Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Country Living, Ecology, Folklore, Garden, Herbs, Permaculture, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Bealtaine Eve in Ireland

It is the eve of Bealtaine at Bealtaine Cottage and so I am celebrating 8 years of permaculture here at the cottage!  Summer is upon us once again and the Earth is busy producing the harvest of the coming season… The flowers of the Chives have already made an appearance and these are just so gorgeous in salads. Chives is also very easy to grow, forming lovely clumps as above and producing edible leaves and flowers that replace the traditional Spring Onion for me!

Yesterday afternoon was spent cutting the grass, regarded as a harvest and used in compost and as mulching. The by product of all this harvest is neat grass paths upon which to walk!

Lots of beautiful “weeds,” …what do you think? Here is today’s video…focusing on the woodland and what grows down there!

Click on the link to watch…

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, cows, Current Affairs, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, Inspiration, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wildlife

The Festival of Bealtaine

Aquilegia, now growing all over the permaculture gardens and driveway of Bealtaine Cottage, from its beginnings here 8 years ago, with a handful of seed, saved from a some flowers growing in a garden in North London.

The time is near…Mayday, known as Bealtaine here in Ireland. It is pronounced “Be Al Tan Ah”

Irish mythology marks the beginning of May as the  the start of the summer.

This was  heralded in  with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.

Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition.

There was the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and celebrations were accompanied with rituals to protect the people from any harm by otherworldly spirits. Cattle would be driven through the dying embers of the great bonfires, to protect them from disease.

The Ancient Races who constructed  Newgrange in Ireland aligned their monuments to the major solar events.

These were the Winter Solstice, the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox.

The solar year was further divided to mark the half way points between the major solar events giving the cross quarter days of Imbolc,  Bealtaine,  Lughnasadh and Samhain.

Click on the link below for today’s video from Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cats, Eco-Living, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Trees

Friday at Bealtaine Cottage.

Friday at Bealtaine Cottage, featuring Missy and Flo…

Click and watch

(click on the speech bubble on the video to see Flo on her own video!)

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Country Living, Eco-Living, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Personal, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Winter

A Day Indoors at Bealtaine Cottage

It is cold and windy…quite an icy wind at that! maybe the predictions for snow are coming true…brrr!

An indoors day at the cottage…just a quiet time with some thoughts, reflections and maybe a little painting…


Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture is…

Permaculture is… a design system…

 It’s a simple and effective way to apply  the principles of ecology in the design of sustainable human habitats.

Building a veranda on the south side of Bealtaine Cottage was a practical and sustainable  way of applying the principles…there is now an all-weather area in which to shelter and store humans, plants and fuel.

 Permaculture is not just about growing things.

Although permaculture focuses on food production, it is more than just food, as it embraces every aspect of living holistically on this Earth…with this Earth!

kitchen windowAll aspects of living well, such as health, and education, are integrated in this new way of living… Aspects of community and architecture, especially living architecture and always sustainable architecture…using locally source materials, especially wood.

It brings sustainability into all aspects of life, even art, as in the stained glass wheel of life using beer bottles!

Permaculture uses resources from, essentially, three main areas.

These are nature, traditional systems…as in the application of permaculture principles at this old stone cottage, and modern scientific /technological knowledge.

DSC03124Embracing knowledge and applying it in a permaculture way is one way of describing what I do here at Bealtaine Cottage.  

DSC08011For example, retro-fitting the cottage for maximum insulation using minimum £resources, such as sheep’s wool for insulation in the cottage and fertility on the hungry land!

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You can also subscribe to the new website”Bealtaine Cottage Good Life”…there’s a link at the top of this page.

Posted in biodiversity, Birds, Climate, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Permaculture

Distracted by the Cuckoo!

Totally distracted by the Cuckoo…sorry, but it’s a nice little look at things anyway! 

Click on the link  below for the very short video…

Posted in Angels, Birds, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Culture, Fairies, Garden, Permaculture, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Fairy Dell and Spring Well

Fairy Dell and Spring Well

This little area on the 3 acres that make up Bealtaine Cottage has slowly given up it’s secrets to me as the years have passed.

From the first days of discovery, when this appeared to be an overgrown thicket that was impenetrable, to the weeks spent slowly unravelling the beautiful space within…The Fairy Dell has emerged as a very special part of Bealtaine…perhaps the actual heart of the energy that has grown here…

Here is a short video…

Posted in Bloom, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Making Space for Nature

The sun has shone brightly in a clear sky over Bealtaine Cottage for many weeks now.

Bluebells have blossomed a month or so earlier than last year.

 The seasons have become confused, that I can say with certainty.

However, on a glorious day, despite the little or no water I have in the cottage, I cannot complain… The earth is warming fast below the trees and bushes and plants of every description and Nature continues to take over the conducting of affairs on this small-holding.

Yesterday I planted out peas I had grown in the tunnel in pots…enough to give them a good start and resistance to the slugs…I have a backup group of peas, already big and strong, should the first lot be completely eaten!

A mighty blue sky…with no chemtrails at all!

I have been aware of the stripy trails for some time now and remark on the rare days when I do not see them…no flights today!

 As I write this on Sunday morning, it’s about 8am, the sky is cloudy, naturally so! 

On a different subject,  I am deep in thought considering colour, well, colours to be correct, but shades of colours would be even more so…for, with all the bright sunshine this Spring, I have noticed a need to repaint the interior of my cottage. The bright sun makes the walls look dowdy in comparison!

Shades of white, if, indeed white is a colour, are on my mind…I am testing out mixes, for I mix them myself, being as frugal as possible on a very limited budget that few could live a day on, never mind a month!

It makes the process all the more interesting, as I collect up pots of half used paint from family, friends and neighbours! 

There has been a grand de-cluttering process underway at Bealtaine Cottage and I have left bags and bags of “stuff,” into the local charity shop, feeling liberated and unburdened with each trip.

My aim is to have only pictures, books and music on display,  with the occasional vase of natural flowers or whatever is growing outside, brought in to display. That way I will be more in tune with, and appreciative of, Nature!

So far, this process has been utterly liberating and joyful…I would heartily recommend  it to all who are in search of a happier life!

Valerian has broken into flower in some of the more sheltered areas around the walls of the cottage. This wonderful flower grows readily in limestone gravel, flowers in late spring and stays in bloom for all of the summer and into early autumn…how brilliant is that then!

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Country Living, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Trees, Wildlife

The War on Nature

Why do we continually fight with Nature, when “Mother Knows Best!” 

When you apply the permaculture principles and then begin to move with the flow, allowing the intuitive side of your nature to embrace and understand Mother Nature…

There is no problem with Nature…the problem is us…we are control freaks!

Seven years later, of going with the flow…

Here’s the 5 minute power up…watch…

Posted in biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Fairies, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Woodland

Permaculture Planting…The Importance of Trees

Following on from the short video on Willow and using willow in the garden as living willow fedges and structures, here’s a short video on trees…

Posted in Cottage, Food, Garden, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding

Making and Using Compost on a Permaculture Smallholding.

Here’s a 5 minute video from Bealtaine Cottage on making and using compost on a permaculture smallholding.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Birds, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Permaculture, Smallholding

Permaculture Fruit and Vegetable Garden

I made a short video about the Fruit and Vegetable garden…  It’s around five minutes long and begins to explain how it all works. I hope you enjoy it…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Gardening, Permaculture, Spring, Trees, Uncategorized

Spring Garden in Ireland ~ Permaculture Planting for Brilliance!

One of the real advantages of a permaculture garden is that there is always colour…flowers are not the only colour in the garden!

I took this photo about  five minutes ago and even though it’s drizzly, dull and cloudy, the garden at the front of the cottage is dazzling with a veritable artist palette of colour!

There are crispy brown leaves on the grass from the Beech trees, which keep their leaves for most of the winter and only really shed them as the new ones push through.

The Photinia is bright red with the new growth.

Valerian is showing bright green through the gravel  and the Pear tree is awash with white blossom.

Permaculture planting is intense planting, the objective being to cover the earth and leave no part exposed to the elements! The effect is incredible and the maintenance is absolutely minimal!

Most of these plants are easily recognised.

One of the big benefits of permaculture planting is the almost immediate transformation for the better, as plants move through the seasons and drop their waste upon the earth.

Pyracantha, Beech, Amelanchier, Spirea and Buddleia all jostle for the light…may the best one win!

Posted in Country Living, Eco-Living, Garden, Lifestyle, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Spring Wells and Straw Paths

Up early this morning and climbed the hill at the back of Bealtaine Cottage to visit the well.
It’s a spring well and feeds water to the cottage via simple gravity…the well being further up the hill than the cottage!
Over the past week or so the water in the pipe has occasionally stopped flowing and this usually means an airlock…so I brought a water can with me to force water down the pipe and release the airlock…it worked!

The morning was sunny and windy, so I made the most of the day that was in it and hung the clothes out to dry…hand-washed in the rain barrel!

The water is flowing in a trickle and building up enough pressure in the pipe to get it flowing into the tank in the loft…I can now light the stove!

Another task completed in the vegetable garden…spreading straw on the path around the tunnel…this proves to be very effective at stopping the rampant growth of weeds over the course of the summer.

As this decays, it will be spread on the vegetable beds at the beginning of autumn, making a good top dressing for insulation over the winter months.

One of the Pear trees in the orchard…covered in blossom that promises a good harvest and a possible vintage Pear Wine.
The bees are out in full around the Ribes and are moving onto the fruit blossom, with the Pear and Cherry trees all showing off! These are the first fruit trees to come into bloom here each year.

More blossom on the Amelanchier trees…I planted all the trees over the past 7 years or so and am always amazed at the vigour each spring…they seem to suddenly shoot up and start to tower overhead. Some of the trees in this picture are Lime trees.

One of these days Bealtaine Cottage will disappear…

Posted in Art, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Eco-Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Cottage Interior Design using Permaculture Ideas…

Bealtaine Cottage 003

Decorating an old cottage on a budget of near zero…

The central design technique is simple…recycle and reuse as much as you can.

Here, the sitting room was given a wall mirror using broken mirrors that would have otherwise gone to the dump.

Cost: just the price of the tile adhesive and my time.

Bealtaine Cottage 004

A painted concrete floor and stencilled wall…stencils cut from card.

The floor stencil was spray-painted using left-over gold Christmas decorative spray.

Bealtaine Cottage 002

There is hardly a faster and cheaper way to bring beauty and creativity into your home than by putting together an arrangement of foliage and flowers picked from your own garden.

 Roman Blinds are the cheapest window covering to make as they only require material to cover the window and no more!

I made these for the kitchen windows.

The material was donated to me as an off-cut from a much bigger project!

This mirror was made in the same way as the bathroom one, but the broken tiles were stuck directly onto a sheet of wood…re-cycled wood!

It now decorates the veranda and reflects the light nicely.

The sitting room floor created entirely from waste…these broken tiles were destined for the rubbish heap before I rescued them and put them to good use. 

The sink is recycled and quite old, as is the draining board. As for the dish rack…it doubles up as a cake cooling rack…or is it the other way round?

And the ideas continue, making necessity the true mother of invention!

Bealtaine Cottage 005

Green gingham curtains and red geraniums…very Irish cottage!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Painted stones on a window ledge…simplicity at Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage

No fitted kitchen…just practical things all pulled together with a little colour.

Donations are always welcome and Blessings returned!

Thank you for supporting the Bealtaine Project