I was really in a tiz thinking that I was going to be without the means of spreading the energy from Bealtaine Cottage and I’m glad about that, because as the evening progressed and my computer was being fixed, I had time to think about all the people I have met through this blog…and what we all have in common…Passion!
Growing life from seed and sharing the abundance of the ensuing seed and all because of Monsanto!
If Monsanto had not attempted to own and monopolize our seed, I would never have met Elena from Greece, who posted me this Rocket seed…now in the process of making more seed!
Or David from the U.S. who sent me these Oak seeds, now growing in pots in the shelter of one of the sheds.
And Eric who posted me a selection of tree seeds, all scattered in the gardens, for me to find in the autumn, as flowers and fruit and vegetables die back.
For then I will carefully lift and pot them on.
And the package I recently received from Switzerland, filled with Ginkgo seeds, a unique species of tree with no close living relatives.
A tree that tolerates pollution and indeed even survived the Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima!
Or the Black Tomato seeds from Tara in New York!
The wickedness perpetrated by Monsanto, in trying to arrest, control and kill off the great biodiversity of life, has awakened so many to the very essence of life itself…seed!
We are now aware and able to articulate what it is that makes life so fantastic…and it all stems from seed.
Nine years ago, my main interest in seed was far from protecting it, but simply in growing.
Thanks to Monsanto, I got to know great people like Dr Vandana Shiva, who opened the door into a wonderful world of possibilities and challenges, to save and nurture seed.
Nine years ago I was growing food and flowers…today I am growing an Ark for Mother Nature, one that is more than the sum total of everything I have ever done before!
Monsanto has aroused passions in people that few were ever aware of…certainly I never felt this passionate about Mother Earth!
And that is the difference between Monsanto executives and Seed savers and nurturers…passion.
They just don’t have it!
Eat your heart out, Monsanto!
Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 120 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
There are over 550 blogs in the archives on this site.
The washing is on the line, as there’s a great breeze between the light showers and sunshine.
There is no washing machine or tumble drier here at Bealtaine Cottage, so a little barter or exchange takes place when the washing basket is full…which happens when I’m too busy to wash laundry daily.
A good friend did 3 loads of washing in exchange for a few kilos of blackcurrants from the freezer.
Jam making is under way at her house!
Frozen blackcurrants make a better tasting jam, as the enzymes have already begun to break down the sugars in the fruit.
The same friend brought me a stack of polystyrene fish boxes, that were to be thrown away at the market.
These make excellent seed boxes as you can see in the tunnel today, I have been busy sowing seeds and potting on.
I lay the boxes on the soil as the warm earth will keep an ambient temperature over-night.
Plants and pots are packed into every available space in the tunnel today.
People are angry with the governments who refuse to listen!
A petition was presented to the UK government recently, highlighting the concerns we all have for the health of bees.
It was ignored.
Governments are there to serve us.
The politicians are our servants.
They need to be reminded!Bees are the workforce of Mother Nature!
Aquilegia, Valerian and pot lilies surround Buddha in the potager beds today.
I will leave you with these wise words from Dr Vandana Shiva, my inspiration…
“[How do I do it?] Well, it’s always a mystery, because you don’t know why you get depleted or recharged. But this much I know. I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities, just that itself creates new potential. And I’ve learned from the Bhagavad-Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of what I do, because those are not in my hands. The context is not in your control, but your commitment is yours to make, and you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment about where it will take you. You want it to lead to a better world, and you shape your actions and take full responsibility for them, but then you have detachment. And that combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge, because I don’t cripple myself, I don’t tie myself in knots. I function like a free being. I think getting that freedom is a social duty because I think we owe it to each not to burden each other with prescription and demands. I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.” ― Vandana Shiva
The wisdom of Dr Vandana Shiva has been the greatest influence on the last nine years of my journey here at Bealtaine Cottage.
Inspired by her wisdom, I have planted hundreds of trees and experienced the sheer abundance, beauty and fertility as the land is restored through planting…almost 900 trees to date.
I am passionate about trees, planting trees, nurturing trees and creating a permaculture smallholding around them.
Vandana was greatly moved by the destruction of the great forests of the Himalaya.
Writing of that period in the 1970’s, this is what she had to say…
“Logging had led to landslides and floods, and scarcity of water, fodder, and fuel.
Since women provide these basic needs, the scarcity meant longer walks for collecting water and firewood, and a heavier burden.
In the 1970s, peasant women from my region in the Garhwal Himalaya had come out in defence of the forests.
Women knew that the real value of forests was not the timber from a dead tree, but the springs and streams, food for their cattle, and fuel for their hearths.
The women declared that they would hug the trees, and the loggers would have to kill them before killing the trees.
A folk song of that period said:
These beautiful oaks and rhododendrons, They give us cool water Don’t cut these trees We have to keep them alive.”
Vandana goes on to explain the consequences of this brutality against Mother Earth…for there are always consequences, of that we can be sure…
“In 1973, I had gone to visit my favourite forests and swim in my favourite stream before leaving for Canada to do my Ph.D.
But the forests were gone, and the stream was reduced to a trickle.”
Vandana documents the origins of the Chipko Movement, one that was birthed by the women themselves as they struggled and resisted to protect the forests…
“One of the dramatic Chipko actions took place in the Himalayan village of Adwani in 1977, when a village woman named Bachni Devi led resistance against her own husband, who had obtained a contract to cut trees.
When officials arrived at the forest, the women held up lighted lanterns although it was broad daylight.
The forester asked them to explain.
The women replied, “We have come to teach you forestry.”
He retorted, “You foolish women, how can you prevent tree felling by those who know the value of the forest?
Do you know what forests bear?
They produce profit and resin and timber.”
The women sang back in chorus:
What do the forests bear?
Soil, water, and pure air.
Soil, water, and pure air
Sustain the Earth and all she bears.
The full text of this essay by Dr Vandana Shiva, can be found at: