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, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 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!


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Birthday :)


I went and picked some flowers from the wood - I do this every year on my birthday :)


Lovely presents from my family :)


And Compostman baked me the most amazing choklit brownies EVER!


I have had some wonderful presents - strangely mainly made by friends or bought from their indy shops!  I now am the proud keeper of a Celestine and the Hare Panda ( will she be sweary? Oh yes!) a Wentworth Jackie Morris Bluebell Hares jigsaw, some fab choklit, GoT box set ( we don't do Sky so my first chance to see it on the screen rather than in my imagination!) some fab books (Benedict Cumberbatch biog and The Hare Book. ) Also was gifted an early birthday present of the Celestine and the Hare workshop earlier this month so have Cyril the Squizzer from that   And I bought myself some colouring in pens and a grown up colouring in book to use them in last week 

This time last year I was really concerned that I might not make 53. I am so grateful that I have now improved good health and I am so grateful for all my friends. I love you all.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Visit by John "Compost" Cossham

 
Today I was delighted and privileged to have a friend visit. who is one of my composting and zero waste heros. John Cossham is well known in low carbon/zero waste/composting/sustainability fields as an absolute champion waste reducer. He has appeared on TV, radio and in print and is an excellent example of how we could all reduce our carbon footprint on this planet.
 
He was on a trip around the West Country visiting various other friends and going to meetings and talks and I was lucky enough to catch him for a morning out of his busy schedule :)


We went down into the wood where we  had a great time talking about composting and recycling and Moors Wood and all sorts :)


I then took John to his next destination via a couple of local sites - The Great Yew Tree in Much Marcle Church yard and also Kempley Church. He really enjoyed seeing both of them.

It was wonderful to catch up with you again John, I do hope we meet up again soon :)


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Talk by Jackie Morris, in celebration of World Book Day, in Crickhowell


Just about to start to listen to a talk from lovely Jackie Morris organised by the lovely  Emma Corfield-Walters in honour of World Book Day 2015 . With lots of other lovely people at Crickhowell Library
 
books from [book-ish]


so interesting to hear Jackie  describe the process of making the wonderful covers for the Robin Hobb books !And many thanks to Emma for organising it.


Ivy, sleeping

 


Jackie holding my own Sweary Panda made for me by Celestine and the Hare


Jackie's talk was terrific, I am so glad I went !


I seem to have "accquired" a few new Robin Hobb books as well



- no idea how that happened :)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Celestine and the Hare needlefelting workshop at blue ginger gallery, Cradley

@andtheHare

Totally utterly fabulous day last Saturday at blue-ginger gallery in Cradley attending a needle felting workshop with the very lovely and oh so wonderful Karin of  Celestine and the Hare. Karin took 11 of us through the process of turning woolly stuff into fabulous needle felted creatures using sharp pointy bits of metal :)



Having a fabulous time at felting workshop with Karin and a group of Norty Chokliteers.


We went from this



 Taking shape ...

I took Harriet Bear along to meet her sister Emily :) Harriet, Tiger Tim, Victoria Weasel and Betty Sloth Bear were all made by Karin :) As was Hector Weasel, but he stayed at home with Compostman
  

 Karin showing us how to make a tomten  and telling us stories while needle felting at the same time!
 

Part made creature - still no idea what it will be ...


I wonder what I am making?


Lunch break :) The food at blue ginger is excellent, as were the cakes


This is one of Karin's creations :) How fabulous ! A sheepdog :)
 







 Meet Cyril Squizzer :) I made him, I did!


Tiger Tim, Victoria Weasel, Betty Sloth Bear and Harriet hug their newest friend.


We all made such lovely creatures at this workshop

 
Here are our results after less than 6 hours of work

(whispers -we would have done them faster, but we had to chat to each other and laugh a lot and eat delicious food made by Sue and the lovely people at blue ginger gallery  and chat and giggle and eat choklit - did I mention I had the most enormous fun day with lovely Karin and the other people attending? )


If you get the chance to go on one of Karin's workshops or to see her demonstrate her art, do go. She is wonderful, as are her creations. And if you have not yet joined us at the most marvellous Tribe of Celestiner Chokliteers  go and have a look at her Facebook page  :)







and the Hare insisted and so we were not allowed to spend all the time needle felting. ell you, cruel! )

Friday, 10 April 2015

Busy in the garden


Algy the Serama. I love him, I do :)  He follows me around and sits at my feet :)


Moving the raised beds and making new ones - hard work but the end result will make Veg  Kingdom easier for me to manage I hope! Compostman did a lot of hard work to make 6 new,  2 x 3 m raised beds for me to plant up. Good job I make a lot of compost as that is a LOT of  space to fill!


Seramas settled into their new outside home for the fine weather.


I am making another new raised bed outside Veg World - so that will add another 3 x 2 m raised bed to the existing two 3 x 2 m beds in the outside growing area. Just need to fence it off from the marauding chickens!


Speaking of which ...Sweetie


Henny and Blackberry.
 Pearl.











Sunday, 5 April 2015

Early April in the garden - making good use of my @GabrielAsh11 cold frame

 


Tomato plants growing well in the @GabrielAsh11 cold frame


Good for the strawberry plants as well !

Full to bursting with plants :)


it was a cool but sunny day here today


I am so busy in the garden and polytunnel at the moment I have not time to even blog a lot! I am so sorry if I have missed comments or not replied but it *is* a very busy time of the year :)  

 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Presents in the post :)

 
Interesting batch of post for me today

 



The first thing to arrive in the post was this - A Cultimate from The Grumpy Gardener range. It is a new multiuse single pronged weeder that lifts the entire root of a weed in one go.

Please see the video which explain how it works.

I must admit I found it rather useful! We now have more raised beds and I found the Cultimate got dandelions out just as the video shows.
 


I also picked up a copy of Kitchen Garden magazine, which had some free seeds and a useful dry wipe note board. That will be useful in the polytunnel! The seeds will be added to my collection for use on my Master Composter stall at the various summer shows and events I do. I always offer the option of seed sowing when I do a stall as well as offering advice and demonstrations on composting.



Finally, I have been sent some interesting seeds to try by Marshalls Seeds. I shall get planting them   and will report back on how they grow, look and ultimately taste :)  I do like the look of them on the packets I must admit :)

I love getting surprise parcels :)

Friday, 3 April 2015

Scottish road trip

I had such a fabulous time in Scotland :) Walking, canoeing, drinking wine, chatting, laughing, singing, some Forest School CPD, drinking wine, chatting, eating choklit, laughing some more ...you get the idea!

 I am also SO pleased about the fact that I managed to go away to see my friends (who I have not seen for ages) and eat sociable meals with them even though they were not gluten or lactose intolerant so we had to make some alterations to meals ( thank you friends :) ) , drink some wine (well quite a lot of wine, actually!) and eat 100% chocolate ( I introduced them to it!) and feel in control and healthy AND come back having reduced a bit more of my weight! And do a heck of a lot of driving around in my fab new-to-me car without being TOO physically wrecked by it.

My friends were all intrigued and interested in my weight loss and my way of eating and I have lent several of the group copies of various Harcombe Diet books and pointed them to the website.  They are not overweight but were interested to investigate THD.

They all saw what I was like a year or more ago so knew of my health and weight difficulties and were astonished and delighted at how much healthier and fitter I was.

A year ago I would NEVER have been able to do a hike into the mountains for hours over rough terrain in rather adverse weather conditions  (did you see the weather forecast for the Highlands last weekend?)



Trust me, it was very wet and very windy and very cold. We had sleet/snow where I was and that is quite unusual for the Argyll and Bute region as it is temperate rainforest ( yes really!)



A year ago I would NEVER have been able to do a 4 hour sea canoe expedition in very challenging weather conditions. We were well looked after by  Ian from Argyll Voyageur Canoes who was really great and very knowledgeable of the local area, having been born and raised there.



We had a camp out at the half way stage where collectively we Forest School Leaders managed to get a basha up and a Kelly Kettle lit and a brew up made in what I can only describe as really, REALLY very challenging conditions! Horizontal hail and vertical rain and a nearly gale and 2 C with a wind chill added to that!  But IT WAS FUN :) We sang to the seals :)


This time last year  I would just not have even contemplated doing this because I knew I would have been a hindrance and not capable of doing it as it would have been dangerous for me to join in, for all concerned.

So, finding THD and sorting myself out I now have back something else I used to love to do - hiking and outdoor activities 

I loved seeing all my friends and I really had a great long weekend, even if the journey up and back down the M6 was a bit of a nightmare.
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