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 also 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, 30 May 2019

Hay Festival, friends and The Lost Words Spell Songs

Well. It's been an exciting and emotional few days! This is a long post  be warned !

It's Hay Festival week around here, so of course I've been to as many events as I can get to.

First on Sun, Compostman and I went to listen to Robert Macfarlane talk about his new book, Underland. Much awaited, so looked forward to and it doesn't disappoint. Fabulous book, fabulous content, fabulous author.


As as a bonus we got to hear a new song from The Bookshop Band based on Underland. Bookshop Band is Beth Newton and her partner, she is one of the Lost Words Spell Singers, of whom we will hear more, later.

Then later on Sun Compostman and I were treated to a hysterical, side splitting two hours of Bill Bailey. If you have never seen him live, do. It's wonderful, but be prepared to have sore sides from laughter and a brain thinking a slightly different way, after. ( and a German translation song, as an ear worm!)



A lovely friend came to stay on Tuesday, we first met via both being members of the Celestine and the Hare Tribe, of which I have blogged about in the past.

J is lovely and we've shared a cottage with other Tribe members in the past, but it was lovely to welcome her to Compost Mansions for a stay. We wandered round the wood and she admired Chancellor the Serama cockerel and listened to birdsong

On Wednesday J and I set off very early to Hay, for a walk and sketch by the Wye workshop with acclaimed Illustrator and author Jackie Morris. Sadly the weather gods were not OK with that idea, so we instead had a magical time in a yurt listening to Jackie talk as she ground ink, to utter incantations to bring an Otter into being on paper from 2Rivers Paper Mill. Magical.



J and I had lunch, a wander round the Hay Festival site, then went to listen to a talk from the producers of Our Planet, the Netflix series.



We had a few hours to spare so went to Hay and had tea and cakes and a wander round. Then back to the festival site (shuttle buses, very regular, it's really easy to get around) to meet up with two other friends A and C, for the main event, the Lost Words Spell Singers performance.

I'm not sure what to write to be honest. The book, The Lost Words is fabulous.

As you know from my past posts, I am am a huge fan of Jackie, of Robert and of every one of their books.

As a Forest School Leader and keeper of a woodland, living how we do, I fully support the Lost Words book and its wider message and it has made my heart sing to see how, like a pebble into water, the ripples from the original book have spread far and wide, into every primary school in so many counties, with crowd funders, into hospices, in walls in hospitals, cafes, so many places.

Everyone I've spoken to or discussed it on line, agree it has an amazing emotional effect.

And then there came the very cream of folk music collected together as The Lost Words Spell Singers.




I've blogged about going to hear them play (oh such inadequate words to describe what it was like!)  at Birmingham back in February.

So, last night at Hay Festival, the Spell Singers gave us The Lost Words Spell Songs and it was unbelievably fabulous.

Spell binding spell songs from the Spell Singers and from the original Spell Writer Rob Macfarlane and Spell Illustrator Jackie Morris, who conjured a pair of otters live on stage from water, ink, brush and paper.




I'm blown away.


I feel I was part of an event, that was a much greater thing. Everyone today I've spoken to or discussed it on line, agree it has an amazing emotional effect, far more than just beautiful words, music and art. Spell binding spell songs from the Spell Singers and from the original Spell Writer Rob Macfarlane and Spell Illustrator  Jackie Morris.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

New polytunnel!

Finally! After much hard work (mostly by Compostman) and a huge amount of sorting out and clearing out all the contents of the polytunnel, taking off the old cover, digging out the sides, waiting for a calm day to put the new cover on (just Compostman and I, and it was hard work!)

New geotextile floor, new stable door and window system at far end.

It's finished!

Now to put all my stuff back in (!) and fill it with the plants waiting in the Gabriel Ash coldframe (see here  A tidy garden and a full cold frame)



and I'm slowly putting back pots, bags of growing medium, and getting the buckets and trays ready to put out the tomatoes. But that is for tomorrow.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

In memory of  Algy @algyseramachicken I loved him very much. He is much missed, several years now since his passing. Such a lovely companion at workshops and festivals such as @greengathering_ @springgreensdeli @green_gathering_permaculture

His son, Jimmy, was just as daft!



Thursday, 2 May 2019

Taking the plunge and covering the polytunnel

 Old cover off.


 Trench being dug to get old buried cover out and to put new cover in


Worried about the wind. This is a huge piece of polythene, so we needed it to be dead calm.


We waited three hours until there was a lull in the breeze, and then we went for it!


Cover on, corners and sides weighted down with soil in trench, we then started the pleating around the door frame at each end. This is hard work as the cover needs to be pulled as taut as possible


By the end of the day we had the cover secured, the battens fixed in place to hold the ends down and the soil backfilled in the trench enough to keep everything secure

A lot of work for just the two of us, but very satisfying

:)
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