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 24 December 2015

Season's Greetings!

to all my friends in Blogland. Wishing you the very best of everything you want, both for Christmas and in 2016.

with love from all of us here at Compost Mansions xxx

Monday 16 November 2015

Cider making!

Bumper harvest this year. We picked hundreds and hundreds of pounds of apples.

This is just a selection!

I washed out loads of bottles

and apples ...

and then started to chop

Then we got busy with the scratter

 and the press

End result - 70 l of cider

and some pasteurized juice.

Hard work, but well worth it :)

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Tidy up time in the Polytunnel

So, it is that time of year, again. Where the plants in the polytunnel are beginning to look sad and there are hardly any fruits left to pick. Or where the shorter days means dampness and humidity and botrytis and moulds.

So ...time to pick the very last of the green peppers and tomatoes, to ripen inside the house on a sunny S facing windowsill.

And to have a good old clear up of the polytunnel!

I also washed a load of plant pots ready for 2016 growing season

While Compostman got busy using up some solar electrons cutting wood with the new electric chainsaw, He reports it is very handy and a lot easier to use on small stuff than the big petrol chainsaw.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

FSA Conference

Back home after wonderful and inspiring FSA Conference at Condover Hall this past weekend :)

My skill share on Fri night - 3 hours of needle felting! Lots of lovely badges made smile emoticon

Excellent workshop at FSA conference 2015 with Kindlewoods. I made a drop spindle then carded fleece and spun some yarn smile emoticon More fibre lovelyness at‪#‎fsa2015‬

Carving a mushroom

Making art on Sunday :)

Farewell ceremony Sun afternoon. Was lovely :)

Thursday 22 October 2015

Forest School Association Conference

Packing ready to go to ‪#‎fsa2015‬ Forest School Association FSA National Conference and AGM tomorrowsmile emoticon Am doing a craft session of crochet and needle felting so roving, yarn, hooks and stuff all sorted out. Also lots of cards for Celestine and the Hare to hand out if people are interested!

I packed a few brushes, rice bags and foams And much roving!  Also  a few needle holders of different sorts and the flower petal and leaf stencils to make the shapes 

Also decanted and labelled various hedgerow vodkas, dehydrated fruit and veg and jams and chutneys ready for Hedgerow skill share at the weekend smile emoticon Damson and Blackcurrant vodkas are as delish as I remember - not so sure about the Tayberry vodka though. Oh well I expect someone will like it smile emoticon

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Bag on left is my weekend bag.Next to it is hedgerow booze and fruit leather etc samples. Big tkmaxx patchwork bag is all the craft stuff for the skill share I'm doing. Red rucksack is my waterproofs. Why do I have far more workshop stuff, than clothes ? ‪#‎fsa2015‬

Monday 12 October 2015


Cap full, hat full, bushel full and sack full. 

Wassailing has really worked much much better than that, this year! So far from one tree (Jupiter) we have in excess of 300 lbs of apples. Shed is so appley, already and there are four more trees to pick, yet. . This week I predict a lot of scratting and pressing happening at Compost Mansions. smile emoticon ‪#‎applelove‬

Saturday 3 October 2015

Compostman is an absolute star

Compostman is an absolute star smile emoticon Our borehole pump stopped working last night frown emoticon no water frown emoticon but Ian has spent all morning and repaired it smile emoticon We have water! And just in time for our hEnergy open afternoon smile emoticon heart emoticon‪#‎amazingengineer‬ ‪#‎loveyouloads‬

Wednesday 30 September 2015

The Compost Bin features in a list of "must reads"

I am really pleased that The Compost Bin has featured in Mainland Aggregates list of  "15 inspirational gardening blogs that you must read "

From their press release
As you know, there’s no shortage of high-quality gardening blogs online today, endless gardening inspiration, tips and techniques are available at the click of a button (quite literally). But we decided to separate the ones that are good with the ones that are truly great.   Whether you’re a part of the garden blogging culture and everything that surrounds it or simply one who likes be inspired and connect with these people, these blogs will give you the resource, tips and insight to create, educate and inspire you when looking for new ideas for your garden.   Here we present our 15 inspirational gardening blogs that you must read (no pressure though). 

And I get a badge to put on the blog :) Thank you so much Mainland Aggregates  :) There are some really good blogs in the list - many of whom I already follow. Nice to be listed with friends :)

Monday 28 September 2015

A sad morning but a good day overall

Another fabulous autumn day here at Compost Mansions/Moors Wood smile emoticon Lots of mowing and harvesting done, also all hen houses deep cleaned. Was good to work outside in the sunshine. 

Sadly Astrid Hen died this morning frown emoticon she was improving after a poorly spell and a trip to Uncle Tom the Vet, had been on antibiotics and much improved in health, but Sun evening she looked sad and droopy again and then this morning we found she had died in the night in her house. RIP lovely Astrid hen - who was a beautiful friendly Speckledy Hen,

Saturday 26 September 2015

Astrid update

Astrid is the hen I adopted from a friend as she was sad and lonely. She was egg bound yesterday so had a trip to Tom the Vet , but it was not just egg boundness frown emoticon She is on antibiotics, as is also Algy Serama Cockerel

Wednesday 23 September 2015

If anyone is interested in The Harcombe Diet ...

If anyone is interested in The Harcombe Diet then you can hear my story on how I lost 7 stone in 7 months by following the link to my Febuary radio interview, on this website. I have now lost 9 1/2 stone since June 27th 2014 following this way of eating. I am going to set up a Harcombe Diet club locally soon - please let me know if you are interested smile emoticon

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Good wishes please for Astrid Hen

Good wishes please for Astrid Hen, a new member of the henny family who is v young and came to us as a result of sadly losing her v old henny flock and being left the "last hen standing" She is v poorly and egg bound and tonight is critical frown emoticon

Sunday 20 September 2015

THD Conference

Had the most fabulous time at The Harcombe Conference on Saturday in Birmingham. Dr Malcolm Kendrick, Dr Aseem Malhotra, Kevin Downey and Zoe Harcombe were the speakers and all of what they had to say was inspiring and amazing. Google them to find out more but I am committed to eating low carb and real food with the fat on it even more as a result. The info on the damage lack of cholesterol does to the human body, in particular, is really frightening 

Given the statins and dietary advice we have a
ll given over the years it was hard (but great) to listen to.
Jesus f**king Christ. The NHS are SO WRONG!

 Had the enormous privilege of listening to Dr Kendrick on Saturday at The Harcombe Diet Conference in Birmingham. Please do have a listen - it may well astonish you and change the way you eat.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

lost Seramas?

Thought I had lost 2 Serama hens to something on locking them up - no Millie, no Mollie frown emoticon Did all the rounds and locked up, no Millie, no Molly. frown emoticonchecked all the Serama runs and houses (8 of them, now!)
but then had a hunch - went to Big Hens house again and looked in and lo ! there they were smile emoticon Cwched up in a nest box together smile emoticon No idea why they went in there well before dusk ...
Chickens, huh?

Monday 14 September 2015

Jackie Morris and Ffion Rees at blue ginger gallery

At blue-ginger gallery listening to Jackie Morris and Ffion Rees talking about Queen of the Skies Hiss the Peregrine. Fabulous eventWonderful book

They were fabulous, simply wonderful to sit and listen to them talk - a real privilege. Had such a fabulous evening out tonight at blue-ginger gallery in Cradley. Thank you Sue Lim and the rest of the team 
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Jackie Morris and Ffion Rees were wonderful smile emoticon Such a joy to be in the audience and listen to them talk about Hiss the Peregrine ( the subject, with Ffion, of Queen of the Sky) and then, after some delicious food Jackie talked about her newest book The Wild Swans.
I cried during both of the talks. Please, buy the books as they are wonderful smile emoticon

They were fabulous, simply wonderful to sit and listen to them talk - a real priveligesmile emoticon

Saturday 12 September 2015

Ledbury Refugee Support Group

Today took some stuff ( tent, tarps, shoes, blankets, sanitary towels and toiletries) down to the newly formed Ledbury Refugee Support Group. Heartening to see the amount of useful stuff already donated. Many thanks to all who are involved smile emoticon

Tuesday 8 September 2015

I have a drunken Algy Serama chicken sitting on my computer desk.

I have a drunken Algy Serama chicken sitting on my computer desk. As you do. He has been at the over ripe fermenting sour cherries which are on the ground. 

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Algy the drunk Serama cockerel snoozing on the desk. He is making little hiccupping sounds now and shaking his little head .  I noticed he was looking a bit dopy and I thought he had blood on his comb - but when I cleaned it off it was cherry juice - alcoholic smelling cherry juice!

Sunday 6 September 2015

Hop Pocket crafts

We had a great afternoon out this week at The Hop Pocket, just up the road from Compost Mansions.

We met up with friends, had an excellent lunch and then did some shopping. I purchased some new clothes (as very little now fits me due to losing so much weight *grin*)

and I also bought Compostgirl a few items in the sale. Wow! She looks so great in them! But ... How did I get such a grown up daughter? Lol. Such a great role model for the younger ones she mentors at school and as a Young Leader at Brownies and

Saturday 5 September 2015

Modelling for The Woolly Pedlar :)

I feature in a lovely blog post from The Woolly Pedlar.

She says

Hi, I’m the Woolly Pedlar, upcycler of unwanted knitwear into fabulous and funky clothes, soft furnishings and accessories. I work from home, a stone’s throw from Hadrian’s Wall, in rural Northumberland.
 When you make one off pieces and sell them yourself at events such as The Green Gathering, each and every sale becomes a personal encounter. It is a joy to get to know my customers, some of whom I’ve forged real friendships with. I want to write about the moment depicted in this photo. It was Sunday night at the Green Gathering, 2015, and we had quite a crowd at The Woolly Pedlar’s tent. It was just beginning to get dark, I had a gin and tonic in my hand, the minirig was playing some good tunes and we were busy with lots of visitors to the stall.

Sue is so  lovely and strangely enough we both already followed each other's blogs but did not realize until we got chatting at Green Gathering! 

Thank you Sue for the mention and the lovely photos! I  LOVE  my recycled wool ponchos and that I have made new friends at Green Gathering due to them. If you go to
Sue's blog post you can see some lovely photos she took of us in our finery. 
smile emoticon

Thursday 3 September 2015

Green Gathering 2015

One of the things I did this August was to volunteer to help at Green Gathering, the most amazing green festival ever. Some of you may remember I went to the last Big Green Gathering back in 2007,

Well this is its baby sibling, risen out of the ashes of  the sadly ( due to no fault of its own) defunct BGG which was cancelled at the last moment in 2009.

I traveled down to Peacefield Park, Chepstow during the last week of August, in beautiful weather, to set up camp for a week in the "temporary intentional village" which is the Permaculture area;

 I set up my tent and a spare one for Compostgirl and a friend, who were coming for the first two days of the festival proper. I also had Algy and Mrs with me as I was doing a workshop on chicken keeping during the festival. So my car was full to the brim as you can see! You can just see the pen that Algy and Mrs shared in the lhs tent  (it's the red thing)

I also helped to set up various structures - tents, yurts and helped with the chores in the Permaculture village.

I had fun with fellow Forest School Leaders, we were providing sessions for the festival goers and their children as well as any one else who wanted to have some fun :)

On Wednesday I was pleased to meet up again with John "Compost" Cossham and I spent a lot of time recording the process of setting up his compost waste reduction area.

The recycling areas dotted around the festival site are quite something! The dedicated recycling crew collect the carefully separated resources from the festival and all is recycled.

This is last years compost pile and the composting area on Wednesday morning, before John got clearing it up.

All the festival compostable waste was brought to John in bags and over the course of the week and the festival he (mostly single handedly!) created a huge compost heap which allows the festival putrecibles to compost down rather than going to landfill. The pile remains there unattended until next years GG.

This is a waste minimization process rather than a soil improver process, as the compost made is full of all sorts of stuff which won't decompose.

But is an amazing feat of work from the Recycling crew and John to reduce landfill from the festival site.

The composting area on Sunday

As well as helping John with the compost area and helping in the Permaculture village and with Forest School  I also gave three workshops over the course of the festival, on chicken keeping and composting.

Apart from working hard, I met up with loads of other friends I have not seen for a long time.
I went to some excellent talks, chatted to so many people, bought an lovely poncho from The Woolly Pedlar,

saw some amazing artists and craft people

and of course I partied hard :) Seize The Day, Martha Tilson and Sentient were excellent!

We had two days of terrible rain but apart from that the weather was kind to us - on Wednesday night I was able to watch the meteor showers for several hours lying on my back in the grass :)

I came home Tuesday tired and in need of a shower and with aching knees, but very happy :)