A sun-up cup of coffee inspires both my creativity and inner bowels. Most days there is a moment, when I must excuse myself from deeds or a relaxed morning conversation with Nancy and head out the door. The destination is our beloved outhouse, christened as the “Doorway(s) to Heaven.”

The structure was built years ago when I tired of repeatedly moving a collection of old doors that I had stored in the garage. I had been struggling with rearranging the doors when I  felt the unmistakable urge to purge my bowels. It occurred to me that I had the structural materials needed to build an outhouse that would provide me with my own “fortress of solitude” while not having to rush back indoors, kick off my shoes and negotiate a slalom course to the bathroom.

While we do have plumbing and a perfectly functioning flush toilet, Nancy and I both prefer the intentional outdoor stroll to the privations of our sweet little outhouse.

I have written of our “Long Drop” that is at our Outpost in the Yukon Territory. Having spent over a total of three years in the Yukon, I am proud to admit that, no matter the season, spring, summer, fall or winter, I have yet to sit on the flush toilet in the log house. I love my quiet time, where the winds blow restful tunes through the overhead spruce limbs and I can sit and watch red squirrels and maybe even a grizzly bear.

The walls of the Basecamp outhouse were easily erected by nailing the five doors to the frame. Scrap plywood and assorted two by fours were used as well.

The main entry door is a very nice all glass, high-end entry door that was freed from the confines of a Duluth dumpster along London Road. Three of the doors are old paneled doors I had salvaged from our 100+ year old house when I gutted it over 35 years ago. Two of them still have their old white porcelain door knobs. The door immediately to your seated left is our old entry door and it has a two panes of glass that now offer a lovely view of our garden and orchard and beyond that our wannabe prairie. From my seated position I have watched pheasants, bluebirds, deer and passing sandhill cranes while listening to wind inspired spruce symphonies overhead.


Here at Minnesota Basecamp, another day has broken and it’s time.  I empoly a hurried shuffle through October’s shards of maple leaves. Even this autumnal red and gold carpet cannot slow me into a regal proambulatory mood.

Got to hurry. I need to celebrate the greatness of regularity. Tis a gift to have a digestive system that is dependable as a dog’s wagging tail.

Past the first wood shed, whose gut is gorged with seasoned and split oak. I find contentment in knowing I’m ready for the slide of winter over the landscape. Not pausing, with the Doorway to Heaven in sight, I move past the second equally bursting shed of firewood. This shed is just in case winter goes an extra six months or is arctic cold. I call this shed, “Money in the Bank.”

I slip under the feral apple tree, adjacent to a stand of big white spruce, that arcs over the outhouse.

The one-holer, where we settle ourselves comfortably in position, was cut out of two antique white pine boards; one of them measure 22 inches in width! These boards are sacred in that they were cut from old growth ancient white pines. Some might consider it demeaning or sacrilegious to void their fetid wastes while perched on such royal timber. I beg to differ. Daily I pay homage to both the marvels of old white pines and my not-so-old well functioning digestive system.


About ten years ago, Nancy, was invited to deliver a guest sermon at Joan of Arc Catholic Church down in the Twin Cities. She gave a bold and insightful presentation based on the popular Peter Mayer song, Holy Now. In the song, he shares with the listener of his spiritual journey and has come to realize that everything is holy.

She challenged the congregation that they needed to stretch their platitudes of gratitude. She implored that we often give thanks for our food, health, and job but rarely to unlikely arenas such as our sexual nature or “having a good bowel movement.” She beseeched the smiling congregation to celebrate these wondrous movements and to consider such an act as holy.

While some might argue that the title of our humble little outhouse is irreverent and confusing. All I ask is that you think about the feeling you experience after having an honorable bodily void. It’s absolutely heavenly!