Food in the Midwinter Garden

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It’s surprising just how much food is growing in the gardens of Bealtaine at this time of year, the time of scarcity…but far from it!

dsc05673dsc05672dsc05671There’s the makings of a decent salad, with Fennel, Japanese salads like Mizuna and others as well as a lovely edible garnish in the form of Pansy flowers.

dsc05670dsc05675In other parts of the gardens, where little micro-climates exist in the form of stones and shed walls, there’s Flat-leaf Parsley and Thyme.

I used Thyme in roasted potatoes yesterday…delicious!

dsc05664Purple Sprouting Broccoli is giving lots of florets…delicious raw or cooked and full of goodness! dsc05663Then there’s Leeks…all grown from saved seed and the stronger for it!

dsc05662Elsewhere in the gardens I found stands of Kale…shred this in salads and roast as chip dips!

dsc05669dsc05668Here and there in the flower beds and in pots…lots of Sage and Rosemary…great herbs to add taste to root vegetables at this time of year!

dsc05666Bay is growing in abundance, quite acclimatised to the Irish climate.

dsc05674Golden Oregano continues to thrive past Midwinter.

All of this is growing outdoors, not in the tunnel and these pics were snapped today, 26th of December!

dsc05651Even the Rhubarb is beginning to produce!

dsc05642There’s lots of other food in the garden…for birds and small mammals, in the form of berries.

Seeds are available from the link below…

 

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

To join the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

Easiest Ever Soup Recipe!

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Soup, especially home made soup, is the mainstay meal of the Winter, providing healthy nourishment every day.

dsc04690I decided to get a big pot of Vegetable Soup going today.

The stove was hot and I was sorting out the kitchen cupboards.

dsc04687Here you can see the remainder of a wonderful bouquet of flowers I received last weekend on my birthday.

dsc04688I sorted through the vase and immersed them in fresh water…they should stay good for at least another week!

dsc04692dsc04693As I write this blog, the cottage is filled with the aroma of the soup cooking on the stove.

dsc04694Home made soup with a complex vegetable base is a cheap and tasty health insurance for the Winter.

dsc04691I have managed to avoid colds and flu, as well as flu vaccinations, for all of my adult life thanks to this simple recipe, usually made several times a week from this month on through to middle Spring!

dsc04696Enjoy the Podcast!

dsc04695Thanks and Blessings to you Dawn XXX…I’m loving the music!

Here’s the Podcast with the recipe…

 

The Bealtaine Project is a full-time labour of love for Colette O’Neill, aiming to encourage and support those wishing to live more sustainably “with” rather than “on”” Mother Earth. To this end, Colette writes, photographs, films and podcasts regularly every day in multi media form.

If you enjoy all the stuff shared from Bealtaine Cottage here and on FaceBook, Youtube, Pinterest and Twitter…why not consider a small donation.

 

Microbeads…A Call To Action!

dsc03454You may never have heard of them…

Microbeads.

dsc03460Microbeads are tiny particles of plastic that have been added to possibly thousands of personal care products sold around the world.

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Microbeads are hardly visible to the naked eye and flow straight from the bathroom drain into the sewer system.

www-bealtainecottage-com-0261Wastewater treatment plants are NOT designed to filter out Microbeads!

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You may have heard of the Plastic Soup swirling around the world’s oceans?

Well, Microbeads make up a large proportion of that TOXIC brew!

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Sea creatures absorb or eat Microbeads.

These Microbeads are passed along the marine food chain.

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Since humans are ultimately at the top of this food chain, it is likely that we are also absorbing Microbeads from the food we eat.

cymhlcewkaaqkrwMicrobeads are NOT biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove!

So, what can we do about this growing environmental disaster?

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You may want to begin by visiting http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/

My approach is a very simple one…use natural care products…meaning, create simple solutions at home!

Not too difficult with a little research and will save loads of money!

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Post any small solutions you may have in the comments section below…

Let’s get moving on this one…

Easy Family Food Vegan Style

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This is a photo blog of food…Vegan food made especially for my family, yesterday and today.

dsc03180dsc03182The recipes are all simple and easy…like this Sweet Potato and Caramelised Red Onion Pate!

The food in the first photo consists of a dsc03194Green Salad with Olive Oil and Basil dressing; dsc03190Spicy Roasted Veg., dsc03197Bulgar Wheat and dsc03196Ginger sauce…all home made in a short space of time…a delicious lunch!

dsc03184I hosted a dinner party on Sunday, dsc03183for my grandson who is off to Canada tomorrow, (Tuesday). dsc03176And baked some very easy bread! dsc03178dsc03179Then baked the same recipe again today!

dsc03175I also made a lunch for family today.

 I will post the recipes in the Recipe Section of Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, tomorrow. dsc03193

Using Seaweed in the Garden

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After so much rain during the past few weeks, it was a relief to have a relatively dry day! DSC01293You may remember that last week I visited the Atlantic shoreline to harvest some seaweed to use on the garden. DSC01292The strands to the south of Sligo town have piles of loose seaweed here and there along the beaches.

DSC01291Always only ever take the loose stuff…don’t pull seaweed from stones as these form habitats and are essential to the ecology of the seashore!

DSC01290In the end I managed about three big bags of seaweed and headed home with my foraged booty!

DSC01289The first thing I do is to spread it on the gravel around the cottage and allow the rain to wash out excess salt.

DSC01288After about a week, I start to spread the seaweed around established plants in the garden and tunnel.

DSC01287 The seaweed acts as a wonderful feed and a weed-suppressing mulch!

DSC01285One of the best things about growing food in the garden is the opportunity to use local and near resources that are free to be foraged or collected…seaweed is an organic fertiliser! DSC01286Seaweed is washed in by the tide, so is easy to forage!

DSC01284Only ever take what you need!

It can be used straight away too by the way!

DSC01283It’s packed with Potassium and Nitrogen, bot wonderful for the garden!

In the next blog, over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, I will explain how to make Liquid Seaweed Manure…along with lots more pics of the vegetable beds mulched with seaweed and how this feeds the plants!

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

 

Unweaving

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With my camera in one hand and mug of coffee in the other, I set off with jack for an early morning stroll around the garden and down as far as the end of the driveway.

DSC09753As you can see it’s a beautiful morning!

DSC09761My mind, as ever, began to focus on the beauty of all around me…for I live in a constant state of disbelief that all this has manifested from such barren land in little more than a decade!

DSC09760We live in unprecedented times.

DSC09720In what was promised as a post-war era of plenty on this abundant and beautiful planet, deceit and greed have overtaken and consumed the dream.

Mother Earth has been harnessed and shackled to the corporate nightmare.  

DSC09754War appears to be never-ending.

As George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
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Jane Goodall, a wise and compassionate woman if ever there was, speaks and writes about the issues facing us today, in a world where little makes sense…

“Michael Pollan likens consumer choices to pulling single threads out of a garment. We pull a thread from the garment when we refuse to purchase eggs or meat from birds who were raised in confinement, whose beaks were clipped so they could never once taste their natural diet of worms and insects. We pull out a thread when we refuse to bring home a hormone-fattened turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. We pull a thread when we refuse to buy meat or dairy products from cows who were never allowed to chew grass, or breathe fresh air, or feel the warm sun on their backs.
The more threads we pull, the more difficult it is for the industry to stay intact. You demand eggs and meat without hormones, and the industry will have to figure out how it can raise farm animals without them. Let the animals graze outside and it slows production. Eventually the whole thing will have to unravel.
If the factory farm does indeed unravel – and it must – then there is hope that we can, gradually, reverse the environmental damage it has caused. Once the animal feed operations have gone and livestock are once again able to graze, there will be a massive reduction in the agricultural chemicals currently used to grow grain for animals. And eventually, the horrendous contamination caused by animal waste can be cleaned up. None of this will be easy.
The hardest part of returning to a truly healthy environment may be changing the current totally unsustainable heavy-meat-eating culture of increasing numbers of people around the world. But we must try. We must make a start, one by one.”
Jane Goodall

DSC09719There are some main differences between the times we live in and a few decades ago here in the western world.

DSC09755Do you remember?

Do your parents recall?

Have you ever had this conversation…the one that begins with “consumption of food and acquisition of material goods never used to be like this!”

DSC09750My diet as a child consisted of tiny amounts of meat two or three times per week.

DSC09749Milk was limited to what was given out free at school.

DSC09747Ice cream only ever was a Sunday treat during the Summer months.

DSC09748Sweets were literally a treat…very rare indeed and brought by visitors to our home!

DSC09746Clothes were handed down and rarely bought new!

DSC09745Toys and games were what one got at Christmas or birthday if one was lucky!

DSC09741Compare all that to now…

We have a consumer society gone mad!

We are devouring our world!

DSC09738Our happiness levels have plummeted.

Seasonal food and life is unrecognizable to the majority of younger people.  

DSC09729“Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?”
Jane Goodall, Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating

DSC09726Oh Jane Goodall, what a wise woman you are…but I hope that day comes soon!

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Thank you for supporting this blog

Is Ireland Ready For a Second Famine?

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It is not what Food Harvest 2020 and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney would be prepared for, despite the fact that the Ministry is ultimately responsible for the food security of the nation!

The people of Ireland would be forced to repeat the history of the 1840s and this time at the hands of their own elected government!

…Read the full text and blog at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Stop Criticizing and Do Something About It!

“Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF”

~The Guardian

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This shocking truth has been sinking in over recent months!

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“Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.” ~ The Guardian

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Half of the animal life on the planet has been lost to human consumption.

Potatoes Chitting at Bealtaine Cottage

Greed, gluttony and sheer arrogance have brought the world we inhabit to the brink of destruction.

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Any time I mention the fact that I am now a Vegan, I get pounced upon by people who denounce my choice of diet and insist upon telling me that it is unnatural to live without meat, fish and dairy!

Old Rowan tree at Bealtaine Cottage

The correlation between what we eat, and the ecological disaster that is our Earthly home, is there for all to see…there is no more denying the fact that we have plundered to the brink of mass extinction!

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“Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regrow, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb.” ~ The Guardian

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“The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.” ~ The Guardian

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Most people associate being Vegan with ending cruelty to animals, but even adopting part of one’s diet to being Vegan achieves much more.

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For example, in adopting a diet without meat and dairy, even a couple of days per week, and thinking more about what we eat, personal and planetary health improves.

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Each one of us is either part of the problem or part of the solution.