Sustainable Food Revolution

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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!

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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

Magical Woodland by an Irish Castle

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Stepping into a magical woodland can be one of the most healing and re-energizing acts of care for oneself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis morning I ventured into the woods around Kilronan Castle and the mystical Lough Meelagh, a short distance from Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com I’m glad to have brought my little camera, as am now able to share this enchantment with you.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis sacred place nestles into the valley that sweeps off towards Sligo and the Atlantic Ocean.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Lough is dotted with Crannogs…ancient dwelling places constructed by ancestral forces on the Lough itself. You can just see this Crannog in the distance.

www.bealtainecottage.comThese were places of safety in times of a forested land where wild animals posed a threat and tribal invasions were part of life.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Lough has risen high along the gentle shoreline, where moss and lichen hold sway.

www.bealtainecottage.comTree roots have loosened in the storm ridden rain and some have given way into the dark, watery depths.

www.bealtainecottage.comBirds sing out merry above me as I walk and trees groan in the windy heights… the wind has washed the sky a summer blue.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt is here that I remember my mother and her gentle passing…her energy has joined the forces sweeping in Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com If it were just possible for a moment in time to lift the veil and peer inside, for it seems that this woodland hides many secrets.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so the path bears me forward on this fine day…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs the blue sky deepens and colours…

www.bealtainecottage.comLittle wonder our ancestors regarded these places as sacred…

www.bealtainecottage.comFor they are!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe path diverges as in the Robert Frost poem, though choice is not difficult, for the path loops round and brings one back.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy this time my spirit has been lifted high into the trees, my mind calm and serene and energy charged.

www.bealtainecottage.comAll is well.

The magic flows within.

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Bealtaine Cottage now offers a subscription website and seeds for sale at minimal cost to supporters, (this keeps me solvent, pays the mortgage and sometimes a little more)…keeping the main website free for all, along with a NO ADS Youtube channel, Podcast and FaceBook sites, all listed above.

If you wish to make a donation in support of the work at Bealtaine Cottage…

 

“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”
Wendell Berry

It’s wonderful to be appreciated…so please take a moment to like, share or even comment on Bealtaine Cottage website…blessings X

A Year at Bealtaine…part 2

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine Cottage

Nine years of planting trees into barren, north-facing land has now awoken a magical earth, with paths that lead forever among dappled shade.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageAnd every now and then open up into a secret garden…

Plant Sanctuary, Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…or two…

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageSome paths get overgrown fast as Nature’s abundance keeps giving.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageThe thousands of plants all jostle for space…

A Cherry seed grows by an Oak tree at Bealtaine Cottageand are now self-seeding, like this little Cherry tree growing next to an Oak!

Willow arch into the Fairy woodland at Bealtaine CottageWillow arches that lead into the Fairy Wood at Midsummer.

Blossom on a Rowan tree planted in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageThe delicate blossom on the Mountain Ash, also known as the Rowan Tree.

Permaculture Paradise at Bealtaine CottageA place for tea in the garden on long summer days.

Pond at bealtaine cottageThe standing stone by the lower pond in the Bog Garden.

willow archway at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensWillow…

willow arches, dogwood and beechWillow…

crossing the pondAnd more Willow!

bog garden of bealtainePaths…

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottagePaths…

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageAnd more paths!

Manifesting the Divine FeminineThe lane-way in Summer, walking down to collect…

The postbox at Bealtaine Cottagethe post!

Water garden in permaculture at Bealtaine CottageThe plants take over as Summer holds sway…

Roses at bealtaine cottageAnd roses outside on the veranda go completely crazy!

Gosh…there’s lots more to share for 2013, so a “Part 3” will be needed!

Happy New Year from Bealtaine XXX

Ghosts

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Winter has finally gripped the land.

Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The evening sky turns a cold blue.

Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen.

Winter is here!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Sliabh An Iarainn Mountain catches the dying rays of a winter sun.

Cleaving  the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.

 Ancient  legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place.

 Descending in a thick mist, the Tuatha De Danann found the mountain and the lough.

The mountain contained deposits of iron, and so the magical people proceeded to forge the first metal weapons in Ireland.

There followed a mighty battle with the Tribe of the Formorians, nearby at Magh Tuireadh…and so the legends began.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Willful and determined, like ancient tribes who once battled on this land, Fuchsia continues to hold their flowers, in sheltered parts of the gardens.

There are pockets of Bealtaine that refuse to give up Summer, protecting and nurturing flowers through to Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Kilronan Mountain holds sway to the north of Bealtaine Cottage, washed with shades of purple in the early evening thin winter air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Of all of Ireland, the mountains and valleys of this part hold most history, legend and mystery.

The Tuatha De Danann, as legend tells us, never died, but were banished underground.

They became the Sidhe…the Fairies.

On an evening like this, the ethereal energy of the Tuatha De Danann is almost tangible…

 

A video from Bealtaine…Towards Midwinter…enjoy X

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOu72QAAkro

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Blessings X

Overwintering in the Lodge

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For the past few evenings I have lit the stove in the Lodge and turned down the sofa bed to make a cosy sleeping area that is easy and cheap to heat!
The little wood-burning stove that seems to emanate warmth from one or two small logs, is economic and easy to maintain, making this a snug and cosy place to overwinter.
The layers of insulation packed into the walls of this little wooden cabin, makes for excellent heat and maximum comfort!
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The nights are drawing in fast now and the ice, frost and mist has been a nightly feature for about a week.
Autumn appears to continue during the day and Winter holds sway from darkness onward.
www.bealtainecottage.com 005This morning was particularly beautiful, with swirls of icy mist hanging over the mountains and the air still and warming around the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 010The berries on the Pyracantha are turning deep in colour, as the Blackbird and Thrush both eye them up!
www.bealtainecottage.com 012The Larch tree betond the Lodge is getting ready to shed its needles and the Purple Beech in the foreground hangs onto her leaves well into the middle of Spring!
Autumn is colourful and delightful and definitely my favourite season!
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Parsley grows through the winter in this old, bottom-less bread-bin, tucked into the raised stone bed…a good source of Iron and Vitamin C.
 
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 015Tiny Lichens are beginning to grow on this Birch tree…I love the delicate colours of the Lichens!
www.bealtainecottage.com 017Bamboo and Beech compliment each other on the driveway…both are a source of energy and usefulness at Bealtaine. Bamboo lends itself well to many projects and makes fantastic tapers for using in the cottage, between the fire and candles!
www.bealtainecottage.com 019Bamboo is also a wonderful medium to use when making wreathes, as it is very pliable when first cut and will bend into a circular shape with ease.
It can then be wrapped around with other plants and wood.
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 018Beech, seen here with Forsythia, grows into fairy tree shapes, all twisted and gnarled, reminiscent of the Arthur Rackham Fairy story  illustrations…these are indeed beautiful trees!
www.bealtainecottage.com 022Red Dogwood comes into its own at the entrance to the Fairy Wood.
Do I believe in Fairies?
Indeed I do…don’t you?
www.bealtainecottage.com 027Can you believe these cheeky little Perlagoniums, refusing to give up and go to sleep?
Tomorrow I shall lift them from their big pot and put them to bed for the winter!

Autumn Seeds, Berries and Lichens

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Harvesting Willow today in the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004This Willow is pollarded rather than coppiced.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The day is fine…good for washing to dry out on the clothes line.

Fresh air and sunshine have an excellent cleansing effect on the materials.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Working so close to the trees, and seeing the lichens and mosses in the sunlight is magical.

Little cobwebs, insects and textures becomes a world all of its’ own.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014An opportunity to admire the berries on the Hawthorn, set against the silver of the bark.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015Clusters of berries on the Ivy continue to develop.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016Not to be out-done…the cerise pink berries on the native Irish Spindle make a show of themselves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 020Seeds on the Alder trees hang low in the bog garden.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021The green of Autumn has a fairytale quality about it…it becomes a woodland green, reflected by silvery, autumnal sun light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031Where summer sun on trees casts darkness underneath, autumn sun creates shadows…

www.bealtainecottage.com 034The Fairy Wood is timeless with trailing ivy and sunlight.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Ivy and moss…

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www.bealtainecottage.com 056Jack and Che-Mousey-Bear play in the sunshine.

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Half Light and Shadows

www.bealtainecottage.com 039The apricot glow of a fading October sky, merged with the heavy rustling of cows on the field across the lane, drawing me outdoors.

This is a magical time of enchantment, with Nature and late evening light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 027Any noise on such a still evening exudes an eerie quality of something not understood…always best to go out and uncover the mystery.

As it was, the cows and their calves had nuzzled in close to the hedgerow, to bed down for the night.

The heaviness of their bodies crushing branches, as they leaned into the conspiratorial thorn hedgerow.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056The stillness of the evening makes one want to tip-toe on the lane.

Peering back in through the window of the cottage, lit only by a candle, illuminating the kitchen, it is easy to believe in the fairy folk…

It was remarked by many in 1950s rural Ireland, that the newly installed electric light drove the fairies away…

www.bealtainecottage.com 048The light is on its descent towards Samhain and deeper still to midwinter.

This passing of the light should be a signal for us all to slow down and embrace the stillness of the year, allowing ourselves time to reflect on our sacred journey.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031The Fennel looks to all intents and purposes the magical plant it is said to be, in this half-light.

It is so majestic, scented, beautiful and useful, that I have a mind to plant it all over the gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.com 058…the warmth of the kitchen beckons me towards the light, as the apricot shadows fall back into night.

Blackberries at Autumn Equinox

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Early morning in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine, coffee in one hand, camera in the other, to record the passing of a time, a merging of a season, as we flow seamlessly into late autumn…the autumn equinox.

Blackberries hang heavy near the stone circle, flattened grass signs the badgers have been here.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Looking skywards, all looks different as the season casts a spell over the landscape…I never noticed the ivy on the Ash tree before, really looked and wondered…

www.bealtainecottage.com 002And underneath the mighty Ash, a sacred tree in Celtic lore, the ferns remain green and lush in the warm September weather.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The circle of stone and willow in the early morning light…

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Crossing the little bridge over the ditch to continue my walk.

www.bealtainecottage.com 020And down into the Fairy Wood…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022towards the pond…

www.bealtainecottage.com 023under Willow arches in the playground of Mother Nature.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Along pathways evolved over nine years of delight with the Mother herself!

www.bealtainecottage.com 030Where the Sidhe dance and Badgers trundle…

www.bealtainecottage.com 031I spent yesterday clearing the paths a little, for I and many visitors walk these paths all year round.

Some wood I leave on the ground to feed the earth and provide habitat for all seen and unseen.

www.bealtainecottage.com 035As I write this blog, an email hits my screen, a response to one I sent earlier to a very kind donor to Bealtaine Cottage.

I sent an email to this wonderful man asking permission to publish a little of what he wrote to me recently…

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I have discovered your beautiful cottage a week or so ago from an article in permaculture.co.UK, I have watched most of your youtube videos, subscribed to your newsletter and want to do my part to help you do the beautiful things you are doing….

www.bealtainecottage.com 041I was floored to see the transformation you have made around you through I’m sure a lot of hard work, an enlightened mind and a superb taste (and of course these wonderful trees)…
www.bealtainecottage.com 044I am personally still stuck on a corporate life that I don’t appreciate and I would love to gather the courage to make the jump and return to a more balanced, tastier, healthier and joyful country life…

www.bealtainecottage.com 045The address mentioned on my donation is actually my parents’, they have a lovely garden where I would love to have your seeds make their magic. Feel free to send whatever you have, don’t feel obligated to any quantity…

www.bealtainecottage.com 049The entertainment and inspiration you have provided with your videos and blog entries are already worth more to me than the money donated.
But if I am buying seeds to plant in my parents’ garden, I’d rather my money going to you than to Monsanto or another large commercial seed merchant!

All the best and keep these posts and photos coming, they make my day!

www.bealtainecottage.com 052That was a lovely email to receive today, the autumn equinox and I know you will be happy to read it too!

www.bealtainecottage.com 056Enjoy the rest of the photographs taken this morning, here in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…it’s always a pleasure for me to share this sacred place with you X

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Thanks and blessings XXX

Discovery in the Fairy Wood…

fairies 021Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent down in the Fairy Wood, cutting back the paths and lifting the canopies on some of the bigger trees.

fairies 022My work was intensive and totally absorbing, as you can imagine.

fairies 023It wasn’t until several hours of hard labour had passed that I began to look around me…

fairies 026… for I had moved about ten metres through the wood, without taking much note, other than look at what I was sawing.

fairies 027Taking a breather, I stopped and looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings…I was in a place unknown to me in all the nine years I have worked and planted this land!

fairies 028This is the most amazing aspect of the Fairy Wood…that it had transformed itself as I planted, worked and took daily walks through this magical place.

fairies 029I walked around to the far side of this ancient Ash tree, one that had stood in among the briars and thorns, alone, for all the time I have planted here.

The tree looked totally different on the other side…

fairies 031The Ash tree has been coppiced at some point in the past and has grown into a multi-stemmed tree which now has an underground cave.

fairies 037Almost all kinds of trees found in the Celtic countries have been thought to have special powers, or to serve as the abode of the fairy folk, but especially the magical trio of the Oak, Ash and Blackthorn.

fairies 035The Ash was a sacred tree to the Druids and it’s wood was highly prized in making wands.

This a a very special tree and quite magical as you can see…

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Hi Colette,

I just received this petition. Perhaps you can mention it in your blog and get other people to sign it.

Love and best wishes

Terri

Bayer has just sued the European Commission to stop the ban on its bee-killing pesticides — despite clear evidence its products are behind the massive bee die-offs.

We can’t let Bayer and Syngenta get away with this blatant threat while the bees disappear. Sign the petition to tell them to drop the lawsuits now!

Sign the Petition