Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!

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Today I felt a tiny bit sad.

Not for any reason in particular…I’m sure we all feel like this every so often.

Permaculture gardens in April at Bealtaine CottageSo there I was, having a good old wallow in being down, when something caught my eye, causing me to look up.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015It was a simple cameo…a blackbird that peered inquisitively back at me through the kitchen window.

I “heard” the look.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054The beautiful bird brought me a message from Nature, saying, quite simply, “look!”

Parsley growing at Bealtaine Cottage beside old iron kettleAnd so I did.

www.bealtainecottage.com 052I looked out the window.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 001I stepped outside and looked.

Lower pond in flood at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensThere was an entire world around me that was saying, “Step in here and lift your heart up!”

Welcome to the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageSince this morning I have looked and been lifted.

Sammy Cat on the roof of the porch at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandNow, here I am, sat by the keyboard, writing this blog and inviting you to share some uplifting pictures of what I have seen this year…

Buddha at BealtaineThanks to the Divine energy all around us that creates such beauty…Thanks!

fairy wood at bealtaine cottageThanks!

In the Gardens of BealtaineThanks!

Bealtaine Cottage PorchThanks!

Permaculture Midwinter Gathering

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Sprouting winter greens on the kitchen window sill, couldn’t be easier than this…the top of a swede sitting in a saucer of shallow water and left to continue growing and giving!
I shall harvest small leaves to add to stir-fries.
It actually looks quite Christmassy too!
www.bealtainecottage.com 001The seed-heads of Poppy and Honesty, now void of seeds, but perfect for winter displays.
I have harvested all the seeds and am packing them up for distribution across the world…especially for the bees, but also for their extraordinary beauty, even when dried!
www.bealtainecottage.com 003Dried Chillies, ready for packing into containers and storing in the pantry…an effortless way to store food!
www.bealtainecottage.com 012And outside, in the gardens this morning, the colours of winter deepen as the mists continue their journey from the lough.
www.bealtainecottage.com 008Nature’s baubles decorate the bare trees…
www.bealtainecottage.com 016The mild, early winter creates a feast of chocolate scented berries, for the Blackbird, on the Leycestria Formosa…early mornings can be noisy, as birds squabble over this winter feast!
www.bealtainecottage.com 004This old bread tin, bought in a Charity shop in Belfast last month, is ready to be packed with seeds, saved at Bealtaine Cottage…a perfect container for this purpose!
www.bealtainecottage.com 009Potager beds continue to hoard food in this little micro-climate area at the back of the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 013Vibrant red dogwood splashes colour here and there, making winter as joyous an occasion in the gardens as any other season!
www.bealtainecottage.com 015Midwinter, on the 21st of December, is a lovely time to be with loved ones and celebrate!
This year will be easy to gather, as the 21st falls on a Saturday…
I had arranged a get-together for the Sunday, 22nd, but…The Midwinter Gathering is transferred to a closer date…all on the list have been contacted and there’s sure to be some great fun on the day!
 
Enjoy your Gathering!
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 017Blessings X
 

Reconciliation

www.bealtainecottage.com 015The natural world is all around us.

The order of the Universe and the Laws of Creation bind us all.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056For too long now, we have ignored what we are surrounded by, and what, in essence, we rely totally upon.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015We are as much a part of the natural world, as the trees and bees that support us, in air and food.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030Perhaps it is just that we have come to realize this tender link…that current lifestyles are not only destroying our natural world, but are, in effect, destroying us.

That realization is late in coming, but, not too late…it is never too late!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003And so, as in all great wars, what follows is reconciliation.

Understanding how to share, is an essential part of reconciliation.

Making amends as best we can.

open weekend bunting by the gateUnderstanding how to support what supports us.

candle_004_reasonably_smallNurturing life instead of celebrating death…

I am reminded of pictures I have seen on the web recently, of smiling, celebratory faces, hovering over the dead and bloodied body of a magnificent animal…an elephant.

Just one of many!

bealtaine poster moonThe mindset of destruction, of triumphalism over Mother Nature and the natural world…this must be shriven if we are to survive as a species on this planet.

Reconciliation begins with acknowledgement.

Berries on the HawthornAcknowledgement it is possible to have a terrible darkness within us, that rejoices in destruction.

Hell is not a place apart.

We carry Hell, or not…our choice!

Sunset in the window of Bealtaine CottageYears ago, I watched, as a young man pulled the legs off a dragonfly.

It was with sadness, but no surprise, to learn, that he later took to abusing alcohol and met an early death.

I don’t think his parents ever really thought about what he did to the dragonfly that day, as we all sat around at that picnic gathering.

Nor am I saying that this is the end product of such cruelty.

No.

Pond in May at Bealtaine CottageIt is that we must rediscover our connection to, and respect of, Mother Nature.

Why?

For Mother Nature is, in fact, Mother Nurture…we rest in her arms.

All life is sacred.

When we abuse that sacredness, we create Hell.

A Good Barter

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The boys have lain on the sofa for much of the day, listening to music of one sort and another, as I have worked around them.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The sewing machine in the Lodge has been clicking away, as I sort and sew material into pillow-cases.

It’s difficult to find good cotton pillow-cases, unless one is prepared to visit the city and a shop like Laura Ashley…in my dreams, methinks!

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Living on limited means, far from any city, just about means making it oneself!

I prefer to sew anyway, as the quality of items can be more easily regulated.

As the light of day fades into evening, other work comes into focus…

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Making sure there are plenty of logs in the baskets for the evening, along with tidying up the woodpile to make it safe from collapse!

www.bealtainecottage.com 025This is just one of several, that keep getting bigger, as my friend brings me more logs, in return for home-made wine!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012I took a walk around the upper gardens just as the light was fading.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018The leaves have almost finished their drop and cover the earth with such colour, that I have no intention of tidying them up…anywhere!

www.bealtainecottage.com 027Back indoors it’s time to switch on the main lamps and make a cosy nest for the evening.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030My little headless Venus is complete with her autumn face of berries, as the light fades into Midwinter darkness.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031Stay warm this evening…Blessings X

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Just a few left of the second and last print run…

https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

The Heart of the Matter

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Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre is a wonderful place for any unwanted dog or cat to end up…because 97% of these poor, abandoned animals are re-homed!

Today I visited Christine Coulson, the lady whose dedicated commitment to the welfare of animals in this part of Ireland, made the sanctuary possible.

Chistine opened this light of hope for the unwanted and stray cats and dogs, back in 1997 and has worked continuously, for the protection and welfare of abandoned animals.

Back in September, I held an “Open Gardens” fundraiser for Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre and raised 610 euros…thanks to all the friends and supporters of Bealtaine Cottage, who came from all over Ireland and sent donations from all over the world!

Christine has been quite ill over these past few months and was only well enough recently for this presentation to take place.

I’m sure you’ll all raise a glass with me, in wishing this great woman, good health, now and in the future.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Back in the cottage, I’ve been busy making cards.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004The theme of hearts is compelling for me…drawn towards the heart as a symbol, not just of love, but of compassion, hope and trust.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Celtic designs are also a passion of mine…the intricacy of the knot-work fascinates and soothes.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Hearts and cats…inseparable!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011And hearts and seeds, for the love of bees!

(I will be adding a little section to the top of the website especially for hand-made cards…X)

Ghosts

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Winter has finally gripped the land.

Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The evening sky turns a cold blue.

Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen.

Winter is here!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Sliabh An Iarainn Mountain catches the dying rays of a winter sun.

Cleaving  the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.

 Ancient  legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place.

 Descending in a thick mist, the Tuatha De Danann found the mountain and the lough.

The mountain contained deposits of iron, and so the magical people proceeded to forge the first metal weapons in Ireland.

There followed a mighty battle with the Tribe of the Formorians, nearby at Magh Tuireadh…and so the legends began.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Willful and determined, like ancient tribes who once battled on this land, Fuchsia continues to hold their flowers, in sheltered parts of the gardens.

There are pockets of Bealtaine that refuse to give up Summer, protecting and nurturing flowers through to Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Kilronan Mountain holds sway to the north of Bealtaine Cottage, washed with shades of purple in the early evening thin winter air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Of all of Ireland, the mountains and valleys of this part hold most history, legend and mystery.

The Tuatha De Danann, as legend tells us, never died, but were banished underground.

They became the Sidhe…the Fairies.

On an evening like this, the ethereal energy of the Tuatha De Danann is almost tangible…

 

A video from Bealtaine…Towards Midwinter…enjoy X

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOu72QAAkro

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Blessings X

Fairy Lights

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Winter sunlight turns bare branches, that drip with rain, into fascinating fairy lights.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Silver prisms of fantasy, dangling precariously from thin Birch trees.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The days of light and dark are confused with bright full moons, illuminating the bare landscape…

www.bealtainecottage.com 015This is a delightful time of year, as the sun makes its steady progress downwards, ever down…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Light is delicate and unpredictable, sometimes overwhelming in its glow, at others, just a whisper of the day.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Entire worlds are captured in water droplets.

Fitting too, as water and sun give life.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026The coppicing continues and long branches are hauled up from the gardens to the dry environment of the veranda.

This is next year’s fuel for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Seeds continue to be sorted and packaged.

www.bealtainecottage.com 037These are special little packs requested for Yuletide gifts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Poppies are easy to sow…simply sprinkle!

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Most of the second run of Christmas booklets have been posted… all over the world! https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

The few remaining will not sit here for long.

www.bealtainecottage.com 020It’s strange sorting seeds at this time of year, as it seems that summer was only yesterday…gosh but the time passes quickly!

A Room with a View

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“All our wisdom is stored in the trees.”
― Santosh Kalwar

Continuing this love affair with trees…

www.bealtainecottage.com 004…the view from every window in Bealtaine Cottage…

www.bealtainecottage.com 001trees, trees, beautiful trees!

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“When trees burn, they leave the smell of heartbreak in the air.”
― Jodi Thomas, Welcome to Harmony

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“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die

www.bealtainecottage.com 011To plant a tree is to make a statement of faith in the future.

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“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”
― William Blake

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“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am into a second print run and am posting from today, Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy…

https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings from Bealtaine X

The Wood in the Willows

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This is when the coppicing begins…early winter as soon as the leaves have fallen.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011This Willow will make excellent logs for the stove, once properly seasoned.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The thinner bits will be added to the kindling pile and left to dry.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Coppicing allows for continual regeneration of woodland and is an excellent way to help young woodland get established.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036This is a selective process and involves wonderful interaction with Nature, as it is slow and steady work.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003This is the interface of the young woodland, colourful and vibrant!

www.bealtainecottage.com 044The warmth of Bealtaine Cottage on a Winter’s night, is fast becoming dependent on this most under-appreciated of all our natural resources…trees!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012As I work through small areas of the gardens, it allows me time to tidy up some of the paths…though allowing the leaves to stay where they fall, as this helps to build soil and define pathways.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Buddha sits among the leaves…

www.bealtainecottage.com 024Meanwhile, down in the Bog Garden, little Che-Mousey enjoys the November sunshine and temperatures of 14 oC!

www.bealtainecottage.com 032Spindle continues to hang onto its berries…

www.bealtainecottage.com 048And the Potager beds, at the back of the cottage, continue to deliver food for the table…

www.bealtainecottage.com 039So far its been a beautifully mild early winter, making the season seem much shorter!

A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am into a second print run and am posting from today, Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy…

https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings from Bealtaine X