Photographs (18 exclusive photos taken today) from the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage on EarthDay 2016.
Words from the Earth Day network…on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.
We are now entering the 46th year of a movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action.
In 1970, the year of our first Earth Day, the movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channelling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with ground-breaking ideas and by the power of our example.
And so it begins. Today. Right here and right now. Earth Day is more than just a single day — April 22, 2016.
This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable.
Yes, I have a mortgage and some bills to meet each month and this is my only source of income. The free website, Bealtaine Cottage, has almost reached maximum capacity at 97.8% of 13 GB allowance at a cost of 199 Euros per year. Bealtaine Cottage Good Life has the same 13 GB allowance, but with only 18% used, so you can see why I now publish new blogs on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life! My total expenditure on both sites and internet maintenance now exceeds 700 Euros.
I will continue to write about, and photograph, Mother Earth whether you subscribe/donate or not…but I so appreciate those who do! …blessings to all XXX Colette
The greatest concern of our times is happening on a daily basis and affecting every one of us.
Weather volatility is real and happening and the Ostriches in power appear impotent against the great forces of Nature.
The gabbling media assault our senses with celebrity highs and lows, sport and highly edited titbits of what is happening internationally…all the while keeping away from any real conversation about the chaos that is the weather all around us and those dreaded words: Climate Change.
However it is not Climate Change any more…the media have completely missed out on that conversation!
It has evolved rapidly into Climate Chaos!
I would like to offer words of comfort and reassurance, but that’s not possible, for I live in the real world and events are happening too fast for me to be able to offer predictions that will reassure!
Last night I slept with both windows open in my bedroom, bathed in warmth from the wind that blew all night from the south.
The wind chimes on the veranda played ceaselessly…something that has never happened before.
I use all my senses to try to build a picture of what the media refuses to inform me about.
The big news is that the Jet Stream is out of control!
Imagine a Spinning Top, rotating smoothly at first…well that is how the Jet Stream SHOULD be!
Now picture the same Spinning Top as it slows, rotating wildly…that is what is happening to the Jet Stream and causing the wild fluctuations in weather across the globe.
All the information about this is out there on the internet…make Google your friend and inform yourself…that’s if you can bear it!
I have gone past the need to research, for I witness the changes, log them, keep a record of temperatures and rainfall patterns…and have done so for all the time I have worked on the Bealtaine project.
So, what is the point in telling you this bad news?
I have nothing to gain.
In fact, there is a strong possibility that I will lose subscribers.
The old adage of “shoot the messenger”pertains to what I have written here…so be it!
So, let me tell you about the people I hope to reach with this news…
People who care for the future.
Those who have awakened to what it means to live a compassionate life.
Especially those who are unafraid of change and to implement change in their own lives.
If there is a Universal Consciousness…give it the name Goddess, God, Divine, Mother Earth…whatever you know it by…then that consciousness must surely want us to care as deeply for our planet as we care for ourselves.
Adapting is the way forward and should be at the top of all political agendas and policies.
Here in Ireland we are headed into a general election.
Farmers appear to be ill-informed in relation to Climate Change and as they hold much power in the outcome of elections, there will not be much informed debate on the doorstep!
Meat production is now at an all-time high in Ireland and there are few, if any, politicians who are prepared to risk the fury of farmers in regards to changing that!
The relationship between meat production, consumption and climate change is there for all to Google and Youtube.
The complacency regarding our habitat and climate change disturbs me.
I shall be quizzing each and every politician who knocks on my door…but as for intelligent, informed answers, well, I won’t be holding my breath!
Feel free to share this post…
And…I had to add this wonderful interview with Jane Goodall…
Truth-tellers in an age of illusion are not welcome, in any circles!
However, truth be told, I have never sought the high opinion of others, so I am prepared to speak the truth, as I see it!
Some of you, maybe even many of you, will decide to unsubscribe to this blog.
Be that as it may…I must press on!
Climate Change has turned the corner…the one that faces into uncertainty and fear.
Yes, I am fearful for what lies ahead for my children and grandchildren.
I am fearful for what I have come to shape my entire being around…Mother Earth.
The violence and uncertainty that lies ahead.
I am not going to put an excess of climate information in this writing.
Step outside and tell me what you experience.
That is all you need to know…FEEL what is happening!
There is something very wrong!
Feel it in your entire being!
Yet…there is hope…for where there is life there is hope and I have always been a pragmatist, optimist and carer.
Hope for me is in the form of pledging…and knowing that I have done my best…that is all I can hope for!
I will do whatever I can to help stop this mad spiral dance of death!
Here is what I pledge…
Only vital air travel…use rail and sea!
No more meat or dairy!
Don’t buy it unless I absolutely cannot do without it!
Power down…use the bare minimum of electricity.
Walk or cycle whenever and wherever I can.
Avoid goods wrapped in plastic.
Absolutely NO VOTE from me to any politician who supports war, on any level…and that includes abstention!
No supporting Fracking…I will not even have a gas lighter in my home! Many in the anti-fracking movement choose gas cookers over electric cookers, despite living within sight of wind turbines!
As for that most contentious of issues…Here are a few facts that may persuade us of our complicity and responsibility in this growing nightmare scenario!
A kilogramme of beef protein reared on a British hill farm can generate the equivalent of 643kg of carbon dioxide. A kilogramme of lamb protein produced in the same place can generate 749kg. One kilo of protein from either source, in other words, causes more greenhouse gas emissions than a passenger flying from London to New York. ~ George Monbiot, The Guardian, 22 Dec 2015
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?
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!
“Militarism is single greatest institutional contributor to the growing natural disasters intensified by global warming.”
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.
An incredible storm has raged all day long and continues into this dark, cold night.
The wind has howled around the cottage, shaking the trees so fiercely that the ground has trembled!
Thunder and lightning, hailstones rattling the windows and snow…this is the worst storm I have witnessed in over ten years at Bealtaine Cottage!
The scary aspect of this biting cold, storm-ridden, night is that only two nights ago, it was positively warm; in fact the dramatic rise in temperature woke me up before dawn.
As the weather becomes more and more wild and extreme, so everyday life is affected.
Even as I write this blog and upload photographs, the power has cut out twice, leaving me to start over…though some of the writing is automatically saved.
It is past 9pm here in the cottage and the storm has not let up all day.
Still, I have made the most of the time, moving the beginnings of my Blackcurrant wine into demijohns, where it will bubble and work away in the coming months.
The back of the cottage is a little more sheltered…indeed this storm is raging from the north of the country.
Temperatures have plummet by 10 degrees over the past 48 hours.
Despite our best efforts to ignore it, climate change is fast turning into the crisis of our present time…and looks likely to be a problem of growing enormity.
Mother Earth has endured over two hundred years of industrial impacts, as well as an ever-intensifying human population, all demanding energy, food and an ever-increasing standard of living.
On the day my mother was born, there were just over one billion people living on Planet Earth.
On the day she died, this had increased almost sevenfold, to over seven billion!
As the natural world is plundered, many species are in sharp decline.
The sustainability crisis is second only to climate change, as the greatest threat of our times.
I have kept diaries over the past ten years and have noted rare, extreme weather events become the norm!
This is not going away.
We have to face into this problem and start developing solutions.
I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 870 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as over 110 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!
You are very welcome and appreciated by leaving a comment, liking, sharing, or even leaving a small donation. Blessings X
The decision, once made, gathers energy and slowly, slowly begins to move…like a baby discovering it can crawl!
And so it begins…the first small movements of the Forest of Bealtaine, barely perceptible, but felt and experienced.
The Forest of Bealtaine is emerging through seed…seeds collected, saved and sown into pots of Bealtaine compost, that will travel with them, to their final destination, here, somewhere, in Mother Ireland.
Where in Mother Ireland I do not know, but, somewhere on this land bereft of the comfort of cover and canopy, open to the growing harshness of rain, that once fell soft like dew…for the changing weather patterns and climate are taking their toll!
And so She grows!
Today the rain falls heavy and my visitors from Dublin have gone.
The heavy rain assures me we need forest…for we are the rocky outcrop of a failing empire
There is no mistake in that word…for it is She with a capital letter, She with a need to grow and nurture.
The land we have collectively failed…our governments collecting carbon taxes whilst fracking the bowels of Mother Earth! The failing Empire of the EU paying Irish farmers to rip out trees, so land can be mapped out for Google Earth Maps!
And all so politicians and bureaucrats can peer and measure and post out cheques…
But what use is money to a people living on a land being ravaged by Climate Chaos?
But here at Bealtaine, the Goddess, the Mother, our Earth is nurtured for in her womb is cradled Eden, waiting to be birthed.
And Bealtaine is one of many birthing places, for the Mother is us and we are her…there is no separation.
And in these little pots of hope, She grows, and slowly, barely noticeable to visitors, the magic begins to manifest.
She stirs, awakens and is…
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.
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!
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!
The 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.
The 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.
I 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.
So 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.
For 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.
My advice, for what it’s worth…Don’t Wait For The Cavalry!
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.
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!
Our civilization has created the perfect conditions for collapse of the very systems that sustain us.
We 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?
Governments, like mine here in Ireland, are extracting carbon taxes from impoverished people and are not planting trees! Extreme weather events are fast becoming an accepted part of our weather systems…have you noticed?
If you know how the Jet Stream works, or should work, then you will be aware of the reasons why climate change is happening.
Quote science for or against and waste time debating…or simply look around you and keep a weather diary.
So, 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.
These 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.
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!
It’s time to start putting plans in place for a better world.
The politicians are not bothered about our future, but we should be!
Winter is here, though it’s hard to believe! Flowers continue to bloom and leaves remain in the process of changing colour. Bowls of apples in the cottage create a sense of Autumn.
Vibrant colours create a different garden, a very seasonal garden thanks to the many trees! The Sedum keeps its shape, despite the small frost that has attempted destruction of these tender-stemmed plants.
Perlagoniums send forth small flowers, protected from the worst of the elements by the warmth of the window-sill. These will be collected up soon and stored in a corner of the little barn, until March, when I shall move them into the tunnel in readiness for the summer.
An Autumn garden is a tree garden, for this is the season when the quiet, sturdy, soldiers of Earth have their very own festival…a final fling of a party before bed!
Even the stems of the young trees join in, merging colours with the falling leaves!
Can you see the little mushroom to the left of Che-Mousey? The earth under many of the trees is bringing forth all kinds of mushrooms!
The coppiced tree is a Hazel…they do very well from being coppiced and grow tall, straight Hazel poles. I use these in the vegetable beds for beans.
The air is still and warm this morning and I’m reminded of the storm hitting the Philippines at this time. The radio tells me that this is the strongest storm ever! I wish safety to all caught up in this impending disaster! Despite the debate that hangs in the corporate media about Climate Change, there is, most definitely, Weather Change!
Che-Mousey has become my constant companion since Missy passed on. His personality becomes more apparent to me, as I get to spend time with him. He was always a very shy cat, but has recently blossomed and I am delighting in seeing the change in him!
I really should write something here, but am simply staring at the colours and sipping coffee!
Frugality, environmentalism and optimism…big helpings of each on this very wet Wednesday!
Much of this is embodied in the painted stone which nestles near the climbing Rose next to the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage.
I love natural shapes and garden ornaments that don’t cost the Earth.
This painted stone, embellished with water colour paint and some varnish to hold it together, was gifted to me by a child who visited Bealtaine, on a rainy day, like today, and who sat engaged in this task for simply ages, as his mother and I drank tea and shared time!
I adore Owls and have yet to see one here in the west of Ireland, so I keep Olly Owl perched on wood just outside the back door!
Never throw away an old Bear…they just keep improving with time! My heart cries for the Brown Bears kept in captivity in China for their bile…absolutely horrid and cruel!
A peek out the window in the Den is as far as I go into the gardens today…much too wet!
On the upside, it’s incredibly mild!
I might mention all the divine charms of a bright spring day, but if you had never in your life utterly forgotten yourself in straining your eyes after the mounting lark, or in wandering through the still lanes when the fresh-opened blossoms fill them with a sacred silent beauty like that of fretted aisles, where would be the use of my descriptive catalogue?
GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede
In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
Planting trees on New Year’s Eve at Bealtaine Cottage.
These were Christmas presents from Earth Lovers…Thank you!
The Colours of Winter
Today is the last day of the old year, but colour abounds on this permaculture landscape.
Roses in bloom on this last day of December…an indication of the extremely mild weather we have experienced in the west of Ireland. This has been a very wet month and the records may show just how much!
Dogwoods, Willows and Fedges.
Lichens have multiplied in the rainy month of December. It’s worth going walking just to see these beautiful creations of Nature.