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, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs 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 work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

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 July 2009

Hot water from sunshine :-)

Oh joy!

Compost Mansions has a new addition! Its up, on the S E ish face of the(newly tiled) roof !

Compostman starting to carry tubes up the scaffolding yesterday afternoon

Work partly done, yesterday afternoon. Heavy rain called a halt to proceedings yesterday

But the tubes were still getting the water to a respectable temperature this morning with only half of them installed...

Late this morning and all tubes are plugged in and working.

So the temperature of the water in the tubes rose...

And rose....we have NOT had a very sunny day here today, it has been warm but not hot, and overcast at times. BUT by 4.30 pm it was blooming hot in those tubes! 49 celsius!

Can I just say here that Compostman is an absolute STAR for installing this system, he has worked really hard these last few weeks to get all the parts together and install it and I love him very much indeed.

oooohh I can't wait to have a shower :-)

Friday, 10 July 2009

A quick dash in to report...

Hello all

I am OK, it was a brief, if unpleasant bout of D and V for me..

Compostgirl however is v poorly, has not eaten now for (Cw counts) 10 days, still has D and V, but what is making things much worse is she is refusing to drink enough (less than 500 ml per day as an absolute max...) and is hovering on the verge of hospitalisation..

The Drs at our GP centre we have seen over the last 3 days are not very helpful, they basically say "make her drink" but with a difficult, oppositional child at the best of times, it is virtually impossible...we were advised to force feed her fluid via a 5 ml syringe...but needing to push 100 ml per hour into a large well grown 8 yr old thats very hard to do....!

We tried it, she kicked the hell out of us and spat out the fluid and it was very distressing as well for all of us as you can possibly imagine... or maybe not :-(

She is very poorly indeed , no GP seems interested in her mental state or why she won't do what we ask, Drs, Teachers, adult friends have all explained (as have we, repeatedly) that she needs to drink, she says she understands the issues and that she needs to drink, she says she really dosen't want to go into hospital and be put on a drip (she has had one before so knows what this means and didn't like it)

There is no real reason for her not to drink ( nor ear or throat issues...) other than her behavioural problems, but they are the major problem here....but no one wants to address those issues, prefering to focus on us not parenting her properly so as to make her do what we say...

I might add we have asked for behavioural /emotional assessments for her because of her behaviour many times over the last few years and only ended up with family therapy stuff, which has ONLY focussed on OUR parenting responsibility/failure causing HER behavior...

which is fair enough ( we accept there must be some element of responsibility on our part...) but DOESN'T also address HER behavior!

I am going to call the Hospital for advice over all this if things don't improve ASAP. NHS Direct seem only to be dealing with swine flu (which the GP has ruled out... thank heavens... although the stuff I have read indicates otherwise.......!)

and as I have said our GP's seem more concerned with us as inadequate/not assertive enough parents, than with her as a child with a long standing ( and oft recorded and reported) behavioural problem which is now endangering her health....

We are so worried and also very worn out...we have had very little sleep for 9 days due to all this and we are worried sick about her health and her ongoing behaviour problems and the impact it has on us as a family and as individuals.

I am SO sorry, I have just unloaded a very private issue to the whole world, but at the moment I don't really care...if anyone reads this and can help at all to help us help Compostgirl, it will have been worth it.....

So...over to you lot....

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Normal service will be resumed as soon as I can...

Compostgirl is very ill and has been since last Thursday so I have been busy nursing her ( and myself, unfortunately I have also now caught it)

Compostman is OK at the moment...so fingers crossed he remains so...

so blogging is a bit low on the list at the moment....

Monday, 6 July 2009

Thank you to Mrs Green

The lovely Mrs Green does a Sunday roundup on her blog, where, she says

It’s that time of the week again when I get to share some great eco friendly stories from around the world.

They will be linked to reducing, reusing, recycling or composting our way to a zero waste future.

So without further ado, let’s see who has been helping make the world a better place this week.

and she has very kindly picked me this week! She has featured my Zero Waste Day efforts.

So thank you Mrs Green and if you DO want to come over and video me doing the forfeit, just shout ;-)

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Sad news about Ginger

This is a hard post for me to write.

When Compostman went to let out the chickens this morning he found Ginger dead inside the Broody Ark, where she had been recouperating in isolation since the fox attack.

Yesterday she spent her second day outside with all the other chickens, running around, scratching around in the soil and generally being a normal hen. She still hadn't laid an egg since the fox attack, but she didn't look egg bound and shock can often stop a hen laying for some time. Also the hot weather has put a couple of the other girls off lay, so we were not worried about Ginger not laying. She looked absolutely fine when I shut her in at 9pm and at midnight Compostman checked on her and she crooned at him from her nest box.

Ginger wasn't injured in any way when he found her this morning, she looked as if she might have had a brief struggle (the bedding was churned up) but apart from that she had ..just...died. So we assume that perhaps she died of heart failure, possibly bought on by another egg in the process of developing, getting stuck overnight. Or, maybe, she just, died.

Ginger and Henny were the first 2 hens I got when I started keeping chickens again two and a half years ago, Compostman bought me an Eglu and Henny and Ginger as a birthday present.

We were all always very fond of Ginger, she was very clever and always keen to come and join in with what we were doing. She also seemed very bright for a chicken and would lead us over to gates she wanted opened...and she had a trick where she would jump up to get food from your hand.

Ginger the amazing jumping chicken! Her feet are around 2 foot off the ground in this photo.

Ginger spent yesterday re asserting her "top hen" status by getting first dibs at any tasty morsel of food and by re-enacting a "coldiz" style raid on the veg garden. She dug a tunnel under the wire and got inside the veg garden then encouraged some of the others through, to wreak a bit of havoc in there....

I tried to take a few pictures of her during the afternoon to show you all she was back in action, but she was too busy to pose for me.

SO, all very sad here and we buried Ginger on the edge of the wood today, near one of her favourite scratching spots.

RIP Ginger Hen, you will be much missed by all of us here at Compost Mansions.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Update on Ginger..10 days in...

Ginger is well and recivering from her fright and illness..she has finished the antibiotic and the liquid Calcium ( boy did she HATE the liquid Calcium!)

She is now scratching and furtling around on the ground as normal and looks much more her usual self... although she is still isolated from all the other birds by a net fence for her safety while she recovers. Henny ( of course) has been in with her, as has Attilla ( ah, bless!)

She has not laid an egg yet...but it has been so hot and humid that a number of the other hens have gone "off lay" so I am not worried ( and neither is our vet Tamsin...)

So...Ginger seems ( fingers crossed) to have got away with it, this time...but I have advised her NOT to take on any more foxes, if at all possible!

Can't help feeling she has lost a life, though...!

DO hens have multiple lives like cats, do you think? ;-)

And the winner is.....

No, not a tennis related post!

I have shamefully neglected to tell you ( and, indeed, her!) the winner of my 500th post giveaway.....

Compostwoman hangs head in shame...

My only ( non) excuse is that it has just been manic here for the last few weeks, and I simply forgot to post the result...

So, without further ado, the winner is................( cue drum roll...........)


Congratulations Jane, and if you email me your snail mail address I shall post you a parcel of goodies.

I shall not put up a picture of the contents until I know you have received the parcel, so as not to spoil the surprise....

And thank you to all the rest of my lovely readers who put their names down, I am just sorry I couldn't send all of you a small token of my appreciation ....


Thursday, 2 July 2009

My (almost) zero waste day..cont...

Thank you to all of you for posting such encouraging, enthusiastic posts!

I am SO glad that you feel inspired to have a go at this as well!
And I would say GO FOR IT!!

And to those of you who though 20 g wasn't enough of a waste to do the forfeit...

well I DID produce some waste so I AM going to do it!

I shall sit in one of my compostbins, as promised...and I shall put up photographic evidence that I have done so..

But perhaps I shall sit in a relatively clean bin, as it WAS "only" 20 g of waste...?