Cottage Industry

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The clock ticks towards Samhain, literally meaning: Summer’s end!

Tomorrow is Samhain, a celebration of the last day of Summer and the beginning of Winter in the Celtic calendar. www.bealtainecottage.com 002Despite cold nights creeping into Bealtaine, all remains green on the ground, with just the trees showing signs of transition into Winter.

Nasturtiums have not yet melted in the frost…it seems the ground continues to put forth enough heat to protect them!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003“I ordered my food ages ago!”

Sammy-Bear waits for his breakfast on the veranda…I have to hurry up with this photography business and serve him breakfast!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007The Wisteria, on the veranda of the Lodge, is showing a last magnificent vibrancy before it sets itself into bed.

The plants and trees are making a fantastic show of colour this season!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The view from the doorway of the Lodge remains green and tranquil.

The micro-climate created here serves the cottage well.

All is sheltered from the North, West and East!
www.bealtainecottage.com 013We really have been blessed, with perfect weather this year, here in the west of Ireland.

Each season has behaved itself extraordinarily well!
www.bealtainecottage.com 020Despite the fact it was my birthday yesterday, I was sufficiently inspired to work and spent the afternoon crocheting this hat.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003It’s an “Annie Hall,” inspired creation…I adore Diane Keaton!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I love the “cloche” type, 1920’s inspired, hats and adore working with pure wool and natural fabric.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004This one is made using Donegal Tweed Pure Wool and the colour is just wonderful!

I shall be making many more for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop!

Here’s the link to the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/167531769/cloche-hat-1920s-style-in-pure-irish

From Belfast to Bealtaine…

www.bealtainecottage.comFrightening storms have swept southern England over recent days.

Feb 2012 Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 023The extreme weather has reminded us all, once more, that we live in uncertain times, times of change.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015Change is all around us and those who have read comments on the previous blog, will know that my darling Missy has passed.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Such is life…dealing with the frightening and the painful, but never for too long.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 024Despite whatever happens in our lives, we are best equipped to deal with all that life offers us, highs and lows!

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 013Pragmatism and resilience are great gifts to nurture and practice often.

fairies 028In the wake of my grief, I headed up to Belfast with my daughter, who had made the journey down to Bealtaine, to help me put Missy to rest and then whisk me off!

cup of tea!It was just what I needed…a change of scenery…there will be time enough to mourn Missy, in little moments of quiet and reflection, later…

a real sofa bedBelfast is a wonderful city, filled with warm-hearted, resilient and humorous people.

In the Fairy Wood below Bealtaine CottageIt is a city in a forest, for I have never seen so many trees… big, colourful, graceful trees!

Blackcurrant ChutneyI will write more about Belfast…but, tonight, I am home and have lit the stove, walked Jack and fed Sammy-Bear, Che-Mousey and am ready for bed!

sunset in IrelandThe wind and rain are battering the cottage, but the kettle boils on the stove…it’s good to be home!

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Don’t forget to order your copy of the “Bealtaine Cottage Little Christmas Book.”

These are due to be posted out at the end of the first week of November!

Click on the link at the top of this page…

Juggling, Balancing, Living…

www.bealtainecottage.com 005The woollen blanket dries on the hedge.

The hedge being the perfect spot to hang a woolly blanket that would stretch asunder on a clothes line, or shrivel to dolly size in a drier…not that I have a drier or want to have a drier!

www.bealtainecottage.com 009I agree with Dr Helen Caldicott, in drying clothes in the air and saving the planet from an excessive use of electricity! We need to lessen our daily impact on Mother earth in whatever way we can.

And it’s not just any woolly blanket…it has a pumpkin colour to it…yes, you’ve guessed right, for it belongs to the Pumpkin Mouser, AKA Missy!

Sad to add that she is a sick little peach and is not yet in recovery…we soldier on!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011To balance any hint of sadness, the sun shines and the day is fine.

The trees are beginning to look more mature, since they’ve had a haircut…more a crowning really, as I’ve cut off the lowest branches and thinned out the crowns a little!

www.bealtainecottage.com 015Mind you, it’s just some of the trees…for as you know there are over 900 of them!

I love my trees!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012I have a totally, crazy love for my trees…they are like children, for I talk to them and often times hear their response, in the most sublime ways.

It’s hard to explain, but, I imagine, that as you have chosen to follow this blog, then you understand perfectly!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I suppose you’re wondering where the title of this blog fits into the overall picture?

Well, for most of the past fortnight, Missy has been quite unwell.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018For some of the time it can be depressing, but then I am mindful of Che-Mousey and Sammy-Bear, as well as Jack, so have to force myself to be a pragmatist…something we women are really quite good at!

Juggling what has to be done, with spending time with Missy, really lightens the burden of a failing animal.

This is something that faces us all, whether it be a feline loved one, a canine loved one or a human loved one…the emotional response is a mighty one!

Juggling keeps our focus wide and not tunnelled.

www.bealtainecottage.com 019The work in the gardens still has to be done…no real burden there as it is a delight to be outdoors!

www.bealtainecottage.com 020And then there’s balancing and that means finding time to ensure love is spread out…not forgetting to include oneself.

We must always be kind to ourselves, as this helps us be kind to others!

www.bealtainecottage.com 026We are better human beings for practising kindness as much as we can, for it is highly contagious!

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Living each day, with joy, is the best way we have to channel kindness…well, have you ever seen a happy person be unkind?

 

The Celtic Roots of Samhain

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The bright red of the Ruby Chard will add colour to the Samhain feast!

In Celtic Ireland, Samhain marked  the division of the year between the light (summer) and the dark (winter).

www.bealtainecottage.com 054For me, the customs of my ancestors are important to acknowledge and continue.

This time of tuning into the seasonal shift and preparing for the darkness of the winter months ahead, is important.

Even today, as I stacked these logs in the shelter of the veranda, I couldn’t help but think about Samhain and its meaning as a custom and special tradition.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The Hill of Tara was associated with Samhain in Celtic Ireland, even though it pre-dates the arrival of the Celts themselves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019The passage to the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, constructed some 4,500 to 5,000 years ago, forms the entrance and is aligned with the rising sun around Samhain.

This was constructed even before the Celts arrived in Ireland!

And so, as the leaves fall and cover the earth, we reach Summers End and the beginning of the descent towards Midwinter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 022The Festival of Samhain marked the end of the Celtic year.

  www.bealtainecottage.com 023This is the traditional New Year’s Eve!

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Walking through the gardens at Bealtaine, takes me on a journey similar to the festival of Samhain, for it is all about ending and beginning…as the land pulls its duvet of leaves across its mantle of green, preparing for the beginning of Winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056As Samhain marks the division point in the year between summer and winter, it is understood that any point, in the land where there is division or boundary, can be unsafe at Samhain…for it is there that the veil is at its thinnest!

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, the warmth of the sun continues to enchant!

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Irish Cottage Life

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The permaculture gardens are very wet today…the rain has been quite relentless!

Never mind!

Lots to do indoors and sorting through boxes of “things,” I was happy to find these lovely Yuletide cards.

Doesn’t she look gorgeous in the snow?

As I am receiving orders for the Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book, I thought that I would add these lovely cards, as a way for me to send the book to someone you love, with a card inscribed with your message.

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Anyway, you can have a peek, using the link at the top of the page!

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Missy continues to make a steady recovery, though has refined her taste-buds to a rather expensive prescription cat food, available only from Suzy the Vet, in Boyle.

When I refer to Missy as a “high maintenance gal!” …I’m not kidding!

Please ignore the clothes drying all over the stove today…it is rather wet outdoors!

Makes it really “Shabby Chic” style!

www.bealtainecottage.com 026I take Jack into see Suzy the Vet, tomorrow morning, to have his “thumb nails” clipped.

Jack loves travelling in the car and tries to snap every other vehicle he sees on the road!

Which is why he can only ever be walked on a lead!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Dodging in and out, to collect up the logs, my friend Marian delivered to me yesterday, I still managed to get wet!

I’m stacking them under the shelter of the veranda by the lodge.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Despite the dull, rainy day, the gardens continue to look colourful!

As you can see, the potager beds continue in their abundance, producing herbs, vegetables and flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.com 019There is never any shortage of work to be done here at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Tree coppicing continues along the north bank, in front of the cottage, opening up the view just a little, as well as supplying the stove with kindling and small logs.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The fact is, no matter what the weather is like, it is simply wonderful to be outdoors in the gardens, working here and there!

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Have a good week ahead everyone…Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage X

The Moon of Samhain

www.bealtainecottage.com 028Leaves are changing the trees and shrubs into their vivid autumn attire.

Spiders are scurrying to and fro, spinning webs and catching food.

Berries hang in abundance on shrubs and trees.

Samhain waits in the wings.

The season makes progress towards “Summers’ End.”

www.bealtainecottage.com 015My friend, Marion has delivered some logs to me as a gift…a true and thoughtful friend indeed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Rain has fallen for some days now and the ground is saturated.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034However, Jack must be walked…Walking in the rain is therapeutic and quite humbling, reminding me of the blessings of warmth and comfort in the cottage and the fortune of friendship.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002Last night the moon was full and powerfully bright, illuminating the landscape and the sheep, on the hill behind the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005I love this time of year, my birthday month…a celebration on the 29th, a Scorpio for sure!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012I am driven by passions and am of the Earth…at times a great strength and others my downfall, though little I care!

Scorpio women rarely cast a glance over their shoulder…

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I am blessed in that I love the Earth and her seasons, an endless wardrobe of colours and textures and scents!

www.bealtainecottage.com 008And even here, in my workroom, I can watch her on the stage, through my window.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The lunar cycle is almost complete, the moon of Samhain is next on stage.

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Energy Shift

Have you noticed this?

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Are you aware of this enormous shift in energy that has been happening since last year?

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Have you shifted your own energy, either consciously or not?

www.bealtainecottage.com 008Do you find yourself being more emotional, more thoughtful, more questioning?

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Are you in the process of implementing changes in your own life that you never thought possible?

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Do you find yourself questioning situations and paradigms previously taken for granted?

www.bealtainecottage.com 012There is an openness and awareness that is being driven, not by the corporate media, or government, but from a source that is difficult to articulate.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0141.jpgCan you explain this?

Autumn Seeds, Berries and Lichens

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Harvesting Willow today in the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004This Willow is pollarded rather than coppiced.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The day is fine…good for washing to dry out on the clothes line.

Fresh air and sunshine have an excellent cleansing effect on the materials.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Working so close to the trees, and seeing the lichens and mosses in the sunlight is magical.

Little cobwebs, insects and textures becomes a world all of its’ own.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014An opportunity to admire the berries on the Hawthorn, set against the silver of the bark.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015Clusters of berries on the Ivy continue to develop.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016Not to be out-done…the cerise pink berries on the native Irish Spindle make a show of themselves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 020Seeds on the Alder trees hang low in the bog garden.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021The green of Autumn has a fairytale quality about it…it becomes a woodland green, reflected by silvery, autumnal sun light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031Where summer sun on trees casts darkness underneath, autumn sun creates shadows…

www.bealtainecottage.com 034The Fairy Wood is timeless with trailing ivy and sunlight.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Ivy and moss…

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www.bealtainecottage.com 056Jack and Che-Mousey-Bear play in the sunshine.

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Planning to Beat Poverty

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Pollarded Willow in the upper gardens this afternoon.

Walking around the land gives me an overall perspective of work to be carried out this coming winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007The Autumn is prolonged, as the good weather continues and so the coppicing has begun in earnest!

This is an eight year old Birch tree, that was coppiced in year one, to produce multiple stems.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010It’s very dry and still.

Trees are holding onto their leaves and flowers continue to bloom.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I was shopping in a supermarket in town the other day and noticed a sharp increase in the cost of food.

I really thought that the assistants had made genuine mistakes in the pricing tags on some of the shelves.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001I knew this was coming and have in fact warned about it, but to see the jump in overall food costs is quite scary…it appears to be all of a sudden!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I am aware that the cost of seeds have doubled in some cases…that was the precursor to the food price jump!

Corn is up 92% and corn syrup is in a lot of foods!

The Times of India reports an overall food price rise of 157% between 2004 and 20013

www.bealtainecottage.com 021If ever there was time to embrace the abundance that grows from permaculture it is now!

Even the collection of this bundle of kindling saves vital cash…a bag of kindling at the shops costs on average 3-4 euros!

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Just cleaning up the lane-way to the cottage will produce an excess of kindling and wood for the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Last month The Daily Express UK newspaper reported that, “Rising food prices are causing stress for four in ten consumers, while a third say they are struggling to feed themselves or their family.”

According to “The Mirror,” newspaper, Sep., 2013:
“Food bills rising nearly FOUR times faster than wages, figures show.”

www.bealtainecottage.com 032The dry Autumn will see me out collecting as much wood for fuel as possible.

After all, in the depths of a cold, dark winter, what sustains us better than a warm home, hot, home-made soup and pots of preserves, chutney and pickles in the pantry.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034And not forgetting the home made wine!

Warmth and good food remains within our grasp if we plan for it now!