Magical Woodland by an Irish Castle

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Stepping into a magical woodland can be one of the most healing and re-energizing acts of care for oneself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis morning I ventured into the woods around Kilronan Castle and the mystical Lough Meelagh, a short distance from Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com I’m glad to have brought my little camera, as am now able to share this enchantment with you.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis sacred place nestles into the valley that sweeps off towards Sligo and the Atlantic Ocean.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Lough is dotted with Crannogs…ancient dwelling places constructed by ancestral forces on the Lough itself. You can just see this Crannog in the distance.

www.bealtainecottage.comThese were places of safety in times of a forested land where wild animals posed a threat and tribal invasions were part of life.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Lough has risen high along the gentle shoreline, where moss and lichen hold sway.

www.bealtainecottage.comTree roots have loosened in the storm ridden rain and some have given way into the dark, watery depths.

www.bealtainecottage.comBirds sing out merry above me as I walk and trees groan in the windy heights… the wind has washed the sky a summer blue.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt is here that I remember my mother and her gentle passing…her energy has joined the forces sweeping in Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com If it were just possible for a moment in time to lift the veil and peer inside, for it seems that this woodland hides many secrets.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so the path bears me forward on this fine day…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs the blue sky deepens and colours…

www.bealtainecottage.comLittle wonder our ancestors regarded these places as sacred…

www.bealtainecottage.comFor they are!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe path diverges as in the Robert Frost poem, though choice is not difficult, for the path loops round and brings one back.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy this time my spirit has been lifted high into the trees, my mind calm and serene and energy charged.

www.bealtainecottage.comAll is well.

The magic flows within.

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“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”
Wendell Berry

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The Best Medicine!

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Lists are great things to spend time on.

Despite the wet weather, I’ve been busy making a comprehensive list of what to grow …and the reasons why I should.

The ability to store food is at the forefront of my thinking.

I’ve discovered this year that Beetroot stores very well indeed.

Not just that it stores well, but is a first class root vegetable in the making of healthy juice.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is one taken from a box in the pantry and cut open to be juiced.

Last year was the first year that I grew this wonderful root vegetable and was surprised at how easy it was to grow! www.bealtainecottage.comThe tunnel is now ready to sow.

Most of the seeds will go into the polystyrene fish boxes I used last year.

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply scattered the seeds into the filled boxes and pricked out the seedlings as they came on…the healthiest were those from boxes where the seed was all mixed in together and in no particular order!

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby Chard

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard

Greens are next on my list…and again, in no particular order, just greens!

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

As a vegetarian who tries to avoid dairy, greens are an important part of my diet.

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

I add greens to my juice every day to stay fit and healthy.

Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.

Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.

I have lived at Bealtaine Cottage for almost ten years and have only needed to visit my doctor once.

The best medicine...fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!

The best medicine…fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!

During this time I have not suffered a cold or infection and never stayed a day in bed…something I must treat myself to at some point!

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

All the Herb beds were cut back and the paths in-between covered with straw…

to keep the weeds down.

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Sometimes we do not even need to sow or plant, as foraging for wild food can produce excellent results.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

When I lived in London there were many places that bordered on wilderness and produced masses of food.

Permaculture cottage November 2011 005

There’s a growing movement to get local and municipal councils to plant fruit and nut trees in public parks and highways.

November 2011 079Resilience has it’s foundations in food security and is an aspect of life we need to take more seriously, but, more importantly, see that it not only gets onto the political agenda, but stays at the top of all planning!

If you wish you can subscribe to the latest website from Bealtaine Cottage…”Bealtaine Cottage Good Life”…simply make a donation of 12 euros for a full year and access the long list of blogs now on site. Quote: “Bealtaine Cottage Good Life” with your donation.

(Please note that this small donation sustains the work on this website, Bealtaine Cottage YouTube, Bealtaine Cottage Podcast and Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens FaceBook.)

 

Monet in Gaia’s Garden

Coppiced wood makes one neat pile to be used in the wood stove next winter.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe small logs burn very well in the wood stove and give tremendous heat!

The building of the next pile is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comMuch of today has been spent cutting back the growth on the stream that carries the water into the ponds.

Che-Mousey-Bear has stayed in the Bog Garden with me as I worked, keeping me entertained… www.bealtainecottage.comas you can see!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe lower pond looked like a Monet painting…

www.bealtainecottage.comin the soft afternoon light after the storm.

www.bealtainecottage.comEthereal…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I worked silently along the banks of the stream, frogs croaked, mating, swimming and spawning in both ponds.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe spawn was visible…

www.bealtainecottage.comand floated in big chunks across the water and weeds.

www.bealtainecottage.comWillow and Dogwood was pruned back and cuttings inserted along the stream banks,

www.bealtainecottage.comwhere they will root and keep the earth from being eroded by the ever-increasing rain…this is building resilience and adapting to Climate Change!

www.bealtainecottage.comBirdsong filled the gardens all afternoon and Coltsfoot made an early show of yellow flowers in the gravel…

www.bealtainecottage.comnear the lower pond.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

Heartfelt thanks for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Know Your Seeds

August 2011 permaculture cottage 010There are basically four different kinds of seed you can purchase.

  1. Open Pollinated Seed.    Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland 001
    This is the most natural seed, simply because it has not been interfered with in any laboratory.Seed growing in the polytunnel in late April at Bealtaine Cottage
    This seed is pollinated by Nature…bees, insects and wind. Occasionally by us too as we brush up against flowers and accidentally get pollen on our clothes, carrying it to another flower and so on. Permaculture Cottage August 2011 007Sometimes we help Mother Nature a little by gently brushing the pollen from one flower to another. It’s all good! August 2011 permaculture cottage 024These seeds are what are commonly referred to more and more as “Organic” on the packaging. August 2011 permaculture cottage 010Organic seeds are fast becoming more difficult to obtain in Garden Shops etc. August 2011 permaculture cottage 008This is because the big seed companies are busy buying up the small seed companies, leaving the consumer with less and less choice!
  2. Gloria, me and FloHigh Yielding Seed.    These look attractive in the packet, with lots of blurb attached to get you to buy, but, these seeds thrive on chemicals and are sort of married to chemicals too! Definitely not organic and in many cases a danger to bees and insects.
  3. www.bealtainecottage.comHybrids.   These are actually designed not to be saved!
  4. www.bealtainecottage.com 006G.E. Seed.   Otherwise known as GM, GMO and all about genetic engineering Nature and patenting the result. These seeds are injected with chemicals and then patented by corporations such as Monsanto. Monsanto declares to be above God Almighty, by stating, and being supported by US Law, that it created the seed!

Bealtaine Cottage 2nd August 2011 Permaculture Cottage 007This is merely a guide for you to build on.

August 2011 permaculture 048Find out all you can about seed, for it is your future and that of your children.

Veranda at Bealtaine CottageVandana Shiva: The seed in its essence is all of the past evolution of the Earth, the evolution of human history, and the potential for future evolution. The seed is the embodiment of culture because culture shaped the seed with careful selection—women picked the best, diversified. So from one grass you get 200,000 rices.

That is a convergence of human intelligence and nature’s intelligence. It is the ultimate expression of life, and in our language, it means “that from which life arises on its own, forever and ever and ever.”

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July permaculture 2011 008Here at Bealtaine Cottage in the West of Ireland I save seed…grown under Permaculture conditions which seek to protect both the integrity of the seed and the environment!

Open pollinated seed is available from Bealtaine Cottage.

Click on the link below to see the current list of seed.

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

A Grievous Sin

midwinter cottage 012The biggest threat to our food security lurks in the shadowy depths of the Halls of Power…the buildings housing the European Parliament in Brussels.

www.bealtainecottage.com 037You may or may not be aware of something called The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

www.bealtainecottage.com 002TTIP is a trade agreement presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006In my estimation, this will allow full and unfettered access to our food production, from multi-national corporations, such as Monsanto, that carry the weapon of GMOs.

Polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens in April 2013I call this manifestation of utter madness, GMOs, a weapon, because that is precisely what it is…and a weapon that will cause more devastation to the environment than anything concocted in laboratories ever before!

An early bee in April 2013 at bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensThis is already the case in the US, as small farmers, producing Organic food, are hauled before courts accused of property rights violations by Monsanto.

April 2011. Permaculturecottage 001Monsanto claims ownership of any plant material infected by their GMOs!

April 2011 Earth Day at bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensOnce this insidious and odious polluted seed of mass destruction is unleashed into the environment of Europe, supported in Law by the TTIP, then the takeover will be fast-tracked by our own governments, who are mandated by us to protect us, not US Corporate interests!

April  Bealtaine Cottage PolytunnelThe countdown to the ultimate weapon of mass control and destruction is under way.

April 2011 Bealtaine 001You need to know what is happening.

April 2011 Bealtaine 011Knowledge is power.

April 2011 Bealtaine 003For my part, I will not comply with any law that says a corporation controls and profits from the very essence of life itself…seed.

April 2011 bealtaine Cottage 042For their part, all they have done is take the seed of the Divine Creator and pollute it.

April Bealtaine Cottage 2011 004That, in my eyes, is a grievous sin.

Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there… https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!

No More Seed Available At Present!

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              Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
                                                    There are almost 800 blogs in the archives on this site.

I write, photograph and film, in a small way, to give a voice to Mother Earth.

Permaculture Gardens

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The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.

www.bealtainecottage.comMeanwhile, down in the Fairy Wood, ferns have kept their green in the shelter of the dell. Mosses grow bright in the sunlight and ivy twists and twirls around the Goat Willow.

www.bealtainecottage.comLots of Goat Willow has been coppiced over recent months, and although it takes a year or so to season, it makes excellent logs for the stove, giving out masses of heat for free!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, Pine, laurel and Great Western Cedar all grow happily together and appear healthy in the spring sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comDaffodils are on their way to opening under the shelter of the Beech hedge. This is down beside the pond by the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd as I turn around from the Daffodils, the Ivy that hangs from some of the mature Goat Willow, swings about in the wind and sunshine…this is turning into a lovely walk around the gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.comI amble around the lower pond, snapping as I go…Jack moves ahead of me, tugging on his lead for he has picked up the scent of a fox or badger!

www.bealtainecottage.comI put my camera away and let Jack pull me along, hot on the scent of other life…we finally stop as we come up to the east side of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comWe move around towards the polytunnel and one of the orchards. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are now devoid of berries. This can be a hungry time for the birds as they mate and nest…there is a big bag of Oats I can scatter around in handfuls for the hungry birds and will do this later.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to the cottage and the shelter of the veranda…it’s very stormy, despite the sunshine!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith a full moon over Bealtaine Cottage tonight and a hard frost to come, the evening will be cold for sure.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe coppicing continues and the woodpile grows…

www.bealtainecottage.comFennel is beginning to send forth lots of new growth in the shelter of the veranda and the back of the cottage. These new shoots are delicious added to salad!

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd just across from the Fennel…

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd a reminder for anyone wanting 100% Bealtaine seeds from Bealtaine Cottage…there is a link at the top of this page where you can choose what you want.

Don’t Wait For The Cavalry!

www.bealtainecottage.comSammy-Bear is filthy.

From head to paw, disgusting in the extreme!

Last night, as the moon came towards its fullest, Sammy refused to come in.

As I walked Jack in the full light of a post storm moon, I could see Sammy on the hill behind the cottage darting here and there as he chased something.

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Hours later he slunk home in this disgraceful state!

He refuses to clean himself, ignoring my chastisements and sits in full state, on the executive chair, in front of the stove!

I may as well talk to the wall!

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There is a full moon tonight and the air is still.

Over recent days the storms have been intense, with rain, snow, wind and tornado!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe extremes of weather are being felt all across the world.

The British Isles have been hit quite badly with floods and high winds all over.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe effects of this extreme weather in terms of financial cost has not been talked about too much in the media.

There appears to be an Ostrich reaction to it all, as economies are talked up and realities are ignored.

www.bealtainecottage.comI don’t feel I need to write about the cost to our environments, as I do so all the time really, but the financial cost to countries will be immense and will certainly slow any hoped-for economic recovery.

www.bealtainecottage.comSo it is well worth mentioning once more the power we all have, to grow food and make plans for our own home economies as best we can!

I might add here, that our worst, can only really equal the best that our own governments appear to be doing in the face of environmental disaster.

By applying common sense and with a little foresight and planning, we will ensure some security of tenure on this battered planet.

www.bealtainecottage.com 058For my part, planting trees for coppicing and energy needs will ensure a warm home next winter.

Storing and familiarising myself with the use of dried pulses, growing and successfully storing home-grown produce, as well as becoming well-versed in the very best home-made soups and potage dishes, continues to occupy my spare time.

candle_004_reasonably_smallMy advice, for what it’s worth…Don’t Wait For The Cavalry!

An Evening with Mr D’Arcy

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Snow is falling this evening.
It has fallen in small flurries all day, only to melt and try again.
This evening the snow is sticking.
A near full moon rose in the afternoon sky.
Spring has scurried back under a blanket of white.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe oven is very hot as the stove has been kept topped up with wood, so I have slid a tray of vegetables onto the top shelf to roast…always a healthy, tasty meal.
What remains will be blended into a soup, with stock and red lentils…tomorrows lunch!
DSCF0480I visited the library in town today and borrowed  books and DVDs, always good value, as the yearly membership of less than ten euros covers all loans, unlimited throughout the year.
DSCF0478Tonight will be a cosy time watching Pride and Prejudice, (The BBC version) on DVD in the lodge, wood-burning stove hot and kettle boiling for tea atop!
www.bealtainecottage.comIt will be cosy enough to enjoy the thought of snow all around the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a dreadful thing to be cold.
If I relied on Electric, Gas or Oil, I would be huddled in blankets for sure, as all are prohibitively expensive.
The advantage of the wood stove is that I can even burn old pallet wood in it and be assured of heat.
The skips in cities are filled with waste wood and many people are cold…this is nonsensical!
www.bealtainecottage.comEarlier today, as the sun shone into the cottage, Jack spread himself across the floor, enjoying the day that was.
www.bealtainecottage.comIt was lovely to watch him lapping up the Spring sunshine.
www.bealtainecottage.comThere has been a small lapse back into winter, but Spring is here!

Free to Install, Renewable, Clean Energy

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Coppicing has taken up much of the day.

It’s remarkable just how much wood can be grown from scratch on a small amount of land.

It’s safe to say that there is a surplus of wood here, much of which will continue to grow until next winter.

Coppicing increases the amount of wood growing, as each cut tree will produces up to half a dozen more trees and so the stock increases.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe logs are easy to cut, no chainsaw is required and the cut wood dries out quicker.

The brushwood makes excellent kindling!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the most environmentally friendly energy on the planet, totally renewable and beneficial to wildlife, water and air!

Can it get any better?

Then why, oh why are governments not rushing to plant deciduous trees and develop wood-burning stove systems in homes? 

 

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Cutting back hedging and dead growth continues apace…I can see the steps once more!

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Spurge has come up early, carpeting the Fairy Wood with soft green.

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There is a gradual movement of green through the land from this Spurge, all the way through to the Mosses and Lichens of Autumn.

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The badgers will come through the wood soon and disturb some of this Spurge in their quest for food, but that disturbance will help in the spreading of this lovely carpet.

As it begins to die back a little, the primroses will make their appearance…and so the succession continues.

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Clouds have maintained a westerly sweep, in from the Atlantic Ocean, heavy with rain.

The wind has calmed down, thankfully…I worry that my cottage roof may get blown away.

It’s old and in need of replacement!

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 More rain is on the way.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe forecast is simply that, more rain to follow!

www.bealtainecottage.comStill, living on a hill is a bonus, for as I turn around and point the camera at the  wide expanse of sky, it is blue…and there’s the moon!