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!

Saturday 31 January 2009

Normal life at Compost Mansions resumes.....mud, chicken poo, seeds and plants

So...hmmm..where to start with the catch up? We are all well, fed up with the incessant rain and the fact that we can't get digging in the garden. The garden looks like a war zone where the chickens have been, it is so wet that where they have scratched they have made mud pies!

BUT there are snowdrops everywhere and signs of spring ...

I have a lot of work now at the weekends cleaning out 3 hen houses and everyday I get rid of the worst of the poo into a bucket, so that they all don't put it on the eggs...as their feet are so muddy they pick up the droppings and then transfer them to the eggs..not nice , and I can't sell eggs I have had to wipe clean.

So much chicken poo!

All three houses and runs cleaned and sweet smelling.

Eggs...hmm well there is a huge improvement over the first week in Jan, when I was down to 3 a day from 6 laying hens. I am now back to 5 a day and every other day a full house from the girls! Both Ginger and Henny are back in full time lay and they produce the biggest eggs of the lot. I now have a customer who can identify the eggs, he was thrown because he hasn't had a Ginger egg before and he got one in the box this week....he asked what she looked like and why she had gone off lay! My customer numbers are increasing, so it is good that more of the girls are coming back into lay and OF COURSE I eggspect a egg or several from the Fab 4 Dorking girls any day (week) soon....as they are now 21 weeks old.

Poor old Genghis Hen the batty ex-battery hen had another go at laying an egg this week, but this is all she could manage....compared with a Sweetiepie egg on the rhs. Genghis' insides are probably now messed up due to the forced laying regime the artificial light makes battery hens follow :-(

Update on Cap't Flint and Long John Silver Dorking...There have been no more bloody fights, a bit of posturing BUT the big news is LJS today mounted Henny while she wasn't paying attention! He "did the deed" properly, too! ( I now have witnessed chickens mating in full, glorious Technicolour and believe me it is a bit odd....) He pecked her on the neck, jumped off and gave a squawk, while Henny shook herself and looked a bit baffled...I could almost see/hear her thinking..... "wonder what that was all about?" Also one of the cockerels is now crowing...I thought it might be Cap't Flint, but I now suspect LJS.... and LJS, although smaller than Cap't Flint, is definitely "King of the Roost" at the moment! Cap't Flint is still running away from "the big girls"despite being bigger than LJS !


I have finally been free to unpack my seed orders, the first one I opened was my Heritage Seed Library order.
Garden Organic, who run the HSL scheme, say
Our Heritage Seed Library (HSL) aims to conserve and make available vegetable varieties that are not widely available. The HSL Department maintains a collection, mainly of European varieties. Over the decades many varieties have been dropped from popular seed catalogues. Our collection contains many of these but also some landraces and a large number of family heirloom varieties that have never been in a catalogue. We are not a gene bank and all our collection, once we have enough seed will become available to our members.

Some interesting beans, purple mangetout, asparagus lettuce (its lovely, I grew some last year) and a fabulous Beefsteak tomato which is wonderful stuffed... I like to try to sow seeds on Imbolc, which is only 3 days away! Eeek so I have better get unpacking the other order, the big one from The Organic Gardening Catalogue.... Normal life at Compost Mansions resumes.....


  1. I just stumbled into your blog and have subscribed.

    Couldn't leave w/o wishing you a joyous Imbolc!

  2. Bright Blessings to you, too!

    I can't wait to get seed sowing!

  3. Oh for some incessant rain! Mud pies sound like the best pies in the world in our time of heatwave and drought!

  4. Congratulations on getting your portfolio finished - it sounds like a huge amount of work. How long will it be before you know the result??

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one with mud and chicken poo everywhere - stepping outside my back door is becoming very hazardous!!

    Willow x

  5. What was that, that Genghis Hen created? I mean, I understand that it is meant to be an egg which has gone badly wrong, what the hell happened?

    And well done on finishing your portfolio!!

  6. Glad to read that things are going so well for you :-) I wish we could see rain here - it has just been snow over the past few weeks. But then, as you know, rain has its own frustrations.... summer will be much welcome! What kinds of beans have you planned for this season?

  7. Yay for snowdrops and seeds...full of hope for the coming season! :) Well done on that poultry clean up too...I can see you've been working your socks off :)

  8. Willow I will know if I need to redo any bits of my portfolio in the next 3 weeks.or I will get a letter saying I have passed , which will allow me to get insurance for our woodland to offer courses and parties etc asap!

    Mich, it is a "sort of" egg..its the best the poor thing can manage..with her messed up ex batty hen insides.. :-( Not all ex battys are like her, btw!

    Lucy and Lialz, where ever we all are..seeds are FULL of promise! but I could do with a bit less rain here!


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.