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, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs 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 work as an environmental educator, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and spent 10 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.
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, 30 October 2014
I was delayed by traffic so was really pleased I arrived just in time to bid, and win a wonderful drawing of dancing squirrels by ceramic artist Eleanor Bartleman. I also successfully bid on some wondrous drawings of a swan and a penguin by Jackie Morris and a fab drawing of a chicken by ceramic artist Elspeth Soper
Hard to choose a favourite but I think the best bid was for the baby Sloth Bear ( from the Jackie Morris book 'Something about a Bear') made by my friend Karin of Celestine and the Hare. I am so very very pleased that I won the ( rather tense!) bidding war on that item :)
Unfortunately she seems to have picked up some very bad habits from the Norty Weasles with respect to any choklit lying around.
Naughty Betty Bear!
Not yet sure how much money was raised for Acorns by the auction but it is several thousand pounds I would guess and it was a wonderful afternoon. Sue Lim the gallery owner put on a really good show and the donated artwork was all wonderful :) If you are near Cradley do pop in and have a look at the gallery - it is a lovely place with a very good cafe as well as lots of wonderful art for sale and on display :)
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Archery has been fun - we have all upgraded our equipment and are shooting better as a result which is very gratifying. Compostman has lot of new bits of equipment to keep him occupied and is now officially the fixer upper of all things fletch-y and arrow- y and bow-y related . I expect there is a proper term for that but I can't find it!
Compostgirl has won another writing competition :) Proud parent moment :) She is showing real talent and skill :)
Chickens continue to entertain, especially the Seramas :)
Have now lost nearly six stone in weight and am re discovering clothes which I packed away nearly 14 years ago, consigned to languish in the loft while I got fatter. No more - they are back on my increasingly smaller and curvier body :)
Garden largely put to bed for the winter, salads sown in the poly tunnel and various winter brassicas growing well.
really enjoying both Dr Who and Marvel Agents of Shield on TV whilst crocheting in front of the woodburner
Sunday, 19 October 2014
I suspect I caught it late last week :( I feel rubbish. And am not going to archery today as I really feel ill. Compostman and Compostgirl have gone off to Mordiford to shoot and fortunately it is a lovely morning today ( not like last week when it was too foggy to shoot until l1 am!)
Still, as a result I am enjoying lots of sewing, reading, crochet, catch up on tv and sitting-by-the-fire. Am just doing looking after chicken (big and little) duties and resting a lot. Oh and eating home made soup, which is all I can swallow at the moment.
Am enjoying the re run of marvels Agents of Shield in advance of series two starting next week on C4.
Hope you all avoid this though, as it is horrible .
Friday, 17 October 2014
So tonight I had a trip out all by myself :) to a Master Composters social evening organised by our manager Ste to thank we volunteers for our time and efforts getting people to compost at home :)
We gathered at The Cube in Malvern, a lovely place, for to eat an excellent veg/vegan supper of soup and sandwiches. I was pleased to be able to eat a Harcombe Diet friendly carb meal of beetroot, ginger and carrot soup and wholemeal bread sandwiches containing hummus and carrot :) Yummy.
Then we were entertained and informed by a talk on Cutting Edge Veg from the co-ordinator of Sowing New Seeds at Garden Organic, 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.You may remember I blogged about attending CPD training with him at Ryton here.
Wonderful stuff and very inspiring :) After coffee and cake ( I had a just mouthful to taste :) ) and a lot of chat with friends, I was given a lift back to Gt Malvern Station (thank you Cyrus!) and waited on the platform, for 30 min listening to the rain fall (only because I had just missed the early train ) reading stuff on my tablet and writing in my day journal.
Then the train arrived and I got on, sitting with a very lovely young lady who was returning to Hereford after a week away training in Liverpool. We had a lovely chat :) Compostman collected me in my swish new to me car :)
I really enjoyed myself this evening :)
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Last Saturday we had a day out, all three of us. First to Malvern to go to the Archery shop and buy all sorts of goodies; a new bow bag for both Compostman and Compostgirl ( early Christmas and birthday presents respectively) and then back via Compost Mansions ( and some lunch) to then head into Wales to Monmouth
The reason for our outing was to see Karin of Celestine and the Hare at work in New Leaf Gallery in Monmouth
Lots of her wonderful felted creatures were on display
The gallery was holding an exhibition of all things wool as part of the WOOL Tactile Textile Exhibition.
- lots of different fibre based items for me to sigh over :)
I love this Swan Queen. She was sold, though
Amazing woollen fabrics on display
And some wonderful wet felted pictures.
Karin at work on her latest creation. it was a bundle of white roving at 10 am :)
Compostgirl got to hold a very special nearly made, Mary and Emily's sister. She does not yet have a name :) Wonder why ;)
We also went into Rossiters bookshop - wonderful place :) As well as having a quick peek into the Savoy Cinema :)
Back to say farewell to Karin.
When we left the gallery the creature Karin was working on looked like this
By 7 pm that night it had gone from this ball of roving
To this. (photo Celestine and the Hare) Ta da! A Reindeer!
At Karin's recommendation we went off for tea and cakes round the corner at The Potting Shed
A very interesting, very quirky cafe and garden centre in the middle of Monmouth.
lots of tools
and lots of beautiful china
And a fabulous display of seeds to buy - a work of art in itself
The potting shed part :)
We walked down to the river and saw these beautiful Newfoundland puppies (!)
We walked through the gate house on Monnow bridge.
Then it was time to drive home. A good if busy day out :)
Friday, 10 October 2014
Typically my daylight hours starts and ends with doing the chickens. The Seramas are as enchanting as ever; tiny, clockwork like movement, fluffy bundles of feathers they run around at my feet and are one big social group. I let them out of their run while I do the various jobs around the barn and they love exploring, but never too far from me :) If one gets separated it is very upset and squawks madly until it is reunited with the flock.
They are very attached to their run, though and after 10 mins or so will all troop back inside, without any chivvying from me :)
Next I see to the "big girls" all five have settled down to a happy, mostly-non-pecking, pecking order and are content in each others company. I am getting 4 eggs most days and several times a week all 5 lay so we have lots of eggs available. Which is a good thing for me as on The Harcombe Diet they are handy to have to eat lol. Five hens is a good number for us to have I have found. The sixth hen, Amber Poppet, was too poorly to recover from her recent illness despite the antibiotic treatment, so I sent her gently on her way one evening. Sad but neccessary.
Then it is time to see to Juniper the last remaining Guinea pig. She is quite old now so does not move around a lot but loves a cuddle and to be brought into the house and sat on a lap for a while. We try to talk to her as much as we can and not leave her to be lonely.
I am always accompanied by Cassie my furry cat familiar when I go out to see the animals. She loves to come for walks with me and always dashes to the gate before me so she can jump up on the gatepost and give me a kiss. We all watched the BBC Horizon Secret life of cats TV series last week and it made for very interesting viewing - I think our cats would show up, if tracked, as farm catsbut with lots of lazing around in the house as well.
The rest of the day at the moment is spent on any number of the following; washing, tidying, sorting out stuff, working outside, cleaning out one or both chicken houses and runs although I try to stagger this job, having a bit of Fb and blog time at lunchtime; cleaning, helping Compostman, mending, sorting out my clothes which are TOO BIG ( joy) taking in my clothes which are TOO BIG (if I can), a bit of archery practise, picking veg and fruit (although that is tailing off now) and maybe some composting. A mixture of inside and outside work and fun throughout the day.
Some days are wet so most of the jobs apart from the essentials are inside ones; some days we go out to shop or to a museum or library.
In the evening after doing the reverse chickens- guinea pig routine I watch TV, read, craft, chat to the family and do more stuff on the computer. The woodburner has been lit for the last week or so, now so the evening are very cosy in our sitting room.
Normal, routine, everyday life:) I love it.
Sunday, 5 October 2014
Last weekend, while I was at The Harcombe Diet Conference in Birmingham, Compostman was helping other members of our Archery club to set up this indoor facility at The Core in Hereford
The mission statement of The Core is to advance the physical education of children, young people and adults in Herefordshire and the surrounding areas, by the provision of recreational activities by providing opportunities for them to participate in sport.
It is a super facility; it is used as a skating rink and for other community events and now indoor archery! We are very lucky as a club to have such a great venue.
So last Thurs we had the official opening and the ceremonial opening arrow was fired by Dave Cochrane.
This is the squad photo for all those who have contributed to LVCA being Herefordshire champions in the Bathgate league- sharp eyed amongst you will see a proud Compostgirl on the rh end. :)
We all had an evening of good shooting and there are toilets and sofas and a cafe at the premises - such luxury :) Looking forward to shooting there during the winter.