Morning

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 020

Morning in the west of Ireland on a perfect day in late June.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 021The back door of the cottage is open; wood pigeons call softly to one another as blackbirds swoop noisily in and out of the blackcurrant bushes, feasting on the heavily laden stems.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 022Morning…full of stillness and promise, the prelude to a hot, dry day of high summer.

The cottage will remain a cool sanctuary, as the heat of the day rises golden over the hill of Ballyfermoyle.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 024Birds will swoop along paths of shade, wings outstretched catching the earthy updraft of chill. 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 026“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird  

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 031“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there.”
― Francis Thompson 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 028The hill at the back of the cottage captures the sounds of the birds, holding them close before echoing onto the walls and through the open door into the cool recesses of the stone.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 029Leaving this sacred place would never sit easy in my heart, for all that is Bealtaine Cottage has been co-created with the great Mother: Earth, Gaia, Nature…whatever insufficient name we draw upon to express the mystery of the Divine.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 033My dream to plant a forest will come to pass…in some divine way… 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 036I dream and manifest the vision in sleep and wakedness.

One day, a beautiful morning such as this will shine through onto a young forest floor, illuminating the darkness of a greed-stricken world. 

Bartering

28 June 2014 004

Bartering home made wine for time spent fixing my computer is fantastic and affordable…this afternoon was spent in the company of two friends, who did great work for me, in return for some giggle tonic; what happens when you drink this potent Blackcurrant wine.

28 June 2014 002Jack has just returned with me from his early evening walk.

He is in desperate need of a brush as he’s moulting all over the place!

He gets all soppy when I brush his coat.

Sheepdogs are very loyal and just a wee bit crazy too!

28 June 2014 005A cottage garden gets away from all sense of colour co-ordination, as you can see here!

Many of the perennials are starting to go over a little bit as the height of Midsummer has passed.

28 June 2014 003This can be a good time to cut back on some in order to get a late summer blossoming too.

The Geranium thrives on a twice yearly cut back.

28 June 2014 006This little Fig tree grows well in a half barrel, being squashed into a tight corner with other plants and even a Rose bush; Figs thrive in tight spots!

28 June 2014 001There was a time when Ireland was dotted with little white-washed cottage, all proudly hosting red Perlagoniums on their low window sills every summer.

Sad to think those days of simple living have passed and people are no happier really!

28 June 2014 008
Ox-Eye Daisies run riot all over the top part of the gardens, thriving in the limestone gravel with carefree abandon! So often dismissed as weeds, these wild flowers are undemanding and drought tolerant. 

28 June 2014 009Nasturtiums are coming into their own and the bees are having a real feast.

28 June 2014 010An outdoors coffee table and chair…why not?

Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.

Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!

Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

Excavating the Past…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (22)

Easy to grow salads, almost ready to eat from the box!

This mixture of seeds, mostly saved seeds, so the cost is minimal, has taken about 3 weeks to germinate and grow, outdoors.

Coriander, Parsley, Lettuce, Spinach, Leeks, fennel and more, all jostle together.

These will be cut and cut again for several harvests.

Some of the bigger, stronger seedlings will be pricked out and planted on.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (23)I want to thank all of you who commented and liked on yesterday’s blog…this has really energized me!

Living on one’s own can be quiet at times and it was so great to get such lively and uplifting feedback…bless you all XXX

bealtainecottage.com permacultureI love to forage and dig about at old dump sites, many of which can be found around old Irish cottages.

Nothing was ever thrown, but rather placed in the ditch or bank, so when people like myself excavate decades later, much of what we find remains intact.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (2)This is a selection of old bottles dug up and cleaned.

Some of them are really beautiful, don’t you think?  

Among other things, the practice of excavating old sites is directly linked to antique bottle collecting and glass-making. 

This hobby is so very interesting as it allows a picture of the past to be slowly unraveled and a new tapestry created of past lives.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (24)As I write there is a light spray of rain in the air…it is barely falling!

The ground has been dry and water levels in wells have  dropped in recent weeks.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (4)A week of rain would be very welcome.

The  rain-water barrels have served me well, but are now empty.

Close planting has helped preserved the moisture in all of the beds.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (3)The dry weather has also been great for seed collection.

I have hung Mizuna and Purple Sprouting Broccoli in the barn to dry off.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (7)This Parsley seed will be ready to hang very soon.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (5)Hover-flies buzz endlessly around the flower-heads of the Cotoneaster.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (6)Leycestria Formosa grows like a weed here in the west of Ireland and the flower-heads transform into chocolate-scented berries much loved by the Blackbirds.

In between, it makes a beautiful bush…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (8)Summer prevails and may continue long into September, making a seamless merge into late Autumn.

Enjoy every day in some small way…Blessings X

Bealtaine Cottage has a brand new website…it’s called Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…TO READ MORE, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEW WEBSITE. SEE:

https://bealtainecottage.com/2015/04/01/an-invitation/

To access the site once donation is confirmed…

https://bealtainecottage.wordpress.com/

Obsession

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (14)

Morning light floods the kitchen.

The sky opens early revealing a mist over the valley.

It’s been very dry here in the west of Ireland, so morning mist adds a little dew to the plants and is very welcome.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (15)I am busy writing my book, all about Bealtaine Cottage and how it grew from barren monoculture into Eden, with some permaculture magic!

As I write, I compare this ten year journey to that of my great grandmother, Mary Ann, who felt compelled to leave the comforts of a small town and re-invent her life, on a small farm, in the countryside around Omagh.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (16)At the age of fifty four, during the great depression of the 1930’s, Mary Ann Baxter strode into a property auction being held in the town hall and bought, for cash, a small farm.

This swallowed up her entire life savings!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (18)My great grandmother was a remarkable woman, for in the 1930’s, a woman in her fifties was considered old and good for little!

Not alone that, women did not do anything as bold and individual as buying property, on their own, at an auction!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (19)The farm became her life and she slept for the next twenty years in a big brass bed in the barn…never in the little cottage which she kept pristine!

Her story is simply enchanting and I promised my father to write it…and I will!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (20)In the meantime the story of this obsessive desire to live close to Mother Earth continues to be written.

The first four chapters are posted on this website and I would be happy to receive any comments you may care to leave…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (21)Talking of which…I know there are many, many subscribers to this blog, running into the thousands and often wonder why so few use the “Like” button at the end of the blog.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (17)It does my heart good to see that what I write is appreciated 🙂 and maintaining a spirit of generosity in photographing and posting regularly is helped by appreciation, so please take the few seconds to like.  

Plundering the Future

bealtainecottage.com permaculture

All our wealth comes from the natural world.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (3)Looking out upon the Midsummer Solstice morning makes me want to weep…for what are we doing to our beautiful planet?

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (2)This is a stark realization, in terms of how we relate to Mother Earth, for we can survive without most material goods, but cannot survive without good food and clean water.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (5)Much of what we eat and drink today is predicated on the use of massive amounts of chemicals…and all being pumped into, or spread upon, Mother Earth.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (6)We are not just soiling the nest, we are destroying the habitat around it.

Not even animals do this!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (7)Somewhere in all of this are people with real concerns, who are aware of the dangers ahead; only some people though, as many are still unaware, or refusing to face reality.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (10)The reality is, in my opinion, quite stark.

One only has to start looking at the figures, such as loss of topsoil, loss of food growing agricultural land, number of force fed, factory farmed animals raised for excessive consumption on an annual basis.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (8)The list goes on and on and the figures add up to frightening and alarming of destruction of habitat, for they point directly to an unsustainable world.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (9)Unsustainable growth and development is when we plunder the future of our children, restricting their lives for our own wants and desires.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (12)The health and well-being of future generations is dependent upon us all being mindful of caring for our Mother Earth and all her bounty.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (13)Living lightly is not living without, but living with a care for our environment, our habitat and the children whose faces we will never see…

We will be remembered for our caring, or scorned for our destruction…

********************************

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

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 720 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site.

As an Ark for Nature, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU. Everything created here is self-funded.

Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.

Blessings X

Into the Turning

www.bealtainecottage.comThe bonfire of Midsummer night has died down.

www.bealtainecottage.com 039
The midnight sky stays light on the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Bats encircle the cottage, as stars emerge into the darkness.

cavan burren 2The day has passed into the Turning…of the light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008As the light passes into the lazy warmth of an enduring summer, visitors to Bealtaine Cottage come and go.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.www.bealtainecottage.com 042Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011There is little to concern oneself with, as Nature holds sway.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031These are the gentle days of Midsummer. 

Summer Cottage

bealtainecottage.com

 

The heat of the day subsides into late evening.

A gloriously hot and sultry summer day.

bealtainecottage.com (2)The birds appear to have wakened in the cool of evening, filling the air with song and calls, as though they’d spent the day in the shade of the nest, keeping still and cool.

bealtainecottage.com (3)The grass paths are mowed in the upper gardens and plants cut back to allow safe passage.

This is Ireland at her best, with long cool evenings complete with blue sky until nearly the witching hour. bealtainecottage.com (4)Just as the fragrant roses have gone over on the veranda, archways of roses burst into being.

Roses and Virginia Creeper support one another in a frenzy of growth.

bealtainecottage.com (5)Less than a week until the Midsummer Solstice and the Earth knows.


bealtainecottage.com (7)She sings a song of endless summer days and green abundance.

Seeds are forming.

bealtainecottage.com (8)Fruit develops and ripens.

bealtainecottage.com (9)Blackcurrants darken and plump out.

bealtainecottage.comGeraniums spill out from under Blackcurrant bushes.

bealtainecottage.com (10)Lady’s Mantle flowers and falls over, drunk with summer!

bealtainecottage.com (11)And the Bealtaine Angel is surrounded by rose petals at Summer Cottage.

Otherworldly…

www.bealtainecottage.com

 Sunday afternoon…picking flowers in the gardens.

This feels like the full, quiet days before giving birth…

bealtainecottage.comThe force of the full moon can still be felt in the stillness of the late afternoon air.

bealtainecottage.com (2)There is an otherworldly feel to it all… Time appears to stand very still.

bealtainecottage.com (3)Bees continue in a frenzy of work on this side of the Solstice.

I have often felt a slowness as time ascends towards Midsummer…it’s as though Mother Earth is not yet ready to let go…

bealtainecottage.com (4)Evenings merge with night as daylight seems eternal in the west of Ireland…Ox-Eye Daisies reach up toward the sun, basking in summer.

bealtainecottage.com (5)Returning from Belfast and the soft hum of the city to this place of quiet solitude, this otherworldly paradise of sights and scents…

bealtainecottage.com (6)Far back from the lane, this little cottage nestles into silence, a place of tranquil tolerance, a timeless existence at midsummer.

bealtainecottage.com (7)Wood Pigeon and Cuckoo call a mantra of hypnotic sounds…a lazy Sunday afternoon…

bealtainecottage.com (8)Ground Elder, the bane of many gardeners, is allowed her magnificence here, frothy lace adorning a mantle of green. bealtainecottage.com (9)Ragged Robin dances by the wheels of an old bike.

bealtainecottage.com (10)Himalayan Musk stands sturdy by the wooden porch.

bealtainecottage.com (11)Astrantia unfolds it’s papery petals in an unending delight of pinky white and green.

bealtainecottage.com (12)Bees delight in Jacob’s Ladder as it ascends to heaven…

bealtainecottage.comAnd blue Jacob’s Ladder adorns the kitchen table in a cottage lost in time…

Bealtaine Cottage has a brand new website…it’s called Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…TO READ MORE, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEW WEBSITE.

SEE:

https://bealtainecottage.com/2015/04/01/an-invitation/

To access the site once donation is confirmed just click on the message I send.