I am midway through my ninth week of living minimally ‘off the map.’ Excepting the broken leg from a week ago, it has been an exhilaratingly positive experience on all fronts: spiritually, mentally and physically. I was schooled in the ‘whole man concept’ as a cadet at the Air Force Academy 50 years ago. That education has held true over five decades. Even this website is aimed at what the ancient Greeks called Kalos Kagathos, the noble man strong in heart, mind, and body. I’ve just re-read my first novel, The Olympian, a Tale of Ancient Hellas. Kalos Kagathos is the core of that book, which remains my best-seller.

From day one in the hobbit hut, sanitation was a significant concern. It no longer is. In early August, I commented on the efficiency of my ‘outdoor plumbing’ and my solar shower. Nothing has changed there, but I have more to say about the shower.

I do not have running water. I rely on a wellhead that rises from the ground with a classic red pump handle about 50 yards from my humble home. Daily, I draw 4 to 6 gallons from the wellhead for drinking water – for Clarence and me – cleaning dishes and cleaning in general.
I manage two showers from every 5 gallons that my solar shower holds at capacity, that’s about 2 gallons per shower. With that 2 gallons, I soak, lather and rinse. The shower does not run constantly, only when I soak and rinse. The fact is, you don’t need that much water to thoroughly clean yourself. That fact would remain unknown to me had I not been experiencing it first-hand in the open air, which brings me to my second point.

Though not a candidate for a nudist colony, I thoroughly enjoy my showers in the open air. After today’s shower, I called Mrs. tVM in Minnesota and told her next summer, even after the new house is completed, I plan to set up my solar shower and utilize it the same way I have been using it this summer. It saves on water usage and the experience is invigorating.

While you may not be in a situation like I am to enjoy an outdoor, solar shower, consider this. The average American showers for 8.2 minutes and uses 17.2 gallons of water at a flow rate of 2.1 gallons/minute. That is a far cry from the 2 gallons I use through the 8 minutes or so that I am outdoors actively showering and thoroughly cleaning myself.

Water is a valuable resource not to be taken for granted. If you can bathe naturally – and I would not personally do it if not privately – I highly recommend it. If not, please be aware of the water you consume and limit the time you stand under a running shower. We’re all in this together.

Mitakuye Oyasin

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  1. Sorry to learn of the broken leg, gene. I’m trying to imagine how you are getting about, especially in the wild, with that leg.
    As to the shower situation, The Florida Loxhatchee River District sent hurricane information to its customers requesting that they take just such a shower as you described in case of loss of electricity which would drastically reduce water availability. As I was in NC at the time where water costs more than electricity, I decided to save water and now shower that water saving way. I was always a short shower person so it wasn[‘t a drastic change. Passed the information along to my family. Of course they had a list of other water saving tips.
    Isn’t it getting a bit cold up there for outdoor showering? Won’t you freeze up in the winter?