Morning

Morning in the west of Ireland on a perfect day in late June. The 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. Morning…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. Birds will swoop along paths of shade, wings outstretched catching the earthy updraft of chill.  “Summer was our best season: it was sleeping…

Bartering

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. Jack 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! A cottage garden gets away from all sense of colour…

Bottling Summer

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. Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine. 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… the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!…

Excavating the Past…

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. 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…

Obsession

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. 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…

Plundering the Future

All our wealth comes from the natural world. Looking out upon the Midsummer Solstice morning makes me want to weep…for what are we doing to our beautiful planet? 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. 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. We are not just soiling the nest, we are destroying the habitat around it. Not…

Into the Turning

The bonfire of Midsummer night has died down. The midnight sky stays light on the northern horizon. Bats encircle the cottage, as stars emerge into the darkness. The day has passed into the Turning…of the light. As the light passes into the lazy warmth of an enduring summer, visitors to Bealtaine Cottage come and go. July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour. There is little to concern oneself with, as Nature holds sway….

Summer Cottage

  The heat of the day subsides into late evening. A gloriously hot and sultry summer day. 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. 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. Just as the fragrant roses have gone over on the veranda, archways of…

Otherworldly…

 Sunday afternoon…picking flowers in the gardens. This feels like the full, quiet days before giving birth… The force of the full moon can still be felt in the stillness of the late afternoon air. There is an otherworldly feel to it all… Time appears to stand very still. 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… Evenings merge with night as daylight seems eternal in the west of Ireland…Ox-Eye Daisies reach up toward…