A Day of Sustainable Living at Bealtaine Cottage

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Sewing patchwork today…finishing a bedspread…with the back-door open and the birds singing!

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Producing and using surplus is an integral part of living sustainably. 

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Upcycling our waste in a wasteful society is a way to create growth. 

If there is going to be a future, then our past cannot be used as a template.

We have lived in a state of excess at the cost of the future.

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Making soup today has allowed me to harvest and use vegetables from the garden, especially Spinach.

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…mmm!

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I love Spinach!

With lots planted in the tunnel and heaps of seedlings coming on in pots, this is one winter green of plenty this year!

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There are lots of windfall apples at the moment and this is the time to get out and collect them up for pies and juice.

Stew down the apples ready for a tart and store in the freezer or even can it…that means jar really!

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Having the stove fired up for cooking the soup and baking, means drying clothes in a very natural and cost-free way.

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Cleaned out the hen house and run…now there’s lots of poopy straw to spread on the vegetable beds before I mulch them with cardboard…great, organic and free vegetables for next year!

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The girls are happy! This deep litter allows a good amount of fertile straw to be used in the vegetable gardens and as a fertile mulch…for free…eggs are a sideline!

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Rosehips from the Rosa Rugosa are ripening…these make the very best Vitamin C syrup!

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Beautiful colouring on the Amalanchier trees today.

A feast for the soul!

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Blackberries continue to ripen…free fruit that not enough people bother to pick and use…though more are enjoying the fruits of foraging!

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Cleared the space beneath this Ash tree to make a little sitting and meditation space.

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Made a green juice to start the day, using Apples, Lemon Balm, Mint,  Kale and Wheatgrass from the garden. Now that’s what fired me up for a day of sustainable living!

 

Growing Freedom

Growing freedom is manifesting in the new mass movement of allotment holders and people turning their oil-hungry lawns into edible gardens.

Freedom and choice is what happens when you decide to grow…whether it’s in a window box or on a half acre smallholding, or more.

The mindset of producing food in growing, foraging, making and storing induces a sense of liberation, as well as a feeling of well-being and harmony with the Earth.

Freedom of choice begins to manifest before your very eyes, for free.

Food: organic or not; how much and what kind; for storing or for selling; food to share, food to give; the choices go on…and as this happens, personal knowledge grows immensely!

Storing and making and baking and cooking and creating…

Growing food , whether it be you actually doing it or simply enabling others to grow by buying surplus, locally produced food is of great benefit to the new scheme of things…cutting down on air miles, pollution and supporting local economies.

Creating small food communities by locally sourcing, helps to grow communities, encouraging interaction on a natural level.

Selling or sharing a surplus is a positive social networking ingredient!

The choice is yours.

Isn’t that a great word, “choice?”

Urban Foraging and Accidental Coppicing!

Happy Bealtaine Everyone!

I began the day with a trip to my local town of Carrick-on-Shannon and managed to fit in a spot of urban foraging while I was there!

You see, many of the shops package up their cardboard waste into huge bundles, ready for the waste collection, a service they pay for, by the way!

This kind of waste is excellent for using in both the cottage and on the land.

Using it in the cottage, in the stoves, as an excellent way to start the fire, as the cardboard gives out a brilliant heat!

As a mulch in the garden, especially around newly planted trees as it keeps the weeds and tall grass at bay for a year or more!

This kind of foraging is very practical, as it offsets the cost of the petrol used in the car driving to town…the cardboard in the stove alone saves money that would be spent on firelighters!

When I was building the porch, shown here, I used a lot of recycled cardboard as an insulating material and it works rather well too!

It is also a great, compostable material after using it on the floors on particularly wet days…muddy feet and wet paws!

The video today is about Roses and coppicing…accidental coppicing!

Click on the link below and enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gr-SI2_V7Y&feature=plcp

A Life in the Country ~ Today at Permaculture Cottage

The hens are out foraging today.

Autumn is a good time to let the girls out to roam freely all over the smallholding…and roam they do!

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried:  “Look at this Godawful mess.”  ~Art Buchwald, 1970

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Beech planted with Bamboo. 

Close planting is one of the ways to keep unwanted weeds at bay!

If you look closely you can see Cotoneaster planted to the right.

It is easier to thin plants out than wait for them to grow!

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In the true style of the Economic Terrorist I grew all these trees from seed.

That’s what I love about growing and gardens and Nature…there is no consumerism and everything continues to grow.

The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have – and that is a moral problem, not an economic one.

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other.  It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.  Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied… but written off as trash.  The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.  ~John Berger

Testament to Dad…

My father died in April of last year.

Dad loved this smallholding and bought me a sack full of bare-rooted saplings to plant here.

All the Beech trees, including this Purple Beech are a testament to his love for Nature and the environment we make within.

As these trees turn marvellous shades of reds and browns, I smile and remember my father…

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Forethought and temperance are the virtues which produced thrift, and with thrift the economic progress of society.  And those are the virtues which today are gravely compromised.  ~Adriano Tilgher