Posted in Books, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Climate, Cottage, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Politics, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Thrift, Uncategorized

Light, Midwinter Sun, Signs and John Seymour

Light

What an opportunity!

As we descend into the dark days of midwinter, what better thing to do than light a candle and enjoy the soft light and warmth.

I was making candles today to add to my stockpile for the coming weeks, when candlelight is really the best light medium to illuminate the darkness.

Midwinter Sun

Sun worship was a common practice among the Celts…one only has to look at the amazing amount of motifs from that time to see this.

The god Belanos, known as, “the shining one,” had his feast on May 1, also known as Bealtaine!

The festival of Bealtaine was celebrated right up until 1895 at a place known as Mount Callan, near Ennis in County Clare.

There remains a sun altar at this place.

There is another sacred stone near Macroom, a standing stone known as “Stone of the Sun.”

It is easy to see and perhaps understand this Celtic fascination with the sun, when looking at the life and vibrancy exuded by the midwinter sun, on a clear morning at this time of year.

Signs

It’s possible to assess the insulation needs of any house by looking at the roof.

There are obvious signs to look out for!

For example, does the frost or snow remain on the roof as the house heats up?

If it does, then all is well, insulation is adequate up above.

Bealtaine has a double layer of sheep’s wool insulation added this year and it is paying for itself already.

Walking in this weather can identify insulation needs just by looking at the houses…snow or melt on the roof?

Insulation is one of the many ways we can help ourselves to live better and more frugally in these times of hardship.

I think it is time to re-visit what John Seymour, in his wisdom, had to say…

“…We have allowed ourselves to get where we are because of the ‘blind workings of the market’.

But we are not blind, so we must now start using our good sense to ‘break this sorry scheme of things and remould it to our hearts desire,’ as old Omar Khayam had it.

To allow ourselves to be dependent on some vast Thing created by the Merchants of Greed is madness.

It is time to cut out what we do not need so we can live more simply and happily.

Good food, comfortable clothes, serviceable housing and true culture – those are the things that matter.

The only way this can happen is by ordinary people, us, boycotting the huge multinational corporations that are destroying our Earth – and creating a new Age – an Age of Healing in place of the current Age of Plunder.”

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Ireland: Life before and after The Merchants of Greed…

The radio is talking about economic growth/lack of it/regulators/lack of them…

They are all lacking the essential connection, which to my mind is the actual land where they live!

All the time there’s talk about international investors, while fields grow high with rushes and Irish children leave school with little or no understanding of how to make a good life possible, here, in their homeland.

There was a time when anyone who could, grew fruit in this area to supply Lairds Jam Factory in Drumshanbo.

Well, the factory closed and the fruit growing stopped!


There are few people who grow fruit in this area now, yet I harvested over 150lbs of Blackcurrants with ease this year and the Apple trees I planted are bent double with the weight of beautiful Apples…all organically grown!

We should be turning off the radios and televisions and asking ourselves some serious questions, because the only investments worth growing are not to be found on the Economic Markets…after all, you can’t eat talk!

Using a re-cycled water bottle,  for the past eight years, contains my homegrown version of washing powder…mild soap bars, cut into chunks and all shook up in this bottle with some spring water added.

  1. Total cost: In the region of 10 cents per wash cycle.

  2. Total Damage to the Earth: Minimal compared to the average Washing Machine Powder or Liquid!

  3. Usability: Really easy!

  4. Does it work: The real work is done by the tumbling action of the washing machine…didn’t you know? The soap just softens the water and helps the washing action.

  5. How much money can you save per year? : Work this one out for yourself.

  6. Message: Stop being brainwashed by advertising from the big chemical companies. YOU DON’T NEED THEM!

  7. P.S. My clothes are clean!!!

    Blackberries are really ripe for harvesting at the moment!

    Mixed with some of my apples, these will make a fine Blackberry and Apple Jelly.

    So far, the pillowcase method of straining the juice has served me well, washing the pillowcase and ironing it to sterilise.

    However, there are few people to be found harvesting berries for free, though many to be seen in the supermarkets buying jam filled with chemicals!

    Elderberries are just beginning to ripen, so the harvest will continue well into September!

    Permaculture is about living on less while at the same time continually running a surplus, because there appears to be a surplus of everything except paper money!

    Sharing the surplus with family and friends is a happy thing to do.

    The philosophy of sharing makes one feel extremely wealthy and begin to question the value system that exists in society around us.

    Permaculture can and does change lives.

    I believe it is the way forward, especially looking at the present state of the Irish economy.

    There is a saying here in Ireland, more relevant today than ever it was before, “People appear to have lost the run of themselves”…how sad, how true!

    But then, before the Economists, bankers, government and people lost the run of themselves, there was a quiet generosity of spirit that embraced the country.

    An open door…this is what Ireland used to be about…I wonder how many doors are freely open today?

    Ivan Illich, social thinker, has written many books criticising present day society and its failure…privileged people can escape the need to be consumers and be ‘doers’, instead, whereas the under-privileged seek satisfaction in consumerism, all that is packaged and pushed their way.

    The way forward lies in nurturing confidence in people to enable them to take more control of their lives…knowledge is power and empowering people to move away from big institutions and useless economic models is enabling empowerment for everyone!

    As John Seymour once wrote…”To allow ourselves to be dependent on some vast Thing created by the Merchants of Greed is madness.

    It is time to cut out what we do not need so we can live more simply and happily.

    Good food, comfortable clothes, serviceable housing and true culture – those are the things that matter.

    The only way this can happen is by ordinary people, us, boycotting the huge multinational corporations that are destroying our Earth – and create a new Age – an Age of Healing in place of the current Age of Plunder.”