In Honour of Lyra McKee

I left Bealtaine Cottage this morning to travel to Derry, a city in Northern Ireland I last visited when my mother was ill and in hospital there.
Poignant memories, but brightened and lightened by the glorious sunshine of the morning, as I drove alongside Upper and Lower Lough Erne and across Boa Island…do check them out on Google maps if you get the chance for the scenery is simply stunning!

I am in Derry for the Vegan Festival and will be happy to report all to you on my return home. As you can see from the photos, home is very much in full bloom!

Driving into Northern Ireland from the west of Ireland brings back memories of my youth, much of which involved “the troubles,” as they are referred to…bombings, killings and the constant uncertainty of war.

My father was a Civil Rights leader and our tiny home was a hub for much social and political activity.

I learned over the course of my growing up in Omagh that the world was not fair and equality did not exist in social terms…it had to occupy one’s being instead, like an essential component of one’s own integrity.

My moral backbone grew strong in this respect, as I ventured into the world.

My love of Nature stemmed from this time also. Born at home, delivered by my father into a tiny room where he had himself been born, was a singular honour. I was named Frances after my father, whose name was Phelim Francis O’Neill. The tiny terraced house had only a small concrete yard enclosed by a tall brick wall…there was no garden, or indeed gardens in the area. The grey streets made up a larger area known as “Gallows Hill,” …you can guess what used to happen there in days of old!

So, driving into this part of Northern Ireland brings back memories, none of which are particularly sad. That said, this journey allows me the space and small time to look back over my shoulder and understand why I am this woman and what evolved in me to bring me to where I now find myself. The past is indeed a foreign country, as L.P. Hartley wrote:

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” So runs the famous first line of L.P. Hartley’s novel, “The Go-Between.”

“But men still shoot each other, don’t they?”

Lyra Catherine McKee was a journalist from Northern Ireland who wrote for several publications about the consequences of the Troubles.

She also served as an editor for Mediagazer, a news aggregator website.

On 18 April 2019, McKee was fatally shot during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry.

My journey today has helped me understand who I am…and why I plant trees and tend Mother Earth.

I

In a time of destruction, create something: a poem, a parade, a community, a school, a vow, a moral principle; one peaceful moment.

— MAXINE HONG KINGSTON

When I return home to Bealtaine Cottage, I will plant a tree in honour of Lyra, in hope the tragedy of her death will be the last of so, so many acts of senseless violence and destruction.

A Life in the Country ~ The Growing Disaster of Impoverishment!

Early winter and the weather is brilliantly sunny with clear skies above the cottage and moonlit nights that are bright and cold!

It’s worth enduring the rain and grey for mornings like this…

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008Colours continue to develop in the densely planted gardens. This palette of colour continues all the year round…

Dense planting as is undertaken in any permaculture plan, lends itself well to the enrichment of the soil.

 Permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage. The verandaImpoverishment of the soil is no natural disaster, in fact it is the result of nothing less than greed…for money!

Henhouse at Bealtaine  Permaculture Cottage Cash crops and monoculture are both killing the soil, which is an integral part of our lifeline.

permaculture at Bealtaine cottage  In the past seven years since the beginning of Bealtaine, this land has gone from rushy monoculture half  life to enriched, protected earth and being continually enriched and protected due to planting.

Permaculture Cottage ...September 2011 013Poly-culture, which is the opposite of monoculture is of maximum importance for the survival of Nature as we know it.

This high level of biodiversity provides all year round food for the Natural World.

Diverse planting with permaculture at Bealtaine cottage  Peanuts, imported and therefore carrying a huge carbon footprint, are not a sustainable source of food for the birds and wildlife.

Diverse and enriched planting is.

We should therefore stop trying to re-invent the wheel and plant our gardens and urban spaces to this end.

A beautiful garden becomes a paradise when Nature is placed high on the list of important horticultural demands!

At the top!

This is one of the many delights of a garden that embraces maximum biodiversity…silky spider webs woven through Cotoneaster on a winter’s morning.

Light is important at this time of year as we descend towards the Midwinter Solstice and within it, the shortest day of the year.

Mirrored cottage of Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage Light is also very beautiful during this time…silver streams filtered through landscape hedgerows and trees.

 

In the words of Saint Columcille…”It is peaceful and it is delightful.”

Permaculture Cottage Daily ~ Wonderful Visitors, Dr Helen Caldicott and Seamus Heaney

Wednesday 7th September 2011

More Wonderful Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage…

But, before I begin…

This wonderful young fella turned up at the protest on Monday evening, outside the Council Offices in Carrick-on-Shannon…complete with Gas mask, (Josh Fox) style and home made placard and got a rousing cheer from the protesters!

Visitors to the Permaculture Smallholding today… Bernie and Colin.

Both inspired and enthused with lots of ideas and lots of free plants to take back to the 7 acres Colin tending near Ballinamore. Wonderful people, filled with good energy and leaving some of it behind for me.

I am a great believer in good energy and realise how important this is for people to thrive. Those whose energy is sick or failing can get very angry with life and lash out at people. Many of these people can do a great deal of damage as warmongers and people of greed. We have all encountered people like this on our journey.

Wood-chopping and Tidying up…

And as the day moves on, the chores continue…chopping wood for the stove, though it’s warm today and I will light the smaller stove in the sitting room later on, just for comfort and hot water.

The tidy up continues, as I clear out sheds and bag up endless bags for the charity shop in Carrick. Kevin, who runs it, is always so very pleasant and appreciative, it is a delight to visit!

As I take a rest on the veranda, I can’t help but think of the events of Fukushima this year and how it has so quickly disappeared from our news media.

Dr Helen Caldicott has spent most of her professional life keeping us informed of the facts about Nuclear energy and all the associated problems.

Here is Helen talking about the recent events at Fukushima…it’s well worth a watch…just click on the link below!

http://youtu.be/4ITrXVJMKeQ

Food for the birds this winter…no more birdfeeders, which hang in gardens until enough plants have been planted that will feed wildlife proper. That point was reached several years ago as you can see.

This is Cotoneaster, one of many berry bearing shrubs that will more than adequately keep birds fed over the course of a long winter!

One of my favourite poets is Seamus Heaney.

Following the day that became known as, “Bloody Sunday,” Seamus made his way to Derry for the funerals of the thirteen.

This is the poem he wrote about that journey and that day.

Click on the link to hear the poem and see some black and white footage of the events of both the journey and the sad events.

http://youtu.be/xLMlY56sahI