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!


Monday, 31 March 2008

Some Wildlife

Today, much to our relief, we spotted some toad spawn in the pool. February is the usual time for us to see them here and last year we had toad spawn in early Febuary and saw lots of toads around. This year, however we had begun to worry as we had not seen the usual writhing mass of mating toads on the gravel nor any toad spawn!!



So we are pleased to welcome them back again!

Also the other day I saw a Green Woodpecker eating on the lawn...we get all three sorts of Woodpecker here but Green Woodpeckers are usually heard rather than seen ( they are the ones who make the "Yaffle" sound in the trees!)

This is a photo I took of one in the same place in the garden last year, as I didn't have my camera handy today!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Earth Hour

"Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.

About Earth Hour
On March 31 2007, for one hour, Sydney made a powerful statement about the greatest contributor to global warming – coal-fired electricity – by turning off its lights. Over 2.2 million Sydney residents and over 2,100 businesses switched off, leading to a 10.2% energy reduction across the city. What began as one city taking a stand against global warming caught the attention of the world.

In 2008, 24 global cities participated in Earth Hour at 8pm on March 29. Earth Hour is the highlight of a major campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to take the simple steps needed to cut their emissions on an ongoing basis. It is about simple changes that will collectively make a difference – from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby."



Did you join in??

Did you switch off lights and any unnecessary appliances from 8 pm till 9 pm on Saturday night??

WE did !!!

Here is the woodburner at 7:59 pm...


and here is the same view at 8:01 pm


We were all off here except for fridges and freezers....I liked using my home made candles and the aromas I added gave it a nice atmosphere...and the wood burner was lit, with nice clean glass...so we watched the flames.... had a bottle of wine, ate a nice dinner, watched the flames from the wood burner, listened to the cat snoring !

ah watching the flames......













compostmiss gave up her usual electric nightlight in her bedroom tonight so as to be part of it...

Saturday, 29 March 2008

The view from my bedroom window.

This is the sight I am lucky enough to see when I look out of the bedroom window in the morning!



It is so beautiful here, birdsong, fresh air and nature all around. I feel SO blessed to live here!!

Friday, 28 March 2008

A nice cup of tea and a sit on the wall

I have not been feeling too well the last few days, I have some kind of " wobbly legged, feeling achey all over and headachy" sort of thing and have not been able to do much in the garden .

So I pottered around in the polytunnel in the warmth, watering the seeds, the early veg and both the overwintered and newly acquired garden plants.







I have been Freecycling for plant bits and bobs, also have attended a few charity plant sales recently and have been given various stuff by friends, so I have LOTS more new plants to put in the garden. I think I am viewed as a sort of Rescue Home for old plants!!


I spent some time thinking about where I am going to plant the latest shrubs and herbaceous perennials and summer flowing bulbs I have accumulated over the last month or so.








I also sowed a few more trays of salads, some more leeks and tomato seeds and flower seed for my cutting garden.

I then was given a nice mug of tea by compostman, and sat on the west facing wall outside the back door to drink it.

The late afternoon sun shone on my face and a skylark was high above me in the sky singing for all its worth. Bliss!

And this was what I was looking at as I drank my tea.






It was very peaceful and I felt real contentment with life.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Compostgirl on her bike.

Compostgirl has been practising riding her bike without stabilisers...and today she managed to ride a short distance without them!!





We have finally managed to convince her that she WILL fall off a few times and that it is OK...




and the only way to learn how to do it is to just DO IT ( but Daddy was holding on for a bit, just in case.....)

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A hard day in the garden!!

Have been very busy today planting spuds...

Well, planting more spuds I should really say!! I have already got the 1st Earlies and 2nd Earlies in the ground and yesterday and today I got 3 rows of Maincrop in...A really nice waxy salad potato called "Nicola" and a row of "King Edward"






Compostman dug over the ground for me and then I made some trenches and dropped each spud in a hole in the bottom of the trench, with some organic chicken poo pellets and some grass clippings ( they help prevent scab)



I then tucked the spuds up nice and warm with a good covering of soil....



Unfortunately Henny and Ginger thought all this was purely for THEIR benefit and came along


and rather destroyed my nice earthing up ridges of soil in between the trenches, but hey ho...never mind...I can rebuild them. I think perhaps it is time, though, to fence the hens out of the area of the veg plot I have planted up....





Every year we grow enough spuds to last us From late June/early July until the following May... so we only buy potatos for about a month or so every year.

But last year we lost virtually all our Maincrop harvest to blight ( oh what a suprise, after all the wet weather !)

We had to start buying potatos in October!!

So I am really hoping that , this year
a) The weather is better
b) Getting them in a bit earlier will help if we DO get blight again
c) I have spaced the rows out even further AND lets a larger gap between each spud within the trench, so hopefully more air can get in between the potato plants.

Fingers crossed!! That all this will help and once again we will have a decent harvest.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Everybody helps out at Compost Mansions

Compostgirl has been helping us clear up all the twigs and bits from the tree felling and front hedge clearing we have been doing recently.







and then she added her barrowloads to the HUGE pile waiting burning.


She takes her work very seriously!

Monday, 24 March 2008

Compostcat!!

Let me introduce you to Compostcat! (aka Kitty)



Kitty is about 15, we don't know exactly how old he is, as we inherited him when we moved here 10 years ago.

He is a mighty hunter but despite that, a VERY gentle puss with us. His favourite occupation is to lie on the sofa next to us and lick our hands...

Sunday, 23 March 2008

A one compostwoman mower...

I recently bought myself a push mower, propelled by ...ME!





I had been looking for one on Freecycle for ages but kept on being unlucky and missing it.

So I finally decided to buy a new one and found one in B and Q for a really good price.

And it is GREAT!!



I can push it along and still listen to the birds singing and my ears are not being assulted by the noise of the petrol engine.

I also can just do a small amount and feel happy to put the push mower away whereas when I get the petrol mower out, fill it up with fuel etc I feel I *must* do a fair bit of mowing to make it worthwhile starting up the engine!!So... over the last 10 days I have been slowly mowing all the grass for the first time this year...as the grass is quite long it has taken me some time ...and I have found the little push mower EXCELLENT!

The quiet push mower is really very little more work than the petrol mower and its a lot more pleasant work, too!


And, unlike the petrol mower, the hens don't mind it, either!!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

A trip to Westons Cider Mill

Our local Cider Mill, Westons, has a Rare breeds farm park as well as the Mill shop, museam and cafe. It opens for the start of the season on Good Friday each year and we always go along to the opening.

This year the opening day was in aid of the County Air Ambulance, a charity which is VERY important in our rather rural setting!!

In fact I have several friends and acquaintances who have been saved by the speedy response of the Air Ambulance getting them to Hospital quickly.

It was sunny but AMAZINGLY cold on the slopes of Marcle Ridge, where Westons is situated. We arrived, well wrapped up and had the grand opening and ribbon cutting by the Air Ambulance crew and then...they got called away on a shout!!








So...I got some photos of them taking off..






as well as some cute shots of Pigs, Alpacas, Shetland ponies, Peacocks and Buff Orpington hens to share with you.

.


Westons also has a very beautiful award winning garden which looks very lovely all year round.












We finished up by having a very nice lunch and some EXCELLENT beer at the Walwyn Arms in Much Marcle..so a "good pub" recommendation for you as well!!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Compostman clears the hedge!!

No he HAS NOT been inspired by showjumping to jump over it!!! Our front fence has a lot of shrubs and trees growing along it and it has all got rather overgrown and untidy with clematis and honeysuckle creepers

So....compostman decided to sort it all out ( with a bit of help from me)

here is a before picture



and a during picture
and an after picture


and just some of the stuff he removed!!
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