Of all the little things we happen upon in our daily lives… those whose hearts we touch and all who touch our hearts. It is indeed, all the little things, which really matter!
This month marks the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.
Today, the 14th of May 2014, is the full moon of Bealtaine.
This marks the actual Bealtaine celebration, as many of you know.
The full moon is in Scorpio, my star sign.
According to what I have read on many of the Astrology sites, this is to be expected!
Even as I write this, my photographs are refusing to upload!
This Full Moon in Scorpio illuminates the last of negative issues, though tonight feels very intense indeed!
Yes, that just about sums up how I see it!
It is rare that I feel exhausted, but I have to conclude that tomorrow I shall stay in bed…well, as much as I can, between walking Jack, feeding the pets, lighting the stove, seeing to the hens…
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 Marine, is Simon Coveney TD.
Minister Coveney held a meeting on the 17th of April.
Invitations were issued to key stakeholders, including farm organisations, beef processors and relevant state agencies to a round table discussion on the future development of the Beef Sector, as it is referred to!
Participants at this meeting were invited to discuss the government initiative, Food Harvest 2020.
This scheme was introduced by the Irish government to increase production of beef! (Ironic naming it “Food Harvest 2020!)
Now, read this statement from the Minister of Agriculture…using language of industry, markets and sport!
Commenting today on the initiative, Minister Coveney said
“By some measures the beef sector is Ireland’s biggest indigenous industry, involving more than 100,000 farm families, and 8,000 jobs in processing, sales and marketing, with exports valued of more than €2 billion in 2013. Food Harvest 2020 set an initial target of a 20% increase in the value of output for the beef sector. The target for beef exports has already been exceeded.
The time is now right to sit down with key stakeholders in the sector, to consider the strategic approach needed to support its development, using the best available market intelligence, and the newest technology and research to improve performance at all levels of the supply chain. The beef sector makes a vital contribution to Irish agri food and to employment and the economy generally. I am convinced that with the right strategic approach and positive collaboration from all of the players, the beef sector in Ireland has a bright future.”
All the while, loss of habitat is causing devastation!
Friends of the Earth, (FOE), have called on the Government to do a full Strategic Environmental Assessment of Food Harvest 2020.
Other groups raising concerns with Food Harvest 2020 include:
The European Commission has announced it is launching an investigation of whether proper procedures were followed.
Each and every photograph I post here on this website is taken at Bealtaine Cottage.
These three acres of abundance exist because I took the cattle off the land.
I would like to invite Minister Simon Coveney to Bealtaine Cottage to see what happens to land when it is allowed and nurtured to re-generate!
We need, as a nation, to cherish our land and protect it for future generations.
We need to produce more Organic Food for our people rather than importing it…that means fruit and vegetables and grains!
Oh, by the way Minister…you may call it Food Harvest 2020, but, I and many like me, do not eat beef…not much food there then!
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 British gardeners produced between 2 and 3 million tons of food overall!
Living in a time when the cost of food is rising day on day, it might be time to re-think the lawn! This is what Bill Mollison, one of the founders of the Permaculture movement has to say on the subject:
The lawn has become the curse of modern town landscapes as sugar cane is the curse of the lowland coastal tropics, and cattle the curse of the semi-arid and arid rangelands…
Over the past few days I have been busy converting this little shed into a new hen house and run…food to swap and share…fresh eggs! it is going to be a simple enough barter, swapping a sack of logs for nine eggs. Most logs are traded at 3.50 a sack, so that’s a fair swap!
That makes a good swap as eggs are getting more expensive by the day and the logs will be delivered to my door! I just have to ensure that the hen house and run are secure against Mr ans Mrs Fox and family!
As Spring moves across the land, a drying wind is working its magic on the earth. The greening is under-way.
The view from the sitting room window is being filled in like a ‘Painting By Numbers,’ canvas. Ash trees are the last to get their leaves and so stand proud in all their silver glory against temperamental Spring skies.
Continuing my lifelong passion for trees…this is a wall tile I made from clay…complete with tree, a fairy tree.
The lone Fairy Thorn one often sees growing in the middle of fields here in Ireland served as my inspiration. They are often windswept and leaning away from the west.
This sits upon the dresser in the kitchen…a time when preserves were sold in stoneware jars. All containers were re-cycled, in that they were re-used…even milk bottles! Lemonade bottles had a money deposit attached to them and children would collect them up to return to the shop, as a way of earning pocket money!
Even cream came in little stoneware jars like this, as it kept cool in the pantry in the days before every home had a fridge!
“A sacred way of life connects us to the people and places around us. That means that a sacred economy must be in large part a local economy, in which we have multidimensional, personal relationships with the land and people who meet our needs, and whose needs are met in turn.”
― Juliana Birnbaum Fox, Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide
Sammy-Bear lies concussed by the heat from the wood burning stove! It’s a tough life being a cat at Bealtaine Cottage!
Over the past week there has been a struggle between Winter and Spring as temperatures have moved up and down the thermometer, with hard frost, heavy rain, warm nights and brilliant sun all in the mix!
Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.
If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/
Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!
Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.
Often times as I sit down to write this blog, it is evening and the day has come to settle here, in the cottage… the lamp illuminating the darkness, Jack sprawled out in front of the stove, with both cats in residence upon the sofas…I squeeze in somewhere!
Coppiced wood makes one neat pile to be used in the wood stove next winter.
The building of the next pile is under-way.
Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.
Heartfelt thanks for supporting Bealtaine Cottage
The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.
We move around towards the polytunnel and one of the orchards. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are now devoid of berries. This can be a hungry time for the birds as they mate and nest…there is a big bag of Oats I can scatter around in handfuls for the hungry birds and will do this later.
A mighty storm rages around Bealtaine Cottage as I write.
The morning is filled with roars and whoops of wind as it smashes in from the Atlantic Ocean, enveloping the land with angry energy.
The trees slow it down, calming and sifting its robust anger.
I sit by the table near the window on the north-side, occasionally glancing out when the tempest noise rises.
I have watched her quiet dignity hold sway over the comings and goings of support staff, family and friends.
My Mother greets her final journey safe within the home of my brother, her first-born child.
Her bedroom, where she grows smaller, like a womb, comfortable and quiet.
During this time, my computer has gone on the blink and I have been unable to write and post as I need to…
I need to write… and having a fully functioning computer, that I can use in the warmth of the little lodge, where I over-winter by the wood-burning stove, will be comfort itself.
This will be the beginning of a portable Bealtaine Cottage too, as I will be able to write and post wherever I go.
I am grateful for that!
Thanks and blessings to you, my generous friends!
This is where some of her lovely energy will be found, for me, in the coming days.
I found my father here after he passed and came to understand that energy does not disappear…we simply have to re-focus our eyes and listen with our hearts to recognize it. (Mum and Dad, on a visit to Bealtaine about five years ago. I took them to the top of Kilronan Mountain!)
Living at Bealtaine for almost ten years now, I have come to understand that belief.
Death is not the end, but a Rite of Passage.
Blessings and thanks to you all XXX
(My Mother passed away this morning. I spent yesterday with her.)
2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.
Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!
Blessings from Bealtaine XXX
Christmas Eve at Bealtaine Cottage.
Snow has fallen.
The air is cold and a bitter wind blows.
It rained hard last night and the streams are in flood.
The blackbirds are hungry and have taken to stealing cat biscuits from the bowls on the veranda!
The blackbirds are clever creatures and have watched both cats enter the lodge through the cat door, where they now sleep away the day, their bellies filled with food and milk.
Jack stays by my side, in and out of the cottage, as I work.
Jack looks out for me and is a wonderful friend and guardian angel!
This is a difficult Christmas for many who are without basic necessities.
I am thankful to have a well stocked pantry and woodpile.
For many, food and heat are major problems in their everyday lives.
It’s good to give thanks for a warm home and a full plate.
May you all enjoy both this Christmastide…
The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you.
This will be my last blog for a little while as I am taking some time out.
Blessings to you all X
The order of the Universe and the Laws of Creation bind us all.
For too long now, we have ignored what we are surrounded by, and what, in essence, we rely totally upon.
Perhaps it is just that we have come to realize this tender link…that current lifestyles are not only destroying our natural world, but are, in effect, destroying us.
That realization is late in coming, but, not too late…it is never too late!
Understanding how to share, is an essential part of reconciliation.
Making amends as best we can.
I am reminded of pictures I have seen on the web recently, of smiling, celebratory faces, hovering over the dead and bloodied body of a magnificent animal…an elephant.
Just one of many!
The mindset of destruction, of triumphalism over Mother Nature and the natural world…this must be shriven if we are to survive as a species on this planet.
Reconciliation begins with acknowledgement.
Hell is not a place apart.
We carry Hell, or not…our choice!
It was with sadness, but no surprise, to learn, that he later took to abusing alcohol and met an early death.
I don’t think his parents ever really thought about what he did to the dragonfly that day, as we all sat around at that picnic gathering.
Nor am I saying that this is the end product of such cruelty.
For Mother Nature is, in fact, Mother Nurture…we rest in her arms.
All life is sacred.
When we abuse that sacredness, we create Hell.
Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre is a wonderful place for any unwanted dog or cat to end up…because 97% of these poor, abandoned animals are re-homed!
Today I visited Christine Coulson, the lady whose dedicated commitment to the welfare of animals in this part of Ireland, made the sanctuary possible.
Chistine opened this light of hope for the unwanted and stray cats and dogs, back in 1997 and has worked continuously, for the protection and welfare of abandoned animals.
Back in September, I held an “Open Gardens” fundraiser for Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre and raised 610 euros…thanks to all the friends and supporters of Bealtaine Cottage, who came from all over Ireland and sent donations from all over the world!
Christine has been quite ill over these past few months and was only well enough recently for this presentation to take place.
I’m sure you’ll all raise a glass with me, in wishing this great woman, good health, now and in the future.
The theme of hearts is compelling for me…drawn towards the heart as a symbol, not just of love, but of compassion, hope and trust.
(I will be adding a little section to the top of the website especially for hand-made cards…X)
The hedge being the perfect spot to hang a woolly blanket that would stretch asunder on a clothes line, or shrivel to dolly size in a drier…not that I have a drier or want to have a drier!
I agree with Dr Helen Caldicott, in drying clothes in the air and saving the planet from an excessive use of electricity! We need to lessen our daily impact on Mother earth in whatever way we can.
And it’s not just any woolly blanket…it has a pumpkin colour to it…yes, you’ve guessed right, for it belongs to the Pumpkin Mouser, AKA Missy!
Sad to add that she is a sick little peach and is not yet in recovery…we soldier on!
The trees are beginning to look more mature, since they’ve had a haircut…more a crowning really, as I’ve cut off the lowest branches and thinned out the crowns a little!
I love my trees!
I have a totally, crazy love for my trees…they are like children, for I talk to them and often times hear their response, in the most sublime ways.
It’s hard to explain, but, I imagine, that as you have chosen to follow this blog, then you understand perfectly!
Well, for most of the past fortnight, Missy has been quite unwell.
For some of the time it can be depressing, but then I am mindful of Che-Mousey and Sammy-Bear, as well as Jack, so have to force myself to be a pragmatist…something we women are really quite good at!
Juggling what has to be done, with spending time with Missy, really lightens the burden of a failing animal.
This is something that faces us all, whether it be a feline loved one, a canine loved one or a human loved one…the emotional response is a mighty one!
Juggling keeps our focus wide and not tunnelled.
The work in the gardens still has to be done…no real burden there as it is a delight to be outdoors!
And then there’s balancing and that means finding time to ensure love is spread out…not forgetting to include oneself.
We must always be kind to ourselves, as this helps us be kind to others!
Living each day, with joy, is the best way we have to channel kindness…well, have you ever seen a happy person be unkind?
Lots to do indoors and sorting through boxes of “things,” I was happy to find these lovely Yuletide cards.
Doesn’t she look gorgeous in the snow?
As I am receiving orders for the Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book, I thought that I would add these lovely cards, as a way for me to send the book to someone you love, with a card inscribed with your message.
Missy continues to make a steady recovery, though has refined her taste-buds to a rather expensive prescription cat food, available only from Suzy the Vet, in Boyle.
When I refer to Missy as a “high maintenance gal!” …I’m not kidding!
Please ignore the clothes drying all over the stove today…it is rather wet outdoors!
Makes it really “Shabby Chic” style!
Jack loves travelling in the car and tries to snap every other vehicle he sees on the road!
Which is why he can only ever be walked on a lead!
Dodging in and out, to collect up the logs, my friend Marian delivered to me yesterday, I still managed to get wet!
I’m stacking them under the shelter of the veranda by the lodge.
As you can see, the potager beds continue in their abundance, producing herbs, vegetables and flowers.
Tree coppicing continues along the north bank, in front of the cottage, opening up the view just a little, as well as supplying the stove with kindling and small logs.
The fact is, no matter what the weather is like, it is simply wonderful to be outdoors in the gardens, working here and there!
Morning merges into early afternoon.
There is a seamlessness about the work on this last day of September.
Somewhere, in the distance, a crow calls its lonely caw…it’s repetitive and makes me think an animal has caught it…perhaps a fox.
I have watched the fox make it’s way across the rushy fields, darting here and there among the clumps of withering green.
Deep in the Fairy Wood, cutting and stacking with my little handsaw, all I experience from the outside world are noises of life without.
Once so very timid, he is finding his own place in this world, where he initially found only rejection.
I love him for having the tenacity to stay with it all…one of the small things that weave the tapestry of life here at Bealtaine.
I have no idea why, but the shape draws me in.
I see hearts everywhere.
They fascinate me.
It seems that the view from this window changes every time I pass it…
I write and post about Bealtaine Cottage, on this website, as well as making and posting Youtube (ad-free) videos, about permaculture and life at Bealtaine Cottage, to provide inspiration and empowerment for all seeking a better way of living on this precious Earth.
Donations help me do that
Her name is Monika and her kindness for animals is abundant.
Monika has donated this £375 to the fund-raiser weekend total of 200 euros.
The grand total now stands around 600 euros!
Christine, who runs the sanctuary, is in hospital this morning having an operation…please be mindful of her and wish her a speedy recovery, for she does amazing work and is quite devoted to unwanted animals…97% are re-homed!
I have organized to visit Christine next week to hand over the entire donation.
Once again, bless you all for your kindness and generosity to this cause, so close to my heart. XXX