Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

The permaculture harvest continues, along with the increasing numbers of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage. Garlic is harvested, dried and stored…just in time for re-planting the crop for next year, in just a few more weeks. As the world teeters once more on the brink of chaos, in the forms of war and nuclear contamination from Fukushima, getting the harvest home and planning for next Spring is a way of keeping one’s sanity! It’s also a way of nurturing optimism and hope for the future! Tomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel. I let them do their own thing and…

Lughnasa Gardens and Weddings

As early Lughnasa transforms the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage into a colourful abundance and the harvest continues, the early days of an Irish autumn unfold. The berries on the Hawthorn are turning colour and the magic of a warm autumn fills the air! These mushrooms are growing today near a clump of Birch trees in the woodland gardens further down from the front of the cottage. The willow archway here has closed in on either side as the summer growth has cast even more shade in the new woodland. Bamboo and Dogwood have almost merged to close this path….

Companion Planting in Permaculture

Here are some of the combinations that have worked really well for me this summer here at Bealtaine Cottage. Pumpkins, Kale and Nasturtium…the bees love the flowers on the Nasturtium, bringing them in towards the Pumpkin flowers. Another strange but beautiful combination…Celery and Rudbeckia. Rudbeckia is late flowering and especially useful in a potager bed, making lots of babies that can be potted on and sold at the market next Spring. Parsley and Sedum…Sedum is the last meal of the year for the bees and will ensure adequate nutrition for their long hibernation. This is the Sedum, Autumn Spectabalis, which…

An Act of Defiance from the Edge of Empire!

It seems as though governments all over the western world are colluding with big corporations and the energy companies to deliberately destroy our environments, and, in the face of much opposition from those who elected them into power…the people. I have yet to meet the person who supports war, fracking, privatisation of utilities, or GMOs. Yet, politicians have, and are, engaged in the pursuit of all of these. As we approach a global food crisis- and all the warning signs are there, such as rising food prices, oil and the effects of extreme weather- we are in desperate need of…

War, Fracking, Oil and GMOs…ALL Connected!

The connection between all of the above is…corporations! Corporate control of the world is very much in place. Our governments have sold us out to the corporate machine. Here in Ireland, what happened in the sell-out was very dramatic and actually happened in ONE night, in November 2008, when our elected government signed over the sovereignty of the Irish people in a meeting that took place in the middle of the night with NO minutes recorded! I could add into the title of this blog: banks; politicians;factory farming; monoculture; media…you can too! It still boils down to the same fact…it…

There is an Eden…

There is an Eden…we stand upon it. Our potential to change the environment we inhabit is boundless. If we started today and worked hard for all the changes we want to see, the possible transformation is beyond our wildest dreams. Whether we have land or not, what we are capable of implementing, in terms of creating Eden, is only limited by two things…our imagination and our ability to use our energy. “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” ― Arundhati Roy This is my favourite slice of…

Time to Reconnect with Gaia

This has been a great year for trees…amazing growth! Willow, pollarded and coppiced has made good growth too! The morning has been wet, but very still and autumnal. Crocosmia Montbretia is struggling to climb out from underneath the lush leaf growth. Both Che Mousey-Bear and Sammy-Bear have walked the gardens with me, despite the rain and the wet conditions. Strange little fellows! The branches I chopped earlier in the summer are almost ready to be stacked in wig-wam shape to dry out. You can see from this photograph just how near the bedrock is to the surface of the land…I…

Moving Forward…

There’s a touch of early autumn in the air. The air is cool and the sun is hidden behind low cloud and even a little mist. I must admit to loving this time of year! The morning is filled with activity as I clear space for my bigger and better workshop addition. This is all about living as sustainably as possible. The Lodge will now be that dedicated space that I have so long needed! As more and more visitors make their way to Bealtaine Cottage, for workshops on sustainable living and all aspects of permaculture, a space that would…

A Simple Life

This is a real sofa bed. It’s a bed, with a cover and lots of cushions. I needed another sofa in my sitting room. Simple. No fuss. Looks good and is inter-changeable. Cost: zero! Most of what I have in my home cost zero. Like this fancy mirror above the mantle piece…born from broken mirrors and turned into a mirror mosaic. Cost: zero. The mantle piece cost 50 euros in a second-hand furniture shop. The simplicity of living, almost cash free, is liberating and allows one to appreciate everything that comes ones way. Like this mosaic floor, created from broken…