Resilience of The Bealtaine Project as Drought and Heatwave Ravage Ireland

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Extreme weather conditions have struck once again here in Ireland.

Planting over eleven hundred trees over fourteen years has meant resilience for Bealtaine Cottage.

IMG_7610This continual onslaught of extreme weather is fast establishing itself as the new normal!

IMG_7611From the normally mild summers of Ireland and the UK, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past two weeks!

This should be a wake-up call to plant…trees!

IMG_7612 Only three months ago the country ground to a halt with severe snow storms and massive fall of snow in 48 hours!

IMG_7613Now we are experiencing a heatwave and severe drought which we haven’t had since 1976!

IMG_7614There was a hurricane here in Ireland last year and a massive six hour thunderstorm that did incredible damage.

IMG_7615The Irish Meteorological service, Met Éireann says there will be ‘practically nothing’ in terms of rainfall for the next ten days!

IMG_7616And so it continues unabated!

IMG_7619There has been less than 20mm of rain since May 1st with twelve days of sweltering heat and temps approaching 32c (90F) with no end in sight.

IMG_7629This is the third major record breaking weather story in just nine months – from autumn hurricanes to winter snow storms and now a summer drought!

IMG_7632Have you noticed the effect of this heatwave and drought here at Bealtaine Cottage? Many of you are familiar with the Bealtaine Project motto:

“Plant like your life depends upon it, for it does!” ~ Bealtaine CottageIMG_7636There has been some leaf drop, but overall the land is in good condition and is surviving the extreme conditions well!

IMG_7639As I write this I am aware of extreme rainfall and flooding in Japan.

IMG_7642It appears that the entire world is experiencing extreme weather.

IMG_7643However, what is happening is a taste of what lies ahead, for whatever we do there are consequences.

IMG_7645Did we not all learn that simple rule as children?

IMG_7644If we fail to look after, respect and maintain our home, then it will fall down around us. IMG_7649The earth is our home.

IMG_7652We have treated Mother Earth with disdainful arrogance!

There is a video on this subject uploaded today over on the Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel…subscribe for further notifications.

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“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€27.00

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book includes all postage and packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€21.00

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€15.00

Special Offer: Goddess Book and Midwinter Book

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €36.00 but can be purchased together for for €32.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€32.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€12.00

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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Permaculture Cottage ~ Lughnasa and the Celtic Calendar

The feast of Lugh, Lughnasa, or Lughnasadh happenssoon…on the eve, which is the 31st of July. A time for a bonfire and celebrations of the harvest…celebrations here at Bealtaine Cottage will be focused around a rather small outdoor fire but with the equivalent gusto of the eve that’s in it!

 The Festival of Lughnasadh

This was  said to have been begun by the god Lugh as a funeral feast commemorating his foster-mother, Tailtu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Little changed there then, as most of the agricultural work in many African countries is carried out by women!

In days of old, Lughnasadh was a favoured time for  trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.

 Lughnasa is the first of the three autumn harvest festivals. The Autumn Equinox and Samhain, or Halloween, being the other two.

Already there is a feel of Autumn in the air and can be seen in the plant life as harvests begin and fruits ripen on the trees. The days have shortened, now over a month past the longest day.

Here, plums ripen on one of the trees at Bealtaine Cottage and nettles produce their seeds…

And…

Flowers like this Perscaria Bistorta, a late flowering perennial, begin to show a magnificence beyond their humble beginnings!

Irish calendar

is a pre-Christian, Celtic system of keeping the year and still in popular use today to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals.

  The meteorological seasons  begin on March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1.

The Irish Calendar observes the equinoxes and solstices and has a more realistic seasonal observance…

  • Spring – February, March, April.
  • Summer – May, June, July.
  • Autumn – August, September, October.
  • Winter – November, December, January.

These seasons are much more in keeping with the observations I make here at Bealtaine Cottage and I would abide by these dates rather than any other.