Common Ground

It is the small, unsung bits of humanity that bind us together…

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

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In a world that appears to be coming apart at the seams, we are reminded, on a daily basis, by the mainstream media, that we are separate and divided on many levels.

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There are many aspects of our lives where we disagree.

I know how that works, for I was born and raised in a place of separation…Northern Ireland.

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As I grew, left home, went to university and raised a family in London, I became aware of the importance of common ground.

London is a melting pot of over twelve million people, where the essence of living harmoniously is to be found in common ground.

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I held an allotment for many years, a place where cultures met with great affection shared for what was beneath our very feet…common ground.

It served us well as we grew food, shared seed, advice and barbecues!

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I continue to share common ground with my…

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Planting for the Bees in a Permaculture Garden

Hungry bees won’t hang around hungry gardens!

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

London pride on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage

London Pride ready to open flower on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage.

Years of pushing and shoving by these delicate looking little plants have finally eradicated the creeping buttercup in the heavy clay soil.

Bees at Bealtaine Cottage

It’s at this time of year that bees are working hard and sometimes gardens are bereft of food for the bees.

Not here!

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I have a policy that is enshrined in Bealtaine cottage gardens…plant for the bees, the birds and then myself, always in that order!

Cordyline at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandOne of the plants that was so severely damaged by frost several years ago has made a comeback!

This is the tropical Cordyline, growing here thanks to the Gulf Stream.

That means an early start to the growing year and bees follow the same pattern, sometimes emerging as early as late February!

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So food at the ready is vital for them!

Ribes, or flowering currant, is a wonderful source of…

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The Power Within Us…

“the light that drove away the fairies!”

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Voting is not something we do every so many years to change the world around us.

Nothing much changes.

We continue to live in a state of unhappiness with the apparent status quo.

All that is power seeks to continually remind us of our lack of power….but, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Dis-empowerment is something we can choose whether or no to embrace.

We can  be victims or not.

We can refuse to acknowledge, becoming what we are meant to be…free human beings on a sacred journey.

Or, we can vote with our wallets, every time we consume, every day, every week of every year of our lives!

All those special bargains on shelves have their origin in factorized food, bland and impoverished products of the systematic destruction of Mother Nature.

Each individual purchase fuels that destruction!

Do we support corporations we loathe?

If so, why?

How often…

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The Secret Energy of Midsummer

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As the days of early summer move inexorably towards the Solstice, life at Bealtaine Cottage takes on a brilliant energy.

Everything is growing!

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There’s a bench in my garden,  shaded by many beautiful trees, near to the lower pond, where I enjoy sitting alone, as early in the morning as I can manage… to simply be.

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“I can’t get enough of watching the bees and trying to imagine how they experience the abundance of, say, a blue Campanula blossom, the dizzy light pulsing, every fibre of being immersed in the flower. …”

~ Mary Rose O’Reilly

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Moments of such silence are overlaid with birdsong, a joy-filled backdrop to the main stage, where images manifest peace.

Flowers growing out from gravel and roses creating miracles from old tyres, are as much a part of Midsummer madness here at Bealtaine as some of the ancient celebrations themselves!

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“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”

~ From “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare

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We all know of places where the secret energy of Midsummer holds sway.

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It is to these special places we are continually drawn, where peace is found and imagination set free

The Pursuit of Happiness

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Geraniums on the windowsill at Bealtaine Cottage

There’s a high wind in the skies above the cottage. Stanley stove at Bealtaine Cottage

Wind-chimes are clashing in discordant harmony all over the gardens.

The fire in the stove roars up the chimney, heating up the oven that beckons a cake or a loaf of bread to bake…
Celtic design on the backdoor of Bealtaine Cottage

The sun shines in a baby-blue sky and the cats are spread out on the warm earth.

The back door to the cottage lies open to admit the warmth of the April sun…

Potager bed at Bealtaine CottageI went into town this morning to post off seeds and herbs across the world…little bits of Bealtaine Cottage will soon be air-bound, in planes that will disperse them to many different countries, most of which I have never visited and probably never will.

Nursery bed at Bealtaine CottageThe urge to sow and plant, create gardens and smallholdings and grow, has never been stronger in people all over the world.

Contemplation Courtyard at Bealtaine CottageThere is a magic in the air…

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Permaculture Brings Hope…before and after images!

Permaculture transformation…see for yourself!

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

It’s been almost nine years since I began planting this smallholding in the west of Ireland. Before permaculture. Bealtaine CottageMany of you are familiar with the landscape as it looked then.

The picture above shows Bealtaine Cottage after a lot of cutting and clearing, around the time that the planting began. June 2011 permaculture cottage 021

This picture shows the same view today.

As you can see, the cottage is obscured…melting into the gardens of intense production.

Bealtaine Cottage before and after

The lonely, abandoned cottage on the first day I saw it.

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Disappeared into the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…nine years of planting by one woman and a spade!

Installin permaculture pond at Bealtaine CottageThis picture shows the Bog Garden after the first pond was created and the surrounding land cleaned up for planting.

Photographs taken at the time depict a barren looking, rushy, wet landscape that offered little hope or sanctuary for gardeners, growers, wildlife or Nature.

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Be The Change!

Change is coming…Be the change!

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Garden shed at Bealtaine CottageI was listening to a radio show host, Roy of Hollywood on PRNfm radio from New York, tell a caller that change begins with government policy and one person on their own can do little to make a difference…paraphrased, but the essence is true to form.

bealtaine Cottage gardenThis philosophy is way off mark, for the reality is very, very different.

Bealtaine Cottage GardenEvery action we take, everything we buy, consume or share, is part of the reality WE make, every minute, every hour, every day…

permaculture gardensI oppose fracking and therefore refuse to use gas…

I also refuse to call it ‘natural!’

There is nothing natural about fracking!

cottage gardenI support organic growing methods, so use what little money I have to buy organic, and, for the rest, I ensure that I grow organic.

HypericumI could make of list of the actions I take, as one person, to ensure the outcome that I consider to…

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