Be The Change You Want To See!

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Sustainable living in full sunshine as the Indian Summer continues in the West of Ireland. The back door remains open and the rain barrels stand empty.

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This has been the driest September I have recorded in the ten years spent here at Bealtaine Cottage.

There is something afoot in the climate…it has changed into a series of extreme weather events.

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And so we must adapt as best we can, for there is nothing being done by governments here in the west.

It’s all talk and taxes!

The majority of people I have spoken with are concerned, but not to the point of implementing real changes in their lives.

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People appear to be looking to others, to see what changes are being implemented and then tending to follow suit, to a greater or lesser degree.

In this respect, I feel energized to keep writing my blog, to let people see that it is possible to live sustainably in style and comfort!

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it is the choices we make which empower, or disempower us.

No corporation, government or institution want you, the human being, to know that!

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Many imagine that their personal choices make no difference in terms of impact on their environment, but they do!

Each choice, every decision that is implemented, has a direct and cumulative effect on the planet, for everything is connected!

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I have a visitor this weekend. I have chosen to make a vegetarian cottage pie…this is the filling and it tastes yummy!

There is no need to be part of the killing industry, no need at all.

As a vegetarian and aspiring vegan, my health is good and I have lots of energy.

I have visited the doctor twice over the past ten years.

I feel good about that choice, for I truly love all animals.

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My guest will have home made pizza tomorrow and here is the sauce being cooked on the stove.

Cooking the day before allows all the flavours to infuse.

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And we shall eat in a style that does not cost the earth in an unfitted kitchen.

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If we recognise that there is immense change ahead for us all in the climate chaos manifesting, then we can build as much resilience into our homes and lives as possible.

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My guest will stay in the Eco-lodge, heated to perfection with this small wood-burning stove, where the kettle sings constantly ready for tea.

Be the change you want to see!

Permaculture Place to Stay in Ireland

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Bealtaine Cottage is a Permaculture Smallholding in the West of Ireland that has been developed from barren land over the past ten years.permaculture B&B Ireland 003

As a way of spreading the permaculture message of hope and regeneration, the gardens and cottage have remained open to visitors from all over the world during this time.permaculture B&B Ireland 006

Many visitors have spoken of their wish to be able to stay at Bealtaine Cottage and have invariably had to seek accommodation at local B&B homes.

This is the Lodge,  dedicated for anyone who wishes to stay and spend more time than just a visit to Bealtaine Cottage. (Sammy-Bear is an optional bed-mate!)permaculture B&B Ireland 007

The Lodge has a comfortable double bed and small single sofa-bed…as well as lots of pull-out floor cushions!permaculture B&B Ireland 008It also has its own door to the garden and a sheltered veranda attached. This is the view of the gardens from the door.permaculture B&B Ireland 009All four windows in the Lodge open onto sheltered gardens, as you can see.permaculture B&B Ireland 010The connecting door to the cottage leads towards the shower-room and compost toilet…yes, this is a permaculture home and all the facilities are based on sustainable principles of living!permaculture B&B Ireland 011With over a thousand trees planted here, the gardens boast shelter and a wonderful array of wildlife and birds.

This is indeed a sanctuary in the true sense of the word.permaculture B&B Ireland 012With a great little wood-burning stove installed, the Lodge is cosy and warm throughout the seasons.permaculture B&B Ireland 014

There are modern, luxurious places to stay all over Ireland…Bealtaine Cottage is different, in that it is part of the landscape and unashamedly connecting into Mother Earth!permaculture B&B Ireland 013You can park your car right up alongside the Lodge by this window.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (16)Breakfasts are Vegetarian or Vegan, sitting around a cosy stove in the old-fashioned kitchen.bealtainecottage.com permaculture (18)You can find all the details of cost and booking by clicking on the link at the top of the page.

Please note that B&B is no longer available at Bealtaine Cottage…Sorry!

A Fireside Chat

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There is much talk about energy and the best way to keep warm.
Last night I arrived back from visiting my mother in Omagh, to a cold cottage.
After walking Jack and feeding the boys, I set about lighting the stove in the Lodge.
Within ten minutes the Lodge was warm and cosy.
I could take off my coat and think about a pot of tea!
www.bealtainecottage.com 001This has got to be the most efficient, and gentle on the planet way, to warm a home, especially using wood from nearby…in my case the land around the cottage.
Why even setting a fire with cardboard is effective and warms the cold air very quickly indeed!
When I lived in London, I was a perpetual Skip Hunter…forever foraging for wood and never disappointed, for the amount of waste in the cities is incredible!
www.bealtainecottage.com 003The kettle sits atop the stove and will be ready for making tea shortly.
Not many gas or oil central heating boilers can do this…for free!
This wood is stuff I collected from the hedgerows.
There is a lot of wood lying around following the storm of last night and it’s just a matter of picking it up!
www.bealtainecottage.com 006Elsewhere in this little Lodge, coziness abounds!
I have started to use the top of the little stove for making soups upon.
The heat is equivalent to that on a gas or electric hob and can be adjusted with regulation of the air-flow.
www.bealtainecottage.com 008The place is toasty warm in a very short time!
Talking of which…making toast by an open fire is the height of luxury!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007This stove only needs a metal chimney and can be installed in a day.
If you can’t install a wood-burning stove, then ensure you make one room in your home as cosy as you can, with a little bed that doubles as a sofa, where you can sleep on especially cold nights.
Here in the Irish countryside there are a lot of splendid looking mansions, all recently built over the past decade.
I doubt if many of them are as cozy and welcoming as this little Lodge.
 
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A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am into a second print run and am posting from today, Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy… https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings X

A Weekend of Sustainable Living…

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Many people are trying to make the transition into a more sustainable way of living.

courtyard at Bealtaine CottagePermaculture, growing food, making wine, spinning… are all facets of sustainable living that interest many people, as the economy continues to dwindle.

Willow arch and buttercupsVisitors to this blog and the Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel continue to grow at an amazing rate…sparking an interest in what sustainable living is all about.

permaculture garden at bealtaine cottageThis is an opportunity to spend a full weekend at Bealtaine Cottage, immersed in sustainable living, experiencing first hand, a comfortable and permaculture lifestyle.

Roses at bealtaine cottageThe subjects covered in this weekend workshop will include wine-making, composting, soft fruit growing, raised Potager bed construction and planting, as well as growing/harvesting fuel for the stove.

 

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageYou will get to use a rocket stove, shred harvested materials to make mulch, learn to take and plant cuttings and ask lots of questions about many aspects of sustainable living.
veranda at bealtaine cottageThis will afford you the time and space to ask  questions about the permaculture way of living, growing and developing a sustainable lifestyle…easily!

The Lodge at BealtaineYou will get to stay in the Lodge at Bealtaine, with it’s own wood-burning stove and veranda, with beautiful, peaceful views across some of the gardens.

veranda at Bealtaine CottageDuring the course of the weekend you will be able to explore the gardens at leisure, eat wholesome Vegetarian or Vegan food and enjoy home made wine!

herb gardens at bealtaine cottageThe dates for this weekend are: 2-4th of August.

Irish dresser at Bealtaine CottageThe sustainable living weekend is limited to two people sharing, so it helps if you know each other!

herb gardens at Bealtaine CottageFor further details, email: coletteoneill2010@hotmail.com

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Oops…it’s gone…This weekend is now fully booked!

An Irish Homesteader.

 Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 005The wind turbines on Kilronan Mountain stand out against the dark blue stormy sky.
Bealtaine Cottage wind turbines on Kilronan mountainAnticipating a cold evening I have chopped lots of wood for the sitting room stove for tonight!
I have worked out a new site for a big, big compost area, now edged with willow.

I figured that the willow would take up all the extra nitrogen around the edges and provide yet more harvest-able supplies for basketry!

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It is always a challenge to work out better ways of doing things…I’m hoping that this will be very productive!

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Coppicing some of the ash trees on the land will be carried out before the sap rises in the wood…this takes place in early Spring, though the ash is the last tree to come into leaf and usually the first to lose it’s leaves.

Bealtaine Cottage wood burning stoveAbout half the wood burned in both stoves here at Bealtaine Cottage comes from the smallholding.

This will increase steadily over time. Ash can be burned on the day it’s cut, so is a valuable timber to grow and it’s also a hardwood.

Ash is a very fast growing tree here in the west of Ireland.

The forecast for the next few days promise frost, icy patches and sleet.

At times like these, it’s great to have a stove alight that also heats the water and feed the radiators in the cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage frogs in the pondIt remains fairly mild overall though and the frog spawn in the lower pond appears to be doing fine!

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I popped into the library today while in town and got some interesting books, including one called “The Urban Homestead.”

There’s lots of excellent information from a cursory glance through it…a snuggle up on the sofa night is in order, tea and reading!


On the subject of reading, I was thumbing through ‘Hello,’ magazine in a shop and was surprised to realize that I did not actually recognize anyone in all the photographs…is this because I do not have a television?

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Bealtaine Cottage bog garden

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Summer Feast on a Wet Evening

Lots of Parsley and loads of eggs…yes, it’s summer and the food is in plentiful supply here on this Permaculture smallholding.

An easy way of preserving food for the leaner times is to use it to cook and freeze, or bottle or…anyway, you know what I mean…just don’t let it go to waste!

Here is one of my favourite fast foods, devised by Rose Elliot, my favourite Vegetarian Cookery writer…Parsley Burgers.

I made these on the Cook and Dine Evening I hosted on Monday evening at Cleen Hall, Knockvicar, and, they were very well received!
Anyway, here’s the recipe…
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2 eggs / 6 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs / 1 small onion, chopped / 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley / salt and fresh ground black pepper / oil for shallow frying.

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Add the breadcrumbs, onion and parsley to the beaten egg and season to taste.

Pour oil into pan to cover the base thinly and heat.

Spoon the mixture into the pan and fry for about 3 minutes on either side, until crisp.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve with salad or baked beans!

As they freeze really well and there is a glut of all the ingredients here at Bealtaine, I have made dozens of them to freeze and save as a fast food…

AN UPDATE ON THE GRAPEVINE…I planted outdoors…it’s doing really well, so far!

It had over-wintered at Bealtaine and endured being frozen in its pot for weeks on end, survived well and is now set to be a successful outdoor grape…

A Forecast for the Winter Ahead…

Lots of logs continue to be stockpiled for what is going to be a very cold winter indeed.

Seriously, now is the time to prepare!

If you live in the British Isles, try to get hold of a wood burning stove now and start your woodpile.

Ash can be burned without seasoning!