Today at Bealtaine Cottage

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Rain fell last night and continues this morning.

There will be no lack of water in the well for the next few weeks!

DSC00663 I have finally given away my hens…as I no longer eat eggs and there was a lovely home ready and waiting for them where they would be more useful, as they are good layers and their eggs will be anticipated and appreciated where there is a family of people to eat them.

DSC00662I shall miss them, but as with life at Bealtaine Cottage, the void is quickly filled and the hen-house will be re-purposed and appreciated further.

DSC00661In the past, their manure was a part of developing the fertility of the land at Bealtaine, but this is no longer needed.

The compoost system is now working very well and far exceeds what any animal manure could bring to three acres.

DSC00659Seed production is well under way, with some of the harvest already collected and much more coming to fruition.

DSC00660We are now one week away from Midsummer, as evidenced in the lush growth seen here! 

DSC00655We inter-breath with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans.  They are part of our own body.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

DSC00658The fruit trees and bushes were pruned back quite hard over the course of last Autumn and Winter and they are happily producing yet another bumper harvest.

DSC00656 …no matter how complex or affluent, human societies are nothing but subsystems of the biosphere, the Earth’s thin veneer of life, which is ultimately run by bacteria, fungi and green plants.  

~Vaclav Smil 

DSC00657Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.  

~Charles Cook  

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“If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.”
J.M. Coetzee

The Greatest Peace Initiative of Our Time

DSC00242This notion that man can, and should, have absolute dominion over the “chaotic” powers of nature and woman…is what ultimately lies behind man’s famous “conquest of nature” – a conquest that is today puncturing holes in the earth’s ozone layer, destroying our forests, polluting our air and water, and increasingly threatening the welfare, and even survival, of thousands of living species, including our own.

Riane Eisler
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I was aware from an early age, through extensive reading and observation, that women have long been associated with Nature.
DSC00173Even the metaphor we use for our planet, ‘Mother Earth’, for instance…our nurturing Earth!
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The language we have become over familiar with says it all.. a ‘virgin’ forest is one awaiting exploitation, as yet untouched by man.
DSC00176I have lived through the greatest exploitation and destruction of ‘virgin forests’, ever seen.
DSC00175It is something I would love to be able to wish away and part of the reason I have grown and planted over one thousand trees to co-create Bealtaine Cottage, with, Mother Earth.
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Working with the land, in much of the world, is women’s work.
DSC00178Apart from the violence of war and the destruction of the planet, women have been associated with the physical side of life.
DSC00182Even in biblical terms, women are ‘closer to nature’, and so to be kept controlled.
There is a real fear of Nature and all that She imbibes.
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Of course, when one takes a long look at how mankind has viewed Nature down through the past several thousand years, it becomes apparent that fear is the driving force.
DSC00185Nature is more powerful than human life.
DSC00186The control over Nature allows a fleeting feeling of control and empowerment…but, never for long, as we all know.
DSC00188So, in my own small way, recognising these truths, I embarked on a journey of making peace…with Her.
DSC00190The ultimate and final Peace Initiative.
DSC00192I come from one of the most devastated towns in Northern Ireland…Omagh.
DSC00193A town that endured such violence and suffering in the worst bombing witnessed on a quiet day in August of 1998.
DSC00198DSC00199DSC00200I mention this as it helps to contextualize my own life and motives for what I do…a complex study in itself!
DSC00202The only end to violence comes when people make peace with each other, or a situation.
DSC00205DSC00206DSC00207Peace and happiness is never birthed from subjugation and control.
DSC00208As a society that has both witnessed and endured these past two world wars, we should be in full receipt of that information!
DSC00213For twelve years now I have striven to make peace with Mother Earth. DSC00215The results are here for all to see.
DSC00216She is not to be feared.
DSC00222DSC00221She is not to be controlled.
(Can you see the little bird in flight from the box?)
DSC00217She is who we live WITH!
DSC00218I learned, to my shock, the other day, that Ireland relied heavily on the importation of Chemical Fertilizer from America during the years of World war Two!
DSC00219That was over sixty years ago, so one must assume that grass has only grown green from chemicals ever since!
DSC00220One must further conclude that alongside this continued abomination has come the loss of topsoil, for one goes hand-in-hand with the other!
DSC00223The ultimate Peace Initiative is working with Mother Earth to create topsoil, as evidenced here.
DSC00224Peace is to be nurtured and worked through.
DSC00237Peace comes with levels of compromise and sacrifice.
DSC00238Peace in our own life comes with persistence and negotiation and keeping the vision with us.
DSC00231Peace comes from the refusal to abuse, the refusal to not live ON Her, but WITH Her!
DSC00236The greatest war of all time is being fought in every garden, allotment, field, woodland, forest, river, ocean and all that makes up Mother Earth.
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The future of our children’s children lies within the reflection of our love for Mother Earth today.
We either make peace with Her or forfeit the lives of those whose faces we will never see!

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Climate Change…The Elephant in the Room

The conference in Paris is underway as I write this.

World leaders have gathered to discuss, debate, harangue and eventually come to some agreement…hopefully!

However, there are two aspects of any agreement, that the mainstream media will ignore, in their reporting of the biggest threat to face humankind ever!

The first one is evident to anyone living in the developed world: we have to consume less, much less and, in fact, change our entire perspective of how we live with this planet…not, as many say, on this planet!  

This means reducing consumption of consumer goods, oil,  but, more importantly, changing our diets and expectations.

We have become used to buying food from all over the world, holidaying all over the world, eating more meat than any other generation before us and living in homes where heat is supplied at the flick of a switch.

You will not hear political leaders talk such talk, as this has no place in “economic growth”…

Western society in it’s present form is unsustainable…even without the massive problem of Climate Change!

(For example…did you know that there are, today, nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens and pigs, crammed into Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)…Factory Farms to you and me!)

We eat meat as a snack food…unheard of when I grew up!

However, much as the mainstream media ignore much of the above, there remains a most important part of this problem unspoken of…

War and the Military machines of increasingly feudal governments. They’re right up there in the major league of Climate destroyers! 

Did Al Gore even mention the devastating impact of endless wars and military in his money-spinning presentation?

No!

Why?

It was an Inconvenient Truth.

It represents the Elephant in the Room that no-one wants to talk about! 

Last year, the UK government spent $60.5Billion on Defence.

A huge amount of money that could have provided solar power and retro-fitted insulation to millions of homes…yes, millions!

Here’s an article that evaluates the US military’s impact on climate  

“Militarism is single greatest institutional contributor to the growing natural  disasters intensified by global warming.” 

~J Lawrence 

Some of the facts, should you care to research them are staggering… for example, an F-4 Phantom Fighter burns more than 1,600 gallons of jet fuel per hour!

It is interesting that the spin on war and climate change has already begun, with the media posing the question does climate change cause war and refugees.

Refugees do not cause climate change.

It is time we did a little number crunching for ourselves!

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

Please join…

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Paris

The weather has been all over the place during the past few days. Storm Barney has apparently passed over, though as I write, there is a storm whooping up, quite suddenly too, along the valley and mountains, in from the Atlantic seaboard.

As you can see from the photographs above, taken yesterday, the sun shone brilliantly, though intermittently!

I have just stepped out from the cottage to snap these, literally a few minutes ago.

Another storm has just swept in from the west!

The colours are uplifting I think, even though there is an inherent violence accompanying them.

Mother Nature is venting…

DSC07460The clock moves to just after 4pm and the sky outside is darkening fast.

DSC07463I rejoice in days like these, for one feels alive and adrenaline pumps to the surface, as the full force of Mother Nature moves across the sky and the trees tremble.

DSC07461There is a conference in Paris today…on Climate Change.

I received clarification today of what I have long suspected…for we know that everything is connected…

It is simply this…that the War Machine, the military might of the West, guzzles the most oil and is the largest emitter of CO2 on our planet!

DSC07474War and militarism are the key components of what fuels Climate Change!

DSC07465Everything, yes everything is connected!

DSC07443Jack worries not…there are times I envy him!

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life

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

A Misty Morning

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The morning started misty, very still, with echoes of Autumn.

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Walking Jack around the gardens was quite meditative, as clarity was limited to about twenty metres or so…

 

Forest Garden in Winter

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A new camera…thanks to you, who so kindly donated to this little site…and here’s to all the much improved pics to come!

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This is what’s termed a “bridge camera,” that is one between what I had before and a professional camera.

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It is of course a pre-loved model…very loved from the excellent condition and not costing the earth!

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It’s so great to be able to finally capture on film what it is I see in life around Bealtaine Cottage.

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This has given me such a great lift in the depths of Midwinter, that I could sing!

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I hope that as more and more people see these pictures, they will feel inspired to plant trees and maybe even turn lawns into forest gardens!

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The gardens continue to produce food even in the cold, short days of December. Here the Purple Sprouting Broccoli grows amid the freshly added seaweed.

The seaweed was left in the rain to flush out the salt for a few months first.

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These are the colours as you can see, in a garden of trees and shrubs, brightening up the dullest day!

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A forest garden like this only needs work in the form of harvesting, once the planting is complete.

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Though, to be honest, I love to plant and so continue growing from seed and finding room to pursue my passion.

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Much of what I grow from seed I have given away to the hundreds of garden visitors each year.

The colours of the cottage are better illuminated with this camera, as you can see…

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…and all these pics were snapped this morning, on what is a very dull and grey day in terms of the light. 

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Isn’t she lovely?

I am continually followed around the gardens by little Robins, all of whom live here.

There are several breeding pairs in various parts of the smallholding and are all very territorial!

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Looking north this morning…

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The beautiful Elder tree is covered with equally beautiful moss.

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This camera allows for a much wider view of the garden, picking out fine detail too.

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I have often looked at this fern underneath the young Sycamore tree and wished I could show you as I see it…and here it is!

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And the little brass dish that is being enveloped by the tree.

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The eerily empty seed-heads of Lunaria…seeds dispersed, work complete and just the beauty to admire.

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And the plump seed-heads of the May roses continuing to delight!

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And again, thank you so very much, from the bottom of my heart…it is your kind donations that keep the website from this little cottage flowing out to the world, a small reminder of the great living beauty that is Mother Earth …bless you X

If you would like to see more, visit Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens, where new images are uploaded each day…

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