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 28 February 2015

New cold frame

Some time ago I recieved a lovely cold frame from Gabriel Ash. But then I was bitten by that pesky Blandford Fly and then I got ill and then it was late summer and I didn't really need a cold frame.      And then it was Winter and dark and cold and wet.

So my lovely cedar wood coldframe has sat in bits in boxes in the garage all through the winter, waiting for better weather so we could put it together and site it on the patio.

And finally today the weather was fine and sunny so we did.

As always we were " assisted" by chickens - this time the Serama gang came to help!"

The cold frame instructions were very clear and we were soon doing the final bits and bobs 

Algy Serama came for a cuddle

Nearly done!


I caught the cats chewing the catnip plant !

Finishing touches

All done

Looking good!

Proud parent (!)

Friday 27 February 2015

Remembering Magnus Magenpie.

I was  sent a link by a friend to this. We all feed the birds in our garden but one young girl in Seattle is luckier than most. She feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return. Wonderful stuff, so magical that the girl has such a close bond with a wild creature.

But made me a bit sad as it reminded me that when I was young I had Magpies who would come to me and bring me shiny gifts. I reared a Magpie chick (his nest had been robbed - he was on the ground, barely alive and with no feathers yet) I fed him mashed stuff and, when he fledged I taught him to fly - and he then went off and came back with more magpie friends (wild ones) and got me to feed them. I loved him, and he would ride on my wrist like a hawk ( by his own choice - no jesses) when I rode my pony on the Common.

He used to bring me gifts of mainly shiny stuff - milk bottle rops, ring pulls from cans, bits of metal and washers, stuff like that. No gold or silver unfortunately!

Then the neighbouring farmer's teenaged son, knowing full well who he was, shot Magnus dead and nailed his body to our gate post. The total bastard. I was 9 at the time.

The memory of this made me sad at how Magnus had died,  but also happy to recollect an event which was so special in my life. I felt so blessed to have been a part of a wild bird's life in that manner.

So I went and dug out the only two photos I have of Magnus Magenpie 

This first one is of him just fledged and you can see the sheath still on his primaries  We have just had a flying lesson in that photo.


That's me in the picture,  with him on my arm, standing on Kempsey Common just next to our house.

Magnus learnt to talk and could say quite a few things  - his favourite saying was "magnus magenpie, pretty boy " and " come on, hurry up and feed me"  and he would tap in the window to wake me up so he could get me to open the window. He would then fly into my bedroom and tug on my hair until I got up and fed him. He frequently brought a number of "wilder" magpie friends with him - and obviously had communicated that I was "ok" as they, too, would come in and wait for food. This was 44 years ago. I still think of him :)

Friday 20 February 2015

Trip to Avebury and surrounding area

As we had got up early to greet Bonnie Ann, and had eaten an early lunch to accommodate her need to leave us to get her plane back to the US of A, we were fed, watered and had done all our chores by 12 noon. It was a glorious sunny day with clear blue skies and a gentle breeze so we decided to Go Somewhere.

At one point it looked possible that Bonnie Ann might be able to come with us to see something archaeological on her way to the airport, so I had researched a few places on the way to Heathrow. Stonehenge, Avebury, Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow were all options but of course on the day Bonnie Ann had sadly run out of time to do anything other than drive straight to Heathrow.

But we were ready and had the whole afternoon and evening free, so having gathered walking boots, a flask and food and other supplies we got in my car and off we went to one of my favourite areas.

After a lovely drive through the landscape filled with ancient sites - mounds, white horses, cairns, barrows, within less than two hours we were in Avebury.



After we had walked around Avebury we went to the nearby Silbury Hill

From there it was a short distance to the West Kennet Long Barrow.

Compostgirl and I walking down to the River Kennet

Compostman and I

Me trudging up a very muddy track!

West Kennet Long barrow, just before sunset

inside the barrow

We came back down the hill just as the sun was setting over Silbury Hill.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Flying visit from an overseas friend.

Lovely visit yesterday on a fabulously sunny morning from a friend from the United States, now on her way to Heathrow to return home to the U S of A. She arrived after a week in Pembrokeshire where she sat by the sea, photographed pebbles, walked with cats and met Jackie Morris, visited Solva Woolen Mill and met Anna and Tom Grimes, and did loads of other lovely stuff in my most favourite part of the world ever.  :)

She arrived here late morning en route to fly home and had a late breakfast with us and we talked. And talked. And then talked some more :) . Then we went outside where she met all the chickens and Cassie, Tom and Tabitha  Cats , who were friendly but would not be cuddled.

Algy Serama Chicken was however keen to be cwtched :)

As was Juniper the Guinea Pig

And Compostgirl :)

 Sadly all too soon it was time to say goodbye, so we had a look at the map to make sure Bonnie Ann knew her route,

then a final big cuddle before she set off again.

She had to leave us all too soon to drive to Heathrow to fly home. Lovely lady, wonderful to have met  up with her. Safe journey home my dear friend.

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Just a reminder about my private blog

I have a blog which goes into much more detail about my way of eating and weight loss. It is  invitation only so we can all be very frank about stuff without Google finding it !

If you wanted to read it or join in with the comments  please email me and say why :)

Sarah aka Compostwoman xxx

Sunday 15 February 2015

Media attention for me #2


Well my BBC Hereford and Worcester radio interview on Fri went well. I went over to Worcester to the studio and was live on air with Malcolm Boyden at just after 10 am. I had more than 10 mins chatting to him live on air. And yes it was great to be back in a studio doing live press stuff again :)

Programme link

I get introduced at 04:28 and then the interview proper starts at 08:28 - 20.08

 BBC H and W have also put my story and some photos on their public Facebook page

I do hope that other people hear and take on board the story and that it helps them as that is the only reason I have done this media stuff in the first place. I have had a lot of interested comments from people I know around here about my weight loss and I hope my message is helpful to those listening.

I am just so grateful that I finally took control of my diet and health  as I feel so much better, now.

Friday 13 February 2015

Media attention for me #1


I have featured in the local media today :)

You may recall my recent post about how I have lost a lot of weight in the last 7 months - well as a result I have been honoured with the title of "Harcombe Diet Champion" by Zoe and Andy Harcombe - there are many others featured on The Harcombe Diet forum. I feel proud to follow in their (ever shrinking!) footsteps :)

So far I have been in my local paper the Ledbury Reporter; I am in other papers soon and - who knows what else? I have also done a live interview with the BBC local radio station today and will blog about that some other time. But for now
here is the link  to  the online version of my bit in the local paper.

If you want to join my private blog about my weight loss please send me an email.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Oregon Scientific Weather Station review

Before Christmas I was sent one of these weather stations  to try out and review.

Weather at home 

The Wireless Weather Station with Weather Alert allows you to monitor local weather conditions on your smart phone as well at the station itself, using Bluetooth. This wireless weather station brings you all the vital weather information you need to plan your day. The Weather Alert feature also shows you at a glance what to expect; heat, fog, frost, rain and wind /storm, displaying both indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, and a 12-24 hour Weather Forecast.

I am very impressed with this device. We have a display with a sensor inside and a sensor outside under the garage eves.

This means I can be in the sitting room in the warm but see if it has gone cold outside and go and shut the Seramas in their house, or cover up Juniper the Guinea Pig or cover up tender plants.

I have also had endless fun using the app on my mobile phone and tablet to look at weather statistics and trends for here. (yes I know, I am a geek :) )

The one I was sent retails at £59.99 and at the moment there is an offer on the website of a free sensor if you buy a Weather Station from Oregon Scientific.

Disclaimer. I was sent a Weather Station to review. All opinions are my own and I was not paid to write this post.

Sunday 1 February 2015

I did it! So please donate to Cancer Research.

I gave up alcohol for January as part of Dry January 2015. I have not drunk any alcohol since Jan 1st 2015  and I am fundraising for Cancer Research UK :)

I did it! And I am looking for more donations to my fundraising page. Please, 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? 

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.
Or you can visit my just giving page and donate from there