Easiest Ever Soup Recipe!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dsc04696Enjoy the Podcast!

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

Here’s the Podcast with the recipe…

 

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

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

 

Easy Family Food Vegan Style

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

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

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

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

dsc03175I also made a lunch for family today.

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

Stop Criticizing and Do Something About It!

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

~The Guardian

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This shocking truth has been sinking in over recent months!

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

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

Potatoes Chitting at Bealtaine Cottage

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

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

Old Rowan tree at Bealtaine Cottage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be The Change You Want To See!

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Sustainable living in full sunshine as the Indian Summer continues in the West of Ireland. The back door remains open and the rain barrels stand empty.

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This has been the driest September I have recorded in the ten years spent here at Bealtaine Cottage.

There is something afoot in the climate…it has changed into a series of extreme weather events.

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And so we must adapt as best we can, for there is nothing being done by governments here in the west.

It’s all talk and taxes!

The majority of people I have spoken with are concerned, but not to the point of implementing real changes in their lives.

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People appear to be looking to others, to see what changes are being implemented and then tending to follow suit, to a greater or lesser degree.

In this respect, I feel energized to keep writing my blog, to let people see that it is possible to live sustainably in style and comfort!

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it is the choices we make which empower, or disempower us.

No corporation, government or institution want you, the human being, to know that!

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Many imagine that their personal choices make no difference in terms of impact on their environment, but they do!

Each choice, every decision that is implemented, has a direct and cumulative effect on the planet, for everything is connected!

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I have a visitor this weekend. I have chosen to make a vegetarian cottage pie…this is the filling and it tastes yummy!

There is no need to be part of the killing industry, no need at all.

As a vegetarian and aspiring vegan, my health is good and I have lots of energy.

I have visited the doctor twice over the past ten years.

I feel good about that choice, for I truly love all animals.

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My guest will have home made pizza tomorrow and here is the sauce being cooked on the stove.

Cooking the day before allows all the flavours to infuse.

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And we shall eat in a style that does not cost the earth in an unfitted kitchen.

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If we recognise that there is immense change ahead for us all in the climate chaos manifesting, then we can build as much resilience into our homes and lives as possible.

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My guest will stay in the Eco-lodge, heated to perfection with this small wood-burning stove, where the kettle sings constantly ready for tea.

Be the change you want to see!

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




 

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!

Lifting the Spirits

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Midwinter is over.

For many the celebration of Christmas has begun.

Last minute frenetic shopping today and tomorrow…

The days here at Bealtaine are beginning to lengthen.

Not tangible as yet, but optimism for more daylight has taken hold and sometimes that is enough…simply knowing that the darkness has passed.

The cottage remains in a post-midwinter party state, with chairs pushed back and floor-space revealed.

It may be a day or two before this is sorted, for I want to escape outdoors, despite the stormy weather!

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The lush greenery on the mantelpiece will stay in place for as long as it retains life.

Replacing the candles daily is a small task and keeps the soft light there to lift the spirits.

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A small sadness pervades the air, now that family and friends have gone.

We all enjoyed the coming together of our midwinter feast, with music and bonfire and soft candlelight…a magical time that lifted the spirit.

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Rich food and drink will now give way to simple soups and tea…a sort of cleansing of the palette and system, together with late winter walks, to appease the feasting of recent days.

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Venturing out this morning, into the wind-driven rain, fresh in from the Atlantic, amid the sounds of birds fighting over food…time to scatter the scraps from the feast around the gravel by the cottage for my hungry and cold feathered friends.

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Parsley, Kale and Chard all continue to grow abundantly in the Potager beds…no sign of prolonged frost to diminish these green gifts.

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The Chard is particularly beneficial to the body at this time of year, as it contains generous amounts of both Vitamin C and Iron…the Vitamin C is necessary for the body to absorb the Iron.

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I use the Kale in the juicer each day…a great supplement to my diet, as it charges my energy!

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Do you recall the ground I mulched with cardboard and shreddings?

Well, here it is this morning and as you can see it has now transformed itself into a bed ready to be planted out in the Spring…how easy was that?

There are several hundred blogs on this website about mulching and preparing ground for planting using the easiest methods that I have tried and tested.

To access them simply type key words into the Search Bar at the top of this page!

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Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

The Permaculture Loop of Plenty!

bealtaine cottageHarvesting continues from the Potager beds.

It’s worth noting that theses productive little beds, built near the back of the cottage, straight onto gravel, have no soil in them whatsoever!

Soil is precious here in North Roscommon and the land is rushy and wet, so I filled the beds with home-made cold compost and shredding…I continue to build up the structure with shredding, made in my little electric shredder!

bealtaine cottageThe beds carry a lot of food in them still, due to the close planting system I use…as food and flowers are harvested, other plants spread themselves out and the gaps are quickly filled with seasonal planting.

Garlic will be planted out over the weekend in this bed.

bealtaine cottageLoads of material is then transported over to the growing compost heap…and so the cycle of life continues in a wonderful loop of plenty!

bealtaine cottageThe huge Sunflower head will yield a generous amount of seeds…I use these in Oat Smoothies, an important part of a healthy diet.

bealtaine cottageRudbeckia, Marigolds and Evening Primrose continue to bring colour and delight to the Potager Beds as they’re cleared, providing food for many visiting insects.

bealtaine cottageThere is a good amount of herbs around the edges of this bed.

They like the micro-climate afforded them by the stones, as well as the good drainage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Apples continue to plump out, surviving the storm of last weekend by virtue of the fact they are all very sheltered.

This is an important aspect to growing apples in the west of Ireland, as many storms blow in from the western seaboard at a terrifying speed, decimating fruit production that’s in any way exposed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Today is a fine day with clear skies and strong sunlight…this will help the tomatoes in one of the baskets to ripen, the salad tomatoes! it’s such a pleasure to be outdoors on days like today…one of the last flings of Summer as she goes on her wilful way!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The hips of the Rosa Rugosa hang heavy over the path.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010“The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” continues…

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