Posted in Animals, Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Dogs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Little Things

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 012A day of many things, but mostly of remembering and giving thanks…thanks for little things…like fresh, Spring water.
permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 012Seemingly inconsequential things…like an almost filled rain tub, a place where Jack loves to drink.
cottage 024 Things many do not see…little things.
Of a beautiful card made for me by a visitor… cottage 025and the wonderful, heartfelt message she wrote.
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Of all the little things we happen upon in our daily lives… those whose hearts we touch and all who touch our hearts.
DSCF1684It is indeed, all the little things, which really matter!
Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Buddha, Cats

Scorpio Moon

 

Approaching the full moon in Scorpio feels quite tense...
Approaching the full moon in Scorpio feels quite tense…

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Today, the 14th of May 2014, is the full moon of Bealtaine.

This marks the actual Bealtaine celebration, as many of you know.

The full moon is in Scorpio, my star sign.

DSCF1265All I can say is that I am exhausted and feeling like I have reached rock bottom.

According to what I have read on many of the Astrology sites, this is to be expected!

www.bealtainecottage.comApparently, all the ups and downs I have been experiencing are almost at an end.

Even as I write this, my photographs are refusing to upload!

This Full Moon in Scorpio illuminates the last of negative issues, though tonight feels very intense indeed!

DSCF1029I have been advised to gather my courage and take action that will enable me to  move forward.

Yes, that just about sums up how I see it!

It is rare that I feel exhausted, but I have to conclude that tomorrow I shall stay in bed…well, as much as I can, between walking Jack, feeding the pets, lighting the stove, seeing to the hens…

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, cows, Current Affairs, E.U., Ecology, Edible Gardens, Food, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Food Harvest 2020

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Small farms in Ireland are in a steady decline and have been for several decades now.

Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage
Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage

In fact farming is now referred to as an “industry”…a most illuminating use of language!

Buddha in the gardens
Buddha in the gardens

The pressure on small farmers to produce more and more, (mostly meat), is driving many off the land, as they find it difficult to compete with the bigger landowners and thus meat growers!

Sammy-Bear says "Hello!"
Sammy-Bear says “Hello!”

The countryside is fast losing vital habitat, as hedgerows are pulled out, trees felled and field size increased.

Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage

There is a government initiative behind this, of course…”Food Harvest 2020!”

Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage
Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is Simon Coveney TD.

Water that is drinkable!
Water that is drinkable!

Minister Coveney  held a meeting on the 17th of April.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine
Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

Invitations were issued to key stakeholders, including farm organisations, beef processors and relevant state agencies to a round table discussion on the future development of the Beef Sector, as it is referred to! 

Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds
Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds

Participants at this meeting were invited to discuss the government initiative, Food Harvest 2020.

Photinia and Kerria
Photinia and Kerria

This scheme was introduced by the Irish government to increase production of beef! (Ironic naming it “Food Harvest 2020!)

Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine
Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine

Now, read this statement from the Minister of Agriculture…using language of industry, markets and sport!

Commenting today on the initiative, Minister Coveney said

By some measures the beef sector is Ireland’s biggest indigenous industry, involving more than 100,000 farm families, and 8,000 jobs in processing, sales and marketing, with exports valued of more than €2 billion in 2013.  Food Harvest 2020 set an initial target of a 20% increase in the value of output for the beef sector. The target for beef exports has already been exceeded. 

The time is now right to sit down with key stakeholders in the sector, to consider the strategic approach  needed to support its development, using the best available market intelligence, and the newest technology and research to improve performance at all levels of the supply chain.  The beef sector makes a vital contribution to Irish agri food and to employment and the economy generally. I am convinced that with the right strategic approach and positive collaboration from all of the players, the beef sector in Ireland has a bright future.”

(https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/press/pressreleases/2014/april/title,74954,en.html)

Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage
Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage

All the while, loss of habitat is causing devastation!

Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood
Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood

Friends of the Earth, (FOE), have called on the Government to do a full Strategic Environmental Assessment of Food Harvest 2020. 

Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden
Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden

Other groups raising concerns with Food Harvest 2020 include:

The Irish Climate Justice Group

The Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.

Friends of the Irish Environment and Allies

Buddha at Bealtaine
Buddha at Bealtaine

The European Commission has announced it is launching an investigation of whether proper procedures were followed.

The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs...
The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs…

Each and every photograph I post here on this website is taken at Bealtaine Cottage.

Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds
Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds

These three acres of abundance exist because I took the cattle off the land.

The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage
The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

I would like to invite Minister Simon Coveney to Bealtaine Cottage to see what happens to land when it is allowed and nurtured  to re-generate!

The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!
The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!

We need, as a nation, to cherish our land and protect it for future generations.

Sammy by the pond
Sammy by the pond

We need to produce more Organic Food for our people rather than importing it…that means fruit and vegetables and grains!

Bealtaine Angel
Bealtaine Angel

Oh, by the way Minister…you may call it Food Harvest 2020, but, I and many like me, do not eat beef…not much food there then!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Garden, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

We Are At War!

DSCF0805The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was started at the beginning of World war two, in Britain,

www.bealtainecottage.comThe people of Britain were urged to use any spare land to grow vegetables.

 www.bealtainecottage.comVictory gardens were planted everywhere…and I mean everywhere!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006All land was considered viable for planting, including gardens, lawns, parks, golf clubs and all public spaces even in the City of London, around the Tower of London, for example! 

www.bealtainecottage.com 004During the height of the war, when food was rationed through scarcity, there were 3.5 million allotments in Britain, producing over a million tonnes of vegetables and it was estimated that in 1944 British gardeners produced between 2 and 3 million tons of food overall!

www.bealtainecottage.com 034People were encouraged to keep small livestock and ‘Pig Clubs’ were formed as a way of best utilizing leftovers to feed the pigs.

Flo, with me holding GloriaHens and Ducks were kept for their valuable eggs.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 034The children growing up through this period of time were the healthiest ever reared in Britain.

apples and sunflowersMy mother was born and raised during this time and lived a remarkably long and healthy life!

Colette in one of the orchardsSo, now we are all in a state of financial hardship and unemployment, I have one simple question to pose.

harvestWhy cannot our governments introduce a similar campaign?

harvesting blackcurrantsWe are at war…with poverty!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Childhood, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Fairies, hens, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Spring

Sustainable Food Revolution

www.bealtainecottage.com

Living in a time when the cost of food is rising day on day, it might be time to re-think the lawn! This is what Bill Mollison, one of the founders of the Permaculture movement has to say on the subject:

Bill Mollison

“. . . every society that grows extensive lawns could produce all its food on the same area, using the same resources, and . . . world famine could be totally relieved if we devoted the same resources of lawn culture to food culture in poor areas. These facts are before us. Thus, we can look at lawns, like double garages and large guard dogs, [and Humvees and SUVs] as a badge of willful waste, conspicuous consumption, and lack of care for the earth or its people.Most lawns are purely cosmetic in function. Thus, affluent societies have, all unnoticed, developed an agriculture which produces a polluted waste product, in the presence of famine and erosion elsewhere, and the threat of water shortages at home.

The lawn has become the curse of modern town landscapes as sugar cane is the curse of the lowland coastal tropics, and cattle the curse of the semi-arid and arid rangelands…

www.bealtainecottage.comOver the past few days I have been busy converting this little shed into a new hen house and run…food to swap and share…fresh eggs! it is going to be a simple enough barter, swapping a sack of logs for nine eggs. Most logs are traded at 3.50 a sack, so that’s a fair swap!

www.bealtainecottage.comThat makes a good swap as eggs are getting more expensive by the day and the logs will be delivered to my door! I just have to ensure that the hen house and run are secure against Mr ans Mrs Fox and family!

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As Spring moves across the land, a drying wind is working its magic on the earth. The greening is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe view from the sitting room window is being filled in like a ‘Painting By Numbers,’ canvas. Ash trees are the last to get their leaves and so stand proud in all their silver glory against temperamental Spring skies.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the beautiful Field Maple to the front of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comContinuing my lifelong passion for trees…this is a wall tile I made from clay…complete with tree, a fairy tree.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe lone Fairy Thorn one often sees growing in the middle of fields here in Ireland served as my inspiration. They are often windswept and leaning away from the west.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis sits upon the dresser in the kitchen…a time when preserves were sold in stoneware jars. All containers were re-cycled, in that they were re-used…even milk bottles! Lemonade bottles had a money deposit attached to them and children would collect them up to return to the shop, as a way of earning pocket money!

www.bealtainecottage.comEven cream came in little stoneware jars like this, as it kept cool in the pantry in the days before every home had a fridge!

“A sacred way of life connects us to the people and places around us. That means that a sacred economy must be in large part a local economy, in which we have multidimensional, personal relationships with the land and people who meet our needs, and whose needs are met in turn.”
― Juliana Birnbaum FoxSustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Buddha, Cats, Climate, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, Spring

The Light of Spring

www.bealtainecottage.com

Sammy-Bear lies concussed by the heat from the wood burning stove! It’s a tough life being a cat at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.comOver the past week there has been a struggle between Winter and Spring as temperatures have moved up and down the thermometer, with hard frost, heavy rain, warm nights and brilliant sun all in the mix!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe rising sun reflected in the mirror at the far end of the veranda.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe amazing light of early Spring…

www.bealtainecottage.comMoving closer to the mirror, the rising sun looks back at me over the head of the Buddha…quite otherworldly.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis was how the Romantic Poets viewed the world…through a mirror…I understand why!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, the last seed-head of the Gunnera Manicata stands tall against the storms of winter, saluting the Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe ponds have remained in flood during this winter, the wettest on record since 1866 here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comCatkins stand out against a brilliant blue sky, providing some little food for any early Bees.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe shadows of Spring are long, casting patterns and shapes on an ever-changing tapestry.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe kitchen is illuminated by a different light…the light of Spring.

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

Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!

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

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Books, Cats, Cottage, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Counting Down the Days

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Often times as I sit down to write this blog, it is evening and the day has come to settle here, in the cottage… the lamp illuminating the darkness, Jack sprawled out in front of the stove, with both cats in residence upon the sofas…I squeeze in somewhere!

DSCF0670The stillness of the evening pervades the cottage…no television or other distraction to detract from the clock on the wall ticking the time away.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002There’s a fine stretch in the day, with the light finally fading around a quarter to seven.

DSCF0671The untidy kitchen bears testament to a little shopping, yet to be sorted and packed away.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Friends have been and gone, polytunnel doors shut tight against the wind and logs stacked by the stove ready to be consumed by the iron maiden.

DSCF0674A pack of wooden, clothes pegs, sits atop the kitchen table, to be unwrapped…Lord save me from plastic pegs that grow brittle in the weather and snap when least expected!

DSCF0675Dried chillies wait patiently for their resting place in the pantry, in a jar, yet to be found!

DSCF0673A book, donated by a friend, promises bedtime reading, maybe even into the wee hours of the morning…I’m enchanted by the cover!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March primrosesCounting down the days until the Spring Equinox…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 020Happy Saint David’s Day to all of Welsh connection XXX

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Cats, Climate, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Wild Flowers

Monet in Gaia’s Garden

Coppiced wood makes one neat pile to be used in the wood stove next winter.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe small logs burn very well in the wood stove and give tremendous heat!

The building of the next pile is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comMuch of today has been spent cutting back the growth on the stream that carries the water into the ponds.

Che-Mousey-Bear has stayed in the Bog Garden with me as I worked, keeping me entertained… www.bealtainecottage.comas you can see!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe lower pond looked like a Monet painting…

www.bealtainecottage.comin the soft afternoon light after the storm.

www.bealtainecottage.comEthereal…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I worked silently along the banks of the stream, frogs croaked, mating, swimming and spawning in both ponds.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe spawn was visible…

www.bealtainecottage.comand floated in big chunks across the water and weeds.

www.bealtainecottage.comWillow and Dogwood was pruned back and cuttings inserted along the stream banks,

www.bealtainecottage.comwhere they will root and keep the earth from being eroded by the ever-increasing rain…this is building resilience and adapting to Climate Change!

www.bealtainecottage.comBirdsong filled the gardens all afternoon and Coltsfoot made an early show of yellow flowers in the gravel…

www.bealtainecottage.comnear the lower pond.

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

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

Heartfelt thanks for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Animals, Badgers, Birds, Cottage, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Spring, Sustainable Living, Woodland

Permaculture Gardens

www.bealtainecottage.com

The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.

www.bealtainecottage.comMeanwhile, down in the Fairy Wood, ferns have kept their green in the shelter of the dell. Mosses grow bright in the sunlight and ivy twists and twirls around the Goat Willow.

www.bealtainecottage.comLots of Goat Willow has been coppiced over recent months, and although it takes a year or so to season, it makes excellent logs for the stove, giving out masses of heat for free!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, Pine, laurel and Great Western Cedar all grow happily together and appear healthy in the spring sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comDaffodils are on their way to opening under the shelter of the Beech hedge. This is down beside the pond by the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd as I turn around from the Daffodils, the Ivy that hangs from some of the mature Goat Willow, swings about in the wind and sunshine…this is turning into a lovely walk around the gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.comI amble around the lower pond, snapping as I go…Jack moves ahead of me, tugging on his lead for he has picked up the scent of a fox or badger!

www.bealtainecottage.comI put my camera away and let Jack pull me along, hot on the scent of other life…we finally stop as we come up to the east side of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comWe move around towards the polytunnel and one of the orchards. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are now devoid of berries. This can be a hungry time for the birds as they mate and nest…there is a big bag of Oats I can scatter around in handfuls for the hungry birds and will do this later.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to the cottage and the shelter of the veranda…it’s very stormy, despite the sunshine!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith a full moon over Bealtaine Cottage tonight and a hard frost to come, the evening will be cold for sure.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe coppicing continues and the woodpile grows…

www.bealtainecottage.comFennel is beginning to send forth lots of new growth in the shelter of the veranda and the back of the cottage. These new shoots are delicious added to salad!

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd just across from the Fennel…

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd a reminder for anyone wanting 100% Bealtaine seeds from Bealtaine Cottage…there is a link at the top of this page where you can choose what you want.

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Celts, Personal

A Rite of Passage

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A mighty storm rages around Bealtaine Cottage as I write.

The morning is filled with roars and whoops of wind as it smashes in from the Atlantic Ocean, enveloping the land with angry energy.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe gable end of this little cottage faces into the west and the worst of Nature’s wrath.

The trees slow it down, calming and sifting its robust anger.

I sit by the table near the window on the north-side, occasionally glancing out when the tempest noise rises.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0341.jpgOver recent days, the need to be with my mother has taken over, as she gently leaves this world, moving and shifting in little caresses of energy, back, towards the Divine.

cropped-0056.jpgHer rite of passage will be completed sometime very soon.

I have watched her quiet dignity hold sway over the comings and goings of support staff, family and friends.

My Mother greets her final journey safe within the home of my brother, her first-born child.

Her bedroom, where she grows smaller, like a womb, comfortable and quiet.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0162.jpgThis week has been filled with indescribable emotions, but all relating to love.

During this time, my computer has gone on the blink and I have been unable to write and post as I need to…

I need to write… and having a fully functioning computer, that I can use in the warmth of the little lodge, where I over-winter by the wood-burning stove, will be comfort itself.

This will be the beginning of a portable Bealtaine Cottage too, as I will be able to write and post wherever I go.

I am grateful for that!

Thanks and blessings to you, my generous friends!

old pictures saved by Dylan 4421My mother in the early days of Bealtaine Cottage, surrounded by animals, her grandson and magic in the gardens.

This is where some of her lovely energy will be found, for me, in the coming days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found my father here after he passed and came to understand that energy does not disappear…we simply have to re-focus our eyes and listen with our hearts to recognize it. (Mum and Dad, on a visit to Bealtaine about five years ago. I took them to the top of Kilronan Mountain!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Celts believed in the Transmigration of the Soul.

Living at Bealtaine for almost ten years now, I have come to understand that belief.

Death is not the end, but a Rite of Passage.

Blessings and thanks to you all XXX

(My Mother passed away this morning. I spent yesterday with her.)

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Birds, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Summer, Wine

A Year at Bealtaine…part 3

Poppies in Permaculture

2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe potager beds were extended and two more were constructed.

angel at bealtaine cottageAquilegia and Valerian ignored the seasons and came up together, surrounding the porch with delicate shades of pink and purple.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt was a frenzy of colour!

roses on verandaThe roses made their appearance on the veranda, more abundant than ever!

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodMy friends Terri and Lol brought me masses of seaweed from their beautiful Clifden in Connemara and it was spread all over the potager beds!

Sammy Bear and meSammy-Bear turned from a rather naughty kitten into an even naughtier cat!

Roses at Bealtaine CottageVisitors had to dodge the low-hanging flowers and…

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottageemerging fruit!

bird bath in pollarded Sycamore at Bealtaine CottageBird baths were sat into trees for the rather hot birds…

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineand Blackcurrant wine was started off in the glass carboy.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThen transferred to a demijohn to sit out the next few months on the kitchen windowsill.

Roses at the back of Bealtaine Cottage todayThe heat of summer continued and the well ran dry!

Bealtaine Cottage signBealtaine Cottage basked in the sun and heat, as I carted water up from a spring well lower down the land.

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage todayRose petals fell like confetti all over the veranda…it was lovely!

bealtaine Cottage this eveningOx-Eye Daisies flourished everywhere!

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageSammy-Bear cooled off by rolling in the dirt path in the tunnel and getting absolutely filthy!

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageChe-Mousey found a cool spot in the shade of the laurel arch.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningIt was sheer abundance!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.And the summer rolled on…

Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!

Blessings from Bealtaine XXX

Posted in Angels, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Christmas, Dogs, Spirituality, Thoughts

Angels and Animals in an Irish Cottage on Christmas Eve

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Christmas Eve at Bealtaine Cottage.

Snow has fallen.

The air is cold and a bitter wind blows.

It rained hard last night and the streams are in flood.

The blackbirds are hungry and have taken to stealing cat biscuits from the bowls on the veranda!

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The blackbirds are clever creatures and have watched both cats enter the lodge through the cat door, where they now sleep away the day, their bellies filled with food and milk.

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Jack stays by my side, in and out of the cottage, as I work.

Jack looks out for me and is a wonderful friend and guardian angel!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005

This is a difficult Christmas for many who are without basic necessities.

I am thankful to have a well stocked pantry and woodpile.

For many, food and heat are major problems in their everyday lives.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002

 It’s good to give thanks for a warm home and a full plate.

May you all enjoy both this Christmastide…

www.bealtainecottage.com 003An Irish Christmas Blessing

The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you.

Happy Christmas!

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

This will be my last blog for a little while as I am taking some time out.

Blessings to you all X

Posted in Animals, Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Buddha, Cats, celebrations, Childhood, Christmas, Crafts, Inspiration, Life, Personal, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Winter

Midwinter Cottage

midwinter cottage 002

The air is still.
The storm has passed. 
Stillness and silence pervades the cottage.
Jack is in his bed, and the boys continue to doss away the morning in the Lodge.
A midwinter scene repeated all across the northern hemisphere.
midwinter cottage 006Someone remarked on the increasing silence they noticed in the world around them.
Midwinter is a silent time, suffused with echoes and occasional sounds from strange places.
Places that are more difficult to pinpoint on the landscape…it’s a trick played on us by Mother Nature as she paces the dormitories of sleep and hibernation.
midwinter cottage 014Candles illuminate the darkness, dispelling matt grey for moving shadows.
Jingles of Christmas on the radio, some lovely, most rapaciously dreadful, urging the listener to get out now and spend, spend, spend!
And so the radio is switched off and music switched on, low and evocative.
Midwinter enchants us all with memories of stillness and light, fires and food…times past, selected for our personal album of memories.
midwinter cottage 005I found this photograph recently.
It was taken around Midwinter, in a photo-booth in London, when I first ventured away from home and Ireland.
Scents were what I most missed.
The scents of home, like turf and coal smoke, wisping out of chimney pots on rows of terraced houses.
London was filled with new, more exotic scents, especially places like Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning, where Patchouli oil perfume lingered in the air.
midwinter cottage 004Working patchwork, brings me back to early days, in London and the sheer wealth of fabric shops and stalls, Laura Ashley and the love of William Morris retro!
midwinter cottage 007Colours, fabrics and textures continue to fascinate.
midwinter cottage 003Natural fabrics hold most memory…perhaps because they are from the natural world, where energy is hosted.
midwinter cottage 009Sackcloth and old lace cover a jam jar, filled with Honesty.
midwinter cottage 010Cotton gingham of various colours in the kitchen.
midwinter cottage 012Willow, wood and clay pottery, mugs and bowls.
midwinter cottage 015The morning, washed by soft midwinter light…not to be bought and packaged for Christmas, but absorbed by the celebratory soul.
midwinter cottage 013Blessings from this midwinter cottage…
 
Posted in Animals, Ecology, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts

Reconciliation

www.bealtainecottage.com 015The natural world is all around us.

The order of the Universe and the Laws of Creation bind us all.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056For too long now, we have ignored what we are surrounded by, and what, in essence, we rely totally upon.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015We are as much a part of the natural world, as the trees and bees that support us, in air and food.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030Perhaps it is just that we have come to realize this tender link…that current lifestyles are not only destroying our natural world, but are, in effect, destroying us.

That realization is late in coming, but, not too late…it is never too late!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003And so, as in all great wars, what follows is reconciliation.

Understanding how to share, is an essential part of reconciliation.

Making amends as best we can.

open weekend bunting by the gateUnderstanding how to support what supports us.

candle_004_reasonably_smallNurturing life instead of celebrating death…

I am reminded of pictures I have seen on the web recently, of smiling, celebratory faces, hovering over the dead and bloodied body of a magnificent animal…an elephant.

Just one of many!

bealtaine poster moonThe mindset of destruction, of triumphalism over Mother Nature and the natural world…this must be shriven if we are to survive as a species on this planet.

Reconciliation begins with acknowledgement.

Berries on the HawthornAcknowledgement it is possible to have a terrible darkness within us, that rejoices in destruction.

Hell is not a place apart.

We carry Hell, or not…our choice!

Sunset in the window of Bealtaine CottageYears ago, I watched, as a young man pulled the legs off a dragonfly.

It was with sadness, but no surprise, to learn, that he later took to abusing alcohol and met an early death.

I don’t think his parents ever really thought about what he did to the dragonfly that day, as we all sat around at that picnic gathering.

Nor am I saying that this is the end product of such cruelty.

No.

Pond in May at Bealtaine CottageIt is that we must rediscover our connection to, and respect of, Mother Nature.

Why?

For Mother Nature is, in fact, Mother Nurture…we rest in her arms.

All life is sacred.

When we abuse that sacredness, we create Hell.

Posted in Animals, Cats, Crafts, Dogs, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Lifestyle, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Heart of the Matter

www.bealtainecottage.com 013

Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre is a wonderful place for any unwanted dog or cat to end up…because 97% of these poor, abandoned animals are re-homed!

Today I visited Christine Coulson, the lady whose dedicated commitment to the welfare of animals in this part of Ireland, made the sanctuary possible.

Chistine opened this light of hope for the unwanted and stray cats and dogs, back in 1997 and has worked continuously, for the protection and welfare of abandoned animals.

Back in September, I held an “Open Gardens” fundraiser for Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre and raised 610 euros…thanks to all the friends and supporters of Bealtaine Cottage, who came from all over Ireland and sent donations from all over the world!

Christine has been quite ill over these past few months and was only well enough recently for this presentation to take place.

I’m sure you’ll all raise a glass with me, in wishing this great woman, good health, now and in the future.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Back in the cottage, I’ve been busy making cards.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004The theme of hearts is compelling for me…drawn towards the heart as a symbol, not just of love, but of compassion, hope and trust.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Celtic designs are also a passion of mine…the intricacy of the knot-work fascinates and soothes.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Hearts and cats…inseparable!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011And hearts and seeds, for the love of bees!

(I will be adding a little section to the top of the website especially for hand-made cards…X)

Posted in Animals, Cats, Cottage, Garden, Life, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Juggling, Balancing, Living…

www.bealtainecottage.com 005The woollen blanket dries on the hedge.

The hedge being the perfect spot to hang a woolly blanket that would stretch asunder on a clothes line, or shrivel to dolly size in a drier…not that I have a drier or want to have a drier!

www.bealtainecottage.com 009I agree with Dr Helen Caldicott, in drying clothes in the air and saving the planet from an excessive use of electricity! We need to lessen our daily impact on Mother earth in whatever way we can.

And it’s not just any woolly blanket…it has a pumpkin colour to it…yes, you’ve guessed right, for it belongs to the Pumpkin Mouser, AKA Missy!

Sad to add that she is a sick little peach and is not yet in recovery…we soldier on!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011To balance any hint of sadness, the sun shines and the day is fine.

The trees are beginning to look more mature, since they’ve had a haircut…more a crowning really, as I’ve cut off the lowest branches and thinned out the crowns a little!

www.bealtainecottage.com 015Mind you, it’s just some of the trees…for as you know there are over 900 of them!

I love my trees!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012I have a totally, crazy love for my trees…they are like children, for I talk to them and often times hear their response, in the most sublime ways.

It’s hard to explain, but, I imagine, that as you have chosen to follow this blog, then you understand perfectly!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I suppose you’re wondering where the title of this blog fits into the overall picture?

Well, for most of the past fortnight, Missy has been quite unwell.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018For some of the time it can be depressing, but then I am mindful of Che-Mousey and Sammy-Bear, as well as Jack, so have to force myself to be a pragmatist…something we women are really quite good at!

Juggling what has to be done, with spending time with Missy, really lightens the burden of a failing animal.

This is something that faces us all, whether it be a feline loved one, a canine loved one or a human loved one…the emotional response is a mighty one!

Juggling keeps our focus wide and not tunnelled.

www.bealtainecottage.com 019The work in the gardens still has to be done…no real burden there as it is a delight to be outdoors!

www.bealtainecottage.com 020And then there’s balancing and that means finding time to ensure love is spread out…not forgetting to include oneself.

We must always be kind to ourselves, as this helps us be kind to others!

www.bealtainecottage.com 026We are better human beings for practising kindness as much as we can, for it is highly contagious!

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Living each day, with joy, is the best way we have to channel kindness…well, have you ever seen a happy person be unkind?

 

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Eco-Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Trees

Irish Cottage Life

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The permaculture gardens are very wet today…the rain has been quite relentless!

Never mind!

Lots to do indoors and sorting through boxes of “things,” I was happy to find these lovely Yuletide cards.

Doesn’t she look gorgeous in the snow?

As I am receiving orders for the Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book, I thought that I would add these lovely cards, as a way for me to send the book to someone you love, with a card inscribed with your message.

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Anyway, you can have a peek, using the link at the top of the page!

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Missy continues to make a steady recovery, though has refined her taste-buds to a rather expensive prescription cat food, available only from Suzy the Vet, in Boyle.

When I refer to Missy as a “high maintenance gal!” …I’m not kidding!

Please ignore the clothes drying all over the stove today…it is rather wet outdoors!

Makes it really “Shabby Chic” style!

www.bealtainecottage.com 026I take Jack into see Suzy the Vet, tomorrow morning, to have his “thumb nails” clipped.

Jack loves travelling in the car and tries to snap every other vehicle he sees on the road!

Which is why he can only ever be walked on a lead!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Dodging in and out, to collect up the logs, my friend Marian delivered to me yesterday, I still managed to get wet!

I’m stacking them under the shelter of the veranda by the lodge.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Despite the dull, rainy day, the gardens continue to look colourful!

As you can see, the potager beds continue in their abundance, producing herbs, vegetables and flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.com 019There is never any shortage of work to be done here at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Tree coppicing continues along the north bank, in front of the cottage, opening up the view just a little, as well as supplying the stove with kindling and small logs.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The fact is, no matter what the weather is like, it is simply wonderful to be outdoors in the gardens, working here and there!

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Have a good week ahead everyone…Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage X

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Animals, Autumn, Cats, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Tea, Trees, Woodland

Small Things…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Keeping time.

Morning merges into early afternoon.

There is a seamlessness about the work on this last day of September.

www.bealtainecottage.com 049Cutting wood, cleaning windows, stringing  chillies, all merging as the day progresses.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Somewhere, in the distance, a crow calls its lonely caw…it’s repetitive and makes me think an animal has caught it…perhaps a fox.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038I have watched the fox make it’s way across the rushy fields, darting here and there among the clumps of withering green.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026Deep in the Fairy Wood, cutting and stacking with my little handsaw, all I experience from the outside world are noises of life without.

www.bealtainecottage.com 024Che-Mousy-Bear stays with me as I work.

Once so very timid, he is finding his own place in this world, where he initially found only rejection.

www.bealtainecottage.com 032I love him for having the tenacity to stay with it all…one of the small things that weave the tapestry of life here at Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016Time to brew a pot of tea and stoke the stove…working on the land is fluid, as the day progresses.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015I am obsessed with hearts.

I have no idea why, but the shape draws me in.

I see hearts everywhere.

They fascinate me.

www.bealtainecottage.com 045The work of the day continues with juicing apples for saving in the freezer.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008Autumn changes the colours of the trees surrounding the cottage.

It seems that the view from this window changes every time I pass it…

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Tiny webs configure across and around the Celtic Knot, too beautiful to clear away.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030The woodland beckons…

 

I write and post about Bealtaine Cottage, on this website, as well as making and posting Youtube (ad-free) videos, about permaculture and life at Bealtaine Cottage, to provide inspiration and empowerment for all seeking a better way of living on this precious Earth.

Donations help me do that :)

Posted in Animals, Dogs, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture

A Wonderful Donation!

donation 003This arrived by special delivery this morning from a lovely lady who visited Bealtaine Cottage all the way from Austria.

Her name is Monika and her kindness for animals is abundant.

BimboMonika has a gorgeous little dog named Bimbo, seen here.

Monika has donated this £375 to the fund-raiser weekend total of 200 euros.

The grand total now stands around 600 euros!

Christine, who runs the sanctuary, is in hospital this morning having an operation…please be mindful of her and wish her a speedy recovery, for she does amazing work and is quite devoted to unwanted animals…97% are re-homed!

I have organized to visit Christine next week to hand over the entire donation.

Once again, bless you all for your kindness and generosity to this cause, so close to my heart. XXX 

Non-Profit Organization
Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre 0719648300 leitrimawt@eircom.net

 

Posted in Animals, Dogs, hens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Trees

Flo, Gloria and Me!

With Flo and Gloria I visited my daughter Cara yesterday.

I wanted to see how Gloria, (I will survive, Gaynor) the hen was settling in. When the fox killed her five sisters, Gloria was left injured and traumatised.

But, like the song, she’s a survivor…so my daughter Cara agreed to re-home her in a new environment, where she could put the past behind her!

Here she is, strutting her stuff and being very confident and bossy!

She is a real pet and eats all the slugs in Cara’s garden. 

Flo, with me holding GloriaI supported Cara with ideas and plants as she designed and evolved her first garden, using recycled materials and plants grown from seed and cuttings.

You can see one of the little benches made from recycled wood and fixed into the ground, in the background, under some very healthy Willow!

September 2013 in Cara's garden.It is amazing just how many habitats there are now, in this once bare lawn.

me and Flo, with Gloria looking onFlo is another rescue dog…she was turned out of a car when heavily pregnant and went on to birth five pups in a little nest I made for her behind the sofa in Bealtaine Cottage.

Gloria, me and FloShe is much loved and a delightful little girl…very wilful too…and she’s friends with Gloria!

All girls together…come on now…

At first I was afraid I was petrified I kept thinking I could never live…Oh, no, not I, I will survive, as long as I got love to give I know I’ll stay alive…yeah!

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bees, Birds, Cats, celebrations, Celts, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Vegan

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 001Stepping out in search of breakfast…the potager beds are full and the apple trees drip with fruit…lots of good, fresh food to juice this morning!

Much of my Vegan diet is raw food…I love it!

It makes me feel alive and well!

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 013The morning is mild and very still…I can hear the birds move through the bushes, as they dip and swoop along the paths in the gardens.

Rustling sounds entice me along the paths towards the stone circle…the cats are at play in this magically wild field to the north of the cottage.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 015Sammy-Bear sits atop the stone seat, watching Che-Mousy as he creeps towards him…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 016It’s a delight to watch young animals at play…I wonder what they’re thinking and saying to each other…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 017The streams around the land are beginning to flow, as the rain returns.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 007This summer has been very dry and the land is quite firm to walk upon.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 020As the vernal equinox approaches, the rhythms of Nature beat a pace to follow towards Samhain.

The days of cutting and clearing and making haste the harvest are upon us.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 025The last of the herbs will be harvested before the equinox.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 026Willow and Dogwood, grown tall, will be cut, or trimmed, according to the use.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 027New beds, like this one, will be completed and shredding continued to be applied throughout the months of winter, up until the new planting.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 028But, I digress…my journey into the gardens this morning took me in search of breakfast…I must keep going…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 029More distractions catch my eye…the bees continue to work on the Sunflowers nestling among the Apple-mint.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 030As I turn around, I see part of my breakfast, fresh to pick and juice!

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 034Finally! Picked and ready to wash, then juice…Kale, Apples and Celery.

Living off the land!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Garden, Gardens, Inspiration, Leitrim, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Thoughts, Uncategorized

As the Sun Sets on Bealtaine

sunset at bealtaine CottageThe Open Permaculture Gardens Weekend has been a great success.

Open weekendVisitors have come and walked the gardens, shared the spirit of this little home and talked with others, gathered around the ancient and rather rickety table in this small kitchen.

bealtaine cottage sunsetPeople, from all walks of life, have shown tremendous generosity, in donating to the Leitrim Animal Welfare Sanctuary.

sunset at bealtaine cottageThere is a fantastic 200 Euros to bring to the Sanctuary on Tuesday!

open weekend bunting by the gateDespite the wet weather, great spirited followers of this blog travelled from all over Ireland, to spend time together in the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

open weekend sunsetMany expressed deep emotion to be here, in what has evolved as a sanctuary for Mother Nature.

front door of bealtaine cottageAfter hours of walking the gardens and sharing stories, tea, cake and soup, visitors left  with plants, books, cuttings and ideas, filled with a determination to create their own Eden!

bealtaine cottage pondThank you to Jane Forrester, of Bandon Pottery, who travelled the 10 hour round trip from West Cork,

Sean and Roisin Mc Cluskey from Donegal,

Paddy kelly,

Isabel Huroczlie,

Claudia Kohler,

Paul Browne,

Patricia Wallace from Dunboyne

Joe Morrissey from Dunboyne

Sandra MacLiammon from Cavan

John Murray from Navan

John McAdam from Slane

Peter and Caroline

Nathan and Janet

Iris Weber

Dermot Henry

Sinead Jackson

Una Parsons and Gerry Hunt

sunset at bealtaineWhat a wonderful, wonderful gathering of people under the eaves of Bealtaine Cottage!

celtic cross in the sunsetYour wonderful energy resonates here this evening…thank you one and all!

Posted in Angels, Animals, Buddha, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Folklore, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Saint Bridget Cross, Spirituality, Thoughts

The Transmigration of the Soul

back door of the cottage

The Romans conquered Europe, but resolutely refused to invade Ireland, despite ruling England, Wales and Scotland for several hundred years.

Angel at sunsetRecently I have made a concerted effort to find out why this was…Why continual Roman Emperors left Ireland alone…?

Sunset through the trees at Bealtaine CottageWhat crops up in my investigations time and again, is the issue of the ancient Celtic belief in the transmigration of the soul.

Sunset at Bealtaine CottageThis was not just something that was taught by the Druids, but an unshakeable conviction in the afterlife…one so strong, that it made them absolutely fearless in battle.

view from a window at Bealtaine CottageTransmigration of the soul is a doctrine of reincarnation.

Flo and JackWithin this belief, spirits may be reborn into any of nature’s forms – human, animal, or even inanimate things, such as trees and water.

Water garden in permaculture at Bealtaine CottageThis is supported by evidence from the ancient Celtic Heroic tales.

Celtic Cross at Bealtaine CottageThe Greek writer Diordus Siculus (c. 60 BC – 30 AD) noted that the Druids believed “the souls of men are immortal, and that after a definite number of years they live a second life when the soul passes to another body.”

Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine CottageThe Greek philosopher Strabo (c. 63 BC – 21 AD) observed the Druids believed that “men’s souls and the universe are indestructible, although at times fire and water may prevail.”

Angel at Bealtaine CottageJulius Caesar wrote of the Celts “They wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another, and they think that men by this tenet are in a great degree stimulated to valour, the fear of death being disregarded.”

Buddha at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThis was most troublesome for Julius Caesar, as he realized this race would not be easily defeated and thence subjugated.

Missy Cat sleeps on the bed at Bealtaine CottageThe Roman Empire was all too aware of what happened when the British Celts,  under their Queen Boadicea, decided to revolt against Roman tyranny.

The standing stone at Bealtaine Cottage February 2013The Celts, led by their Queen, cut a mighty swathe through the Roman settlements, towns and armies in England, almost wiping out Roman occupation!

light a candle at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandThe Romans had raped the daughters of Boadicea, making her watch…the entire Iceni Tribe rallied behind the dignity of their queen and against the tyranny of such barbarians as empire breeds.

Christmas eve moon above Bealtaine CottageAs for the women of the Celts, Roman Diodorus Siculus wrote of them, saying, “Among the Gauls the women are nearly as tall as the men, whom they rival in courage.”

Brigid Cross  Bealtaine Cottage Shop on Etsy