It is really hard to live in a small space with two young children during the winter months, especially if you like a tidy house, and especially if you have a composting toilet. When we moved in here, I didn't think much about the toilet, and it's impact on our lives. I liked the fact that we were going to be using less water, which is important to me, and important for my children to understand. And, it does feel great when I think about the fact that we are leaving a very light ecological footprint here on the Homestead. We live very simply,and have been for the past 2.5 years. However, that being said, I dream about having a flushable toilet again someday. I love that you can scrub a porcelain toilet bowl until it sparkles, and that you can flush away feces without ever having to smell or see it again. It's nice and complete. The composting toilet we have is finicky. If the solid to liquid ratio is off and it's too moist, it smells. If there is too much solid and not enough liquid it gets really hard to turn the blades that turn the composting material. So, we have to pee in a separate chamber pot, so as not to disrupt that delicate balance. When we poo, we have to add a scoop of peat moss, and then turn the blades at least twenty times to insure that it gets integrated. When the toilet is full, we have to take the tray out from the bottom of the toilet and take it outside to the trench which is about a quarter mile away from the house, where we essentially bury the compost. Our toilet is fairly efficient at producing compostable material, but it is always full or half full of, well, shit. This bothers me. It feels like we have an outhouse for a bathroom. I don't have a pretty, feminine, good smelling bathroom. I have a rustic, old, smelly bathroom that is complicated to use. And trying to get kids to use the toilet takes some serious time and explaining. They usually do not like the warm sensation they get when they sit down, which comes from the heating mechanism used to dry up the material inside. Plus, they don't get to do the exciting flush at the end, which is sometimes the only reason they choose to use the toilet at all. When people come over to visit, I dread it when they ask if they can use the bathroom, especially if it is their kid who needs to use it. The elaborate instructions are tedious to explain, and usually people look at me in slight horror when I tell them their options. Something that is usually so simple, going pee, becomes an actual topic that has to be explained and figured out. And, even though I suppose I should feel proud that we are wasting less water, I usually end up feeling kind of embarrassed about the fact that visitors can see our "leavings" in the toilet. When you look at it with the lid down, and when the above mentioned ratios of moisture are in balance you can't see or smell the shit. But when you sit down and the plastic flaps open, there it is, shit, dirt and toilet paper. And, if the moisture level is off? Well then the smell of burnt pee is a constant reminder that we have, essentially, a bucket full of poo in our bathroom. My husband doesn't really notice the smell too much, neither do the kids, but I have come to realize that I have a very keen sense of smell, and so do most of my lady friends which is why it is super embarrassing to have anyone over when the toilet is being finicky. Maybe it is a litmus test weeding out true friends from the more superficial? I guess that is how I will look at it. If you wanna be my friend, you'll have to accept me for who I am, composting toilet and all.