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!

Thursday 7 January 2010

How to.......round up the hens in 8 inches of snow

Well trying to round up the hens in the 8 inches of snow tonight was....interesting?

CM let them out this morning ( doh! why? ) and Ruby Dorking and the chicklets came out of their area which has no snow because it is under a HUUUGE Wellingtonia tree...and waded through the snow to the lean to, where they stayed, but couldn't be tempted back to their house at bed time, as the snow was too deep for them to walk through...

The other hens all managed to flap out of their runs to the edge of the wood where they hid under the Swamp Cypress ( also bare of snow underneath) but could not work out how to get back to the food, water and shelter...

So I spent another 2 hours rounding them all up, picking them up individually and carrying them over to the runs to shut them in...

Then I realised I was 2 hens short...

One hen, Pearl, is a WHITE Leghorn, so hard to spot against snow...I found her submerged under a mini avalanche of snow, too buried to get out...but she was OK so I popped her into the run with the others...

But Treacle ( my clever, favourite Black Star) was still missing...I had seen her earlier by the house, so I went back to look and found her stranded in a snowdrift, to deep for her to fly or walk out...and she was drooping, eyes closed...having been in there for at least half an hour

I hoiked her out and stuck her in front of the Aga, and after an hour of warm and a quantity of bread and cat meat and some warm water she was OK...

CM is under strict instructions NOT to let the hens out tomorrow......!

And it is now ( at midnight) - 8 here......! with 8 inches of snow and an ice glaze.....

Today it was CM's turn to fall over...he tried to climb over the fence, and missed....

No harm done, so I laughed....

This evening was spent watching Tales from the Green Valley with CM and CG, in front of the woodburner, drinking cider. Having eaten fish, potato wedges, various veg and then christmas cake and cheese...

I suspect CG will be off again tomorrow...can't really see school being open, somehow!

She wants to watch more TFTGV and now wants to build another model house, this one from wattle and daub with a thatch roof...she was working out how to tie the thatch bundles in miniature, at bedtime.....and wanting to "borrow" some hay and sone small hazel twigs....

Oh well, will keep her busy, I guess!

Hope every one is OK, warm, dry, safe and well fed


  1. Thank goodness you found all your hens CW! Mine are doing ok in the cold - they're surprisingly hardy aren't they! Even poor Honey, who's been ailing a bit recently, seems to be coping alright (with the aid of a hot water bottle at night, bless her!)

    Willow x

  2. We are snowed in too, the schools are closed today and I hope tomorrow as well. We would all be much safer if we can stay home, the roads are definitely suffering from lack of grit here.
    My hens don't like snow at all and will only consider stepping out if the ground has been especially cleared for them - spoiled or what?

  3. You have the same amount of snow as us! It is so beautiful & fun to play in, but presents quite a big responsibility when you keep animals - dark & light. I was sad to read about your cats, especially the boy whose life was cut short. ((HUGS))to you. I wonder what their next life journeys will be? I hope you stay safe & sound & that your back doesn't give you too much problem. Blessed be x

  4. Thanks for keeping our thoughts in the garden, even on these cold winter days!

    I nominated you for a Happy 101 Award


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.