Wild Atlantic Way

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A visit to the wild Atlantic Ocean marks the day that’s in it!

The turning of another year for me, so close to the Celtic New Year, I can almost taste the wood-smoke in the air from Samhain bonfires.

The ocean is strong and volatile today, churning and heaving life, as it crashes on the stony shore of Strandhill in Sligo.

This is my birthday, the beginning of my sixth decade experience with Mother Earth.

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Visiting the Ocean is as close as I can get to her heart beat, rhythmic and strong…pounding out the pulse of life upon the shores of this most westerly habitation.

White horses ride the water as it breaks further out.

Children are on mid-term holiday from schools and line the promenade, with parents keeping watchful eye on the wild foam.

I look for a small stone upon the shore, one I can put into my pocket and hold easily in my hand as we venture home.

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I feel renewed, invigorated, and ready to leave the last decade behind me, as I embrace the first day of my future.

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Thanks to all you wonderful friends…it’s been a beautiful first day!

XXXX Colette at Bealtaine Cottage XXXX

Eight Ways To Live a Better Life

One life, well lived…and how…

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

This is not a check-list.

It is not about ways to recycle or buy greener energy.

There is enough advice out there for you to check out.

Lists are good for remembering things in a hurry and ensuring everything is done, completed, bought…

This is simpler and permanent.

It is what I have learned about living as lightly as possible on this beautiful Earth.

These small bits of advice are not in any particular order, but as I think of them and how they have made a difference to my life…


*** Re-claim and nurture knowledge.

Talk with older, wiser people.

Keep a notebook of knowledge.

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I have tapes I recorded of my grandmother talking to me about her life and feelings on so many different and intriguing things.

I talked lots with my mother,  pictured above at Bealtaine Cottage.

Mum learned from me too…we exchanged ideas a lot.

Staying…

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Know Your Seeds

Seed, grown under Permaculture conditions which seek to protect both the integrity of the seed and the environment!

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

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…

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As Long As The Earth…

Kindle kindness…

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

www.bealtainecottage.com
As long as the Earth can make a spring every year, I can. As long as the Earth can flower and produce nurturing fruit, I can, because I’m the Earth. I won’t give up until the Earth gives up.
Alice Walker

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

I’m writing this between lighting the stove, going in and out to the barn chopping wood and getting my breakfast together.

DSCF0915Much of the wood I save and stack in the barn is collected from the ground beneath trees after a storm…it’s amazing how much timber for the stove can be foraged in this way. 

DSCF0892I’m so delighted with this lovely gift from friends…

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Thank you my friends Nick and Danielle for this funky new birdbox, created by Nick from driftwood!

DSCF0889Steps have been taken to avoid the one big bill, from the one mains service, coming into the cottage…electricity!

This is a Pay-As-You-Go-Meter, that also monitors usage and…

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Driven Headlong by Passion…

Roman society was predominantly patriarchal and much of western civilization is based upon the Roman model of governance and living.

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Walking along country lanes in late September is a joy, when wrapped up warm.

The sun shines bright, but there is a chill in the air.

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Colours are brightening before the leaves finally shed their food onto the earth, replenishing the soil and addingfertility for the next growing season.

Cows muster around hedges, watching the road for signs of movement, for they are curious and social animals.

Autumn walks are precious.

The colours of autumn lead towards Samhain, pronounced, “Sow-een,” the end of summer proper and the start of winter.

Many know this festival today as Halloween.

The festival of Samhain is an ancient Celtic one.

Traditionally, there were many festivals celebrated to mark the passing of the seasons and indeed this celebratory feasting and dancing was noted by other, more formal civilizations.

The Celtic characteristics of spontaneity and passion were remarked upon by many in the Classical World…”I say…in…

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A Time of Early Shadows

A TIME OF MAGIC.

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

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Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.

Scents of woodsmoke and compost fill the air.

Samhain is close.

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The Celts divided the year into two parts…the light and the dark.

Samhain is the crossover point into the dark.

Seamus Heaney wrote a wonderful collection of poetry entitled, “Into The Dark.”

One of my favourite reads at this time of the year.

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Poetry is like that…it can be turned over again and again, extracted from the past into the present and enjoyed afresh.

The turning of the year towards the light is heralded in the Feast of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054Bealtaine also means, “May,” in Irish and is why I named this cottage Bealtaine Cottage…for it was in May I first spied it!

Bealtaine celebrates the beginning of summer as we turn towards the light and short shadows.

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In Ireland the Tribes gathered for Samhain, at…

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Replacing Fear and Hopelessness with Fearlessness and Joy.

Vandana Shiva…Her name is fitting. She is a destroyer of lies and a preserver of truth.

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

washing on the line at Bealtaine Cottage

The washing is on the line, as there’s a great breeze between the light showers and sunshine.

There is no washing machine or tumble drier here at Bealtaine Cottage, so a little barter or exchange takes place when the washing basket is full…which happens when I’m too busy to wash laundry daily.

A good friend did 3 loads of washing in exchange for a few kilos of blackcurrants from the freezer.

Jam making is under way at her house!

Blackcurrants in the freezer at Bealtaine CottageFrozen blackcurrants make a better tasting jam, as the enzymes have already begun to break down the sugars in the fruit.

recycling fish boxes for seed grwoing in the tunnel at Bealtaine CottageThe same friend brought me a stack of polystyrene fish boxes, that were to be thrown away at the market.

These make excellent seed boxes as you can see in the tunnel today, I have been busy sowing seeds and potting on.

Seed growing in the polytunnel in late April at Bealtaine CottageI lay the boxes on the soil…

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A Christmas Childhood

My father played the melodeon,

My mother milked the cows,

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

A Christmas Childhood

by

Patrick Kavanagh

(Bealtaine Cottage in the snow…looking down the driveway in the week before Christmas, 2010.)

One side of the potato-pits was white with frost-

How wonderful that was, how wonderful!

And when we put our ears to the paling-post

The music that came out was magical.

The light between the ricks of hay and straw

Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree

With its December-glinting fruit we saw-

O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me.

(Bealtaine Cottage in the winter of 2010, just coming into the driveway.)

To eat the knowledge that grew in clay

And death the germ within it! Now and then

I can remember something of the gay

Garden that was childhood’s. Again

The tracks of cattle to a drinking-place,

A green stone lying sideways in a ditch

Or any common sight the transfigured face

Of a beauty…

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The Celtic New Year Festival of Samhain

Samhain…As the days shorten and the sun dips low in the sky, our homes become sanctuaries of warmth and comfort.

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

It is nearing the end of this beautiful year.

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The transition of Autumn is underway as the end of October arrives with the magical Festival of Samhain…known to many as “Halloween.”

Halloween was derived from the celebration of Samhain, with its myths and beliefs about the “Otherworld” and happily placed into Christian culture through the celebration of, “All Hallows Eve,” or “All Souls Night.”

This beautiful time of the year is extolled in many beautiful poems and odes.

The year was divided in two, with Summer and Winter heralding transition.

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“My tidings for you: the stag bells,
Winter snows, Summer is gone.

Wind high and cold, low the sun,
Short his course, sea running high.

Deep-red the bracken, its shape all gone,
The wild goose has raised his wonted cry.

Cold has caught the wings of birds.
Season of ice – these are my tidings.”


–  Irish Poem, Translated by

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