Posted in Earth, Earth Day, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Spring, Uncategorized, Woodland

Earth Day at Bealtaine Cottage

DSC09083Photographs (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. 

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April 2011 Ballyfermoyle 013The paid subscription website, Bealtaine Cottage Good Life allows you to support my work in return for some extra special blogs and photographs…and allows me a small, but much needed, income.

Here’s where you can sign up…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

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

Posted in Climate, climate change, Collapse, Uncategorized

End of Empire and Climate Chaos

www.bealtainecottage.com 054The 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029The 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!

The Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageI 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!

023So, 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.

Sammy Bear and meIf 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…

Posted in care for the earth, Climate, climate change, Collapse, Uncategorized

Climate Collapse

This has been difficult to write.

I expect to lose many subscribers.

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.

DSC02199I 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!

DSC01461There is something very wrong!

Feel it in your entire being!

DSC01104Yet…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!

DSC00874A 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

DSC02047This is the worst case, and the figure comes from a farm whose soils have a high carbon content. But the numbers uncovered by a wider study are hardly reassuring: you could exchange your flight to New York for an average of 3kg of lamb protein from hill farms in England and Wales. You’d have to eat 300kg of soy protein to create the same impact. ~ George Monbiot The Guardian, 22 Dec 2015

Climate breakdown looks inevitable – unless we all change our diets. ~ George Monbiot

As a footnote, I am appalled at how all climate scientists I have read so far, have completely IGNORED the effect endless wars in the 20/21st centuries have contributed to Climate Change.

Now that alone should make one think of what we are NOT being told in all of this!

Mother Earth does not lie…step outside and experience the truth!

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Bealtaine Cottage, May 2004

The Bealtaine Project was  initiated, funded and planted by Colette O’Neill, an Irish grandmother, who, twelve years ago, attempted to prove there was no such thing as “poor land,” just abused Earth!

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Bealtaine Cottage, obscured by over 1,000 deciduous trees, May 2016.

This was done simply, by caring, planting and nurturing 3 acres of such land in the west of Ireland, back to life! 

The Bealtaine Project continues to grow here, on this website and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Thanks for your support

 

Posted in Climate, climate change, Ireland, Uncategorized

Country Cottage Journal~Floods

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Last night I encountered the severest rainfall ever…it was nothing less than apocalyptic!

I was awakened around midnight by the sound of gushing water.

It had been raining all day and the forecast was for the rain to persist until around 6am on Sunday morning.

Getting up and putting on my dressing gown, I opened the back door and switched on the outdoor light, to witness water rising up towards the door.

Grabbing a torch, I shone it along the back of the garden and was amazed to see waterfalls, cascading down from the hill behind the cottage, onto the gravel in my little courtyard.

It was horrendous…and very, very frightening!

I put my raincoat on over my dressing gown, slid into my wellies and clutching the torch, headed up the back garden, to see if it was possible to redirect the torrents.

I spent the next three hours with spade, hoe and rake, trying my hardest to channel the flooding away from it’s path of destruction.

I succeeded…eventually!

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This is extreme weather of biblical proportions!

The result of Climate Change due to the machinations of man…everything points that way!

Posted in Climate, climate change, Collapse, Consumerism, Current Affairs, Economy, energy, environment, Paris, Politics, sustainability, Uncategorized, war, wealth

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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Posted in Eden, Garden, Life, Permaculture, Sustainable Living

World Vision

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Midsummer has arrived in her usual blaze of triumphant colour.

The longest day is here!

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I have celebrated eleven Midsummers at Bealtaine Cottage and watched as the vibrancy of life has taken hold, year after year multiplying in abundance and vitality.

Not even I knew how it was to be!

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This morning, as the sun rose in the East I ventured into the gardens to greet the day that rose above the trees.

It was truly magical to see and be a part of!

Walking down the driveway to the road below the gardens, it seemed that every small part of this once barren land was singing!

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A once close held vision of an abundant and unbridled Mother Earth, has come to pass…

She breathes,

She sings,

She is allowed to be…

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My joy is to share it with you…

that all this is possible…

for if it can manifest here in this once poor little place, then it is possible for all the Earth!

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Almost one million views will have been registered here at bealtainecottage.com.

It is my wish that this message of renewal and resilience continues to spread across the world.

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We are at a point in human history when all seems to be infested with despair.

It does not have to be this way.

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It is our choice.

We choose death or we choose life.

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We all know, intuitively, what is causing the cancer of despair.

The remedy is to be found around us, if we but open our eyes, unshackle our hearts and begin our work as healers, shamans, nurturers, carers, even warriors…for Mother Earth.

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It cost me little but time and work to release Eden here at Bealtaine Cottage.

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We can stand at the crossroads today, on this longest of days, and peer into our future.

Bealtaine Cottage before and after

It doesn’t have to be like this, as once Bealtaine Cottage was…

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Choose to be part of manifesting Eden…it’s in every choice we make!

If you would like to subscribe to the new website, “Bealtaine Cottage Good Life” and catch up on recent words and pictures, please click on the link at the top of this page. See you there!

Posted in climate change, Ireland, Permaculture, population, weather

Severe Weather and Climate Change

An incredible storm has raged all day long and continues into this dark, cold night.

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The wind has howled around the cottage, shaking the trees so fiercely that the ground has trembled!

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Thunder and lightning, hailstones rattling the windows and snow…this is the worst storm I have witnessed in over ten years at Bealtaine Cottage!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The back of the cottage is a little more sheltered…indeed this storm is raging from the north of the country.

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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.

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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.

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On the day my mother was born, there were just over one billion people living on Planet Earth. Bealtaine Cottage homespun wool

On the day she died, this had increased almost sevenfold, to over seven billion!

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As the natural world is plundered, many species are in sharp decline.

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The sustainability crisis is second only to climate change, as the greatest threat of our times.

new compost heap bordered with willow at Bealtaine Cottage

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.

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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

Blessings
Posted in bog gardens, climate change, silt harvesting, water gardens

Silt Harvesting…Benefiting From Climate Change

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When beginning to plant the land here at Bealtaine Cottage over ten years ago, one of the most important tasks was to dig out drains and create two large ponds.

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The upper pond is mainly to catch the silt washed down from the hilly land behind the cottage.

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The lower pond as a pure delight for humans…a place where the sky is pulled onto the earth and light is reflected upwards, back towards the sky.

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In order to keep the reflective powers of the water, it is essential for me to clear the pond weeds and plants every year.

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This is an arduous task, but a beneficial one for all the trees here in the Bog Gardens.

As I pull up the weed, huge roots packed with fertile silt come up with it.

This is then spread around trees and shrubs in the gardens.

There is a substantial amount of fertility spread this way.

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However, further back, in the silt pond, the sandy, loamy soil is dredged out in buckets.

All this is happening because of extreme weather, causing heavy rains that leach the soil on the hill and wash it down into the stream that feeds the ponds.

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In the face of climate change, it is imperative we adapt in these small ways, for much of our topsoil is being washed into the oceans.

Besides which, silt is one of the most productive soils known to humankind!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, climate change, diet, meat-free, places to stay, Sustainable Living, Vegan, Vegetarian

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!

Posted in Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

Move to Higher Ground

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We are facing a multitude of crises at this time.

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War, austerity, climate change, environmental disaster…the list goes on. 

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Each month seems to bring a stronger cumulative effect in how we are perceiving the world around us…many feel threatened and some even feel doomed.

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It has been quite some time now since the cost of petrol at the pump has dropped, in fact the opposite has happened, as the cost has climbed steadily, week on week.

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This tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we have reached Peak oil and there will never again be affordable car travel for the masses.

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This is difficult to take on board, as we see more and more new cars on the road, but that too should sound the warning bells, for it means that the reality of the problem is not being faced up to!

Even governments are pushing car sales with various trade-in offers every so often!

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Reaching Peak oil has serious knock-on effects for us all.

Everything we buy is predicated on oil in some way or another, some direct, most indirectly.

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Most food production is reliant upon oil and artificial fertilizers.

Our lives are based upon consumptive behaviour.

Our society has been degraded by our inherent need for more!

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Considering the implementation of serious lifestyle changes will be the only beneficial way of getting to higher ground to face the storms ahead.

Higher ground in terms of sustainable living and building community.

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If there is madness, mayhem and destruction in the world, we have to own it before we can begin to bring change.

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The best, most enduring change happens slowly, building upon small changes.

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 I urge each and every one of you to consider small changes you can implement in your lives, homes, community, workplace…just wherever one can do it, get on and do it!

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Waiting for our governments to act is really a waste of time…they are trapped in the paradigm of economic growth on a finite planet!

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Please, empower yourself and others to begin the shift to a world where we are not killing and warring for what little resources remain!

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Our earth is abundant and capable of working with us in an interactive, not extractive, way.

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The future belongs to the children whose faces we will never see…keep them in mind in all we do!

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

This amounts to 104 publications per year, at a cost of 12 cents each!

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Link to Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop…just opened…

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Featuring hand-crafted Ancient Bog Oak Pendants…

http://bealtainecottage.com/craft-shop/

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Climate, compost, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Seeds, Sustainable Living, Trees, Woodland

Little Pots of Magic…She Stirs…

www.bealtainecottage.comThe decision, once made, gathers energy and slowly, slowly begins to move…like a baby discovering it can crawl!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so it begins…the first small movements of the Forest of Bealtaine, barely perceptible, but felt and experienced.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe 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.
www.bealtainecottage.comWhere 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!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so She grows!
www.bealtainecottage.comToday the rain falls heavy and my visitors from Dublin have gone.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe heavy rain assures me we need forest…for we are the rocky outcrop of a failing empire
www.bealtainecottage.comThere is no mistake in that word…for it is She with a capital letter, She with a need to grow and nurture.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe land we have collectively failed…our governments collecting carbon taxes whilst fracking the bowels of Mother Earth! www.bealtainecottage.comThe failing Empire of the EU paying Irish farmers to rip out trees, so land can be mapped out for Google Earth Maps!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd all so politicians and bureaucrats can peer and measure and post out cheques…
www.bealtainecottage.comBut what use is money to a people living on a land being ravaged by Climate Chaos?
www.bealtainecottage.comBut 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.
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd in these little pots of hope, She grows, and slowly, barely noticeable to visitors, the magic begins to manifest.
www.bealtainecottage.comShe stirs, awakens and is…
Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Current Affairs, Ireland, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Don’t Wait For The Cavalry!

www.bealtainecottage.comSammy-Bear is filthy.

From head to paw, disgusting in the extreme!

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.

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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!

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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!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe 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.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe 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.

www.bealtainecottage.comI 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.

www.bealtainecottage.comSo 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 058For 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.

candle_004_reasonably_smallMy advice, for what it’s worth…Don’t Wait For The Cavalry!

Posted in Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Food, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Beyond Civilization

www.bealtainecottage.com

The light is changing.

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.

Willow basket making Feb  Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 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!

Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 005 Our civilization has created the perfect conditions for collapse of the very systems that sustain us.

Bealtaine Cottage FairyWe 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?

Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 007Governments, like mine here in Ireland, are extracting carbon taxes from impoverished people and are not planting trees! Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureExtreme weather events are fast becoming an accepted part of our weather systems…have you noticed?

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Feb 2011 005 If you know how the Jet Stream works, or should work, then you will be aware of the reasons why climate change is happening.

Stanley stove at Bealtaine CottageQuote science for or against and waste time debating…or simply look around you and keep a weather diary.

Shabby chic at Bealtaine CottageSo, 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.

Permaculture Cottage ...September 2011 005These 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.

May 2011 Bealtaine 040

  • Food growing
  • 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!

permaculture cottage Jul 2011 014

It’s time to start putting plans in place for a better world.

June 2011 Bealtaine Permaculture 063The politicians are not bothered about our future, but we should be!

Writing, Posting and Sharing…

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cats, Country Living, Garden, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Winter

Early December in a Permaculture Garden

www.bealtainecottage.com 012

The shelled seed-heads of Lunaria… beautiful, ethereal, delicate additions to winter foliage arrangements.

The seeds are now packed and ready to post out all over the world.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Lunaria, commonly known as Honesty, is an early flowering annual flower, but, once seeded into your garden, spreads and re-seeds itself with wild abandon!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005This simple arrangement stands in a recycled, lace covered, jam jar!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I went shopping yesterday, to the second-hand market and bought this fruit bowl for 4 euros.

I love the simple sponged design, beautiful in its simplicity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014The veranda has been swept this morning…but don’t look too closely, as I didn’t move the clothes drier!

www.bealtainecottage.com 028The wheelbarrow holds ashes from the stoves and waste from the barn floor, ready to be spread over compost heaps, flower beds and around fruit trees.

Winter is a time of spreading and stacking, as tidy-ups take place and waste accumulates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The weather has been so very mild, that some flowers in the gardens continue to bloom, like this Fuchsia, with the Lemon Balm looking ready for harvest just behind it!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021And this Borage, growing, this morning, in the north garden of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017It’s amazing to be able to venture into the gardens in early December and pick Lemon Balm for tea!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019Even the boys are enjoying the balmy winter weather, as Che-Mousey rolls on the gravel by my feet!

www.bealtainecottage.com 023Blackbirds have been feasting on Pyracantha berries…

www.bealtainecottage.com 027New growth breaks through on the old Buddleia…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022And Slieve Aneirin sits washed in the cool blue of a winter’s morning.

Blessings X

Seeds for growing Lunaria are available on this website…just click on the link…

http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

If you wish me to post seeds, from you, to a friend or loved one, cards are available on this link…

http://bealtainecottage.com/gifts-send-a-card/

Posted in Autumn, Country Living, Current Affairs, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Trees

Tree Gardens

www.bealtainecottage.com 043Winter 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 069Vibrant 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 044Perlagoniums 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 051An 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!

www.bealtainecottage.com 053Even the stems of the young trees join in, merging colours with the falling leaves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 052Can 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!

www.bealtainecottage.com 055The 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 058The 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!

www.bealtainecottage.com 059Che-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!

www.bealtainecottage.com 060I really should write something here, but am simply staring at the colours and sipping coffee!

www.bealtainecottage.com 062Fennel seeds by the veranda this morning.

www.bealtainecottage.com 067And a warm winter cottage thanks to trees!

Posted in Country Living, Current Affairs, Earth, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland

After the Flood…

The rain has ceased.

The sun has made an appearance and the streams are gushing forth from the hill behind the cottage.

I have just been out and captured the sights and sounds of the water on video.

The stream bed that snakes it’s way through the Fairy dell is brimming with sparkling rainwater.

It’s hurtling along and moving through the Spring Well in the wood.

This usually only happens during the winter months, but Ireland is seeing more and more heavy, monsoon type rains fall during the second half of the summer.

In a land noted for it’s “soft rain,” this is a clear indicator of Climate Change…from whatever cause!

I am not prepared to argue something that is quite tangible and evidential for me!

I am adapting to this and preparing for this downfall each year.

The water barrels are full to the brim and drawing down the afternoon sun.

Happily I live on a hill  and have constructed ponds on the low ground to capture and direct the excess water.

The first pond acts a silt-catcher and I harvest many buckets of wonderful food for the gardens there as the summer ends.

It also provides a huge crop of wild mint…the strongest and purest one can get anywhere on this sacred Earth!

So, rather than moan about the heavy rains and complain of flood, find ways to divert this excess water into useful projects, for that is the permaculture way forward!

Next?

Water-cress beds!

In the meantime, here is today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8hE5czFLcE

Posted in Climate, Country Living, Current Affairs, Garden, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Uncategorized

A Day Indoors at Bealtaine Cottage

Heavy rain is falling here in the west of Ireland.

This is our now too frequent monsoon.

It occurs each summer, after a drought that sees the spring well slowing down to a dribble as the aquifers drop dramatically.

The evidence is all too obvious that there is a climate change going on…that is not negotiable in my book.

However, the source of this climate change can be debated over and even argued over…I care not.

I just know that it is happening.

I am a gardener.

I am in the gardens every day and the weather is recorded in my head or on this blog accordingly.

The clouds are so heavy and low that I actually fell asleep this afternoon.

There is an eerie silence.

The birds are tucked into overhanging branches, hardly moving.

Jack has slept under the stove in the kitchen…it’s warm there.

As I type there is a shawl draped over my shoulders.

There is a nip in the air.

Tonight will be spent hunkered down, waiting for the storm to pass…

There is a badger set in the vegetable garden, alongside the path into the Fairy Dell woodland.

The badger has dug many small holes along the path in his quest for some small root I would guess.

As I walked over to the compost to empty the ashes from the stove this morning, I noticed a series of quite neat excavations and a neat pile of soil by each.

I will film over there tomorrow if the weather eases up…

Home made wine continues to bubble up in the demijohns.

The sound of the bubbles breaking as they rise through the airlocks takes on a comforting, if frenzied, tick tock!

And the rain continues to fall…

Posted in Birds, Books, Country Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Poetry, Thrift, Uncategorized

Frugality, Environmentalism and Optimism…

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!

Intensive planting, excludes weeds and cuts down on much work!
Intensive planting, excludes weeds and cuts down on much work!

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

It's always good to have a special spot in your garden. Sitting in the shelter of trees is calming. This is a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa and look around.
It’s always good to have a special spot in your garden. Sitting in the shelter of trees is calming. This is a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa and look around.

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.

ALFRED, Lord TENNYSON, Locksley Hall

Posted in celebrations, Country Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Uncategorized

New Year’s Eve on a Permaculture Smallholding…

Trees…Our Only Hope…

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.

Climate Change?

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

Lichens have multiplied in the rainy month of December. It’s worth going walking just to see these beautiful creations of Nature.

Happy New Year to one and all!