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, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 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!
Thursday, 28 February 2008
Monday, 25 February 2008
Here are some pictures of the hard work, I have not pruned and cleared this bed to this extent for 7 years as I have either been too unwell or too busy or the weather has been too dreadful in previous years.....but this year the weather is kind, I am feeling a little stronger day to day AND am actually ahead of the outside jobs list for once!!
So.......I dived in armed with loppers and the shredder, to tackle the very overgrown Bamboo...and rake up all the dead stuff...and prune the various shrubs back into some semblance of submission....
And this is the end result...for now at least! I have to fork it all over and plant up some Crocosmia Masonorum and various Cordylines and Lavenders and other plants, but for now....Job Done!!!
Friday, 22 February 2008
The Church, Barn and Farm complex are a Conservation area, Grade 2* listed and have been there for 900 years
The sundial on the side of the Church
The Tithe barn WAS in a real state and has been being restored for months...but now the new thatched roof is going up!!!
We felt SO happy to see this wonderful site being given the care and attention it deserves...the owners of the Farm have spent a lot of time and money on restoring the farmhouse...I do not know if they are wholly or partly funding the Barn restoration or if it is public money only, but HURRAH for someone stopping the barn from falling into a pile of rotting timber...
I am not ( as you know) a Christian, but I honour the beliefs of others and this site has seen deep held convictions of goodness and kindness for 900 - plus years..if not for longer.
So I am happy to see such a gem being cared for... :)
And it was good for us to do something OTHER than slog in the garden or house.......
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
The cobwebs were still frosted......and magical.
I wandered down into the wood and found this amazing log which has been there for at least the 10 plus years we have been in our house.....
and I noticed that the "Thrushs' Anvil" was in use again :)
The visibility was NOT very good today!!
Where has my house gone??
A badger snuffle pit.....with claw marks!!
My sundial again!.................. sorry;)
See the frost!!
And finally, one of my favourite plants....the Teasels......I LOVE them!!!
I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and to have such a wonderful wood and garden.
I need to enjoy it more and work in it a bit less I think!! So often we take for granted the good things we have right under our noses...if I had gone out for a day trip somewhere and wandered round a little wood like ours I would have been delighted with the outing...
but because it is "ours" I usually only go and do work in the wood, logging, gathering firewood or doing chores...I NEED to make more time to actually "be in the moment " and ENJOY the wonders on my doorstep!!
in fact I am going to add that to my list of "things to accomplish in 2008"!!
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Monday, 18 February 2008
This bed contains lots of roses which needed pruning, a Buddlia Davidii, a Vibernum Plicatum "Sterile" which has huge blooms like tennis balls, various other shrubs which have got a bit out of hand, a Victoria Plum tree which is very prolific, and a lot of assorted perennial plants and bulbs...
I removed all the dead plant stems and leaves, to let the sun and the light get to the soil and allow the new plants to reach up from under the soil...
...........and compostman pruned back the roses and I pruned back the shrubs, to let them regenerate.
I got a huge pile of prunings which compostman shredded...these then went back on the bed as a weed suppressing mulch. I also raked off and gathered up 4 wheelbarrow loads of dead plant stuff ...so that can go on the compostbins!!
Having a well earned cuppa!!
The pruning finished, the bed just needs the twigs collecting up...the hens ( as ever) helping...
but I always feel very satisfied when I can look at the finished bed and see how much improved it looks.
All tidy and ready for the new plants to grow!
Thursday, 14 February 2008
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
We had a lovely time! I have mixed feelings about zoos but Bristol has a very good conservation and breeding policy and supports various places around the World in their efforts to keep animals in their natural habitat. So after our very first visit, several years ago, we became family members and now go several times a year to see the Zoo.
AND the Zoo has a brilliant attitude to food, recycling, etc!! The cafe has fair trade, seasonal, local ( sometimes organic!) food, paper cups for water, china mugs for drinks, wooden spoons for stirrers etc etc so all the stuff can be composted!
The best bit was when I asked in the Cafe if the very yummy looking chicken dish was made from free range chicken ( as I wouldn't have eaten it otherwise(!))
The answer was "yes, of course " :)
So a good day out for the compost family and friend. ;)
Why can't more family attractions be
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
We LIKE Parsnips at Compost Mansions!!
And has made a new bay for new wood..the other 2 bays are "2+ year old" and "one +year old" ....we are currently burning the 2+ stuff and very good it is, too...
I have also been sending our some of my saved seeds to various friends...I am a member of Garden Organic's Heritage Seed Library and every winter I get to choose some endangered seeds from an extensive selection...I grow and eat them AND I save seed from them...and I share them with friends, school...ANYONE who is willing to grow them and protect them..as long as no one is making commercial profit from them its great ( and commercial profit is OK, too, but Garden Organic need to get a cut!!)
I LOVE the HSL "Purple Giant" and "Canadian" climbing French Beans..we have given up growing Runner Beans in preference to these as they are SO good and freeze SO well!!
Also Tomato "Aunty Madge" and "Black Russian" and Leek "Colossal" These are WONDERFUL old varieties and deserve to be kept alive...but if no one grows them, as they are no longer commercially available, they will die out.
SO...JOIN GO'S Seed Library and GET GROWING HERITAGE SEED!!!!
Monday, 11 February 2008
We also moved the whole run and Eglu to another part of the Orchard and moved the electric fence so the girls were on a fresh bit of land..