Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and spent 10 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A very cramped Christmas 2010. 20 years of Compost Mansions #2

[ We have lived in Compost mansions for 20 years in 2017. So I have been looking back at all the things we have done since we moved in. Looking back through the blog at past posts I came across this one from winter 2010. Christmas 2010 where we were squished into the dining room, pressed into use as a living room. We lived like this for 12 months. I had forgotten!

Eating Christmas dinner in there at a fold down table in there as well having the tv, stereo, sofa and everything. Talk about squished! The sofa only just fitted across the room and you can just see the fold down table behind it. When it was time for meals we had to move the sofa back against the bookcase, to get the table out :)  ]

Nov 2010 The ongoing HUGE chore - Living area renovations.

As I think I might have mentioned, Compostman is in the middle of demolishing our main living room.

He has dug up and re concreted various bits of the floor and has recently been taking down the 1993 addition of a stone chimney breast around the woodburner. Nice though it is and local stone though it is, it is not in keeping with our 1906 brick cottage!
It also takes up vast amounts of floor and wall space and makes the room look very dark.

So it has been coming down over the holiday season. Fortunately it is all just cosmetic, although very substantially built!

We have be taking delivery of a skip for the large amount of mortar  and have a home for a lot of the stone and will also be keeping some for our own future needs.

Saturday, 7 January 2017


Our eggs come, obviously, from our normally VERY free ranging laying chickens. This means the chickens normally eat grubs and worms and the bits and bobs which they furtle up by scratching around in the soil. And grass. LOTS of grass. It is actually quite astonishing how much grass and greenery chickens like to eat.

Our chickens are fed on Organic Layers Pellets ad lib and Organic Mixed Corn as a treat. They LOVE bits of wholemeal bread soaked in warm water but they only get that as a treat, also. They get some fruit and veg including raisins, broccoli (a favourite with all chickens I think!) and any other bits and pieces which we have to hand or which they can raid from the garden ( apples are a favourite!) They also get a warm porridge made from their layers pellets in the afternoon  to keep them cosyif it is cold.

To supplement all this we add a number of other things to their feed to keep them happy and healthy. Their warm mash is mixed in with some Poultry Spice, a blend of minerals and spices which chickens generally find very attractive ( I like the smell also.) Apple Cider Vinegar is added to their water as a general tonic. Sometimes they get some garlic powder added to their feed but I am careful not to add too much as it can come through as a taste in the eggs, as can anything strong tasting!.

I also spend at least an hour a day in total with my chickens, checking them over and talking to them and looking after them. I freely admit I actually spend more time with my chickens than is really needed, as I enjoy being with them and seeing what they get up to! This also means I can spot if one of the chickens is unwell and take prompt action.

Compost Mansions hens eggs are VERY different from what I have seen of bought, supermarket eggs! Our hens lay eggs where the yolks are a deep, wonderful yellow, due to all the green stuff they eat whilst free ranging. EVERYONE who has tasted our eggs has commented on how fabulous they are! We eat lots of our eggs and think they are terrific, and all our customers have made very happy sounding noises ( but have not started clucking...yet). We had several people buying them to eat especially on Christmas Day, scrambled with smoked salmon, for breakfast. Which was nice!

Also our eggs are VERY fresh! The eggs we eat or which are sold to our customers are laid within the last few days, maybe even laid yesterday or this very morning! I have been know to sell eggs which are still warm from the nest! Or even allowed someone to go and get their own egg from the nest box ( children young and old LOVE doing this!) how much fresher can you get?

If you buy eggs from a Supermarket, do you get to know who laid the egg? *I* can tell who laid what egg by looking in the egg box at the colour of the egg. I can even tell who has actually just laid without looking out of my window, by identifying the different " I've laid an egg" racket.

Top THAT, supermarket eggs!

Friday, 6 January 2017

Miserable and cold weather, and eggs!

Today has been a horrible day, weather wise. I didn't sleep very well last night, couldn't get to sleep until gone 3 am despite meditation and relaxation techniques. Eventually I fell into a restless, dream laden sleep, and managed to get some rest.

When I woke the cold snap had gone and instead of cold fine sunshine outside there was cold, wet rain and low cloud. It matched my mood, tbh!

It was around 4 C outside but with the driving rain felt colder and made doing the outside jobs most unpleasant! And it has been so gloomy all day that we have had to put the inside lights on to see.

I am still getting some eggs from both the big hens and the Seramas ( thank you girls) and today had a big egg and three small ones. I am impressed the hens are still laying, given their displeasure at being shut in!

Twelth Night today, so the Christmas decorations have all come down and I am currently tidying up and dusting the newly bared surfaces :)

Thursday, 5 January 2017

A trip to the dentist.

So today I had to go to the Dentist for some work to be done and I now have a very aching face.

I struggled to actually walk to the dentist from the car park due to feeling very weak and wobbly. I couldn't believe how wobbly my legs felt!

The cold air set me coughing as well and I must have looked a bit unwell as they offered me a chair as soon as I arrived at the dentist!

However, I AM getting better and I managed to do the hens again, today. So that is two days on the trot I have been outside and looked after them. Compostman has been doing all the work for the past two weeks as I have been too poorly to go outside.

Time to cuddle up on the sofa with the cats, a book and some crochet I think!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Polytunnel in all its (in) glory

See the floor! That is growing medium on top of the geo textile, so the Seramas have something nice to scratch up :)

It's a tip everywhere else. Ho hum.