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!

Saturday 5 October 2013

Book review - Once Upon A Flock - chick(en) lit

I am, as you know, mad about my chickens - I love my feathery girls very much indeed and am always keen to hear about other chicken keeper's experiences. For some time I have been reading illustrator and chicken keeper Lauren Scheuer's blog  Scratch and Peck . I find it very entertaining  and love her illustrations.

So when I was asked by Kew Books if I would like a review copy of Lauren's new book Once Upon a Flock, I jumped at the chance. I love the way Lauren writes on her blog, and the press release and the blurb on the book cover made me pretty sure I would like the book as well.

When writer and illustrator Lauren Scheuer was looking for a new project she decided that chickens were just what she needed to bring her back yard to life. She built a coop, read books on hen rearing, and placed her order for four chickens of different breeds, chosen to provide colour and decoration to her lawn. She expected a daily supply of fresh eggs. What she didn’t expect was that her fluffy round chicks would grow-up to be hens with big personalities, and that she would fall completely in love with her quirky flock.

Well, I didn't just like the book, I LOVED it. It is a really terrific book and I really enjoyed reading it. Lauren is obviously also chicken obsessed, which is reassuring for me as I know I am as well!

I also loved that Lauren really really wants to understand what her feathery girls are up to and what they are thinking - I know I spend endless hours watching and wondering eggactly (sic) what my lot are doing (in the case of Pearl, plotting world domination I suspect)

I also empathised with Lauren's experiences of chicken motherhood - so carefully observed and gently retold; it made me smile and wipe away a tear ( in a good way) as the words on the page made me recall all the broody hens and chicks I have experienced and how much they touched my heart.

The illustrations throughout the book are wonderful, as are the photographs. The number and scale of the chicken "coops" Lauren has built is awe inspiring; I have several new ideas in my head as a result and I promise this book will make you want to pick up a hammer and nails and some lumber to go build something!

Lauren clearly loves her chickens with a passion and it shines out from every page of this lovely book, one which, although aimed at adults, could also be read aloud with children. There is no bad language, no distressing scenes, it is just a really good story, well told.

One which, in my opinion, should be read by everyone to learn how to see love, everywhere.

Once Upon a Flock was published by Souvenir Press, 3 October, £18.99, Hb and is available from all good book shops and Amazon, online. It is also available as an e-book.

With many many thanks to Jane Beaton of Kew Publicity for sending me a copy to review :) Jane, you made my day :)


  1. Looks like a fabulous book, and now I have new Chicken nutty blog to follow, I really am turning into the crazy chicken lady :)

    1. Ha ha ha ! I will convert all who read this blog into chicken nuts :)

  2. There's a blog I HAVE to follow. I just love my mad birds. Thanks for the review, something to put on my Christmas list I reckon!

  3. HI, I really like your blog.
    I am a new gardener and a new blogger myself. Please check my page and blog.
    Your suggestions would be appreciative :)



  4. Ooh yes, going to check out the blog and the book! I'm looking forward to when we replenish our flock. Have you read Alice Walker's book the Chicken Chronicles - that's a great chicken read!


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.