Posted in compost, Eco-Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Nature, Uncategorized

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/

 

 

Posted in Consumerism, Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Food

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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Posted in agriculture, Food, Permaculture, Politics

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

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

Posted in Earth, Extinction, Food, Vegan, Wildlife

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.

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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!

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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.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Thrift, Trees

A Day of Sustainable Living at Bealtaine Cottage

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Sewing patchwork today…finishing a bedspread…with the back-door open and the birds singing!

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Producing and using surplus is an integral part of living sustainably. 

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Upcycling our waste in a wasteful society is a way to create growth. 

If there is going to be a future, then our past cannot be used as a template.

We have lived in a state of excess at the cost of the future.

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Making soup today has allowed me to harvest and use vegetables from the garden, especially Spinach.

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…mmm!

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I love Spinach!

With lots planted in the tunnel and heaps of seedlings coming on in pots, this is one winter green of plenty this year!

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There are lots of windfall apples at the moment and this is the time to get out and collect them up for pies and juice.

Stew down the apples ready for a tart and store in the freezer or even can it…that means jar really!

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Having the stove fired up for cooking the soup and baking, means drying clothes in a very natural and cost-free way.

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Cleaned out the hen house and run…now there’s lots of poopy straw to spread on the vegetable beds before I mulch them with cardboard…great, organic and free vegetables for next year!

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The girls are happy! This deep litter allows a good amount of fertile straw to be used in the vegetable gardens and as a fertile mulch…for free…eggs are a sideline!

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Rosehips from the Rosa Rugosa are ripening…these make the very best Vitamin C syrup!

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Beautiful colouring on the Amalanchier trees today.

A feast for the soul!

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Blackberries continue to ripen…free fruit that not enough people bother to pick and use…though more are enjoying the fruits of foraging!

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Cleared the space beneath this Ash tree to make a little sitting and meditation space.

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Made a green juice to start the day, using Apples, Lemon Balm, Mint,  Kale and Wheatgrass from the garden. Now that’s what fired me up for a day of sustainable living!

 

Posted in Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

Move to Higher Ground

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We are facing a multitude of crises at this time.

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War, austerity, climate change, environmental disaster…the list goes on. 

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Each month seems to bring a stronger cumulative effect in how we are perceiving the world around us…many feel threatened and some even feel doomed.

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It has been quite some time now since the cost of petrol at the pump has dropped, in fact the opposite has happened, as the cost has climbed steadily, week on week.

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This tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we have reached Peak oil and there will never again be affordable car travel for the masses.

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This is difficult to take on board, as we see more and more new cars on the road, but that too should sound the warning bells, for it means that the reality of the problem is not being faced up to!

Even governments are pushing car sales with various trade-in offers every so often!

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Reaching Peak oil has serious knock-on effects for us all.

Everything we buy is predicated on oil in some way or another, some direct, most indirectly.

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Most food production is reliant upon oil and artificial fertilizers.

Our lives are based upon consumptive behaviour.

Our society has been degraded by our inherent need for more!

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Considering the implementation of serious lifestyle changes will be the only beneficial way of getting to higher ground to face the storms ahead.

Higher ground in terms of sustainable living and building community.

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If there is madness, mayhem and destruction in the world, we have to own it before we can begin to bring change.

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The best, most enduring change happens slowly, building upon small changes.

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 I urge each and every one of you to consider small changes you can implement in your lives, homes, community, workplace…just wherever one can do it, get on and do it!

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Waiting for our governments to act is really a waste of time…they are trapped in the paradigm of economic growth on a finite planet!

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Please, empower yourself and others to begin the shift to a world where we are not killing and warring for what little resources remain!

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Our earth is abundant and capable of working with us in an interactive, not extractive, way.

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The future belongs to the children whose faces we will never see…keep them in mind in all we do!

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

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You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, compost, Culture, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Ecology, Edible Gardens, Food, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

From the Fringe…

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 001The start of the week in this sacred place, where edges meet and overlap…a cooling, calming morning. 

Yesterday was a day of visits and creating bouquets to take with me.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 002The gardens are flourishing and birthing beauty all around me, so there was much to gather and choose from.

This is the tenth year using the roll of cellophane bought for me by my eldest daughter all those years ago as a leaving London present!

Small investments can and do go on giving!

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 003Walking the gardens this morning, after the rain, with the earth scents rising all around me, it was a delight to see the apples well on their way to a grand harvest.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 004I continue to drink the apple juice saved as frozen juice from the harvest last year.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 005The “poor” land here has given me more food than I can cope with…a continuing surplus builds year on year.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 006In this tenth year, it is no longer a surprise that the main stream media has steered clear of permaculture, for the truth of biodiversity undermines the huge Agri-business pushed by governments and those in power.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 007Permaculture has been pushed out to the fringes of society by ignoring the outcomes of such an approach.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 008This is why I write and photograph and film and keep putting it out there.

I don’t mind being ignored, but Mother Earth WILL have her voice heard and those tuning in are rising in numbers to a point where the mainstream media will have to take notice or end up being overtaken.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 010The compost heaps continue to rise toward the sky, dropping back down to earth as they bio-degrade.
Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 011Newly planted beds promise a rich return all Autumn and well into the Winter.
Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 012Natural Spring water flows in abundance from an aquifer that is unabused by demanding “flush it away,” toilet cisterns.

There is no away and besides which, water is sacred!

Why use clean water to flush our human waste into the rivers and oceans…no way, there is no away!
Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 013Taking care of people means taking care of the Earth…how simple is that philosophy to put into practice?

Not if you are a corporation or a politician on the make and take, for there is no money in caring, just an abundant, real economy!

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 014Our abiding relationship is with Mother Earth.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 016It is the only physical relationship which surpasses all others in this life.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 017If we imagine our world as a tapestry, then where are you on the stitching?

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 020Where do you want to be on the weave?

Here’s a thought: one of the biggest and most powerful supermarket chains in the UK and Ireland spent a small fortune on creating this advertising slogan, “Every Little Helps!”  

Own it!

 

 

Posted in Abundance, compost, Country Living, Eco-Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Summer

Post Midsummer Polytunnel Gardening at Bealtaine Cottage

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Second-phase food production is under way as from this week.

Midsummer has passed and many harvests are home or under-way.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 009This week has seen me clear the tunnel, spread lots of compost afresh on the beds and begin planting for the next phase of crops.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 010As I cleared the tunnel and collected masses of seeds and seed-heads, I was thinking about the crops I would plant.

Number one on my list is Kale; one of the great foods, especially in juicing.

Regular intake of Kale juice keeps health at a peak.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 013 Soil is the most important aspect of good food.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 007The food takes up the essential minerals and goodness in the soil and turns these into health-giving good food.

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This was a good time to prune the Peach Tree and remove about half of the Nectarines and feed the tree.

I left some of the herbs in place and moved the rest into pots and outside beds.

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell BerryThe Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture 

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 016“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 019“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can, insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”
― Maria RodaleOrganic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe

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All the Poppy heads are now harvested, providing a massive amount of Poppy Seed…great in cooking and baking!

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 011“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 GoodallHarvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 022“All the human and animal manure which the world wastes, if returned to the land, instead of being thrown into the sea, would suffice to nourish the world.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Posted in Autumn, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Seeds, Sustainable Living

Excavating the Past…

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Easy to grow salads, almost ready to eat from the box!

This mixture of seeds, mostly saved seeds, so the cost is minimal, has taken about 3 weeks to germinate and grow, outdoors.

Coriander, Parsley, Lettuce, Spinach, Leeks, fennel and more, all jostle together.

These will be cut and cut again for several harvests.

Some of the bigger, stronger seedlings will be pricked out and planted on.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (23)I want to thank all of you who commented and liked on yesterday’s blog…this has really energized me!

Living on one’s own can be quiet at times and it was so great to get such lively and uplifting feedback…bless you all XXX

bealtainecottage.com permacultureI love to forage and dig about at old dump sites, many of which can be found around old Irish cottages.

Nothing was ever thrown, but rather placed in the ditch or bank, so when people like myself excavate decades later, much of what we find remains intact.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (2)This is a selection of old bottles dug up and cleaned.

Some of them are really beautiful, don’t you think?  

Among other things, the practice of excavating old sites is directly linked to antique bottle collecting and glass-making. 

This hobby is so very interesting as it allows a picture of the past to be slowly unraveled and a new tapestry created of past lives.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (24)As I write there is a light spray of rain in the air…it is barely falling!

The ground has been dry and water levels in wells have  dropped in recent weeks.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (4)A week of rain would be very welcome.

The  rain-water barrels have served me well, but are now empty.

Close planting has helped preserved the moisture in all of the beds.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (3)The dry weather has also been great for seed collection.

I have hung Mizuna and Purple Sprouting Broccoli in the barn to dry off.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (7)This Parsley seed will be ready to hang very soon.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (5)Hover-flies buzz endlessly around the flower-heads of the Cotoneaster.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (6)Leycestria Formosa grows like a weed here in the west of Ireland and the flower-heads transform into chocolate-scented berries much loved by the Blackbirds.

In between, it makes a beautiful bush…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (8)Summer prevails and may continue long into September, making a seamless merge into late Autumn.

Enjoy every day in some small way…Blessings X

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Current Affairs, Earth, Food, Gaia, Inspiration, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Plundering the Future

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All our wealth comes from the natural world.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (3)Looking out upon the Midsummer Solstice morning makes me want to weep…for what are we doing to our beautiful planet?

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (2)This is a stark realization, in terms of how we relate to Mother Earth, for we can survive without most material goods, but cannot survive without good food and clean water.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (5)Much of what we eat and drink today is predicated on the use of massive amounts of chemicals…and all being pumped into, or spread upon, Mother Earth.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (6)We are not just soiling the nest, we are destroying the habitat around it.

Not even animals do this!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (7)Somewhere in all of this are people with real concerns, who are aware of the dangers ahead; only some people though, as many are still unaware, or refusing to face reality.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (10)The reality is, in my opinion, quite stark.

One only has to start looking at the figures, such as loss of topsoil, loss of food growing agricultural land, number of force fed, factory farmed animals raised for excessive consumption on an annual basis.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (8)The list goes on and on and the figures add up to frightening and alarming of destruction of habitat, for they point directly to an unsustainable world.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (9)Unsustainable growth and development is when we plunder the future of our children, restricting their lives for our own wants and desires.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (12)The health and well-being of future generations is dependent upon us all being mindful of caring for our Mother Earth and all her bounty.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (13)Living lightly is not living without, but living with a care for our environment, our habitat and the children whose faces we will never see…

We will be remembered for our caring, or scorned for our destruction…

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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…I have posted over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 720 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site.

As an Ark for Nature, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU. Everything created here is self-funded.

Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.

Blessings X

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Gardening, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Recipes, Thoughts, Uncategorized

20 Day Juice Fast…Final Day!

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Dropping 13lbs in 9 days has been one of the extraordinary benefits of the Juice Fast I have been on.

Deciding to embark on a total reboot of my system has been what I can only describe as “liberating!”

This is my first glass of juice of the day and has all the ingredients shown in the pics below…

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Ginger, Cabbage, Cucumber, Orange and Lime…plus…

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Carrot and Courgette…sometimes Beetroot, but not today! Plus…

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Peppers and lots of herbs and greens from the garden…

Lemon Balm, Parsley, Rocket, Golden Oregano…

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With lots of Mint!

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Cleaning the machine straight away after use makes it an easy task…just rinse and leave to dry!

www.bealtainecottage.comI checked myself out with the Doctor after a few days and all was well.

My energy levels are good, though the first three days were tough!

www.bealtainecottage.comDuring this time I suffered headaches and tiredness, as my body came off the caffeine and wheat.

This disappeared after the initial three days and since then I have been feeling fabulous!

www.bealtainecottage.comMy tips for success:

Take time off work to start this as the first three days can be hard and you will want to sleep!

Keep busy…have books to read, walks to go on etc.,

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This is a good time to de-junk your life…start with clearing out cupboards, wardrobes etc.

This is what I have kept busy with and the feeling of clearing space is wonderful!

www.bealtainecottage.comFinally, I must add that I have never slept as well or as deeply, though keeping warm is essential, especially in the evenings!

Blessings XXX Colette

UPDATE… 2nd June, Day 12. Energy levels good. Skin clear. Eyes bright. Sleeping well. Total weight loss: 15lbs

UPDATE: 10th June, Day 20! On this final day I am so very happy that I took on this challenge!

It has been one of the best things I have ever done!

I’ve never felt this good and have lost a grand total of 20 lbs!

I shall continue from next week juice fasting 2 days out of every week until all my surplus lbs have gone.

I am now a totally committed Vegan!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture

A New Leaf

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(As I am beginning a Juice Fast today, I thought I’d re-post this from last year. I can heartily recommend Juice-Fasting as a way of restoring good health all round…it works for me!)

Fresh herbs and micro-greens from the garden are ready to be juiced.

IMG_0126As a way of recuperating from recent loss and feeling very low, I made the decision to start a twenty day Juice Fast.

www.bealtainecottage.comStarting out last Thursday, I have reached the fifth day and am feeling very good.  

www.bealtainecottage.comJuice fasting helps to balance pH and blood sugar levels.

www.bealtainecottage.com It also strengthens the immune system.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe light around the cottage this evening was ethereal, as the sunset glowed in the western sky.

www.bealtainecottage.comFor over half an hour, the setting sun created magical light that lifted the spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt was like a rainbow had enveloped the cottage and gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.com

The red perlagoniums have turned a vivid orange in the sunset light.

www.bealtainecottage.comSunset orange on peach woodwork in the porch.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd through the window hang the roses, heavy, on the veranda

www.bealtainecottage.com

Light and dark interact…

www.bealtainecottage.com

This last burst of light illuminates the trees before dusk, here, this evening, in the west of Ireland.

*************

I have two websites… Bealtaine Cottage and Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

This site, Bealtaine Cottage, is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life costs 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

Making this small donation adds your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

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Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, compost, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Summer, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

A New Way of Living

DSCF1520Food production can be a problem for many people who have little or no access to land.

DSCF1521There are many who live in conditions where even a balcony is a precious space.

DSCF1532I have spoken before about the ways in which access to growing space can be achieved, through allotments, community gardens and the like, but here is something which may prove to be an inspiration, a new way of looking at food, both growing it and eating!

DSCF1527As an aspiring Vegan, (sometimes I miss the mark!) and dedicated grower and lover of all life, I have recently been converted to “Micro Greens.”

DSCF1526The concept is extraordinarily simple!

DSCF1525Seeds such as lettuce, peas, beets, etc., are sown and grown for about two weeks or less, before being harvested and added to dishes.

DSCF1519These Micro-Greens, it is said, contain up to 40% more nutrients than older, traditionally grown and harvested vegetables.

I can believe it!

DSCF1524Yesterday evening, I had a dish of cooked brown rice, mixed with Micro Greens, seasoned and drenched with the juice of half a fresh lime and this morning I feel a surge of energy!

DSCF1530Micro Greens can be grown on a window ledge, balcony, hanging basket…anywhere they can get a decent dose of light!

DSCF1538Growing Organic is easy to manage in small areas too!

DSCF1541Little or no problem with slugs and availability all the year around!

DSCF1540For me, the days of packaged salad of any kind are over and the tiresome task of cooking greens are almost over…adding raw makes more sense in every aspect of preparing and eating food!

DSCF1544All you need is a tray, or pot of compost, seeds and water!

DSCF1545So, there you have it…a new way of living…simple, easy and kind to Mother Earth!

And the fun part? Now you can enjoy seeing some of your vegetables run to seed, like this Mizuna in the Potager Bed!

DSCF1546Here are just some of the seeds you can grow Micro Salads from…
Arugula
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Kale
Mustard greens
Radish
Red cabbage
Turnips
Watercress
Basil
Chervil
Chives
Coriander
Fennel
Lemon Balm
Mizuna
Rocket
Sage
Chard
and many more…
DSCF1547(Both the Light Catcher and the Bird Box were gifts, made by Nick O’Neill…aren’t they lovely?)
Happy growing!
Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage XXX




 

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, cows, Current Affairs, E.U., Ecology, Edible Gardens, Food, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Food Harvest 2020

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Small farms in Ireland are in a steady decline and have been for several decades now.

Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage
Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage

In fact farming is now referred to as an “industry”…a most illuminating use of language!

Buddha in the gardens
Buddha in the gardens

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!

Sammy-Bear says "Hello!"
Sammy-Bear says “Hello!”

The countryside is fast losing vital habitat, as hedgerows are pulled out, trees felled and field size increased.

Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage

There is a government initiative behind this, of course…”Food Harvest 2020!”

Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage
Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is Simon Coveney TD.

Water that is drinkable!
Water that is drinkable!

Minister Coveney  held a meeting on the 17th of April.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine
Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

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! 

Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds
Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds

Participants at this meeting were invited to discuss the government initiative, Food Harvest 2020.

Photinia and Kerria
Photinia and Kerria

This scheme was introduced by the Irish government to increase production of beef! (Ironic naming it “Food Harvest 2020!)

Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine
Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine

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.”

(https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/press/pressreleases/2014/april/title,74954,en.html)

Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage
Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage

All the while, loss of habitat is causing devastation!

Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood
Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood

Friends of the Earth, (FOE), have called on the Government to do a full Strategic Environmental Assessment of Food Harvest 2020. 

Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden
Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden

Other groups raising concerns with Food Harvest 2020 include:

The Irish Climate Justice Group

The Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.

Friends of the Irish Environment and Allies

Buddha at Bealtaine
Buddha at Bealtaine

The European Commission has announced it is launching an investigation of whether proper procedures were followed.

The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs...
The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs…

Each and every photograph I post here on this website is taken at Bealtaine Cottage.

Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds
Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds

These three acres of abundance exist because I took the cattle off the land.

The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage
The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

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!

The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!
The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!

We need, as a nation, to cherish our land and protect it for future generations.

Sammy by the pond
Sammy by the pond

We need to produce more Organic Food for our people rather than importing it…that means fruit and vegetables and grains!

Bealtaine Angel
Bealtaine Angel

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!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cats, Climate, Current Affairs, E.U., Food, Fracking, Growing Food, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Lower The Lifeboats!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe economic crisis, that became evident to all in October 2008, has never really been discussed in the mainstream media. www.bealtainecottage.comMuch of what could, and should, have been put in place by national governments, to ameliorate the dreadful effects of this crisis, have been blatantly air-brushed from the media and political debate!

www.bealtainecottage.comWe continue to be sold the illusion of full employment for all.

www.bealtainecottage.comAs direct fallout from the media hype around this lie, many people are feeling inadequate and hopeless, believing it to be their fault that they are job-less.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe media has demonized the unemployed and disabled, citing examples of welfare abuse, whilst ignoring the very real struggles many good people face in their everyday lives!

www.bealtainecottage.comGovernments have introduced all kinds of hoops and hurdles, that intimidate those seeking employment, into a state of hopelessness and despair.

www.bealtainecottage.comLeadership, has and continues to, fail us!

www.bealtainecottage.comGovernments are aware that carbon reductions in relation to Climate Change cannot facilitate Economic Growth in the present paradigm, but resist any debate or discussion on this!

www.bealtainecottage.comGovernment GDP figures do not take into consideration any guide to National Well-being, including health, food, clean air, clean water etc.

www.bealtainecottage.comFracking is part of GDP for example, as that produces a commodity to be sold, but look at the utter shambles it leaves in its’ wake, for local people to have to deal with!

www.bealtainecottage.comPoisoned water, devastated land, sick children…the list goes on!

www.bealtainecottage.comWe are on-board a rudder-less ship with a drunk Captain and crew…time to lower the life-boats and row towards resilience, community and sustainable living!

www.bealtainecottage.comWhen this ship goes down it will take everyone on board with it!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Climate, Country Living, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality

As Long As The Earth…

www.bealtainecottage.com
As long as the Earth can make a spring every year, I can. As long as the Earth can flower and produce nurturing fruit, I can, because I’m the Earth. I won’t give up until the Earth gives up.
Alice Walker

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

I’m writing this between lighting the stove, going in and out to the barn chopping wood and getting my breakfast together.

DSCF0915Much of the wood I save and stack in the barn is collected from the ground beneath trees after a storm…it’s amazing how much timber for the stove can be foraged in this way. 

DSCF0892I’m so delighted with this lovely gift from friends…

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Thank you my friends Nick and Danielle for this funky new birdbox, created by Nick from driftwood!

DSCF0889Steps have been taken to avoid the one big bill, from the one mains service, coming into the cottage…electricity!

This is a Pay-As-You-Go-Meter, that also monitors usage and allows one more control over the utility.

I have managed to keep this week’s usage to just under ten euros!

I would recommend this as a way of taking more responsibility for one’s little bit of Earth.

It was free to install!

DSCF0894I’m weather-proofing all the wood around the cottage…with a selection of colours, some donated, some bought and mixed with leftovers, so Bealtaine Cottage will take on a different, more interesting hue!

DSCF0890Lavender is the colour of the day…with blue here and there.

DSCF0900One of the great things about cottage life is the simplicity of design…if it’s made from natural materials, then it doesn’t look out of place.  

DSCF0898I love colour!

DSCF0897

DSCF0895It seems a natural decorating choice for cottage living…one lovely eclectic mix of whatever it is one scavenges!

DSCF0905Blossom is out on the Ornamental Plum…

DSCF0911The sickly little Peach tree in the tunnel shows blossom for the first time ever…it has taken me four years to nurse this little gem back to life.

It was rescued from the rubbish skip at Lidl, where it had been dumped after being snapped in half.

DSCF0904This is a new bed I wanted to share with you…it’s another one of my experiments here at bealtaine Cottage.

The tyres are protecting the bed from the East and North , allowing the solar energy to be kept in the bed.

As the land is on a north-facing slope, any rain runs off the tyres downhill towards the north, thus leaving the bed clear from any run-off.

The tyres are well-weathered and already covered with mould.

This was a compost heap from last year.

I shall keep you updated as the growing season progresses.

DSCF0916And finally, a reminder of the thin soil that made up this land ten years ago…this is how close the bedrock is to the surface in many places all over the land here.

DSCF0917Tree-planting here has ensured a future unrealized before now…everything is possible! I cannot stress enough the importance of a Nursery Bed like the one seen here…grow, grow, grow! Then plant, plant plant!

Old church pew at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

“Husband the earth.

Protect
her from greed and violence.

Build
humbly, plant trees, grow flowers and clothe her
with dignity.

Respect all her creatures.

November 2012 005

Honour her
natural laws and the universe which cradles her.
Above all, heartily worship the Source of All that is.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

This world needs secret heroes!

Be brave, speak the truth,
heal the sick, make peace.

Be strong, serve patiently, love
generously, live simply.

Enjoy fellowship, eat and drink modestly,
celebrate the festivals.

Missy Cat asleep at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Breathe deeply, sing and make music,
walk often, cycle and recycle.

Be thrifty, prefer cashflow to
possession, give good measure.

Let your work be your prayer.

Porch and sitting room at Bealtaine Cottage

Put on the whole armour of light!

Unearth the beauty in
everything.

Inhale the Spirit of Goodness.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Kindle kindness,
especially toward yourself, embracing the sweet
silence of your own soul.

Fear nothing.

Accept
what you are and — while you have
breath — give thanks.”
~John Rogers

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Earth, Edible Gardens, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Building Resilience


www.bealtainecottage.comSoil is being depleted at a rate never before encountered on Mother Earth.


www.bealtainecottage.comPlants can only upload minerals from the soil and if they are absent from the soil, then the plants, that make up our fruit and vegetables will be nutritionally deficient!

About 10% of the land on the planet feeds the entire population.

www.bealtainecottage.comA 1992 Earth Summit Report stated that American soils, for example, are now 85% depleted of the essential minerals and elements conducive to growing healthy fruit and vegetables.

Considering the fact that this report was published over twenty years ago, the soil would  now be considered to be useless in terms of growing healthy food.

That leaves many people in a state of undernourishment.

www.bealtainecottage.comI suggest you look into this for yourselves, to understand the full extent of nutritional depletion in the food we buy.

Type the words : soil depletion, into your search engine and YouTube, to be surprised and shocked!

So what do we do about this problem?

www.bealtainecottage.comWell, here at Bealtaine Cottage, the answer I have implemented over the past ten years, has been to continually mulch and build up the soil, all over the three acres of Ireland of which I am guardian.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis method uses tons of biomass, which I grow on the land, shred, then compost or spread directly onto beds.

You can see the bed I covered in cardboard, compost and shreddings last autumn.

The light material is shredded willow on cardboard for access paths.

The beds themselves will be heaped up with even more compost before planting out!

www.bealtainecottage.comBiomass is carbon neutral and requires no shipping or transportation…it can be grown on site! 

www.bealtainecottage.comBiomass is all biologically-produced matter based in carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, so even dredging the ponds of weed will provide nutritive mass for the soil!

This pile of clippings will be shredded to produce more biomass to be added to the soil, building up a nutrient rich, resilient land!

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There is now a new addition to Bealtaine Cottage, called Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

If you would like to be a part of this community, please consider joining us…

To subscribe to this Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website, a small donation of 12 euros, will add your name to the subscriber list. You will then receive the full blog as published twice each week. This amounts to 104 per year at a cost of 12 cents each!

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Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, PermaGoddess, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized

Subversion Without Violence

DSCF0783

Bill Mollison once said, “I teach self-reliance, the world’s most subversive practice. I teach people how to grow their own food, which is shockingly subversive. So, yes, it’s seditious. But it’s peaceful sedition.”

DSCF0789

 Applying design to growing makes for good permaculture.

As Ireland endures a wetter and wetter climate, constructing vegetable beds on the top of gravel helps to counteract the worst elements of flooding.

DSCF0796The same design principles are applied in the polytunnel.

Beds are raised and paths are lowered, allowing for good drainage on this north facing slope.

DSCF0797This is a Nectarine tree, under-planted with Comfrey, which is then regularly chopped and dropped throughout the growing season, thus feeding the hungry fruit tree.

DSCF0798It has been planted in a central area in the tunnel so as to avoid cold drafts when doors are open.

DSCF0799This morning sees the blossom opening at just the right time, as bees are emerging from hibernation, so it’s essential to have both doors open to receive them.

DSCF0803Now this is something rarely seen, but this system works very well for me…seeds are sown together in one, big, deep, polystyrene, re-cycled box.

As seeds emerge and gain strength, I gently tease them out and pot them on, leaving space behind for the next swathe of emerging seedlings.DSCF0805Rhubarb fills out a Spring bed, with Raspberries coming along next in seasonal line!

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The Summer fruiting Rhubarb lies protected under this mound of straw…excluding light from emerging weeds.

DSCF0807The bed is mound shaped as every year sees more and more compost added.

DSCF0808And here’s the black gold…home made compost. As all of the gardens are on a north-facing slope, the tyres do not interfere with the quality of the compost, just protects the heap from the east and north weather systems…particularly cold!

DSCF0809Trees and bushes all play a part in the permaculture design, creating shelter and wind-breaks in this instance.

You can see one of the six bins used for compost toilet waste re-cycling tucked in on the right of the picture.

This makes great planting compost for trees!

DSCF0810More rain storms moving in from the west and Atlantic seaboard this morning, but the sun continues to shine!

DSCF0811As smoke curls up in wisps from the chimney, reminding me that a hot kettle awaits me indoors…tea!

DSCF0814I love the unpredictable Irish weather!

DSCF0813And the way everything greens up so quickly after the winter!

Have a good weekend everyone.

Blessings XXX

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!

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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.

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As an Ark for Nature, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from the EU, as only farm animals, monoculture and set-aside are grant-aided!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, compost, Cottage, Culture, Current Affairs, E.U., Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Trees, Wildlife

EU Pimping Monoculture Failure!

Bealtaine Cottage March Ribes blossomMist prevails as the earth slowly heats, releasing some of the water absorbed during the wettest winter on record here in Ireland.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 047The air is still and birdsong echoes through the foggy dew…

The first of the seeds are now sown in a big fish box in the tunnel, made from thick, white polystyrene, once marked out for the dump but rescued and up-cycled here at Bealtaine Cottage…perfect for seeds and young plants!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture march 2011 006