Small Things…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Keeping time.

Morning merges into early afternoon.

There is a seamlessness about the work on this last day of September.

www.bealtainecottage.com 049Cutting wood, cleaning windows, stringing  chillies, all merging as the day progresses.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Somewhere, in the distance, a crow calls its lonely caw…it’s repetitive and makes me think an animal has caught it…perhaps a fox.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038I have watched the fox make it’s way across the rushy fields, darting here and there among the clumps of withering green.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026Deep in the Fairy Wood, cutting and stacking with my little handsaw, all I experience from the outside world are noises of life without.

www.bealtainecottage.com 024Che-Mousy-Bear stays with me as I work.

Once so very timid, he is finding his own place in this world, where he initially found only rejection.

www.bealtainecottage.com 032I love him for having the tenacity to stay with it all…one of the small things that weave the tapestry of life here at Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016Time to brew a pot of tea and stoke the stove…working on the land is fluid, as the day progresses.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015I am obsessed with hearts.

I have no idea why, but the shape draws me in.

I see hearts everywhere.

They fascinate me.

www.bealtainecottage.com 045The work of the day continues with juicing apples for saving in the freezer.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008Autumn changes the colours of the trees surrounding the cottage.

It seems that the view from this window changes every time I pass it…

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Tiny webs configure across and around the Celtic Knot, too beautiful to clear away.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030The woodland beckons…

 

I write and post about Bealtaine Cottage, on this website, as well as making and posting Youtube (ad-free) videos, about permaculture and life at Bealtaine Cottage, to provide inspiration and empowerment for all seeking a better way of living on this precious Earth.

Donations help me do that :)

The Night of the Thin Veil

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September has been an extraordinary month of sun and still air, little has moved and time has appeared to stand still. www.bealtainecottage.comSunrises and sunsets have been spectacular.

www.bealtainecottage.comIndeed, September 2013 will be remembered here in Ireland for the “Indian Summer,” often promised and rarely received!

www.bealtainecottage.comTomorrow is the last day of September.

We are now past equal day and night and on the descent to Samhain and the night of the “thin veil”…

www.bealtainecottage.comI have spent as much time outdoors as possible, walking and watching the light play with the changing seasons.

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The Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”.

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The places, “in-between,”  the shore and land, thresholds, night and day, life and death.

The place between life and death was honoured in the form of a wake, for the soul took time to depart and journey onwards.

www.bealtainecottage.comBealtaine and Samhain are in-between times, when time stands still, as transition occurs.

Bealtaine is the transition to summer and Samhain the passing into winter.

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‘Tis a pity that Samhain has been so commercialized, into the freak show of Halloween…it is not to be tolerated! Samhain is a lovely time of remembering and honouring the ancestors and all those who have passed from our lives during the year.

www.bealtainecottage.comI hope you take the time to celebrate with a gathering of family, friends, feast and fire…reclaiming our precious traditions from the corporate nonsense of plastic pollution and Hollywood freak show!

(All photos today were taken by me, in the local area around Bealtaine Cottage.)

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Blessings

Colette

The Haunting…

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With great longing for home and sadness of leaving, I made the journey back from Connemara today.

As I passed Kylemore Abbey, the clouds began a hasty descent, down over the mountains of the pass…

I longed for home, but was mesmerized by the play of light and mist that is a magical part of the landscape of the West of Ireland.

A landscape that haunts one forever…


Their cottage is surrounded by the most ethereal  play of light, being near the shoreline and surrounded by mountains.


I first met Terri and Lol when they visited Bealtaine Cottage to learn more about Permaculture and quickly bonded in a deep friendship.


I meet so many wonderful people here at Bealtaine and am often invited to visit with them, though rarely take the time to do so…

I’m glad I made this journey into the hauntingly beautiful land of Connemara…the images will inspire dreams for many nights ahead in Winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 051The past three days in Connemara have inspired me in many ways.

I met some fine people and talked about wine making and permaculture.

www.bealtainecottage.com 060Connaught, the province of Ireland where Connemara lies, has, historically, been associated with immense poverty and harsh living conditions, though its beauty has kept it populated, albeit sparsely in parts.

Many Irish have emigrated from here, down through the centuries, especially so during the Great Famine.

 

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Yesterday morning, I walked in the gardens as the sun rose, and watched the mist slowly lift from the fields, that run down to the shoreline.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Terri and Lol have planted lots of Willow, as a wind break and are developing a sustainable smallholding around their cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Living this close to the mighty Atlantic Ocean, the land is swept by salt-winds and gales, that roar in over thousands of miles of turbulent sea, making landfall, with all the power and destruction only those winds can carry.

The soil is scraped off rock and carried on the winds, to fill crevice and glen.

Even the cows have learned to forage and climb like mountain goats in search of food!

This beautiful creature stood atop the rocks watching the sun rise, as I walked in my dressing gown around the cottage gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030In the distance, my little camera picked out the walls of ancient cottages, abandoned to the elements of sea, rain, wind and sun, casting imaginary sounds of past lives upon the mist that lifted heavenwards, in the warm morning air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 059As I drove towards home, leaving this magically, evocative landscape behind me, the sheer beauty of Connemara urged me to stop… and take one last image to share with you…

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Blackberries at Autumn Equinox

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Early morning in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine, coffee in one hand, camera in the other, to record the passing of a time, a merging of a season, as we flow seamlessly into late autumn…the autumn equinox.

Blackberries hang heavy near the stone circle, flattened grass signs the badgers have been here.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Looking skywards, all looks different as the season casts a spell over the landscape…I never noticed the ivy on the Ash tree before, really looked and wondered…

www.bealtainecottage.com 002And underneath the mighty Ash, a sacred tree in Celtic lore, the ferns remain green and lush in the warm September weather.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The circle of stone and willow in the early morning light…

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Crossing the little bridge over the ditch to continue my walk.

www.bealtainecottage.com 020And down into the Fairy Wood…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022towards the pond…

www.bealtainecottage.com 023under Willow arches in the playground of Mother Nature.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Along pathways evolved over nine years of delight with the Mother herself!

www.bealtainecottage.com 030Where the Sidhe dance and Badgers trundle…

www.bealtainecottage.com 031I spent yesterday clearing the paths a little, for I and many visitors walk these paths all year round.

Some wood I leave on the ground to feed the earth and provide habitat for all seen and unseen.

www.bealtainecottage.com 035As I write this blog, an email hits my screen, a response to one I sent earlier to a very kind donor to Bealtaine Cottage.

I sent an email to this wonderful man asking permission to publish a little of what he wrote to me recently…

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I have discovered your beautiful cottage a week or so ago from an article in permaculture.co.UK, I have watched most of your youtube videos, subscribed to your newsletter and want to do my part to help you do the beautiful things you are doing….

www.bealtainecottage.com 041I was floored to see the transformation you have made around you through I’m sure a lot of hard work, an enlightened mind and a superb taste (and of course these wonderful trees)…
www.bealtainecottage.com 044I am personally still stuck on a corporate life that I don’t appreciate and I would love to gather the courage to make the jump and return to a more balanced, tastier, healthier and joyful country life…

www.bealtainecottage.com 045The address mentioned on my donation is actually my parents’, they have a lovely garden where I would love to have your seeds make their magic. Feel free to send whatever you have, don’t feel obligated to any quantity…

www.bealtainecottage.com 049The entertainment and inspiration you have provided with your videos and blog entries are already worth more to me than the money donated.
But if I am buying seeds to plant in my parents’ garden, I’d rather my money going to you than to Monsanto or another large commercial seed merchant!

All the best and keep these posts and photos coming, they make my day!

www.bealtainecottage.com 052That was a lovely email to receive today, the autumn equinox and I know you will be happy to read it too!

www.bealtainecottage.com 056Enjoy the rest of the photographs taken this morning, here in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…it’s always a pleasure for me to share this sacred place with you X

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Thanks and blessings XXX

The Permaculture Loop of Plenty!

bealtaine cottageHarvesting continues from the Potager beds.

It’s worth noting that theses productive little beds, built near the back of the cottage, straight onto gravel, have no soil in them whatsoever!

Soil is precious here in North Roscommon and the land is rushy and wet, so I filled the beds with home-made cold compost and shredding…I continue to build up the structure with shredding, made in my little electric shredder!

bealtaine cottageThe beds carry a lot of food in them still, due to the close planting system I use…as food and flowers are harvested, other plants spread themselves out and the gaps are quickly filled with seasonal planting.

Garlic will be planted out over the weekend in this bed.

bealtaine cottageLoads of material is then transported over to the growing compost heap…and so the cycle of life continues in a wonderful loop of plenty!

bealtaine cottageThe huge Sunflower head will yield a generous amount of seeds…I use these in Oat Smoothies, an important part of a healthy diet.

bealtaine cottageRudbeckia, Marigolds and Evening Primrose continue to bring colour and delight to the Potager Beds as they’re cleared, providing food for many visiting insects.

bealtaine cottageThere is a good amount of herbs around the edges of this bed.

They like the micro-climate afforded them by the stones, as well as the good drainage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Apples continue to plump out, surviving the storm of last weekend by virtue of the fact they are all very sheltered.

This is an important aspect to growing apples in the west of Ireland, as many storms blow in from the western seaboard at a terrifying speed, decimating fruit production that’s in any way exposed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Today is a fine day with clear skies and strong sunlight…this will help the tomatoes in one of the baskets to ripen, the salad tomatoes! it’s such a pleasure to be outdoors on days like today…one of the last flings of Summer as she goes on her wilful way!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The hips of the Rosa Rugosa hang heavy over the path.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010“The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” continues…

If you would like to support the work of the Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture website, Youtube (ad-free) videos and Open Gardens project, please feel free to…

or visit the Etsy shop and purchase a hand-made or vintage product.

A Wonderful Donation!

donation 003This arrived by special delivery this morning from a lovely lady who visited Bealtaine Cottage all the way from Austria.

Her name is Monika and her kindness for animals is abundant.

BimboMonika has a gorgeous little dog named Bimbo, seen here.

Monika has donated this £375 to the fund-raiser weekend total of 200 euros.

The grand total now stands around 600 euros!

Christine, who runs the sanctuary, is in hospital this morning having an operation…please be mindful of her and wish her a speedy recovery, for she does amazing work and is quite devoted to unwanted animals…97% are re-homed!

I have organized to visit Christine next week to hand over the entire donation.

Once again, bless you all for your kindness and generosity to this cause, so close to my heart. XXX 

Non-Profit Organization
Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre 0719648300 leitrimawt@eircom.net

 

The Storm

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The wind had engulfed the cottage for several days, starting its angry encirclement in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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The kettle kept a simmer on the stove for cups of tea to pass the evening in quiet repose.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 011The storm raged for most of yesterday too and now, this morning, the rain falls softly on the trees, hardly making a sound on the roof of the veranda.

Last evening the candles burned as the electricity flicked on and off in little staggers.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 009The stove in the sitting room was lit and I made up a bed on the sofa.

Myself, Jack and Missy kept company as the wind howled overhead.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 020The weather has settled down this morning…just a drizzle of soft rain that keeps a persistence about it.

Work here continues in the tunnel, clearing the beds and digging in new compost for the winter plantings.

Kale, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Chard were planted this morning.

The Garlic will go in outdoors in the potager beds, before the soil cools down too much…it gives them a better start! permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 014The harvesting continues as more and more produce is brought onto the shelter of the veranda.

I will slice and freeze some of the apples, sprinkling them with a little sugar and cinnamon first…this helps to keep them better.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 019One would find it hard to believe that there was a storm at all, looking around the gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage…the benefit of planting over 900 trees; just heaps of shelter now!

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 018The apples are still on all the trees!

Just a few more days until the Equinox…

Here are the wonderful “Moving Hearts” with their classic, played live, “The Storm”

Enjoy!

The Quickening

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 002As we approach the Equinox, the sun appears strong and bright in the morning sky, a clear sky at that, gathering together the ingredients for a perfect Autumn day.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 001A day for walking, stopping often and observing the quickening of change, in all that grows and flies.

I watched the Swallows flying high in the clear sky above the cottage…one of many preludes to the incredible migratory flight to Africa.

I looked down, earthwards and noticed the Sedum opening clusters of pink, one of the last meals of the year for the bees.

All is change.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 003All is good, on this calm bright morning.

Tomatoes slowly ripen here on the veranda.

Thank you Tara Angell from New York, for the amazing little seeds these grew from.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 008They’re all over the garden and have become more Irish than the Irish as the saying goes!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 005The spiders spin and weave their magic all over the gardens too.

I hear people say, “Where has the summer gone…is time speeding up?”

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 007Perhaps it is, but my body is more and more in tune with the seasons and time seems almost irrelevant.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 009The morning merges into afternoon and the quickening of autumn  reveals itself in the darker evening…yet to come!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 011If time is the measuring stick of our existence, then we are not living in the present, in the here and now.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 012I often reflect on these pictures I take, and ask myself, “What was I feeling then, at that moment?”

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 015The clock was a horrid invention really…it ticks and measures and makes us panic and fret!

Today, I don’t need a clock or a calendar…I smell the season, I see the time…it’s morning, for the sun shines in from the east!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 016The light has weakened and changed, the summer is behind us.

Flowers on the Buddleia have turned into heavy droplets of seeds for the birds to feast their way through winter.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 017Pumpkins stand to attention!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 019Masses of red berries assure the birds of a kind over-wintering at Bealtaine Cottage, where Nature has bestowed abundance on all living creatures.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 020The lacy cobwebs dance in the morning sun.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 021And the mellowing leaves of the Ribes reflect in the mirror stillness of the water barrel.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 024Time to light the stove and boil the kettle…this is a morning, where stepping back outside, with a mug of tea, seems the only really sensible course of action to take!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 025The light beckons…

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 031Missy observes from under the table…

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 029And I pass through the cottage to return to the gardens…

Flo, Gloria and Me!

With Flo and Gloria I visited my daughter Cara yesterday.

I wanted to see how Gloria, (I will survive, Gaynor) the hen was settling in. When the fox killed her five sisters, Gloria was left injured and traumatised.

But, like the song, she’s a survivor…so my daughter Cara agreed to re-home her in a new environment, where she could put the past behind her!

Here she is, strutting her stuff and being very confident and bossy!

She is a real pet and eats all the slugs in Cara’s garden. 

Flo, with me holding GloriaI supported Cara with ideas and plants as she designed and evolved her first garden, using recycled materials and plants grown from seed and cuttings.

You can see one of the little benches made from recycled wood and fixed into the ground, in the background, under some very healthy Willow!

September 2013 in Cara's garden.It is amazing just how many habitats there are now, in this once bare lawn.

me and Flo, with Gloria looking onFlo is another rescue dog…she was turned out of a car when heavily pregnant and went on to birth five pups in a little nest I made for her behind the sofa in Bealtaine Cottage.

Gloria, me and FloShe is much loved and a delightful little girl…very wilful too…and she’s friends with Gloria!

All girls together…come on now…

At first I was afraid I was petrified I kept thinking I could never live…Oh, no, not I, I will survive, as long as I got love to give I know I’ll stay alive…yeah!