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!

Tuesday 18 March 2008

Musings on "living a self sufficient (ish) life"


Being green and self sufficient can be hard work!!!

A large rural plot/wood/chickens etc is NOT all it is cracked up to be when you have a bad back, a duff immune system, are totally dependent on your car to get anywhere( nearest shop 2 miles..nearest smallish town 5 miles.)

Its a hard slog sometimes..I love where I live..I wouldn't want to live in a town again BUT I have a bad back at the mo and compostman has hurt his shoulder doing major restoration on our 100 year old house...BUT the spuds need to be in NOW..the onion patch needs to be dug over NOW...the hedge has to be cut NOW or the birds will be nesting...and the orchard MUST be pruned NOW ...

but what do you do if you are ill??? or tired...or you just "do not feel like it..."

well the answer is you just have to get on with it... regardless of aches and pains and GP saying "go to bed"......

Being self sufficient is WONDERFUL...I LOVE that we can grow most of our food...BUT if you are thinking of doing what we have done, be aware it IS a huge burden as well as a HUGE delight.

Holidays are non existant!( you try to find a hen and other stock sitter and someone who can water the polytunnel so the crops actually thrive in July/August!!!!)

And some years the delight is a bit thin on the ground as well............... especially if one of you has a major illness/operation.............

sorry I didn't mean to bring in a down note on my blog...but " the good life " is actually bloody hard work!!!!!


STILL I get up in the morning and think " aaahhhhhhhhhh" as I open my bedroom window to air the room ...and I breathe in the sweet, fresh air.... and the days are wonderful ........and the night sky is magical.... and I get to see the stars in the dark night sky.....listen to nightingales in the summmer to the extent that they become a major pain in the butt!!

I can go and pick food and be eating it within 15 mins...I can go into the garden and just "be" for 10 mins and listen to a skylark doing its thing above my head....I can be blessed to see a hare living in our wood for the winter.......

So..I moderate my previous comments.........it IS great...but it IS still hard work.......


  1. Thank you for that post! I am living a similar lifestyle with a similar immune system and it can be really hard. It's nice to know I'm not alone...funny how much better it makes me feel :-)

  2. Thank YOU for commenting!! I am sorry you, too have less than ideal health :(

    It can be very hard work sometimes, people come here and go"oh how wonderful/what a fabulous garden/how lucky you are to grow your own veg."..etc etc

    and we are! BUT it IS hard work, especially when illness strikes.

    Hope you feel better soon.


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.