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!

Tuesday 28 September 2010

A cautionary tale

Today I rubbed down 2 hop bines and harvested the dried hops. Kitchen smells delish, I have sticky yellow fingers and was nodding off in an impossible to ignore way this afternoon......

woke up later on.

Memo to self, when picking hops , wear a mask and gloves. And do it in a well ventilated , large room, like I see around here a lot. They are called Hop Barns. They are big buildings, With big open doors and very high rooves........I rather think they might just be like that for a reason......

Can testify that my hop pillows WILL work, though ! Personally tested by me.....

Felt like I had taken a powerful sleeping pill.

Which, of course, effectively I had... Rolling Eyes

Sunday 26 September 2010

New companion cat.

This is Cassiopea. She is a new rescue kitten, come to live with Tom, Tabitha and Cleopatra.

She is adorable, about 5 months old and so friendly!

Saturday 25 September 2010


The feathery laydies are enjoying all sorts of treats from the orchard and veg patch at the moment!

Spinach which has gone to seed...

And apples..lots and LOTS of apples!

Thursday 23 September 2010

Mabon celebrations

It is the Autumn Equinox . A day of balance, of light and dark. A day to celebrate the harvest and a day I spent some time, teaching in my wood, showing adult carers ways to have fun outdoors, make dens, fire, and do all sorts of fun stuff outside with children.

A day to honour the God and Goddess, of the Harvest, of the Woods, of the Fields, and all manner of wild things and tame.

I decorated my house and especially my lovely Green Man, with hops, drying and fragrant, redolent with promise of beer and merriment at Yule.

I harvested Apples and Pumpkins and more good things from my garden, wood and orchard.

I collected another rescue, companion cat. She is adorable!

I gave thanks.

Saturday 18 September 2010

Hop harvest

Some pictures of the hop harvest here recently at Compost Mansions.

I harvested the hops a few days ago and they are now hanging up to dry, scenting the house and the barn with their fragrance.

I shall use some in brewing beer and some to make Hop pillows and craft items. Some may be ground up to add to soaps.

Sunday 12 September 2010

Candle and Soap making suppliers I use

  Following on from my post about making candles and soaps with Compostgirl and her friends, I had an inquiry

Sarahs House said...Hello, It is nice to see that you have done lots of crafts with children. My daughter loves to do anything crafty..lol.
I am interested in trying the soap making and bees wax candles with her, would you be able to suggest a good online place to buy the things needed for this ? I have looked online but there are so many places offering different things I would prefer to try somewhere that had been recommended.

So, to answer Sarah, I get my soap supplies ( and essential oils, botanicals, butters, base oils etc ) from Aromantic. Here is the link to the organic melt and pour soap I use.

I got my latest batch of organic beeswax sheets from Aromantic as well, but had the wicks ( and a lot of other candle making stuff as well) from Full Moons cauldron.

I find both of these stores offer very good service.

I hope this helps?

Sunday 5 September 2010

Caerleon day out

Another day out! Wow!

This time we headed into Wales and, after a really nice sunday lunch in Raglan, had an afternoon in Caerleon, looking at all the Roman stuff there.

The Roman baths were wonderful. Very interesting and very well presented.

We then went to the Roman Museum, which was full of finds and was really good. There were some lovely engraved gem stones which had been found in the drains at the baths, tiny stones with the most exquisite images engraved. The tools made me realise how similar a life people led 2000 years ago - an axe still looks the same, as does a hammer, a chisel and so on...!

We then wandered around looking for a place to have a cup of tea and found this courtyard full of amazing carvings!

Finally we went to the Ampetheatre and Roman walls

and the Roman Barracks.

All in all, we had a lovely day out and it was a nice way to mark the end the summer holidays.

Friday 3 September 2010

A visit to Acton Scott Working Farm

We had a day out and went over the boarder into Shropshire to visit Acton Scott Historic farm, where the "Victorian Farm" tv series was filmed.

Compostman and Compostgirl admire a hay tedder.

Upstairs in The Bailiff's cottage.

Downstairs in the scullery. Compostgirl doing the washing, Victorian style!

Very smelly woad dying going on in the kitchen.

Very beautiful plant dyed wool.

The fabulous farmyard.

A very friendly donkey snoozing in the barn.

The tea rooms in the Old Schoolhouse.

A corn dolly on the Tea room wall.  I took lots of close ups as I want to try to make a similar one.

Compostman and Compostgirl go "back to school" .

I want one like this!

Just some of the wonderful horse drawn vehicles and equipmwnt on view.

Compostgirl is doing the Victorians as her school project this term and came away with lots of ideas!

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Sweet smell of craft making

I spent a lot of time over the summer holidays doing various craft things with Compostgirl and her friends. I have already shown some of the sewing we got up to but we also did various other things.In the last week of the summer holidays Compostgirl and two of her friends came round and we made soap and beeswax rolled candles.

The soap we made using organic melt and pour base, then we added various essential oils, natural colours and abrasives and dried flowers to the melted soap. I had previously made up the natural colours by infusing oil with Alkanet (pink) Annatto (yellow) and Paprika ( orange) and we used dried lavender and rose petals from my garden.

I used various moulds and we all made some very nice scented soap! The children were delighted with what they had made and were very proud of themselves.

We also made some rolled beeswax candles which smell divine and again the children loved doing this. We talked about bees, how you get beeswax and how important bees are in all our lives.

I make soap and candles as part of the craft workshops and courses I run, but I usually am working with adults so it was nice to pass on the skills to younger ones.

When the children are a bit older, we will make cold process soap, but for now using melt and pour soap base seems a better option.

I have really enjoyed doing crafty things with Compostgirl and her various friends, it hasbeen good fun. The shildren have had lots of free play running around outside time but during the day wanted to " do something" so we have made things. lots of things! We have done sewing, cardmaking, mosaic making, shoe box threatres and puppets, soap and candle and paper fabric making.

Am looking forward to half term so we can do some more stuff.