Tag Archives: Permaculture

A Free Festival!

16 Feb

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.” – John Keats

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Amid much conflict in the world, austerity, unemployment and strife, the seamless story of Mother Earth moves across the landscape.

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In these days of early Spring in the west of Ireland, her joyfulness plays out in the changing earth beneath our feet, as sap pushes up stems and trunks, thickening buds as it moves the life force skywards.

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Earlier mornings, filled with birdsong.

Hens back laying eggs.

Sunshine and showers.

There is a deep sense of an Ode to Joy!

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The world of man is in chaos…and always has been in one form or another.

Yet, here in Nature, Great Mother Nature, time continues in an almost unaltered way.

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I say “almost,” because, of course, Mother earth has been greatly harmed by Mankind.

Today, I do not want to write about that, but instead invoke a little of the joy that is manifesting around us all.

The earth, here in the northern hemisphere, is inviting us all to a long party.

The doors have opened, the dance has begun!

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The brown mantle of winter is now cast aside and the greening has begun.

Already there are lambs in the fields and Catkins emerging on Willow.

There are no tickets to be bought for this party…all is free!

You are even allowed to take things away from the party and bring them home…flowers, Catkins, sunshine, food and even music.

Open your doors and windows to the music…it is magical music indeed!

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Mother Earth holds no fear…she sings despite the wars.

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Mother Earth is not impoverished…she keeps giving despite austerity.

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Mother Earth cares not for politicians or governments…she will not be governed or subdued.

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Mother Earth knows no religion, for she is the great Creatrix.

Bring nothing but joy!

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The Cottage in the Woods

27 Jan

Winter edges away slowly, with lighter mornings and longer days.

The Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage have emerged this year into the Permaculture Woods.

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However, I’ve got to admit that I’ve been flagging recently!

A combination of the time of year, family commitments and basically just trying too hard to do too much!

The saying goes, “spreading yourself too thin on the ground”, or something like that…well, that’s me!

I’m done for!

I would love to take a few days off and lounge about in my Jim-Jams, but…well, you know me by now…!

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So, in keeping with the time of year I’ve been painting, cutting, tidying the land and planting.

As you can see here, the back wall of the cottage has been (almost) finished…though I’ve run out of paint and will have to colour match, as I mixed the paint from leftovers.

Still, an old cottage can get away with mismatches…shabby chic!

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The weather has been fairly mild and despite some snow earlier in the month, it’s not been too cold.

I spent some time cleaning up the steps, removing the willow fedge, as it became too shaded by overhanging trees to grow as it should and was dying off.

Clearing other parts of the land I came across yet more stone, so have tidied the edges of the steps with some dry stone walling.

This is a lovely habitat for beetles, snails and small mammals…adding to the immense biodiversity build up here over ten years.

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Some shrubs and bushes near the cottage are looking a bit unruly…these I shall neaten up before the spring is over.

Bealtaine now sits among trees and each year becomes more like the cottage in the woods.

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To be too tidy a gardener is to deny entry to your garden to many beneficial creatures, as well as food for the birds!

Here I have thrown some rotting logs in under the hedge, where all life in the vicinity will benefit. There may well be some mushrooms in the near future as well.

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The leaves of the Hypericum have kept green all winter.

I shall prune this a little to keep a shape in it, as some order near to the cottage looks pleasant.

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“…I hear the sounds of melting snow outside my window every night and with the first faint scent of spring, I remember life exists…”
John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

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“A tree can be tempted out of its winter dormancy by a few hours of southerly sun—the readiness to believe in spring is stronger than sleep or sanity.”
Amy Leach, Things That Are 

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Aquilegia has begun to grow…this is one of the first flowers of Spring and great for early rising bees.

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The all too tidy gardener will also miss these wonderful flowerings of Moss on small standing stones.

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And leaves that are busy creating woodland paths in a garden evolving fast into much welcome woodland.

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I keep the stove in the sitting room burning as I work outside, for it’s a welcoming and warm place to retreat to now and again.

Just to sit by the fire is relaxing.

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And one learns over the years to pace oneself…knowing when it’s time to down tools and go indoors…this I need to remember to do a little more!

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There’s a heap of work to get through before settling down for the evening.

And, as a gorgeous girl in a big dress once said, “Tomorrow is another day!”

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I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 870 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as over 110 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!

If you wish to put a tip in the hat, just click below…it’s greatly appreciated, believe me!

Blessings

The Economy of Resilience

10 Jan

During 2014, much of what we assumed to be reality was turned on it’s head.

The great recovery of the economy turned out to be a case of a great slump in China, the economic barometer of the western world.

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For, if we are not buying consumer goods, it reflects in China’s economic growth.

It became apparent, early on in the year, that China had cut back on it’s imports of raw materials…as for the rest, it does not take a room full of economists to work it out!

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Through all of this, for my part at least, growth excelled here at Bealtaine Cottage.

 Mother Earth, now in full recovery in this little portal, happily gave of her best and settled into her annual rest.

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It was a year of proof.

Proof that resilience is our greatest ally!

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Resilience and the building of this great economy, is possible for all, through the application of basic Permaculture principles.

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To begin with, waste does not exist…everything has a value.

This cottage and three acres used to have a septic tank.

It now boasts a compost toilet.

The thousand plus trees I planted are grateful for the waste that myself and visitors produce.

In return to the economy of the cottage, the stove benefits from timber, my purse benefits from not having to pay a septic tank inspection charge and the soil is improved year on year.

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That, in a nutshell, is an example of applied Permaculture, shielding both myself and Mother Earth from the vagaries and demands of an economic model which is killing us all.

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We invented waste as part of the economic model we follow in the west…now fast encroaching on all other countries.

This was not how people lived before the 20th century.

Read history…even the bed Shakespeare slept in formed part of the estate bequeathed in his will.

For that matter, his coat and garments also formed his estate!

In other words, nothing was considered to be waste!

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Building resilience into one’s life is creating revolution against a system we know to be destroying the future.

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For my part,  Vive La Revolution!

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Donations, no matter how small, go a long way in sustaining and developing this Ad-free website and YouTube Channel, with over 1,000 blogs and videos posted from Bealtaine Cottage.

Blessings

Permaculture Works…A Ten Year Transformation!

8 Jan

Just over ten years ago I bought a derelict cottage standing on three acres of wet, rush-infested, north-facing land.

This is how I transformed it, using only Permaculture and my own labour.

See for yourself and share the magic!

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Bealtaine Cottage wheelbarrow to compost heap

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Bealtaine Cottage sign

Manifesting the Divine Feminine

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Year One…the pond and stream beds were dug and the water has flowed ever since!

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Looking out on a May evening...

Looking out on a May evening…

For the past fifteen or so years, Mother Earth has been communicating with us in a powerful and energetic way.

She wants us to plant her, nurture her and most of all recognise her for the Great Mother she is.

I heard her over ten years ago.

I write about her and photograph her magical ways every day, uploading to bealtainecottage.com several times a week, to be her voice and advocate.

The energy is quickening.

We live in wonderful times.

Chocolate Brownies on a Frosty Morning

28 Dec

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The oven was very hot on the wood stove last night.

As I watched the thermostat creep forever upwards, I imagined it to be a sign…to make a batch of Vegan Chocolate Brownies…never waste a hot oven!

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And so I quickly got the ingredients together from the pantry and whipped up a tray and a half of these delicious, and extremely nutritious, treats.

I went to bed safe in the knowledge that the morning would be filled with hot coffee and chocolate brownies…and it is!

The recipe?… I hear you ask!

Well, here goes…

Vegan Chocolate Brownies

1 can coconut milk

Half a glass of organic millet (I use a half pint glass)

150g chopped dates

Mix together in a saucepan and cook slowly on low heat for about 40 minutes

Meanwhile…

Mix and mash in a big bowl:

3 ripe bananas (I buy the brown bananas very cheap!)

half a glass of cocoa powder

4 tblsps sunflower oil

3 tblsps cornflour

1 tsp baking soda

Mix both mixtures together when ready.

At this stage I add oats, sesame seeds and other healthy seeds and grains I may have to hand..in total about 2-4 ozs

Spoon into a big baking tray and set walnuts on top.

Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes.

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And there you have it…no animal products whatsoever and very healthy!

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Meanwhile, Sammy Bear and Charlie are making full use of the dresser, as Jack has taken to sneaking their food!

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The day was just gorgeous yesterday, all sunshine and rainbows.

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With the diversity of planting comes lots of winter colour, as you can see…much more interesting than a lawn!

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All this and wood for the stove!

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Complete with a rainbow!

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This morning is very cold and frosty, but equally beautiful.

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With fresh coffee and brownies, it is idyllic!

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The stove is lit and the kettle sings low.

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There is a small stretch in the days…about 15 minutes per week is added to daylight after the Solstice!

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The frost is welcome as it will help in breaking down garden waste and allowing it to be taken down into the earth by the worms and insects.

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There are plenty of leaves all over the gardens waiting to be dealt with in this way.

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Never clear a winter garden, or cut back too early!

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Each Bealtaine Cottage blog consists of about two hours work.

Thanks so much to those who have donated and for supporting this website!

If you would like to make a donation of appreciation, then I thank you most sincerely.

Blessings

The Year Ahead…Be prepared!

25 Dec

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When I was growing up it was an expectation to be free from debt, ie: mortgage, loans, etc., by the time near retirement.

What has in fact proved to be reality is quite the opposite.

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Whereas “debt” was once perceived to be a shameful state, it is now considered to be the absolute norm!

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We have been asleep at the wheel, as we have been suckered into a system where we are little more than Serfs.

So what is a “Serf” I hear you ask?

Wikipedia sums it up thus: Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the Lord of the Manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence.

Indebtedness, in other words, is the key to not owning one’s own existence.

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Many of my friends and family are waking up to the fact that theirs is a debt-based existence. Some have confided in me, that they will have to stay in work past official retirement age, in order to service the inflated mortgage they are now tied to.

Once in retirement, the family home will have to be sold!

And this, at a time when many adult children are moving back into the family home!

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In past blogs I have offered advice in terms of the practical adjustments you can make to your home in order to make it easier and cheaper to run.

If you have a huge mortgage, think of selling while prices are fairly high.

Trade down to something small and affordable.

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Land, no matter how small, once bought and paid for, will be a great buffer against the vagaries of the present crumbling financial system.

If you continue to live in the cities, pressurize your local politicians for Allotments and Community Gardens, where food can be grown and a sense of self-support maintained.

This approach has proved itself already in post-Soviet Russia and in Cuba as well as other countries.

Here’s a link to how Permaculture ensured continued food support to the people of Cuba in a time of sanctions…yes, it works!

https://www.transitionnetwork.org/stories/chris-bird/2014-01/permaculture-gathering-cuba

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Creating a Food Pantry can help you take full advantage of storing food, as well as making the most of supermarket offers to help offset the rising costs we are facing into!

Pay off your debts and try to avoid any loans, plastic cards etc.

Keep a housekeeping book, tracking all your income and outgoings, so as you can grab more control of your life.

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All this will take time, so it’s best to make a start as soon as you can.

There are, however, two simple skills you can learn, to make a practical start to the New Year ahead.

The first is easy and will save you a small fortune, as well as increasing your good health…teach yourself to make some of the best food ever…Soup.

Home made soup is a meal in itself.

…and Bread, for good home made bread is the “Staff of Life!”

We are facing into an uncertain future in terms of economic stability…Be Prepared!

The Great Collapse

13 Nov

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The great collapse of society, as we know it, is under way.

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Most people are unaware of this.

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Every aspect of controlled living is the same as ever it was.

Sammy-Bear says "Hello!"

The television keeps pumping out much of the same.

Supermarkets hum with shoppers.

Christmas lights flicker in shopping centres.

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The madness of more predominates a world in crisis.

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The populations of countries, channelled to look one way, as governments and the one percent carry on their relentless rendition of acquisition and destruction.

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Look at how we live compared to a few decades ago…

There is no longer a mentality of saving for one’s heart’s desire.

All is instant, right down to the way we satisfy our hunger.

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Hunger?

Merely a concept to most people in the western world.

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I dare not say developed, for that implies evolved and the fact is, we are not in the least bit evolved!

We devour resources, as we revolve.

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Society is revolving on a mad merry-go-round of consumption.

Revolving, not evolving!

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We all know, in our mere moments of sanity, that this cannot go on.

Eco-systems around us are collapsing.

Species extinction is a runaway train-wreck.

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Another Christmas looms, as people prepare to celebrate the birth of a baby with an orgy of consumerism!

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We should take a bit more notice of that collapse and extinction, for anyone with common sense knows who’s next!

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Future generations will look back upon this time and refer to it as the Great Collapse, much in the same way as we refer to the death of millions in The Great War.

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And, as we all know, there was nothing great about it!

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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…I have posted over 120 videos about Permaculture, Sustainable living practice, planting, growing and living.

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written almost 800 blogs on this Bealtaine Cottage website.

As an advocate for Mother Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living Practice, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU.

Everything created here is self-funded, with a little support from occasional donations..

Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.

Blessings
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