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!

Sunday 17 May 2020

Feeling very unwell.

This article, from The Guardian newspaper, describes exactly how I've been, since mid April, after having had what I was told was COVID-19.

I was really poorly( but not hospialised)  and was assured after "a couple of weeks" I'd start to feel better.

Its now nearly seven weeks since I first felt ill, I'm getting slightly less unwell now, but I still feel very poorly.

 As regular readers of my blog may remember, I have had ME since 2001, after I developed an unusual autoimmune condition overnight, due to an antibiotic reaction in hospital.

I was severely incapacitated for many years but it has been mostly "managable" since I cut out gluten and lactose back in 2014.

What I feel like now is like I'm back in the very worst part of the time 20  years ago.

I hope I feel better, soon.

Weird as hell’: the Covid-19 patients who have symptoms for months

Researchers keen to work out why some people are suffering from ‘long tail’ form of the virus

Thursday 9 April 2020

100 days sober

Really pleased that I have done  this, I feel so much better now I am not drinking (even with the current, highly stressful situation we all find ourselves in!)

Having had what I think was coronavirus over the last 10 days, I dread to think how much worse I might have been with an even more depressed immune system due to alcohol consumption, on top of the autoimmune issues I have.

Monday 6 April 2020

Sitting on the patio, just breathing in the air.

It is truly lovely here. I have been quite unwell this last week, been in bed and have struggled to breathe sometimes, so to sit outside in the sunshine, breath the sweet air and listen to birdsong is a joy and a gift.

Sunday 5 April 2020


One of the benefits of the lockdown situation is that the lack of traffic means we can hear even more birdsong than usual.

I was awake early today, (I haven't been sleeping very well due to feeling unwell)

So I had a cup of tea in bed and wrote in my journal

Then I opened the window and just listened

listen to the birds singing. Glorious.

Saturday 4 April 2020

A walk in the wood, 4 April

Cowslip area

 I love cowslips they are so beautiful and smell divine.

Wild Garlic, tasty but smelly!)

Wood Anemone

First hint of Bluebell

Compostman, sawing wood.

Friday 3 April 2020

Some advice, to grow food

So, we are now told to stay at home, to protect the NHS and to stay safe. Wise words.

It occurred to me that lots of people may now decide to grow some of their own food for the first time, or maybe to expand on what they grow, already.

I have a host of "how to" posts on growing, composting and assorted other things which I have written over the years.

If you look at the "How to" tab at the at the top of this page and click on it, you will see what I mean , collected together in one place for ease of use and to save you having to use the search posts faculty (although please do use that to have  a wander around my blog, as well)

Thursday 2 April 2020

Rats ( again!)

I keep getting asked questions about Rats , on Facebook,on  the various fora I frequent, when I was on Compost stands and when I am out and about ( before the start of the social isolating against Covid -19)  so I thought I would  repeat my advice in one place on here.

So here are some tricks you can try if your compost bin is infested with rats.

1. Get some metal mesh..chicken wire would do or weldmesh sold by builders yards...and put it on the ground under your bin so that the whole of the base area is covered then resite the bin on top.

2. Make sure you go to your bin at least every day and hit it with a stick or give it a kick...just to disturb it! Rats are neophobic..they don't like anything new..and they don't like being disturbed...ideally resite your bin so it is close to the house and where it gets walked past a lot...

3. Keep the lid on the bin...

4. Rinse out any eggshells before adding them to the bin as Rats LOVE the smell of egg....

5. It is said male urine acts as a deterrent...and wee is also a good compost activator...

6. Dog wee around the outside of the bin would work, too!!

7. If you have a dog then that might help scare them off

Very important, whatever you do...wear gloves when handling the compost bin or the composting stuff...rats urine can carry Weils disease ( and other nasties!!) and if you get wet wee on a cut you can catch all sorts of unpleasant illnesses.....so obviously plasters on any cuts is a must, too.

They are a huge problem at the moment everywhere I am afraid.

Wednesday 1 April 2020

April 1st, seeds growing well

Every year I get out the heated propagators and set them up in the porch, which becomes my growing area

This is the second tranche of seeds in the hot boxes, more tomatoes and some peppers.

The poly tunnel now getting so hot during the day that it needs ventilating

Finally, the overwintering Cavallo nero and Chard, which has given us a few good feeds for a few months

Friday 27 March 2020

A walk in the garden - 27 March

Looking up towards the house from the vegetable garden

Standing by the road looking down across the pool and wood

Mistletoe on a free

We were followed by the ever present chickens, as usual!

Friday 20 March 2020

Moors Wood closed.

All schools and nurseries have now been closed. As a result and with immediate effect, my business activities in  Moors Wood are closed for the foreseeable future.

Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.

Sunday 15 March 2020

Making washable face pads from recycled towels.

After a shopping trip to Hereford last month, I noticed there were a lot of washable cotton face pads for sale in various shops. A great idea, but very expensive I felt. So I had a look through my fabric stash and found some warn out hand towels and flannels which were going to go into the rag bag. 

A bit of work with scissors and then my sewing machine and I had 16 washable face pads to replace the organic cotton wool pads I usually purchase. More will follow! 

I compost the cotton wool pads after use, but they are still imported and I'd prefer not to use disposable product,  if I can avoid it. And now, I don't have to! 

Monday 24 February 2020

A walk in the wood

Those of you who are not familiar with my blog may not realise we are lucky enough to own a 3 acre wood as part of our smallholding.

So, I thought it would be good to take you on a walk with me, into the wood

Walking into the wood, past swathes of wild daffodils.

Over where the badger path crosses ours, and to where they go down and then up the ditch that runs all the way down the middle of the wood, bisecting it from top to bottom

Back up from the bottom of the wood past yet more wild daffodils

Can you see Compost Mansions in the image, above?

Back to the top of the wood looking across to the composting area and the outside raised beds

Some wild daffodils I picked while we were out in the wood

Saturday 22 February 2020

Calligraphy workshop

I went on a lovely workshop today in Ledbury, run by Caroline Owen Thomas. 
There were 7 ( I think?) of us and it was a most enjoyable day

Thursday 20 February 2020

Treats and rewards Love Lula beauty box subscription.

One of my decisions for 2020 was to look after my body rather more than I had been doing, before, both inside and out (all part of my increased levels of self esteem, as well as increasingly needed as I get older 😊) 

I like shopping online at Lovelula and they do a very good value subscription box each month of assorted body and beauty products. 

As a big reward for not having drunk alcohol for 50 days, I decided to take out a subscription with some of the money I have saved by not drinking alcohol. Here is the first box, delivered in recycled, compostable packaging. 

Lots of lovely, vegan ethical bodycare products, to soothe and pamper my skin 😊

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Signs of Spring.

Today it was sunny and, out of the wind, quite warm. 

I went to Ledbury to do some bits of shopping, some more hand towels from Issac's, some hand sanitiser from Boots (yes, they had some!) and to stock up on a few essentials (gf and ordinary flour, butter, cat food, milk, a few canned goods ) from the Co op. 

While out, I spotted this Queen Bumblebee on a pot outside a shop.