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!

Friday 31 October 2008


Today is Samhain, the start of the Celtic New Year, a day or two when the curtain between the sprit world and us is thinner and our ancestors are closer.

It is also, of course Halloween...All Hallows Eve...a more modern, originally Christian version of the pagan festival.

We don't go in for Halloween parties and suchlike at Compost Mansions, normally we have a bonfire, a clear out of the sheds and polytunnel and a tidy up to mark the end of the year. We eat some favourite, special foods and I mark the day in a number of small, private ways.

One of my regular things is I tend to do "kitchen witchery" today, with the cooking usually being pumpkin related! However I am still feeling very unwell so a lot of the things I had planned have been shelved for a few days but I DID want to make something for us to eat!

SO, some Pumpkin and Apple soup was in order...

The Pumpkin ( A Turk's Turban) was VERY resistant to being cut in slices! I tried ( and failed miserably) and then Compostman tried, he got a bigger knife out and finally his chopper (a scary thing...I don't use it as I have cut my self on it before now!) and the Pumpkin was defeated!


I removed the rind from the slices and roughly chopped the flesh along with a couple of onions ( chopped) 2 BIG cloves of garlic, a few peeled, cored ,chopped Bramleys, salt, pepper, thyme and sweet marjoram and my magic ingredient in Pumpkin soup, a small amount of some dark brown sugar

Pumpkin, apples, herbs, onions and garlic were all from our own garden, stock made from a local chicken ( NOT one of ours I hasten to add!) all put in a pot

brought to the boil....

and left simmering on a low heat for an hour, then I turned off the heat and left it simmering for a further half hour with the residual warmth from the ring. I aways like to simmer soups for a long time, I find it improves the flavour!

I blitzed it up with my stick blender and we ate it with a slice of cheese on ( home made bread) toast. The pumpkin flesh was even more sweet than usual, I think the fact it ripened fully on the vine makes them taste the best. I have noticed the ones which I have to finish ripening on a sunny window never taste quite so good?

And as I chopped, sliced, stirred and tasted this morning I couldn't help thinking "Hubble, bubble..." but I guess thats a bit of a stereotype! ;-)))

I certainly WAS thinking of my family, my friends, my loved ones and hoping we all have a good year ahead. I also thought of all my loved ones, still with us or not and wished them all well.

Happy Samhain to you all as well, may your coming year be fruitful, peaceful and blessed.


  1. Lucy @ Smallest Smallholding...something funny happened and I lost my Samhain post AND your comment!

    So thank you and sorry it has gone awol....

    I have re blogged my post and copied in your comment below...

    "happy new year :)

    pumpkin soup looks delicious...tomorrow we're cooking roasted red pepper and butternut squash. This time of the year is my absolute favourite for cooking seasonal veg. I'm a squash and root veg fiend through and through. "

  2. Lucy Happy new Year!

    I, too, LOVE this time of year...we are beginning to wind down our outside activities, we have lit the woodburner, we do more stuff inside and I have time for more " homemaking" stuff...candle making, soap making, reading, sewing...which I don't get time to do AT ALL during the Spring and Summer!

    We also start to eat and drink some of the yummy stuff we have made over the last year or so...


    Must admit I am glad it is NOW that I am so poorly...I hate to think what I would be like, feeling like this with shingles, during the height of the summer!


  3. Soup looks delicious.... sorry to hear your plans have been scuppered! Do you definitely have shingles? I really hope not...
    but do hope whatever ails you is soon over with!! Guess you had better just rest up until things improve... then you can have your belated Halloween celebrations!
    Happy Halloween/Samhain!!
    Jane xxx

  4. Yes! and it hurts....

    I have no blisters BUT do have a band of pain..around my waist... and various other unpleasant symptoms...

    so ..rest and recover and drugs are the order of the day........

    O the kind words and thoughts DO make it better, though...honestly!!

    I kid you not...it is SO nice to know that people care.....

    :-)) so THANK YOU lovely blog friends!!

  5. Oh dear CW... Well some BIG HUGS for you today!! (((((((HUGS)))))))))
    Rest up... take the drugs and do nice restful things like reading a good book or two... A nap or two or three (sleep is a great healer!) and maybe the odd bit of television or a DVD you have wanted to watch for ages but just never got around to!!
    Love and Hugs,
    Jane xxxx

  6. The blogger gremlins must have been out and about because I posted a comment on your blog and another one on another blog and neither appeared. It was on your last post so I will sent it again now. Basically I said I had just opened a large tub of "Get Well Very Soon" Hugs and sent a couple in your direction. Here they come now (I hope):

    {{{Get Well Very Soon Hug}}}

    Hope they work.

    Rosie xx

  7. Hope you are feeling better. Shingles is horrible at the best of times, but when you have lots of nice things planned it is a total downer to be ill.

    I am trying out your pumpkin soup, with a wee bit of adaptation. Have added a bit of cinnamon and chilli instead of your marjoram and thyme. Hopefully it will turn out as nice as yours did.


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