Posted in Good Life, Lifestyle, Spirituality, Summer

The Simplicity of the Morning

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“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”
Henry David Thoreau 

DSC00013Half light and shadows as the morning comes into view.

DSC00012Reflections and sunlight as the day rises.

DSC00011The silent beauty of the morning is a template for us all to follow into day…quiet simplicity.

DSC00010Gazing around the cottage as I follow through on early morning rituals.

DSC00009Checking where Sammy-Bear spent the night, opening the door for Jack to go out…

DSC00008Lighting the stove to boil the kettle…

DSC00006Looking for where I put my camera last evening, for I should record this ethereal beauty of the early morning…

DSC00005Finally, making my pot of coffee and stepping out to embrace the day…

DSC00004The morning, the blessed morning…where all is possible.

DSC00003May the Goddess of the morning touch your heart with delight.

DSC00002May you be released into day, free from negativity and matters you do not control.

DSC00001Embrace your day…it’s a blessing! 

“When you rise in the morning, form a resolution to make the day a happy one for a fellow creature.”
Sydney Smith

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Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Buddha, Cats, Climate, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, Spring

The Light of Spring

www.bealtainecottage.com

Sammy-Bear lies concussed by the heat from the wood burning stove! It’s a tough life being a cat at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.comOver the past week there has been a struggle between Winter and Spring as temperatures have moved up and down the thermometer, with hard frost, heavy rain, warm nights and brilliant sun all in the mix!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe rising sun reflected in the mirror at the far end of the veranda.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe amazing light of early Spring…

www.bealtainecottage.comMoving closer to the mirror, the rising sun looks back at me over the head of the Buddha…quite otherworldly.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis was how the Romantic Poets viewed the world…through a mirror…I understand why!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, the last seed-head of the Gunnera Manicata stands tall against the storms of winter, saluting the Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe ponds have remained in flood during this winter, the wettest on record since 1866 here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comCatkins stand out against a brilliant blue sky, providing some little food for any early Bees.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe shadows of Spring are long, casting patterns and shapes on an ever-changing tapestry.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe kitchen is illuminated by a different light…the light of Spring.

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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…http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

Posted in Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Books, Culture, Dogs, Frugal Living, Personal, Spring, Uncategorized

An Evening with Mr D’Arcy

www.bealtainecottage.com

Snow is falling this evening.
It has fallen in small flurries all day, only to melt and try again.
This evening the snow is sticking.
A near full moon rose in the afternoon sky.
Spring has scurried back under a blanket of white.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe oven is very hot as the stove has been kept topped up with wood, so I have slid a tray of vegetables onto the top shelf to roast…always a healthy, tasty meal.
What remains will be blended into a soup, with stock and red lentils…tomorrows lunch!
DSCF0480I visited the library in town today and borrowed  books and DVDs, always good value, as the yearly membership of less than ten euros covers all loans, unlimited throughout the year.
DSCF0478Tonight will be a cosy time watching Pride and Prejudice, (The BBC version) on DVD in the lodge, wood-burning stove hot and kettle boiling for tea atop!
www.bealtainecottage.comIt will be cosy enough to enjoy the thought of snow all around the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a dreadful thing to be cold.
If I relied on Electric, Gas or Oil, I would be huddled in blankets for sure, as all are prohibitively expensive.
The advantage of the wood stove is that I can even burn old pallet wood in it and be assured of heat.
The skips in cities are filled with waste wood and many people are cold…this is nonsensical!
www.bealtainecottage.comEarlier today, as the sun shone into the cottage, Jack spread himself across the floor, enjoying the day that was.
www.bealtainecottage.comIt was lovely to watch him lapping up the Spring sunshine.
www.bealtainecottage.comThere has been a small lapse back into winter, but Spring is here!
Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spring, Thoughts

Renewal

bealtaine cottage

The evening descended as I moved back and forth from the barn with baskets of wood for the stove.
I stopped to catch the evening light, aware of the taste of early Spring in the evening air.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe clear sky had given way to hues of blue as the hands of the clock moved towards six o’clock.
The day was closing as the Blackbird sang out its territorial song.
www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the first time using my new laptop.
 As I type, I listen to Laudate Dominum by Mozart…a most beautiful and evocative song, all on this little machine! 
www.bealtainecottage.com It will take me time to get used to the way it works…it’s very sensitive, but a joy to be able to sit in this warm, cosy spot and write.
Thanks to all who made this possible…thanks and blessings to you. XXX
www.bealtainecottage.comTomorrow I shall walk the gardens and photograph the changes that are appearing by the hour.
I popped some pips from an organic lemon in this pot last year and here they are earlier today!
www.bealtainecottage.com As I drove from Sligo today, I noticed new lambs in the fields near the sea…it’s much milder there and so the season starts from the coast and moves daily inwards. 
www.bealtainecottage.comThe speed at which Spring moves across the land is thrilling and the energy it carries with it is insightful, allowing us to see Mother Nature at her most magical.
For tonight, under an early Spring sky, the little lodge beckons, the wood stove warms the interior and the kettle boils atop for tea.
www.bealtainecottage.com
The coming days and weeks will be filled with preparation for the wondrous event that will renew the Earth in this small part of western Europe.
Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Family, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Personal, Summer, Woodland

The Closing Chapter

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer began to melt into Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage amidst a flurry of bees and butterflies, more than ever witnessed in the permaculture gardens.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureHarvesting began and the kitchen was a place of jam jars and bottles, all waiting to be filled and labelled.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe glut of blackcurrants became wine, jam and chutney, with even more added to the freezer.

free tea Open days and workshops seen a steady stream of visitors to the cottage and gardens.

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageKindling for the winter stoves continued to be collected and stored in the barn.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayAnd the Potager beds kept growing!

Blackcurrant ChutneyThe recipe for Blackcurrant Chutney was added to a blog post that had runaway success!

Bealtaine Cottage ValerianValerian flowered…

Rambling Roses at Bealtaine CottageRoses bloomed…

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageAnd all around, flowers showed off with total abandon!

poppies, poppy seeds and dried seed-headsI collected seeds…

Foxglove seed and more seeds…

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageDrying and labelling in every container I had to spare!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageSeedheads were stored for winter flower arrangements.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodAs the boys played in the Fairy Wood.

A path from the Fairy WoodIt was a magical time for all!

006Summer never really went away, for the wine of that season kept bubbling with life.

cottage garden harvestAnd the harvest continued…

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottageAs potatoes were lifted…

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageAnd misty mornings began to appear.

hanging webCobwebs shimmied in the morning breeze…

Buddha at BealtaineAs the light and shadows began to change.

flowers for MichelleMy son got married and I designed and made the flower arrangements, on a lovely day with my new daughter’s mother, here at Bealtaine.

Dylan and Michellw wedding 031Everyone came to the west of Ireland for a three day wedding in a 500 year old castle. Here I am with my eldest daughter.

harvestAnd when all was over, the harvest continued.

wine, kitchenAnd the cottage fell silent…

Recycling in the permaculture gardensBut not for long, as friends delivered cardboard for mulching…

apples and sunflowersAnd helped with the harvest.

fairies 035Lords and Ladies made an Autumn appearance in the Fairy Wood.

open weekend bunting by the gateAnd the cottage and gardens were opened for a special fundraiser in aid of Leitrim Animal Welfare.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Raising a magnificent sum of money for a wonderful charity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Autumn continued into Winter…

www.bealtainecottage.com 012And logs were stacked in readiness for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008The days darkened as Midwinter approached…

cropped-029.jpgAnd candlelight illuminated the dark days.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Bringing cheer to the silent grey…

www.bealtainecottage.com 025And soft light into the Midwinter Cottage.

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So few do, but if you choose to make a small donation, then Bless You! 

Posted in Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Gardens, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Thoughts, Winter

Fairy Lights

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Winter sunlight turns bare branches, that drip with rain, into fascinating fairy lights.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Silver prisms of fantasy, dangling precariously from thin Birch trees.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The days of light and dark are confused with bright full moons, illuminating the bare landscape…

www.bealtainecottage.com 015This is a delightful time of year, as the sun makes its steady progress downwards, ever down…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Light is delicate and unpredictable, sometimes overwhelming in its glow, at others, just a whisper of the day.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Entire worlds are captured in water droplets.

Fitting too, as water and sun give life.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026The coppicing continues and long branches are hauled up from the gardens to the dry environment of the veranda.

This is next year’s fuel for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Seeds continue to be sorted and packaged.

www.bealtainecottage.com 037These are special little packs requested for Yuletide gifts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Poppies are easy to sow…simply sprinkle!

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Most of the second run of Christmas booklets have been posted… all over the world! http://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

The few remaining will not sit here for long.

www.bealtainecottage.com 020It’s strange sorting seeds at this time of year, as it seems that summer was only yesterday…gosh but the time passes quickly!

Posted in Fairies, Gardens, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

The Perfect Permaculture Plant …

A Permaculture plant is one that is perfectly suited to that space in nature, soil, climate, site, micro-climate, etc.,

A plant that is comfortable in that zone and one that adds to the bio-diversity possibilities on the land space you inhabit.

One that provides food, whether for yourself, animals, insects or the soil…thereby keeping the loop healthy and working.

Cow Parsley in my garden

Covered with tiny droplets of rain, this Cow Parsley looks exquisite, despite the fact that it is hated and despised by so many gardeners, yet home and food and shelter to so many insects.

I have vast tracts of Cow Parsley growing on my land.

It looks stunning when dusted with winter frost!

I noticed that there was a lot of this wild herb growing on the roads around the mountain of Kilronan this week.

It looked spectacular in the mountain light.

Wind Spiral in the Fairy Dell

This wind spiral catches energy moving through the woodland of the Fairy Dell.

This is a spot that everyone refuses to visit or even walk through after sunset…

Fairies inhabit this little bit of woodland.

 A woodland zone is  a vital part of the Permaculture Plan…

Harvest Moon in the West of Ireland, tonight!

Last night the Harvest Moon rose over my Permaculture Vegetable Garden.

The sky was clear and the air  crisp as the moonlight illuminated my path back across the grass from the compost heap.

Today is now calm and sunny, but rain clouds  have emptied a lot of water over the valley.

I watched them move, sweeping across the mountains from the Atlantic Ocean, bringing fresh, clean water to my garden.

I have lit the stove in the kitchen and filled it with Turf and logs.

The heat will air the clothes that I’ve rescued from the clothes line.

As I write this I can smell them drying…time for tea, I’m thinking!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Books, Cats, Country Living, Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Edible Permaculture Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

It is early evening as the clock shows and the day has been long.

I was up and working by 6am, so this evening will be early to bed!

Summer is like that here in the west of Ireland.

Much work is finished by early afternoon, so the evening is a time for gentle reflection on a working day.

One of the jobs I managed to get done today was that of polishing the stove in the sitting room.

It’s a long, messy job, but gives the stove such a mighty face-lift that it’s worth it!

Oh…is that one of the cloths on the mantle-piece…?

I walked out into the garden at the back of Bealtaine and was surrounded by Valerian, which is heavy with flower and as long as the seed-heads are picked, will stay in flower until September.

And as I turned around from the Valerian, there was Missy, sitting regally on one of the benches under the Cotoneaster, enjoying the sun as only cats seem able to do, despite their fur coats!

Most of the lettuce in the first vegetable bed is ready for eating and there’s some Chard growing alongside it, ready to occupy the empty space…

Rosa Rugosa in flower behind one of the sheds…Such a vivid Cerise Pink!

An abundance of young apples on the trees in the orchard…hard to believe that this was planted 6 years ago and has fruited every year!

And several hundred pounds of Blackcurrants almost ready for harvesting!

More visitors to the Permaculture Smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage tomorrow.

There are so many people now into growing food and living sustainably.

Permaculture is the ideal way to do both in Ireland, as they are linked into a living circle.

A recent visitor brought me some interesting books and C.D.’s so I shall curl up into a cosy bed to read and listen, earlier than usual!

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Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Sunday, Sunday…

Here she sits.

Missy loves the heat from the stove in the kitchen and as she has been poorly I am tolerant of anywhere she finds comfort! On this occasion it happens to be the shelf to the left of the stove.

It’s the early evening now at Bealtaine.

There’s a gentle rain falling outside.

The cottage is warm. The stove has been lit since early this morning.

 


It’s just gone 6pm here in the west of Ireland.

There’s a smell of wood-smoke on the evening air.

The birds continue to sing around the cottage…Blackbirds mostly! They mark out their territory, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, by going to all four corners of their own little piece of land and singing out loudly! 

Sunday, Sunday…love this day!

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Changing Colours of Autumn.

Splitting logs of Ash for use in the stove this winter. This wood is easy to grow and easy to harvest if continuously coppiced. Ash, if coppiced, can grow steadily for 2,000 years and more. Ash can be burned in the green, that is, on the day it is cut. It is the perfect the perfect permaculture fuel!

Michelmass daisies and almost ripe pears heralds the middle of Autumn. Both pear trees are heavy with fruit. This winter I will plant more fruit trees, definitely plum and pear among them!

As the season progresses and the harvest is gathered in, the recipe books are opened and real saving of the harvest begins. So far I have made Autumn Chutney, apple chutney, various pickles and jams as well as a most unusual Blackcurrant Chutney.

Colours of Autumn simply absorb the whole landscape. This picture from today at Bealtaine Cottage says it all!

And more colour…

Grapes in the tunnel this morning. This is the best harvest so far. These are sweet and juicy. I am attempting to grow a vine outside here in the west of Ireland and will keep you posted!

Maddy Harland, from Permaculture Magazine, has published a post from Bealtaine Cottage this morning. here’s the link… @PermaGoddess thank you! it’s up http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/2809111143/ancient-ireland-our-ancestors-original-permaculture-forest

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Climate, Cottage, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Recipes, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Permaculture Cottage ~ Sustainable Living, Willow and Trees

All the ingredients to make Autumn Chutney are in the pot and heating up on the stove. The apples are from the trees here at Bealtaine. Onions were grown here as well. The stove is burning wood grown here also…which all adds to the sustainability of living…and living well.

I posted the recipe for this last night…so you can easily find it on the previous day…just scroll down and click on the link to go back…

Delicious and top quality as all the ingredients are sourced or grown by myself. Shop bought chutneys just come anywhere near this stuff taste-wise!

And lots of material for the compost heaps… All the apples used in this chutney were windfalls!

I have been reading a lot of stuff on Twitter recently about how pointless it is to plant trees and the importance of protecting our woodlands and forests! Well, the latter I do agree wholeheartedly with, but as for the pointessness of planting new trees…that’s just damned silly! Anyone who has planted a tree in their lifetime will testify to that!

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn
them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~Kahlil Gibran

Seven years ago there were NO trees here on this land…just some in the rather neglected hedges that skirted the land. All you see on the blogs I post are trees that I have planted…over 600 to date. the willow I am harvesting in this photo is a catch crop, planted inbetween the actual trees.

However, there is another very important reason to plant trees and willow and anything else you can think of…biodiversity and wildlife!

Those same people who believe it futile to plant trees should ask the little bird who built this nest if it was futile!

It is amazing just how much we can create from nothing with the magic of Gaia. This was a rod of willow I just stuck into the ground…

Real change needs to grow from the roots up…that means ourselves, individually and collectively getting on with it…creating the world we want to live in.

We are Change                     http://youtu.be/ji8iYgLx8G0  Listen with your Heart…

Posted in Birds, Culture, Current Affairs, Folklore, Fracking, Gaia, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Lough Allen Basin, Permaculture, photography, Poetry, Politics, Smallholding, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage Daily ~ Wonderful Visitors, Dr Helen Caldicott and Seamus Heaney

Wednesday 7th September 2011

More Wonderful Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage…

But, before I begin…

This wonderful young fella turned up at the protest on Monday evening, outside the Council Offices in Carrick-on-Shannon…complete with Gas mask, (Josh Fox) style and home made placard and got a rousing cheer from the protesters!

Visitors to the Permaculture Smallholding today… Bernie and Colin.

Both inspired and enthused with lots of ideas and lots of free plants to take back to the 7 acres Colin tending near Ballinamore. Wonderful people, filled with good energy and leaving some of it behind for me.

I am a great believer in good energy and realise how important this is for people to thrive. Those whose energy is sick or failing can get very angry with life and lash out at people. Many of these people can do a great deal of damage as warmongers and people of greed. We have all encountered people like this on our journey.

Wood-chopping and Tidying up…

And as the day moves on, the chores continue…chopping wood for the stove, though it’s warm today and I will light the smaller stove in the sitting room later on, just for comfort and hot water.

The tidy up continues, as I clear out sheds and bag up endless bags for the charity shop in Carrick. Kevin, who runs it, is always so very pleasant and appreciative, it is a delight to visit!

As I take a rest on the veranda, I can’t help but think of the events of Fukushima this year and how it has so quickly disappeared from our news media.

Dr Helen Caldicott has spent most of her professional life keeping us informed of the facts about Nuclear energy and all the associated problems.

Here is Helen talking about the recent events at Fukushima…it’s well worth a watch…just click on the link below!

http://youtu.be/4ITrXVJMKeQ

Food for the birds this winter…no more birdfeeders, which hang in gardens until enough plants have been planted that will feed wildlife proper. That point was reached several years ago as you can see.

This is Cotoneaster, one of many berry bearing shrubs that will more than adequately keep birds fed over the course of a long winter!

One of my favourite poets is Seamus Heaney.

Following the day that became known as, “Bloody Sunday,” Seamus made his way to Derry for the funerals of the thirteen.

This is the poem he wrote about that journey and that day.

Click on the link to hear the poem and see some black and white footage of the events of both the journey and the sad events.

http://youtu.be/xLMlY56sahI

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Ecology, Fairies, Food, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Autumn Apples and Gelder Rose

The Celtic Calendar denotes this month of August to be the first month of Autumn. Looking at the sideboard in the kitchen this afternoon it is easy to believe.

Here are some of the Painted Mountain Corn grown here at Bealtaine this summer…it is a Native American corn and definitely NOT GM!

Spent time down in the Fairy Dell, cutting and clearing some of the dead wood. Lots for the stove and the smell as it burns is just beautiful!

Ash wood, split and ready to burn in the stove, sits in the Willow basket on the veranda. There’s an Autumn chill in the air at night, so the stove is regularly lit!

Rosehips ripen near the shed…it’s Autumn indeed!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Sunny Permaculture Gardens at Bealtaine…June 1st.

Alder logs ready to be stacked in the barn and seasoned! Such a beautiful colour and such a fast- growing wood.

Spirea, ‘Bridal wreath,’…so-named for its arching habit which would make wreaths easily…beautiful in a bouquet too!

Calendula in the tunnel earlier today. Such a lovely, orangey scent from both the flowers and the foliage!

This gorgeous little Herb Robert is everywhere this year…conditions must be perfect for it!

Willow paths leading under willow arches that lead to other places in the garden…and yes…it was sunny for most of the day!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Celtic Mythology, Folklore, Gaia, Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Thoughts

Permaculture PhotoBlog Daily…Bealtaine Smallholding in the West of Ireland

The girls are laying and all is well with the world…well, at least at Bealtaine. Willow, willow, everywhere…it dries out magnificently and creates such a heat in the stove.As I type this the pasta is boliling on the stove fired up with wood I collected on the land today as I tidied up…and harvested the grass.Another little drop-in…picked up at the Boot Fair for one euro…sorta meant to be here!Ah! An antidote to the nonsense that is the royal nuptials…Bealtaine on the almost eve of Bealtaine!

Posted in Culture, Ecology, Frugal Living, Herbs, History, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Woodland

Permaculture Zero…My Two Favourite Words! Bealtaine Smallholding West Ireland.

Willow arches, all around Bealtaine, have greened up and may need their first trim of the year…about two trims a summer are enough to keep the shape!Comfrey…this has been planted all over the smallholding. It grows wild in damp, shady places, near streams and rivers. Historically this powerful plant has been used to knitting broken bones back together, hence the names: Boneset, Knitbone and Bruisewort. Interestingly enough, research has discovered that Comfrey contains Allantoin, which actively promotes the growth of new cells! Leaves of the plant are applied to bruises, sprains and broken bones.The rose on the veranda is growing in two tyres filled with home made compost and topped up each spring.Roses about to bloom on the veranda…but we desperately need rain…west Ireland is suffering drought conditions at present!Steps from the vegetable and fruit intensive gardens down into the woodland. These were made from recycled timber boards, hammered into place, then backfilled with compacted ash from the stove. Cost:Zero…love that word!