Planning to Beat Poverty 006Pollarded Willow in the upper gardens this afternoon.

Walking around the land gives me an overall perspective of work to be carried out this coming winter. 007The Autumn is prolonged, as the good weather continues and so the coppicing has begun in earnest!

This is an eight year old Birch tree, that was coppiced in year one, to produce multiple stems. 010It’s very dry and still.

Trees are holding onto their leaves and flowers continue to bloom. 011I was shopping in a supermarket in town the other day and noticed a sharp increase in the cost of food.

I really thought that the assistants had made genuine mistakes in the pricing tags on some of the shelves. 001I knew this was coming and have in fact warned about it, but to see the jump in overall food costs is quite scary…it appears to be all of a sudden! 017I am aware that the cost of seeds have doubled in some cases…that was the precursor to the food price jump!

Corn is up 92% and corn syrup is in a lot of foods!

The Times of India reports an overall food price rise of 157% between 2004 and 20013 021If ever there was time to embrace the abundance that grows from permaculture it is now!

Even the collection of this bundle of kindling saves vital cash…a bag of kindling at the shops costs on average 3-4 euros! 022Just cleaning up the lane-way to the cottage will produce an excess of kindling and wood for the stove! 012Last month The Daily Express UK newspaper reported that, “Rising food prices are causing stress for four in ten consumers, while a third say they are struggling to feed themselves or their family.”

According to “The Mirror,” newspaper, Sep., 2013:
“Food bills rising nearly FOUR times faster than wages, figures show.” 032The dry Autumn will see me out collecting as much wood for fuel as possible.

After all, in the depths of a cold, dark winter, what sustains us better than a warm home, hot, home-made soup and pots of preserves, chutney and pickles in the pantry. 034And not forgetting the home made wine!

Warmth and good food remains within our grasp if we plan for it now!


  1. We have a largish family. Triplets aged 16 and an 18 year old brother so always cook in large batches, they usually bring home friends as apparently our cooking is good, but we make everything from scratch and don’t buy anything ready made. I’m with you and always throw in lentils plus Steve’s home made wine into everything I make soup and stew wise. Too many people are reliant on convenience foods and the art of basic cooking is being lost. I ended up getting into a row with the high school cooking teacher as she sent home 3 x lists of ingredients for the triplets to ‘cook’ smoothies! Nearly all the ingredients were out of season and expensive to buy (blueberries, raspberries and mangos etc.).
    My daughter offered my services to teach the kids how to make bread as the teacher didn’t know?
    They all know all about Bealtaine Cottage at the school as i’m always going on about the good work you do there. More should learn from you Colette, esp the so called cooking teacher!
    Joanne Louise xxx

    • More power to you, Joanne Louise!
      This is how change for the better actually happens…on the human interface, one to one, one with one and many together. It’s good that you challenge, in a positive and helpful way, the perceived knowledge, which is rarely wisdom! Wisdom grows from actions and interactions!
      Blessings to all from Ireland and Bealtaine Cottage,
      Colette 🙂

  2. I so wish I was where I could be less dependent on commercialization, but I have done the best I can with my herbals and herbal medicine. Hoping to keep away illness and the Doc the best I can this winter.

    Food has indeed risen above reason. My pensioners income has been strained to the maximum. I welcome the cooler weather and the return to soups and the ability to stretch meals! I don’t know how some of these families can do it. I have enough trouble feeding myself. I am just glad that I can provide wonderful teas and the like to keep away the cold and illnesses.
    I can almost smell the fall in the air in your photos. I really is grand to be still picking flowers to add to my teas both for health and color. I keep hoping that the frost will continue to hold off…

    I am sad that you feel the need to sell your property and dearly hope that you can find a viable alternative. The government should pay you to teach people how to salvage their properties and make them sustainable! You have done such an amazing job!

    Love, bj

    • Yes indeed, Betty, herbal teas are wonderful, refreshing, uplifting and medicinal! I am about to make a big pot of vegetable soup and I have some nice bread and beetroot chutney. I always add red lentils to my soups and some Carrigeen Moss( a special Irish seaweed)…fit for a queen!
      This government pays people to plant hundreds of acres of spruce trees in monoculture forests. Most governments are filled with the idiot creme de la creme…..’nuf said!
      Blessings of abundance, joy and good health 🙂 X

  3. Thank you for these lovely ideas and reminders. I, too, recently noticed that seed prices really went up just in the past few weeks! In some cases, prices doubled or even tripled. It was a little shocking, although seeds are still so much cheaper to buy than plant starts or finished foods.

    Colette, I wasn’t sure if you were aware of the TTIP, which would affect anyone in the EU. I’ve posted about both the TPP and the Atlantic equivalent, the TTIP here:

    I just wanted to get the word out, since these are quite secret trade agreements designed to undermine national and regional sovereignty by forcing the lowest standards of wages, food quality, censorship and workers rights on all participating countries. It’s a way to dismantle all the local progress people have made. I thought you and your readership would want to know what’s in the works, since it will be MUCH easier to stop this before it starts, while we still have quasi-free access to sites like yours on the internet, as well as the ability to organize together for positive action. Now is the time.

    Big blessings and thanks!

    • I was tweeting this out several months ago, as I am sure that this is the prelude to Monsanto getting a foothold in the EU! People need to keep alert as to what is happening and the consequences of what governments are doing! Thanks for the link and I advise all who read this to go onto it and power up! X

  4. I cannot understand why more people do not make big pots of heart warming soup in winter – vegetables are not too expensive and if you grown your own that is perfect – bought soup, both tins and packets are full of additives – people just want instant food nowadays! Soups is probably one of the easiest foods to make! I always have a pot on the go and when the grandchildren come knocking soup is always ready – they love mamo’s soup!!

  5. Good Morning Colette,
    Food prices here have jumped starting in the summer and I still don’t think they have peaked yet. I too gather kindling all summer and fall. I gather it everywhere I go, but most comes from my very own property. I need about 15 bags full a year, bush trimmings go right into the bag. Every bit helps. My best to you on this beautiful day. Carole

Your comments are welcome!