Posted in Animals, Buddha, Current Affairs, E.U., Food, GM Food, Growing Food, History, Inspiration, Monsanto, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Thoughts

How is That Agriculture?

Veranda at Bealtaine Cottage

Food is now grown under mass monoculture systems of what is called Agriculture.

This is the madness of monoculture…

The Earth’s soil is depleting rapidly, at more than 13% the rate it can be replaced.

Massive amounts of chemicals and sprays are need to keep food growing.

How is that agriculture?

Veranda at Bealtaine CottageMonoculture is now being extended into the very seeds we use to grow food.

We have lost 75% of the world’s crop varieties over the last century!

Monsanto want to reduce that even more!

How is that agriculture?

Potting up in the polytunnelOver recent years, we’ve had hundreds  of millions of tons of herbicides, pesticides, pollutants and chemicals dumped onto crops, polluting our soil and waterways.

How is that agriculture?

Hanging basket at Bealtaine CottageMore than one million chickens are kept at any one time in intensive warehouse conditions.

Pig farms can house several thousands of pigs at a time.

How is that agriculture?

Buddha at the back doorIn many of these pits of despair the animals never see sunlight or touch earth.

Is 20,000 pigs in a warehouse now called Pig-Farming??

How is that agriculture?

The Nursery at Bealtaine CottageThe quality of life for those animals in factory farming is so horrid, that many people cannot bear to look.

How is that agriculture?

The plant and tree nursery and Missy

“Beginning in the fifties and sixties, the flood tide of cheap corn made it profitable to fatten cattle on feed-lots instead of on grass, and to raise chickens in giant factories rather than in farmyards. 

Iowa livestock farmers couldn’t compete with the factory- farmed animals their own cheap corn had helped spawn, so the chickens and cattle disappeared from the farm and with them the pastures and hay fields and fences. 

In their place the farmers  planted more of the one crop they could grow more of than anything else:  corn. 

And whenever the price of corn slipped they planted a little more of it, to cover expenses and stay even. 

By the 1980s the diversified family farm was history in Iowa, and corn was king.”

~Michael Pollan

 

Posted in Birds, Bloom, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Remembering Romania…

Gunnera Manicata in the garden today is beginning to unfurl it’s leaves from under the cover of last year’s leaves which have protected the crown of the plant over the cold, winter months.

There is a complex eco-system at work here, under the decaying leaves of last summer

The eco-system is a complex web linking plants, animals humans and every other life form in what we call the “biosphere.”

Many aspects of this early Spring call to mind my trip to Romania in 2002.

I spent ten weeks in that beautiful country and it was there that I made up my mind to return to Ireland and a simpler life in the country!

Romania is a stunningly, beautiful country and it’s people are wonderful.

I stayed with the Pancs family in Arad and travelled to Borsa in the north of the country as well as many towns and villages in between.

At this time of the year in the west of Ireland, I recall the advent of Spring as I drove from the far north of Romania, near the Ukraine border, down into the south and Arad, near the border with Hungary…very fond memories indeed!

Daffodils continue to open at Bealtaine…

The daffodils have bloomed all over Bealtaine this year, starting way back in January!


The very mild winter has had a positive effect on all the plants and trees here, with many coming into bloom very early indeed!


As I type this there is a plethora of birdsong outside the cottage.

This is a variety of Willow that I am unsure of in terms of name…it has red stems as you can see. Any enlightenment would be good!

Sweet, little, wild Primroses, chancing their luck by growing in the centre of the driveway! Each Spring their number increases as Bealtaine Cottage remains chemical and pollutant free! 

Photinia, or Red Robin is at it’s best right now as the new leaves make a show of themselves!

And so the beginning of another week at Bealtaine Cottage…it promises dry weather and lots of tasks to be completed before the time passes on into summer…for that may be just around the corner!

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding

Saturday in the Permaculture Garden.

Valerian coming into flower today at Bealtaine. The rain continues, almost unabated, raising the water table and pushing the water in my spring well down towards the cottage. Spent quite some time bringing water across to the tunnel to give the plants a good drenching!

Valerian growing along the west gable wall from seed scattered into the gravel…one of many reasons why permaculture and tarmac are not good mates!

Sprays of Hawthorn blossom hang in swathes around the hedgerows at the cottage. The flowers of this tree release a certain chemical which is good for the heart and it is recommended to breath deeply around these gorgeous blossoms!

I’m hoping that the roses will go on for longer this year, as they have a tendency to flower early in the summer. This has certainly been the best year yet for the blooms.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Fairies, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, News, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Wildlife, Woodland

Permaculture Health, Wealth and Abundance…May the Force be With You!

Apple blossom this morning at Bealtaine.

As I write this I am listening to Irish Radio…talking endlessly about money, economics, making people spend money, kick-starting the economy! They just don’t get it! The wealth of a country must be measured in the health and wellbeing of its people…

Rhubarb waiting for me to turn it into jam…bumper harvests have begun again!

Apple blossom open today. the bees have feasted on the Ribes and are ready to continue the party on the fruit blossoms.

Irusan in the Fairy Dell this morning. He loves to walk the land with me each morning when he is staying at Bealtaine. Irusan is a Bombay Black Cat, whose mother was feral, living almost wild in London. he is extremely perceptive and interactive with people he chooses to like.

Growth over recent days has begun to impact on the paths that connect the permaculture zones at Bealtaine Cottage. Where monoculture fields around this smallholding are waiting for chemical fertilizer to green them, the grass and herbal pathways do the greening for themselves, for underneath lies a healthy soil that now pushes forth abundance!

Violets have emerged in the Fairy Dell…woodland abundance!