Nothing like an old country scene, this is an outhouse... on a hill. The tree probably provided shade and cover for that old outhouse. What spoiled lives we live, Although I'm feeling my age, plumbing was in place when I came on to the scene. It is really hard to imagine, the upper Midwest, a February snow storm, wind blown drifts with a wind chill factor of 30 below zero, and having to tredge out to the little ol potty place, and having to sit on that cold wood, which may have snow on it from blowing through the cracks.
Now invision this, banging on the wall, trying to be heard by someone inside the house over the sound of the blowing winds, "GET ME A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER!!!", That's OK, you wouldn't really be saying that because toilet paper isn't invented yet, "MAKE THAT ANOTHER SEARS CATALOG!!!".
Yeah, we can laugh about it now, but that's because we're spoiled, so go ahead and sit on that warm Johnny in the heated room attached to your home, and be thankful for the little things in life. :-)