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!

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Battening down the hatches...

ready for some serious snow (?)

Today we had temperatures below freezing all day - the hen's drinker kept on icing over and I had to keep on refilling it (and the Guinea pig's drinker) with fresh warm water.

Compostman noticed the rats had tunneled back in to the Mega hen Pen - blast it I hoped we had scared them off - they won't take the bait or get themselves killed in the trap and  so far only Tabitha Cat has caught one rat - well done her but I suspect there are many more to catch!

We had a few flakes of snow but nothing like that which is predicted for Friday and the weekend. Even so, I decided to check that we have all that we need if a lot of snow does fall in the next few days.

Wood - well, yes we have lots! We have to go and get it from the store, but as that is the barn where all things are stored and is on theway to the hens, we would be digging a path out to there as a priority, anyway.
We also have fuel for the Generator, if our mains power goes off as well as torches and candles and oil lamps

Animal feed/hay etc. Lots of that, enough to last a few weeks at least. The hens need cleaning out but my back is pretty bad at the moment so they may just get a top up of bedding and if it is very cold it will be ok for a few more days.

People food. Yes, lots - plenty of potatos, onions etc in store and Compostman lifted a couple of parsnips and some leeks so if the ground freezes we will still be ok. I will still be able to pull some kale leaves and there are more Kale and Spinach plants inside the polytunnel. The freezers are well stocked, we have plenty of flour to make bread and lots of tinned goods.

Milk I do need, but I have some long life and some dried in store.
Toilet rolls - lots as there was an offer on in the CO Op last time I went so I got lots!
Medications, first aid etc - plenty of all that as well.
I intend to go and do a "top up" shop in Ledbury tomorrow, but if I don't make it it won't be a problem.And if we can't get out for a week or so it won't be a problem, either. And if we have to(in a crisis, say)  if all else fails we have the JCB and could dig our way out.

So - hoping it won't be too bad but prepared if it is.

Stay warm and safe, everyone.


  1. Good to read of someone who is ready for whatever the weather may throw at them. Your plans mirror ours! (Including the generator) Unlike you We didn't dig up parsnips, leeks and artichokes before they became frozen in. hey Ho!
    A few years ago after heavy snow, here in Derbyshire, we were without electricity for 6 days !so it pays to be prepared.

  2. I hope it hasn't been too bad for you. The ice seems to more of a developing problem this evening. Jx

  3. You sound very well prepared! I hope in a few years time we're as sorted as you for this type o thing (we're not too far off but need things like generators etc.)

  4. Hello all,

    we are still ok so far - have not yet needed the genny but it is all ready if we do -

    Kevin we got it after we had no power for over a week in winter 2002, Compostgirl was still in washable nappies and with a bore hole and no mains sewerage, no power made life pretty miserable AND we lost the contents of all the freezers - all my carefully grown and stored veg, all the meat etc lost - after that we decided " never again" hence the generator.


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