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!
We grow our own organic fruit and veg and make lots of cider, wine, jam and chutney. We share our lives at the moment with Hens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife.
I used to be a Research Scientist, but that was many years ago. I now work as a freelance environmental educator/writer/lecturer/Forest School practitioner and community artist; I also spent a 10 years volunteering with my local council and Garden Organic; as a Master Composter (a volunteer community compost advisor); a Master Gardener (a volunteer community veg growing advisor), a Love Food Hate Waste cookery demonstrator and a hens@home mentor .All this allowed me the privilege of helping people have fun outdoors and live more enjoyable and sustainable lives.
I am also (amongst other interests) a qualified Holistic Therapist and enjoy making household and personal care items using green and natural ingredients. I have had a go at many traditional crafts and enjoy textile based crafts, crochet and basket making in particular.
In the past I have worked as an Environmental Play Ranger with various local Environment groups. In the 1990's I ran a successful Environmental Consultancy providing advocacy and representation to community groups on a number of Sustainability and Environmental issues. I am a past coordinator for Worcester Friends of the Earth. I was a finalist for "CIWM Recycling Champion of the Year" in 2007 and 2009 and have been nominated for several other similar awards. In 2012 I won the Garden Organic Master Composter Innovator and Social Media award for my blogging and use of social media to spread the sustainability message.
Compostman is supposed to be retired from his career as a Research Scientist (!) but actually works full time managing and maintaining our house, woodland and garden and is involved in an ongoing process of renovating our built in 1906 house to make it as energy efficient and comfortable as possible. We have so far, replaced single glazed windows with double glazed, reduced drafts, insulated virtually all the rooms in the house (thus substantially improving their U values), installed a multi-zone heating system and made a great many other, smaller, energy efficiency improvements.
We try to be as self sufficient as we can; we grow a lot of the fruit and veg we consume, we make our own bread, yoghurt, wine, cider, butter and preserves, we keep chickens ( including rare breeds and ex battery hens) for their eggs, we buy meat and dairy produce from local, free range/organic suppliers, we try to shop locally where possible and only buy or use ethically made items. We try to minimise our use of supermarkets if possible.
We are members of our local Freecycle network and the Low Carbon Ledbury group. We produce a very small amount of landfill waste each week (we aim for a small carrier bag worth or less) All else is reused, recycled or composted. We have our own water supply and sewage treatment facility. We burn wood for heating (we harvest it from our wood) except in the very coldest of weather, and we generate a substantial amount of the electricity we use from the pv system on our garage roof; our hot water comes from the solar thermal tubes on the house roof.
We are well known as champions of local, ethical, organic growing, local food and supporting our local community and have worked hard to make sure our personal and wider environment is as sustainable as we can make it. We have campaigned on a number of environmental, ethical, food, fair trade, human justice and other sustainability issues for very many years. We limit and monitor our energy usage and our car mileage to minimise our carbon footprint. We no longer fly and have not done so for 17 years. If we ever went on holiday ( we don't!) we would take holidays in the UK.
At Compost Mansion we try to be as self sufficient as we can, while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle and having lots of fun.
I have always loved to write and in 2007 I was asked why I did not write a blog to share my knowledge and our lifestyle. I thought it sounded like a good idea and here I am in 2014 still blogging :) This blog is a record of what I have been up to from day to day, so I might write about something I have done in the garden, an article I have written for a magazine, the latest batch of chutney I have made, a training course I have attended or "just" my daily routine of cats, chickens, compost and mud. I also write illustrated "how to" articles on topics I get asked a lot of questions about including composting, growing, crafts and chicken keeping; I hope they are useful to you.
If you want to contact me you can do so by email
compostwoman AT the-compostbin DOT com
Love, Compostwoman (aka Sarah )