Replacing Fear and Hopelessness with Fearlessness and Joy.

washing on the line at Bealtaine Cottage

The washing is on the line, as there’s a great breeze between the light showers and sunshine.

There is no washing machine or tumble drier here at Bealtaine Cottage, so a little barter or exchange takes place when the washing basket is full…which happens when I’m too busy to wash laundry daily.

A good friend did 3 loads of washing in exchange for a few kilos of blackcurrants from the freezer.

Jam making is under way at her house!

Blackcurrants in the freezer at Bealtaine CottageFrozen blackcurrants make a better tasting jam, as the enzymes have already begun to break down the sugars in the fruit.

recycling fish boxes for seed grwoing in the tunnel at Bealtaine CottageThe same friend brought me a stack of polystyrene fish boxes, that were to be thrown away at the market.

These make excellent seed boxes as you can see in the tunnel today, I have been busy sowing seeds and potting on.

Seed growing in the polytunnel in late April at Bealtaine CottageI lay the boxes on the soil as the warm earth will keep an ambient temperature over-night.

Plants and pots are packed into every available space in the tunnel today.

permaculture at Bealtaine cottage

People are angry with the governments who refuse to listen!

A petition was presented to the UK government recently, highlighting the concerns we all have for the health of bees.

It was ignored.

Governments are there to serve us.

The politicians are our servants.

They need to be reminded!Bees are the workforce of Mother Nature!

 

Buddha at Bealtaine Cottage Ireland

Aquilegia, Valerian and pot lilies surround Buddha in the potager beds today.

I will leave you with these wise words from Dr Vandana Shiva, my inspiration…

“[How do I do it?] Well, it’s always a mystery, because you don’t know why you get depleted or recharged. But this much I know. I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities, just that itself creates new potential. And I’ve learned from the Bhagavad-Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of what I do, because those are not in my hands. The context is not in your control, but your commitment is yours to make, and you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment about where it will take you. You want it to lead to a better world, and you shape your actions and take full responsibility for them, but then you have detachment. And that combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge, because I don’t cripple myself, I don’t tie myself in knots. I function like a free being. I think getting that freedom is a social duty because I think we owe it to each not to burden each other with prescription and demands. I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.” ― Vandana Shiva

April Snow, Bees and Butterflies

April  Bealtaine Cottage pond gardenApril weather is always unpredictable.

Snow fell this morning…in between rain and brilliant sunshine!

It was like a convergence of all the seasons in one morning!

April permaculture rhubarb at Bealtainecottage 016This time last year we were swimming in the Atlantic Ocean down by Mullaghmore Pier.

Legs and arms, uncovered for the first time in months, looked a sickly white in shorts and T-shirts.

April 2011 permaculture cottage 022The apple blossom was fully out and the season was about a month ahead of what was expected.

This year, the season is late.

About 4-6 weeks in some parts of the garden!

April  Bealtaine Cottage PolytunnelHowever, the polytunnel is really paying for itself, as I have all the fruit and veg in pots, growing big and strong and ready for when the weather settles down and all danger of frost has passed!

April Bealtaine Cottage permaculture GardensI have been hauling more and more stone from the edges of the land, into specific areas, where the passive solar heat trapped in the stone will help growth in annual crops, creating micro-climates.

As the season is late, it allows more time for me to catch up with the bigger tasks here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Always looking for the silver lining!

Bealtaine Cottage Gardens  in April 2011 001The Bats are out from hibernation and yesterday, as I walked down the lane-way, a butterfly fluttered just ahead of me, for most of the walk.

The bees are flitting from one heavily laden Ribes bush to another…their end of hibernation feast!

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The EU are making it against the law to save and share seed…

This is not a petition asking the EU for anything, but one that sends a clear, sharp message…We Will Not Comply!

A shot across the bow!

Please sign and share…

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_Will_Not_Comply/?wCgoWbb

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Me, You and the EU!

 

Missy Cat sleeps on the bed at Bealtaine CottageThe EU are trying to ban Heritage Seeds!

Bealtaine Cottage SeedsThere is a new regulation in the making as I type that will ban, yes, BAN, all old and rare varieties of seeds.

Bealtaine Cottage VerandaNot only ban these seeds of biodiversity and extreme importance to the health of the land and Nature, but will, in effect, threaten the exchange of seeds as I have been doing over recent months.

Old church pew at Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThis ban will also prevent seeds of diversity from being sold!

So, the EU wants us all to bow down before Monsanto?

Well, I for one, will not!

Bealtaine Cottage Seeds from David in the USThe EU should be banning this monster called Monsanto and all the seeds of death it produces, not our seed heritage, nurtured and passed onto us by our grandparents!

Bealtaine Cottage standing stone in permaculture gardens“Monsanto’s GMO seed is neither ecological nor economic or socially sustainable. It is eco–cide and genocide.” ~ Dr Vandana Shiva

Bealtaine Cottage thinning trees“The courage to say no to unjust law…the law that says a farmer cannot save seed!” ~ Dr Vandana Shiva

Bealtaine Cottage potage beds in the permaculture gardensThere was another great Indian leader called Gandhi and what he had to say resonates very much with me today…and I shall heed his advice!

As Gandhi taught us, the most important assets we have are self governance, self sustaining agriculture and ability to speak truth to power!

I will not comply!

Will you?

 

I have also uploaded a video about this…

 

 

 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

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The No Dig, No Till Garden

Amethyst Horn at Bealtaine CottageBealtaine Cottage is a permaculture smallholding, as followers of this blog know.

In permaculture we mulch, mulch and carry on mulching, building up the soil as we go.Bealtaine Cottage potager bed

Over the past two years I have been creating Potager gardens near the back of the cottage, using stone found on the land to create raised beds.

Bealtaine Cottage making the Potager beds June 2012 005Into these beds I have packed raw wool, compost, ash, leaf mould and shredding…lots and lots, layer upon layer, of shredding.

Plants are planted into bottomless pots onto the top of all this, so their roots can spread down deep into the goodness!

Bealtaine Cottage Potager bedThis year has seen the extending of these beds to cover yet more of the gravel.

The most useful tool in the permaculture gardens is the shredder!

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds and BuddhaI pile the shredding on the soil, wherever there are plants growing, spreading it around the base and everywhere in-between.

Beaten earth floor in ploytunnel at Bealtaine CottageNot only does this suppress the weeds, but it feeds the soil and therefore the plants.

You can see this practice at work here in the tunnel.

April 2013 Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageAfter a few weeks, the shredding take on the dark look of soil, making it look like the soil has been just tilled…it has not!

permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage, No digCaring for 3 acres, I can assure you that I do not dig and I have no one who helps!

Does it work? …see for yourself.

No sore back and an abundance of food!

Bealtaine Cottage potager garden

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An Irish Ark

Lunaria, Honesty in the permaculture tunnel

Lunaria and Fennel in the tunnel today.

The Latin name Lunaria means “moon-like” and refers to the decorative seed-pods.

It’s warm and dry and great for working outdoors.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe clothes line is heavy with clothes moving gently in the breeze…a perfect Spring day!

I do not own an electric dryer, or a washing machine.

Washing clothes by hand in Spring water leaves them soft and smelling beautifully.

Buds on the Damson tree in the permaculture gardens

The Damson tree is now in blossom, with a strong prospect of plentiful fruit.

Cherry and Apple trees are almost ready to break blossom!

Euphorbia in a barrel

Euphorbia in a barrel outside the veranda today.

The lime green of the flowers are so joyful at this time of year!

That’s Valerian coming up at the front of the barrel.

Primroses at Bealtaine Cottage

Primroses on the driveway this morning.

I have never seen this many Primroses in bloom across the permaculture gardens.

There has been a huge amount of self-seeding over recent years and, with the absence of livestock, plants have grown and flourished in abundance!

I believe that there are more species of plants in the 3 acres of Bealtaine Cottage than anywhere else in Ireland.

Many of these are indigenous and some even rare!

It will be an interesting study to complete, when cataloguing all the plant life here.

Bealtaine Cottage  badger settBealtaine Cottage is evolving into an Ark of sorts, where many species are protected from livestock, chemicals, pesticides and the urge to dominate Nature!

Looking at the picture above of the Badger sett here in the gardens, Mr and Mrs badger will testify to that!

Hens in the permaculture gardens

The hens are out in the sunshine, just basking on the grass.

They have begun to lay eggs and appear to be quite content.

Bealtaine Cottage entrance to the fairy dell woodland

The Fairy Wood in summer…just about 8 weeks away from Midsummer!

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You Feel It Too…Don’t You?

Bealtain Cottage Permaculture Gardens...Ribes

Something quite extraordinary is happening.

Bealtaine Cottage foxgloveMore and more people are finding words to express it.

Rhubarb at Bealtaine permacultureThe Great Mother, Our Earth, is in contact with us.

Bealtaine CottageI heard her voice nine years ago, as she led me here.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardensThere were no words at that point, that could articulate, the reasons for why I changed my life or my thinking.

Bealtaine Cottage spring wellI have had to immerse myself, into the rhythm of the seasons, for the words to be  formed.

barn window reflection Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 015I imagined, at first, that I was on my own and it was a personal journey.

 Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 005These past few years, writing this diary of Bealtaine Cottage, have led me to understand I am not alone.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureA growing swell of people are being contacted…not by anything from beyond this Earth, but from a power deep within the Earth itself… the life force of the planet.

Shabby chic at Bealtaine CottageWe are being guided, just as a mother guides her child, towards safety.

Buddha at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe perception of separation from our Mother has gone, as we awaken and expand the collective consciousness that connects us to her.

Angel at Bealtaine CottageMy friend David from the United States reminded me of this today.

Mother and childa at Bealtaine CottageWe are not alone…

 

 

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The Rise and Rise of Famine Farms

Before permaculture. Bealtaine CottageI describe monoculture  practice as creating “Famine Farms” for bees and wildlife…becoming places of slow starvation for all.

I recall thinking this when first beginning to plant out the permaculture gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

As you can see from the place as it looked then, it was bereft of food for anything!

Bealtaine Cottage potage beds in the permaculture gardensWalking around the gardens of Bealtaine during the Spring and Summer, watching bees forage in the blossom, frogs delight in the ponds and listening to the birds sing out a mighty chorus, makes me think of the dire situation these creatures face in the monoculture world of modern farming.

Bealtaine Cottage barnThe average person knows little of bees and their importance to all life as we know it.

It forms part of the massive disconnect going right through the core of society.

Bealtaine Cottage Buddleia flowers for the butterflies and beesIn much the same way that medical doctors have a two week slot on diet and nutrition, during their four year medical training, farmers are unaware of much of the way in which the food chain operates around them and, in particular, the intricacies of Nature.

Bealtaine Cottage hanging baskets in the trees...a slug free zoneWithin western culture, religion teaches us that we are placed here to have dominion over Nature.

Such arrogance is reprehensible as we gather more and more knowledge of the decline and loss of habitat of life as we know it!

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds and BuddhaIt is widely held that our increasing use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, which honeybees ingest during their daily pollination rounds, are largely to blame for the continuing decline of the bees.

Many people point to the proliferation of  genetically modified crops, which may generate pollen with compromised nutritional value.

The list of who and what is to blame goes on…

Bealtaine Cottage flowering Ground ElderHowever, from my own observations I have come to this conclusion: we are responsible for starving the bees; with loss of hedgerows; tree depletion; use of chemicals; growing of gaudy flowers with no pollen; proliferation of ridiculous lawns and constant demand for monoculture raised foods, to name but a few!

Bealtaine Cottage flowers and porchIt behoves us all to make it our business to know how to create and nurture bee habitats.

Bealtaine Cottage Missy and ValerianAnd that means looking at the natural world, not as a resource to be continually trodden on and suppressed, but as a wondrous gift from the Divine we all need to cherish.

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Progress in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Permaculture gardens in April at Bealtaine Cottage

The storm rages on, as the weather is divided between weird and wonderful.

Sun, torrential rain, gale-force winds continue to ravage the North West of Ireland.

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageDespite the weather, the progress of Spring is unstoppable.

Sorrel is up in green clumps all over the gardens.

This is a tasty and nutritions herb and salad ingredient and also great for the famous French Sorrel soup!

Buds continue to thicken on the apple trees and there’s some early blossom about to open on the Redcurrants

bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

The hens have settled in well and are laying eggs…that was much faster than I expected, so they must be happy!

Bealtaine Cottage permacultureCatkins and leaves are out on the Willow and buds are swelling on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Blossom is beginning to open on some of the Pear trees, despite the crazy weather and the temperatures remain quite high, even at night.

 

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The Drama Unfolds…

Lower pond in flood at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

The rain has fallen for 48 hours.

Heavy, relentless rain, that has washed down the hill behind the cottage and into the ditches, I constructed for such a deluge.

The water is carried around the ditches and into the stream bed that flows down through the Fairy Wood and on, into the ponds.

This is how it looked, as water rushed into the lower pond, about 10 minutes ago!

The Barn at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012Visitors are coming this afternoon and more tomorrow…I hope they bring their wellies!

The Bog garden is not navigable in this weather otherwise!

Tulips in April at bealtaine CottageAll is not wet though…there’s a nice warm stove in the kitchen and the air temperature outside isn’t too cold.

In between the downpours, the sun shines, reflected by the watery scene that makes up the gardens today.

April at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardensThe birds are singing and the wind-chimes are melodic rather than frenetic! April Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria in the tunnelThe hens have settled in well and have even laid a few eggs!

They don’t mind being indoors, as the roof on the hen-house is transparent and tilted to the south, admitting the sun as it shines on.

April Celandines at  Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensThe lovely aspect to April is the sheer drama of it all…and total unpredictability!

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