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!

Monday 30 May 2011

NO! to a Superstore

I live near a lovely, smallmarket town called Ledbury. it has a population of about 10,000 people and lots of small, independant ( ie not chain store) shops. It has two smallish supermarkets, one is a Tesco, one is a Co-Op. Both of these supermarkets are within the town centre shopping area and are easily got to on foot if you live in (or park in) the town.
 Tesco now wants to build a hypermarket on land by the bypass around Ledbury to replace its current supermarket in Ledbury. It plans to sell everything the existing store does, plus clothes and everything else, and will certainly almost certainly jepodise a currently (just!) coping Ledbury high street.

Tesco exhibited its proposals to the public on the 24th and 25th May. A group called Ledbury Opposes Tesco Superstore is holding a public meeting at The Burgage hall on Fri 3rd June at 6 pm.
I will be going to this meeting as I don't like the idea of a bigger, out of town supermarket in Ledbury. I am going to object to it.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Hello all,

Not going to be posting for a bit as I am not very well here,  have had a bad reaction to a couple of recent Blandford Fly bites and now have a bad case of CFS related stuff and joint flare up as well, so am feeling pretty poorly. Am only just about able to stagger around and have been in/on bed a fair bit for the last couple of days.

Have been feeling increasingly unwell for weeks and just kept going but now Compostman has ordered me to rest, which I am doing Shocked and actually it is about all I am up to doing.

Looking back at my diary, I have done quite a lot of stuff in the last few weeks despite not feeling so great. It was all excellent and really enjoyable but if I do extra activities, outside of the normal day -to -day stuff, I find I rapidly lose energy and become prone to catching infections etc. Which is what has happened to me this time.

Still, I have done several Master Gardener and Master Composter mentoring sessions, went off to Ryton and met up with lots of people, have re accreditied my First Aid at Work and First Aid in theOutdoors qualifications all of which is good.

Hopefully will be feeling better, soon and able to post more about hens, wood and garden stuff.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

What I have been up to recently - May Day weekend.

The weekend of May Day I was at our local Blossomtime event in my role as a Master Gardener and Master Composter.

I had lots of information leaflets on my stall as well as various freebies to give away and compostbins on display so the public could see what the discounted bins actually look like.  I don't actually sell them on the stall, though.

Loading up my car before the event. I provided everything for the stall apart form a trestle table!

Fellow MC, Martin, talking to a member of the public.

I also had plants for sale - these I had grown from HSL seed in organic, peat free growing medium to sell as a fundraiser for Garden Organic. I actually raised funds for their new Peat Free Campaign.

I had help from different Master Composter friends on the Sun and Mon, so was able to go and have a wander around the various other stalls, buy some tools from the Tools For Self Reliance stall,  and watch the Morris Dancers and eat cake and sample cider.

Both days were long and hot, I was away from home on Sun from 11 am until 7 pm and on Monday from 11 am until 6 pm

Compostgirl was with me all day Sunday as her Brownie pack do the teas and cakes and raise lots of funds for themselves - indeed it is one the their biggest fundraisers! So Compostman and Compostgirl made several cakes on Saturday to add to the other cakes on offer.

Sunday 15 May 2011

Garden Organic’s Master Composter and Master Gardener Conference 2011

Today I was at Garden Organic's HQ at Ryton for the Master Composters and Gardeners Conference. A day which brings together the committed volunteers from Garden Organic’s Master Composter and Master Gardener schemes, to share experiences, release new findings, celebrate and debate all things compost and gardening.

Key highlights included
  • Peter Smithers, University of Plymouth – Bug Survey Findings
  • The Impact of the Master Composter Scheme Nationally
  • Master Composter Awards and Graduation Ceremonies
  • Workshops including, Water Saving, Vertical Veg/Urban Growing, Seed Saving, Wormeries, Peat Bogs & Compost, Insect ID, Permaculture
For me the best bits are the networking and sharing involved in meeting 200 people who all share the same passions for composting and gardening as I do! AND some great workshops, meeting up with old friends, making new friends and visiting the fabulous gardens at Ryton

I also got to meet up with blog friends Sylvia from The RecycleWorks, Babs from Little Terraced House and KompostGwen, amongst others.

I came away inspired and refreshed, if a little (!) tired.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Birthday present pole lathe

My birthday present from Compostman - hand made by him using mainly reclaimed timber from the house roof refurbishment OR seasoned timber from our own woods.

BEST PRESENT EVER! (apart from the Shave horse he made me, last year ;-)

Here seen as Bungee lathe, because it was raining outside. But can also be Pole lathe.

Have been playing with birthday chisels and getting a feel for turning wood on it. Also have to fell a few more trees as all our wood is split and stored and the hot weather has made it dry out so it is a bit hard going to turn!

Shave horse ( made by Cm for me last year) in use to make a blank for the lathe from a split Ash log.

A bit of stuff I have turned down from the blank in the above picture.

I hope to make assorted treen ( wooden items) such as cups, plates, and various ornamental items with the pole lathe, I eventually hope to make a chair and some really good bowls, but I think I need to practice, first!

But even making shavings is good fun.

Friday 6 May 2011

A visit to the woodland workshop of Mike Abbott

Today Compostman and I had the most wonderful day out. As members of the Association of Pole lathe Turners and Green Woodworkers we were lucky enough to visit Mike Abbott, renowned green woodworker, in his woodland workshop.

Todays visit was part of this weekend's  21st anniversary Bodgers Ball festivities which is an annual get together of green wood workers.....on offer were visits to Mike's workshop plus another couple of green woodworking sites nearby.

We walked up to Mike's workshop past a team of working Heavy Horses doing log extraction

Fabulous views across the Herefordshire countryside.

Ancient woodland being regenerated.

Amazingly lovely wooden composting toilet building


The workshop in the woods

Mike splitting wood to make a chair spindle.

And then shaping it up on the shave horse.

Lots of pole lathes!

Walking back through the woods.

This amazing display of renewable energy generators on the Farm buildings!

A fabulous day out and thanks to Mike, Tamsin and the team for giving us all such a hospitable welcome.

Sunday 1 May 2011