The Bealtaine Cottage Story of Stuff…and Wellies!

There’s an anglepoise lamp that lights up my desk here in the cottage. It is an ancient lamp, but a very good one and when new cost a fair bit of money, many years ago.
The reason why I am mentioning this will be apparent in a moment or two. You see, recently, here at Bealtaine Cottage, my washing machine broke down and that got me thinking about stuff…well, things in particular…

Things like wellies…
What may you ask can possibly go wrong with wellies?
And what connects wellies to the anglepoise lamp?
Well, these, again, are old wellies and they are fine! However, over the course of recent years I have bought several pairs of floral wellies that have very quickly sprung leaks!

There is a point in telling you this…
it’s a simple point…
and is this…
the trend over recent years in manufacturing right across the board is to produce low quality stuff that is hiked as quality and pricey to boot!

Things are made not to last, to expire early, to be throw-away!

I have stopped buying trendy wellies.
I am not replacing my washing machine.
I have taken up home dressmaking once more.
And all the stuff that is being hiked in the shops…well, I will return to the way my grandma used to shop…infrequently, making an annual day of it!

Crafting at the Cottage…Recycling Junk!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture potagerJunk!

Lots of unwanted and used bits and pieces…I just find it hard to throw anything away…well, there is no ‘away,’ is there?

This is an old bread bin that the bottom fell out of…makes a great planter for tomatoes as it retains the heat.

The ghostly reflection of the cottage courtyard taken in the thin winter air of a rainy morning.

This mirror is reminiscent of the one belonging to “The Lady of Shalott,” in that it has cracked from side to side…but is destined to reflect the images found on the inside of Bealtaine Cottage once more.

Bealtaine Cottage mosaic mirrorFor it has become part of the Mirror Mosaic currently  constructed above the mantle in the sitting room.

A line of hearts ready for Yuletide and the Christmas decorations that will festoon the interior of Bealtaine.

All these have been made from recycled materials…old fabric swatches from a furniture store, buttons saved over time in glass jam jars and kapok stuffing removed and stored from old cushions and unwanted toys…

Bealtaine Cottage re-cycled tin cans

Nothing is unwanted really, even in a world of peak everything…for soon all will be of use!

Indeed it has begun to happen!

Tin cans have so many uses!

The cost of old metals has soared recently and as the world tumbles into recession, everything we have taken for granted will become of importance… 

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Cat...Missy

Up-cycled broken tiles…make a great floor!

Bealtaine Cottage re-cycled stained glass windows in a cupboard

Old and very beautiful stained glass windows are up-cycled into an equally beautiful cupboard for my bedroom.

Country Living at Bealtaine Cottage, Ballyfermoyle, Ireland.

Laundry washing has taken a new twist with the predicted demise of my washing machine!

I say “predicted” because, quite frankly, these machines are not built to last and form an integral part of the “throw-away” society that is ruining the Earth upon which we live! 

So…I have reverted to hand-washing…

                  I have rinsed the washed clothes in this rainwater barrel…and there’s no need to empty this as the over-flow runs away into the ditch, so there’s always fresh water…well, this is the west of Ireland!

This is, by the way, the very best way to soften clothes and dismisses the need for softening chemicals!

Walking around the gardens on this fine Friday, I have become aware of the huge amount of young trees, planted fairly close together that will need coppicing. This is good news as I am reliant on the gardens for providing the stove with wood to burn. Once coppiced, the trees will grow multiple stems and continue to provide.

There’s lots of cones on the pine trees that will look great in Christmas decorations. Table decorations are easy to make and can look stunning!

 

The leaves on the Flowering Cherry Tree on the North bank have finally dropped and now brighten the ground with their autumn colour. Autumn has lingered this year and it remains quite mild in the descent to Midwinter.

Have a great weekend everyone!

What to do with a Broken Mirror!

Always trying to re-cycle…in this case broken mirrors! 

I have saved these fragments over recent years, knowing eventually I would find a project to use them in. 


Christmas Eve, 2012 at Bealtaine Cottage

The fragments of broken mirror are “buttered,” with tile adhesive and stuck to the wall, bit by bit.

Bealtaine Cottage mosaic mirror  To protect fingers from the sharp edges, I am edging the project with glass beads…though you can use any practical medium for this, including wood, sea-shells, buttons…whatever you have!

Bealtaine Cottage Missy Cat on the mantlepieceThis project, works really well above a mantle or shelf where candles can be placed in front to reflect magical light on a midwinter evening!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture stove

Christmas Eve in an Irish Cottage

There was a time, not so long ago, when only wealthy people could afford mirrors.

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Recycling and upcycling is always the challenge here at Bealtaine Cottage…

Don’t Throw It Away…There is No Away!

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Simplicity, Frugality and Thrift…

Made today…

Frugality, simplicity and thrift…cutting down old curtains bought at a Boot Fair, to make new curtains for this window.

Hung on curtain wire…the cheapest and most effective way to hang light curtains.

And cafe curtains on the kitchen windows… These curtains are easy and fast to make, sewing in straight lines and no need for accessories of any kind!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Think twice before you throw away tins…they make wonderful pots for plants!

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Floral displays are easy to create from all kinds of cuttings.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Twisted willow wreathes require little or no skill to make and the materials are free and readily collected from the hedgerows.

Candle at Bealtaine Cottage
Candles for Midwinter, made over recent days, using candle scraps collected up over the course of the year.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

A string of hearts made from scrap materials…one of those curtain pattern sample books that shops find difficult to dispose of!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Home made biscuits to give as gifts, always treasured as they are unique and and can be wrapped in such beautiful ways!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Tiny pots of home made jam…

bealtaine cottage

Wrapped with home made scones, these make wonderful gifts!

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Or home made jellies with herbs added!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Be really adventurous and make fruit wine…

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Once in the demijohn, they make themselves!

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The kindest and cheapest way to bleach your tea cloths…leave them out in the sun!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture home made soup

Make a big pot of soup, fill some Kilner jars with it and store in the fridge…it will keep for several days and is better than buying factory made stuff in plastic pots!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Happy making and baking…!

 

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 1,000 blogs, as well as over 5,000 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

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Country Living in the West of Ireland ~ Sunday Notes

Apples out from the store and in the kitchen ready for a little magic that lies in the art of an Apple Crumble!

So what is the special ingredient?

Oats!

Ivy…one of the essential parts of midwinter decoration.

This beautiful plant was traditionally brought into the home around midwinter to remind all that life continued and the green abundance would, once again, in Spring, return…

    Home baked cake…

Shop bought/factory food, is mediocre compared to even the simplest home-baked cake…

Well worth a good pot of tea, don’t you think?


  Home-grown vegetables, fresh from the garden hardly need washing…

  Sunday…it hardly feels like winter really! It’s so warm and pleasant outside…

Country Living in Ireland and a Frugal Christmas…

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As the days darken and midwinter approaches, I find myself spending more and more time in the craft room at Bealtaine Cottage…

It’s a warm and cosy room and painting it orange makes it seem even more so…no better place to be on a winter’s day!

missy in the kitchen by the stove
 Melting wax on the kitchen stove to make an abundant supply of Christmas gifts… 

And continuing to enjoy the beautiful colours of a late autumn through the kitchen window as I work…

Bealtaine Cottage wood burning stovethe best things in life are free, so be frugal this Yuletide and make, bake, share!

Country Living, Permaculture Style, in the West of Ireland

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Lots of cutting back to be done at the end of the season.

Masses of kindling here that will be stored to dry in the barn.

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The land is slowly returning to fertility as the trees grow and shed leaves each Autumn and the bird-life increases, along with insects and bees.

September 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 001Jack waits patiently for his walk as I take a rest from candle-making…the day is ripe for being outdoors…

There’s something quite delicious about sitting down with a cup of tea and putting one’s feet up…in this case on the coffee table.

I don’t have a television so keep an abundance of books around me…

The candle-making continues…tidying up to do, but not before a dozen or so big candles are made…

Country Living at Bealtaine Cottage…Soaring temperatures for November!

The weather has been so very mild over the past few days with temperatures hitting 17 centigrade…this is hotter than Valencia in Spain!
The hens don’t seem to mind and working outside has been pleasant, so it’s good all round.
Oregano grows almost wild here in the west of Ireland…growing up around the water bins here in this pic…it’s such a bee friendly plant and is perennial too, so once planted it will happily spread all over the place. It especially likes the gravelly ground and indeed is sprouting all along the driveway up to the cottage! The flowers dry well and make great teas…the leaves are, of course, an essential part of any decent pasta or pizza dish!

I am busy making candles for Christmas and bottling wine…to give as presents of course! Home made gifts are always the best!
It’s been a busy week, but I hope to get the video camera out at the weekend and make some more film of the gardens…

Have a great weekend!