Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have a polytunnel, garden, veg plot and small woodland, all managed organically, where we grow our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and share our lives with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. Oh and we make a lot of compost! We try to live a more self suffient, self reliant lifestyle here, as best we can.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

HotBin refurbishment

At the end of last year I found that my Hotbin was not working as well as before - it seemed to have stopped getting up to the 60 C zone despite my feeding it with compostables as before. I dug out the bottom compost and refilled it but it just did not seem to be working as well and would not go above 40 C any more.


I chatted to Tony Callaghan at HotBin and he suggested my Hotbin may have "stalled" - an unusual situation only experienced in bins which had been working correctly but had then stopped getting up to 60 C.

He suggested I join in a trial he was running to check out a "fix" for this very unusual situation. I was keen and so was sent a part which needed to be retrofitted to the HotBin. To do this I needed to empty out the Hotbin.


 It is quite easy to put the HotBin on its side.

Lots of compost in the bottom. Compostman dug it out for me and


I put it into buckets, waiting to be used for tomato plants.

We took out the base plate and when we looked at it, as expected the holes were clogged up and not letting water drain out or air to move up.

  The holes were plugged with a very gooey sludge like material which sat there and did not drip off.

 The base was very wet and the air mesh was blocked. This bin had definately stalled!

I gave the HotBin a good wash out

The "fix" is a length of perforated pipe, inserted through the Base plate and which sits in the corner of the Hotbin allowing more airflow through the material. Compostman made the hole and inserted the pipe.

HotBin put back togather and refilled with some compost, grass, paper and guinea pig bedding and droppings. Ambient temp was 16 C, HotBin thermometer within a hour of refill read 30C.

I also took the opportunity to have a tidy up behind the lean to and sort out the cold frames and potting area.

At the end of a hard afternoon of work it all looked much tidier.

I will update on how well the HotBin is working later in the week but it is all looking very promising so far.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

15 th April, whatever year it is, it is a bad day..

Today, 25 years ago this morning at 6.30 was the anniversary of my Mother dying. I am an Owl not a Lark but on this day I always wake early, so today I was up at 6 am and by 6.30 am was out planting, composting and growing stuff, with Cassi Cat, the feathery gang and some tea-and-marmite-toast to keep me company.

My way of coping.

Everyone else was (quite sensibly!) still asleep - but not me. I cannot sleep in on this day.

I find this date very upsetting and sad, but I cannot escape this day even if I did want to (not that I do want to IYKWIM) as it is also is the day 96 people died at Hillsborough for a still not yet established set of situations. I will just say - my heart goes out to all of those involved    - and 25 years is FAR TOO LONG to find out what really happened to your loved ones..

But obviously I personally cannot get away from this date as the media reminds me every year. Even if my own internal clock did not.

Today, (insert number of years ago here) my Mother died. I was only 26 when it first happened - now I am 51 and in a week or so will be 52. It hurts, every day. Some days more than others. Today is a bad day as it is an anniversary of her death.

Despite the difficulties this day presents -  and other various family stuff  happening as well (which seems is not going to change, sadly!) I have had as good a day as I could - helped by getting my hands very soil-y with planting and growing and nurturing. I also was helped in my distressed state by being able to spend an hour sitting in the wood, meditating, listening to the birdsong and just being. I am so blessed that I can have the luxury to do this.

I went down to the log circle mid morning  as I really felt I needed some help with how I felt and hoped for some renewal and healing. After the last few days which have been rather fraught, I needed it. I lost track of time - thought I was sitting there for maybe 10 mins? - was actually more like an hour. I think this was healing time for me and certainly I felt much calmer afterwards.

I wish those who were robbed of their loved ones at the Hillsborough disaster could find such peace. Sadly, I fear not.