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 30 April 2016

RIP Henny

RIP Henny, beautiful big black Hen, who loved Sweetiepie so very much. After Sweetie died earlier this week Henny drooped and went into a decline. I could find no obvious illness or injury, but she was obviously not happy. She died early this morning.

RIP lovely Henny, I shall miss cuddling you :(

Tuesday 26 April 2016


Just thought I would repost this now

Sorry if this seems to make it all about me. It is not meant to do so. I have spent every year since, burning with the injustice faced by the families of those who dies. My Mum died - that is natural - they died due to an appalling lack of care and a horrific cover up.

Justice for the 96, at last

Monday 25 April 2016

RIP Sweetiepie the hen

RIP Sweetiepie the  Hen. Over 10 years old, an ex battery hen who came to us aged about 2 1/2 years old 

and who has been the top hen ever since. She has survived 8 fox attacks ( several seriously injuring her) and led hens to safety many times. She also lead them into committing much mischief! Here she lead a daring raid into the house :) 

 She reared the Sweetie 6 ( Dorkings) as well as other broods of chicks and was always an excellent mum

and through out her long life she was a firm but fair top hen. This is Sweetie a few weeks ago.

For the last 5 years she was  always accompanied by her good friend Henny; the two of them went round together at all times and slept in one nestbox for company. Henny is the large black rock hen standing behind Sweetiepie 

Sweetie died this evening while I was at a meeting; I checked her before I left and it was obvious she was fading fast but was sat next to Henny. Henny was preening her feathers and crooning to her. I thought about ending her life then but as she did not seem in obvious pain I decided to check again when I got home.  On my return I found them together; Sweetie having just died and Henny sheltering her still warm body under her large black glossy wing (as hens do to their chicks) .

I will always remember Sweetie. for her bravery and her fair way of being Top Hen. For her dedication to rearing and protecting her chicks and most of all for sitting on my lap and crooning at me.

RIP Sweetie. Much missed already xxx

Sunday 17 April 2016

Cars, Cuckoos and Nightingales

When I got up Di and I went for a walk with Hooch the dog to the beach, then we talked compost in her garden. I left lovely friends house at mid day and then spent 6 hours rather than the expected 3 hours driving home from St Davids peninsular cos my car went wrong and was on a safe mode go slow ie "couldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding" power mode ... and service station food did not look great if you are gluten and dairy intolerant like me. So I drank what I had in the car, stopped twice for a break and then pressed ( slowly) on. At home now and making up for lost eating and drinking time. Also, It was Compostman's birthday today  so we had wine and choklit brownies from Wales ( which were yum) smile emoticon

Then later on, I just heard the first nightingale of our year here. Also heard the first cuckoo in Moors Wood last week, on Monday.
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Saturday 16 April 2016

The most amazing Book/Boat launch ever.

I have just come back from the most wonderful weekend away in Pembrokeshire .

Friday I drove to Wales to stay with my friend Di and her lovely husband. We had a meal, drank some wine, chatted and had a great time :)

Sat we were up early to go to the launch ( both literally and figuratively) of Ffion Rees new venture, Falcon Boats and of Jackie Moris new book "The Seal Children"

There was some question as to if the weather would be too rough to go out on the sea, but Sat morning it calmed enough for us to go.  

 I am very scared of heights and we had to climb up this then walk down the lifeboat launch ramp (with a see through mesh floor!) to the bottom, in order to get in the boat.

I must admit I nearly failed to do it. but friends Jackie, Karin and Di helped me overcome my fear, and I made it to the boat.

We went out on the sea across Ramsey Sound and saw porpoises, a peregrine, seals and it was wonderful :) 

We sheltered in a cave from the rain and a seal came to say hello while Jackie talked about her book "Queen of the sky" based on Ffion's experiences of rescuing a peregrine falcon from the waters of Ramsey Sound, nursing her back to full health and then and finally releasing her.

We then went round the island and saw a beach of seals and listened to their song.

Seals popped up from the water to look at us and listen to Jackie

 Then Jackie read from her new book "The Seal Children" set in the abandoned village of Maes y Mynydd on the nearby mainland.

Steep steps back up after we landed.

In the evening we all met up at Solva Woolen Mill for a book launch party.  

Anna had made the place look even more lovely, with tables and flowers   - really beautiful.  We listened to stories from Jackie and ate a lovely meal. jackie brought her sketch books and told us about the books she is working on.

 Jackie usually does a small prize for the person who asks the most interesting question, but this time she gave me the present for being brave on the scary launch ramp that morning - I was honoured!

You can read a far better telling of events on Jackie's blog here

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Sewing machine

Went to Ledbury today shopping. Compostman  went to dentist; I did some browsing ( and bought present for friend I am staying with this weekend) Compostman  came back after dentist and said "there is a sewing machine in the red cross shop window ". So we went back to look and LOOK! I am now the proud curator of this! 

So beautiful AND it works smile emoticon Amazing price! Thank you Compostman for spotting and buying it for me, smile emoticon it is beautiful; and so wonderfully engineered smile emoticon

Friday 8 April 2016

Visit to Droitwich canal

We went out today with Compostgirl and two friends for a trip to see a canal. We started at the Severn end of the Droitwich canal at Hawford Lodge Caravan site and marina.

I stayed here in a caravan with my family in 1969 when I was just 7 while we looked for houses in the Worcester area. I remember discovering what I thought was a river, all overgrown and secret and wonderful. That was actually part of the then derelict Droitwich canal, now restored to its former glory along the full length from where it joins the River Severn to where it links with the Worcester and Birmingham canal

It was a very muddy day!

Then we drove along back lanes to Droitwich to look at the canal basin there and eat our picnic lunch.

Finally we went up to the junction canal where it joins with the W and B canal.  A magnificent flight of very deep locks there!

We watched a narrow boat ascend the locks. The children were fascinated to see how it was done.

A good day out :)

SHYPP Leominster workshop

Today I was at SHYPP Leominster as part of  an H Energy and  and Herefordshire New Leaf   funded event, working with lots of lovely people coming in to do workshops with me about chicken keeping, composting, seed sowing, gardening, cooking and lots of different crafts (needle felting a brooch, herb scented decorated bags, decorated seed planters and paper boat making)

you can read more about my day on my work blog, Moors Wood

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Visit to Caewent Roman Town

And today we explored Caerwent Roman Town (Venta Silurium) which was absolutely excellent.
2000 years apart; both fascinating and wonderful.

Monday 4 April 2016

Fertile Fibre Coir Coco Peat: Growing Herbs in Fertile Fibre

For those who don't already know, ALL the growing medium I use are Fertile Fibre products. Peat free, coir based and wonderful.

I have recently stocked up on bags of seed and multipurpose  growing medium and thought readers might be interesting in this excellent blog post e about growing herbs, with a bit about the history of Fertile Fibre.

Fertile Fibre Coir Coco Peat: Growing Herbs in Fertile Fibre:

Saturday 2 April 2016

Visit to Broadway Tower and Nuclear Bunker

So on Saturday we explored a Nuclear Bunker at Broadway Tower (part of the Royal Observer Corp system during the Cold War) - do check it out as you will be amazed at the story behind them!!) 

There were underground nuclear bunkers 10 miles apart during the Cold War.