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Gotta Go!




Not everybody has an outhouse in their back yard. Well, it’s not exactly in my back yard per se, but it’s on my property. And no, it’s not functional. This outhouse dates back to the time when there was an old farmhouse on this land. The foundation to the old house is still visible too, but it’s not quite as interesting as the outhouse. A few years ago I saw an article in our regional newspaper about an author/photographer who wrote a book about old New England outhouses. I guess the book had lots of pictures of old, even dilapidated outhouses the author found scattered about our region. I had to admit, I was kind of disappointed that the author didn’t know about my outhouse, and as a result, it’s not in the book.

When we first moved here many years ago the outhouse was in pretty good shape. We didn’t do anything to or with it except show it to a handful of visitors who appreciated it’s quaintness. As the years turned into decades, the little blue privy started to fall into disrepair because like anything else, the elements took a toll on the structure. And although we could see the privy was starting to decline, it never really occurred to us to do maintenance work on the building. After all, it’s not like the outhouse was in use. Today I regret our neglect. The outhouse is only a couple of seasons away from total disintegration and it would require a complete overhaul to restore it to it’s former condition. And I find that kind of sad. Not that I have a thing for outhouses … I don’t. But it’s a little piece of history that’s going to vanish from our landscape.

Does your humble abode or property have an interesting or unusual feature or story?

6 responses

  1. Now that is one perfect title for this shot. This beautiful picture also reminds me of the winter we’re not having. Not that I’m complaining. It seems only right that one year we have snow deep enough to block light from entering through our first floor windows and then, the next year, we’re wearing shirt sleeves and trees don’t know whether to bud or not to bud. That is the question. (Sorry about that – couldn’t resist.)

    No interesting outbuildings on our tiny plot of land, Cheryl. When growing up, I thought it was such a hoot to go visit Gramma Miller in Granby because she had no indoor bathroom facilities, but rather, still employed the use of an outhouse. And a very fine two seater it was. Better yet, it was the smell of her home-baked beans that always planted a broad smile on my face. My Mom passed along the recipe to me and I almost have it down…after all these years.

    Interesting where a picture can take the mind, isn’t it? Thanks for this one, Cheryl. I feel warmer, privileged to have indoor plumbing (it is estimated that 2.6 billion – no typo there – have no indoor toilets), and think that I’m going to make Gramma Miller’s beans tomorrow; they have to soak overnight.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    • My childhood experiences with outhouses are limited to my father’s Adirondack hunting camp and my Girl Scout adventures. As a kid I thought those things were kind of neat, but now I’d be a bit put off. Late night visits to the latrine meant having to solicit the company of my sister, not that she was any braver than I. Pretty scary at night, even in the yellow light of a kerosene lamp!

      February 23, 2012 at 8:53 AM

  2. Oh please do restore the old out-house! Coming from an Amish heritage I have used an outhouse many times as a child. Even though my grandparents had a proper restroom in there last home, my grandpa refused to go to the bathroom INSIDE the house, especially with it being so close to the kitchen area! Running water from the indoor faucet was only used a couple times a day when the generator was turned on to fill the tank. Water was always heated on top of the kitchen stove and carried to the sink or bath. Nowadays most Amish homes are built with a bathroom with all the modern facilities, but usually they also have an outhouse on the property as well. What memories that little shack must hold!

    February 20, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    • We might consider restoring the outhouse. It is kind of neat to have on our property. It wouldn’t take all that much to rebuild and roof it. My dad’s hunting camp had no running water or inside bathroom when I was a kid, so I know what that was like. We used to drink from a dipper that sat next to a large water barrel in the kitchen. Once a day someone had to walk to the spring to fetch cooking and drinking water. That was quite a unique experience to have had and although I was very young, I do remember it with great clarity. I can see that tin dipper if I close my eyes ….

      Thanks for sharing your memories!

      February 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM

  3. We too have an outhouse on our property, right below the house where the horses graze. It looks in pretty rough condition, and everytime I pass by it I can’t help but think of how cold it would be in that little shack in the middle of winter in North Dakota. I think if that was my only option I’d hold it 🙂

    February 22, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    • Yup, I can relate! The awful chill is usually my first thought when i look at the outhouse, too! As a kid I can remember holding off until it was unbearable anymore, then waking my sister, pulling on our jackets and boots and heading out. Nothing like the late night chill and a little woodsy meander in bear country to bring you fully to your senses! I’m not sure what I was more worried about: The creepy outhouse, the thought of bears or just being out the dark! Up in the Adirondacks, night is as black as black could be …. scary, but the star-gazing was fantastic! My sister and I would always stop for a brief moment on our way back to the cabin and gawk at the stars!

      Thanks for sharing!

      February 23, 2012 at 9:02 AM

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