Thursday, March 25, 2021

Harmony Hall's Hero (of the week - possibly decade) 

Celebrating Rajendra Singh

Our water hero is from India who planned to bring education to poor communities. As he traveled he was told that it was water that was needed. He devised a way using very small, mud dams, constructed with the people and any debris they could find. Trial and perseverance paid off when after 360 of these little waterways were built (picture a pin ball machine!) they managed to direct the one deluge (which is all some areas get each year_, back into the aquifers.  

Mile-wide river beds that had been dry for more than 60 years were returned to a perennial flow and of course the fertility of the banks and land around was restored too. His claim is: As long as we find water in our eyes at the suffering of another, we will be able to solve the water problems of the planet. Also at Harmony Hall, we believe that there is power in compassion and that we just have to care to be effective in our climate actions.   

Maybe we don't need education now as much as we need credit, to do the things that need to be done. People can't make changes if they're worrying about survival, we have to get as far back up the Maslov's pyramid of needs as possible. So, although we are educators and farmers and pioneers...what we need are are community banks. Full banks, with the fractional reserve mechanism, with a conservation lending criteria, where earnings, profits and produce sticking around - not flying off to be stashed in an off-shore bank account or sold on a dodgy market. 

Spare a thought for the passengers on the Sarah, too. 2000 young bulls sailed to Libya to be slaughtered. The last lot were at sea for 3 months as no one would let them land. The few still alive were shot in the port. None of my heroes or guides would condone that, would yours?   

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Think of 50 Things To Look Forward To: An Exercise To Do Rather Than Read Mine?!

 50 things to look forward to:

1) Playing the Chopin Nocturne proficiently, that Jay introduced me to.

2) Make Treacle Sponge Pudding as an unopened pot of treacle is the only sweet ingredient I have. 

3) Make Pumpkin and Kiwi Soup as I randomly have the ingredients and a recipe.

4) Keep my Gardener's Five Year Record Book filled in as I go, to up the chances of consistent success


5) Test attaching clear quartz to my fuel pipe to see if it reduces emissions, as found in studies.

6) Zoom every week with friends and try not to get stuck on one topic, either dog fertility or polities.

7) Resume yoga to open up new space for oxygen to circulate and symbolically emotionally & mentally.

8) Buy vegan dog and cat biscuit & tins, before my suppliers go bankrupt & i retch at the meat.

9) Fill every little pot wit seeds and soil and see what happens.

10) Write up Peace Talks: Two professors demonstrate nuclear power is not a climate action solution.

11) Write up vision for Sustainable Villages - that will be the next blog as it's 10,000 words so far.

12) Write up Lockdown points for government consideration, by jounalist Ewan McEwan?

13) Write to the government Animal Welfare desk and see if they have a plan to stop live export.

14) Write up Agriculture Sustainability Trade Off convference - Intensive profit but others dependent.

15) Find out if Saatchi Art where my original paintings are for sale, produce a print and how.

16) Help Noel plan organic transition.

17) See all my piano friends are lock down - except Clare RIP.

18) Idetify 5 amusing new ways to earn money for some necessities and treats.

19) Music Technique

20) Sell my book

21) Energy Treatments and Readings

22) Seel Cards: Greeting cards and Guidance Packs

23) Release my other books and screenplay 

24) By necessities i include paying for and fitting the new radiator

25) Mending the shower

26) Clean Food - no pesticides and conscience-light, so not from a supermarket.

27) A new computer as the bulb has gone in this here screen and I have to simply trust my fingers.

28) A phone as the software on mine is too old to support What's App. And no camera.

29) By treats I include vegan nail varnish to celebrate the dexterity of my fingers.

30) Help with cleaning to keep my promise of opening to guests when lockdown is up.

31) Make water-tight and put a ceiling in cabin.  

34) A load of top soil

35) An oven - that might be more of a necessity!

36) Protect fairy ring, I'm sure it can be done.

37) Paint a tryptich of the walrus visiting Valentia island.

38) Use ballet to strengthen my legs for surfing 

39) Mow the lawn, weave the willow, play with the animals.

40) Clear old limiting identity ideas and experience away.

41) Enjoy my 5 kms that miraculously includes sightings of great mates.

42) Get drawings framed for Dublin exhibition. 

43)  Visualize getting the contract

44) Get the contract

45) Deliver the financial, sustainable housing sanctuary to accommodate homeless people.

46) Start praying that my avocado trees flower and fruit this year.

47) Celebrate my 2020 vision and even plus two lines smaller at the opticians.

48) Reclaim my truck license but achieve financial freedom with my skills rather than drive for TESCO.

49) Borrow a power washer to clean plastic roof afresh.

50) Be on the right trajectory of consciousness for the new earth  

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Four Seasons Harvest at Harmony Hall

Just get things in the ground. Give them a chance to grow if they want to. Keep talking to the soil. Never relent and use pesticides or cut things down, if they're apparently in the way. Work with nature. There's room for everyone and everything. That is my philosophy

Beetroot, roots very sweet, leaves still tender. 

Same with the chard - huge big leaves in the fullest of health (and notice the pesky avocado coming up behind!!! I must have about 40 avocado trees now!!!

Daffodils I planted 15 years ago when my friend Adrian Feasey died. It was he who restored the church windows when I built Harmony Hall originally. I have been helped by so many people and lost many friends in this short span of time. As James Joyce said 'They lived and laughed and loved and left'.

In early December, I was suddenly aware that I hadn't planted any spring flowers, winter beans, garlic or onions. I'd missed the moment...Or so I thought. I planted a bulb of garlic - so about 13 cloves - straight from the supermarket. And now a few short months later, here they are coming on strong.

That's the house and the stable angled to perfection behind it! I don't know if you ever saw the video of me measuring out the exact orientation and several of us leaning against it as it hung aloft on chains, from the digger, trying to put it down in the right place!!

This is ALL the hazelnuts that germinated ( I stratified 150 and planted them all beautifully) but still, there's about 13 and they will be a nut orchard one day (watch this space....but don't hold your breath)

My 'hugel kulture' bed (which is like a lasagne bed, where you make many layers of twigs and hay and manure and soil) didn't really work yet as I think the roots of my trees were exposed to a chill under the layers. 

But the gutters (as seed trays) are now full of the seeds sent to me, saved and those precious many-generational seeds that I got from the Natural Agriculture course!

 I had to send this close up of some of the kale as most people's kale is a heavy stalk by now, like a brussels sprout stem with some good tough leaves off it...mine is still tender spring leaves and brilliantly thriving - some of the plants,  I've only just replanted from the gutters and they get a new lease of life then and don't seem to realise it's mid winter!

This is my one indoor rustic bed where I harvested the 20 carrot from this week but it perennially hosts the Kumquat tree and a couple more avocado trees. The ex-scaffolding plank was Mark Stewart's RIP as were the sawn off scaffolding pipes that hold up the free standing polytunnel outside. This avocado gallery is also a poly tunnel but I attached it to the house - no more building and flipping blowing away again for me! Anyway, for those worried about soil against their house, I used polycarbonate left over from the roof to line the back of the beds so no dampness transfers.   

You might remember the little trellis beds I bought from a catalogue - they looked ginormous on the page and were supposed to pig-proof some espaliered Victoria Plum trees. When they arrived it was obvious that they would actually fit on a windowsill and made of the flimsiest wood imaginable! Anyway, my two orange trees are thriving there (it's in the avocado gallery...which allows me to sometimes refer to it as the 'orangerie'   which is entertaining and certainly not out of place in the context of a house so ostentatiously named!!! Anyway, there are 4 avocado trees, no less, crammed in around the orange trees so i might have to work out what to do about them!!

The yin yang beds i built. I took in a bit of floor in this photo so you could enjoy the paving i did last year. That prostrate tree at the front is an olive and there's an upward surging one behind it!

 I was just tidying up a bed in the tunnel and found ten potatoes and no doubt there'll be ten more when I go further!


Sage, Parsley and flat leaf parsley

The key to success is leaving the seedlings in the gutter seed trays all summer to produce 'spring greens' of the kale and beetroot variety. Then to plant them out (as far as the tunnel) in autumn. They love the new space to play with and go again on the growing front.  

I couldn't believe the polytunnel that has really lots and lots of things to eat. I somehow have achieved that 'four seasons harvest' I intended to, even though I don't know how!

This is the willow, I am weaving - 10 to 30 whips a day maximum, so a good 10,000 to go! But it is a lovely process, unlike the loppers and secateurs frenzy of most years!

My 3rd olive tree - which doubled as a Christmas tree this year. It had so many lights on it, the need for water got overlooked but it is now recovering its dignity slowly.

Yin Yang bed is heaving with the most mature avocado trees and as some of them are 11 and 12 years old, this year they may flower and bear fruit. Leading supplier in Ireland, I'm sure!

Self-seeded young leeks, totally delicious and I won't make last year's mistake of aiming for shop-bought-size. When I did, they went to seed and flowered. I like there to be something flowering in the polytunnel and avocado gallery at any one time, for the bees. The leek and carrot flowers were epic but the cabbage and rocket flowers just keep coming and don't take up quite so much space!