Coppicing Trees and Making Space at Bealtaine Cottage

It’s amazing how quickly trees grow.

A mere eight years and here I am today thinning and coppicing, pruning and pollarding to make enough space for the fastest growers.

The permaculture plan of planting trees is ongoing.

Many were planted over the course of the winter months.

Most were grown from seed here at Bealtaine Cottage, or sourced locally.

All these thinnings will be sorted to use in the wood-burning stove, either as kindling or small logs.

The rest of the material will be added to the compost heap, ensuring that every bit from the land is a harvest!

All this work today has left a lovely spot in which to sit, protected from the weather and listen to the life that is all around.

Already the sunlight is casting dappled shade onto the earth that was last walked upon almost eight years ago, when I planted this area out.

For eight years ago this was a barren, windswept piece of land in front of a rather sad and decrepit cottage…

And now there exudes a snug, cosy and very happy aura around Bealtaine Cottage.

Embraced by Nature and loved by all who make the journey.

My Herb Garden

I grow lots of herbs in the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage, picking freely wherever I walk along the paths.

Herbs grow very easily in the Irish climate, as the fairly constant temperature agrees with the plants.

Herbs have a variety of uses that include culinary and medicinal.

The crossover line is blurred, as much of what we cook with does so much good and is easily integrated with everyday food.

Think of Garlic for example, or Parsley, both great for the blood!

Herbs can also be used in spiritual practice too, usually through the method of burning to release scent and as a cleansing or purification ritual.

Many herbs release anti-bacterial oils into the air, thus cleansing, so again, the crossover line is easily blurred, as herbal oils released into the air can have a tremendously uplifted effect upon the senses.

This can also be in the form of strewing underfoot, as was the practice during medieval times, to combat pungent smells and general sickness.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage I grow over fifty different herbs, including perennials  such as Thyme, Lavender, Rosemary, Fennel, Lemon Balm and Mint.

The list goes on to include: Chervil; Angelica; Borage; Catnip and Chives.

Include in this list, Dill, Elderflower and Garlic. Lavender, Lovage and Salad Burnet.

Parsley is a good permaculture herb, coming up each year and growing steadily for two years as a biennial plant.

Most herbs self-seed easily.

Feverfew and Borage, once introduced to your garden will grow always.

Some perennial herbs are shrubs, such as Rosemary, Sage and Lemon Verbena, or trees, such as Bay laurel, all growing healthily here.

Oregano grows virtually wild here as does the strongest mint you will ever smell or taste, which grows in the Bog Garden as Water Mint.

Willow Herb is another wild addition and even the Valerian around the cottage looks after itself.

Inserting willow to make arches that will support the developing crop of Pumpkins and Butternut squash.

Many herbs are enjoying the space left in between the squash, such as Nasturtium and Thyme.

The production in these newly established raised beds has been phenomenal!

Growing herbs will give an easy and beneficial garden anywhere.

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 1100 blogs, as well as over 7,o00 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life  (The Other Website) 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.

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

The Ebb and Flow of Life at Bealtaine Cottage

Evening at Bealtaine Cottage and the the night is drawing in.

The sunshine of this morning ebbed and flowed all day, like the waves on the strand at Rosses Point, as the sun dipped in and out of rolling clouds that occasionally deposited rain.

Strange weather, but the day was passed in constructive ways.

I sorted out the recycling, washing out cans and finding all sorts of uses for them.

They make great tea-light holders, piercing holes in the sides using a hammer and nail to make patterns.

The one above sits atop the hot stove, filled with water and essential oils, that emits small wisps of fragranced steam into the cottage.

Vases were dusted…

…as the dogs played in the porch, rearranging their beds as you can see…

At least the continual drizzle keeps all growing and lush…

And the veranda means that I can enjoy the outdoors despite the weather!

Our Food Security is Under Threat!

Bees spend a lot of time around Nasturtiums. Fortunately lots came up in the compost I filled the new raised beds with.

It is crazy to think that these beds were only created about six weeks ago.

There is a brilliant harvest to be had from these little beds already.

Tomatoes are ripening and almost ready to pick.

I’m glad about that as over recent weeks the price of tomatoes has shot up to two euros for a handful of small toms that are not even organically grown!

These Sugar-Snap Peas have been producing for several weeks already, so will definitely save some of the seeds for next year!

Food is rising in price as land is being either scorched away, washed away, or bought up by corporations!

I have just finished storing the Blackcurrant Harvest in the freezer.

It amounted to well over a hundred pounds…I stopped weighing out the bags in the end!

The Pumpkins are promising a grand harvest as they continue to grow and produce more and more fruit…I will have to stop them soon!

I made a video earlier this morning about the progress of plants and wildlife over near the tunnel…enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEnyIc7KkSc

The All-Ireland Permaculture Gathering…

I brought lots of flowers and seed heads into the cottage to brighten up the greyness that is July.

Nothing stops the movement towards Lughnasa and the time of spiritual gathering.

The “All Ireland Permaculture Gathering,” takes place near Bealtaine Cottage this year in the town of Strokestown, County Roscommon.

It’s ideally placed, being located in  the near centre of the island.

It happens on the first weekend of Lughnasa.

For more details you can contact Hannah Mole on:

http://www.permaculture.ie/news/permaculture-gathering-2012

For those wishing to visit Bealtaine Cottage on or around this time, you can get my number from Hannah…I am happy to show visitors around the permaculture smallholding that is Bealtaine Cottage…

Lughnasa is a good time to assess one’s life harvest of wisdom, for the dark evenings of winter are a good time to learn new skills and crafts, to read and share, to think and plan.

It is about preparing the land for winter too, helping to put it asleep, mulching and covering…

We also need to prepare ourselves for the journey through Lughnasa and into Samhain, by ensuring we gather sunlight on ourselves, walk and meditate, enjoying sunrises and sunsets at this mellow time of the year.

Times like today, when the rain seems relentless will give way to sunny mornings and misted evenings, the Lughnasa of the year.

Long walks with Jack and Flo are great excuses to go out and explore new pathways, leaving the dark evenings ahead to navigate the pathways of the soul…

Seed-Saving the Easy Way…

Working in the tunnel today.

Much clearing and preparing the beds for the Autumn and early winter cycle of growing.

It’s well worth planting anything at this time of the year, as there is a harvest from what would be ordinarily thrown onto the compost heap.

I had several tomato plants that were sitting around, looking quite forlorn, so I planted them into the spaces left by clearing.

There’s bound to be a few tomatoes offered up to a decent salad!

Much of what is in the tunnel has been left to seed, so at this point it makes a good addition to the compost and the video explains why and how.

Even though the day has been has been grey and wet, it’s been lovely working in the stillness in the tunnel…contemplative and dry!

Today’s video…all about natural seed saving…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h78I26NNzAI

Lughnasa and the Solstice…Ancient Time

At certain times today, as I was working outside, I had a distinct sense of Autumn.

The way the sun shone on a plant, the smell from the earth around my feet…it was quite tangible.

The growing cycle in the west of Ireland adheres very much to the old Celtic calendar.

It is easy to tell the season just by walking the land and watching shadows…

Autumn begins on the 1st day of August.

This cycle is in essence closely linked to the Solstices and Equinoxes of the year.

 It is the  same solar alignment that determines the correct time for Lughnasa and this is also the exact same alignment for Bealtaine.

The ancient calendar is correct, as it follows the sun and planets rather than the time of man.

I am more attuned to Natural Time as I work on the land.

I am also much happier in this time mode.

The midsummer solstice was last month, four weeks ago and harvesting is well under way.

I do believe that animals are more closely tied into these ancient seasons than we care to admit.

I have enjoyed the company of many rescue dogs and cats over the years and often observed their habits, right down to times when they will bury food.

Flo, here, is a little hobo dog and has been used to fending for herself for most of her life…

Flo is a persistent food secreter and will often sit on a stash in her basket!

On that note, I think I’ll just go and check…

Thank you for supporting this blog

The Magic of Life

I had no idea!

Reading about soil today has enlightened me…no, transported me…into another world, seriously!

The world beneath my feet.

I have always had a fascination with Fairies and the world of Nature, but was never fully cognisant of the facts about our soil…that deep, dark, rich matter that gives forth all we eat.

Facts like, a gram of soil contains about 100 million bacteria.

A square metre of fertile farmland can be inhabited by something like around 55 million worms and about 50,000 small insects and mites.

Monoculture diminishes all this, of course.

A monocultured ecosystem is very weak and may not be up to withstanding disturbance…hence the severe erosion and dust storms seen throughout places like the mid west of America.

A complex ecosystem, such as can be found here at Bealtaine Cottage, is better able to adapt to disturbance.

Permaculture has a healing effect in a very short time, allowing the soil to build up a strong ecosystem relatively fast…a few years in the case of this monocultured 3 acres!

Homo sapiens, means, Wise Man.

A Wise Man would not be sieving life out of our Eco-system, or interfering with our food chain and supply by patenting seeds.

A Wise man in Government would not allow that to happen.

Where have all the Homo sapiens gone?

Today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCIaK07EieY

Monsanto, Bono, Africa and Suicide

He was once a hero of mine.

A singer who sang about the issues I cared about.

But, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” has become “Endgame, Bloody Endgame,” as the one time singer who articulated the ideals of a generation, turns advocate and spokesperson for the awful, dreadful, death impregnated, GM seed and food corporations of the globe.

The G8 Summit, where the great and the greedy met to plan their attack on an unsuspecting continent, will go down in history as the final chapter in a globalized attack on the poor and downtrodden of our world.

For we all know about India and the almost quarter of a million dirt poor farmers who have taken their lives in all manner of disturbing ways.

That was about seed.

GM seed.

Seed with great advertising and promises behind it, pushing it upon the most vulnerable upon our sacred Earth.

And, if I know…I, a woman living in the remote west of Ireland without television or daily paper, then I am certain that Bono knows all this and more!

After all, did he not spend time with President Obama at the G8 Summit?

So, why, Bono…why?

Today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqkpQyo5CjM

I write about, film and photograph, Mother Earth, from Bealtaine Cottage, encouraging others to open little portals of healing energy all over the world.

Blessings and thanks for your support.

Thank you for supporting this blog