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!

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Thanks to Aromatic for a really good idea

Aromatic posted recently on her wonderful blog,The Winds of Change

"Parts of my life.... We all have 'things' we have as part of our everyday life apart from family,friends, pets etc. Here are just a few of mine....."

and then she posted up some wonderful pictures, sharing her life and thoughts with us...and it set me thinking...I post up pictures of what I DO on here, but I don't really post up pictures of my life which shares how I FEEL. I tend to "report back" on what I have been up to, rather than using my blog as a general diary. I am very much a DOER and I feel my thoughts and feelings are rather more private. Obviously I also don't want to post TOO much about Compostgirl, for obvious reasons!

BUT, always being willing to do something new, I decided I would do a post where I took photos of things which would show something to others about me......a post which had things in it which mean a lot to me or which friends who know me would say "thats SO Compostwoman!" , a post which wasn't about a specific task we had done! AND HERE IT IS...I didn't edit these pictures, I just took my camera, wandered around the house and garden and snapped.

The wildife I love and am passionate about protecting. We have so much wonderful wildife around us, with our wood providing protection and food for many more vulnerable species. This is the Orchard Robin, he/she will sit on my hand if I offer food. This Robin also has the veg patch in its territory so it is well fed!

Books! Endless piles and bookshelves FULL of books! Every room in this house has bookshelves of books.

I love this bowl. It is by a talented local ceramic artist called Rachel Padley, she also made my Green Man, who hangs on the dining room wall and is crowned throughout the year with appropriate garlands, to honour the Wheel of the Year. This bowl was a Yule gift from Compostman and Compostgirl a few years ago.

These next two photos show craft items made by my late MIL. Sadly I never really knew her when she was fully compos mentis, the Alzheimer's which eventually took all her faculties away had already started 20 odd years before she died and when I first met her,she was already declining mentally from the woman she had been in her prime.

A beautiful Table runner, embroidered in tiny stitches. Its wonderful and sits proudly on my dressing table where I can admire it everyday.

It's a great sadness that both my Mum and Compostman's Mum died long ago, my Mum in 1989, my MIL in 2003, I miss them both and especially now as I try to recreate all the things from books and memory that both Mum and Mum would have just been able to tell me about! If they were still here (they would both be VERY old, MIL 98, my Mum 92) I could ask them about canning and bottling, knitting and quiltmaking, lace making, baking, all the many things they both did to make a home. I could ask them about their lives and how they felt and did things.

My MIL was a teacher, my Mum had several careers but her last job was as a School Dinner Lady at MY primary school- I now realise she took the job so as to be at home when my brother and I came home from school.

Both Compostman and I were children of older Mums and they both were adults in the
2nd World War and children during the Great War so there would be so much to talk about! We both DID talk to them when they were with us, but you don't really when you are young, do you? You rush and work and get on with your own life....a shame.

Goodness that musing came up out of nowhere! Anyway, I like to use things of theirs and keep their memory alive, I think that is the best way to honour people who have died.

My Hens! I KNOW we were meant to stay off Family and pets, BUT the WAY I am about my hens is WHO I am, so I have put in a photo! They are mad but I love them all dearly.

This one shows my passion for Environmental Education work. The Master Composting, Eco Club, training as a Forest School Leader, Environmental campaigning I have done, the Consultancy work, growing and selling organic vegetables...all these are a HUGE part of "me".

More books! In our bedroom this time. I had just made up some base oils into my facial oil and some toner from floral waters. Lots of aromatherapy books on the shelves, lots of historical fiction too! Essential Oils are hidden away in the dark to protect them and preserve their properties. I use the knowledge I gained from Diplomas in Aromatherapy, Indian Head massage and Body massage all the time, its as natural to me as breathing, to massage away pain or absorb it or annoint it with essential oil blends to ease away a discomfort.

The colourful scrunchy was from last years Big Green Gathering when I helped in the Big Green Idea marquee. That was a new experience for me! 25 years ago I used to go to festivals and camp. But that was 25 years ago! I went last year to the BGG and camped alone and spent a week away from Compost Mansions and my family. I met up with friends from the INEBG forum and had a wonderful time. It was an exhilerating experience and made me realise I NEED to keep challenging myself to do new things, to learn new things, in order to be a happier person!

A Craft ( and craft) corner. I honour the changing year in various small corners all over the house. The ceramic pumpkin is to save my precious real ones being carved and going mouldy. I would rather they made soup!

More than anything else these next three photos are the three things which sum up "me" I think! MY Compostbins: Somewhere I go to feel the magic working!

The Polytunnel, it acts as my shed and my sanctuary when life gets too much! I love the whole process of planting seeds, nurturing them, watching them grow, produce food and then die back to be turned into compost, to feed next years seeds......

The Vegetable Garden, looking a little unkempt now, but still good food there, hidden from view, waiting to be harvested later on in the year.

Herbs waiting to be dried, used for healing and for cooking, used always with love and care !

This sums it up really: Preserves, wine, cider, harvested fruit and vegetables, jars waiting for me to fill with the goodness we have grown with our own hands on our own land, all in the kitchen Compostman built for the three of us to shelter in.

I hope you enjoyed this more personal glimpse of my life. I enjoyed doing it, and it has brought up some interesting memories and thoughts. So thank you Aromatic once again for the idea.


  1. Thanks for sharing this little glimpse into your life, Compostwoman! It's nice to see another green eglu like mine! Your polytunnel and veg garden look amazing .. and, as for those compost bins .. they put mine to shame!
    Willow x

  2. Hello,
    What a coincidence, I have been "lurking" on your blog for a while now but I enjoyed this post so much I thought I'd leave a comment. Then I found you already had a willow commenting! Anyway this is another willow!
    I liked your choice of photographs, its a lovely way of showing whats important to you.
    Your first bookshelf looks very like mine, we have loads of the same books.

  3. Hello willow and Willow!

    How strange that you should both post on the same page!

    Thank you for your kind words, I enjoyed dong thispost as it was a little different from usual. I shall re visit your blogs often!

  4. CW.. I just loved this posting!! I have really enjoyed getting to know the the WONDERFUL things that mean so much to you and how I can relate to them all!!!
    Love the Robin.. I love these tiny little/brave birds with such a beautiful bird song. I am amazed it feeds out of your hand but what a wonderful experience for you.
    Another bookaholic like myself... and that gorgeous bowel is out of this world!
    The handmade goods that you treasure so much.. and yes!! another similarity.. I have all my Mothers embroidered tablecloths and tray clothes etc that my she sat and worked on for hours and we still use them now. Family heirlooms and much loved.
    The gorgeous hens (that I would so love to have)
    All your work for the environment that I find fascinating and so needed now in the world.
    I love your collection of oils and wish I had your knowledge... I will be asking questions!! (he! he!! Oh and cheekily where do you purchase your oils from??? I know I shouldn't ask.. but I so love my oils and I could add some to my Christmas list as my stocks are dwindling and I like trying different suppliers.. ( I will shut up now!!)
    I love the idea of your craft corner and that has certainly given me food for thought... Mmmmm
    And the composting, vegetables , polytunnel and of course herbs ohhh if only I lived nearer.
    Preserving I am still in the amateur stages but with such wonderful recipes that you share I will have no problems.

    Thank you CW for sharing all of these much loved parts of your life with us. Its been a real joy looking and reading through this post..

    (ps.. thank you (I am blushing now) for the mention at the beginning of your post... its made my day!!

    Jane xxx

  5. I have been lurking and enjoying your blog for a while now, it feels like I know you a bit better now!
    We have a resident robin as well, his song has changed into autumn mode in the last couple of weeks, we also compost and have a greenhouse and polytunnel - just on a much smaller scale!

  6. Hello Jane!

    Don't blush! I really enjoyed this post and it made me feel very happy to be doing it. I realised I need to make time to treasure all the good things I have.

    Oils..I get mine from Aromantic, Torte Rouge ( based in France, for some specialist oils) and from NHR but I am not sure if they are still going ? I will have to check.
    I buy Organic base and Essential oils, a little more expensive BUT given the way our skin absorbs so well and how concentrated Essential oils are, I feel happier knowing that there are no concentrated pesticide residues in them! Also I would hate to think of someone having to expose themselves and their local environmnet to pesticides just so I can buy some oil...but thats a personal choice of mine, not a critique of others.

    If you want to, you can PM me on the INEBG forum and I will endevour to answer any questions about oils you may have!

  7. Hi Shropshire Girl! Welcome to my blog, its nice to see you , not lurking in the corner!
    I LOVE Robins, we are lucky enough to have a large enough patch that we have the Front garden Robins ( they have the bird feeders!) the Veg plot/Orchard Robins ( hey have the hens!), the Top wood Robins and the Pool Robins...plus a few blow ins!
    Where the territories overlap it gets very interesting right now, as they squabble over mates and land.


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.