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!

Saturday 8 January 2011


Tonight the Compost Family went to The Big Apple Wassailing. For those who don't know, Wassailing is where you go into an apple orchard on or near 12th Night, and bless the trees and scare away evil spirits and ask the trees to be fertile and give lots of fruit in the coming year. You do this by pouring a libation of cider around the trees and making a noise ( tin cans, drums and, in our area, shotguns fired up into the trees...) also cake or toast is soaked in cider and put in the branches of the central tree. Bonfires also feature in the ritual.

Around here we have our own version, we have a torchlit procession to the chosen Orchard,

The Wassail Ceremony

Me lighting one of the 12 bonfires in a circle around the central Apple Tree.

Fire poi.

 St George and the Dragon. The Mumming!

A dead Dragon

Reviving those slayed by St George...The Dragon, The Black Prince and The Egyptian King...miracles worked by The Doctor!

Then we all go back to the pub/house/ barn to drink cider, eat hot pork and apple rolls and watch the Morris men perform a Mumming.

Its wonderful.:-)

It was stunning here tonight, the New Moon and Venus and all the stars in the sky were so clear... like jewels...Where we are we have minimal light pollution so were able to see loads of stars, and Compostgirl stopped and stargazed for a long time and was able to point out various constellations which was impressive for a 10 yr old....!

I love where we live!


  1. Amazing Id love to do this. I wonder when the right time for this is in the Southern hemisphere...also could i gather anyone to do it with me!!
    Love cherry

  2. Brilliant!

    Will have to show the children at school this! Thanks for putting on the photos.

    megan x

  3. How wonderful. Simply delightful. I wish we could do things like that here but the neighbors just wouldn't understand.

  4. What a lovely evening. I wish there had been something like that around here, but I haven't seen any Mummers since I lived in Dorset. Wassailing my own apple trees alone doesn't have the same appeal somehow!

  5. Brilliant pix - it was the Leominster Men again then? This is the same gig they did for us on the 6th. Must come to the Big Apple one next year. If you're free on 17th - Old Twelvey Night - come to our local Side's wassail at The Yew in Preston-on-Wye.

  6. The Leominster side do all the Big Apple events for us, Blossomtime, Apple Day and Wassailling.

    Will keep 17th in mind and you must come over here to Blossomtime on May Day!

  7. This looks fun! Is there some chant or prayer?

  8. LOve these photos - looks like great fun!
    I make hot Wassail drink over Xmas from an old recipe I have

  9. I'm afraid I'm not very conversant with the Celtic world. Why is the bonfire lit and immediately quenched? And are there songs or chants for the general attendees to participate in while all this beauty is ongoing?

  10. Hi just found your blog. Love the wassailing pics. Seems like a fun tradition, not one we have here in Ireland

  11. I've never heard of this before. What a fun ceremony.

  12. We went to one a couple of years ago when we lived over by Evesham. It was a pub owned by the national trust with their own group of morris men! A really great night, glad you enjoyed yours!


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.