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 8 April 2010

Catch up!

Hmm, this wonderful weather has meant we have been SO busy, trying to catch up after the snow/rain we had earlier on...

Yesterday have planted out all the broad bean plants, early carrots seeds, shallots, I also barrowed a load of compost to finish of the last 2 x 3 m raised bed, and got it ready to plant the next lot of second earlies potatos. I have also covered the carrot/shallot bed with a home made fleece cloche ( to keep off carrot fly and bloody beaks of nosy hens...)

also covered all broad beans with cloche tunnels ( to keep off the bloody...etc .. hens....)

Helped CM to fell a very beautiful Bird Cherry yesterday did not really want to fell it as it was magnificent BUT it was producing such a lot of shading over the veg plot, now it is fully grown, that for the last 4 years we have said we must fell it....so this year, we did    Sad though...but lots of fire wood and some nice wood for me to make things with

Today we felled another wild cherry and a big silver birch, and CM shredded a lot of twiggery while CG and I were out,  so the hens will have lots of wood shred to play in, inside their new and wonderous pen, later on..

Also I moved the new picnic benches into the woodland camp site, so next I need to sort out the tarp. shelter/bodgers hovel I am errecting there...

Today we went to the launch of a new playpark in Ledbury, very busy and good fun. Lots of different services present ( youth, police, surestart, childrens centre etc ) also climbing wall, fit4life, and lots of fun things..CG had a great time as we met up with her  best friends ( and my best friend (their Mum) as well)

Spent a very enjoyable 4 hours together, walked around the activity trail I have written for a client AND I did a lot of promoting my business to various people and handed out lots of info and networked like crazy..

I was stupidly busy this morning before we left for Ledbury, college work and work work and house accounts etc ....as well as more veg plot stuff and poly tunnel stuff..and I helped CG with some Brownie badges she is in the mddle of doing

Now (6 pm)   I am having a sit down and a cuppa before I go and plant more spuds...then later I guess more assignment beckons....

Later on tonight

Have  tonight potted on yet more tomato plants, put them in the cloche inside the PT and also planted yet more assorted seeds ( to replace some which grew but got massacred by hens....).And done 1000 words of my curent assignment...and discovered that the network at college has been down since before Easter, which was why I couldn't get on to the VLE....might try for an extension because of that as couldn't access some stuff I needed..and it affected EVERYBODY, so think it might be worth an ask......

Sunday 4 April 2010

New girls

A photo of one of my new hens, Coriander.

She and her sister Cumin are rescued ex free range organic hens, so not ex battery hens but still , have come from a very large flock and would have been dead, otherwise!

I got her and her sister as a swop for Spot the Cream Legbar Cockerel. He had taken to attacking me, aiming at my face, so he had to go, one way or another. I didn't really want to kill him so was pleased that a friend, J wanted him and was prepare to swap him for a couple of good laying hens.

We are having fun integrating these two into the established 10 hen family..especially as Coriander is obviously a VERY dominant hen who expects to be "the boss" We have had some quite nasty fights, already.....!

So..I suspect I have some fun and games to come, as I try to integrate them all in to one happy henny family....

Cumin is much quieter and very friendly , and Vanilla the remaining Cream Legbar is so friendly she follows me around like a puppy... and croons at me to pick her up :-)

Ah I do love my hens! Compostman is in the middle of building me a Mega Hen Pen , so they can all be kept safe from the foxy laidy who keeps visiting and eating my hens..

I really WANT to have Vanilla as a house hen pet..but hens are not easy to house train, so I can't...but she is SO cuddly and friendly...it is hard not to want to have her as a lap hen!

CG says "you spoil those hens Mummy!" and I guess she is right..

Saturday 3 April 2010

Fri. It was very wet today.....

So work was mainly undercover, inside the house or inside the shelter of the polytunnel.

I cleared and tidied the "lean to" which is our 3 and 3/4 sided work area/barn/food store/log store (it is quite big!) and made some more work space to do stuff in...

CM was then working  in the lean to, cutting up lots of timber to make the frame for the new walk in Mega Hen Pen. It is going to be made of of identical wood framed, mesh panels, and will be fixed together so it can be dismantled and moved, if needed.

I also spent several hours washing the inside and the outside of the polytunnel, thus letting in lots more light...a timely reminder to all of you to do the same in your undercover growing area, if you have not already....

I got very wet, though....as I have never mastered the art of squirting water overhead without getting water running down my arm....

Finally, I rearranged the inside of the polytunnel and than sowed more seeds ( brassicas and celeriac) and potted on another batch of various tomato plants. These went from their seed modules into individual 3 inch pots.

Later on inside the house I did some tidying up of the study and bedrooms, and a bit of college work.

Finally, some random photos of the wood, garden and hens...

 Vanilla (right)  and Custard the Cream legbars. Sadly, Custard was taken by a fox last week....

Flowers in the wood


Pruning the apple trees...

The front garden 10 days ago, all these have gone, now!

Thursday 1 April 2010

Today I mostly...................


I have a bad cold, runny nose, eyes, sneezing lots - the works..so I  didn't go to see a fellow freecycler to collect some mypex weed sheet from her... I didbn't think she would want my cold in return.!

Instead I had a bit of a rest, read a load of teaching related magazines and books by the woodburner, I tidied up the sitting room, the kitchen, washed out and dried off for storage 20 apple juice bottles for use in the the autumn again, ggenerally had a bit of a sort out of all the "stuff" that a kitchen bench can accumulate...

I sorted out all the seeds so I have the next lot ready for successional sowing and I also did the same for the school garden seeds, so when we get back after Easter break the children and I can get planting!

I put a load of magazines out to either be passed on to friends or recycled.

 I did some ironing.

I transplanted 80 tomato plants into individual pots and put them in the cold frame inside the polytunnel..These will be sold to make money for either me or the school garden fund at an event on May Day BH weekend...

6 of each variety are inside the warmer porch area, as that is a very effective greenhouse and those are for my use....and will be bigger, earlier plants when I come to plant them out in the PT

I will be doing peppers tomorrow and then I can get the cucumbers and melons moved in ...and the courgettes planted up ( the outside ones) the iside courgettes are already growing well.

As are beans, peas, and all sorts but they are stacked up inside the PT, waiting for it to dry up enough for me to plant them outside.....which looks unlikely!

All in all a productive day, which is good, as to be honest I didn't think I would manage to do very much today!