mow the steep angles, so tall grass and weeds were the norm.  The culvert ends can be weed-whacked, but again, it's all more maintenance.  I've been lucky the last twenty years or so, and could simply mow the ditch without any trimming.

I hope we have better luck with the new driveway.  Because the road culvert that handles the farm runoff to our west is not large enough when we have very heavy rains, we have water running over our driveway and eventually, even the road, which has happened at least five times that I can recall.  Our driveway is only gravel and high water washes the gravel off the top, exposing the culvert pipe, which we then have to fix.   Frankly, I have to admit it is very scary when the high water comes within mere feet of our house.  
Water, we get water, we get lots and lots of water..........this was in 2010

Here's a link to one of my posts on flooding: On Golden Pond  

A few years ago, when our road was being rebuilt, I asked the township to put in a larger road culvert just to our west and we even offered to pay for it, but they wouldn't oblige me.  (And now I'm known as the Crazy Culvert Lady, sigh.)  Luckily for us, we don't usually get that much rain (about five inches when the pictures in the 2010 post happened) all at once every year, but it's a given it will happen at least once a decade.  But, there's nothing we can do about it, we'll have to make do with what we have and keep our fingers crossed.

 This was a picture of the road culvert just before the water ran over the road in 2010.  Since this happened, they raised the level of the road itself by several inches......sigh.  If a flash flood comes up, we'll be safe once it goes over the road, but until then, it's a nail-biter.  After using a transit, Carl assures me our house is still a good foot above the new road height.  I hope he's right.
August 2010, here and gone in under two hours, the water was still rising at that point
I know that in my last post I was lamenting the fact we have been so dry, and now they're predicting flash floods, so who knows what will happen....maybe my excavator won't have to dig out the driveway culvert, it will be all washed out for before he gets here.  Might save us on some labor?
 For the past week, we've been removing the tufa and getting ready for the new culvert.  Above is the smaller west side of the driveway.
 One last look before we started demolition on the east side.
 We loaded the tufa onto pallets and I hauled them out to the Back Eight for now.
 The steel frame Carl made out of a huge tank is coming into view again.
 The tufa is removed and the arch of the tank and the galvanized sheet holding the soil back is uncovered.
 I called Digger's Hotline and had the utilities marked, luckily, there are no wires to worry about.
 The tufa was buried deep in the soil and had settled some, too, so poor Carl had to dig for it.  We've put in some long hours out here this past week.

 We bought a new handcart (on the left side of the picture) and it has come in very handy already.  Some of the rocks were so big it took two of us to pull them up the ditch to the pallets.
Saturday, August 25, 2018,  Carl digging up the last of the tufa.  We'll have to move the hostas, too, but with a little luck, my excavator friend will simply scoop them up with his bucket and set them aside for me.  He's worked for us before and is amazingly skilled, plus, he has a soft spot for plants.  I'm hoping he'll dig the cedars out for us, also; we have a good place for them out back.

So for now, we wait.  The excavator said he might be here in two to three weeks, but I'm glad we have most of the preliminary work done.  The big job will be trying to make the driveway look nice again afterward.  

I have all sorts of ideas of what we can do with our displaced tufa and tree grates, but until the new culvert is in, we're at a standstill.  We'll have to see what the new area looks like before we can visualize the new arrangement.  I'm hoping to replant the hostas around the new culvert, though they will suffer with no shade.  I might work in some tall ornamental grasses as a backdrop to provide the hostas some relief, just having plants in the ditch shouldn't pose a safety hazard for anyone running off the road, but we'll definitely miss the tufa stone/bridge look.  In a way, I have to admit this is exciting because it is a new challenge, but to tell the truth, it's yet another project we don't need. 

 Joel, in 2010, kayaking in the ditch.
For now, we'll hope the flood warnings don't materialize and we've bid a fond farewell to our former driveway.

Stay tuned: we'll think of something!

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Dark and Stormy Night

I've started writing this post around 11PM on a dark and stormy Sunday night.  Rain is pattering on the west window of the living room and Carl is asleep in his Lazy Boy next to me, gently snoring.  Another weekend is over.

 Rain.  What  a welcome sound.

We have been in a near drought this year, in fact this is one of the hottest and driest summers in recent memory for us.  The Quarry is down to a few inches on the north end and looks dreadful, though the fish are still surviving under the crispy lily pads.  
There's some water in there, somewhere, but not much.
In the picture above, there I am, in all my glorious gardening garb in near 90 degree heat, dragging the hose around, watering.  The only thing growing on the lawn is weeds, but since the lawn is mostly weeds, that's ok.   Even the annuals are struggling and they were watered quite often.  The maroon cannas on the batting cage should be twice that height and the 'Split Second' morning glories are struggling to cover the trellis.

In the last two weeks my hostas have been suffering mightily despite my efforts at keeping them somewhat watered.   A great many of them have simply gone flat to the ground and taken any surrounding ferns down with them.

 Though it bugs me to run sprinklers for any length of time, I did cave in and water the hostas last weekend.  I guess it's the farmer in me, but I hate to think of running my well dry.  We don't need another expensive crisis to deal with.  Surprisingly, the lawn stays quite green in this part of the yard, it must be comprised of weeds that are more hardy.

I did what I could with the sprinklers, and the hostas perked up a little bit.

The hostas are still wilting and look miserable
Lycoris squamigera aka Mystery Lilies, aka Naked Ladies  

 I picked a bunch of the Mystery Lilies and brought them in the house.  They surely do last a long time in water.  

During the first two weeks of August, we had small groups of elders from the local nursing home brought out by bus to tour the gardens.   Oh, it was hot!  Most of them were in wheelchairs and had helpers along to push them through the gardens.  It was wonderful having them here, they were so cheerful despite the heat and had a great deal of questions about the gardens.
  The first groups were here August 7, one bus load in the morning and one in the afternoon.  I sent them each home with a few flowers for their apartments and they just beamed with delight.   If it wasn't such a silly dry year, I could have sent them home with more.
 The following Monday, August 13, we had the last group of seniors tour, and that didn't go as well.  It was another very hot, humid day, and one of the ninety year-old ladies fainted.  We rushed to move her to the shade and put cool compresses on her head while we waited for what seemed like forever for the ambulance to arrive.  

Carl directed the rescue squad to the back yard, but by the time they got here, the lady had recovered sufficiently and was able to go back to her assisted living apartment with the help of a registered nurse in a separate car.  We were so glad she was ok.
A sight I do not want to see again in the garden.

Luckily, the gurney and the ambulance was not needed.
The EMT's said they enjoyed seeing the gardens even though their services weren't needed this time.

 The residents were so happy to see butterflies and flowers and I was able to pick some blooms for them, too.  I hope we can play host to the nursing home again next year, it is such a privilege to bring the residents some joy. 
We had our last garden group of the year last week, a delightful bunch of ladies from Shawano, WI.  They were all gardeners and were very interested in the goings-on around here.  We did the standard garden tour and then I dragged them in the house to see the lamps, too.

They said they hadn't had much rain this summer either, so we're all in the same predicament, I guess.
I lost count of how many times I sat and stared at the radar this summer, thinking surely this time we'll get some rain, only to see the clouds either part as soon as they neared us or simply fizzle out before they got here.  The only thing that has kept the crops in our county alive have been strange pop-up rainstorms, brief and intense where they occurred, but they didn't occur here very often and after they were over, temperatures would soar, drying the ground out rapidly. 


Last week, a mere hundred miles from us, the southern part of the state was hit with a record eleven+ inches of rain in one day which caused millions of dollars in damages in flooding.  What a disaster; I cannot imagine the devastation.  So much rain in one place, nothing here. 

A few weeks ago, a terrible-looking storm was looming west of us, this picture was taken around 8PM from the Pachyberm:
Luckily for us, it blew over with no damage at all, but sadly, no rain, either. 

 I'm grateful for the rain we are finally receiving tonight even though the weather forecasters are grimly predicting severe storm potentials and flash flooding early this week.   I hope they're wrong about the nasty stuff, but for now, we'll gladly take the rain.

Keep watering, Lady!  Hopefully relief is on the way!

Do you see my little friend?  His toes are just sticking out of the bucket....
 Hang on!  Rain is on its way!

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Outhouse Gabion

In keeping with our scatterbrained antics around here, we took on yet another project that we probably shouldn't have, especially when we have so many other things going on. 

Way back in 2017, a whole year ago, we decided to build a gabion outhouse.  Out of tufa.

You may ask, a what now?

Yes, you read it right, an outdoor bathroom with gabion walls formed of tufa with fully plumbed accommodations.

 I haven't written about it before because it wasn't done.  And here we go, a year later, and guess what?  It's still not done.  That's the way we roll around here, gadding about from one project to another willy-nilly.

First, I guess I should explain about the tufa.  Here is a link to a Wikipedia article on the stone:  Tufa 

I'm lazy, so I will refer anyone interested about where we acquired the tufa in the first place to a post I wrote a long time ago about the history of our garden and this most interesting stone: Tufa On the Move

And then there's the gabion topic which is also a head-scratcher for most people, for what, exactly is a gabion?  Here's a Wikipedia link: Gabion 

So, if you've read the links, tufa and gabions make a little sense, but, you may be asking, what do they have to do with an outhouse?  And why did we want one?

Ok, here we go: We host quite a few garden tours and wedding parties for photography over the course of a year not to mention our annual booyah party, which means we have a lot of visitors.  Nine times out of ten, our visitors will eventually need to use a bathroom at some point.  

Not that I'm a control freak or anything (yeah, right!) but when you have wedding parties or bus groups and don't know the people personally, it can be a bit stressful having people roaming around in my not-always (is it ever??) tidy home. 

For the last several years, we rented a port-a-potty which was fine, but the cost adds up.  We rarely make enough in donations to even cover the price of the rent.  And, if the port-a-potty isn't cleaned very often, the smell adds up, too. 

So, when our septic system failed in 2016 and needed replacing, and the yard was all dug up anyway, we tossed around the idea of purchasing a port-a-potty of our own and have it sit over the cover of the septic tank.  Our plumber did us one better, he put in a direct line to the new septic system which would allow us to have a flushing toilet and a sink!  Oooooolalah!

With the plumbing in place for the outhouse back in November of 2016, we tried to decide what type of building to create.  We looked at countless photos of traditional wood outhouses, but none of the options looked right for our landscaping.  We didn't want to spend a great deal of money on the project, either, and even though we could buy a port-a-potty of our own, they aren't very attractive, especially when it would be within five feet of our house.  

Necessity is the mother of invention, so when I was discouraged about traditional construction methods, I started daydreaming about the materials we had on hand for creating something besides a square wooden building.  What if we built a round building?    And out of stone, instead of wood?  What if we made a gabion?!  

I had been intrigued by gabions for years, in fact, Carl had made me two stainless steel forms for future gabions back in 2013.

Carl and my gabion-to-be vase, 2013
 Gosh, it's hard to believe it has been five years since Carl built the sculptures for Valentine's Day, time sure does fly.  We haven't made up our mind where we want the vase sculpture to be permanently yet, so we have not filled it with stone, but it is still attractive as it is.  Once it is filled with stone, it won't be possible to move it easily, so we're waiting for now.

Continuing with my late night brainstorming on bathroom construction, I remembered we had a lot of extra tufa stacked on pallets and loose on a pile from way back in the late 1990's when we first acquired it.  Why not put it to use?  It's not as heavy as traditional stone of the same size, so this just might work, especially in a circular shape.   

But what about a roof? 

Our farming neighbor, Dale, had given us this grain bin roof a few years earlier.  The roof had been sitting out back in the weeds in our rustic area by the windmill.  Every time I walked by I thought of 'things we could do with this'.  (Which is also known as 'more projects for Carl'.)  A round, stone outhouse with a grain bin roof, why not?  Carl and I debated this idea for a few weeks and decided to give it a try.

But then life happened and several tragedies occurred; Carl's brother Larry passed away unexpectedly in October of 2016 followed closely by my mother's failing health over the winter of 2017 and her death that April.  Everything was topsy turvy (and still is to a great extent) but finally, in July of 2017, we decided we should get started on building this curiosity. 

Step One: Foundation

Carl figured out how much cement we would need to pour the floor.  (Yep, alot.)

Joel and I went to a used machinery dealer and bought a cement mixer.  Carl created a metal form for the cement and added rebar and plumbing.

Carl's sister Mary and her husband, Tom came and helped us several days with pouring the floor and we got a good start on the walls, too.  (I don't know why I didn't get any pictures of the entire crew, darn!)

When the floor was all poured, I put a panicked call into our son David, who came over after work to help with the troweling before the floor set up entirely.

Carl had to do the math on how much wire would be needed to complete the walls and how to form the gabion basket.  

Mary and Tom helped us get this project off the ground and we were so appreciative of their assistance, without them, we'd never have gotten as far as we did before the 2017 booyah party last August.

David came to help for many days after work which was wonderful.  As we all know, when I have these 'great project ideas' (such as Castle Aaargh, still unfinished for over a decade, hanging my head in shame) completion of said projects rarely ever includes instant gratification. 

Though the tufa stone is relatively light compared to granite or limestone, it is still a lot of backache-producing work.   Because he is taller, Dave was able to reach the bottom of the wall over the chicken wire easier than his old folks.
As the weeks went on, we kept adding stone and reinforcing wires to keep the walls straight.
The pipes in the floor are for the sink and commode.
We were working as fast as we could on the outhouse, hoping to have it somewhat completed before the booyah party the second Saturday in August 2017.

Tufa is very abrasive on the hands, so leather gloves are essential.  In the picture above, Carl is using improvised tools to move the stones into position in the chicken wire cage.  We put two large tufa stones facing the inside and outside of the cage and then fill the middle with smaller limestone, also known as 'hearting'. 
As the wall grew in height, Carl had to add a second row of wire and a ladder became necessary.

Of course, like usual, we ran out of time before the booyah party and the outhouse was nowhere near ready, so we decided to fast forward to installing the plumbing and worry about the walls and the roof later.   

 Carl, David and Tom (and anyone else who arrived early for the 2017 booyah party) ended up helping Carl with the last-minute plumbing of the sink and toilet.  Joel was entirely occupied with cooking the booyah, though he did lend a hand when Carl hollered for help putting the roof on top.  Since the walls were not high enough for privacy, I dug into my ample stash of fabric and came up with two bolts of temporary wall covering. 

David on the ladder, waiting to help with the roof

Carl put boards across the chicken wire walls and with David and Joel's help, the roof was temporarily hoisted on top.  We added another piece of fabric for a curtain/door and the outhouse was ready for the party.  Our guests were a bit leery about the lack of a door, but all in all, the bathroom worked out great.  Having a flushing toilet is much nicer than the alternative.

After the party was over, we took the roof back off again and set it on the lawn.  Luckily the roof didn't weigh too much at this point, Carl and I could handle it fairly easily, but getting it off and on the chicken wire required three people at a minimum. 

For the rest of the summer and fall 2017 we went back to construction, adding stone to the gabion. 
Roof removed once again

By now, it was September, and the walls were getting a little taller week by week.  This wasn't a job for one person, so I had to wait until Carl was home from work on weeknights or the weekend so we could work together.
  I was hopeful we'd have enough stone to finish the entire project with what we had, but it soon became apparent we were running short.  I went off on scouting expeditions, pulling smaller tufa stone out of our existing tufa walls here, there and everywhere in the garden.  We'd replace the missing small stones with the much bigger ones from the pallets as we went along. 

Below are pictures of some of my pillaged tufa:

Tufa on the move, again

Is there any tufa in there??
We also went through our old rock pile because some of the tufa was stored there, too. 

Day by day, week by week, the walls rose a little higher.

We debated putting a window in for light, but decided against it.

I took the above picture from the top of the ladder.  I'd stand on the ladder and put the stone in the wire basket.  Carl would reposition the stone into the best plane.

The Summer of 2017 slowly turned to fall and we still weren't done.  Days were much shorter, but at least it had cooled down a little, making the work a little more pleasant.

We knew we weren't going to finish before the snow fell, but we'd do our best.

My view from the ladder

Days growing shorter and colder

Whenever Carl's 88 year-old dad, Don, would pour some concrete at his house, he would take any leftover cement and make little happy faces complete with marbles for eyes.  We put several of the smiley faces in the bathroom walls for whimsy. 

I realize in these pictures, the faces look like they are imprisoned, but they do make me smile and whenever I see them, I think of Don.

As the weather grew colder, it was harder to work on the project.  And then Carl's parents had some major health issues in the fall of 2017, so we more or less dropped the entire garden in early November as we tended to their needs.  

For the winter, the water lines were drained and filled with RV antifreeze.  We wrapped the toilet and sink in plastic to protect it somewhat from the elements and put the roof back on top temporarily.   The project was at a halt.

Fast forward to Summer 2018; it has been a very hot, humid, and curiously dry summer for us, and the only things enjoying the weather around here was the weeds, of course, and earlier on, the mosquitoes which were insatiable.  As our dry conditions persisted, though, the mosquito population almost disappeared in August, thank goodness.

Between mowing lawns at three houses and trying to make certain Carl's parents' needs are met in the nursing home, this spring and summer was a whirlwind of activity.  Getting the weeding done (is it ever really done?) and mulching everything fell mostly to me this year and I was feeling the stress of the work more than ever.  

Joel has been helping me mow the lawns at the other two houses, thank goodness, but Joel and Abby have their own huge project right now, too, construction on their new house up at my mother's place.  Before the construction crew could come in to dig the basement, we had to cut down eight trees in late June.  
Brush pile in June from the trees

Carl and I loading the wood on hay wagon for our neighbors

 The dewpoints this summer have been hovering in the mid-60's to 70's and all we do is sweat and swat, which makes you more tired than ever.

Luckily, though they had to jump through hoops and permits and more permits, Joel and Abby's house is finally under construction.

With all of the work to be done here, there and everywhere, before we knew it, we were in the last week of July 2018 again.  Our annual booyah party was looming August 11.  Another year had gone by and we still didn't have the bathroom done.  Ugh.  

We always make lists of the things we want to accomplish and high priority for me was to have the outhouse finished before the party, which meant Carl had to drop everything and concentrate on the construction.  We added more stone to the walls and when we were within a foot of the top, Carl had to work on the roof.

The grain bin roof needed a stabilization ring to keep its shape and strengthen it, so Carl had to build a stainless ring to fit the interior of the roof.  He had to roll the stainless to fit and then drill holes through it to match the existing holes in the roof.  We carried the roof over to the driveway and for two full days, Carl sat in the sun drilling ninety holes in the stainless ring to attach to the roof. 

 I kept busy weeding as fast as I possibly could.  We were each on our own mission, and it was rough on us both. 

Finally, after days of work, the roof was attached to the ring.


Though Carl wasn't in favor of it, I decided we needed to paint the galvanized roof to preserve it for a few more years.   Carl liked the rusty look, but I think he's ok with the end result now.

We were about three days out from the booyah party and finally, the roof was ready to go back on with Joel's help.
 Carl had also fabricated a stainless platform circle which rests on top of the tufa inside the chicken wire and to which we added glass block for a light source.  In the picture above, Carl and Joel are adding the glass block.

Once the block was in place, the next step was a door.  We were running out of time once again, so we had to improvise.  The door I want to create would be from some recycled copper sheeting we have here or some galvanized steel, but in any case, we weren't going to get it done before the party.  
 We have two tree grates lying around, and I had the bright idea of making them into a door, but it would take work and time we didn't have.  

 I was amazed at how the hole in the grain bin roof, known as an oculus, transmits light onto the wall of the outhouse at noon. 

I was going to design a stained glass window for the oculus, but watching the clouds go by overhead is mesmerizing (if you happen to be on the commode for awhile, ha) and now I think we'll opt for clear glass instead.

Since we didn't have time to create the artsy-fartsy door we want, Joel went to Menard's and bought a door and frame in their clearance section for $30 and Carl installed it the night before the party, August 10.  The door is intended for indoor use only, so it is not in any way weatherproof.  It is truly temporary.  Carl painted it with the leftover roof paint so it would match and ended up putting a board in on the left side to make everything fit.  

We found the galvanized 'boy and girl' figures last winter at a craft store and couldn't pass them up.

 The moon was a piece of stainless drop from Carl's work. 

The booyah party the next day was another hot, hot, one, but at least we had a door on the outhouse this time.  Maybe by next year, we'll have the permanent door done?
 I'm very happy with the way the outhouse fits in with the garden, it's stone, after all.

The glass blocks at the top add enough light when the door is shut and at night, I have solar string lights illuminating the interior for now.
The temporary door

 And there we have it, our Tufa Gabion Outhouse, a year or two in the making.  Once again, we're not entirely done, but it is a work in progress.  We hope to create the metal door, either copper or galvanized or both, by next spring.  But, knowing us, it will probably be August, a few hours before our next booyah party. 

As for now, we have another small crisis to deal with; our driveway culvert rusted out and the driveway is falling in.  Oh, dear.  We cannot let this go, so stay tuned for the next big job headed our way in a few weeks...............

The permanent outhouse door will have to wait.  We have a little more time in the winter.  We hope we will, anyway....hey, hope springs eternal, right?