Tuesday 01 January 2013

We had a lovely Christmas with all the young ones back in the nest.
 We got our tree from a local farm and had great fun choosing which we should go for. 

Typically we all wanted a LARGE tree but had to remember that if the tree looked big in the shed then it was going to be humungous and too tall for home. Also we wouldn't be able to get it home! Whatever we bought had to fit in the car

 When unpacking the tree we found a birds nest near the bottom . I hope we didn't make any birds homeless for christmas. My son pointed out that in the cold they often hunker down in nests. I just hope this was a vacant one!
 Once the tree was decorated the cat was quick off the mark  and procured himself the best seat in the house-

I made hampers again filled with homemade goodies including a fun christmas apron and a variety of preserves including seville marmalade ( I started last January), apple and chilli jam  ( lovely a sweet with a delayed kick), autumn chutney ( made with some difficulty as at the time of making only one of the rings on the hob was working and that was the small one- It took some time to get the right consistency.) I also included a jar of luxury dried fruits soaked in Sherry- lovely with ice-cream and last but not least a jar of satsuma and cranberry relish which has been highly recommended!
I parcelled them all up in the brown bags as above. My daughter helped stencil them. The bags were saved from work- deliveries arrive in them and usually they are binned. I really wanted to reuse them and so came up with this idea. I  am really quite pleased with the outcome! and also very enviromentally friendly!

 Elder daughter wanted the cat to have a Christmas outfit and so she made him a bow tie with a velcro fastening- Cute eh? He actually didn't mind - I think he just loves being fussed over!

 We had a trip down memory lane with plastic soldiers and little dolls-

 I think Tinkerbell and friend have had tooo much to drink !

We had scratch cards with our crackers on Christmas day- ( now that they are all old enough) and that apparently made my younger daughters day!_ even though she didn't win any money!Ohh I nearly forgot I wore my apron on Christmas day from Mrs Thomasina Tittlemouse's giveaway earlier this year. Its soo pretty and is very much prized!

Cheers to you Mrs Tittlemouse - hoping you had a lovely Christmas! I  am soooo looking forward to catching up on all my blog reading and finding out about everyones festive time!

Thats just a brief snapshot of our Christmas- hoping you had a christmas full of memories too!!
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Happy New Year everyone! I wish you everything for 2013 that you wish yourselves! Let's hope it's a dry year too! At least today is lovely, weatherwise. We are popping out later (more of that soon!) but for now, here are the girls, pootling about in the garden

Happy New Year! I wonder what 2013 will have in store for us all?  Lots of happiness and fun times …

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Sunday 30 December 2012

Look! First wintery shoots. Spring is on its way surely! Ok, I’ll hold my horses. …but it is terrifically exciting …

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Friday 28 December 2012

We love Baddesley Clinton! It was the first National Trust property we visited after taking up our membership, so it has a special place in our hearts. It is also open all over Christmas, and we couldn't resist visiting just to see the Christmassy decorations. I also wanted to try...

I pruned… I battled aphids… …all to see if I could still have a flowering rose on Christmas Day.  Would …

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One year ago, today, I collected 7 very sad looking ex battery hens from the Hereford BHWT rescue hub.

Two looked ok ish but the other 5 were very bare and very sad. They were virtually bald and in shock and two were seriously injured - one with a broken, trailing wing and one with a leg she was holding up off the ground with a crabbed claw and a horrible limp.

We restored all to good health and they had several months of lovely life here as proper free range hens. Two (Attilla and Coriander) were given to a friend who lives nearby. (Sadly she lost them in a fox attack in April)

The other five ex battery hens stayed here, scratching in the wood and garden with my other hens but in April Mrs Fox and her cubs killed 3 of them, along with my six pure breed hens 

So I was left with only three hens - two of the Christmas 2011 ex battery hens plus Nutmeg, very old, very wise hen, hand reared by us in early 2008.

In May 2012 I added five more ex barn hens  and still have four of them, and the seven ginger hens live as a  happy flock and are a delight to look after  - such sweet hens and all such characters.

So today, from the original 7 ex battery hens a year ago I still have Yarrow ( aka Limpy Chicken) and Marjoram - rescued from 18 months of unimaginable cruelty - of being in a tiny cage in virtually constant artificial light (except for an hour or so of darkness), unable to flap, stretch or dustbathe - no scratching in litter or laying in a nest or roosting, never mind digging in the soil for a worm or feeling the sunshine on their feathers. Caged, egg laying machines.

Consigned, at the end of their economic egg laying life ( still laying well, just not well enough for the battery system)  to certain death and being made into ( for example) cat meat. And then kind people rescued them from this fate and took them to a barn near Hereford for people like us to take home and love.

 Yarrow the day after rescue.

I HATE the cage bird system and I believe that giving an ex caged hen even one minute ( hour, day, week, month)  which holds love, kindness and freedom for her, more than she EVER had in her previous existance, must make it a worthwhile thing to do for her . When we adopt a caged hen it has to have a good impact on her, even if she only lives a few days in freedom and comfort and love.

Marjoram the day after rescue

Marjoram hen is still going strong, bright and beautiful and laying an egg for us every other day, even now.

Yarrow hen is now slowly "winding down"  - there is nothing obviously wrong with her, but she has had a year of health and freedom and love - and for an ex cage bird that means a lot.


Happy Henniversary my lovely girls and fond thoughts for your feathery sisters who died in April in The Great Fox attacks   - Comfrey ( aka Flappy chicken), Cumin, Marigold, Attilla and Coriander.

May your days be filled with mealworms, corn, chasing the cats, finding worms and snoozing in the barn.

Thursday 27 December 2012

I feel blessed, despite having had a virus for all of December, and finally coming down with flu on 20th, I have had a lovely Christmas. I have lovely friends who have given me thoughtful and quirky cards and presents, mum cooked a wonderful meal for us all, and I...

Wednesday 26 December 2012

 Lovely books :-)

 A tall lamp to help me with crafting :-)

A lovely Amber necklace

And a fab pair of crafting shears for cutting material :-)

 The feathery laydees all got special hot mash as a Christmas dinner - separate bowls to avoid any bullying(!)

Marjoram is the only hen still laying at the moment - all the others are either getting too old or are moulting

Yarrow hen ( aka Limpy Chicken) is winding down now we think - not ill but after a year with us out of the cages she is beginning to look very tired. But she still enjoys sunshine, mealworms, cuddles and food so not a bad life.

The wood is absolutely sodden underfoot - you can't really see it in this photo but there is standing water all over the ground, even though it is on top of a slight hill!

A rare glimpse of blue sky and sun, shinimg on the willows by the pool

A shamefully neglected veg garden but it is too wet to even consider walking on the soil, so it will have to stay looking untidy for a bit longer.

After I did these outside chores and Compostgirl had fed her Guinea Pigs ( they got special food as well!)

We settled down for an afternoon of eating, drinking, reading and watching TV.

Hope you all had a lovely day, we certainly did :-)

Tuesday 25 December 2012


Monday 24 December 2012

Well the world did NOT end, the Sun rose again on the Shortest Day,  and we even had a dry and sunny day here for Yule.

Our tree is now up in the sitting room, decorated and smelling of fragrant pine. The other decorations are all in place, the woodburner has been keeping us warm and cosy 24/7 for the last few weeks - good job we have lots of wood available :-)

We have all sorted out our presents to each other - things we all want and will enjoy. We have lots of food and drink in the house, the animals are all bedded down warm and fed outside and indoors the three cats are basking on the rug in front of the woodburner.

Roast Ribs of beef for us here for Christmas dinner ( yum) and a lazy day enjoying books, music, tv and a few drinks just us as a family. The only outside work which has to be done is looking after the chickens and guinea pigs - who will get special food and extra cuddles for Christmas :-)

Best wishes to all of you my lovely readers, have a wonderful time and I look forward to you visiting The Compost Bin in 2013 - hopefully it will be a drier, more succesful growing year for us all :-)

Compostwoman  xxx

Just a quick hello to wish all my friends, family and faithful followers a very Happy Christmas!
See you all very soon.
C x x x 

Saturday 22 December 2012

Happy Christmas! Here’s to toasty fires, mulled wine, crazy family games and lazy afternoon film sessions. Hope you all have …

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Friday 21 December 2012

And on earth peace to all Hens! With love for a very Happy Christmas and every blessing for the New Year, From all at Hen Corner By subscribing (box right) you’ll never miss a thing!   Have a good week yourself… Join us on the Journey!

Tuesday 18 December 2012

I always used to go and see Status Quo when they toured before Christmas each year. It was a great party atmosphere, and much jumping about and singing at the top of ones voice was done by all! Haven't been for at least 15 years though so when I saw...

Sunday 16 December 2012

We have Freesat HD and Freeview HD ( not Sky - never Sky!) and a pvr so we often all "timeslip" interesting programmes to watch later - Compostman and I recently watched a film during the day called "Lone Star" which was most enjoyable. We have all enjoyed GBBO, Countryfile, Andrew Marr's History of the World and all sorts of other programmes at other times than the programmes were actually broadcast.

And, like most young people of her age Compostgirl LOVES watching TV.  A suprising hit for us all, though,  was "Wolfblood" and "Wizards vs Aliens" on CBBC - but given that we all love Dr Who, perhaps not so surprising!

We do not go out to the cinema (too far away and too expensive, frankly, for us) and when our old TV died this summer we thought hard about our replacement and decided to treat ourselves to a large ish, 3 D TV (which came with a free Blu ray 3 D player as well as being a smart hub so allows us to connect to any stuff recorded on the the network computer hard drive, upstairs)

This new TV gave us huge fun during the Olympics/Paralympic ( the opening/closing  ceremony in 3 D was amazing!) and has meant we occasionally host very sociable film watching sessions for friends. Puss in Boots in 3 D was especially good!

We could have just bought a cheaper tv or not got one at all ( which we did seriously consider) but the pleasure we have had out of this new TV is surprising.

Lots of stuff stacked up to watch over the dark winter nights :-)

At the moment we are enjoying The GBBO masterclasses ( oh how I *love* Paul Hollywood!) and also are catching up on Wartime Farm and will record the Wartime Farm Christmas show.

Looking forward to "Mr Stink" in 3D on Sunday 23 Dec. If it is as good as the book (which Compostgirl has read)  she assures me it will be worth watching!

Friday 14 December 2012

It is horrible outside here today in deepest Herefordshire - well as horrible as our lovely county ever can be!

Cold, dark and with a biting rain which makes every one feel damp and miserable.

The hens declined to come out of the Mega Hen Pen today, prefering to stay inside their run rather than brave the cold, damp wood and garden. I think that is a first for this batch of ex battery/ex barn hens - so far they have been amazingly keen to stand outside in the most horrible of weather

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Back again after a long break (from blogging, sorry)! 
Let me start with a little something I treated myself to a couple of weeks ago.  Have long been a fan of Sesame Street, no idea why, but there you go.  In particular, Elmo! So when I saw this on ebay, how could I resist??!

So, onto the Christmas fair!  It was really good and I did very well.  I will not be eating jam for the next 12 months, so that is one of the many positives!

The pictures aren't great, as I used my iphone, but you get the idea!

My chocolate snowmen did really well, just posted 4 off to Denmark! 
 I only made 12 mini Christmas cakes this year and sold them all! Should have made more, but will remember for next year!

 Since I can remember, I would visit a Christmas market every year when seeing my Gran and Family in Germany.  One thing they all have in common is sugared almonds.  Always wrapped in paper cones and always delish!  I stumbled upon a recipe and gave it a twirl.  20 minutes the recipe said.  They lied.  After sweating for 45, not able to leave the pan for fear of burning the sugary almonds, I started stripping off.  Easier said that done, when you have to keep stirring!

Stanley the Rayburn did a good job, but gets so hot!  I ended up in a tshirt and pants, - a nice mental image for you all there, just as the familiar smell hit me! Perfect almonds, cinnamon and vanilla, brought back wonderful memories.  I even found instructions on making the paper cones.

Talking of Stanley, I have sussed out how to use the hob part now.  Pans are no problem, but after 13 months and a couple of over-cooked-but-raw-in-the-middle cakes (and a wonderful vanilla and sultana cake burning as I type) I simply cannot work out the main oven!  It is driving me mad.  Seeing as the Rayburn is on now for the winter, it makes sense to use it for cooking, as well as heating the house, but I can't seem to cook anything in the oven.  The temperature gauge is wrong, so I tweak the controls and guesstimate the cooking times, but it is dreadful!

I have 2 more Christmas puddings, 5 bags of pistachio fudge and 2 jars of sparkly cranberry jam to deliver and then I am done!  Today was spent 'Postman Pat' style sorting out parcels to send.  These are the wrapped puds, simple, but country.  I like the look. Very me. 
I had to go into Town today.  Ran out of brown parcel paper!  I know, so unlike me.  Anyway, after dodging 3 'could you spare 7 hours to answer a few questions'? type people, I was nearly run down by a clinically obese man in a motorised scooter.  Followed by his huge wife and colossal daughter.  Possibly  a deal at the mobility shop, 3 for 2?  Must be hereditary I thought. Until I saw them blockading McDonalds and the staff in a frenzy!   
People milling around Poundland asking how much is this?? Spending their dole money in Ladbrookes.  I really hate going into Town.  
Now, may I be candid?  Apologies to my Mum who will read this and anyone of a nervous disposition, but I have to get something off my chest.

I went to the Doctors today.  It seems I have a mild kidney/bladder infection, 'probably caused by not drinking enough'.  Apparently, tea doesn't count.  Even though it is 3 weeks and 4 days since my last diet coke, I need to drink more water.  Now, infections of this delicate nature (and bloody pain in my lower back) are not that common in men.  So, my Doctor suggested I visit the local GUM clinic - Google it, I do not wish to go into details here.....

I was given antibiotics and a covering letter which went as follows -

Dear Colleague,

Christian a 38 year old AIRLINE STEWARD, appears to be suffering from duyeyvgagvchjavhcdwcvgvitis (I seriously cannot read it).  Please could you conduct a full screen.

Now, firstly, I am 31 and a few months, cough, and secondly, what has my job got to do with anything??  Would he write 'a 38 year old cashier in Waitrose'???  What exactly is he implying?  I am a flying mattress???

We had a long discussion about my sex life.  Well, I'll be honest, we talked about the hens, my 'new dog', oh and how cold it was outside, for longer.  The sex life talk was along these lines....

Doctor - 'so, when was the last time you were sexually active'?

Me - 'erm.....'

Doctor - 'Just a rough idea'?

Me - 'I can give you the decade....'

So what exactly am I going to the GUM clinic for??

Not only do I have to live with the shame of having to visit the 'clap clinic' but I need to ask them how Quilting, dog walking and jam making could possibly lead to an STI?

A friend said they deal with people's waterworks as well as 'infections down there'.  Very reassuring.

On to a more festive, and less embarrassing, topic - you see how I give everything to my loyal readers??  Read it now, while you get a chance, I might delete this post tomorrow, when the effects of the pistachio fudge have worn off - I have put up my outside lights at Bramble Cottage!  The neighbours haven't, but I don't care.  I will force the Festive season on all!  They are on a timer, so I can spread Christmas joy when I am away with work.

Tomorrow is operation Christmas.  The house needs a sprinkling of festiveness, so the garlands, baubles and lights will be coming out (and promptly put away if Milo takes a shine to them...

I am seriously behind with my Christmas shopping.  Nearly done, but it is the 11th and I haven't wrapped a single present.  The cards were posted today - one tip, don't put your cards for your neighbours in the pile of cards to be posted.  Yes, I did post cards titled 'Sue and Dudley' and 'Colin and Jo' with no addresses.  Didn't even see the point in asking the postman to give them back when he opened the box. It is against the Holy Postal vow......

Milo has been a joy!  I took him for a really long walk yesterday and he came back every time I whistled!  Progress.  I won't ever stop him chasing rabbits, deer or crows, but that is terriers for you.  I was so proud of him. Gave him extra treats and cuddles!

Today, he bloody well ignored me.

A frosty morning shot - he is just like me and hates having his pictures taken.

I will leave you now but will be back soon!  Back to work on Friday - all day in Frankfurt to visit the Christmas market, then Glasgow for the night and some awful standby and then a couple of weeks off - all over Christmas!!

C x x x

I really have to share the most wonderful comment I have recieved from Bosch UK

BoschUK said...  We wanted to swing on by your blog
To wish you the very best
We’re glad to hear you’re both recovering
After your long period of home-rest

When we read of compostman’s ill health
And that you’d injured your back too
Here at Bosch we were deeply concerned
Not quite knowing what to do

So we’re relieved to hear all’s well
And we’re penning you this ditty
We hope it cheers you up
Despite it not being very witty!

You wrote about stocking up
For the cold winter months ahead
Which is a wise thing indeed to do
When you’re curled up snug in bed

Our Worcester-Bosch heating solutions
Can make your home all cosy
Whilst you look outside with gardener’s pride
Upon your flowers nice and rosy

Your recipe for Frugal Soup
Inspired our home appliance team
To take our Bosch blender from the shelf
And cook-up a tasty dream

We ran out of fresh celery
But added extra courgette
It tasted really gorgeous but…
Not as good as yours, we bet!

Your comfrey plant fertiliser
Also made us pay attention
Our Gardening Tool division is
Into compost mineral retention

Your amazing How2 Guides
Really are a genuine find
The fact that you’ve published them online
Show’s that you’re really kind

You work incredibly hard
Growing vegetables for all…
7 Chickens, 3 Cats, 3 Guinea Pigs
All creatures great and small
We’re envious of Herefordshire because
the volunteer work in which you partake
Should be spread across the nation
As should the compost that make

The sweet smelling organic fertiliser
Once spread upon the ground
Reminds us of our own brand
(because Bosch Is All Around)

Hope you enjoyed that (come on over and say hello on Facebook or Twitter!

Omlet Cartoon