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!

Monday 1 June 2009

General catch up

Well it has been a bit manic here at Compost Mansions recently, hence the lack of posts since last weekend..(which was actually a post I did a week earlier but hadn't actually hit "post" on it....)

First, at the start of the last week I got ill...very ill....with a nasty flu-ey thing which I am only just recovering from now...I missed 2 days "outside" work ( grrr, but working with children, I couldn't either ethically contemplate dosing myself up and going, nor was I actually well enough to do so anyway...)

I was chilled, sweating, aching, sore throat, headache, sick, had the runs and generally felt like I had been hit all over by very angry, big people with very big sticks......( and NO, I have NOT been in contact with any one recently returned from anywhere overseas, or from areas where Mexican Flu had hit in the UK....I DID wonder about volunteering myself as a possible case BUT I didn't meet the NHS criteria , so I didn't...)

I have been ill for 10 days now and I only JUST feel vaguely human today....and have missed the last few days of the term and most of this half term....

Also, we have been so busy with growing and planting and sowing and mowing and scything etc...I dragged my self out of my sick bed at one point to prick out plants and had a lap tray on my knee whilst on the sofa, so I could pot on some tiny brassica seedlings......I have still been tending to the plants in the polytunnel and the hens, despite being ill....Compostman had so much to do.. so who will do it if *I* don't?


One of the downsides of an "idyllic" rural lifestyle is, unless you have pots of money and can afford to pay staff to do stuff for you, you have to keep going regardless of illness. I didn't do any stuff for 4 days when I was really ill, but once I was "sort of " ok, I had to get on with at least some of it...as Compostman has more than enough of his own work to do, without having to do *my work* as well..Compostgirl helped a lot, but at 8, she really can't just step into my jobs and do them like me....she can water stuff and collect eggs but she doesn't know what to do if anything more tricky presents itself...

People often don't consider this aspect of living "the rural dream of downshifting"...they think of a few hens, some pigs, a veg garden, a greenhouse and being more self sufficient in fruit , veg and eggs etc ...BUT its a 24/7 dedication, 365 days a year...regardless of illness, incapacity or inclination...YOU have to keep going....that is the reality if you keep any livestock.....or grow a lot of stuff to eat...if you want to eat it, you have to look after it!


The hens have all mysteriously gone off lay...I am only getting 2 or 3 eggs from 6 laying hens..I think it is because the 2 cockerels are fighting and generally being a pain..and disturbing the hens...so MEASURES WILL BE TAKEN......(!)( use your imaginations..they have had a reprieve while I have been ill.....)

Various "work stuff" has also been going on for me, I finally got my Forest School Practitioner Certificate through in the post yesterday (hurrah!) AND I am about to start a regular programme of Eco Club sessions somewhere, for a fee...which is great....! (I could do with the money)

I have also been arranging a weekend of Master Composter activity (as in ALL the arranging, of the stand, the booking, the rota, the supplies, the session plans, the risk assessment etc...) at Hereford Earth Watch, which revolves around World Environment Day on the 5th June, and also carries over on the 6th June.

I am also organising (as in ALL the organising, the booking, the rota, the supplies, the session plans, the risk assessment etc...) the Master Composters presence at Hellens Manor, The Garden Festival in the 13th and 14th June.

AND I am doing some "Love Food Hate Waste" training this week.....

(To be honest, I feel tired just contemplating the next 2 weeks, and I haven't even started it yet.....)

BUT its all good stuff and will help to spread the word about living a more sustainable, frugal minded life...

Oh, did I mention the Transition Town Ledbury stuff?...no? ....more in a future post!

Do something on World Environment Day? Please? If only to make me feel my shattered-ness is having an effect?

I shall post some links tommorrow...........promise....but for now it is off to bed for me.....

Thank you...



  1. oh honey - so sorry to hear you have been unwell. I loved your note about self sufficiency and 'the dream'. I know people have romantic ideas about baskets of fresh vegetables and eggs, but as you say, it's a 24/7 commitment, no matter how you feel; the weeds keep growing and the compost needs turning!
    I say the same about running a woodburner - it's bloody hard work and if you're ill, you still have to go and get out your saw or axe otherwise you get cold.

    Anyway, hope you are on the mend. And I would love to hear more about your love food hate waste training when you feel up to it; that sounds like something I'd be interested in

    Rae x

  2. I hope you are feeling better each day, being ill is rough mentally, physically, and even more so when work is knocking at the door. Thank you for sharing your comment/thoughts on that, you are right, sometimes it is missed in the thought process of just how much dedication and work goes into a lifestyle.
    Can you describe the love-food-hate-waste project?

  3. Hi Compostwoman

    Really liked your comment about the 24/7 lifestyle.

    I love our lifestyle but if I get ill it's a disaster. D can do the chickens and a bit of the watering. Luckily we have vast water butt drip feed watering for most of the veg garden now. This takes care of a lot of time and I can hoe and deal with any problems as the garden waters itself.

  4. I hope you're feeling better soon! These flue bugs can be difficult to kick.

  5. Thank you all for you good wishes, I AM feeling better now ( but still a bit limp amd tired! and am in bed by 10 pm still......)

    I have just done a post on the Love Food Hate Waste training I did earlier this week

    it was really good and I reccomend it to you all, although it WILL shock you! Honest! it will !

    I was gobsmacked and I *work* in this field!


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.