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 27 February 2012

February flying by.

Well here we are, nearly the end of February and I have not posted once this month. :-(    Not. One. Word. I have not even drafted any posts!

Life has been very stressful here since before Christmas, for reasons I am not going to blog about but which have made life very difficult and upsetting.  This has made it hard to get on with our normal life, as there have been lots of long talks late into the night, and nights spent not sleeping,  and days where meals have been cooked, only for there to be little appetite for them. None of this is good when there is lots of work to do!

Then to add to this, Compostman's back injury has been making itself felt ( not in a good way) and I got ill with a very severe chest infection, which had me in bed for 5 days and very weak for many more days around that - I am still recovering, Compostman is still struggling with back pain and planting/sowing/tree felling/clearing beds/moving plants etc etc has all come to a stop. Which, at this time of year, is NOT GOOD NEWS.

I HAVE sown the first batch of pepper and tomato seeds so have several hundred seeds of the earlier varieties ( 20 different sorts) in the heated propagators - will need to pot them up and sow another batch soon. These include the plants I grow " to order" for various customers - they tell me what varieties they want, I grow them and hand them over in May, ready to plant out.

I HAVE got the spuds chitting, the earliest ones are planted up in their bags in the polytunnel; the rest are stitting, waiting, for the soil ( and me!) to be ready to put them in the ground.

I DID get some garlic and broad beans into the ground finally, just before I got ill.

I HAVE got every thing ready , clean and tidy in the Polytunnel, all the seed order done, all the supplies ready for the 2012 growing season

Compostman DID manage to prune the apple trees and clear up all the debris from the major shrub pruning we have been doing. Huge bonfires raised a bit of cheer in an otherwise quite gloomy time.

BUT - we have lots of trees to fell NOW before they come into leaf, we NEED to get them down, not just for firewood but for land clearance, so we can then get on with the major earth moving project.

And I am not well enough. And Compostman is not up to it. And time is ticking on.

Sorry this sounds a bit gloomy - but it is how I feel. Hope all of you are having a better time of it!


  1. Hope things pick up for you both. Why not try a local volunteer group to help with the trees, or try batering trees cut for food for a week etc, or they could take half the wood? Post a notice in your local shops or newspaper? Anything is worth a shot.

  2. Thank you for that idea Molly - if things don't improve fairly quickly here I may well be doing what you suggested.

  3. I'm sorry things aren't going well (and I can guess a bit at some of the unspoken issues). For that I will say - it gets better. It does.

    There was a book floating about the aether which I found rather good which described how to carry on doing self-sufficiency well into days when disability might start to grab hold. I would definitely think the wood/barter might work, but there's also WWOOFers as well - perhaps through diggers and dreamers?

    It sounds as if you just need a bit of a helping hand round the place, and may need it over the year as you've probably got a lot on your plate for a while. Maybe consider what CAN wait, or what CAN be put aside for a while, and see what you CAN do? Prioritise - which sucks, but sometimes it's all about survival.

    Do take care as best you can.

  4. Hiya Oya's daughter - nice to see you over here.

    It is all going to get a lot worse I fear, before we get to any point of it getting any better

    May just have to leave the tree felling and groundworks plans until 2013, as if we don't get on now, we will miss the window of oppertunity for this summer to do the work - which has all sort of knock on effects...

  5. Oh dear CW so sorry to read you are having such a rough time of things.....
    Molly and Oya's Daughter have already offered some really good sound advice and nothing I can say can improve on those comments. All I can do is to send you HUGE ((hugs))and all of my love xx♥xx

  6. Sorry that life is not going smoothly for you. Hope some things work themselves out so that there is something of you left to cope with the others.

  7. I'm sorry life has been difficult. I hope your hens are still able to give you pleasure.

    Knowing how much enjoyment my son gets from working with a chainsaw, there are sure to be young men near you who feel the same and would be willing to spend a weekend helping out.

    I wish we weren't so far away and could offer something more substantial than words of encouragement. x

  8. Hello Aromatic, Jo and Tpals, nice to see you over here :-)Thank you for the kind words.

    We could pay someone to fell the trees and chop them us and clear away all the stumps - but that would cost more than we can afford and the whole point of getting the JCB and doing this work ourselves was to save money and fit it into a slack time ( for us) - which is now.

    If we don't clear the trees, we can't move on to the next stage of shifting earth, landscaping and digging the new pond. Nor can we put up the new barn, sheds or build the new hen area. Etc etc .

    Free help is not really on offer around here - all our neighbours farm and are v busy doing their own stuff - we might get the odd hour from them but not really enough to help.

    Sadly we are now having to seriously re consider the viability of living here for much longer, as if we are not fit enough to run the place we will have to move.


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.