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!

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

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

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Link to Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop…just opened…

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Featuring hand-crafted Ancient Bog Oak Pendants…

http://bealtainecottage.com/craft-shop/

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Garden, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Permaculture Place to Stay in Ireland

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Bealtaine Cottage is a Permaculture Smallholding in the West of Ireland that has been developed from barren land over the past ten years.permaculture B&B Ireland 003

As a way of spreading the permaculture message of hope and regeneration, the gardens and cottage have remained open to visitors from all over the world during this time.permaculture B&B Ireland 006

Many visitors have spoken of their wish to be able to stay at Bealtaine Cottage and have invariably had to seek accommodation at local B&B homes.

This is the Lodge,  dedicated for anyone who wishes to stay and spend more time than just a visit to Bealtaine Cottage. (Sammy-Bear is an optional bed-mate!)permaculture B&B Ireland 007

The Lodge has a comfortable double bed and small single sofa-bed…as well as lots of pull-out floor cushions!permaculture B&B Ireland 008It also has its own door to the garden and a sheltered veranda attached. This is the view of the gardens from the door.permaculture B&B Ireland 009All four windows in the Lodge open onto sheltered gardens, as you can see.permaculture B&B Ireland 010The connecting door to the cottage leads towards the shower-room and compost toilet…yes, this is a permaculture home and all the facilities are based on sustainable principles of living!permaculture B&B Ireland 011With over a thousand trees planted here, the gardens boast shelter and a wonderful array of wildlife and birds.

This is indeed a sanctuary in the true sense of the word.permaculture B&B Ireland 012With a great little wood-burning stove installed, the Lodge is cosy and warm throughout the seasons.permaculture B&B Ireland 014

There are modern, luxurious places to stay all over Ireland…Bealtaine Cottage is different, in that it is part of the landscape and unashamedly connecting into Mother Earth!permaculture B&B Ireland 013You can park your car right up alongside the Lodge by this window.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (16)Breakfasts are Vegetarian or Vegan, sitting around a cosy stove in the old-fashioned kitchen.bealtainecottage.com permaculture (18)You can find all the details of cost and booking by clicking on the link at the top of the page.

Please note that B&B is no longer available at Bealtaine Cottage…Sorry!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Edible Gardens, Garden, hens, Herbs, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

New Permaculture Orchard

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 007Last year I planted a new orchard at Bealtaine Cottage.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 008To date there are thirty eight fruit trees planted across the three acres of land here.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 012This new orchard was planted on an area previously fenced off and used for hens over a period of years.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 009This is always a good start, as the land was prepared by the hens in terms of manuring and picking over.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 010Before the trees were planted I laid down a generous spread of seaweed and covered this with cardboard, to hold back the weeds for a year or so.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 013Over the morning I have been planting yet more layers into the orchard, mainly flowers and herbs to attract and feed the bees…my secret of abundant harvests; where would we be without the bees?

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 014The next phase will include planting a bee-friendly hedge along the south edge of the area.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 015I planted Fuschia and Berberis, Dogwood and Rubus along the north edge.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 016As I cut back around the orchard, cuttings are dropped onto the ground around the trees and bushes as a mulch.
permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 021The planting continues as more and more flowers and herbs are brought from my small nursery area, a really important part of any permaculture garden or smallholding! 

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 019As with all my projects here at Bealtaine, I couldn’t resist using some Willow to effect, constructing a simple arbour that will eventually house a home-made bench, on which to sit and sup a cup of tea!
permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 024The plan of maximum planting has worked well all over the land here, building resilience as well as fertility into the land, as a forest does naturally.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 002The days have been warm and sunny, with the back door open all day long.

There is such a good balance of biodiversity here that flies don’t seem to be a bother…this can be a serious Irish complaint during the summer months!

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 003I pulled the sofa chair over to the open door as I find the soft sounds of life in the gardens very soothing.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 001Sammy does too!

The idea of planting food trees is taking off here in the west of Ireland.

My local town of Drumshanbo has planted a Community Orchard near the entrance to the town…a great Transition Towns inspiration!

 

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 Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Edible Gardens, Fairies, Frugal Living, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Summer, Uncategorized, Wine

Bottling Summer

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The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.

Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!

Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

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 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, Bees, Birds, Climate, Earth, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Spring, Thoughts, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Warm,Naked Earth

DSCF1040The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

…except, in Permaculture gardens, little is naked, most is covered, yet the earth beneath the green mantle warms just the same.

DSCF1042April has set Spring firmly in place, with early sunrise and birdsong to lift the dullest spirit!

DSCF0999The boys awaken to the sunshine…

DSCF1006Honesty comes into flower…

DSCF1005Ribes sets the bees buzzing…apparently the Bumble Bee is losing numbers here in Ireland, as well as the UK, but certainly not at Bealtaine Cottage…the place is abuzz!

DSCF1016Amelanchier is coming into flower…yet more of the succession planting for the bees!

DSCF1002The playhouse is being transformed into a hen house…an upstairs~downstairs hen house to suit the due pecking order!

DSCF1020I’ve been busy with the brush and wood preservative, making sure that this little house sees another 10 years!

DSCF1009Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel and will keep producing right up until the newly sown Chard is ready to pick…so very easy to grow!

DSCF1019Photinia, Red Robin has opened its new leaves…a burst of red!

DSCF1013Perennial Poppy has weathered the frost well!

DSCF1032Quince is in flower against the barn.

DSCF1030These gigantic shells have been moved to hang on sticks driven into the earth, making a contrast to the emerging green!

DSCF1029Spring is bursting forth into a riot of greens, as the first Cuckoo of the year heralds its summery arrival…earlier than last year!

DSCF1027The Fairy Wood is a mass of lime green Spurge!

DSCF1046The Lavender-painted Barn takes on a new look, making a wonderful backdrop to Spring.

DSCF1057Newly painted benches are ready to withstand another year of crazy Irish weather!

DSCF1056Primroses emerge in places where birds have dropped seed!

DSCF1039And the warm earth, no longer naked, continues to push forth magic!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Garden, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

We Are At War!

DSCF0805The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was started at the beginning of World war two, in Britain,

www.bealtainecottage.comThe people of Britain were urged to use any spare land to grow vegetables.

 www.bealtainecottage.comVictory gardens were planted everywhere…and I mean everywhere!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006All land was considered viable for planting, including gardens, lawns, parks, golf clubs and all public spaces even in the City of London, around the Tower of London, for example! 

www.bealtainecottage.com 004During the height of the war, when food was rationed through scarcity, there were 3.5 million allotments in Britain, producing over a million tonnes of vegetables and it was estimated that in 1944 British gardeners produced between 2 and 3 million tons of food overall!

www.bealtainecottage.com 034People were encouraged to keep small livestock and ‘Pig Clubs’ were formed as a way of best utilizing leftovers to feed the pigs.

Flo, with me holding GloriaHens and Ducks were kept for their valuable eggs.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 034The children growing up through this period of time were the healthiest ever reared in Britain.

apples and sunflowersMy mother was born and raised during this time and lived a remarkably long and healthy life!

Colette in one of the orchardsSo, now we are all in a state of financial hardship and unemployment, I have one simple question to pose.

harvestWhy cannot our governments introduce a similar campaign?

harvesting blackcurrantsWe are at war…with poverty!

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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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!

DSCF0806

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 006There’s a digger at work on the hill of Ballyfermoyle, I hear it’s machinations echoing through the misty morning.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March primrosesYoung trees and bushes are being torn up and tossed aside, in an effort for land to be measured by the EU on Google Maps.

cobwebs Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March Less tree cover shows more grass and it is grassland that the EU are paying farmers here in Ireland to grow.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 004More grass, more meat, more export, more globalization…you know the story!

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012And so, the Earth is losing more habitat in a land that cannot feed it’s own people…Ireland is heavily reliant on imported food!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March Another famine lurks around the corner, as monoculture food systems are the order of the day, financed and controlled by the EU bureaucrats, blinkered up to the eyeballs with bullshit!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March 2011 021In this land of plenty there is little food grown around this area.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture march 2011 004EU sponsored, subsidized and pimped Monoculture prevails!

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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…the donation remains the same no matter where you live, even Outer Mongolia!

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.

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!

Your donation helps remedy that…

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Current Affairs, Ireland, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Don’t Wait For The Cavalry!

www.bealtainecottage.comSammy-Bear is filthy.

From head to paw, disgusting in the extreme!

Last night, as the moon came towards its fullest, Sammy refused to come in.

As I walked Jack in the full light of a post storm moon, I could see Sammy on the hill behind the cottage darting here and there as he chased something.

www.bealtainecottage.com

Hours later he slunk home in this disgraceful state!

He refuses to clean himself, ignoring my chastisements and sits in full state, on the executive chair, in front of the stove!

I may as well talk to the wall!

www.bealtainecottage.com

There is a full moon tonight and the air is still.

Over recent days the storms have been intense, with rain, snow, wind and tornado!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe extremes of weather are being felt all across the world.

The British Isles have been hit quite badly with floods and high winds all over.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe effects of this extreme weather in terms of financial cost has not been talked about too much in the media.

There appears to be an Ostrich reaction to it all, as economies are talked up and realities are ignored.

www.bealtainecottage.comI don’t feel I need to write about the cost to our environments, as I do so all the time really, but the financial cost to countries will be immense and will certainly slow any hoped-for economic recovery.

www.bealtainecottage.comSo it is well worth mentioning once more the power we all have, to grow food and make plans for our own home economies as best we can!

I might add here, that our worst, can only really equal the best that our own governments appear to be doing in the face of environmental disaster.

By applying common sense and with a little foresight and planning, we will ensure some security of tenure on this battered planet.

www.bealtainecottage.com 058For my part, planting trees for coppicing and energy needs will ensure a warm home next winter.

Storing and familiarising myself with the use of dried pulses, growing and successfully storing home-grown produce, as well as becoming well-versed in the very best home-made soups and potage dishes, continues to occupy my spare time.

candle_004_reasonably_smallMy advice, for what it’s worth…Don’t Wait For The Cavalry!

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thrift

Small Spaces and Tiny Homes

owww.bealtainecottage.com

Tiny homes are becoming popular.

We are realizing the importance of space…the space we actually need to live comfortably.

If I had the opportunity to build another home, it would, undoubtedly, be much, much smaller than Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLiving comfortably means a warm home, less opening and closing of doors, one big room where all comforts are to be found, much in the same way as the old cottages used to be here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere in this little Lodge, built onto the back of the cottage, constructed mostly from re-cycled materials, over-wintering is now embedded into my lifestyle.

www.bealtainecottage.comEnergy use is one-quarter of that needed for the cottage.

Small pieces of coppiced wood has fed the wood-burning stove, keeping all snug and cosy.

www.bealtainecottage.com

This was a decision I made out of a challenge, to prove that it was possible to be warm and comfortable through winter…and it is more than possible, it is a new-found freedom!

Cheap energy!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is possible with a multi-faceted approach: one small, medium or even big living space; masses of insulation; small wood-burning stove; low energy lamps; a sofa bed, or, as in my case a bed that doubles as a sofa; woollen blankets and rugs; thick curtains and menu plan for cooking one-pot meals on the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.comA small clothes-rail doubles as a drying rail as the heat from the wood burner keeps the place toasty!

www.bealtainecottage.comI am a fan of the Tiny Home movement for many reasons, but, primarily because this way of living empowers one…absolutely! www.bealtainecottage.comThe more one can conserve and live minimally, the more power one actually has !

www.bealtainecottage.comPlanting lots of shelter-giving plants, shrubs and trees around it also helps the micro-climate inside and out.

www.bealtainecottage.comA place to sew and knit in comfort with the luxury of a kettle of ever-free-boiling water is magic!

www.bealtainecottage.comA door that opens onto the most sheltered part of the garden is a bonus.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd yes…that is an old table top up-cycled as a step!

Posted in Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Food, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Beyond Civilization

www.bealtainecottage.com

The light is changing.

As it does, a new growing season begins to unfold.

This is the year of change, as more and more people realize, that civilization, as we have come to know it in these past decades, holds little hope of holding together.

Willow basket making Feb  Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage I do not say this lightly and the reasons I see for it are manifold, but the main contributors to the calamitous and increasing loss of habitat and stable environment on the planet, is civilization itself!

Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 005 Our civilization has created the perfect conditions for collapse of the very systems that sustain us.

Bealtaine Cottage FairyWe have watched the collapse of the financial world over the past few years.

There is no recovery!

Have you joined the endless queues in your local bank recently, just to be served?

Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 007Governments, like mine here in Ireland, are extracting carbon taxes from impoverished people and are not planting trees! Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureExtreme weather events are fast becoming an accepted part of our weather systems…have you noticed?

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Feb 2011 005 If you know how the Jet Stream works, or should work, then you will be aware of the reasons why climate change is happening.

Stanley stove at Bealtaine CottageQuote science for or against and waste time debating…or simply look around you and keep a weather diary.

Shabby chic at Bealtaine CottageSo, as always with my writing, I move onto the positive, the can-do…and what comes to mind is a simple skills set, that we need to acquire, if we are to move beyond the last years of civilization as we know it.

Permaculture Cottage ...September 2011 005These are skills we need to acquire and pass on to younger members of our society…the ones who will be left adrift, without the security blanket we have used and abused.

May 2011 Bealtaine 040

  • Food growing
  • Healthcare…basic first aid! can you prevent someone from bleeding to death or help deliver a baby?
  • Craft skills…how to make and create from local resources.
  • Building and construction, as well as maintenance to keep a home dry, for example!
  • Cooking and baking…Home economics is so degraded now in general education, I wonder why?
  • Permaculture…encompasses all the skills listed here!
  • Fire-making…few young people know where to start and the basics!
  • Management of resources (NOT financial!)
  • Herbs and the vital role they play in good health, food and body-care.
  • Conflict resolution and society building without hierarchy.
  • Basic mechanics…look how people in poorer societies keep their cars on the road!

permaculture cottage Jul 2011 014

It’s time to start putting plans in place for a better world.

June 2011 Bealtaine Permaculture 063The politicians are not bothered about our future, but we should be!

Writing, Posting and Sharing…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Frugal Living, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Winter

Money…Lots and Lots of Money!

midwinter cottage 013The New Year party dust has settled.

People have returned to work and credit card bills are dropping on doormats all over the  world.

The reality of living has dawned, after a long party season, where many have struggled to just buy necessities.

midwinter cottage 006Recent figures released have stated that the rich have got richer and the poor poorer, with the severest erosion of the middle classes ever witnessed.

Profits announced by corporations defy any understanding of mathematics.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I read the other day, that Bill Gates earns more profit on his investments, than himself and Melinda can insert into their foundation.

Bill has not actually worked in 14 years.

All this as many workers, already working overtime,  are having to apply for welfare and charity to keep their families out of extreme penury.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004I do not understand this form of economics and am not ashamed to say so…I really do not understand!

Here at Bealtaine I have lit the stove, on a grey, wet and windy day in early January.

As the fire roared up under a spitting kettle, my thoughts turned to those who rely solely on fossil fuel or electricity for warmth.

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Escalating costs for fuel is now prohibiting many from keeping a warm home.

Governments have failed, to put in place any substantial remedial action, that may help alleviate the burden of fuel costs.

There have been small measures, like attic insulation offered to those on minimum income…little indeed as the energy costs spiral.

www.bealtainecottage.com 022The cost of wind-generated energy must be very small indeed, compared to say, Nuclear.

I say this because I witness the one man in a white van, who services the Wind Turbines on the mountain opposite Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030He attends to these as and when they need attention…not on a daily basis, by any means.

I imagine  the maintenance costs, say, compared to power stations, are very minimal!

So where does the escalating costs of that electricity, generated by those turbines, actually go?

www.bealtainecottage.com 004There appears to be a lot of money in the world, with but a few holding the purse-strings…and that makes no sense at all!

We are surrounded by solutions to the most grievous and pressing poverty.

We are surrounded by wealth, held tightly by the few.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Year at Bealtaine Cottage…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Not in any particular order…pictures of the year that was…

Stanley stove at Bealtaine CottageWith the oven hot enough to bake a cake…my beloved Stanley Stove in the kitchen…

view morning 001Early morning mist sweeps up the valley…

Plum tree at bealtaine cottage permacultureOne of the Plum Trees laden with fruit…

 Bealtaine Cottage moon rising over the permaculture gardensThe moon rising over the gardens…

mon 27 sep 001Salix Contorta, or Twisted Willow, with Hag-Stones hanging from one of its branches.

Nasturtiums at bealtaine Cottage1Nasturtiums by the veranda.

November 2011 018Back of Bealtaine, near the main production gardens.

November Bealtaine Cottage permaculture pondThe lower pond in the Bog Garden.

December 2011 permaculture cottage 005My darling Missy…gone from this mortal coil, but her energy is felt…

Bealtaine CottageFiring up the Rocket Stove with a bit of an old fence post…wicked heat!

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageEarly Spring in the gardens near the tunnel.

washing on the line at Bealtaine CottageWashing in the wind!

Easiest ever compost at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensHome made compost.

Apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture orchardApple blossom…a great apple harvest every year without fail!

Permaculture Tunnel at bealtaine CottageThe tunnel in May…seedlings in pots and trays everywhere!

Permaculture Edible gardens of Bealtaine CottageProductive gardens, around the tunnel and herb beds, in May

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe Hen house…I will definitely get some more hens in 2014!

Hens at Bealtaine CottageI miss the girls…hens are very relaxing to watch.

Under the kitchen windowBluebells under the kitchen window…I shall post some more tomorrow

Happy New Year to you all XXX and Blessings from Bealtaine.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Food, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Winter

Fighting Poverty in Ireland!

 
www.bealtainecottage.com 003It’s a hard winter for many people across the western world as the recession digs deep.
As the utility companies have increased their charges, wages have remained static and in some cases fallen.  
As I predicted, food costs have risen and fuel charges increased.
www.bealtainecottage.com 002For myself, I am having a “Pay As You Go,” electricity meter installed, as the bi-monthly bills have created financial chaos in my accounting!
www.bealtainecottage.com 016Even with this, the Electricity company, (State-owned…that’s me, by the way!), charges 37 cents per day for the meter.
So, before the light is switched on, the monthly charge is over 11 euros!
Add that up over a year, over 135 euros, and the meter is paid for…however, the cost continues, year after year, so that’s profiting from people who are struggling!
Politicians have not a clue!
www.bealtainecottage.com 006However, I am not a woman who embraces being a victim and so I am now very pro-active in finding and using alternatives (I can afford), to utilities. (No, I cannot afford wind power.)
Oh, how this little Rocket Stove works at boiling my kettle…all day boiling!
www.bealtainecottage.com 012As I type I hear the low whistle from outside, reminding me that tea, coffee and home-cooking is available, for  the no-cost of a few bits of dry wood, my rebel heart lifts…
www.bealtainecottage.com 010As Alice Walker once wrote, “You Can’t keep A Good Woman Down!” (Brilliant short stories by the way!)
Time to get a big pot of soup started!
Posted in Country Living, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Recycling, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized

A Fireside Chat

www.bealtainecottage.com 004

There is much talk about energy and the best way to keep warm.
Last night I arrived back from visiting my mother in Omagh, to a cold cottage.
After walking Jack and feeding the boys, I set about lighting the stove in the Lodge.
Within ten minutes the Lodge was warm and cosy.
I could take off my coat and think about a pot of tea!
www.bealtainecottage.com 001This has got to be the most efficient, and gentle on the planet way, to warm a home, especially using wood from nearby…in my case the land around the cottage.
Why even setting a fire with cardboard is effective and warms the cold air very quickly indeed!
When I lived in London, I was a perpetual Skip Hunter…forever foraging for wood and never disappointed, for the amount of waste in the cities is incredible!
www.bealtainecottage.com 003The kettle sits atop the stove and will be ready for making tea shortly.
Not many gas or oil central heating boilers can do this…for free!
This wood is stuff I collected from the hedgerows.
There is a lot of wood lying around following the storm of last night and it’s just a matter of picking it up!
www.bealtainecottage.com 006Elsewhere in this little Lodge, coziness abounds!
I have started to use the top of the little stove for making soups upon.
The heat is equivalent to that on a gas or electric hob and can be adjusted with regulation of the air-flow.
www.bealtainecottage.com 008The place is toasty warm in a very short time!
Talking of which…making toast by an open fire is the height of luxury!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007This stove only needs a metal chimney and can be installed in a day.
If you can’t install a wood-burning stove, then ensure you make one room in your home as cosy as you can, with a little bed that doubles as a sofa, where you can sleep on especially cold nights.
Here in the Irish countryside there are a lot of splendid looking mansions, all recently built over the past decade.
I doubt if many of them are as cozy and welcoming as this little Lodge.
 
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A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am into a second print run and am posting from today, Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy… http://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings X