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 31 January 2015

Trip to Monmouth.

I had a busy day today, I took Compostgirl to the stables for a day of riding and then I headed into Hereford to return various stuff and then drove to Monmouth. I took the back road from Hereford and was rewarded with a spectacular view of snow topped Welsh mountains.

I love Monmouth and would like to live there one day. I went to the Craft Fair which was held in the Town Hall. I met up with the lovely Emma from Ffolkyffelt and we chatted for a while and discussed various upcoming events. I also bought a beautiful felted fairy as a gift for Compostgirl - who has hung it up in her bedroom.

I popped into Waitrose and picked up a few bits of food and took advantage of their free coffee and newspaper offer using my Waitrose card. I then ate my lunch in the car. I always carry food in the car in a rucksack, just in case I can't find anything I want to eat when I am out and about. It is a bit harder to eat out when I can't eat dairy or gluten as so much of the food on offer is bread based. So I always have a light meal's worth of food handy just in case I can't find something I can eat.

Then it was home to collect Compostgirl from the Stables, lock up the chickens and settle down for the evening in front of the fire.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Sewing in the small hours

I had a very poor night sleep last night - I ate some 90% cocoa solids chocolate before bed time and it was obviously a bad move as something kept me wide awake until 4 am. I became tired of lying in bed, not sleeping, by 1 am so I got up, went downstairs and did some chores. I washed up a lot of bottles and jars and then did a lot of mending by the fire.

I went back to bed at 4.30 am and apart from briefly getting up to see Compostgirl off to school I did not emerge from my bed again until 11 am!

Unfortunately we had a power cut from 9 am so I decided to go out to Hereford and try on some clothes. I stocked up on fleeces and brought some new waterproof trousers in the Sales.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Saturday 24 January 2015

Musings on my life and on losing 7 stone in weight

Warning, this is a long post :)

I used to be "not fat". In 1985, when we got married, I was really quite slim :) 

and although I put on some weight over the years, even in 1995 I was still  "a little bit plump" rather than morbidly obese.

 I was fit and healthy, very active with a full time and demanding job, a house and garden ( not Compost Mansions but a smaller house and garden in Worcester) and Compostman and I spent weekends from March to October out competing in Speed Hillclimbs and Sprints in our racing car. We were pretty good at it as well :) Weekday evenings were spent fettling the car for the next event, or digging the garden and yes! there was composting involved even then :)

But, as some of you may know, a few years  after we moved to Compost Mansions in 1997 I became  very ill as a result of an adverse  reaction to an antibiotic, while being treated for an infected gallbladder.  Overnight in Feb 2001 I developed an auto immune, rheumatoid condition called Erythema Nodosum, along with various other unpleasant ailments. Although I took all the medication on offer I struggled to even walk or grip a mug or wash myself, felt terrible all the time and expended what little energy I did have, to make sure Compostgirl (a baby and then small child at this time)  did not suffer because I was unwell. 

Despite being so unwell I still did all sorts of stuff with her, looked after her as a SAHM, we went out to parties and play sessions and had friends round  and I was very good at struggling on and putting on a "brave face" to everyone bar a few close friends and Compostman. And then, after Compostgirl had gone to bed, I would collapse. I was advised by the medics to rest as much as possible but realistically, how can a parent with a young child, AND a house, AND animals and any kind of work, (we lived here so there was always work to be done outside) manage to "rest" ? I used to ask the medics that, but I could never get an answer!  

We had no living parents or siblings or other relatives to help us - so it was just my wonderful Compostman who shouldered most of the extra work, along with a couple of good and lovely friends ( you know who you are :) and I love you  forever for helping us in our years of need) To be truthful I don't like to remember how awful that period was, as apart from having Compostgirl, life was pretty grim.

Anyway, I spent several years on many different medications, and in and out of hospital, being seen by all sorts of different specialists and having many, some very unpleasant, tests. The most alarming was when I had a scan which required me to become radioactive beforehand - I swallowed the drink with the isotope in, and THEN I was told to go off into Hereford for a couple of hours while it was absorbed, but "not to sit close to anyone" and also "not to cuddle my baby or breast feed her for 24 hours " because I was radioactive !!! 

I was not impressed with this.

To cut a long story short, I was very ill and very incapacitated for several years and on top of everything else was also additionally diagnosed with CFS.

June 2006

By 2006, by dint of applying holistic therapies, an organic diet, pacing myself and conserving my energy whenever I could (and dropping the medication in favour of herbal and aromatherapy pain remedies - it worked for me but check with your GP first!), I had recovered enough to get back to a small amount of work (as opposed to the unpaid work I do, and did then,  here, day in day out!)  so I volunteered as a Master Composter, then became self employed - first teaching Organic Gardening and running Eco clubs in schools,then in 2008 I trained as a Forest School leader and finally in 2010  trained as an Adult Lecturer. You can read about all this elsewhere on this blog :)

I still felt exhausted a lot of the time and I would be flattened by any bugs "doing the rounds" but on the whole I had a bit more of a normal life.  At least until the evening, which was when I would collapse.


April 2008

I was VERY active both at work and on our smallholding and I continued to eat apparently very healthily and also lead a healthy lifestyle -   but still was gaining weight. Eating less and doing more did not work for me.

March 2010

By mid 2013 I was feeling worse and worse again, brain fog, joint aches, bloating after meals, passing wind, itchy eyes, itch skin and all sorts of niggling ailments which were "nothing in particular" but which made my life miserable. It was a struggle to keep working. I just wanted to sleep all the time. I also would be overcome with the desire to eat endless slices of wholemeal toast and Marmite, even after a couple of slices for breakfast  - I would crave more all day. I did not often have any more, but it was there in my mind. I also craved sandwiches and pasta and potatoes. 

July 2013

Oct 2013

As the months went by I got fatter and more bloated, despite (as far as I could see) not eating any more food than before. My weight and mood would fluctuate quite a bit and I was SO tired, all the time. I assumed this was the extra weight I was lugging around as well as  "just" the CFS affecting me.
Feb 2014

The first half of 2014 was horrible for me - I was getting fatter and more unwell but couldn't seem to lose any weight however much I tried ( and oh how I tried) . 

The turning point finally came when I was rushed into hospital on 28 June 2014 due to an infected Blandford Fly bite. My arm had turned sceptic and my blood pressure had rocketed to more than 220/135 – that’s stroke and heart attack range! 
I was admitted and spent a few days on an iv antibiotic drip, which helped the septicaemia. I was also put on medication to try to get the very high BP figure down. In addition I got a friendly but very serious talk from a consultant about how much my weight was affecting my health - all stuff I knew but had chosen to go "la la" and cover my ears about.

This time, I listened. I was in a lot of pain, very ill and very frightened. I was in an acute admissions ward, surrounded by some seriously unwell people, I had to listen to a crash team working for many hours on the lady next door.  Listening to people die around you tends to concentrate the mind a lot on mortality - I knew I had to do something to change the way things were with me,  or I would be dead soon. So this time I vowed TO DO SOMETHING about the mess I was in.

After discharge from hospital I spent another two weeks recovering at home, on lots of medication and mostly in bed, with lots of time, and serious reason, to have a good hard think about my life and the way I was treating myself.
The BP medication was making me feel even worse and I did not want to take it forever, which is what I was being told I would have to do. 

I had a copy of  Zoe Harcombe's book " Stop counting calories and start losing weight" by my bed - I had read it the previous year and found it interesting but gave up on Day 3 of Phase 1 of  The Harcombe Diet as I felt so dreadful. This time, I read it properly and suddenly it all clicked into place. This time I was motivated to do The Harcombe Diet properly. It was summer, I had unlimited organic salad growing in the garden and poly tunnel so I had no excuse. 

But mainly I was frankly terrified that if I did not do something about how fat I had become, I might not be around those I loved much longer. My mother sadly had a stroke, the first of many, when I was only 11 and she spent the rest of her life (another 15 years) in hospitals, paralysed and in a wheelchair, unable to speak and with brain damage.

The thought of putting my family through what I had gone through as a child, growing up without my mum, finally spurred me into action to improve my own health.
I did not want to die of a stroke or heart attack!

I had not had any alcohol since the day I was admitted to hospital and did not start drinking again so that helped. My diet was 'apparently' very good - lots of wholemeal home made bread and wholemeal pasta, organic meat, dairy and veg (lots of the veg home grown) but looking back my food was very heavily carb laden, especially wheat (even though it was organic and wholemeal!) I had lots of symptoms of Candida/Food Intolerance which I thought were just the CFS, and although I did not eat many sweet things my savoury choices were still carb laden and I also mixed fats and carbs all the time.

I think my food choices were feeding the Candida, to be honest.

So after two weeks of convalescence, where I did not eat as much (was sort of doing THD Phase 2 ) or drink any alcohol I got on my scales - and I had lost 16 lbs !!! Ok I thought, this is good but I knew I needed to lose a lot more weight to get my health back on track. And I had been very ill so had not had much appetite etc.

So, I decided to do things properly. I signed up for The Harcombe Diet 30 Day Blitz package that day and got started on Phase 1 properly on 12 July 2014.

I felt dreadful for the first five days without caffeine and I could have killed for toast, butter and Marmite (my food of choice) but I figured as I still felt dreadful anyway, due to recovering from illness, I would just keep on and stick to what the book said. And then...I started to feel livelier, more clear headed, less sluggish and my sleep was deep and refreshing. Each day, I felt a little better.

29 July 2014
In the first month I lost 27 lbs

Sept 2014
between July and Sept I lost 4 Stone.

Oct 2014

Since then I have slowly re-introduced various foodstuffs, one at a time. As a result I have identified that I have a real issue with wheat, as even organic, wholemeal bread seems to make me bloated with achy joints and pain in my stomach. I have more recently found that dairy products also disagree with me so have now cut out milk and cheese. Fortunately I still seem OK with butter!

Unfortunately drinking even small amounts of beer upsets me (shame!) However, drinking my home-made organic cider does not. So that’s my new “cheating” tipple of choice!

My former diet was “apparently” very good - lots of wholemeal home-made bread and wholemeal pasta, organic meat, dairy and home-grown veg. However, looking back, my food was very heavily carbohydrate laden, with lots of wheat based foods. What I now know is that my food choices were feeding the Candida lurking inside me and my wheat intolerance made it all even worse,  hence a lot of the bloating.

Oct 2014

Xmas Day 2014

Seven months in, and I can honestly say that I have not felt this good for more than a decade. I feel SO much better! I sleep well and wake up raring to go and keep active all day. I bounce around full of energy, and my BP is now within the bounds of normal so I am off the medication.

I look in the mirror and I am so pleased with how healthy I look. I’ve lost seven stone and dropped four dress sizes since I started this way of eating. I can finally wear clothes that I stashed away years ago!

I recently put on my ’bum bag’, with the waist-strap set from the last time I wore it, back in mid-June 2014. I had to adjust it in by 12 inches!

My family are delighted and very relieved at how much weight I have lost and how much healthier I am. Friends have commented on how good I look, how clear my skin is and how bright my eyes are. My nails are no longer flaky and chewed looking, but long and strong. I have even started varnishing them for the first time in 10 years!

Yes, I have a lot more weight to lose but I know that if I just carry on doing what I have been doing, I will get there eventually. There is loads of online support from The Harcombe Diet Club Forum and I have made some good friends on it. I also have the joy of being able to buy "normal" clothes and underwear from mainstream stores. Sounds trivial I know, but it made my life miserable not being able to just pick up a pack of knickers or a tee shirt from a High St shop!

I am now more than 2/3 of the way to the weight I want to be. I am happier, healthier and fitter than I have been for 15 years - since before I first got ill back in 2001!  I am "on target" to get back to where I was 15 years ago - and I know I can do it by sticking to The Harcombe Diet way of eating.

I have a private blog detailing my weight  reduction journey so if you would like to join, please email me.

Friday 23 January 2015

Liliac Hen update

Still inside the house at night in her basket by the woodburner but outside during the day ( if it is warm enough)  and finally feeding herself from the ground. Also enjoying a cwtch with me as many times a day as she can manage :)

Thursday 22 January 2015

Busy day with a trip to Hereford.

Up early today and got cracking with chores, then went into Hereford  with a very long shopping list. I need a new wind and waterproof coat as my old one leaks and is now hanging off me. So I had a look around the various outdoor clothing shops and found one I liked, which was in the Sales with a substantial discount on it, so I bought it. 

 I had a wander around the Cathedral for a bit, I love Hereford Cathedral

And I also had a wander around the streets surrounding the Cathedral - this is the High Street looking away from the Cathedral precinct.

I then got on with more shopping, all things I needed but I did look at a few "wants" while I was there :)

Home, to do a bit outside while there was still light and then do the normal evening chores. Bed early as I was very tired after my long day out :)

Wednesday 21 January 2015

In praise of the futility room :)

Now the porch is nice and clean and has dried out I can get started filling it up with seeds and plants and stuff :)

I am going to re pot all these geraniums as they are looking a bit sad. A bit of worm compost in the bottom of the pot and they will feel much better :)

It is too cold today to pot things up in the polytunnel so I have moved into the porch to work. Here is a christmas basket with two cyclamen waiting to be potted  into seperate pots and given some tlc.

I also washed more gravel trays and seed modules in the futility* room - normally I do this work in the polytunnel but it is just too cold out there for me to work without my fingers seizing up. So I have come inside to do this job. Thank goodness we have a futility* room with a sink in!

It feels so good to be doing some gardening again :) 

(It's a utility room, really. But I prefer to call it this as trying to keep it tidy is a futile task ;)  )

Tuesday 20 January 2015

A cleaning up day, with many uses for a bowl of bleach :)

I don't often use bleach ( not very environmentally friendly and not good in our septic tank in large quantities) so when I do have to make up a solution of it I tend to use it for as many different jobs as I possibly can.

Today I had some fabric for a craft project which needed lightening, so I made up a washing up bowl full of bleach and water. I left the cloths to soak for a bit until they were the shade I wanted.

I then used the bleach water to soak some tea discoloured tea towels, wash cloths and flannels before putting them in the wash.

As you may recall I use our double glazed porch as a greenhouse to start off plants for the polytunnel. I start sowing seeds on 2nd Feb ( Imbolc, or Candlemas if you are Christian) so I need to make sure the porch is nice and clean before I start.  This is my seed sowing area for early stuff and I need it to be absolutely spotless with no lingering mould spores, before I set up the heated propagators in there and get cracking on 2015 tomato, pepper, cucumber etc seed sowings.

So I then used the bowl of bleachy water to wash down the windows, window sills and walls in the porch. I then wiped the walls and windows clean with a cloth and clean water (important, otherwise the bleach dries and turns to salt on the walls, which will then provide a focus for damp to be absorbed - not good for walls!)

Compostman is going to re paint the removable bench, which lives in the porch during seed propagating season, so it is nice and clean looking and has a sealed surface. That way it won't get spoiled by water drips.

The porch looks a bit of a mess at the moment but at least it is nice and clean now :)

I then used the bleachy water to give all four of the heated propagators (bases and lids) a good clean and I also gave outer ceramic pots (used to hold house plants) and the old plant labels a good soak to make sure they, too are clean before use.

After that the water no longer smelt of bleach :) So I used it to clean the downstairs toilet then flushed it away

I also scrubbed a number of water holding trays clean with hot soapy water and lavender essential oil. That helped to hide the smell of bleach in the house a little!

Tomorrow I will have to put the porch back together again but for now it is drying and I feel pleased :)

Monday 19 January 2015

Tax returns and bits and bobs of stuff.

Today is cold and damp and miserable so I decided to do some housework and some mending, before going out shopping.

Lilac is still a House Hen. She is hanging on, no better, no worse. I just wish she would eat a bit more. She wisely stays close to the woodburner  for warmth :)

I did some tidying up and then sorted out some bits and bobs of stuff I had saved.

These are hanging loops from clothes which I use as ribbons on home made decorations.

This waistcoat is lovely but I don't like the metal buttons. So I changed them.

After lunch I went to Ledbury and bought lovely vegetables from Handley Organics, as well as various other items from local shops. I came home and then had a 45 minute wait on the 'phone to the Tax office but I did get to talk to someone eventually which cleared up a problem.

Anyone else doing their tax return now, or are you all super organised and have done it already?

Sunday 18 January 2015

Dry January 2015 - I'm fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

I have given up alcohol for January as part of Dry January 2015. I have been doing this since Jan 1st 2015  and I am fundraising for Cancer Research UK :)So far I have found not drinking is making me feel bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning, I sleep better, my skin looks lovely and I have lost some weight as an added bonus. :) I am also still following The Harcombe Diet and as Phase 1 of THD excludes alcohol it has been even easier to stick to my eating plan without the temptation to drink alcohol :)

I am getting through a lot of fizzy water in the evening though, and herb and fruit teas at night :)

If you fancy sponsoring me, why not donate £5 (the price of a bottle of wine or a couple of pints) or more if you are feeling very very generous?  I intend to donate at the end of the month a substantial proportion of the money I would have spent on drink :) I suspect that will be quite a lot of money :)

You can send your donation  by texting SBDJ99 £5 to 70070. And don’t forget to claim Gift Aid to increase your donation by 25%, at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Saturday 17 January 2015

Saturday stuff

Up and busy around the house and garden this morning - very cold but lovely and sunny :) I put Lilac hen outside with the other girls to enjoy the sunshine and she pottered around with them in the garden. She is very thin  and very slow, though ...

The other big girls are laying well so I collected 4 eggs from them and one of the Serama pullets is also laying an egg nearly every day so thank you Mandy ( I think)

Later, after lunch I brought Lilac inside the house and then Compostgirl and I went to Hereford for a shopping trip, collecting a friend of Compostgirl's on the way. They went off and had a look around and I did clothes returning and then book buying, using up loads of money saved up on my loyalty card. Two "free" Robin Hobb books to get stuck into later this week AFTER I have done my tax return I think! We met up for hot chocolate and cake ( them) and coffee for me.

Home (via friend's house to drop her off) to a beef casserole cooked by Compostman while we were out and a sit by the fire to watch TV. Compostgirl and I enjoyed "The Voice" and then we all watched a "Father Brown" we had recorded earlier in the week.

I need to get on with crochet and sewing as I have realised that in another few weeks it will be time to start the seed sowing/chitting/plant propagation etc etc and then I will not have time! Eeek where has the winter gone? 

Friday 16 January 2015

Washing a hen's pudenda...

Ha! Thought that would get your attention! Copying John Grey's tactics with lurid titles :)

The hen in question is of course Lilac. Her crop seems back to normal and she is in general good health BUT she won't eat much while inside so, although she is alarmingly thin I put her outside in the pale sunshine to wander around the garden with the other hens. She perked up as soon as she saw them and, after a bit of pecking order antics from Sweetiepie to remind Lilac that she is STILL bottom hen, they all ambled off to sunbathe and dig up the veg patch.

Lilac had a mucky bum because she is inside in a cat carrier and she can't perch so is sitting in her (copious) night time droppings, which is why her bottom fluff is getting caked with poo. When it dries it cannot be very comfortable so at the end of the day I gathered her up and washed her poo clogged feathers. I then cut off the offending feathers. Hopefully this will make Lilac more comfortable until she is strong enough to perch in the hen house at night.

In other news I have definitely found I am also intolerant to milk and cheese, as well as wheat. So that will make life a bit more interesting on the food front! On the plus side my weight loss is even more dramatic now I have cut out milk and cheese! I seem ok with butter and natural live yogurt though - apparently that is not unusual.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Boxing Day jigsaw puzzle fun

Another one found lurking in the "Scheduled" box, but not published!

So, after Compostgirl spent Christmas afternoon absorbed in a small jigsaw, Compostman and I spent a lot of Boxing Day absorbed in a larger one!

 Fiendishly hard. Really really really hard.

 But SO satisfying when we slotted the final piece in to place :)

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Christmas Day at Compost Mansions

Realised this never got posted so in my illness inflicted absence have a belated post!

Tee shirts from Celestine and the Hare for all the family. We intend to Live Norty in 2015!

Compostgirl doing a Jackie Morris jigsaw puzzle

Compostwoman, Compostgirl and Compostman wearing their motto for 2015 (with weaselly and other creature interruptions)

Inspecting the new member of the felted gang.

Compostman's new friend Hector Weasel has found the Tunnock teacakes. Compostgirl's Harriet Bear looks on with a worried frown. Oh dear. Oh deary dear.

Hector the Weaselly Weasel shows what he thinks we all ought to do :) I think he has a good point!

Happy Christmas :)

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Feeling very rough

Feel dreadful. Been in pj's all day. Looked after Lilac House chicken ( who is much improved and actually ate today :) ) did two loads of washing and then sat in bed and sorted out paperwork, tax return stuff etc. Not really with it though.

Recording part two of the diet Horizon to watch as we found it intetresting - although I really wanted to take the people and offer them copies of Zoe Harcombe's THD book - I *know* it would work for them!

Monday 12 January 2015

Not a good day

Have some kind of virus thingy and have felt poorly since yesterday with dreadful headache and body aches and shivers. Have looked after Lilac Hen but Compostman did the other chickens for me and I have spent most of the day huddled under blankets in front of the woodburner. I don't seem able to get warm at all :(

Compostgirl made a chicken curry from scratch at school today so she and Compostman ate that for dinner while I had some scrambled eggs and a bit of bacon. I did not fancy anything else today except hot tea and water.

Early night for me, after we watch Horizon and then Broadchurch. If I can stay awake long enough!

Lilac Hen is drinking and looks bright but seems not to want to eat the food I give her. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for both of us!

Sunday 11 January 2015

House hen

Lilac Hen is still inside and on water only - I massaged her crop today and only a very small amount of water came out, far less than she has drunk in the last 18 hours so I am hoping she has absorbed some of the water and is recovering. She is looking brighter, if a little weak and had a wander round the house today to see what I was up to.

Hopefully I can get her to eat some live yogurt and mealworms today.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Wild and windy out there! and an update on Lilac Hen.

Up early as Compostgirl wanted to go to the stables for the day. Spent rest of morning sorting out art supplies - I have a ludicrous amount of stuff so have had a sort through and some of it will be going to an artist friend. I still have loads of art stuff to play with but have now got my stuff in a large wooden box rather than many boxes :)

Foul weather over night and also first thing - very wild and wet and windy - but later on in the day it was sunny and a bit calmer so I pottered around the garden and polytunnel.

Terrible headache started late morning and developed into full blown shivers and aches after lunch. I feared I was coming down with something nasty so I drank some lemon in hot water and rubbed lavender essential oil on my temples to try to banish headache, eventually I sat down and had a rest for a bit as I felt most unwell.

Felt better later and went into Ledbury (again) to do a bit more shopping and to collect various prints and photos from the framers - he has done a lovely job and I will take some photos tomorrow in daylight to show you.

We were invited to the Wassailing up the lane but none of us feel that great and so we decided not to go. Now about to settle down in front of the fire to watch The Voice on TV, Compostgirl and I quite like to watch the blind auditions, at least.

Lilac hen still poorly - I had to milk her sour crop again this morning so she is now on 24 hours water only, as recommended by the vet. Hopefully tomorrow she will be a bit better and I can start her on natural live yogurt to help kill off the thrush in her crop.

Friday 9 January 2015

Finally! I went to Ledbury, and a poorly hen.

Despite a reasonable quantity of sleep last night I woke up this morning at 7 am feeling dreadful so after decaff tea a and doing  normal morning routine  with Ellen to get her off to school I went back to bed         - up again at 10 am still very groggy and with pain in back. Slow to get moving but had a (rare) caf coffee with sm to get me going

Finally made it to Ledbury for shopping and stuff after lunch - and am very glad I did! I had an excellent time, despite the back ache. I managed to get a very short notice slot at my lovely hairdresser and she trimmed my hair and fringe just how I like it :) I also did a load of little jobs which have been on my "to do " list for ages, dropped off some stuff at the Red Cross charity shop, had a browse around it and several more charity shops, had a coffee with a friend, did some food shopping, tried on clothes and shoes, bought some of the clothes ( 5 sizes smaller now!) and generally had a good time. I came home via John our friendly organic farmer and got some veg and two bales of straw for the hens. That is now in the barn along with plenty of  food for the assorted animals.

I have a house hen at the moment - Lilac has sour crop so she is inside in a cat carrier and I am looking after her - unfortunately I had the delightful experience of her being "sick" all over me tonight when I was draining her crop. Yuck.

Thursday 8 January 2015

A sad day and a lot of cooking.

Feel ridiculously energetic today despite still having a very bad back ache and sciatica. I was going to go to Ledbury this afternoon but we got sad news that Bob, the lovely horse Compostgirl learnt to ride on at the stables just up the lane (and her first love) had to be pts today

He was an absolute sweety; a really kind and gentle horse who has taught so many children in the area to ride. He will be sorely missed :(


Compostgirl was very upset by this news so I decided to not go out, so as to be here for when she got home from school.

I came away with a huge haul of reduced items from my shopping trip to the Co Op yesterday .

and so I made good use of them this afternoon! I did lots of cooking, made a huge pan of BNS curry; also BNS curry soup and a huge pan of veg soup.

 And a tray of mashed swede and carrot for the freezer.

We ate BNS curry for dinner tonight , the others had rice and naan with theirs.

and three more large portions are now in the freezer, as well as 20 portions of various soups, two portions of curry sauce, 20 portions of mashed swede and two portions of roasted sweet potato.

Compostman and Compostgirl then went to Archery but as my back hurts I stayed at home and did some mending and tidying and then watched "Avengers Assemble" again :)