Thursday 31 December 2015

So, that was 2014. I was going to write a full colour, links and photos year end review but I feel too tired to do it. I am so glad we have got past the Shortest Day as I loath the dark days of winter. The short, sunless days make me feel gloomy and tired and fed up and yes, depressed. I am not depressed for any other reason that I know of but every year I feel dreadful - I believe it is SAD and as soon as the days begin to lengthen I feel better :) But at the moment even trying to be up beat and positive is an effort.

But I have had a think about this year and actually just focussing on the great things that have happened this year has made me feel better :) so I will just highlight a few things from 2014.

Strange to say the biggest and most positive thing to happen to me was getting bitten at the end of June by a Blandford Fly and getting Very Ill Indeed as a result. I know that sounds a bit odd, but being in Hospital for three days and bed ridden for another two weeks and really very ill indeed gave me lots of time to think and ponder about  my health. So I did something about it at last - I went on a new way of eating and have lost six stone since 28th June. I also found out along the way that I have a huge problem with wheat and if I eat any now I am very ill indeed, so I don't. This has meant some modification to our diets so I can avoid wheat and gluten but it has been worth it in terms of health and well being.

Also during the Summer we as a family took up Archery. We now shoot several times a week and have made new friends, have our own bows and kit and are beginning to see improvements in our aim! Great fun and very good for posture and core strength.

I have also welcomed new chickens to Compost Mansions both large and very tiny indeed! The Seramas are a hoot - they are so funny and entertain us all enormously with their silly antics and fun. The Big Girls watch them with bemusement (I think) but continue to provide eggs and turning-over-the-veg-patch duties for us.

The three cats continue to delight and entertain and give love - and lots of dead things as "gifts". Tabitha in particular is a very good ratter and can catch several per day. Good puss!

Despite illness in the Summer I have been out and about a fair bit this year - both as a Master Composter promoting home composting; as a Love Food Hate Waste cookery demonstrator promoting home cooking and real food and with various Arts and craft events and on trips away.

I have also engaged more my artistic and crafty side and have had a go at both needlefelting with Gretel Parker  and silver jewellery making with Hannah Willow. I have also been to many more book launches and gallery exhibitions and charity auctions than usual and have come away with some beautiful unique items. Featuring several times this year have been trips to see artist and author Jackie Morris and Karin of Celestine and the Hare, fibre artist and creator of magical mayhem. Also visits to talented  friend Tamsin Abbott to hear her speak and see her in action at her workshop.

I had a memorable solo trip round Wales at the end of August where I sat by the sea, re visited beaches and sacred sites from my childhood, saw family, watched Ospreys, walked through Slate mines and visited blogging friends. I must go again, soon.

I also met many people this year who I have never met in real life but know well via the internet - I finally met up with John "Compost" Cossham and Deb Millar at the Green Gathering and fellow Forest School Leader Jan came for a visit on her way home to Scotland - I also had a great time meeting up with friends from THD forum at the Conference and at the Christmas get together in Birmingham.

Other stuff has happened here - Compostman and Compostgirl are well; the wood grew, the veg garden flourished and the polytunnel produced loads of food although all was less tidy than normal due to my enforced absence due to illness during July and most of August. The new patio and the flower beds around it were a great success though and I had a wonderful supply of cut flowers from the cutting garden as well as loads of herbs from the new herbery - it all looked fab as well from inside the house.

We still have not started on the pond filling/ digging new one yet though! I have also had a rethink about the new pond in the garden area - because I don't want to attract Blandford Flies and because we use the grass area to shoot over and a pond would stop it being used for Archery.

But this year has been mainly about changes for me; new friendships and moving outside my comfort zone a little; going off on a solo holiday, dramatically changing the food I eat, getting a new car (had the old one for 12 years so this was a big change for me!) and of course always learning new crafts.

I hope I continue to learn and grow and change in 2015. I do hope to visit more sacred sites in 2015 than I managed this year; I want to go back to Avebury, see some long barrows, Silbury Hill again and hopefully re visit Stonehenge now it is less cluttered by a road!  And I must finish some of the WIPs in the quilting and crochet piles! I also have jewellry making kit to play with, now ;)

One thing is sure life is never dull here.

I also hope I meet up with more of you in 2015, I love meeting up with blogging buddies so please if you are in my area do get in touch and let's try to meet up :) If you "do" Facebook and want to friend me personally (as opposed to the Compost Bin Fb page)  - send me an email with your real name so I recognise you when the friend request comes in, otherwise I won't know who you are :)

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a wonderful 2015. xxx

This has been a truly great year and I can’t believe we’re on the cusp of a new one. Don’t get me wrong, the last twelve months have had their fair share of ups, downs and mega downs, but looking back … Continue reading →

Wednesday 30 December 2015

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people. Click here to see the […]

Sunday 26 April 2015

When the sun is out, there’s nothing quite like a waterside setting to make you feel relaxed and on holiday. We toyed with the idea of loading up the little old car ‘Rusty’ and heading on down to the coast, with the nervous anticipation of whether or not we would actually make it up the […]

The post Dorset’s Delicious Bits | Sturminster Mill appeared first on The Dorset Finca.

Thursday 23 April 2015

‘Don’t just count your years, make your years count.‘*    *George Meredith ‘I need a logo for the chutneys that I’m making as Christmas presents’ I said back in December 2009… And that, I guess, was the beginning of this exciting journey which is gathering pace year on year. My husband, Andy, helped me with the […]

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Unless you have had a bit of experience, are particularly green-fingered or have a very relaxed attitude, choosing a houseplant for a particular situation in the home can seem like a daunting task. ‘Will it get enough light?’ ‘Do I have to care for it a lot?’ ‘Will it actually do something?’ These are questions I often get posed […]

The post Houseplant Focus | Gerbera appeared first on The Dorset Finca.

Sunday 19 April 2015

I know I get to have lots of treats and fun times being the author of The Dorset Finca, but this was an especially fantastic treat! This week, I was welcomed into the studio of Nina Parker who is the creative genius behind Working Glass Jewellery. Not only was I supplied with a cup of […]

The post Dorset’s Delicious Bits | Working Glass Jewellery appeared first on The Dorset Finca.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were all wistfully looking at the snowdrops and daffodils, imagining what spring would actually be like when it finally arrived.  Well the last few weeks have been more resemblant of early summer, here in Dorset, rather than spring… but as the sun is shining and the weather […]

Sunday 12 April 2015

This delicious little Dorset morsel was recommended to me a few weeks ago by a friend. Even the name ‘Culpepper’s Dish’ sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? The dish is located just outside the village of Briantspuddle, which is easily found off the dual carriage way leading into Dorchester. Those of you who (like me) enjoy information […]

Friday 10 April 2015

‘Life is the flower for which love is the honey’* *Victor Hugo Those who read our last post will know that we’ve recently been to Cornwall, staying in a lovely Safari Tent with Classic Glamping… Whilst we are living the country life in London, when we do venture out on a rural holiday, we love […]

Wednesday 08 April 2015

Ok, so the warm weather arrived this week and if you’re anything like me, you had a vision of mediterranean salads with fresh herbs and large dollops of cool mozzarella. In the excitement, you may have bought fresh pots of herbs from the supermarket to line your kitchen windowsill and stood back to bask in the loveliness. […]

Sunday 05 April 2015

  … lone sparrow … A huge and chocolate-filled Happy Easter to you! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, whatever you’re up to. For us, it’s a great opportunity to mend the roof (yes, really) and start on a new garden project.  Fingers crossed that the weather will be a little calmer than it […]

Saturday 04 April 2015

Interesting batch of post for me today


The first thing to arrive in the post was this - A Cultimate from The Grumpy Gardener range. It is a new multiuse single pronged weeder that lifts the entire root of a weed in one go.

Please see the video which explain how it works.

I must admit I found it rather useful! We now have more raised beds and I found the Cultimate got dandelions out just as the video shows.

I also picked up a copy of Kitchen Garden magazine, which had some free seeds and a useful dry wipe note board. That will be useful in the polytunnel! The seeds will be added to my collection for use on my Master Composter stall at the various summer shows and events I do. I always offer the option of seed sowing when I do a stall as well as offering advice and demonstrations on composting.

Finally, I have been sent some interesting seeds to try by Marshalls Seeds. I shall get planting them   and will report back on how they grow, look and ultimately taste :)  I do like the look of them on the packets I must admit :)

I love getting surprise parcels :)

Friday 03 April 2015

I had such a fabulous time in Scotland :) Walking, canoeing, drinking wine, chatting, laughing, singing, some Forest School CPD, drinking wine, chatting, eating choklit, laughing some more get the idea!

 I am also SO pleased about the fact that I managed to go away to see my friends (who I have not seen for ages) and eat sociable meals with them even though they were not gluten or lactose intolerant so we had to make some alterations to meals ( thank you friends :) ) , drink some wine (well quite a lot of wine, actually!) and eat 100% chocolate ( I introduced them to it!) and feel in control and healthy AND come back having reduced a bit more of my weight! And do a heck of a lot of driving around in my fab new-to-me car without being TOO physically wrecked by it.

My friends were all intrigued and interested in my weight loss and my way of eating and I have lent several of the group copies of various Harcombe Diet books and pointed them to the website.  They are not overweight but were interested to investigate THD.

They all saw what I was like a year or more ago so knew of my health and weight difficulties and were astonished and delighted at how much healthier and fitter I was.

A year ago I would NEVER have been able to do a hike into the mountains for hours over rough terrain in rather adverse weather conditions  (did you see the weather forecast for the Highlands last weekend?)

Trust me, it was very wet and very windy and very cold. We had sleet/snow where I was and that is quite unusual for the Argyll and Bute region as it is temperate rainforest ( yes really!)

A year ago I would NEVER have been able to do a 4 hour sea canoe expedition in very challenging weather conditions. We were well looked after by  Ian from Argyll Voyageur Canoes who was really great and very knowledgeable of the local area, having been born and raised there.

We had a camp out at the half way stage where collectively we Forest School Leaders managed to get a basha up and a Kelly Kettle lit and a brew up made in what I can only describe as really, REALLY very challenging conditions! Horizontal hail and vertical rain and a nearly gale and 2 C with a wind chill added to that!  But IT WAS FUN :) We sang to the seals :)

This time last year  I would just not have even contemplated doing this because I knew I would have been a hindrance and not capable of doing it as it would have been dangerous for me to join in, for all concerned.

So, finding THD and sorting myself out I now have back something else I used to love to do - hiking and outdoor activities 

I loved seeing all my friends and I really had a great long weekend, even if the journey up and back down the M6 was a bit of a nightmare.

Wednesday 01 April 2015

I’ll tell you how this post came about, as it wasn’t planned at all… but I’m so pleased that it materialised in my head because it has really given the Finca a much-needed Eastery lift! I had planned to take photos of the beautiful willow with its fluffy catkins and talk about how incredible that a […]

Monday 30 March 2015

‘In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous.’* *Aristotle As the Easter holidays begin and the clocks have sprung forward to usher in the longer days, we were delighted to have been invited to review the Campion Safari Tent at Western Meadows Glamping… We try to live life to the full here […]

Sunday 29 March 2015

… a section of the original manor house … Our discovery of Fiddleford Manor was a complete, unexpected pleasure! How did I never know of its existence? I have probably driven past its little, lane entrance about a squillion times and never investigated further. What I loved most, at first sight, was the massive, free car park. […]

Thursday 26 March 2015

I am off to the Highlands of Scotland (today!) to meet up with friends, to go camping, hiking and sea canoeing. I am SO excited about this trip :)

Am going solo, so family are not with me. I am meeting up with Forest School and Outdoor Ed friends who I have not seen for years :) We are off on an Awfully Big Adventure :)  And will be doing some CPD :)

Weather forecast is a bit dire but we all have waterproofs etc  and a positive attitude so BRING IT ON is all I can say to the weather gods
Wish me luck!

Wednesday 25 March 2015

… freshly baked … It felt like a baking kind of a day yesterday and it didn’t take long for the cry of ‘ooh macaroons’ to confirm what I was to make. I had planned to spend a morning, perusing my beautiful new recipe book The Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home, over a cup of tea. I […]

Monday 23 March 2015

‘Eggs Benedict is genius. It’s eggs covered in eggs. I mean, come on, that person should be the president.’* *Wylie Dufresne We were so pleased to have been invited, again, to the Country Living Spring Fair last week… Sara was up at the Business Design Centre in Angel, Islington, for all five days of the […]

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