An Act of Defiance from the Edge of Empire!

Box for the birds and the beesIt seems as though governments all over the western world are colluding with big corporations and the energy companies to deliberately destroy our environments, and, in the face of much opposition from those who elected them into power…the people.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureI have yet to meet the person who supports

war, fracking, privatisation of utilities, or GMOs.

Yet, politicians have, and are, engaged in the pursuit of all of these.

growing seeds at BealtaineAs we approach a global food crisis- and all the warning signs are there, such as rising food prices, oil and the effects of extreme weather- we are in desperate need of leadership.

herb gardens at bealtaine cottageLeadership is absent.

bees and peas at bealtaine cottageRhetoric is everywhere.

weed suppressing with cardboardWe are being force-fed a diet of ‘GMOs are all that can save us,’  publicity, when patently this is not true!

potager beds and peach trees at bealtaine cottageThe less choice in seed diversity, the more prone we are to potential famine.

rocket stove in the permaculture gardenI know that as a grower, working 3 acres of poor land…that it is diversity that builds fertility and food security!

Bench in the garden at Bealtaine CottageWhat are we to do?

Abundance from Mother  NatureAct as defiantly in the face of bullish nonsense and stupid politicians as one can.

bird and bee house at bealtaine cottageHow?

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottagePlant!

Evening Primrose seed germinating at Bealtaine CottageLiving near the western seaboard of the Atlantic Ocean, I live on the edge of empire.

cottage on a slate and painted stones at Bealtaine CottageI refuse to allow the insanity of empire to bellow it’s anarchic way into my home…I have no television.

I plant.

I grow.

I live frugally.

Euphorbia in a barrelIf I lived in the middle of a city I would keep the same philosophy.

Broad Beans at Bealtaine CottageBe defiant: buy less; plant more; save seeds and share! It’s your future…don’t let the politicians mess it up!

Missy Cat at Bealtaine CottageThis is a video I watched earlier and a fantastic template for those without gardens or allotments…or even with!

The Green Backyard
This is the story of a once neglected urban wasteland in Peterborough, recently transformed into a much-loved community resource by a crew of eager volunteer…
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Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

The gardens in snow.

Yesterday was a day for visitors who spent two and a half hours walking around all the different gardens.

The photo above was taken in the winter of 2010…cold but very beautiful.

Permaculture is about planting and planting without chemicals, but using Nature’s way of mulch, mulch, mulch.

It works incredibly well, for this approach feeds the soil, our food lifeline!

I mulch with shreddings; clippings; wool; compost; manure; grass and leaves, as well as any other biodegradable material I come across, including cardboard, straw etc.

I also collect silt from both ponds as the stream which feeds them often washes lots of silt down from the hill behind the cottage.

This includes pulling most of the seasonal growth from the ponds and spreading that around newly planted trees.

To date, there have been over 700 trees planted on the 3 acres that make up the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage.

It is trees that give us life and give fertility to the soil.

Let us never forget that.

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The Colours of the Celts

Creativity was associated with orange, as well as sexuality and fertility.

Think of the egg yolk…only a deep orange yolk is really healthy and full of goodness.

Invoke this colour in areas of your home where you want to express these elements.

Wind Spiral in the Fairy DellGreen is infused with beauty and fertility, but also prosperity.

In Feng Shui, it is advised to paint the front door of one’s home red so as to attract prosperity, but my door is painted green and the real prosperity is quite tangible at Bealtaine Cottage.

As for beauty, well, that speaks for itself, for what is not beautiful in the flowing greens of Nature?

Brown is the essence of earth and the home.

The very centre of the home is the “hearth,” or home earth.

Brown is also for animals.

In old cottages in Ireland the animals were brought near to the “hearth,” or home for the winter.

Winter begins tomorrow in the Celtic Cycle.

The prosperity of purple is long associated with the royal families and indeed was not to be worn by lesser mortals in Europe, upon pain of death…not so the case today where we recognize the equality in all human life and the real meaning of wealth and power being unique to each one of us.

The blue of heaven heralds healing…I keep a long piece of blue silk to lay on a pillow or seat especially for those feeling poorly.

Blue also invokes peace and the sacredness of all under it’s mantle.

There are many colours that represent other aspects of our sacred journey.

As we wear a particular colour, our understanding of how it makes us feel infuses us with a little more knowledge and understanding of its importance to us.

We each have a favourite colour that we wear, one that looks good on us, matches our skin tones and brings out a certain energy.

That is a good place to begin to relate to the energy of colour.

Stonehenge, Newgrange and the Cycle of Life

The autumn continues to progress through it’s mellow display of earthy colours.

Tomorrow is the Equinox and the beginning of the descent towards midwinter.

The time of year denotes the slowing down of all that is life as we know it.

Time to sort out the winter woolies and hang the heavy curtains to keep out the drafts.

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One of the big tasks I have lined up here at Bealtaine Cottage is the coppicing of the majority of the trees that were planted eight years ago, in the first flush of restoring the fertility of the land.

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Trees are one of the most important connections we have to the Divine, embodying the sacred fertility that anchors us all on this planet.

Where trees grow, life is abundant…without them we are bereft of all that makes life comfortable and good.

One of the great delights of the shorter days is the ritual lighting of the stove and the chance to sit around the fire and enjoy the scent of woodsmoke on the air.

There are few pleasures in life quite so comforting.

From this point in time the autumn will wend its way through to Samhain and evolve into the dark depths of winter, finally rising towards the light in the deep midwinter, a time of renewal, hope and promise.

Life is cyclical.

The builders of Stonehenge and Newgrange knew all about that.

Abundant Harvest at Bealtaine Cottage…seeing is believing!

Despite the problems with weather and lack of sunshine, this  is turning out to be one of the best years on record for the harvest at Bealtaine Cottage.

Continual adaptation to climate change is paying off, as the Potager Beds have excelled themselves in little over ten weeks since construction and planting.

Designed and built in the truly vernacular style, using stone sourced on site, these beds have been a blessing in production and style.

Blessed with continual warmth and shelter at the back of the cottage, the plants have excelled themselves, doing better than those planted in the tunnel!

Bees and, blessed be, Butterflies are all in abundance too, a sight to behold!

The Apple harvest is the best ever, as these trees have brought apples to my table every year since planting.

I have been out this morning and made a video for you to see for yourselves…it is amazing.

Oh, and as a joyous footnote…the Bats are back at Bealtaine Cottage…small and few, I suspect a new colony, but it is a stunning sight to watch at dusk!

Today’s video…just click on the link!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWLrpb6_9Wc

Permaculture is…

Permaculture is… a design system…

 It’s a simple and effective way to apply  the principles of ecology in the design of sustainable human habitats.

Building a veranda on the south side of Bealtaine Cottage was a practical and sustainable  way of applying the principles…there is now an all-weather area in which to shelter and store humans, plants and fuel.

 Permaculture is not just about growing things.

Although permaculture focuses on food production, it is more than just food, as it embraces every aspect of living holistically on this Earth…with this Earth!

kitchen windowAll aspects of living well, such as health, and education, are integrated in this new way of living… Aspects of community and architecture, especially living architecture and always sustainable architecture…using locally source materials, especially wood.

It brings sustainability into all aspects of life, even art, as in the stained glass wheel of life using beer bottles!

Permaculture uses resources from, essentially, three main areas.

These are nature, traditional systems…as in the application of permaculture principles at this old stone cottage, and modern scientific /technological knowledge.

DSC03124Embracing knowledge and applying it in a permaculture way is one way of describing what I do here at Bealtaine Cottage.  

DSC08011For example, retro-fitting the cottage for maximum insulation using minimum £resources, such as sheep’s wool for insulation in the cottage and fertility on the hungry land!

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