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 31 March 2016

Moors Wood stall at Easter eggstravaganza

Yesterday I spent a fun day working at a local housing association event in Hereford.I took Algy and Mrs Algy the Serama chickens, and offered "decorate a pot and plant a seed" , "make a bumble bee" and "make natural dyed bunting" as well as advice on chicken keeping, veg growing, composting and general sustainability. You can see pictures of what we got up to as well as more info over on my work blog Moors Wood

Monday 28 March 2016

Easter Monday walk in the wood

Well we had a BIG storm blow through here last night, so today I went down to the wood to check if any trees had fallen over.

No big trees but a lot of branches down and some smaller trees.

The wild daffodils are now spectacular. I think this year is the best display I have seen in the 19 years we have lived here!

Lots of badger activity

Yes more wild daffodils!

Bluebells are also starting to show themselves :) And primroses

Spring has definitely sprung here in Herefordshire!!

Monday 21 March 2016

One door closes, another opens!

Having spent a lot of time thinking very hard about the future, I have come to the conclusion that the unforeseen unexpected loss of my volunteer position with Garden Organic and Herefordshire Council (after 10 years of volunteering) has finally freed me to follow and enable the vision I talked about last May at The Eden Project/ Big Lunch Extras weekend (Best.Weekend.Ever!) 

One door closes, another opens and this door closing has finally allowed me to get on with the future me. I have now completed and filed my School for Social Entrepreneurs application for a new social enterprise venture, which will encompass the volunteering activities I previously carried out.  Forms to convert my dormant Ltd company to a CIC are ready to be filed. I hope this will allow those who cannot employ me as 
Moors Wood  (usually because they are grant funded with conditions applied) will still be able to access my expertise. I also want to "give something back" to my community and setting up a CIC seems a good model.

My self employed business  is finally flourishing as people have begun to actually offer to pay for what they previously got for free from me as a volunteer, but will no longer get as I am not, any more.

Am a bit gobsmacked tbh and having crawled out from under the potting bench to do this  I am so grateful for all the support and encouragement I have received.

So, watch this space for exciting news!

Saturday 19 March 2016

Celestine and The Hare Book Launch at blue-ginger gallery

So today we all went to blue ginger gallery to join in with the fun of the opening day of The  Peace of Wild Things exhibition where many wonderful artists were gathered,

also later we had the launching of Karin Celestine's new books and a party! For those of you who have no idea what I mean, Karin is the creator of Celestine and the Hare, a world where needle felted creatures ride space hoppers, eat  lot of choklit and are kind to each other. She has also created a Tribe of Chokliteers, we pledge to live norty and eat lots of choklit and be silly and kind to everyone.
As many of you may know Karin is a friend and we have a lot of her creations at home :) So I brought along the felted tribe to say "hello"

We were asked to make paper boats  for the evening, as one of the books is called " A Paper Boat for Panda"

The first book "Small finds a home" has Emily showing us how to stick weave. Here is me and Compostgirl doing some weaving.

I brought along my Moley, who was proudly modelling Emily's stick woven scarf, to meet up with Mrs Mole

We had a lovely evening in a fabulous place along with lots of friends :)

Monday 14 March 2016

out in the garden

Spring flowers


 Polytunnel about to be cleaned up outside

leek bed being cleared

Scrubbing pots

...and drying them!

Sunday 13 March 2016

End of an era ( well a decade, actually)

On Fri I also learned that after 10 years of being a Master Composter ( community composting volunteer) with Garden Organic and Herefordshire Council, mine ( and all the other Herefordshire MC's) services are being dispensed with at the end of March. This is due to council cutbacks.

So, no more helping people on stalls or at garden festivals or in schools as a volunteer Master Composter. If you look back over the archives you will see I have done a LOT of that!

I have to admit I am rather gutted.

I am considering my options, but one of the reasons I was able to offer so much of my hard won knowledge and experience for free as an MC, or for a relatively small fee as an Environmental Educator,  was because I was paid a small sum towards travel expenses; the council paid for any stall fees and also provided PLI at events. So a lot of the time I offered my expertise as a volunteer, even when frankly I was doing far more than the role would normally call for.

If I want to continue doing events and shows (and people want me to, and I want to carry on!) I have to come up with a sustainable funding mechanism, as I can't afford to fund free advice when I have to pay for expensive insurance and all travel costs. Also time I spend doing that, is time I am not spending working at my own business or on my own land or with my own family.

So, various ideas are going round my head at the moment and it's been a hard few days.