Went for a walk down to the pond and made a video on the way, as the sun shone and the birds sang…what a beautiful day!
The lower pond is filled with Frogspawn…almost heaving really…I’ve never seen so much!
Just recalling how a mere twelve years ago there was nothing here by wet, rushy ground that was impenetrable to the spade!
Now it’s packed with wildlife, young woodland, ponds, streams, orchards, soft fruits and vegetables!
There is even a Spring Well, dug out from stone, deep within the Fairy Wood! Bealtaine Cottage…from monoculture to permaculture in twelve short years!
Enjoy the video!
Those interested in the Fuchsia, Blackcurrant or Rubus cuttings need to hurry and order, as they are fast coming into leaf…another couple of weeks left to get them in the ground and growing…and they will grow very fast indeed! To place your order, click on the link below…
Mist prevails as the earth slowly heats, releasing some of the water absorbed during the wettest winter on record here in Ireland.
The air is still and birdsong echoes through the foggy dew…
The first of the seeds are now sown in a big fish box in the tunnel, made from thick, white polystyrene, once marked out for the dump but rescued and up-cycled here at Bealtaine Cottage…perfect for seeds and young plants!
There’s a digger at work on the hill of Ballyfermoyle, I hear it’s machinations echoing through the misty morning.
Young trees and bushes are being torn up and tossed aside, in an effort for land to be measured by the EU on Google Maps.
Less tree cover shows more grass and it is grassland that the EU are paying farmers here in Ireland to grow.
More grass, more meat, more export, more globalization…you know the story!
And so, the Earth is losing more habitat in a land that cannot feed it’s own people…Ireland is heavily reliant on imported food!
Another famine lurks around the corner, as monoculture food systems are the order of the day, financed and controlled by the EU bureaucrats, blinkered up to the eyeballs with bullshit!
In this land of plenty there is little food grown around this area.
EU sponsored, subsidized and pimped Monoculture prevails!
Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.
If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…
The connection between all of the above is…corporations!
Corporate control of the world is very much in place.
Our governments have sold us out to the corporate machine.
Here in Ireland, what happened in the sell-out was very dramatic and actually happened in ONE night, in November 2008, when our elected government signed over the sovereignty of the Irish people in a meeting that took place in the middle of the night with NO minutes recorded!
I could add into the title of this blog: banks; politicians;factory farming; monoculture; media…you can too!
It still boils down to the same fact…it is all connected and quite deliberate!
It’s about control, money, power, greed and to hell with humanity!
And that is the sad fact…we are pushing our own hand-cart to hell!
Banks, oil and arms!
It’s time to clock out of this madness, resign, sign out!
There is a better way…work it out and get on board…
If you would like to support the work of the Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture website, Youtube (ad-free) videos and Open Gardens project, then I thank you…
It is difficult to comprehend, without seeing this photograph, that what is now a lush, abundant paradise, was once a barren monoculture, devoid of wildlife, birdsong and no biodiversity to speak of…
This was Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding on day one of the transformation, only made possible by applying permaculture principles and design.
What you are looking at is the view of the land from the cottage itself.
The transformation has been carried out single-handedly, by myself, aided only by planting, mulching and manuring, again carried out by hand over the course of eight years.
Today I decided to visit the well which feeds water to the cottage. The landscape of the hill behind the cottage remains unchanged, so you can see for yourself how inhospitable the cottage and land first looked…
The first day of Autumn in the Celtic calendar and the harvest continues. Blackcurrants are being picked at Bealtaine, along with masses of herbs, including Oregano, Chives, Dill and Fennel…though the Fennel in the tunnel is seeding and will be dried and stored for baking purposes later on.
The Plum trees are bearing up well with the wight of the fruit and this will be used for jam and wine. I have planted four Plum trees so far and am also growing some trees from seed.
Yes…it’s hard to believe, but there have been bumper harvest every year at Bealtaine and this is set to continue as the land moves from monoculture in year one to wonderful biodiversity in year seven, with shelter developing and compost heaps bursting…
This is the Fennel in the tunnel this morning, with a good crop of seeds developing.
Apple too are plumping out well…juice, chutneys, pies and crumbles here!
Remember the immense power as a consumer you have…and ultimately, your ability, with others, to control the market…buying Fairtrade and supporting local producers is one way to control the market for the good, rather than giving your precious money and support to the global corporations who wreak havoc on our world…
Potatoes growing by the east side of the shed. Did you know that there are about five thousand potato varieties worldwide? Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to molds that feed on the stored tubers, quickly turning them rotten. However, I left potatoes in the ground over the course of last winter, when all was frozen solid for six long weeks…and they were dug out after the defrost and were perfect! I think it may have been the layer of straw that was atop the ground!
Throughout Europe, the most important new food in the 19th century was the potato, which, of course fast became a monoculture among poorer people… I strive hard to avoid planting all the tubers in one area, preferring to plant here and there in a positive way to avoid disease…and it appears to have worked thus far!
Now in its seventh year, Bealtaine smallholding has achieved new heights of growth, meaning that compost is plentiful. This is because there is so much to cut back and use to build compost heaps…I have made two so far and am still using the compost made last year, with loads to go!
At its most essential, the process of composting requires simply piling up waste outdoors and waiting a year or more. This is the method I use and it has benefitted Bealtaine well! The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. Any parts of the heap that have not degraded sufficiently can be added to the next heap…a process I indulge in!
Permaculture planting lends itself really well to bountiful compost production, so even if you do not keep animals for manure, it is still quite possible to maintain a high degree of healthy and fertile soil, using plant compost alone…however, a few hens are easy and happy and productive little workers to have on any smallholding!
Upcycling baked bean tins…making a few holes in the bottom and planting with sedums…these are two years old now and quite attractive when grouped together like this, don’t you think?
Lots of berries on the Hawthorn. last year was the same and I predicted a very cold and long winter…I forecast more of the same for the coming winter based on much evidence around me…
Crataegus,or Hawthorn is one of my favourite trees here at Bealtaine and I have grown all I have planted from seed. Hawthorns provide food and shelter for many species of birds and mammals, and the flowers are important for many nectar-feeding insects.
In Gaelic folklore, hawthorn ‘marks the entrance to the otherworld’ and is strongly associated with the fairies. Lore has it that it is very unlucky to cut the tree at any time other than when it is in bloom, however during this time it is commonly cut and decorated as a May Bush or Bealtaine…Irish meaning May. This warning persists to modern times; it has been questioned by folklorist Bob Curran whether the ill luck of the De Lorean Motor Company was associated with the destruction of a fairy thorn to make way for a production facility.
Hawthorn trees are often found beside clootie wells; at these types of holy wells they are sometimes known as ‘rag trees’, for the strips of cloth which are tied to them as part of healing rituals. ‘
When all fruit fails, welcome haws’ was once a common expression in Ireland.
Three acres of Permaculture and seven years of growing from scratch…monoculture emptiness.
A journey via Permaculture that has led me to give up smoking, become a Vegetarian and evolve into a Vegan.
Happy to be an Economic Terrorist…I rarely shop, so that makes me an enemy of the Corporate State…and anyone who wants to rant about me being a Conspiracy Theorist…well, I live in the real world and watched as Ireland was handed over to the Corporations, mostly banks, bankers and greed-mongers…if this resonates with you then be prepared to be dismissed as a C.T.!
You can’t buy anything on this site…everything I advocate comes for free and I’m happy to welcome visitors to this Permaculture Smallholding and show them around, even send them off with free plants and advice on how to do permaculture.
A willow arbour. Free. No Garden centre involved here! No money, just the abundance and love and goodness that is Nature…beyond money and the Merchants of Greed!
And places to sit made from upcycled castaway wood and concrete blocks…free!
Hens at Bealtaine today…Battery eggs are degraded food…the corporations will degrade you because you are little more to them than battery hens!
The Permaculture Polytunnel this morning. Spilling over with food and seeds…Seeds are the bankable currency of the VERY near future! Why do think the US government shares the control of GM seeds with that Monster Monsanto?
Nature is perfect…so why does all the corps., want to control and degrade her?
If we understood the need for trees on our planet, we would be out planting for our very lives!
This is a realisation being brought more and more to the fore of my thinking.
All that is wrong in our world today can be traced back to our reckless and insane treatment of the environment.
The cost of economic growth in our world has been paid for by Gaia herself.
And yes, I know I sound passionate and maybe even upset, but, then, I am!
The E.U. and Trees!
I once held out hope that Ireland’s participation in the European Union would create a sense of joined up thinking about the state of our sick environment and how we could start to create instead of continually destroy.
That somehow, policy and directives from Brussels would create enlightenment and lead to the wholesale planting of trees on our monocultured island…but recent discussions with someone in receipt of E.U. grants for tree-planting has led me to be very concerned indeed!
Grant to Plant!
In order to qualify for a specific grant to plant deciduous trees, my friend has to agree to plant 2,600 deciduous trees on 3 acres…and I’ve tweeked these figures…DOWN!
Now for those of you who don’t know what 3 acres looks like, have a closer scan of some of the 500 or so posts put up from Bealtaine Cottage.
Sitting on 3 acres, the cottage is surrounded by trees, planted over the course of the past 7 years.
Somewhere between 500-600 trees have been planted, with plans for a further 100-200 in the future.
Can you identify much room for a further 2,000 or so trees?
I conclude that the E.U. does not have a clue, not even an iota of one!
The state of tree planting here in Ireland can be summed up as inadequate, with the emphasis on monoculture plantations of Sitka Spruce, planted for harvesting, in long, tight rows, where only a huge machine could possibly access the nightmare of environmental sickness.
These trees are planted for money and regarded only in fiscal terms.
Monoculture is the order of the day because the environment is tied into the “Merchants of Greed,” as John Seymour called them…the institutions now viewed as the great destroyers of our country!
And, This Fear…?
Where does it come from?
What is it that makes so many people frightened of Nature?
Where does this desperation to control Gaia come from?
To see trees reduced to gangly, over-crowned sticks that need staking in order to stand up, is a sad reflection on our lack of understanding of our world and Mother Nature.
Trees don’t need stakes if the WHOLE environment in which they are planted is taken into consideration.
There are no staked trees at Bealtaine other than some of the smaller fruit trees that become heavy with fruit and need supporting during this time.
It is this continual need to dominate Nature and control her that causes humanity to fear the environment.
We must awaken to the possibilities of living with her, or, well, I don’t want to go there!
Ferns…some of the oldest living plants in our world.
When I began the Bealtaine Permaculture Project back in 2004 there were few of these beautiful plants anywhere on this land. I remember digging one up in a woodland not far from here and planting it in the small, wannabe woodland that was to become the Fairy Dell…and yes, it is certainly magical! From then till now the population of Ferns on this smallholding has steadily increased each year…
Since the Banking Crisis broke worldwide it has become evident to me just how embedded the corporations are with western governments and the amount of deceit and corruption that abounds within these structures. All kinds of directives come from Europe in relation to farming that, in my understanding, do nothing more than create Monoculture Monsters. To view the land as an economic farming industry is to do so at our peril…Nature WILL not tolerate what we attempt to ignore for the sake of industrialized food production and ultimately, greed. “The world has enough for every man’s need, but not enough for every man’s greed!”
It’s hard to believe that this place was just rushy monoculture land 7 years ago.
Yet, it is just this possible to turn poor land around and re-invest fertility to the soil.
Trees are Nature’s way of doing that.
Permaculture intensive planting is the way forward.
Pots and old bits of pipes filled with Sedums add interest to a little corner.
The Pine tree is only 7 years old, from a seedling and it is giving cones already!
Three acres of poor land have been turned around in a relatively short space of time to create a very productive, edible landscape and sheltered habitat.Perennials are the ones you don’t have to bother about too much…Michaelmas Daisies on the right, Sedge to the left and a self-seeded perennial coming up in the middle…Birds, bees and insects all benefit from the transformation from monoculture to permaculture. Yellow Loosestrife and Blue Geranium, perennials that push their way into beauty every year, never mind the grass and weeds, they will do their thing regardless!Roses are in bloom on the veranda…it really amazing just what will grow in this once desolate looking place…have a look at the “before” pictures on this blog.
When I first seen Bealtaine Cottage in May 2004, I did not see desolation, I saw abundance…the first step in living one’s self-sufficient, permaculture dream in Ireland!
Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
There are over 500 blogs for you to peruse in the archives
As I write this I am listening to Irish Radio…talking endlessly about money, economics, making people spend money, kick-starting the economy! They just don’t get it! The wealth of a country must be measured in the health and wellbeing of its people…
Rhubarb waiting for me to turn it into jam…bumper harvests have begun again!
Apple blossom open today. the bees have feasted on the Ribes and are ready to continue the party on the fruit blossoms.
Irusan in the Fairy Dell this morning. He loves to walk the land with me each morning when he is staying at Bealtaine. Irusan is a Bombay Black Cat, whose mother was feral, living almost wild in London. he is extremely perceptive and interactive with people he chooses to like.
Growth over recent days has begun to impact on the paths that connect the permaculture zones at Bealtaine Cottage. Where monoculture fields around this smallholding are waiting for chemical fertilizer to green them, the grass and herbal pathways do the greening for themselves, for underneath lies a healthy soil that now pushes forth abundance!
Violets have emerged in the Fairy Dell…woodland abundance!
Working in the tunnel this morning I heard the first Cuckoo of the year calling from the hill behind Bealtaine. This is extraordinarily early to hear the Cuckoo…usually in May, or at the earliest, very late April…the seasons are coming earlier here in Ireland.
The flowers on the first Wild Orchid of the year are opening. I noticed a second Orchid beginning to open further along the bank.
Biodiversity is more than an elastoplast sticking plaster on the skin of Gaia…it is the CURE!
I would go so far as to say that it has been the introduction of biodiversity here on the 3 acres of Bealtaine Smallholding that has allowed such incredible harvest of food to manifest.
Permaculture plantings aim to create and sustain as many food webs as possible, as this gives stability and strength to the environment.
The structure of an ecosystem is represented by food webs and the more cmplex the ecosystem, the greater the stability. It is unfortunate that even Organic farms are not home to complex enough ecosystems, as many of the crops are grown in a monoculture, uniform row, type way.