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 28 October 2009

Wonderful new hen run!

Wonderful new hen run! To go with the wonderful new hen house !

Built by clever Compostman, as a ( very) belated birthday present for me...and to go with the house he has already built for me....

Except we have swapped things around, so the new run now goes with Cluckingham Palace ( a boughten house) and the home made house (called Peckingham Palace) is now attached to the run which came with Cluckingham Palace ....

It does all make sense, honest!

Anyway, its a wonderful, wonderful present, the hens love it and it will make my life a lot easier, as all the hens now have lots of dry, sheltered space if they have to be left shut in for any reason.

THANK YOU lovely Compostman, you are a star and I love you very much!

Sunday 18 October 2009

Ruby and the chicklets, week 5

The Cream Legbar chicks are now 5 weeks old and have largely lost all their baby fluff and have proper feathers now. The cockerel is a bossy little chap to his sisters and steals their food whenever he can. He comes running to me whenever I go outside, though! I think he has worked out I mean food is on the way!

I turn out Ruby and the chicklets into the veg patch every day, they are safe from the other hens in there although not from cats!

They love to scratch and furtle around in the soil, eating all sorts of stuff. Ruby is a very attentive mother and teaches them well.

Ruby and the chicklets dust bathing in the sunshine. See how big the chicks are, now!

Friday 16 October 2009

Spike goes a visiting....

Spike went a-visiting yesterday !

I am rather unwell with a sore throat and cough so Compostman stepped in for me and helped at Eco club yesterday. As Spike is now recovered and eating well, Compostman took him into school as the plan was to make some hibernation houses for insects and things...

and Spike was an absolute star! He uncurled and trotted around the inside of the circle of children sat on the floor, stopping to sniff at them and generally be very friendly. The children adored him!

Compostman talked about hibernation and how/why hedgehogs hibernate. He also discussed with the children about what happens to the late summer baby hedgehogs and why "autumn orphan" hedgehogs are unlikely to survive the winter and hibernation without human help. (For those who don't know, a hoggie needs to be at least 500g to survive hibernation and waking up in spring, and the late babies often don't have time to get to this weight before the food runs out)

Compostman mentioned that Spike wasn't really ill, as such, when he was found on the school field (although he looked it) but was just cold and hungry and thirsty. When Compostman added that Spike had probably got separated from his mum, several of the children had to be stopped from running up the field to look for her....ah bless!

Spike is now back in his cage, in the warm, tucking into yet more cat meat and has gained 10% of his body weight in 1 day... !

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Spike, our new house guest!

We have a new guest at Compost Mansions. A young Hedgehog! He was found wandering around the School Field and so we were asked to take him home, as we have reared hedgehog babies before. He was in a bad way from cold and lack of food and he is too young and small to make it through hibernation this winter and would die if he tried. He only weighs 150 g and ideally needs to be around 500g to make it through hibernation AND WAKE UP AGAIN ( very important, that last bit!)

So this poor, small, lost little baby needed help. Urgently.

He perked up a bit that evening when we put him in a spare rabbit cage we had in the shed, with a nice warm dark bed and cat meat to eat, and we thought we had sorted him out, but the next day he had started to wobble when he walked - never a good sign in an animal!

So, we brough the cage in the house, I put him in a box by the woodburner to warm up and then dropper fed him rehydration fluid.

And gave him a massage ( with all those spines, tricky, that! )

until he roused enough to eat a bit of mashed cat meat from my hand.

BTW, do NOT give bread and milk to hedgehogs as it is VERY bad for them!

He is now stuffing his face with cat food today and making a hell of a mess in the cage.....

We have called him "Spike".

Friday 9 October 2009

If you like this blog...vote for me!

I am in the Dorset Cereals "Little Blog awards" list again this month, so if you like my blog please consider going here and voting for me?


Thank you! :-)

Friday 2 October 2009

Oh! Such joy ( well a new recycling scheme, anyway.....!)

Today we had an unexpected delivery. A new Recycling Bin!

You may remember my previous rants on the subject of recycling , in which I mention that we don't get any doorstep collection out here in the wilds of rural Herefordshire.

But,Herefordshire has now decided to extend the scheme to ALL its residents so everybody gets some recyclables collected from their home. (Well, it, and all Councils, are now legally obliged to do so ,
by legislation I helped to campaign for!

As an Environmental Consultant and activist I also spent a huge amount of time in the late nineties vigorously campaigning to stop the building of an Incinerator in the town of Kidderminster. This was meant to "dispose" of a large chunk of Herefordshire and Worcestershire's joint household waste. I rather suspect that IF they had managed to build this incinerator I would not now be feeling so happy as "Energy Recovery" from the incinerator would have counted as "recycling". So, I guess, there would have been no Big Green Recycling Bin sitting outside my back door?

But we won the fight against the Kidderminster Incinerator (hurrah) and the Incinerator plan "went up in smoke". And lo, I have a Recycling Bin.

Here it is in all its glory...

along with a calendar, a handy leaflet telling us what we can put in our bin and a sticker to go on the front of the bin.

Here is a list of the items that you will now be able to recycle from your home:

Paper - including newspapers, magazines, phone directories, catalogues, office paper, junk mail, greetings cards and envelopes.
Cardboard - light card and corrugated cardboard, egg boxes and kitchen/toilet roll tubes.
Metals - food tins and drinks cans, aerosol cans and sweet/biscuit tins.
Glass - bottles and jars of all colours.
Plastic - all plastic bottles. Plastic containers including yogurt pots, margarine/ice cream tubs, fruit/vegetable punnets, cream/ custard pots, cake/pastry trays and soup/sauce pots.
Cartons – including milk, juice, smoothie cartons, fabric conditioner, soup, chopped tomato and custard cartons.

So...finally .....we have a recycling bin at Compost Mansions and we can stop filling up our car boots with recyclable stuff "just in case" we go near a recycling point.

We will still need to go to the Household Recycling Site with textiles, batteries, CF lights, wood, electrical goods, soil and rubble etc, but this bin will make SUCH a difference to us! Apart from anything else, the bottles, cans etc can go in the bin, outside, rather than filling up boxes in the boiler room, or in my car boot!

Also the 100g (ish) of landfill waste that we do put out each week at the moment for the landfill collection (all else is reused, recycled or composted here) is largely yogurt or margarine cartons, so we will now be able to reduce the stuff we send to landfill even more, maybe even down to a true Zero Waste level! Previously the recycling system would not take these items, but the building of a new Materials Reclamation Facility has changed all that. |
All collected recycling will be transferred to a new material recovery facility (MRF) being built at Norton, Worcestershire. This new facility will sort materials using state of the art technology into their different types ready for recycling.

So, we will be able to put these items inside our lovely new recycling bin!

Hurrah! I am a very happy Compostwoman, today! Good on you Herefordshire Council, for doing this...!

Thursday 1 October 2009