Create a Permaculture Garden of Eden

Productive abundance can be achieved over time…

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe secret lies in planting…planting for your life, for speed is important in the precarious world we now inhabit!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureA good place to begin, apart from food, of course, is with hedges…and remember that any shrub, tree or perennial can make a hedge.

Bealtaine Cottage permacultureIn my book, hedges are essential highways…for insects, birds, small animals and bees…all cultivators of the land.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureHedges can also provide an immense amount of food for you and timber for the stove as well!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureHedges can also include lots of early flowering bushes such as Ribes, very popular with Bees!

We all know, or should know by now that a world without bees does not sustain human life…no food, simple as that!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureWhat about trees…did you know that small animals do essential work in planting trees?

They carry seed along hedgerows, spreading it far and wide.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThis smallholding is now generating a large amount of seedling trees, allowed to grow, now that the dreaded monoculture of cows and grass has been banished!

Many of these seeds have been carried onto the land by animals and birds.

If left to their own devices, they and they alone, will create a ‘Garden of Eden.’

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureFor small animals, insects and birds, hedges represent highways to travel along without fear of being preyed upon.

In most farms these highways simply do not exist and so the real cultivators are diminished and, in some cases, wiped out!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureStraw stored in open barns presents a fine opportunity for winter hibernation.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe decline of open barns and hedgerows has led to a sharp decline in the Owl population.

This once common night bird in the British Isles is a joy to behold…if you ever get the rare opportunity…alas!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureGrowing food for ourselves is important, but doing it the permaculture way is essential…for all life on this beautiful and bountiful planet…

That’s the real change, isn’t it? …taking all life into consideration!

Winter in a Permaculture Garden…and Sam!

Awoke to frost this morning and a brilliantly clear, blue sky.

The stove had stayed lit all night, so the cottage was warm.

It’s easy to see the level of insulation in homes, looking up at roofs, as I drive to Drumshanbo on an errand.

Many of the newly built homes appear to be poorly insulated.

I took my tea outside and walked around in the sunshine…

The sheer beauty of a winter morning is stunning.

The play of winter light upon the earth is a delight to behold!

The winter stems of Spiraea colour a deep orange.

Missy followed me to the tunnel.

Her visit to the Vet’s on Monday has perked her up a bit…

Even though the covering of the tunnel is frozen, plants inside continue to flourish and will stay green and healthy for the winter.

Parsley is very healthy as it grows strong beside the water bin…an ideal micro-climate!

Washing the plastic covering on the tunnel last month allows maximum winter light through to the plants…every little helps at this time of year!

The Lemon Balm grows well and will continue all winter, unless we have extreme weather.

Introducing Sam…one very naughty little kitten!

Sam was found on Samhain, hence his name.

He had an eye infection, which is now cleared up…though he fought me every time I applied his medication!

Sam had his second vaccination on Monday and is on medication for a bad cold, though that does not stop him being this adventurous!

Magical Midwinter at the Cottage

Freezing fog surrounds Bealtaine Cottage.

Despite the cold, part of the day has been spent outdoors, tree-planting and dog walking.

Missy decided to remain indoors.

She has gotten rather snuffly again as she struggles with her condition.

She craves the warmth and sleeps a lot, bless her!

Once outside, adjusted to the cold with lots of layers, it’s a pleasant day with that magical midwinter light, as the sun travels low on the horizon.

You can see that the fog has partially lifted, though remains in the valley below, hugging the village of Keadue.

Lots of mixed and informal planting gives the gardens a colour and form all the year round, as you can see from today’s picture.

That’s Pyracantha in the foreground, with Buddleia and Copper Beech, Box and Bamboo, all vying for a space and standing up to the wind from the west!

Part of today was spent in hard graft…cutting back some of the Laurel Arch  on the path that leads from the cottage to the polytunnel and soft fruit gardens.

Winter is a busy time, as one attempts to keep on top of the crazy growth here in the west of Ireland.

The top needs to be cut back, but I shall leave that to another day!

However, look what was on the inside…a beautiful birds nest…so I walked quietly away!

My excuse to retreat indoors and make a big pot of tea!

Ideas for Christmas on a Budget of (almost) Zero!

Christmas presents…simple painted stones that make paper-weights, door-stops or just lovely ornaments.

Here are some I made earlier!

Decorative Hearts made from scraps of material and stuffed with wool.

These make great presents and are easy to make.

Totally recycled too!

A cottage on a slate…simply stones glued onto an old roof slate, together with a mossy roof and a little painted door and window…beautiful and unique!

Make your own willow wreath and decorate it with ivy and pine cones…you’ll find instructions on how to make this on this site…

There is nothing nicer than receiving a beautiful table display for Christmas.

Scour local charity shops for a bowl or container, fill it with florist’s oasis and insert as much seasonal greenery as you like…with water in the oasis, this is guaranteed to last well into the New Year!

A few pine cones picked up in the woods and sprayed gold or silver will just top it off!

Hand-made gifts of jam, wine, sweets, woolly hats…be creative!

Who wants the same old chain store rubbish anyway?

The Precession of the Equinoxes and The Age of Aquarius

According to many sources, we are in the Age of Aquarius, though many argue over dates and calendars.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture paradise

On the 21st of December 2012, the winter solstice precesses through the Milky Way, which was of great mythological importance to the Mayans.

  Bealtaine Cottage entrance to the fairy dell woodlandThere is a belief among many that there will be unusual harmony and understanding in the world, in this new age.

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This will manifest as a  turning point in human consciousness.

Balance will be restored as we awaken to a new level of understanding.

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Much of this new found consciousness will be manifested through the return of  feminine energies.

Missy contemplates the age of aquariusWe have lived in a continuous state of patriarchy during the Age of Pisces and, as a consequence, become disconnected from nature and the abundance of the earth.

Bealtaine Cottage potager bed

War has been a constant feature in every generation and the value of the female has been much maligned and desecrated by all the institutions of power.

The old Age of Pisces is closing down, the frequency of that age is taken over by the higher frequency of Aquarius and thus the higher consciousness.

All is change…

Humans have celebrated the equinoxes since the beginning of time and many rituals were designed around them.

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They signal the beginning of each of Earth’s four seasons.

All of this was integrated into religion.

For example, the Christian hierarchy included all the ancient celebrations,  changing the name and meaning.

Bealtaine Cottage willow archIt takes 72 years for one star to move one degree in the night sky…so how did the ancients know about the Precession of the Equinox?

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Have you ever wondered why Christmas and Easter are celebrated so close to the Winter and Vernal (Spring) Equinox?

There is a tangible change happening, being experienced by many people I speak with.

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Something is influencing how many see the world, themselves and each other.

Bealtaine Cottage Jack and Flo in the porchMuch of what was important in our lives, no longer appears to have much relevance.

There is something stirring…

The Age of Aquarius.

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Quarter of a Million Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

The day has turned stormy.

Winds are gusting high in the winter sky, but, inside the cottage, four thick stone walls and a wood stove ensures warmth and comfort.

The Blackcurrant Pocheen rests on the pantry shelf, ready for the midwinter celebrations.

Like it’s cousin, Sloe Gin, it needs a good long rest before the party!

My visitors, Patti and Bill, from America, have left…on their way to Clare.

Both came to visit Bealtaine Cottage to see for themselves Permaculture in action here in Ireland.

Patti discovered Bealtaine Cottage through this blog and, like many people who make the journey, wanted to touch base with this much loved cottage and land.

It’s always good to meet kindred spirits!

A quarter of a million visits to Bealtaine Cottage have been made on-line.

I would sincerely like to thank everyone of you.

I love to read your comments and, like Patti, welcome you to Ireland from whichever part of the world you visit from.

It’s always a joy to meet followers of Permaculture!

The storm is enveloping the cottage as I write.

The night is drawing in.

I hope each one of you is safe and well and warm.

Bless you all…Colette X

A Wish for The Children of Gaza

The full moon rises above Bealtaine Cottage.

Last night there was a new moon, somewhere in the sky.

Often times I watch the moon and think of all those it shines upon.

Many dark nights, when the stars fill the sky with their own light show and shooting stars leave a momentary arch in the night sky, I make a wish.

In the cold November air of a Sunday night in the west of Ireland, I made a wish, a heartfelt wish, for The Children of Gaza.

It was quite a simple wish too.

There was nothing of Christmas, Santa or presents galore.

Nothing to do with Disney, or mince pies, or turkey.

It was simply this…

That somewhere here in the western world, there will be one human being, one hero, one person of compassion and integrity, a leader, who will stand up for what is right.

One brave person and true… for there is one, at least…

Just one, who will say, “No more!”

One who will stand in front of the Children of Gaza and say…”You shall not pass…not on my watch!”

The days when one associated a political leader with integrity and justice are over.

Their mandate appears to be greed and psychopathy.

One can still wish.

Last night I made a wish…

A Christmas Childhood

A Christmas Childhood

by

Patrick Kavanagh

(Bealtaine Cottage in the snow…looking down the driveway in the week before Christmas, 2010.)

One side of the potato-pits was white with frost-

How wonderful that was, how wonderful!

And when we put our ears to the paling-post

The music that came out was magical.

The light between the ricks of hay and straw

Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree

With its December-glinting fruit we saw-

O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me.

(Bealtaine Cottage in the winter of 2010, just coming into the driveway.)

To eat the knowledge that grew in clay

And death the germ within it! Now and then

I can remember something of the gay

Garden that was childhood’s. Again

The tracks of cattle to a drinking-place,

A green stone lying sideways in a ditch

Or any common sight the transfigured face

Of a beauty that the world did not touch.

My father played the melodeon

Outside at our gate;

There were stars in the morning east

And they danced to his music.

(A winter sky at Bealtaine Cottage in the frozen winter of 2010)

Across the wild bogs his melodeon called

To Lennons and Callans

As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry

I knew some strange thing had happened.

(The Blackbird at Bealtaine Cottage.)

Outside in the cow-house my mother

Made the music of milking;

The light of her stable-lamp was a star

And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,

Mass-going feet

Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,

Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

(Moon-rise before Midwinter at Bealtaine Cottage, 2010.)

My child poet picked out the letters

On the grey stone,

In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,

The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopeia was over

Cassidy’s hanging hill,

I looked and three whin bushes rode across

The horizon-the Three Wise Kings.

An old man passing said:

‘Can’t he make it talk’-

The melodeon. I hid in the doorway

And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

I nicked six nicks on the door-post

With my penknife’s big blade-

There was a little one for cutting tobacco.

And I was six Christmases of age.

(Bealtaine Cottage in a snowstorm, Christmas 2010.)

My father played the melodeon,

My mother milked the cows,

And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned

On the Virgin Mary’s blouse.

by Patrick Kavanagh

You have been reading a blog from “Bealtaine Cottage”.

The Bealtaine Cottage Press presents…

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

SPECIAL OFFER! Reduced to clear… Bealtaine Cottage Calendar for 2019

Price includes postage and packing worldwide! The calendar hosts a page of colour photographs from Bealtaine Cottage for each month of the year. The months of the year are written in Celtic script…ie: May is Bealtaine, August is Lughnasadh and so on…many of you are already familiar with the Celtic Calendar. The pictures on each month also feature some added wisdom from Bealtaine Cottage and information on the ancient festivals of Celtic Ireland.

€9.95

Calendar and Map

Special offer: Purchase the Calendar and Map together! Cost was €27.00…Special Offer €20.00! Price includes postage to anywhere in the world!

€20.00

Calendar and Midwinter Book

Special Offer! Purchase the Calendar together with the Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter for the special price of €23.00 The usual price is €30.00 Price includes postage to anywhere in the world!

€23.00

 

Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Permaculture Living in the West of Ireland

Permaculture is a way of life.

It is the way of life here at Bealtaine Cottage and has been for over eight years now.

Permaculture is about making the most of our resources.

Regardless of where one lives, resources are all around us.

From an old but usable sewing machine to a stove that burns on wood and bakes a cake and heats the radiators and gives lots of hot water and boils the kettle… we are surrounded with abundance if we did but care to look!

The more we plant, the more resources we have.

The more resources we have, the more we can share.

Permaculture helps us to recognize ways of making the most of our resources, like simply insulating all the windows on the north side of my cottage last winter, helped me to make the most of my energy resource.

The simplicity of permaculture is such, that minimizing waste and maximizing potential appear to be one and the same, as one works to compliment the other.

Permaculture is about living in an ecologically sound way, embracing Nature and being able to integrate as much or as little style into that framework as one desires.

We engage in a fully conscious way with the life we attempt to build, ensuring that productivity and care for the environment are together, at the forefront of all planning and living.

In choosing to live this way, we can boast that we leave Mother Earth in a healthier and stronger position than when we first came to live with her!

Is there any other way of living that can say that?