A Day in Early Spring


Juicing is a great way to ensure one has the maximum of vitamins and minerals and this is something I do every day.
It’s also a reason to keep greens growing all the year around, as even small bits can be added to the juicer and vital vitamins extracted.
I’ve used some small bits of Kale that have escaped the frost and storms.
There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!
Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken! Baskets, Fedges and Obelisks are standing here!
These beds are fairly sheltered and continue to produce Kale, which is processed in the juicer.
Fine Willow used in basket weaving waiting to be harvested. The gardens look colourful all the way through Winter, as the stems of Willow, Dogwood, Ash and Birch are revealed.
So much rain has fallen here in Ireland this Winter and now, in the early days of Spring, the flooding has begun to dominate the landscape. Here at Bealtaine cottage I spent much time in the early days digging out drains and water channels, as well as keeping them maintained over the past ten years…and it has paid off, as you can see from the lower pond. The water runs free, out into the streams and rivers that take it to the Atlantic Ocean. 
In sheltered areas all over the gardens the ferns have remained green, though a little bit droopy. The winter was mild and warm, with plenty of rain!
This is the beginning of the wood pile for next winter. It comprises of coppiced logs of Birch, Ash and Hazel. The twiggy bits are thrown into the back of the pile as they make wonderful kindling! These logs may be small, but are perfect for a small wood-burning stove!
I’ve been stocking up on straw recently, as this makes great mulch around the garden helping to suppress weeds and line paths.
www.bealtainecottage.comGreen Beech hold their leaves right through Winter, adding even more colour and shelter to the gardens! 
And look who’s keeping an eye on me as I type…my loyal Jack!


  1. ?I love your posts, I’m here on mainland Britain working in the forests teaching children ‘Forest Schools’ which I and they love.

    But your posts provide a window to a world seemingly far away but I’m sure very real and tough for you!

    I love your sustainability, your garden, your tennacity (not sure about the spelling) and above all the outlook you have and synchronicity with the seasons. Keep posting…..


  2. Aargh! I’m trying to get my willow cut as well. My really early willow is already budding… good for the bees, bad for me! You would laugh to see me out with a torch trying to harvest as much as I can before spring beats me to it.

  3. Hi Colette, another lovely post. I am just wondering about a tree in photo 5 – the photo with the willow and dogwood in the background – what kind of tree is it in the right foreground? I think we have one and I have not been able to identify it. I hope you are well. I was just thinking about our visit to you this time last year and how enjoyable it was. I have decanted the wine and we are looking forward to enjoying it around Bealtaine. Love and best wishes from Terri and Lol xxx

    • The wonderful Ash tree…easy to grow and coppices really well! Ash wood can be burned on the fire on the same day as it is cut. Today is beautiful, but a big storm is on the way…batten down the hatches!
      Blessings XXX Colette

  4. I is so nice to read your blog and see so much life and colour! Here (Virginia USA) it has been the coldest winter EVER and everything is frozen solid. Typical as I planted a winter garden of Kale, Broccoli, Sprouts and cabbage and haven’t been able to eat any of it as it is frozen solid! Hoping the weather improves soon so I can start seeds in the Green House and get the gardens goings again
    Hugs, Lyn

  5. It is lovely seeing the first flushes of spring through the eyes of someone who actually wants it to heat up ;). Oh I LOVE Jack 🙂 You can see a dogs personality in his eyes and Jack is wise and wonderful and what a loyal friend 🙂 Bezial and Earl say “Hi Jack”

  6. Getting ready to retire from teaching ecology and microbiology at university. Reading your posts daily has helped me confirm my conclusion that classrooms and labs and field trips and such are not the best way to effect change in our habits and life ways in relation to the planet. Real “grounding” is needed. How to teach that to the next generations? Not sure. You are looking to move on from permaculture cottage to tree planting. I’m looking to move on from organic gardens and Higher Ed to a permaculture school of some sort. I would say “teaching in a permaculture school” but teacher and pupil may not be the best way to think about it, or to do such.

Your comments are welcome!