Food in the Midwinter Garden

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It’s surprising just how much food is growing in the gardens of Bealtaine at this time of year, the time of scarcity…but far from it!

dsc05673dsc05672dsc05671There’s the makings of a decent salad, with Fennel, Japanese salads like Mizuna and others as well as a lovely edible garnish in the form of Pansy flowers.

dsc05670dsc05675In other parts of the gardens, where little micro-climates exist in the form of stones and shed walls, there’s Flat-leaf Parsley and Thyme.

I used Thyme in roasted potatoes yesterday…delicious!

dsc05664Purple Sprouting Broccoli is giving lots of florets…delicious raw or cooked and full of goodness! dsc05663Then there’s Leeks…all grown from saved seed and the stronger for it!

dsc05662Elsewhere in the gardens I found stands of Kale…shred this in salads and roast as chip dips!

dsc05669dsc05668Here and there in the flower beds and in pots…lots of Sage and Rosemary…great herbs to add taste to root vegetables at this time of year!

dsc05666Bay is growing in abundance, quite acclimatised to the Irish climate.

dsc05674Golden Oregano continues to thrive past Midwinter.

All of this is growing outdoors, not in the tunnel and these pics were snapped today, 26th of December!

dsc05651Even the Rhubarb is beginning to produce!

dsc05642There’s lots of other food in the garden…for birds and small mammals, in the form of berries.

Seeds are available from the link below…

 

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

To join the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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

 

Lifting the Spirits

A little vintage…

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

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Midwinter is over.

For many the celebration of Christmas has begun.

Last minute frenetic shopping today and tomorrow…

The days here at Bealtaine are beginning to lengthen.

Not tangible as yet, but optimism for more daylight has taken hold and sometimes that is enough…simply knowing that the darkness has passed.

The cottage remains in a post-midwinter party state, with chairs pushed back and floor-space revealed.

It may be a day or two before this is sorted, for I want to escape outdoors, despite the stormy weather!

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The lush greenery on the mantelpiece will stay in place for as long as it retains life.

Replacing the candles daily is a small task and keeps the soft light there to lift the spirits.

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A small sadness pervades the air, now that family and friends have gone.

We all enjoyed the coming together of our midwinter feast, with music and bonfire and soft…

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Yule and the Turning of the Wheel

Vintage and Seasonal…Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden at Midwinter

Origins of Yule

The great Festival of Yule, beginning at the time of the Winter Solstice and lasting for a full twelve days, summed up the cycle of the Celtic year.

Bealtaine Cottage candles in the window

The word Yule, according to the Venerable Bede, came from the Norse word Iul meaning ‘wheel’ and suggested that this was the time when the Great Wheel of Existence had completed its circle.

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“In later Celtic folk-belief, Yule had a dual meaning, it symbolised the death of the old year and heralded the birth of the new…

winter sunrise at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

Although the ground was cold, it would soon be warm again and Nature would burst forth at the festival of Imbolc.

The low-point of the period of Yule became the central festival of a number of formal religions, one of which was Christianity.

Bealtaine Cottage Midwinter Garden

After Yule, the Great Wheel began to turn again, bringing the festival of Imbolc around once more. Gradually…

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Midwinter in an Irish Cottage

Vintage Bealtaine…

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

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Rain is falling, softly, silently, onto a warm land.

The air is still.

Birds sing out loud.

A touch of Spring is in the air as Midwinter approaches.

It often happens this way, birds singing in the still air near Solstice.

The cold is saved for January…the biting winds that bring the snow.

I have spent much time indoors, making cards and packaging seeds.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001This is a quiet, yet productive time, a chance to reflect as work proceeds.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Yesterday was the last day for posting abroad in time for Christmas.

I am already thinking of the New Year, as I make these cards and planning out a few lovely walks to enjoy over Midwinter.

Walking at this time of year really clears the head and clarifies life in general.

There is a silence around Solstice that creates harmony in all things.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015The chimney in the kitchen remains blocked.

Armed with…

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Goddess Permaculture and what it looks like…

In between making soup and working in the gardens today, I’ve made this screen show for your enjoyment…

The Bealtaine Project is a full-time labour of love for Colette O’Neill, aiming to encourage and support those wishing to live more sustainably “with” rather than “on”” Mother Earth. To this end, Colette writes, photographs, films and podcasts regularly every day in multi media form.

If you enjoy all the stuff shared from Bealtaine Cottage here and on FaceBook, Youtube, Pinterest and Twitter…why not consider a small donation.

 

 

Easiest Ever Soup Recipe!

Time for some hearty home made soup!

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

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Soup, especially home made soup, is the mainstay meal of the Winter, providing healthy nourishment every day.

dsc04690I decided to get a big pot of Vegetable Soup going today.

The stove was hot and I was sorting out the kitchen cupboards.

dsc04687Here you can see the remainder of a wonderful bouquet of flowers I received last weekend on my birthday.

dsc04688I sorted through the vase and immersed them in fresh water…they should stay good for at least another week!

dsc04692dsc04693As I write this blog, the cottage is filled with the aroma of the soup cooking on the stove.

dsc04694Home made soup with a complex vegetable base is a cheap and tasty health insurance for the Winter.

dsc04691I have managed to avoid colds and flu, as well as flu vaccinations, for all of my adult life thanks to this simple recipe, usually made several times a week from this month on through…

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The Closing Chapter

A little bit of Vintage Bealtaine for you…

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer began to melt into Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage amidst a flurry of bees and butterflies, more than ever witnessed in the permaculture gardens.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureHarvesting began and the kitchen was a place of jam jars and bottles, all waiting to be filled and labelled.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe glut of blackcurrants became wine, jam and chutney, with even more added to the freezer.

free tea Open days and workshops seen a steady stream of visitors to the cottage and gardens.

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageKindling for the winter stoves continued to be collected and stored in the barn.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayAnd the Potager beds kept growing!

Blackcurrant ChutneyThe recipe for Blackcurrant Chutney was added to a blog post that had runaway success!

Bealtaine Cottage ValerianValerian flowered…

Rambling Roses at Bealtaine CottageRoses bloomed…

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageAnd all around, flowers showed off with total abandon!

poppies, poppy seeds and dried seed-headsI collected seeds…

Foxglove seed and more seeds…

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageDrying and labelling in every container I had to spare!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageSeedheads were stored for winter flower arrangements.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodAs the boys played…

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Chocolate Brownies on a Frosty Morning

A wonderfully, delicious recipe…and so easy!

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

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The oven was very hot on the wood stove last night.

As I watched the thermostat creep forever upwards, I imagined it to be a sign…to make a batch of Vegan Chocolate Brownies…never waste a hot oven!

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And so I quickly got the ingredients together from the pantry and whipped up a tray and a half of these delicious, and extremely nutritious, treats.

I went to bed safe in the knowledge that the morning would be filled with hot coffee and chocolate brownies…and it is!

The recipe?… I hear you ask!

Well, here goes…

Vegan Chocolate Brownies

1 can coconut milk

Half a glass of organic millet (I use a half pint glass)

150g chopped dates

Mix together in a saucepan and cook slowly on low heat for about 40 minutes

Meanwhile…

Mix and mash in a big bowl:

3 ripe bananas (I buy the brown bananas very cheap!)

half…

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Remembering…

dsc05339As the days grow shorter and the evenings longer there is a quietness in the gardens and around the cottage that is rather haunting.

winter sunrise at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens Much of what I do now is centred around preparing for the Midwinter Feast and the continuing festivities of Yule.

BgQ7qv3CEAAL835 Family and friends will be arriving from as far away as Canada.

dsc05353 A house has been rented for the days that are in it, for Bealtaine Cottage is small!

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dsc05352Baking is underway in the kitchen, making full use of the hot oven in the even hotter Stanley stove that is burning constant to keep the cottage warm.

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dsc05329Cakes and bread are then being moved to the freezer in the barn and will be ready to assuage the hunger of visitors and guests alike. dsc05349The cake stand has been dusted off for the festivities.

dsc05331I am transforming the Lodge into a big dining room, moving beds and other furniture out and a huge extending dining table in.

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dsc05333dsc05334This was brought over from the tunnel where it had been in use for years as a potting table, but a good clean down and polish, followed by the adornment of a starched table cloth, has lent the old table an air of noble gentility.

dsc05335dsc05336Candlelight will soften the decrepitness of the piece and even add a touch of shabby chic!

dsc05337In the event it isn’t really about grandeur or showing off, but about coming together to celebrate…something we have almost forgotten how to do.

dsc05338The remembering that less is more…that a pot of well made soup and home baked bread is unique to that day and all who partake of the feast.

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dsc05345It is not about shop bought, ready-made food, or flashy decorations that will still be intact in the landfill when you are long gone from this sacred Earth. dsc05343

dsc05344My little bathroom has had a coat of paint applied and a polish-up!

dsc05346Remembering the importance of gathering and celebrating…this is real civilisation!

 

 

The Other Website… https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

 

 

Simple Living

As we approach the craziest spending part of the year…

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

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“We’d incorporated Asia into our bones – its colours and laughter, its smells, its rhythms, its tolerance and patience, its compassion, its lack of ageism.”
~ Jane Wilson-Howarth

DSC00922DSC00921DSC00920DSC00915Colour is important to me, as you can see from both the cottage and the garden.

DSC00917DSC00916I am led to infuse it into my daily life, as in the tie-dyed sheet that hangs as a curtain on the old doorway.

DSC00914Sometimes it’s all too easy to go to the shops and buy what is deemed suitable for covering a doorway…usually a door!

DSC00912But, as always, a cottage can be very forgiving and accommodating to whatever furniture or resources one has.

DSC00905A cottage is never in competition with the big, new house down the road!

DSC00906It’s more of a “make do and mend” kind of home, where anything goes, be it period or modern, or just recycled, as is the case here at Bealtaine.

DSC00907As I…

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