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!

Monday 29 October 2007

Some Autumn photos.......

Here are some photos I took in the garden doing the last regular cut of the grass..( although I actually carried on till mid December , this was the last weekly cut)

All tidy and as I mowed up lots of leaves as well....lots of lovely leaf mold made in the compost bins too!!

Saturday 20 October 2007

Big Apple celebrations!!

In my part of the world October is CIDER making time!! and we have our own local celebrations...THE BIG APPLE!!

A weekend of Seasonal Celebrations of English Apples and Cider in the Herefordshire Parishes of the Marcle Ridge Aylton, Little Marcle, Much Marcle, Munsley, Pixley, Putley and Woolhope

This year the Compost family went to the open day at Lyne Down Cider. and here are some photos of the fun we had!!

Miss cw made friends with a very lovely dog, who very kindly took her for a walk!!

Much cider and apple juice was consumed by all and a very good Jazz band was playing all day.

Thursday 11 October 2007

Harvest Festival

here are some photos from Harvest Festival at compostgirl's school yesterday.....

Apart from running Eco Club at compostgirl's school, I also help the children with the School Organic Garden. I go in during the spring and summer term nearly every week usually for a Wednesday morning and Fri for an hour or so. On Wednesdays I take at least 2 classes ( first RECEPTION for an hour and a half before assembly, then Yr 1 for an hour after morning break) in groups of 5 or 6 at a time out to the garden and we plant seeds, weed and harvest veg and plant companion flowers. We also talk about compost, how things grow, bugs, compost and a whole host of sustainability issues....its a LOT of fun !! (Did I mention we do a lot of bug hunting in the compost heap???) On Fri I have an hour where I alternately take out yrs 5 and 6 from the senior class to garden before morning assembly.

Above are some before and after pictures of our Organic garden....

I started doing the gardening for compostgirl and her class (reception ) in spring 2006 and it has grown from there!!!(oh sorry that is a DREADFUL pun!!)

This year I drew up a planting scheme for all the organic raised beds in the school organic veg garden. Each class has its own bed and there is a herb bed in the middle for Eco club ( and 4 compost bins!) , plus an eco club bed in the playground with insect attractant plants in it ( and a compost bin!) I basically organise the Organic veg garden for and with all the children with the help of the brilliant Yr 2 teacher and Mr compostwoman and with the support and help from the members of staff at the School.

These Harvest festival photos show how well all the children have done!! Their produce was wonderful and was eagerly bought by parents at the Harvest festival auction to raise money for victims of the Floods in Africa this year. The very first photo shown just SOME of the produce donated to the Harvest Festival and includes the class veg boxes...and there was even more outside the main hall!!!

I do this, as well as co-running Eco club twice a month. all as a volunteer, because I want children to grow up knowing about composting, reducing, reusing and recycling, growing their own food and also to have a feeling of respect for our planet, its inhabitants and our shared environmnent.

And its fun!!!

Tuesday 9 October 2007

School Eco club

As some of you may know by now, I do a lot of volunteer( and a bit of paid ) work with an environmental and/or sustainability theme. One of the things I do is to help at the school which compostgirl attends, running an after school club with an environmental theme - ECO CLUB!

The wonderful and enthusiastic Yr 2 teacher and I started Eco club this time last year and it runs twice a month, with between 20-25 children in each session. We have had some other parent help and mr cw is always on hand , especially if any drains or carpentry or tree planting is involved....!

At each Eco club session we have done some work in the school grounds to improve our environment, such as tree planting, gardening or hedgehog house making. We have also had visits from wildlife experts and done some craft activities. Above all we have had FUN!

Our School is a member of Herefordshire Nature Trust so Eco Club is registered as an affiliated Watch group. We are also an RSPB Wildlife Explorers club so each child who joins is also an member of the RSPB. Since Eco Club started in Sept 2006 we have been really busy!

In our first term, this time last year, we -:

Made Christmas decorations from recycled materials .
Planted 60 trees along a bare length of chain link fence to make a wildlife hedge as part of the Woodland Trust "Trees for All" scheme

We learned about Hedgehogs from a British Hedgehog Preservation Society expert and met some very friendly hedgehogs!
Collected tins of cat food for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
Learned about Bats from a Bat Conservation Trust expert and made plans for installing Bat boxes at the school in Spring 2007.

Prepared and planted an Eco Club insect attracting bed

Dug, composted and tidied our organic raised veg beds ready for winter.
Harvested our autumn veg and made up three veg boxes to auction at the Harvest Festival.
Then from the start of 2007 we have:-
Jan 07 we made recycled paper and used recycled paper to do various craft activities, We talked about where paper comes from and why it is important to recycle it AND buy recycled goods.

Feb 07 we did the RSPB big garden birdwatch and made bird and bat boxes and bird feeders. We set up a new bird feeding area AND took delivery of a new paper recycling bank in the playground.

March 07 we sorted out the veg plot, turned over the soil and put compost from our bins on the beds. We also put up our bird and bat boxes.

April 07 we planted more trees from the Woodland Trust in the hedge, planted up our herb bed and insect attractant bed and then had a good look around the grounds at what effect all our eco efforts were having...a mini eco audit!

May 07 we did pond dipping in the school pond.

June 07 we did a bug hunt in the school grounds and fixed the school greenhouse so we can use it to grow plants next year. We also put in a new water butt and used it to water our plants.

July 07 we had an Eco club outing and a picnic to Queenswood Country Park!

Saturday 6 October 2007

A Forest School grant meeting......

I have had a GOOD day....Today I went to a Forestry Commision "Forest School " grant scheme launch.
I spent a morning with a load of people I didn't know.. I have NO IDEA how green they are.. but I just KNEW they shared a HUGE amount of the same passion I share for environmental education, in the young, the older...etc.. just because they were there!!!

AND the lunch had a menu..detailing not what the food WAS, but WHERE all the food was sourced from..EVERYTHING was within a ( rough guess here!!) 10 mile radius!!!

and even though I DIDN'T know the "green" credentials of the people I was with....I KNEW we all shared a common purpose..Forest Schools...bringing woodland wild play to children everywhere... and the organisation had tried REALLY HARD to be local....and ethical...and free range.... It made me feel SO GOOD!!!!!!!

I am STILL buzzing :)

Monday 1 October 2007

Feeling seriously honoured and very flattered and humble here...

I feel VERY honoured...

I am ( as you know) a Master Composter with Garden Organic and my local County Council. That is I am a Volunteer Community Compost Advisor...I help people to compost, either to get them started OR to do it better!!

Now I knew last week that I had been nominated by my manager at my County Council for AN AWARD of Individual Recycling Champion of the Year!! as a result of all my efforts in the reduce, reuse, recycle field, especially for my composting efforts and for the Eco Club I jointly run at compostgirl's school and the Organic gardening I help the children with at school. And a HUGE THANK YOU to my manager at Worcestershire County Council...who put me up for this award, who is very efficient and wonderful and helpful to all us Master Composter volunteers...and who has just (yesterday) told me I have made it into THE FINAL 3 FOR THIS AWARD..Individual Recycling Champion of the Year(whee!)And an even more huge thank you to all the children who make all the school stuff possible, as well as the staff who support me in all I do at school!!

EEEK I feel a bit overwhelmed!!!

and also ...( for the ladies!!!)

What do I wear????