As Evening Approaches…

The evening approaches…

Taking Jack out for a walk was pleasant as the air was still and warm.

One of the first real signs of Spring is birdsong…excessive birdsong…morning, noon and evening!

The gardens here at Bealtaine are taking on some extraordinary colours as the spring proceeds.

White, cream, shades of pink and amber…all these colours represent the life force awakening!

Jack is driven mad with scents…of the badger, hare, frog, all traversing the ground as the earth awakens!

Buds are beginning to appear on one of the Pear trees near the cottage.

The young Lilac tree has a thickening of green buds.

Moss that has spent the winter covering the ground, is beginning to loosen and rise in clumps, as the grass beneath it pushes upwards, towards the light.

Catkins hang majestically from the Hazel trees.

The leaves of the Blackcurrant are opening.

Spring…

The Life Force that is Spring…

The morning is damp.

This has been one of the wettest winters on record!

The earth is water-logged!

Despite this, the spring is coming in fast…

Kerria is just starting to bud, it will be a couple of weeks and full bloom will show.

Catkins are making a fine show on many of the willow varieties.

Cotoneaster buds continue to thicken and the Dogwood tips have gone a brilliant shade of lime green. This makes a stunning contrast to the red stems!

Catkins have come through on most of the willow and some have even shedded and come into leaf…yes, Spring has sprung !

Even the girls are fussing over eggs, despite the absence of a cockerel!

There must be hundreds of frogs in the upper and lower ponds this morning…it sits in huge pools of thick, shiny blackness all over the ponds.

There’s a green haze covering some of the older trees, especially in the distance where an ancient oak nestles into a dip between a stream and hillock. It’s top-most branches have developed a dull green haze, almost like an aura of life!

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!

Primroses and Badgers and Irish Country Living

Primroses are open on the lane to the cottage.

Birds sing and the morning is clear and very still.

As I was driving up the lane last night I came across a badger, just a young one, but looking beautiful and wise as only a badger can…they have this really ancient look about them…

Here are just a few of the 650+ trees planted here at Bealtaine over the past seven and a half years.

These Pine Trees are near the eastern edge of the smallholding and afford great shelter form the east winds that blow during the winter months.

When the sun shines at this time of year, the silvery light is magical!

I googled Bealtaine Cottage images last night and was met with an assorted array of photos from this blog…this is page one…

Hmm…Che is up a field maple tree in the front garden…

He regularly gets himself entangled in branches and begins calling for someone to come to his rescue!

Fairies, ancient stones and spring daffodils…

I rescued this fairy from a junk sale! I paid one euro for the priviledge!

I thought she looked particularly happy this morning!

Ribes, (flowering currant) are coming into bloom this morning at Bealtaine Cottage…and they are beautiful!

Friday Pics from Bealtaine Cottage

Mossy Angel in the Bog Garden today.

Dogwoods in the Bog Garden near the lower pond.

Amazing heaps of frog spawn in the upper pond…it’s that big black area!

Japanese Quince in the Bog Garden is flowering today…

Dogwoods come back to life…

The Spring Well in the Fairy Dell.

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Fighting Cats and Fighting Irish

The land is wet and the streams are gushing down the hill behind the cottage. it’s not really the day to be outdoors, but, as usual, I got side-tracked into just that!

On a trip across the garden to the compost heap to empty some more stuff, I realized that there was prunings from the apple trees scattered about, so I paused and…well you can guess the rest! Two hours later, here I am, indoors writing this blog!

So here she is…still with us, Missy the fighting cat…well, fighting her illness! Following her steroid shot from the Vet yesterday, Missy is back in form and looking a bit friskier than before, as well as eating heartily. This will keep her in better spirits for the time being at least. We continue to wait for the results of her tumour…

The Beaut!

Or, Pumpkin Mouser, as she is known affectionately!

Before I sign off for today, I have posted a video link for you to follow…just in case you thought that the Irish had completely given up the fight for justice…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpUjl4LvQM8

Oh and by the way, when I posted this on Twitter this morning at 10am, it showed 7,000 views! As I write this, it has clocked up over 24,000 views! Oh happy day!

Bealtaine Cottage Blessings…

The morning started bright and it was a good day for working on the land. I sat here enjoying my tea and toast, planning the work I would do in the orchard and vegetable garden…but…I got side-tracked…

...and decided to just cut back a few stems of willow.
Mistake!
I became engrossed in constructing another willow arch at the top end of the vegetable garden, near the tunnel!
Before I knew what the time was, my stomach was rumbling and Missy had arrived back from the vet…

My lovely old cat is much better today and her appetite has returned. We continue to wait for the results of whether her tumour is malignant or benign, but a 6 week steroid injection has begun to shrink it, allowing her to be much more comfortable!

I want to thank all you lovely people who are being mindful of Missy…I do believe that so much good energy sent to Missy has helped her enormously! I have tied the names of well wishers to an old fairy tree in the garden near the cottage for health and contentment to be returned to you and your beloved animals too…good energy wishes are powerful!

Bealtaine Blessings to you all!

“We have forgotten who we are, we have lost our sense of wonder and connectedness, we have degraded the earth and our fellow creatures, and we have nowhere else to go . . . “
– Earth Charter
I read this today and realised how important it is to be mindful of the real things in this world…for me, animals are one of the pillars of happiness and love. Compassion is what makes us whole.

The day that’s in it at Bealtaine Cottage today!

Love, Peace, Contentment and Empowerment to you ALL.

Tea, Toasted Bagels and Good Spirits!

Cutting back branches today.

This is a good way of creating more fuel for the fire and is easy to do even if there is no barn or shed to stack them in. Simply clean them back and make a wig-wam to stand them up so they can air dry. These little wig-wams can stand over the Spring and Summer and be ready to burn over the winter.

Daffodils placed in the warmth of the kitchen today.

I picked them yesterday whilst out on a walk in the forest. They were growing around the ruins of an old castle near the lough. The daffodils had multiplied over the years and were simply everywhere!

Spring daffodils have become a marker of displaced and emigrated families as they come into bloom around ancient, deserted ruins…

Jack is a happy dog these days…for Flo has come to stay!
Flo is yet another stray dog, re-homed through Bealtaine Cottage and a regular returnee…in fact she loves being here and Jack’s eyes have become heart shaped!

Flo and Jack make a strange looking couple, as Flo is tiny and Jack is, well, you can see what I mean!

Tea is my favourite tipple and I have recently discovered Redbush Tea…which is delicious! I have made a toasted cinnamon and sultana bagel…oh, the simple things in life are always the best!

I was chatting with Mum on the phone recently and she is already looking forward to the late Spring and the Bluebell blooming in the forest nearby Bealtaine.

It is amazing that Mum has happily been in good heath since her Breast Cancer Operation nearly two years ago. Mum resolutely refused any drug treatment or radiotherapy , saying that she simply wanted to live without any interference, appointments etc. Well, so far, so good! Mum is a great tea drinker…and I think that helps both her health and her spirit!

Many of my regular readers have said how they read this diary during morning or afternoon break, with a cup of tea or coffee…Cheers!

PS: Missy continues to be rather poorly and is visiting the Vet this afternoon.  We make sure she is kept in good spirits and with plenty of love and warmth.  Fingers crossed!

Confronting Empire and Laying Siege…

Revolution starts with self…making personal decisions and changes.

“Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left”~ Chris Hedges – Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist

Dark as the hour may appear, we exist in a dimension of greater opportunity, freedom and possibility than has ever been. ~ 

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 12 005“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it.
To deprive it of oxygen.

To shame it, to mock it with out art,
our music, our literature, our stubbornness—our ability to tell stories.

Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling—
their ideas, their version of history, their wars,
their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. 
Another World is possible, she is on her way.

On a quite day, I can hear her breathing.”
~ Arundhati Roy.

 “Fundamentally, sustainable development is a notion of discipline.

It means humanity must ensure that meeting present needs does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.“
Gro Harlem Brundtland

“We have created an industrial order geared to automatism, where feeble-mindedness, native or acquired, is necessary for docile productivity in the factory; and where a pervasive neurosis is the final gift of the meaningless life that issues forth at the other end.”
Lewis Mumford

Bealtaine Permaculture Feb 12 005

“We must go through a natural revolution if we are to survive on earth. We need to change people’s perceptions. If there’s no environment, there’s no human race. We are in a state of global denial. “
– Ted Turner

Making small changes is the beginning of revolution, whether personal or on a bigger scale!

Sustainable Food: Easy Grow Vegetables and Fruit

Some vegetables and fruit are so very easy to grow it seems ridiculous not to do so!

1. Chard. Simple to start from seed. Full of vitamins and minerals. Cut and come again…it just keeps giving!

This Ruby Chard has grown in the tunnel and given successive crops since last summer!

2. Parsley. In this case, curly parsley, but in fact any variety is great to grow, providing endless supplies of vitamin C and Iron for a healthy diet, as well as being simple to grow.

Parsley will grow for 2 years easily before it dies back!

Another great Chard is this beautiful yellow variety, bringing colour and taste to the table!

3. Purple-sprouting Broccoli.

These pics were snapped today in the tunnel, so you can see how far advanced this great vegetable is…ready to harvest in January.

The joy of these vegetables and herbs I have here is that they have all self-seeded, in true permaculture fashion!

Again, one of the benefits of cold-composting, allowing seeds to survive and continue on their merry way!

4. Mizuna. The great little winter salad crop…cut and come again!

These are just some of the crops in the tunnel today.

Bealtaine Cottage Apple tree

Apple, if you have space for a tree, are very easy to grow…what would life be like without the Apple Pie?

Bealtaine Cottage Pumpkins

Pumpkins in a sunny spot will provide you with easy to store and save fruit.

Bealtaine Cottage rhubarb

Rhubarb is another plant that just keeps giving and all one has to do is to manure it well once a year!

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrants

I grow masses of Blackcurrants here at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardens and they are incredibly easy.

permaculture at Bealtaine  cottage

Part of the Bealtaine Cottage ethos is to harvest and save seed.

All seed at Bealtaine Cottage is open-pollinated, mostly by Bees.

This is offered for sale at a minimal cost…2 Euro per pack which includes P&P to ANYWHERE in the world!

This is a link to the site.

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

For subscribers to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, I will be posting a blog today that includes the easiest ever recipe for Brown Soda Health Bread…and I mean, the easiest!

Subscribing to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life allows me a small income…enough to pay the mortgage and a little more to live on…bless you…here’s a link…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Home and Garden Today

Sunset yesterday, purple and lilac filled the colour palette that was the evening sky in the west of Ireland. Such incredible beauty on a February day!

Wayne from the Organic Gardens at Knockvicar, near Ballyfermoyle, left me this poster yesterday…as you can see it’s advertising a Seed Swap Day! This is a time for people to come together and swap seeds collected last year! It’s a great way of acquiring all those seeds one would normally have to buy…and we do not want to support Monsanto now, do we?

Broken in the line of duty: one spade and one garden fork! I know what I want for my birthday!

This is the tunnel today after hours of work yesterday…the post winter tidy up…just have to wash the plastic, inside and out…still, the weather’s great!

“Regardless of geographical region or culture gardening is perhaps the most common and shared experience of Nature.”
― S. Kelley Harrell

“Our most important job as vegetable gardeners is to feed and sustain soil life, often called the soil food web, beginning with the microbes. If we do this, our plants will thrive, we’ll grow nutritious, healthy food, and our soil conditions will get better each year. This is what is meant by the adage,  “Feed the soil not the plants.”
― Jane Shellenberger

Love, Cats and Yeats…A Bealtaine Cottage Valentine

Che nestles on top of the mantle above the stove…the warmest place in the cottage today, Valentine’s day…cats are so clever! The hearts hang below him as he teases Jack!

Willie Yeats is one of my favourite poets.

This is my favourite poem and very apt for Valentine’s Day!

W.B. Yeats

“When You Are Old” WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep, 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true, 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, 
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.” 
― W.B. YeatsThe Aloe plant in the porch has had lots of babies, even though this is the north side of the cottage and quite cold at times!

Hyacinths in full bloom today and releasing heady scents around the cottage.

One of the blue Hyacinths has decided to rest against the work-top in the kitchen.

Dylan Thomas

“Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” 
 Dylan Thomas

Spiritual Living

Missy Cat is not very well. As we wait for tests to come back from the Vet, and hoping against hope that all will be well, the reality is quite different.
For the time, thoughts of loss are pushed to one side as we embrace the joy of a much loved Missy Cat…

It’s at times like these that thoughts of a very spiritual kind take hold. Loss and the fear of loss can do that. Isn’t it amazing how love can get right into the recesses of one’s very soul?

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
― Charles Dickens

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
― Jean Cocteau

Gardening, planting, chopping wood and all those everyday little chores helps to take one’s mind away from sad thoughts!

“Holding this soft, small living creature in my lap this way, though, and seeing how it slept with complete trust in me, I felt a warm rush in my chest. I put my hand on the cat’s chest and felt his heart beating. The pulse was faint and fast, but his heart, like mine, was ticking off the time allotted to his small body with all the restless earnestness of my own.” 
― Haruki Murakami

Reflections from Bealtaine Cottage

“Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you. ”
― Christian D. Larson

A Celtic Blessing

May the light of your soul guide you.

May the light of your soul bless the work that you do
with the secret love and warmth of your heart.

May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.

May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light
and renewal to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work.

May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of
refreshment, inspiration and excitement.

May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.