Homelessness and Vulture Capitalism

DSC01744Why has the government of allowed Funds to cash-buy over 60% of when we have a ?

A simple question.

A simple tweet, made this morning, as I pondered what government is actually for…

DSC01723It concerns me deeply to imagine the almost two thousand  children who are awakening this morning in their homeless temporary accommodation…mostly Bed and Breakfast only hotels!

DSC01743I live in a comfortable little cottage, but grew up in circumstances not dissimilar to the homeless children of Ireland today, in that I was a child of an economically disadvantaged family. 

1624264_577952575629990_150204437_nThis is what economic inequality looked like in Ireland 53 yrs ago…that’s me on the left.

Eleven children living in a two bed-roomed terraced house.

mum-0071Yet over half a century ago, despite the cramped conditions, we had a house we called home!

My mother lived a long healthy life despite birthing eleven children…here she was in her eightieth year at Bealtaine Cottage.

DSC01742There should not be a homeless crisis here in Ireland…or anywhere for that matter!

DSC01741There were 5,811 people ‘officially homeless’ in emergency homeless accommodation in February 2016 – an increase of 48% over the previous February. This figure includes adults (3,930) and children with their families (1,881), but it does not include the ‘hidden homeless’ who are living in squats or ‘sofa surfing’ with friends or people who are living in domestic violence refuges.

~ http://www.focusireland.ie/resource-hub/about-homelessness/

DSC01739If every country in the western world can find endless money for war and bankers…need I say more?

DSC01738The Irish Government should be particularly ashamed this morning in the wake of yesterdays revelations that over sixty per cent of all houses sold last year in Ireland were to cash buyers…most of whom commanded the wealth of so-called Vulture Funds! 

vulture fund
noun

FINANCE
plural noun: vulture funds
  1. a fund which invests in companies or properties which are performing poorly and may therefore be undervalued.
    DSC01729In this so-called republic, for any child to go to bed hungry or awaken in cramped squalor is an utter disgrace.
    Shame on us all!
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Sustainable Food Revolution

www.bealtainecottage.com

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:

Bill Mollison

“. . . every society that grows extensive lawns could produce all its food on the same area, using the same resources, and . . . world famine could be totally relieved if we devoted the same resources of lawn culture to food culture in poor areas. These facts are before us. Thus, we can look at lawns, like double garages and large guard dogs, [and Humvees and SUVs] as a badge of willful waste, conspicuous consumption, and lack of care for the earth or its people.Most lawns are purely cosmetic in function. Thus, affluent societies have, all unnoticed, developed an agriculture which produces a polluted waste product, in the presence of famine and erosion elsewhere, and the threat of water shortages at home.

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…

www.bealtainecottage.comOver 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!

www.bealtainecottage.comThat 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!

www.bealtainecottage.com

As Spring moves across the land, a drying wind is working its magic on the earth. The greening is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe 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.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the beautiful Field Maple to the front of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comContinuing my lifelong passion for trees…this is a wall tile I made from clay…complete with tree, a fairy tree.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe 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.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis 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!

www.bealtainecottage.comEven 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 FoxSustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide

Midwinter Cottage

midwinter cottage 002

The air is still.
The storm has passed. 
Stillness and silence pervades the cottage.
Jack is in his bed, and the boys continue to doss away the morning in the Lodge.
A midwinter scene repeated all across the northern hemisphere.
midwinter cottage 006Someone remarked on the increasing silence they noticed in the world around them.
Midwinter is a silent time, suffused with echoes and occasional sounds from strange places.
Places that are more difficult to pinpoint on the landscape…it’s a trick played on us by Mother Nature as she paces the dormitories of sleep and hibernation.
midwinter cottage 014Candles illuminate the darkness, dispelling matt grey for moving shadows.
Jingles of Christmas on the radio, some lovely, most rapaciously dreadful, urging the listener to get out now and spend, spend, spend!
And so the radio is switched off and music switched on, low and evocative.
Midwinter enchants us all with memories of stillness and light, fires and food…times past, selected for our personal album of memories.
midwinter cottage 005I found this photograph recently.
It was taken around Midwinter, in a photo-booth in London, when I first ventured away from home and Ireland.
Scents were what I most missed.
The scents of home, like turf and coal smoke, wisping out of chimney pots on rows of terraced houses.
London was filled with new, more exotic scents, especially places like Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning, where Patchouli oil perfume lingered in the air.
midwinter cottage 004Working patchwork, brings me back to early days, in London and the sheer wealth of fabric shops and stalls, Laura Ashley and the love of William Morris retro!
midwinter cottage 007Colours, fabrics and textures continue to fascinate.
midwinter cottage 003Natural fabrics hold most memory…perhaps because they are from the natural world, where energy is hosted.
midwinter cottage 009Sackcloth and old lace cover a jam jar, filled with Honesty.
midwinter cottage 010Cotton gingham of various colours in the kitchen.
midwinter cottage 012Willow, wood and clay pottery, mugs and bowls.
midwinter cottage 015The morning, washed by soft midwinter light…not to be bought and packaged for Christmas, but absorbed by the celebratory soul.
midwinter cottage 013Blessings from this midwinter cottage…
 

A Sacred Space for the Mind

Cobwebs on Fuschia

The morning was misty, with an autumnal feel in the air…cool and damp with dew. hanging webCobwebs hung on trees and bushes, sometimes stretching for metres in the air.

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageIt felt so liberating to just amble around with tea in one hand, camera in the other and not be oppressed with heat.

The misty hill of BallyfermoyleI don’t tolerate heat too well and look forward to autumn, it being my favourite season of all. Buddha at BealtaineThe early morning sun began to evaporate the mist, bringing to mind the day ahead and all that needed to be done. 

Dew catcherI love the time in the morning before any other creature has stirred…it’s magical and charged with a wonderful energy.

secret pathI was born and grew up in a tiny two bedroom house in Omagh, shared with parents and 8 siblings, so have come to appreciate the calm, before the day begins in earnest.

Sitting room windowQuiet, early mornings, hold a sacred space for the mind.

Buddleia on the gravel driveEarly morning, as the sun rises, is an almost different world…a world apart from the mundane and expected.

A world filled with possibilities, hopes and plans.

setting sunAnd the setting sun carries away the hot day, into the embrace of another cool, welcome night.

Earth Sense

veranda at bealtaine cottageThankfully it rained for most of the night!

Not a lot of people would be happy to report that, but as a grower, the dry heat of recent weeks has been a close call for the younger plants!

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe water barrels have filled and the well is finally sending more than a trickle to the cottage!

More peas and beans were planted out yesterday, so this rain will bed them in nicely!

potager beds and peach trees at bealtaine cottageIf it was possible to bottle the Earth Scents outside in the gardens, then I’d be a millionaire and could buy lots more land to plant trees on!

Rosa Rugosa and copper beechThere is another Earth Sense though…one we all need to tune into…one that ensures a sense of well-being.

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageA sense of belonging to the environment around us.

permaculture gardens and Sammy on the roofLiving in a small cottage ensures much time spend outdoors during the day, something that was common place for many people until fairly recent times.

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageThe advent of TV ensured more and more people lived indoors and not out.

Poppy at bealtaine cottageI recall as a child spending much of the day outdoors, as there just wasn’t room in the house to play!

after the rainWalking outdoors can add to a sense of well-being, even in the rain.

columbine The healing aspects of Nature are being continually distilled into medication by the pharmaceutical corporations, yet remains inherent all around us.

Sammy Bear and meNature massages the soul!

angel at bealtaine cottageBeing outside with plants, trees, wildlife, Nature, animals and birdsong, is unbeatably good for ones’ mental health!

angel at bealtaine cottageNature is real and alive, strong but gentle and always there for us despite the abuse we fling at her.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt is something that cannot be put into a pill and certainly not for sale in a bottle!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 800 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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The Woman Who Planted Trees

Trees at Bealtaine Cottage

Many people ask if they can visit Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens and I always try to oblige if it’s at all possible!

Young Apple tree at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensSome advance notice is welcome, as life on 3 acres on one’s own can get pretty full on at times.

Front garden at Bealtaine CottageLast evening I was called by a friend, who wanted to know if she could bring a neighbour of hers to visit Bealtaine.

Deep in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageHer neighbour referred to me as “the woman who plants the trees!”

(By the way, it’s a beautiful morning as you can see from the pics!)

Trees in the pond garden at Bealtaine CottageIt’s an odd thing to do really, plant trees…so far over 900 planted!

Stream in the bog garden at Bealtaine CottageOdd, in so far as so few people get this obsessed! Trees change every aspect of one’s life.

Some of the trees planted at Bealtaine CottageAs I sit here typing this blog, the birdsong is magical and very loud!

A Cherry seed grows by an Oak tree at Bealtaine CottageMy childhood was impoverished as far as trees were concerned.

Cherry seedling and Oak sapling at Bealtaine CottageI grew up in a tiny terraced house with no garden, just row upon row of slate roofs and grey walls.

Young Chestnut tree at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensMy first encounter with trees was at school.

Bealtaine Cottage IrelandEntering the gates of the Convent school grounds, greenery enveloped me.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensMy childhood was transformed by the gardens of Loreto Convent.

Permaculture Paradise at Bealtaine CottageI recently returned and collected seed from the convent grounds in Omagh, to grow on here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Chestnut and Sycamore saplings at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensVisitors bring me trees.

Willow arch into the Fairy woodland at Bealtaine CottageSubscribers to this blog send me tree seeds, from all over the world.

Blossom on a Rowan tree planted in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageI dream about trees.

A Copper Beech and wild rose at Bealtaine CottageI have left instructions to be buried in a woodland…let a tree rise from me!

The Circle of Greed, The Spiral of Life and The Tipping Point

Bealtaine Cottage in April 2011 025The tipping point has been reached.

Reading this report from yesterday quantifies everything that is wrong with our approach to food.

You see, Salmon, used to be a seasonal food.

Bealtaine Cottage Gardens  in April 2011 001Much like other seasonal foods, it was enjoyed as a celebration of a particular time of year.

I remember this time as a child.

Fairy Dell at  Bealtaine Cottage011The salmon would return to Ireland to spawn…swimming furiously up the rivers to lay their eggs in dark, sometimes shallow, pools of freshwater, having survived a momentous journey across the Atlantic Ocean and into the fast, freshwater rivers of the west of Ireland.

April 2011 Bealtaine Cottage Laurel arch023It was easy enough to catch them, though not always legal, but then people rarely took more than they could eat or share.

Irusan at Bealtaine Cottage Fairy DellWe had no fridge in our tiny house and no freezer.

Barely standing room for parents and eleven children!

Inside Bealtaine Cottage 001The salmon was a great supplement to a frugal diet and the men seemed to understand the value of the sacred fish, for they were regarded as such in the old ways.

The Salmon of Wisdom.

The Salmon of Knowledge.

Pond in the Bog Garden at  Bealtaine Cottage There was a sense of compassion by the banks of the River Strule in Omagh.

An empathy even with this most magical of all fish… Fish Farms put an end to all this, injecting a venom of disconnect into the veins of human beings.

Mirror in the garden at  Bealtaine Cottage Greed over-ruled millennia of links between human and salmon.

This is what I have just read from yesterday’s paper…

The number of salmon killed by diseases at Scottish fish farms rose to more than 8.5 million last year.

New figures released by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) reveal losses from all salmon farms have reached nearly 10% of production.

The main problem has been the spread of amoebic gill disease, blamed by some on the warmer seas caused by climate pollution.

In 2012, 13,627 tonnes of dead fish had to be disposed of by 230 fish farms along the west coast and on the islands, compared with 9717 tonnes in 2011 and 7159 tonnes in 2010.

This has raised questions about how such large amounts of diseased waste are safely disposed of, and how the process is regulated. Sepa and local authorities both say it is not their responsibility.

Anglers and environmentalists pin the blame on production methods and are demanding a halt to any expansion plans.

“It is clear from these massive mortality figures there are major problems,” said Hugh Campbell Adamson, the chairman of the Salmon and Trout Association in Scotland. “When a large number of fish are closely confined, the likelihood of endemic disease is greatly increased.”

Fish farmer Grieg Seafood declined to comment.

HeraldScotland

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/disease-deaths-on-salmon-farms-soar.20177714

A Wish for The Children of Gaza

The full moon rises above Bealtaine Cottage.

Last night there was a new moon, somewhere in the sky.

Often times I watch the moon and think of all those it shines upon.

Many dark nights, when the stars fill the sky with their own light show and shooting stars leave a momentary arch in the night sky, I make a wish.

In the cold November air of a Sunday night in the west of Ireland, I made a wish, a heartfelt wish, for The Children of Gaza.

It was quite a simple wish too.

There was nothing of Christmas, Santa or presents galore.

Nothing to do with Disney, or mince pies, or turkey.

It was simply this…

That somewhere here in the western world, there will be one human being, one hero, one person of compassion and integrity, a leader, who will stand up for what is right.

One brave person and true… for there is one, at least…

Just one, who will say, “No more!”

One who will stand in front of the Children of Gaza and say…”You shall not pass…not on my watch!”

The days when one associated a political leader with integrity and justice are over.

Their mandate appears to be greed and psychopathy.

One can still wish.

Last night I made a wish…

A Christmas Childhood

A Christmas Childhood

by

Patrick Kavanagh

(Bealtaine Cottage in the snow…looking down the driveway in the week before Christmas, 2010.)

One side of the potato-pits was white with frost-

How wonderful that was, how wonderful!

And when we put our ears to the paling-post

The music that came out was magical.

The light between the ricks of hay and straw

Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree

With its December-glinting fruit we saw-

O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me.

(Bealtaine Cottage in the winter of 2010, just coming into the driveway.)

To eat the knowledge that grew in clay

And death the germ within it! Now and then

I can remember something of the gay

Garden that was childhood’s. Again

The tracks of cattle to a drinking-place,

A green stone lying sideways in a ditch

Or any common sight the transfigured face

Of a beauty that the world did not touch.

My father played the melodeon

Outside at our gate;

There were stars in the morning east

And they danced to his music.

(A winter sky at Bealtaine Cottage in the frozen winter of 2010)

Across the wild bogs his melodeon called

To Lennons and Callans

As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry

I knew some strange thing had happened.

(The Blackbird at Bealtaine Cottage.)

Outside in the cow-house my mother

Made the music of milking;

The light of her stable-lamp was a star

And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,

Mass-going feet

Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,

Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

(Moon-rise before Midwinter at Bealtaine Cottage, 2010.)

My child poet picked out the letters

On the grey stone,

In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,

The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopeia was over

Cassidy’s hanging hill,

I looked and three whin bushes rode across

The horizon-the Three Wise Kings.

An old man passing said:

‘Can’t he make it talk’-

The melodeon. I hid in the doorway

And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

I nicked six nicks on the door-post

With my penknife’s big blade-

There was a little one for cutting tobacco.

And I was six Christmases of age.

(Bealtaine Cottage in a snowstorm, Christmas 2010.)

My father played the melodeon,

My mother milked the cows,

And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned

On the Virgin Mary’s blouse.

by Patrick Kavanagh

You have been reading a blog from “Bealtaine Cottage”.

The Bealtaine Cottage Press presents…

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€27.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€12.00

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€15.00

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €36.00 but can be purchased together for for €32.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€32.00

SPECIAL OFFER! Reduced to clear… Bealtaine Cottage Calendar for 2019

Price includes postage and packing worldwide! The calendar hosts a page of colour photographs from Bealtaine Cottage for each month of the year. The months of the year are written in Celtic script…ie: May is Bealtaine, August is Lughnasadh and so on…many of you are already familiar with the Celtic Calendar. The pictures on each month also feature some added wisdom from Bealtaine Cottage and information on the ancient festivals of Celtic Ireland.

€9.95

Calendar and Map

Special offer: Purchase the Calendar and Map together! Cost was €27.00…Special Offer €20.00! Price includes postage to anywhere in the world!

€20.00

Calendar and Midwinter Book

Special Offer! Purchase the Calendar together with the Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter for the special price of €23.00 The usual price is €30.00 Price includes postage to anywhere in the world!

€23.00

 

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