Resilience of The Bealtaine Project as Drought and Heatwave Ravage Ireland

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Extreme weather conditions have struck once again here in Ireland.

Planting over eleven hundred trees over fourteen years has meant resilience for Bealtaine Cottage.

IMG_7610This continual onslaught of extreme weather is fast establishing itself as the new normal!

IMG_7611From the normally mild summers of Ireland and the UK, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past two weeks!

This should be a wake-up call to plant…trees!

IMG_7612 Only three months ago the country ground to a halt with severe snow storms and massive fall of snow in 48 hours!

IMG_7613Now we are experiencing a heatwave and severe drought which we haven’t had since 1976!

IMG_7614There was a hurricane here in Ireland last year and a massive six hour thunderstorm that did incredible damage.

IMG_7615The Irish Meteorological service, Met Éireann says there will be ‘practically nothing’ in terms of rainfall for the next ten days!

IMG_7616And so it continues unabated!

IMG_7619There has been less than 20mm of rain since May 1st with twelve days of sweltering heat and temps approaching 32c (90F) with no end in sight.

IMG_7629This is the third major record breaking weather story in just nine months – from autumn hurricanes to winter snow storms and now a summer drought!

IMG_7632Have you noticed the effect of this heatwave and drought here at Bealtaine Cottage? Many of you are familiar with the Bealtaine Project motto:

“Plant like your life depends upon it, for it does!” ~ Bealtaine CottageIMG_7636There has been some leaf drop, but overall the land is in good condition and is surviving the extreme conditions well!

IMG_7639As I write this I am aware of extreme rainfall and flooding in Japan.

IMG_7642It appears that the entire world is experiencing extreme weather.

IMG_7643However, what is happening is a taste of what lies ahead, for whatever we do there are consequences.

IMG_7645Did we not all learn that simple rule as children?

IMG_7644If we fail to look after, respect and maintain our home, then it will fall down around us. IMG_7649The earth is our home.

IMG_7652We have treated Mother Earth with disdainful arrogance!

There is a video on this subject uploaded today over on the Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel…subscribe for further notifications.

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“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.

€25.00

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book 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.

€19.00

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.

€13.00

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

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.

€10.00

The Arrogance of Certainty

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IMG_2440Thirteen years ago I made a decision to follow my heart and return to Ireland, with a mighty quest.

IMG_2439I wanted to prove the cynics and naysayers wrong.

IMG_2438I believed it was possible and doable to repair Mother Earth…at least a small part of her, whatever little piece I could afford to buy.

IMG_2434Now, thirteen years is a short time in the scheme of things and those who have looked at the before pictures are as amazed as I am at the speed, health and abundance of her recovery!

IMG_2436It is important to state here, for the record, that most people I knew, including friends and family, seen my quest as a form of madness that had taken hold of me in my post menopausal state!

IMG_2435During all of the thirteen years, as I wrote and photographed the unbelievable progress of this little bit of Mother Earth, I became aware that I was one of a small, but increasing band of strange people who had heard the call and got stuck in, doing, what seemed to others, a crazily mad thing!

IMG_2434I became used to the naysayers and the cynics.

IMG_2433I looked up occasionally from my ceaseless planting and sowing and saw people who talked the talk in fine measure, but stopped there!

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Almost from the beginning of posting this blog, I have been lucky to have had some quite remarkable people who have made donations that have kept my mortgage going during the worst of times…and I have always struggled to keep the bank on the other side of the gate.

IMG_2430You know who you are and I am eternally grateful for your love and support!

IMG_2429At this thirteen year junction, for it feels like a crossroads for sure, I have become increasingly aware of what lies ahead…and, as with my strong feelings to do what others scorned some thirteen years ago, I care little for what the response is to my words…they must be recorded!

IMG_2428The arrogance of man is shocking indeed!

IMG_2422To have been so certain in the face of their own destructive ways, that the greatest seed bank ever built and guaranteed to last for centuries, if not millennia, was brought to within a hair’s breath of destruction within a few short years of its completion, should be the wake-up call of wake-up calls!

IMG_2421Read the arrogance of certainty in this Time article…

IMG_2416Now, we all know what happened this year, don’t we?

IMG_2415The Doomsday Vault has not even survived its first ten years!

IMG_2414So this brings me to what I want to say…

IMG_2408Things are changing faster than anyone could have expected!

IMG_2406I have witnessed the longest drought ever this year here in the west of Ireland.

IMG_2395The water table dropped in early April, the driest in forty years and has not risen since, but continued to fall!

IMG_2392We are now entering a period of great change.

IMG_2390The Arrogance of Certainty seems ridiculous with hindsight, for nothing is certain anymore!

IMG_2386Man has chosen to try to outrun Nature in a feeble attempt to remain in charge!

Mother Earth has poured scorn on his attempts in what was arrogantly termed the Doomsday Vault!

IMG_2442I continue to sow and plant…one of many little Arks across the Earth…and plant out the little clocks that
“Beats out the little lives of men.” ~Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

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Climate Change Nonsense…The Last Word!

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The Podcast…

I have nothing left to say!

Times of Insanity…Seeking Reality

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I rarely dip into the outside world in terms of mainstream media, for it unnerves me!

dsc04158I keep myself occupied in the world as I know it…the one where I weave wreathes from Willow and Dogwood…

dsc04159The one where cruelty and chaos are not allowed entry!

dsc04187You’ll understand my terror, for that’s why you’re here…to touch base with reality!

dsc04186Yes, this is reality…as it was meant to be and in the world most inhabit, is not!

dsc04185I have always chosen this reality, both as a child living in poverty and as a mother creating sanctuary for her children in London.

dsc04184I have always sought out Mother Earth, wherever she was hidden from view by retail parks and shopping centres, housing estates and suburbia.

dsc04183I chose this reality.

dsc04181I planted it, brought it forward, share it and allow it’s force to move out in waves of healing and peace.

dsc04180We all choose our own realities and what we allow carelessly in or strive to keep out!

dsc04179The Lughnasadh Garden is another reality being birthed at Bealtaine.

dsc04178Just as wanton destruction is being justified all over this Sacred Earth, the need for creation is more necessary than ever in the history of what we laughingly refer to as “civilisation!”

dsc04178 And, if you are brain-washed enough to think for a minute that politicians will lift us all up to a better life, then you should really seek your inspiration with them… and not here at this little portal!

dsc04177 Regardless of party/gender/colour or creed, politicians take us to war and care nothing for the protection of Mother Earth…and that in my view is unforgivable!

Today I am feeling angry with what I saw as I looked at the world through the poisonous media.

Even Social Media is being taken over by hate and vitriol!

dsc04171As I approach my birthday and my 61st year, I am becoming convinced more and more of the need to keep one’s head down and continue to nurture and care for Mother Earth.

dsc04170It’s all I care to do, for there is much destruction and violence all around that has reached a point of insanity!

dsc04169I don’t know where to go from here, except to keep doing as I do and keep this website going…where, I do not know! 

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(Thank you Alana!)

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For lovers of Bealtaine Cottage, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 85 new blogs and hundreds of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

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A Lifeboat For Humanity

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DSC01956It was James Lovelock who first suggested that there would be a very few countries which would escape the worst vagaries of the oncoming Climate Change…

DSC01955Much of our media remains silent about the problem and there hangs an eerie silence in the air around centres of political machinations.

DSC01954Our extractive mentality and the demand for higher profits combine to destroy our very own habitat..this is the truth of what’s happening worldwide…we cannot escape our acquisitive nature! DSC01953We appear to be caught in a vicious circle of greed versus need…and we know which one of those two is winning! 

DSC01951DSC01950This is another Bank Holiday weekend here in Ireland and the pubs, takeaway food shops and restaurants are doing a roaring trade! 

DSC01948Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans.

DSC01946DSC01945These shocking figures do not even include fish and other sea creatures whose deaths are so great they are only measured in tonnes…has anyone else noticed the scarcity of fish like Cod and Haddock  in our supermarket deep freeze and the sly introduction of Pollack?

DSC01944DSC01941DSC01940Yes, fish stocks are in decline, as evidenced in the supermarket offerings!

DSC01939We are gobbling up our habitat at an alarming rate! 

DSC01937Throughout the world, about 900 million trees are cut down annually, as of 2014.

That equates to about 2.47 million trees cut down every day.

DSC01936But, hold on, I hear you say…what was that you said about James Lovelock and…? 

According to The Irish Times report in 2009: James Lovelock is perhaps the world’s leading thinker on environmental issues – and his prognosis for the future of humanity is grim. In Ireland to speak at University College Dublin this week, he tells RONAN McGREEVY why he thinks climate change is irreversible and why Ireland may become ‘a lifeboat for humanity’

DSC01927 Yes, that’s right, ” a lifeboat for humanity!” 

DSC01926According to scientist James Lovelock, we are on the cusp of a global catastrophe that will make the present recession look trivial.

Within 30 years, he believes, the Arctic’s floating summer sea ice will all be melted. The polar caps will no longer reflect sunlight back into space and, instead, the ocean will absorb sunlight, heating up. The permafrosts in northern Canada and Siberia will thaw out, releasing carbon dioxide (CO2). At the same time, the tropical forests, which play a critical role in taking CO2 from the atmosphere, will die out. Global temperatures will rise by between five and six degrees in a short period of time, rendering most of the world uninhabitable for the vast majority of mankind.

What sets Lovelock apart from other climate scientists, most notably the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the swift timetable he envisages and his belief that such change is irreversible and will take most of the human race with it. (Irish Times 2009)

DSC01925Lovelock is a former NASA chief scientist.  

DSC01923James Lovelock invented the electron capture device (ECD) whch alerted the world to the depletion of the ozone layer…remember the aerosol crisis?

DSC01922However, he is most famous for the Gaia hypothesis, now a theory, that the world is itself a living organism…and one I know to be true! 

DSC01921Though his predictions for the world are dire, his predictions for Ireland are of some small comfort. Because of our proximity to the sea, our relatively high latitude and our low population density, we may be spared the worst excesses of global warming.

He says Ireland, along with New Zealand, will be the “most fortunate countries on earth”. We will be a “lifeboat for humanity”, but a lifeboat can only take so many passengers.

~ Irish Times 2009

DSC01920Personally I think there will be many places that will make the transition successfully, but the criteria for these places will be different according to geographical regions.

DSC01919How do any of the generation that will meet this head on prepare for the crisis?

DSC01918Well we can begin by practicing living with less, using less, consuming less and growing more…and build a new way of living with Mother Earth from there!

DSC01911 It continues to be developed at Bealtaine Cottage…

 

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

Postscript…

James Lovelock mentions other countries in his forecasting that  will also have the climatic conditions to sustain life…from my reading, these include the British Isles, Northern Scandinavia, New Zealand and Northern Canada. In this interview with The Irish Times in 2009 he was directly referencing Ireland.

Developing a Woodland from Zero

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From monoculture rushy land to woodland in under twelve years.

Not just any woodland, but a food forest woodland, as you can see from one of the thousand plus trees planted above…a Greengage!

This is the only lawn here, enjoyed by Jack!

DSC01549There follows a series of forty plus photographs taken here at Bealtaine Cottage in July 2016.

DSC01548DSC01494DSC01547 The Bealtaine Cottage Land Restoration Project was started in late 2004.

DSC01495It was a challenge for one woman with zero resources to restore what was deemed by the EU as “Poor Land”…a term I vehemently challenge!

DSC01496DSC01497There is no such thing as “Poor Land”  just ABUSED EARTH!

DSC01498DSC01499DSC01500As with all EU projects that entail putting Mother Earth first, there was zero funding for this!

DSC01501DSC01503DSC01504Not to be deterred…(I never am!) at the age of forty eight, I took on a mortgage to help buy this bereft, sad-looking little place, with the dream of returning it to Eden.

DSC01506DSC01507DSC01508I believe the Earth is sacred.

DSC01510DSC01509DSC01511The rest of the story is told here in these photographs…

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The fact that I have planted this entirely on my own, growing much of what you see from seeds and cuttings, makes this a workable model for anyone to follow…

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End of Empire and Climate Chaos

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www.bealtainecottage.com 054The greatest concern of our times is happening on a daily basis and affecting every one of us.

Weather volatility is real and happening and the Ostriches in power appear impotent against the great forces of Nature.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029The gabbling media assault our senses with celebrity highs and lows, sport and highly edited titbits of what is happening internationally…all the while keeping away from any real conversation about the chaos that is the weather all around us and those dreaded words: Climate Change.

However it is not Climate Change any more…the media have completely missed out on that conversation!

It has evolved rapidly into Climate Chaos!

The Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageI would like to offer words of comfort and reassurance, but that’s not possible, for I live in the real world and events are happening too fast for me to be able to offer predictions that will reassure!

Last night I slept with both windows open in my bedroom, bathed in warmth from the wind that blew all night from the south.

The wind chimes on the veranda played ceaselessly…something that has never happened before.

I use all my senses to try to build a picture of what the media refuses to inform me about.

The big news is that the Jet Stream is out of control!

Imagine a Spinning Top, rotating smoothly at first…well that is how the Jet Stream SHOULD be!

Now picture the same Spinning Top as it slows, rotating wildly…that is what is happening to the Jet Stream and causing the wild fluctuations in weather across the globe.

All the information about this is out there on the internet…make Google your friend and inform yourself…that’s if you can bear it!

I have gone past the need to research, for I witness the changes, log them, keep a record of temperatures and rainfall patterns…and have done so for all the time I have worked on the Bealtaine project.

So, what is the point in telling you this bad news?

I have nothing to gain.

In fact, there is a strong possibility that I will lose subscribers.

The old adage of “shoot the messenger”pertains to what I have written here…so be it!

023So, let me tell you about the people I hope to reach with this news…

People who care for the future.

Those who have awakened to what it means to live a compassionate life.

Especially those who are unafraid of change and to implement change in their own lives.

Sammy Bear and meIf there is a Universal Consciousness…give it the name Goddess, God, Divine, Mother Earth…whatever you know it by…then that consciousness must surely want us to care as deeply for our planet as we care for ourselves.

Adapting is the way forward and should be at the top of all political agendas and policies.

Here in Ireland we are headed into a general election.

Farmers appear to be ill-informed in relation to Climate Change and as they hold much power in the outcome of elections, there will not be much informed debate on the doorstep!

Meat production is now at an all-time high in Ireland and there are few, if any, politicians who are prepared to risk the fury of farmers in regards to changing that!

The relationship between meat production, consumption and climate change is there for all to Google and Youtube.

The complacency regarding our habitat and climate change disturbs me.

I shall be quizzing each and every politician who knocks on my door…but as for intelligent, informed answers, well, I won’t be holding my breath!

Feel free to share this post…

And…I had to add this wonderful interview with Jane Goodall…

Love in a (not so) Cold Climate

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With the back door wide open and the birds singing out a chorus more resonant of Spring than Winter, welcome to Sunday morning at Bealtaine Cottage in the west of Ireland!

Despite the mild Winter, snow has fallen and added a seasonal touch to the landscape…in fact it remains on the mountains to the north of the cottage and here and there on banks and ditches.

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I’ve been very busy in the gardens since the end of December, pruning hard, cutting back, washing the tunnel, cleaning pots and generally trying to stay ahead of the work that will suddenly seem oppressive at the start of Spring!

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If previous years are anything to go by, the Spring will be very short and Summer will make itself known in mid to late March!

Shocking I know, but that is the measure of it!

So, for a gardener like myself there’s nothing else for it but to adapt!

Seeds are sown in the propagator and compost will be mixed today in preparation for the potting on that is to come in the next few weeks!

It’s a case of just getting on with it as best I can!

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There is a distinct difference in the shadow patterns as the outline of the roof of the cottage falls beneath the tree tops…

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“Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from plants that died long ago. We can give thanks to these ancestors of our present-pay foliage, but we can’t give back to them. We can, however, give forward. When we are unable to return the favor, we can pay it forward to someone or something else. Using this approach, we can see ourselves as part of a larger flow of giving and receiving throughout time. Receiving from the past, we can give to the future. When tackling issues such as climate change, the stance of gratitude is a refreshing alternative to guilt or fear as a source of motivation.”
Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone

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Sowing and planting, growing tiny trees in pots of hope, tending Mother Earth with love…brings me joy.

Sitting here, with the back door open in the middle of January, may be a cause for concern, but it is over-ridden by the call of Mother Earth from outside.

And for the many visitors to Bealtaine Cottage this year, there will be small pots of hope to take away…

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Facing into Climate Chaos…

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DSC07875New post just published on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website…

You can also catch up with all the other posts published exclusively on here…

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