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 8 April 2013

Monday washday

I had to wash the very old linen table cloth I mentioned yesterday. With much trepidation! When I opened it out it had a huge, old, tea stain right in the middle :-(

I was very careful and looked on various specialist pages to see what to do - but linen is very forgiving - we have some smaller pieces of the same age which I wash regularly so I know what to do but with any linen it is the ironing which puts me off, especially as it always seems to need ironing again when taken out of the drawer to be used!

After hanging the huge table cloth on the line in the sunshine the faint shadow of the stain finally faded - the power of sunshine! I am so pleased with how it has washed :-)

Continuing the conservation of fabric theme - we also "rediscovered" Compostman's Christening robe today - was also his Mothers and maybe further back ( but we can't find out, sadly, as everyone we might ask is now dead :-(  )

But it is at least 100 years old, if not more.

It had some terrible staining around the neck - apparently very common - spit up from babies which is not washed off totally and then, over time, discolours.

I have been treating it repeatedly during today and have the "washday hands" to prove it  - but the robe looks much better. .

Not sure if it will ever get used but I feel better for having restored a bit of family history to a better state. If I can get it really clean I will dry it, iron it and pack it away, using the method recommended by conservation experts. Compostgirl might want it in the future and it is a beautiful piece of hand made lace and thread work - a work of fabric art in its own right.

If I really can't get it to an acceptable standard I may well re purpose it into something which can become an "new" heirloom for our family.

Have also been planting into pots a lot of summer flowering bulbs and corms - too cold to plant them direct into the soil, and we have not quite decided where the new beds will be made, so into pots they will go for now. Thank goodness for our polytunnel to provide sheltered space to grow them on!

Hope today was good for you as well :-)


  1. You're right about old linen being forgiving - I've even boiled some of it to get marks out, and it has come up beautifully - not to be recommended for your christening robe though! I finally finished painting the new doors( on the hallway side anyway) and KL returned safely from London having had a wonderful time, so that made it a really good day. I quite fancy some summer bulbs - our garden doesn't have much colour in summer and they would be a good choice - thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Scarlet

      I love summer flowering bulbs - so easy to grow!

      Some of the bulbs were actually bought last summer, which I found in the back of the shed yesterday (oops) They are fine and look good so I am giving them a chance to grow.


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