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 and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats 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 am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

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!

Thursday 21 June 2007

2 eggs!


Henny has started laying now as well!! We are now getting a pale cream egg from Ginger every day and a speckly dark brown egg from Henny. Yummy!

How come hens eating eggsactly the same stuff produce different coloured eggs?

Monday 18 June 2007

Well its very sad here without Monty..........

we have buried him in one of his favourite places, under the weeping pear tree in the garden..he used to snoooze here in the long grass and pounce out on us occasionally..........

so an end of an era for us...

all very sad here at Compost Mansions.

Sad news

Well I have some sad news from Compost Mansions.

Our number 1 puss, Monty has died aged 17.

Monty was born on 13 September 1989 and we took him home with us aged 10 weeks old.

He was the most delightful cat, always a bit reticent about jumping up on to our laps, he had very definate ideas about how he liked to be held and he didn't go to anyone but family, but he always came to see what was going on, watch and comment with his beautiful puss voice and come for a purr and a nose rub. He came out for walks with us, comforted us when we were ill or unhappy and gave love and affection freely. He was also a mighty mouser (when he could be bothered) and a champion fly catcher in his youth.

Our vet has been marvelous with him since he became ill with Hyperthyroidism in March 2007, but sadly last Thursday he also began to show signs of congestive heart failure. We tried some new medication but it became apparent yesterday evening that the end was probably in sight.

Monty died peacefully last night, slipping quietly away with a purr whilst Mr CW and I stroked him and talked to him and told him we loved him.

R.I.P. old friend, you will be much missed by all of us here....

Tuesday 12 June 2007

In the garden today...

Today I mowed the paths round the pool and down into the wood, the clearing under the big oak tree and all round the veg patch.

Round the pool
The pool

The view back to the wood

Into the wood

The clearing under the big oak tree

I filled up 6 compost bins with alternating layers of hay and chicken/ guiunea pig poo, grass clippings, paper and card bits and weeds..that will make a nice hot heap!

and I watered all the plants in the polytunnel ( but I do that every day) potted into final pots some more aubergine plants and a melon, tied up the cucumbers AND Mr cw watered the spuds ( so I can mulch with grass clippings tomorrow!)

phew! a busy day!

Water ( or lack thereof...)

Hot, muggy and murky here today...
AND we have no water here at the moment - we get all our water from our own borehole and it looks like either the control box or the pump has gone wrong. I hope its just the control box and NOT the pump, as the pump is 100 ft down the hole and we will have to haul it all up for mr compostwoman to fix it.

Thank goodness I have some waterbutts full up or all the tomatos etc in the Polytunnel would be dead by nightfall.......(well wilting, anyway..)

have just had to haul up pump from down hole! but when mr compostwoman checked it the pump is working ok.......

so what the heck is wrong?

really worried now..have total faith that my dear husband mr cw will solve problem (he's good like that, its what he does!) BUT all the plants in the polytunnel will start to wilt if they don't get watered tomorrow and I don't have enough water butt capacity to do more than 2 days worth..( notice I don't care about loo flushing or washing etc, just my precious plants...) ;)

(Even later on still)
Mr cw fixed water pump ( hurrah) it was a capacitor in the control box which had died so he replaced it and we then had to lower the pump and the water pipe back down the hole and get it all working again, but not until we had rescued a small shrew (which fell into the water pump pit) so it didn't jump down 90 foot deep bore hole and..........

a) drown........... and
b) contaminate our water supply.....

WHY is life NEVER simple?

But it really makes you appreciate water , when suddenly you don't have it anymore....

Sunday 10 June 2007

A lovely day out...

Whew what a scorcher!

I spent yesterday(9th June) as compostwoman doing my superhero bit to reduce landfill by encouraging people to buy discounted compost bins from my council (see why compostwoman? for details!) or to just compost by any means possible...at THE MOST FAB green event in support of Hereford Waldorf school..at Hellens Manor at Much Marcle..( google it!) all day. Mr cw and Miss cw came for the afternoon so we went round the glorious grounds and followed the treasure hunt and made flags.....

Utterly hot, am totally baked and parched...but a wonderful day which ended with all the exhibitors/participants having Pimms on the fabulous terrace....

The fabulous terrace

The view from the fabulous terrace..


off to rehydrate with water, so I can dehydrate later with too much wine..:0)

Wednesday 6 June 2007


Ginger has laid an egg - her first!

Ginger and Henny having some grit in the sunshine...

and this is what happens when a Jet screams overhead JUST as you are giving your clever hen a cuddle....!

Tuesday 5 June 2007

More catchup!

I have been too busy to post recently so here are some pics of what has been going on...

Compostman weeding in the late evening sunlight.

A view accross the veg garden towards the polytunnel

Just for fun...and because he is a nice old puss..a picture of Kitty cat.

Monday 4 June 2007

hens free range

Well we have now got the chicken run sorted out tempararily....the girls are shut in the Eglu run at night, but we are leaving the door of the Eglu open at the moment so they can go out into the run in the morning. Opening the run and letting out the hens is the job of compost miss!

Then around the Eglu run is a 25 m length of moveable netting ( it can be electrified but isn't at the moment....)which we move every week to a new bit of the garden. We also move the Eglu and run every couple of days sideways so the hens get fresh grass ( and to TRY to save the grass!).

The intention is to build a permenant fenced run in the orchard area, with a hen house as well, as I an intending to get some ex battery hens to add to our little flock.

But the current resident fowl in there may not be so keen to move out!! (he IS a cock pheasant, so he might decide to stick around and get to know the hens!)

Sunday 3 June 2007

Guinea Pigs!


Well the other adition to the livestock last month were .....Guinea pigs!
Two young male piggies, called Coffee and Fudge. Coffee is still very shy and nervous, but Fudge was easily coaxed to us with food from the very beginning....he also likes to cuddle up under my chin and makes little whickering noises...

So we now have 2 hens, 2 guinea pigs and 2 cats....
(Some woolly lawn mowers I think next, to cut down on fossil fuel use when mowing all that grass....ha ha)

Saturday 2 June 2007

Catch up!

Well, sorry I have not posted for SUCH a long time, but it is a VERY busy period of the year, and a lot has been happening in our lives, as well. The first exciting news is that we now have HENS! Mr CW gave me a magnificent birthday present of an Eglu and 2 beautiful hens,

a Gingernut Ranger called Ginger (!)

and a Mrs Pepperpot called Henny-Penny.

They are beautiful and getting very friendly (especially when I appear calling "chook, chook, chook" and giving them mixed grains......

We await our first eggs with eager anticipation - Miss CW goes and checks EVERY MORNING to see if the girls have "obliged" yet...but I guess they are a little too young just now.....but...SOON!

I must say that Omlet were absolutely briliant in every respect, the ordering, the delivery ( 6 days early!) the instructions and everything - I cannot fault them at all.......

and the delight in having hens again...hearing them croon at me, and seeing them run around, flapping in excitement at my feet, is delightful.....I DO like HENS!