Bealtaine Eve in Ireland

    The rain taps on the cottage roof as the Eve of Bealtaine draws in. All the dry, warm weather is ended abruptly with heavy, rhythmic rain.   This Summer’s Eve will be freshened with Atlantic rain and the dry earth will release scents of green…yes, indeed, colour has a scent!   Bealtaine is the oldest festival in all of Europe and was historically celebrated on the Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath.   This ancient ceremonial hill was, and remains, a sacred place and one of the most significant places of ancient ritual in all of Ireland.   This…

Food Harvest 2020

Small farms in Ireland are in a steady decline and have been for several decades now. In fact farming is now referred to as an “industry”…a most illuminating use of language! The pressure on small farmers to produce more and more, (mostly meat), is driving many off the land, as they find it difficult to compete with the bigger landowners and thus meat growers! The countryside is fast losing vital habitat, as hedgerows are pulled out, trees felled and field size increased. There is a government initiative behind this, of course…”Food Harvest 2020!” The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the…

Earth Energy and the Divine Force

Cosmic energy is all around us. There are days when one feels it powerfully as the day progresses. It is often referred to as life force. This is the powerful  energy that maintains the balance of our Earth, the Universe and beyond, into the Cosmos. That energy can be felt in extraordinary ways here at Bealtaine Cottage. Many visitors become overwhelmed by the force of the energy, often crying and needing to embrace. Those of you who have visited will have experienced this. For my part, I firmly believe in the manifestation of the Divine in all of Nature. Where…

From A Window on Earth Day

Spring progresses through the west of Ireland. It may be Earth Day, but every day is so. Earth is our only home. Clear skies and sunshine have hastened the beginning of Summer. I walked around the cottage this morning and snapped a picture of the view from each window. Now that the warmer days are here, the cottage has gone into reversal, remaining cool and dark on hot days, when it is a relief to walk indoors. It is evening as I write and the rain is falling, fast filling the barrels that have run dry over recent days. I…

Keeping Hens, in the Town or Country

 The hens have settled into their new home and are all laying. Happy clucks and soft singing emanates out from the hen house. The secure enclosure promises to keep the Fox family away…for I have lost too many of my lovely hens to Mr and Mrs Fox. Inside, the house is spacious and comfortable, with an upstairs and five windows in total! The system is similar to the one I used in London for over a decade. It is known as a deep litter system, using lots of straw. The dirty straw is then used in the gardens as a…

Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

This is what happens in Permaculture…surplus is fed back into the system or shared out! In this case there was a small surplus of blue paint…the outcome is what you see here! I woke to a magnificent sunrise this morning…Kilronan Mountain is shrouded in mist, so doesn’t appear to exist at all! Bees are buzzing and birds are singing to herald in this wonderful Easter weekend here in the west of Ireland! With the emergence of Spring, several weeks ago now, there has been an accumulation of heat and light working on the earth that promises an early Summer. The promise…

Lower The Lifeboats!

The economic crisis, that became evident to all in October 2008, has never really been discussed in the mainstream media. Much of what could, and should, have been put in place by national governments, to ameliorate the dreadful effects of this crisis, have been blatantly air-brushed from the media and political debate! We continue to be sold the illusion of full employment for all. As direct fallout from the media hype around this lie, many people are feeling inadequate and hopeless, believing it to be their fault that they are job-less. The media has demonized the unemployed and disabled, citing examples of…

Warm,Naked Earth

The naked earth is warm with Spring,And with green grass and bursting treesLeans to the sun’s kiss glorying,And quivers in the sunny breeze.~Julian Grenfell …except, in Permaculture gardens, little is naked, most is covered, yet the earth beneath the green mantle warms just the same. April has set Spring firmly in place, with early sunrise and birdsong to lift the dullest spirit! The boys awaken to the sunshine… Honesty comes into flower… Ribes sets the bees buzzing…apparently the Bumble Bee is losing numbers here in Ireland, as well as the UK, but certainly not at Bealtaine Cottage…the place is abuzz!…

We Are At War!

The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was started at the beginning of World war two, in Britain, The people of Britain were urged to use any spare land to grow vegetables.  Victory gardens were planted everywhere…and I mean everywhere! All land was considered viable for planting, including gardens, lawns, parks, golf clubs and all public spaces even in the City of London, around the Tower of London, for example!  During the height of the war, when food was rationed through scarcity, there were 3.5 million allotments in Britain, producing over a million tonnes of vegetables and it was estimated that in 1944…