Monday, January 23, 2006

the do-it-yourself shower, Northwoods style

Step 1: Obtain water. This is our main water supply, a sandpoint well with electric pump, insulated in this pump house and kept from freezing by a space heater on a timer.

Step 2: Haul water to shower and to water heating system (see Step 3). In the summer this step can be eliminated by running a hose to the shower.

Step 3: Heat water.

Step 4: Fill the shower tank. The tank is a plastic laundry tub with a drain. The Hermit fitted a pipe valve and a shower head to the drain. It takes about ten gallons of cold water, plus six gallons of boiling water, to make a ten minute hot shower.

Step 5: Enjoy a hard earned shower. Yes, I am walking barefoot in the snow; it takes too much time to put on and take off slippers, bathrobes, etc. And it's a balmy 20 degrees so I don't mind. :)

note: this obviously takes a lot of preparation and work, so to conserve energy, The Hermit and I shower together.


madcapmum said...

Oh, you hardy Scandinavian, you! Brrrr. Brrrr.

So you share showers to conserve energy, huh? Mmm-hmmm.

Katie said...

Likely story about the joint showers - but I'd stick to it, ha! Wonderful little photo essay.

Rurality said...

Oh I would be so smelly come springtime... brr! :)

Jim said...

Looks like hard work but great fun too...

and Oooo La La, those Popsicle Toes!

...and a 10 minute co-ed shower to boot!


Ontario Wanderer said...

I am thinking our portable wash tub, in the kitchen, in front of the old wood stove was perhaps not as bad as I remember from childhood.

Meanwhile, I have done the hottub, to snow, to lake through a hole in the ice routine. It was OK as an adventure one time but not for a weekly cleaning, thank you. I think I will stick to the gym shower and hot tub that is just a few miles down the road.

pablo said...

um . . . um . . . uh

Endment said...

Great photo essay!

Deb said...

madcap- at least it wasnt' windy that day like it is today. Then it would be "brrr!"

katie- that's my story and I'm sticking to it! :)

rurality- you gotta do what you gotta do...I forgot to mention showers are about once a week, but my hair needs washing twice a week; I can do that with a dishpan inside.

jim- "Popsicle toes?" Do you have some kind of a foot thing? ;)

OW- I have not been that adventurous yet, although among the local Finnish folk I guess the sauna followed by a roll in the snow, or dip in the lake, is common practice. Builds character I guess.

pablo- you okay there, buddy?

Carolyn- Thanks. This is the first "concept" photo essay I've attempted here, and it was fun putting it together.

Jim said...


'Popsicle Toes' was a very cool jazzy song by Michael Franks back in the mid 1970's. That picture of you barefoot in the snow reminded me of the song, but I forget that some folks might not be familiar with songs from my era even if they were smash hits.

...and to answer your question, no I don't have foot fetish, but Popsicle Toes was a very fun song, great music too, with most of the Jazz Crusaders backing up Franks.

Floridacracker said...

I'm surprised you don't have 10 kids...

Rexroth's Daughter said...

What a great photo essay, Deb. Amazing hard work for a simple shower. I bet that hot water feels especially good after all of that.

The last shot of you in the towel... you are absolutely one hot lady in the cold snow. Beautiful.

roger said...

nicely illustrated story. i thought i was roughing it with an outside unenclosed shower with hot water from the cookstove. i had it easy. i had plumbing. primitive, but no water hauling.

Deb said...

jim- I should have known it was a musical thing! Speaking of music, I got sidetracked by a little flu bug (brought on no doubt by those Popsicle Toes) and I'm here at home, the CD is all set up on my computer at work, and I'm fresh out of recordable CD's. So I'll get it done, just later this week. :)

FC--like I said, energy conservation..

RD- well, thanks!

dpr- The first year after The Hermit built it, this shower building was unenclosed. Needless to say, there were fewer winter showers then, but it was kind of pretty in the summer, with honeysuckle and dogwood growing all around.

Walter Jeffries said...

We always shower together. Saves water. Well, I thought it was a good excuse! :)

Rockin' Hejabi said...

Can you say S-A-U-N-A?????

Gotta be more Finlander, girl!!!

My husband's parents were reared in the Iron Range, in Virginia MN. Pat, my mil, always tells us tales about the whole family bathing in wooden tubs inside their sauna. Because of the steam aspect, you use little water. You would use a lot of wood though for heating the sauna rocks.