Posted in agriculture, ancient Ireland, Brigid, celebrations, celtic festival, Celts, Imbolc, Uncategorized

Celtic Ireland~Imbolc Rising

And so the wheel turns towards Spring and its tentative beginnings in the West of Ireland as the sun rises tomorrow morn.

With the rising of the sun comes Imbolc!

Oftentimes it does not look or even feel like Spring, but the light has changed…something that animals see, feel and react to before we do.

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The understanding of the changing seasons grew from the deep connections between us and the natural world, as can be seen in the word itself, for “Imbolc” refers to sheep’s milk in Old Irish.

During ancient times, lactating ewes represented one of the first signs of Spring.

Imbolc is a Cross Quarter Day, which means it is midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Depending on the year that’s in it, Imbolc can fall between the 2nd & 7th of February…the  calculations vary, despite the best will of man to box it all up into calendars!

Celtic festivals are based on astronomical events!

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Festivals like Imbolc are often claimed to be Wiccan or Pagan, but Imbolc belongs to the ancient peoples of Ireland who were neither Wiccan or Pagan!

Wicca itself is less than one hundred years old

Pagan was a term used to describe those in Ireland before Christianity…a sort of name-calling, in that it became and remains for many, a derogatory term.

My ancestors were never without spiritual beliefs!

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Paganism is a term that developed among the Christian community of southern Europe during late antiquity to describe religions other than their own, Judaism, or Islam–the three Abrahamic religions.

Imbolc (February 2) marks the lengthening days as the growing light awakens the Earth Goddess.

The warmth of the rising, growing sun fertilizes the Earth (the Goddess), and causes seeds to germinate and sprout.

And so the earliest beginnings of Spring occur.

As Imbolc rises on the second day of February, the last quarter moon is in Scorpio, my birth sign.

Now is the time to secure your seeds for the Spring sowing which is now well underway in propagators and sheltered places.

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

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

I continue to clear out spaces in my cottage and renew many aspects of my life…always a good preparation for Imbolc!

Happy Imbolc to you all!

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, Youtube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…thanks for the appreciation! X

Posted in agriculture, Debt, Eco-Living, economic collapse, Economy, Edible Gardens, Garden, Uncategorized

Just published on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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The Homefront and Using Your Loaf!

BY BEALTAINE COTTAGE

JANUARY 30, 2016

…The Women’s Land Army provided much of the labour force required.

It was simply amazing just how short a time it took for the UK to become relatively self-sufficient in good, wholesome food!

To read more, subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life at…

 

http://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Posted in Uncategorized

Today at Bealtaine Cottage

Just published…

Today at Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Climate, climate change, Collapse, Uncategorized

End of Empire and Climate Chaos

www.bealtainecottage.com 054The greatest concern of our times is happening on a daily basis and affecting every one of us.

Weather volatility is real and happening and the Ostriches in power appear impotent against the great forces of Nature.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029The gabbling media assault our senses with celebrity highs and lows, sport and highly edited titbits of what is happening internationally…all the while keeping away from any real conversation about the chaos that is the weather all around us and those dreaded words: Climate Change.

However it is not Climate Change any more…the media have completely missed out on that conversation!

It has evolved rapidly into Climate Chaos!

The Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageI would like to offer words of comfort and reassurance, but that’s not possible, for I live in the real world and events are happening too fast for me to be able to offer predictions that will reassure!

Last night I slept with both windows open in my bedroom, bathed in warmth from the wind that blew all night from the south.

The wind chimes on the veranda played ceaselessly…something that has never happened before.

I use all my senses to try to build a picture of what the media refuses to inform me about.

The big news is that the Jet Stream is out of control!

Imagine a Spinning Top, rotating smoothly at first…well that is how the Jet Stream SHOULD be!

Now picture the same Spinning Top as it slows, rotating wildly…that is what is happening to the Jet Stream and causing the wild fluctuations in weather across the globe.

All the information about this is out there on the internet…make Google your friend and inform yourself…that’s if you can bear it!

I have gone past the need to research, for I witness the changes, log them, keep a record of temperatures and rainfall patterns…and have done so for all the time I have worked on the Bealtaine project.

So, what is the point in telling you this bad news?

I have nothing to gain.

In fact, there is a strong possibility that I will lose subscribers.

The old adage of “shoot the messenger”pertains to what I have written here…so be it!

023So, let me tell you about the people I hope to reach with this news…

People who care for the future.

Those who have awakened to what it means to live a compassionate life.

Especially those who are unafraid of change and to implement change in their own lives.

Sammy Bear and meIf there is a Universal Consciousness…give it the name Goddess, God, Divine, Mother Earth…whatever you know it by…then that consciousness must surely want us to care as deeply for our planet as we care for ourselves.

Adapting is the way forward and should be at the top of all political agendas and policies.

Here in Ireland we are headed into a general election.

Farmers appear to be ill-informed in relation to Climate Change and as they hold much power in the outcome of elections, there will not be much informed debate on the doorstep!

Meat production is now at an all-time high in Ireland and there are few, if any, politicians who are prepared to risk the fury of farmers in regards to changing that!

The relationship between meat production, consumption and climate change is there for all to Google and Youtube.

The complacency regarding our habitat and climate change disturbs me.

I shall be quizzing each and every politician who knocks on my door…but as for intelligent, informed answers, well, I won’t be holding my breath!

Feel free to share this post…

And…I had to add this wonderful interview with Jane Goodall…

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts Celtic Festivals, consciousness, goddess, Imbolc, religion, Uncategorized

Goddess Harmony

www.bealtainecottage.com 064“The symbol of Goddess gives us permission. She teaches us to embrace the holiness of every natural, ordinary, sensual dying moment. Patriarchy may try to negate body and flee earth with its constant heartbeat of death, but Goddess forces us back to embrace them, to take our human life in our arms and clasp it for the divine life it is – the nice, sanitary, harmonious moment as well as the painful, dark, splintered ones.

If such a consciousness truly is set loose in the world, nothing will be the same. It will free us to be in a sacred body, on a sacred planet, in sacred communion with all of it. It will infect the universe with holiness. We will discover the Divine deep within the earth and the cells of our bodies, and we will lover her there with all our hearts and all our souls and all our minds.”
Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

This quote from Sue Monk Kidd has served as a wonderful source of inspiration for me, as I move slowly on my journey through this world.

In working so closely with the land over the past years, I have come to understand the meaning of the holiness of every single living thing.

Last summer, for example, I came across a beautiful Wasp nest in one of the trees.

When I put the photo of it onto my Facebook site I was immediately alerted by several people to destroy the nest and kill the wasps.

Why, I thought, must this thing of beauty be destroyed if it not causing harm to me?

Wasps are pollinators and help keep a balance among pests too, such as aphids.

In the eleven years working the land here, I have never been stung, by bee or wasp. Creatures only attack when under threat!

“If such a consciousness truly is set loose in the world, nothing will be the same.”…and nothing has been the same in this little three acre plot since becoming aware of the deep connectivity between myself and Mother Earth…call her the Goddess if you will…but the Divine presence for me is compassion itself.

“Yet rather than calling the earliest religions, which embraced such an open acceptance of all human sexuality, ‘fertility cults,’ we might consider the religions of today as strange in that they seem to associate shame and even sin with the very process of conceiving new human life. Perhaps centuries from now scholars and historians will be classifying them as ‘sterility cults.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman 

Much of my journey has involved stripping away layers of religious and cultural imposed identity.

This is a hard task, as one tries not to alienate others.

At times this journey has felt like one is walking on eggshells, attempting to negotiate a path between questioning/understanding and simply being part of family and community.

In search of an understanding of soul… a communion with the sacred…and being unafraid of where that takes me.

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Posted in Celts Celtic Festivals, change, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Uncategorized

Metamorphosis

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2016 is a year of transformation for Bealtaine Cottage.

Changes are being put into place this month in preparation for the year ahead.

Last year was the busiest year ever for visitors to the cottage…I lost count somewhere around June and with almost every day welcoming new visitors, work on my writing and gardening began to suffer as a consequence.

DSC08019I was guilty of what many enthusiastic people are guilty of…spreading myself too thinly! Already I have many requests from would-be visitors, so have made the decision to take a year off from opening the gardens.

DSC08020There is so much work to be done, as I have plans to create new beds and paths around the three acres. Talk about work…I haven’t even had time to move my Lemon tree in from the veranda! Thank goodness it’s been a mild Winter!

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The Kale I planted into the old wheelbarrow has made good strides in growing through January! As the days lengthen the growth will increase and I look forward to harvesting leaves of Kale very soon!

For those wishing to visit, the garden gate will not be permanently closed…

Sunday May 1st is Bealtaine Day, a very special day in the gardening year for lovers of all things Celtic and Mother Earth!

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May 1st is the first day of Summer in the Celtic Wheel and Bealtaine Cottage will be hosting an OPEN DAY of celebration!

Unlike the photograph taken today, the gardens will be awash with colour, as well as the hum of bees and the sweet scents of herbs and flowers!

I will also organize another Open day or two as the Summer progresses.

DSC08023Time is of the essence for me, as I attempt to fit in so many aspects of my life!

Bealtaine Cottage is home to me and I have come to realize that it is also home in a spiritual way to so many others…that is why my writing and photographing of this little place must come first.

DSC08025Out of metamorphosis comes new, better and stronger.

Seeds are available from Bealtaine Cottage…all grown, open-pollinated and saved here!

For an up to date selection, click on

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

To subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, click on

http://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Blessings for a happy weekend XXX Colette at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

Posted in Climate, climate change, Collapse, COP 21, Country Living, Earth, Uncategorized

Love in a (not so) Cold Climate

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With the back door wide open and the birds singing out a chorus more resonant of Spring than Winter, welcome to Sunday morning at Bealtaine Cottage in the west of Ireland!

Despite the mild Winter, snow has fallen and added a seasonal touch to the landscape…in fact it remains on the mountains to the north of the cottage and here and there on banks and ditches.

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I’ve been very busy in the gardens since the end of December, pruning hard, cutting back, washing the tunnel, cleaning pots and generally trying to stay ahead of the work that will suddenly seem oppressive at the start of Spring!

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If previous years are anything to go by, the Spring will be very short and Summer will make itself known in mid to late March!

Shocking I know, but that is the measure of it!

So, for a gardener like myself there’s nothing else for it but to adapt!

Seeds are sown in the propagator and compost will be mixed today in preparation for the potting on that is to come in the next few weeks!

It’s a case of just getting on with it as best I can!

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There is a distinct difference in the shadow patterns as the outline of the roof of the cottage falls beneath the tree tops…

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“Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from plants that died long ago. We can give thanks to these ancestors of our present-pay foliage, but we can’t give back to them. We can, however, give forward. When we are unable to return the favor, we can pay it forward to someone or something else. Using this approach, we can see ourselves as part of a larger flow of giving and receiving throughout time. Receiving from the past, we can give to the future. When tackling issues such as climate change, the stance of gratitude is a refreshing alternative to guilt or fear as a source of motivation.”
Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone

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Sowing and planting, growing tiny trees in pots of hope, tending Mother Earth with love…brings me joy.

Sitting here, with the back door open in the middle of January, may be a cause for concern, but it is over-ridden by the call of Mother Earth from outside.

And for the many visitors to Bealtaine Cottage this year, there will be small pots of hope to take away…

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Brigid, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, homesteading, Uncategorized

Country Cottage Journal…Beginning the Year in the Garden

Propagator at Bealtaine Cottage

Now is the time to sort out seeds and get sowing underway. January passes very quickly…we’re already halfway through!

First of all, ensure all trays and pots used for sowing are scrupulously clean.

No need to use chemicals for this, as soapy water, clean rinsing water and air-drying will ensure a perfect result.

I have used this method for the past eleven years and it has never failed.

Always use a good compost if you cannot make your own.

The John Innes recipe is perfect, but can be difficult to get it all together…

2 parts sterilized loam
1 part moss peat alternative 
1 part sharp sand

The loam and peat is put through in 3/8 in (9mm) sieve.

To each 36 L  add:

1-2 oz (42gm) superphosphate
1/2 oz Potassium nitrate
4-6 oz (21gm) ground limestone

I prefer to purchase sowing compost, as one small sack is usually enough, keeping home-made compost for the potting on process.

Once seeds are sorted and new ones added to the stock, it’s time to get sowing.

Success is all as the season can be delayed!

At this time I also clean the tunnel plastic to ensure maximum light penetration.

Daylight is now increasing by over a minute a day!

A good tidy up of the garden begins around this time, especially in the west of Ireland as Spring is about a month earlier in the gardening calendar.

This is measured on charts from Wisley in the SE of England and is in line with the Cornwall temperatures, due to the effect of the Gulf Stream.

Once the first signs of Spring appear, it is as though a magic wand has been cast over the landscape, with each day being a new day of discovery.

Sometimes there happens a snowfall that appears to set everything back, but in the absence of a deep and lingering freeze, it is very temporary indeed!

Pruning fruit trees and trees in general can be done before the sap starts to rise.

However, and this is from my own experience, Birch trees are known to rise sap very early on in the year, so do not cut as this can lead to the tree bleeding to death!

I encountered this much to my own grief…

In short, just because it’s cold and wintry at present, be aware that Nature’s clock is ticking and, if like me, you garden alone, there’s simply not enough hours in the day! Happy gardening!

Please note there are seeds available from Bealtaine Cottage…here’s the link:

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

Many are perfect food providers for Bees…remember the Bees in your garden planning this year!

Posted in New Year, Permaculture Podcast, Thoughts, Uncategorized

New Year’s Message from Bealtaine Cottage

Be happy.

Work hard.

Laugh out loud.

Help others.

Be kind.

Give compliments…

Words can be powerful and so very important for others to hear…use them well!

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This website, Bealtaine Cottage, is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs. 

My new website, Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

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