Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture Blog, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Quarter of a Million Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

The day has turned stormy.

Winds are gusting high in the winter sky, but, inside the cottage, four thick stone walls and a wood stove ensures warmth and comfort.

The Blackcurrant Pocheen rests on the pantry shelf, ready for the midwinter celebrations.

Like it’s cousin, Sloe Gin, it needs a good long rest before the party!

My visitors, Patti and Bill, from America, have left…on their way to Clare.

Both came to visit Bealtaine Cottage to see for themselves Permaculture in action here in Ireland.

Patti discovered Bealtaine Cottage through this blog and, like many people who make the journey, wanted to touch base with this much loved cottage and land.

It’s always good to meet kindred spirits!

A quarter of a million visits to Bealtaine Cottage have been made on-line.

I would sincerely like to thank everyone of you.

I love to read your comments and, like Patti, welcome you to Ireland from whichever part of the world you visit from.

It’s always a joy to meet followers of Permaculture!

The storm is enveloping the cottage as I write.

The night is drawing in.

I hope each one of you is safe and well and warm.

Bless you all…Colette X

Posted in Books, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Climate, Cottage, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Politics, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Thrift, Uncategorized

Light, Midwinter Sun, Signs and John Seymour

Light

What an opportunity!

As we descend into the dark days of midwinter, what better thing to do than light a candle and enjoy the soft light and warmth.

I was making candles today to add to my stockpile for the coming weeks, when candlelight is really the best light medium to illuminate the darkness.

Midwinter Sun

Sun worship was a common practice among the Celts…one only has to look at the amazing amount of motifs from that time to see this.

The god Belanos, known as, “the shining one,” had his feast on May 1, also known as Bealtaine!

The festival of Bealtaine was celebrated right up until 1895 at a place known as Mount Callan, near Ennis in County Clare.

There remains a sun altar at this place.

There is another sacred stone near Macroom, a standing stone known as “Stone of the Sun.”

It is easy to see and perhaps understand this Celtic fascination with the sun, when looking at the life and vibrancy exuded by the midwinter sun, on a clear morning at this time of year.

Signs

It’s possible to assess the insulation needs of any house by looking at the roof.

There are obvious signs to look out for!

For example, does the frost or snow remain on the roof as the house heats up?

If it does, then all is well, insulation is adequate up above.

Bealtaine has a double layer of sheep’s wool insulation added this year and it is paying for itself already.

Walking in this weather can identify insulation needs just by looking at the houses…snow or melt on the roof?

Insulation is one of the many ways we can help ourselves to live better and more frugally in these times of hardship.

I think it is time to re-visit what John Seymour, in his wisdom, had to say…

“…We have allowed ourselves to get where we are because of the ‘blind workings of the market’.

But we are not blind, so we must now start using our good sense to ‘break this sorry scheme of things and remould it to our hearts desire,’ as old Omar Khayam had it.

To allow ourselves to be dependent on some vast Thing created by the Merchants of Greed is madness.

It is time to cut out what we do not need so we can live more simply and happily.

Good food, comfortable clothes, serviceable housing and true culture – those are the things that matter.

The only way this can happen is by ordinary people, us, boycotting the huge multinational corporations that are destroying our Earth – and creating a new Age – an Age of Healing in place of the current Age of Plunder.”

Posted in biodiversity, Climate, Ecology, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Homage to Trees

Over 600 trees planted at Bealtaine…and it continues! The eco-system is a complex web linking animals, plants, water air and every other life form, in what we call the biosphere.

Some of the tree coverage now at Bealtaine.

In the normal course of events, Nature regulates everything within this eco-system.

One of over 30 fruit trees planted here at Bealtaine, as permaculture design takes monoculture back into full abundance…

 We are becoming more aware of just how delicately balanced this eco-system really is.

We realise that human survival depends upon preserving and maintaining that eco-system.

Since the time when human beings  first discovered agriculture, the eco-system has been systematically weakened. At one point in our existence we were on pretty good terms with Nature, but we are, increasingly, coming into conflict with Nature!

An example of this conflict is to be found here in Ireland. We have a rare limestone landscape  in the west of Ireland, in County Clare, called the Burren. We now know that the Burren was, at one time, covered in forest. De-forestation caused erosion and the limestone became exposed to the air. This is a good example of de-forestation turning earth to stone!

Since the beginning of civilisation, human kind has developed an attitude of, “out of sight, out of mind!” Roman engineering carried human waste out of sight. However, there is no “away,” for we live on one planet and must accept the fact that it is our only home!

The word, ecology comes from the word “oikos.” This means, house or habitat. Continually cutting down forests, especially ancient forests, is foolish housekeeping in any habitat! When an ancient forest is cut down, an entire eco-system, which has taken hundreds and hundreds of years to build up, is gone in one felling…one day!

By cutting down ancient woodland and forests, the human race is squandering the capital rather than, modestly living off the interest!

Tree planting is one of the most important actions that any human being can do on this planet, for without trees we are a doomed species…