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 16 October 2008

Question to my fellow bloggers..........

I am finding the new blog Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op a very interesting read! I have followed Rhonda-Jean's blog for some time,

Tonight I read this post and was cheering as I read!

I STRONGLY recommend you read it!

To me it sums up why in the last 10 + years we have stopped buying so much stuff, questioned why we should get things, made sense of the reason why, every time we go to buy something, I think "why" and "who made it" and is it "fair trade/ethical/recycled" and "what is it made from " and most important "do we REALLY NEED this thing, or do we just WANT it"

Quite often, we don't...and even if we do, we often have something else which will do the same function...

One thing I HAVE found....It is VERY hard with a small child to do this..I KNOW, I KNOW...but it can be done..it IS possible to have a child and NOT be overwhelmed by the mountains of sheer plastic tat which seem to be assumed as the inalienable right of ALL Western children to consume...We have bought plastic tat yes of course we have, and had it given as ( well intentioned) gifts and I am not so churlish as to throw them back at kind people who bothered to give us /Compostgirl a gift ...even if we DID say NO PLASTIC ( grrr)

BUT on the whole, we have limited our exposure to child generated AND adult generated "STUFF"....

so how have YOU done? No penalties, no prizes, no insults.. no patronising.....I am just interested to know what you all think? I value your opinions and would like to know what your views are?

Go, read, and come back and tell me what you think...we can have a virtual chat over a glass of my home made wine, or some tea/coffee and Parkin ( thanks to Jennie world!) or home made bread, butter and jam..( mmm my favourite!)

Go on....I'm waiting! and the kettle is on!


  1. Most certainly an interesting read and gives one plenty to think about.
    I wholeheartedly agree with all of the aspects mentioned in the post.
    I find now personally that as I grow older my needs are much simpler. I don't need all the 'trimming's I so desired when I was younger. My parents used to say that as long as you have food in your belly and your are sheltered and warm you cannot go far wrong in life!
    We don't buy now unless its really needed. If its green and recyclable then so much the better. We use charity shops and recycling center's as much as possible. We are more energy conscious. The planet needs all the help it can get and so do our purse strings and it seems to go hand in hand!

    Jane xxx

  2. My son is about the same as Compostgirl (I think, both are in yr 3). It is quite hard to try to avoid all the crap that they are exposed to, but on the whole I think we manage it. And when we don't, and he asks for things he can't have for whatever reason, we say No. Usually with an explanation as to why not, but he is learning that once our decision is made, that's it. (We have a rule, that if I have said maybe, and he whines or nags about it, the answer is immediately changed to no.)
    He wrote out a preliminary Xmas list last night. There were Xboxes, playstations etc etc, so I turned around and told him to save disappointment that he wasn't going to get them. Because he isn't. Even if we could afford it and more importantly we wanted to get something like that, HE wouldn't be bought one, it would be a family present.

    It is hard though, since they do compare notes at school. But it is an important for him to learn this.

    So far, our daughter is too young for the onslaught. However I know that there will be Bratz or the equivilent on the horizon. And on that I will be a total cow. She just won't have any. If presents are bought, then sorry, they will get charityshopped.

  3. I've been enjoying the Frugal Co-op every day. Loved the helpful bugs (with pictures!).

    Stopping and re-thinking a potential purchase is still fairly new to me. I hope to make it a habit. My son is a teenager and really is the perfect age to learn from my example since he's past the peer pressure to have all the cool toys. This would have been much harder when he was little and bombarded with action figures! and remote control vehicles! and buy! buy! buy!

    I also believe you are right to accept well-intentioned (if poorly chosen) gifts graciously.

    Now, do I really need a tea kettle? Hmmm...

  4. Hi there!

    Bratz...........hmm Compostgirl thinks we are very mean as we don't let her watch the TV programme, let alone have any dolss/clthes etc...

    The only reason she has a Barbie, is she chose to buy herself one in a shop sale a few months ago WITH HER OWN poscket money, saved up for the purpose.....which I felt was not really something I could say no to! ( her money, after all....) and yes she is coming up to 8 next month MD!

    Jane..Iwe now do likewise, yes we did used to spend more on "stuff" when we were younger, but even then, it wasn't the sort of conspicuous consumption aome people seem to go in for...

    Hi Tpals!

    I thought it was a thought provoking and interesting post, as so far all the items on that blog have been!

    I am brewing a rant about plastic cat food pouches at the moment...watch this space!

  5. I think kids definitely make it harder - we've spent several years living car and telly free and only buying what we really needed but then the baby came along and suddenly I have guilt in a big way. Am I doing the right thing not letting her watch telly / eat junk food / have hundreds of plastic toys when all the other kids her age seem to? Will she suffer socially when she's older? Should I really be imposing my values so rigorously on someone else? Those are the sort of questions I seem to ask myself on a daily basis!

    I do think that in the long run not having a telly might help deflect some of the pressure for her to have the latest clothes/trainers/dolls etc and I've found it very helpful myself. I usually don't have a clue what the latest fashions or trends are so I feel no compulsion to conform with them!

    Oh, I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the cat food pouches - I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll probably agree with you!

  6. Well, Kittyboo thats what WE did with Compostgirl , and she seems Ok on it!

    Remember, YOU are in control...and it is only a few short years that you ARE in control of what your children see and do...so thats the time ( IMO) to make sure they are set up for good choices later on.....

    you sound like you are doing the right things to me, anyway....


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.