Self-Sufficiency at the Cottage

Fennel grows very well in my garden here in Ireland.

In fact all the plants from the herb family grow well here.

I’ve been harvesting seeds from the Fennel plants this morning.

The seeds taste lovely, sweet and liquorice like.

They make great chewy sweets that help to assuage the appetite, so can help in weight loss too!

I suppose the taste could be likened tio a distinctive anise-like flavour and scent.

Medicinally this seed acts as an aid to digestion, stomach pains and flatulence…it’s traditionally good for babies with colic if a tea is made from it.

No using washing powders.

No using fabric conditioners.

No using bleach or ANY chemicals here at Bealtaine Cottage.

My washing machine broke down about two years ago and I have hand-washed clothes ever since.

It really is extraordinarily simple and easy to make a routine that encompasses washing a few items of clothes each day.

If I want white fabrics to whiten up, I leave them to bleach in the sun…and a shower of rain on them is even better!

Of course the very best and quickest way to bleach fabrics naturally is to leave them out on a frosty day…brilliant whites!

Think about it…the Victorians wore a lot of white cotton and calico, with only bars of soap to clean their clothes!

We need to stop sending all those chemicals down our drains to the oceans…there is NO AWAY!

I am storing the pumpkins wherever I can find a space in the pantry, ensuring they are kept separate on shelves, cool and dry.

There are so many  recipes that use pumpkin and am collecting them up for use this winter.

Pumpkin Curry is already a tried and tested dinner and is yummy!

Tomorrow is the beginning of October.

Fortunately there are many bright and sunny days to be had in the months that make up the Autumn.

The evenings are drawing in, fires are lit and warm jumpers unpacked from summer storage, but the days are pleasant and filled with a beauty only to be found at this time of year.

Enjoy the week ahead and take time to appreciate The Fall.


    • Surprisingly enough, he is a she…rare I know to have a female marmalade cat.
      Missy has feral origins and is a singularly wilful and delightful cat.

  1. I live in Nicaragua where machine washing is not an option. I honestly could do without it. Line drying, sure, but that 15 minutes on the washboard everyday not so much. Particularly loathe doing jeans and bed sheets. I respect your commitment to self-sufficiency. Boy do those pumpkins make me miss fall up north though…

    • The time on the washboard ensures good muscle tone in the upper arm and no loose flesh as one gets older…all for free and no gym necessary.
      Not for everyone I admit, but I love the freedom of it all!

  2. aah, I love the idea, of hand washing, yet, with my husband..oh. Lordy, I would be at at all the day long! I do love the smell of laundry as you bring i from the line.

  3. Hi Colette, just a quick question. If I dry the final flowers of Buddleia can I save seed that way?

    • Leave the flowers on the tree to turn to seed.
      This will happen very fast.
      You can then cut off the seed heads and shake the seed out.
      If you shake some onto gravelly ground, they will grow there quite happily.
      Leave some seed heads on the tree for little birds to eat over the winter months.

      • Thanks! I don’t have a bush yet but there is a wild one growing nearby and I took a small piece for an Autumn bouquet for a meditation evening. the seeds have all dried now so I will be planting them at home. I’ll let you know how I get on. x

Your comments are welcome!