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!

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!

A Day in Early Spring

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Juicing is a great way to ensure one has the maximum of vitamins and minerals and this is something I do every day.
It’s also a reason to keep greens growing all the year around, as even small bits can be added to the juicer and vital vitamins extracted.
I’ve used some small bits of Kale that have escaped the frost and storms.
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There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!
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Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken! Baskets, Fedges and Obelisks are standing here!
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These beds are fairly sheltered and continue to produce Kale, which is processed in the juicer.
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Fine Willow used in basket weaving waiting to be harvested. The gardens look colourful all the way through Winter, as the stems of Willow, Dogwood, Ash and Birch are revealed.
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So much rain has fallen here in Ireland this Winter and now, in the early days of Spring, the flooding has begun to dominate the landscape. Here at Bealtaine cottage I spent much time in the early days digging out drains and water channels, as well as keeping them maintained over the past ten years…and it has paid off, as you can see from the lower pond. The water runs free, out into the streams and rivers that take it to the Atlantic Ocean. 
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In sheltered areas all over the gardens the ferns have remained green, though a little bit droopy. The winter was mild and warm, with plenty of rain!
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This is the beginning of the wood pile for next winter. It comprises of coppiced logs of Birch, Ash and Hazel. The twiggy bits are thrown into the back of the pile as they make wonderful kindling! These logs may be small, but are perfect for a small wood-burning stove!
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I’ve been stocking up on straw recently, as this makes great mulch around the garden helping to suppress weeds and line paths.
www.bealtainecottage.comGreen Beech hold their leaves right through Winter, adding even more colour and shelter to the gardens! 
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And look who’s keeping an eye on me as I type…my loyal Jack!

A Life in the Country ~ Tree Spirits

If …
a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of
being regarded as a loafer. 

But …

if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing
off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an
industrious and enterprising citizen.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Life’s funny like that!

Have we got it all mixed up then?

You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so
venerable a neighbour, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes
you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night.  ~Denise Levertov

I believe that each tree has a spirit…one that is unique to that tree. Planting trees is one of the most joyful ways of connecting to the great divine spirit. In a country that is one of the most deforested in Europe, planting a tree is an act of environmental conservation equal to none!

We have a future…possibly…and only with the help of trees…

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and
a thousand tempests and floods.  But he cannot save them from fools.  ~John
Muir

Unfortunately, it is a fact that most people will cut down trees if it is to their own advantage. it is also a fact that most people are frightened of  because trees are beyond their control. How do I know this? Look around you!

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving,
swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship.  But
though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. 
Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like
harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. 
No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are
cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems
the Lord himself.  ~John Muir

Even as a dead tree, lying on it’s side as it decays back into the beautiful Earth, this tree holds pools of water and life…could anything so exquisite be made by the hand of man?

No town can fail of beauty, though its walks were gutters and its houses hovels,
if venerable trees make magnificent colonnades along its streets.  ~Henry Ward
Beecher, Proverbs, 1887