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!

Thursday 28 February 2013

More on that quilt...

I have spent every evening this week working on my quilt.

Cutting out squares, re arranging them into a pattern I liked, sewing them together into long strips and then ironing all the seams the same way. Last night I started to sew the strips together into a bigger rectangle.

I only had to unpick two squares of one seam, which I think is pretty good going by 11 pm at night!

I spent a fair bit of time making sure all the seams were lined up and smooth

 I have three more of the strips to sew on and then I need to add a double width plain boarder all around in a slightly darker pale green.

The backing will be a plain pale green fabric ( old sheet) and I will bind the front with that as well - still not decided what to use as the wadding, whether to go for the cotton wadding I have in store, or use an old fleece blanket. As the fabric is polycotton I think I might go with the fleece - makes it easier to wash if the cats get on to it ( as they will, they get everywhere!)

Having only ever made a basic tiny square quilt for my dolls and a pot holder for my Mum when I was little (40 plus odd years ago now), made of scraps and with an old bit of blanket as wadding,  I *am* really pleased with how I am getting on and how it is progressing :-)

And it is such fun to do - and it must be the first time I have EVER got the iron out without feeling utterly miserable -  actually enjoyed ironing my seams flat :-)

Seeds and shoots

Two weeks ago my Organic Gardening catalogue seed order arrived - seeds, potatoes, onion and shallot sets.

This meant it was time to clean out the porch, get out the heated propagators and get planting :-)

Lots more lovely seeds have arrived since then - from More Veg, The Real Seed Co and from Suttons, to add to my seedy mountain.

And 10 days after I sowed the tomatoes, look what has happened :-)

How are your seeds doing?

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Hot Bin and Quilting

Now the days are getting longer ( and they are! They are!) I have been doing more outside work, like getting the latest batch of compost out of the HotBin. This is what the Hotbin has produced since the last emptying out, on Nov 3rd 2012. pretty impressive, I think and shows the value of an insulated compost bin in colder weather.

but as my back is still quite painful I have also been doing some indoor work as well, during the daytime. So, I have been doing lots of tidying and decluttering and cleaning windows and sowing seeds in the hotboxes etc.

 One of the indoor things I have been doing as well, is getting ready to make a quilt :-)

I have been sorting fabrics and cutting squares and arranging and re arranging them, until I had a pattern which pleased me.

And then on Tuesday I started to sew them together...

If you would like to see how I have been getting on, visit my crafting site to see more :-)

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Searching for olive trees.

In hopeful anticipation that we might actually get some dry sunny weather this summer (!) I have started to think and plan out what might happen in our garden over the next year or so.

One of the things I am less happy with is that we have"inherited" the layout from the previous owners. I have altered things a lot over the years, moved shrubs here, cut down trees there, grassed over some beds, made new beds etc, but it is basically as they left it - still a very large lawn with some flower beds and lots of shrubs dotted around.

I have plans afoot  to change all that, however.

Compostgirl is nearly a teenager so the need for a huge expanse of grass to play on is lower priority now and also a lot of the existing flowerbeds have become so infested with bindweed that it is a struggle to keep them weeded. I have a limited time available to do "non food" gardening so when I do get out there I want to be enjoying my time planting and tending plants, not spending all of it just weeding or mowing!

So... some beds will have to go, especially the ones around the house, and some new ones will be made. Any bulbs and plants which are salvageable will be rescued and replanted in the wilder area of the garden and some more shrubs will go - many are past their prime and cannot be saved by even hard pruning. 

I want some screening between the patio and the road - it's a quiet lane but even so a bit more privacy would be nice. I want some new flower beds in the garden, with some structures for climbers (honeysuckles, roses, clematis)  to grow up - and we are going to re-arrange the (south facing) patio and change it around a bit to create a more attractive area to sit. So some more container plants will be added to the herbs, lavenders, scented geraniums etc which inhabit our patio in the summer months. I also want to create a scented border around the patio, filled with aromatic ( and useful) herbs.

And I definitely want an Olive tree and maybe another Bay tree.

We used to have a Bay Tree by the garage, but it died in one of the very harsh winters and I miss the dark glossy green leaves it displayed all year round.

I have always wanted an Olive tree ( and never had one before) You can now buy them in pots for the patio, so I am going to have one. Or maybe even two. To go on my new patio.When I get it.

So in the next few months I will be visiting lots of fabulous gardens to get some more ideas and last week  I spent a pleasant several hours short time on the computer looking for garden suppliers and nurseries (oh, such hardship,!) to see who sell hedging, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, climbers etc to re stock the new flower borders. (bearing in mind we are talking a large space, here!)

And I also looked around for suppliers of olive trees. I came across a lot of new and very interesting (to me) sites in my search ranging from cheap gardening supermarket chains to very expensive and exclusive providers of plants.

One of the more interesting sites I found was Athelas Plants  (fabulous name! Any LOTR buffs reading?)  who are based near Battle in E. Sussex. I first found them  last week when I googled "How to look after Olive trees"   to see if one would grow here and found their very informative Olive tree care notes.

This time around  I was also very interested in their selection of ornamental grasses - one of the areas of planting I really loved at the Yeo Valley Organic Garden was the beautiful area of ornamental grasses and I thought at the time it would be a lovely, relatively low maintenance planting (but there is no such thing, really!)  to have here at Compost Mansions. So I was interested to read about the selection they offer.

I am going to be visiting Sussex in the near future so I may well drop in to Athelas Plants and have a better look around - especially as their website says they have a lovely sounding  farm shop and cafe attached to the site! If I do, or I order from them I will post about my experiences.

So, I came away from my internet trawlings with some ideas and food for thought - I looked at lots of other websites as well as Athelas Plants in my search for plant ideas and suppliers  and I may well write a bit more about some of the others in the future.

But for now, I am still looking out, through the drizzle, on a very soggy garden.

Still, I can dream, can't I? 


As part of my review of their site I was paid to add the link to Athelas Plants in this post, but had already come across them during my Internet trawling for plants last week and was impressed, then,  by what I saw. 

As always here in The Compost Bin my words and opinions are entirely my own :-)

What I have been up to lately - Quilting

 Finally, I got started on my quilt.

 Sorting through some the old fabrics I am going to re purpose

Cutting out lots and lots of squares

And arranging and re arranging them...

Table has been like this for several days now!

Starting to sew the squares together...using my new quilting foot makes the seams so much easier to do!

A glimpse of what the centre looks like...

More to follow!

Monday 25 February 2013

Mowing and growing.

I never thought I would say this at this time of year but...but we cut the grass the other day.

We have never cut the grass in Feb, before. Normally it is far too cold and wet and the grass is not growing. But this year , although the veg plot soil is still too wet to dig the ground with the grass on has dried out ( maybe due to the grass sucking up the water as it grew?) and I looked at it on Sunday and thought " that needs mowing"

So we wrapped up warm and did just that.

After a bit my back really began to ache, so Compostman took over while I put some of the grass into the compost bins and the newly empty HotBin.

It means the bulbs will be more easily seen, at least! And I have lots of lovely grass to get my compost bins nice and hot :-)

Saturday 23 February 2013

Blogging awards and 7 things you may not know about me...

Thanks to Lucy over at The Smallest Smallholding. I have two lovely new blogging awards :-)
(Sorry it has taken me so long to post about it, though)


So now, I need to play along with the following rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you.
Thank you Lucy :-)

2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.

Done, above :-) I could not find my images so I have borrowed those on The Garden Smallholder - do click on the images and take a look at her blog as well :-)

3. Share 7 things about yourself.

See below

4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees.
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.

Well...I am sorry but I am not going to do this bit of the rules - what I would like is for any ( or all!) of you reading to join in, take the awards and if you do, leave a comment so I know you have done so as I would love to read about your 7 things. I do this because I think you are all lovely :-)

So, seven things about myself.

  1.  I am very very bothered by heights - I get the wobbles just going up a stepladder...
  2. But I have flown gliders!
  3. I have never dyed my hair
  4. Even though it is now going very grey
  5. I used to drive racing cars in Speed events.
  6. I was born with crooked little toes.
  7. I can't stand uncooked egg whites.
There, that was not so bad :-)

Friday 22 February 2013

An unexpected box of goodies delivery.

We went to Hereford yesterday to do some shopping and when we got home I found a surprise large parcel on the doorstep, all wrapped up in brown paper and addressed to me at The Compost Bin

Intrigued, (I was not expecting any more parcels after my wool order arrived this morning) I brought the parcel upstairs to the Study and opened it up. Removing the brown paper showed me this:-

Summer Veg Starter pack  from Seed Pantry, for me to evaluate :-)

Info taken from their website -
Seed Pantry is a family business set up with a small team whose skills help us provide a great value, customer driven service that focuses on an informative sustainable way to shop and enjoy food growing at home.
Established in 2009 Seed Pantry wants everyone to enjoy the rewards of nature and to learn about growing your own veg to eat wherever you live. We specialise in providing the expertise, veg seeds, plants and equipment for growing your own food at home and the work place, from inner city spaces to back garden veg patches. 
Seed Pantry provides quality locally sourced and sustainable products with a great value service for our customers. We want to have a minimal impact on the environment, so everything is either organic, bio-degradable, recycled (including the packaging), recyclable, or should be re-used for many years - like your favourite trowel!

I was immediately impressed with the brown paper wrapping and the stylish and sturdy cardboard box. My inner origami geek loves that it all fits together with tabs into slots ;-)

Opening the lid ( love those tabs and slots!) there is a comprehensive set of easy to understand growing instructions as well as a full list of everything which should be in the box.

I really felt like I was opening up the gardening equivalent of a fabulous box of chocolates by this stage :-)

The Seed Pantry website says of the Summer Veg Starter pack
Perfect for balconies, small spaces or a garden veg patch. This great kit shows you how to grow: peppers, mangetout, carrots and courgettes with all the equipment needed to start growing the seeds, including: a mini propagator, bio-degradable pots, dibblet, mini compost disks & wooden labels.
When I took them all out of the box there were all these lovely things

50 wooden marker labels for remembering what you have planted & where
1 Coir seed tray
1 FSC oak dibber for making holes to plant seeds
6 coir compost starting disks  for starting seeds like peppers just add water & watch them rise!
6 mini coir posts for starting seedlings like little gem lettuce
3 x 8cm coir pots for seeds that like a bit more room like courgettes
4 x 9cm rice husk pots for seeds that need a bit of depth like mangetout
2 x 1 litre rice husk pots for potting seedlings on like peppers
and a 6 cell mini propagator for seeds that like a nice and warm start like peppers(re-use before recycling)

Summer Carrot Early Nantes, Mangetout Dwarf Sugar, Courgette F1 Clarion and Sweet Spanish Pepper seeds - enough to grow a lot of veg.


• Growing advice booklet for getting your seeds started
• A season of on line tips and advice
• Expert advice available at the Seed Pantry forum
• Seed Pantry pencil for making notes

I first came across Seed Pantry when giving away some small Autumn Salad seed boxes they had done for Garden Organic, to promote the "One Pot Pledge", and I was very impressed with the idea and the product then - recyclable, biodegradable, organic kits promoting veg growing in the smallest of spaces - what's not to like!

For 2013 Seed Pantry has also launched a new Children’s Seeds Starter Kit, a Chilli Seeds Starter Pack for growing your own fresh chillies at home and a Three Seasons Kit, delivered in three boxes during the year.

The Summer Veg Starter box I was sent, retails at £26 and would make a lovely gift for someone starting to garden or for someone more experienced- it is beautifully packaged and presented; contains a lot of seed and all the products are a bit different and compostable or recyclable after their lives have come to an end.
 I can't wait to try out actually growing some of the seeds :-)

With thanks to Seed Pantry for sending me a free Summer Veg Starter Pack.

Monday 18 February 2013

Cutting Edge Veg - Master Gardener training

On Saturday morning I got up early and set off ( in thick fog) to go to Garden Organic HQ at Ryton, for a Master Gardener Training day on the subject of Cutting Edge Veg. The course description looked really interesting and I was looking forward to the day ahead, despite the long drive through fog.

We were going to be introduced to vegetables from a wide range of cultures including India, East Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Many of these plants already have a proven track record of cultivation in the UK, having been grown by immigrant communities for decades on allotments and in gardens. The majority can be grown outside without a glasshouse.

The course would be looking at
  • The range and diversity of crops that can be grown in the UK
  • The best varieties and where to source growing material
  • Top tips for cultivation
  • Advice on preparation
  • Saving seed and propagation
Many of these crops have only recently become more widely known through Garden Organic’s Sowing New Seeds project (http://www.sowingnewseeds.org.uk). This innovative venture has greatly widened people’s access to growing non-traditional crops.

I grow a fair number of more exotic herbs and veg, but am always willing to try something new and learn about new techniques.

I joined my fellow Master Gardeners ( all from Warwickshire) and we were welcomed by our co-ordinator Kate and by the co-ordinator of Sowing New Seeds, Anton Rosenfeld.  Anton is passionate about the growing, preparation and eating of food from a wide diversity of cultures. He has lived in South America, he has grown food crops for Caribbean and Indian communities, and on returning to the UK he was excited to see that people had managed to produce many of these crops successfully in our UK climate. The Sowing New Seeds project was the perfect opportunity to realise this interest.

We started with hot drinks ( very welcome as it was jolly cold outside!) and a game to see if we could identify any of the veg and herbs.

Anton with a Dudi ( apparently everyone takes a photo of him holding this veg up this - I cannot imagine why!)

The red and yellow dots meant we either did not know what this was, or were really unsure about it - only two people knew what it was.

The morning passed very quickly while we learnt about some of the background to the project, the seeds themselves, where they originated from and how they have been adapted by the growers all over the country to cope with the UK climate.

We had an excellent lunch (as always at Ryton) and then some time to ourselves -  as always I had a wander around the gardens

The wildflower meadow area in winter. I was relieved to see that even Ryton has wet, soggy soil and not much happening, at the moment - but the bare bones of the gardens are still very beautiful.

I want some more structural items in my garden  - I love this gate? pergola? whatever it is called it is beautiful.

We went back in for more interesting information on growing things like Turmeric, Ginger, Oca, and various herbs and then went outside again to plant some seeds.

We finished off the day by cleaning some Callaloo ( Amaranth) seeds from the seed heads - great fun but ow very spiky so wear gloves if you are doing this at home. These were seeds grown by Garden Organic as part of the project to distribute via the Heritage Seed Library - if you become a member you get to select six packets of seeds which are no longer commercially available and this year various "exotic" herbs and veg are included in the catalogue.

So, a very good day, I learnt lots of new things, had a good chat to some friends, made a few new ones and as always had a really good day out. I am looking forward to growing some of these plants for myself and spreading the word when I am Master Gardening

Sunday 17 February 2013


Can I welcome all my new followers - I am sorry I cannot welcome you all individually, as for some reason I can't tell who is new (as blogger puts all your names mixed in with existing followers)

But I know I have new ones :-)

So welcome to The Compost Bin :-)

And thank you for taking an interest in what we get up to, here in deepest Herefordshire. ( where there is Sunshine, at the moment!)

Saturday 16 February 2013

Givaway reminder

Last call to leave a comment ( it would be nice if you followed me as well ) and be entered into my 1000th post celebratory givaway!

I am at Garden Organic Ryton today,  for a Master Composter training day about growing more exotic veg.

Have fun all of you and enjoy your weekend :-)

Friday 15 February 2013

Remember those organic bananas...

They dried down from 22 fresh bananas to 370 g of dried bananas. The cost of the 22 fruit was £2.20 ( reduced in the Co- op)

Drying took 30 hours and used 5 kW/hrs of electricity - a total of £0.75 from our suppliers Good Energy if paid for but at least half the time our pv's were providing the electricity for the dehydrator, for free - so let us say £0.40 cost for the electricity purchased ( from Good Energy so carbon neutral) and I am being generous with this estimate!

So 370g of dried organic bananas cost me £2.80 in total to buy and dehydrate and an hour ish to prepare, and monitor ( turning regularly etc)

Looking online a bag of dried organic bananas weighing 125g costs £.1.35 (the very cheapest I could find).

So my efforts if I had bought it would have cost me £4.00, or possibly more. And actually cost me £2.60. Or possibly less.

I could have done another two trays in the dehydrator which would have bought the overall cost down even more. But I foolishly did not buy all the bananas on offer ( was worried about looking greedy - rolls eyes - will not do that again!)  If I had done so it would have reduced the overall cost even more.

Ok I have not costed my time but how long does it take to slice up some bananas, while drinking tea, eating breakfast and listening to the "Today" programme?  ( and eating a few slices :-) ) It took me about 20 mins in total to do all of this - and very enjoyable it was too.

I think I win, with this one! And at least I know EXACTLY what went into my food - which in the current times is actually very important, I think.

BUT I only managed to do this without a cost penalty, because the bananas were really discounted?

How on earth do the suppliers of dried banana chips manage - who gets less, so as to provide the discount?
I am guessing the grower?

Makes me think hard about the economics of things when I actually make them myself.

Thursday 14 February 2013

A day of not mentioning the "V" word and random musings on bananas

Bananas to you all. Lots of bananas. Our local Co op had loads of them reduced a few   6 days ago (GREEN ONES! So why oh why reduced? ) So I bought 6 bags of them, well actually I could have bought another 5 bags but that seemed a bit greedy.

Since then I have been waiting for a sunny day so I could use the free electricity the pv's would generate, to dehydrate them in the Excalibur ( that's the make of the dehydrator btw, not some fanciful equipment naming whim of mine - I don't name inanimate objects. well not very often, anyway.) And today was gloriously sunny!

 I ended up cutting up 22 bananas - I bought 6 bags originally and we have eaten some of them fresh.

After prepping 5 trays, like the above one, and putting them in the dehydrator I went outside into the glorious sunshine with a mug of tea. I let out the hens, talked to the guinea pigs and had a wander around the garden with Cassi cat, in the sunshine. Well a squelch around, at least.

I had thought about doing some veg bed weeding or maybe flower bed clearing, as the bulbs are beginning to poke through the soil so I need to get the dense thatch of last years growth off the surface before the raking damages the new shoots.

But as I wandered around I realised that I could hear a lot of squelching and when I looked around I could see muddy, ooozy footprints on the grass behind me. Not the sort of ground conditions for walking on, repeatedly, with wheelbarrows.

I could also (sigh) see lots of hens wherever I went. It is lovely that the ex battery girls love me so much that they want to be near me all the time - but do they really need to try to sit on my feet as I am walking along? I really think not.

So I decided to come inside and wrestle with invoices, unwilling Blogger and PayPal, instead. Which was fun (not) and with which I am still struggling.

The house now smells extremely bananary... I am reminded of a time when, driving back from Scotland with the trailer after we had competed at a Hillclimb at Doune, we overtook a lorry which proudly proclaimed on the sides that the firm were the "largest independent banana ripeners in the UK"   I  often wondered what their premises would smell like - I guess like Compost Mansions does today!

And the title? Well, to each their own and if you have had a lovely day getting and sending cards, flowers, chocolates etc - good luck to you and we have had occasionally done so in the past but surprise surprise actually no, we don't go in for all that.  I don't want or get given any over priced, flown from overseas, chemically grown and sprayed flowers from Compostman, or chocolate or whatever else. We show and tell each other how we feel day in day out, not leave it for one commercially driven day of the year.

After being together for 28 years of marriage and 33 years since we first became friends, I guess Compostman and I must be doing something right!

So bah humbug to all that :-) But as I say, if it is what you enjoy then I hope you have a lovely evening with your beloved :-) And many more of them in the future :-)

Thank you for reading  xxx

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Exotic seeds and a Homegrown Revolution

I have been sorting my seeds, thinking about seeds and pondering what else I want to grow in this new gardening year. With our changing climate one thing I am interested in growing more of, are "unusual" and "exotic" vegetable crops (although, after last year's wet weather maybe I should think about just growing rice?)

At the end of January I was supposed to be volunteering at Garden Organic’s 20th National Potato Day  I was very excited because Garden Organic Ambassador and Ethnobotanist James Wong was due to give a talk about the many exotic edible tubers that can be grown in British gardens.  You may remember he presented a very interesting BBC TV series " Grow your own Drugs" plus  he appears on BBC 1 "Countryfile".

Sadly, because of the snow on the roads around us  I could not get to Ryton for this event, but I wondered if James was going to be speaking anywhere else about growing more "exotic" seeds in the UK. So I was delighted to discover, after an wander around the Internet yesterday afternoon (Google is a wonderful invention)  that  James Wong is doing a tour of the UK speaking at various events. The next event is 16th Feb, in Bristol  followed by an event at Kew Gardens on 26th Feb. Further events are listed during the next few months.

I also discovered that Sutton Seeds   produce  James'  "Homegrown Revolution" seed range. I did not know there was a "tie- in" seed range, and was interested to see the seeds on offer. I already grow, or have grown in the past, some of them (Purslane, Borage, Asparagus pea, Chinese Chives, Quinoa, Mooli) but there are many other interesting seeds which I quite fancy trying to grow this year.

There is a special offer on the Suttons website on  his book and a selection of  6 seed packets for free, for a very good price. Yes, you could get the book and seeds from various different suppliers but it IS convenient to find them all in one place, ready to order.

Having followed the link to the Suttons Seeds website, I had a look around and was pleased to see an ever more extensive selection of organic vegetable seeds -  as you know I try to use only organically certified seeds, growing media etc here at Compost Mansions!  I buy a lot of my seeds from The Organic Gardening Catalogue but  I do buy seeds from other places including the Real Seed Co, Suttons, Franchii, Victoriana Nurseries and MoreVeg.

The website is very well laid out as well, far too tempting for a seed -a-holic like me! As well as seeds there are lot of useful pages on what to be doing at different times of year and how to grow various plants.

I have a future post in mind about my seed order and plans  for 2013 and it looks like I might be adding still yet more seeds  to my list. And maybe a hint to Compostman about an early birthday present :-)

Anyone growing any "exotic" seeds? Or going to see/have seen James Wong speak?

Disclosure  - I was paid to link to Suttons Seeds  - but as always on The Compost Bin all the words and views are entirely my own :-) 

Tuesday 12 February 2013

A very satisfying morning's work

One thing about the return of a bit of sunlight - it does show up the dirt and the dust...!

Looking around yesterday morning I realised our sitting room - the heart of our home - was looking more than a little dusty and cluttered.


The throws were all crumpled, the cushions needed de furring ( we have cats!)and a fine film of dust ( well mainly fine woodash) covered most surfaces. A woodburner is a lovely thing to have but it does cause a small amount of mess :-)

And as for the table end of the room - well you can tell I have been busy with crochet and sewing for the last few weeks!  I can't actually see much of the table surface as there is so much stuff on it! Added to my clutter were books and papers and pencils and writing and crafts of Compostman's and Compostgirl's - all largely left where last used and you can see it was getting a bit - well - cluttered.

It all showed that we three have been inside a lot more than normal and have left a lot of stuff around.

Now, I really am not bothered by a bit of surface mess, in fact I think it shows we are all a creative lot, both with "things" and with our time, but when I can't actually even put down a mug of coffee becasue there is so much stuff on the table - it is time to do something about it.

So - the throws and cushions came off the sofa - and the sofa was moved out from the wall. The rug was rolled up and put outside for a shake and then a vaccumn.

I cleaned all three windows and took all the plants and ornaments off the window sill and cleaned them and the sill. I use a water/vinegar spray for the windows and a microfibre cloth for polishing them clean. The sills were damp mopped with a home made cotton flannel cloth ( very old and worn out  t shirts or sheets are ideal for this!)  and hot water with a few drops of lavender essential oil. I use this for most wiping down type  jobs, where soap is not needed, and also for a final rinse.

I dead headed and watered all the plants -some went into the polytunnel for re potting and some were moved to other places in the house.

I removed all the items from the surfaces of all the furnature and dusted it all with a just damp, cotton flannel cloth.  I then gave all the wood a  good polish with beeswax polish and buffed it all to a shine. I use different cotton cloths for polishing and cleaning jobs and yes! They are colour coded to show what they are used for :-).

Having put back what I wanted, and put away other stuff where it lives (and had a bit of a declutter into the charity shop box/recycle box/bin as well) I gave all the throws a good shake outside - put them in the wash and put clean ones on the sofas - I vaccummned the cushions and then the floor.

Having got the floor clear of "stuff" I then moved the furnature around so I could wash the wooden floor - I used a small amount of linseed floor soap for the washing followed by a clean rinse (water with a few drops of lavender essential oil) to do a final damp mop.

The final job (after the floor dried) was to tackle the table...

From this...

to this

And this is the other end of the room after cleaning up.

That is a lot better! I sat and had a cup of tea and enjoyed the cleanliness - it won't last long but it did look nice at the time :-)

I even de cluttered my handbag and had a clear out of old reciepts and stuff while I drank my tea.

Sunday 10 February 2013

A typical busy Sunday - chickens, compost and cats.

I started off doing two loads of washing on Sunday morning as well as a general tidy round  - I was going to give the sitting room a major tidy up but it got too difficult to manage with all of us in the house so I decided it could wait until tomorrow - also the weather was quite nice in the morning so I wanted to get on with some outside jobs.

I went out to clean out the hens and found the blasted rats had tunnelled inside the hen run AGAIN! We have traps and bait boxes down but the wet weather has meant a rise in the numbers actually trying to get into the hen house rather than just quietly living in the wood and around us ( but not bothering us) They upset the hens and will take an egg if they can.

So we moved the hen house and dug out the rats nest - no rats inside but a nest and lots of tunnels. As always hens came to investigate the digging.

 then Compostman dug a hole and we put weld mesh vertically so it went about 12 inches downwards .

We also laid weld mesh under the hen house before putting it back in place - lets see if the little so and so's can dig through that!

I then (finally) got on with cleaning out the hen houses and the run.


All the dirty straw and paper went into the new compostbins.

And a fresh load of bedding put into the houses and the Mega Hen Pen walk in run. As always - the chickens were investigating what I was up to!

I filled up one of the new bins completely and the other one is 3/4 full - I need to get on and build the rest of the new bins pronto I think :-)

While I was doing this Compostgirl cleaned out her guinea pigs and then we all went inside and because it turned dull and wet we had a relaxing rest of the day with crafts and reading and computer work .

After evening animal rounds  we had dinner and settled down to our Sunday night family viewing of  "Countryfile" and "Call the Midwife " in front of the woodburner with the cats sitting on top of us - one for each of us.