Posted in Autumn, Life, ritual, Spirituality, technology

The Power of Ritual

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Ritual, everyday ritual, is incredibly powerful!

Examine the ritual of power, be that in the opening of parliament, royal celebrations, religious ceremony…and you begin to see the importance and power of ritual!

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So where does this fit into a sustainable life or a permaculture smallholding?

It is simple to understand in the context of power…

Since the rise of the Age of Technology, our real power as human beings has become diminished.

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We have become reliant on technology, without stopping to assess and filter the bits we really need and want.

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I was contemplating this as I lit the stove this morning, moving to and fro with paper and wood, collecting fuel from the barn, whilst casting my eyes over the pile of long thin trunks, standing erect ready to be sawn into logs. Autumn in the permaculture gardens of bealtainecottage.com 001

My early morning coffee is predicated on lighting the stove and doing small chores, as I wait for the kettle to boil. This is a ritual I choose to partake of.

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I could have kept my electric kettle and simply touched a switch each morning, but chose instead to avail of that great commodity: time!

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Rising a little earlier, cleaning the ash-pan, lighting the stove and waiting, allows my morning to begin a sacred quietness.

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I walk to the back door and stand by the open portal to Nature, as she heralds the morning in with birdsong.

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The power of ritual is our power.

It is what we have forgotten, as technology imbibes us to forget our humanity.

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We need both.

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We need to be selective and thoughtful about what we wish to keep in our lives.

It is our power to choose.

Posted in Autumn, Country Living, environment, Garden, Permaculture, Thoughts

A Feast of Autumn

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Autumn in the permaculture gardens continues in a glow.

It’s near mid October…my favourite month, my birthday month!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Stoves are keeping the cottage and the lodge warm and snug.

The nip in the morning and evening air is quite tangible.

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In the scheme of things, Autumn is an exuberant finale to the year, filled with colour and joy, mindful of all that’s passed and all left to come, as the descent towards midwinter moves ceaselessly on. 

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“The tints of autumn…a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.”
John Greenleaf Whittier 

Perlagoniums resist the cold, staying in full flower, continuing in their summer glory.

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The pink roses of Midsummer have passed, leaving behind the fruits of each visiting bee…rose-hips hang plump upon the branches.

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Wisteria turns golden on the veranda.

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The morning and evening air hangs heavy and still, laden with mist.

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“GATHERING LEAVES
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?”
Robert Frost

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Salix Contorta and Honesty catch the morning sun.

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“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn; —
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.”
Thomas Hood

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“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

[Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]”
George Eliot

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“And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…”
Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems

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“I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, and then drove the five miles to the station through the most glorious October colouring. The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of promise. I knew something was going to happen. ”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

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“Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies.”
Sharon Kay Penman, Time and Chance

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“There was a filmy veil of soft dull mist obscuring, but not hiding, all objects, giving them a lilac hue, for the sun had not yet fully set; a robin was singing … The leaves were more gorgeous than ever; the first touch of frost would lay them all low to the ground. Already one or two kept constantly floating down, amber and golden in the low slanting sun-rays.”
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

Posted in Autumn, gifts, Mabon, Permaculture, walks, Woodland

Presents and Good Wishes

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Lucky me!

I received this beautiful pair of hand-knitted socks from Ally (a subscriber to Bealtaine Cottage), in time for the Equinox, a special Mabon gift!

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Ally writes, “Your lovely words and posts have given me much pleasure over the past few months…”

Ally, the socks are simply beautiful and I shall treasure them, wearing only on special occasions…they are so finely knitted, I am in awe…Bless you!

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Walking in the woodland gardens of Bealtaine this morning, I noticed that the Spindle is in fruit.

The berries are a delightful shade of pink, I love to see them!

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Trees have grown better this year than ever before.

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The flowers of the Fuchsia are colouring the gardens…all grown from cuttings stuck straight into the ground!

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As the leaves of the Gunnera Manicata die down, there are some lovely colours and shapes developing, like here by the lower pond.

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Here’s a leave with a hole…the stems are quite spikey as you can see.

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Walks are growing more leafy…

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A floral riot down by the gate!

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Michaelmas daisies this morning on the driveway.

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Woodland paths where once there was only rushy monoculture despair!

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For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.

Edwin Way Teale

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Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

George Eliot

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After a short rain this morning, the forecast is more dry and sunny days ahead…enjoy them!

Blessings X 

Posted in Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Celts, woodland walk, woods

Equinox Magic in the Woods

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Equinox was a magical day, spent in the beautiful woodland around Lough Meelagh, about three miles from Bealtaine Cottage.

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Equinox is always a special time, with day and night perfectly in balance, a time to enjoy the last long stretch of day before time moves inexorably towards the dark.

This is a Bog Oak sculpture by the Lough…beautiful, isn’t it?

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Herons are widespread in this region, with many visiting the ponds at Bealtaine Cottage.

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Pathways wind and snake their way into the depths of the woods, where an ancient Court Tomb, from the Neolithic period, is hidden among the old, tall trees.

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Ancient trees stand sentry around the Court Tomb, laid out in the shape of the womb of the Goddess.

This magical place of my Celtic ancestors.

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One is in awe of the beauty of this sacred place.

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Fairies abound in this ancient place…can you see them?

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I wrapped my arms around this beautiful tree and inhaled the energy.

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Breathtaking trees…looking up makes me feel dizzy!

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Can you see the smiling Green Man within the tree?

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Here’s another Green Man…

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And every now and then a little path leads down to the water’s edge.

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Wishing you all a Blessed Equinox…time to prepare to snuggle into the darker nights!

Posted in Autumn, forests, Trees, woods

A Place To Be Endured

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As a species on this Earth, we are separated from other life forms by consciousness, in that we are aware of our own existence.

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In being aware, we are able to make conscious choices every day, as we proceed through the maze of miracles and events that makes up our lives. Autumn in permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 012

“Live like a tree, giving, forgiving and free.”
Debasish Mridha M.D.

The best choices we make are those that involve, in some way or another, a generosity of spirit, for in those choices we give. Autumn in permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 013

I was walking the gardens this morning…really I should say, woodland, for that is what it has become, and pondering on the way in which all this manifested.

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It began with an unblinking, unfettered generosity of spirit…a conscious choice to simply plant trees into a land bereft of habitat.

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Growing and planting trees from seed has been my work over the past ten years.

Growing trees has been the work of Mother Nature for hundreds of thousands of years.

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However, at this point in time, Mother Nature, Mother Earth, needs our help…for she is so badly damaged by humankind!

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For my part, I continue to sow seeds of mighty trees in small pots…to give away with a generous heart, to the hundreds of annual visitors to Bealtaine.

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So many of you have made this sacred journey with me, planting trees wherever you live, in countries all over the Earth.

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“I have come to the conclusion that imperialism and exploitation are forms of cannibalism and, in fact, are precisely those forms of cannibalism which are most diabolical or evil.”
Jack D Forbes

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“Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the Earth is not bereft of four-footed life – that to the white man is an ‘unbroken wilderness.’

But for us there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.

For us, the world was full of beauty; for the other, it was a place to be endured until he went to another world.

But we were wise. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.”
Chief Luther Standing Bear

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To plant and restore the sacred Earth means that it will never be “a place to be endured…”

We choose!

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“We return to you, O Earth, the things which you have given us willingly and most graciously; with our hearts, hands and minds, in the best way we know how.”
Taj Mahal

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Posted in Autumn, environment, healing, magic, mother, woods

The Magical and The Sacred

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It is a rare thing…to be lost for words.

A day in Autumn that changes one perspective on life and the meaning of it all.

Where shall I begin?

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Perhaps where I started, this morning, camera in my dressing gown pocket and mug of hot coffee in my hand, traipsing out in rubber clogs onto grass saturated with morning dew.

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Or maybe, a little earlier, as this year began, immersed in deep sadness, as my mother made her own journey back to the Divine.

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But the Wheel, as they say, turns and the beauty of the Sacred overcomes the grief of the mortal…I stepped out…

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What magic lies in Nature that transforms barren into life again and again?

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The gardens have emerged this year as Woodland…and my mother loved walking in the woods.

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Come walk with me…

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Blessings X

Posted in Autumn, Bees, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living

Irish Country Magazine

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With the sun shining bright in the sky and just a touch of autumn in the air, I spent some lovely time being interviewed for Irish Country Magazine.

The interest in sustainable living is growing!

I’ll let you know when the interview is published.

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There is something of an Indian Summer happening here in the west of Ireland and it’s pretty gorgeous too!

Grapes are beginning to turn colour and ripen on the vine.

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The early morning walk was tempered with a small chill in the air.

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Yesterday was spent cutting the overgrowth in the undergrowth along the hedge on the west side of the driveway.

I am cutting all the Goat Willow, which will grow very fast next year and fill the gaps.

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In the meantime, there are stacks of wood every couple of metres along the hedge!

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It promises to be a good week, filled with sunshine and warmth…our promised “Indian Summer!”

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I shall leave the seed-heads on the Buddleia for the small birds to enjoy eating over the first few months of Autumn…time enough in cutting them back!

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Something of the Mediterranean about the cottage this morning, as the day warmed up…

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It’s not often that the sky is as blue as the watering can, but…

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The bees continue to enjoy Nasturtiums flowers…

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As the leaves hold onto the precious morning dew.

Posted in ancient, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Folklore, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Woodland

Transition

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The transition has begun.

Knitting has been brought out from hibernation.

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The final seeds have been sown.

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And  the flowers and herbs continue to thrive in the potager beds, the warmth of the gravel and stones keeping them in a summer state.

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Seasonal adjustments are happening all over the northern hemisphere, as the days draw close to balance and equinox. 

 

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Berries are in abundance this year, some say a sign of a harsh winter, but that’s to be seen.

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Cotoneaster, Hazel, Blackcurrant and Fuschia all here together.

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The changing colours are so very gentle and subtle, but they’re there if one looks…

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Blackberries ripen near the stone circle, as the leaves mottle and turn towards Autumn.

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The Sloes on the Blackthorn are ready to pick…these will make some fine Sloe Gin for Midwinter.

The Sloes are pricked with a pin and pushed into a bottle half-filled with Gin.

The bottle is then sealed and buried in the earth until Yuletide celebrations, when it is ceremoniously dug up and partaken of!

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Deep within the Fairy Wood, Autumn creates some more magic…

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These tiny mushrooms are growing on a dead branch of Goat Willow.

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Crocosmia Monbretia in all its Autumn glory.   

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Blessing, Cottage, Country Living, Growing Food, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Wildlife, Woodland

The Days Between Light and Dark

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Bright sun illuminating the garden, gave way to the gentle, patter-drip-patter of rain, as it slowly enveloped the cottage.

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The great change is steadily colouring the sights and sounds of Bealtaine Cottage.

Curly Kale can tolerate the changes well, needing much less light than many other vegetables…this is a good Winter green to ensure health and vitality as the daylight lessens.

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The days between light and dark merge as we approach the Equinox…the balancing point before the descent towards Midwinter.

Spiders busily spin and weave and everywhere the light dances playfully.

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Green turns slowly in the mixing pot of early autumn colours that inspire dreams of drifting through woodland, kicking up leaves in a playful, seasonal dance of joy.

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What lies beyond this Equinox is a time filled with darker evenings, not to be scorned, but embraced as a time to rest, nurture and be nurtured.

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As we enjoy this late Summer glory, the days of “mist and mellow fruitfulness,” lie ahead…what a beautiful time of year this is!

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Walking the gardens here this morning is sheer Heaven on Earth.

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The air is warm and still.

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Birds call out to one another. 

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

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“Fall has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
Lauren DeStefano, Wither

 

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Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage

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Much appreciated! 

 
Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Garden, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees

A Permaculture Day Out

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As we begin to embrace the beauty of early Autumn, I am getting requests about the availability of B&B at Bealtaine Cottage over the coming cooler months.

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Lots of you want to visit Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens and they will remain open all the way through the year! bealtainecottage.com 006

For those who want a little bit more than just a visit, I am offering a Full Day Experience which includes Lunch and Dinner. bealtainecottage.com 076

This affords the opportunity to spend a full day here, asking all the questions about permaculture and Sustainable Living you ever wanted to!

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See how it all works first hand!

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The cost remains the same as before.

Lunch…15 euros.

Dinner…20 euros

Garden Visit…10 euros.

So a full day is only 45 euros, with all the food you can eat!

Oh, and that includes lashings of tea and home-made cake!

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If you’d like to book a day, that will change how you see the world and your own life, contact coletteoneill2010@hotmail.com Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 012

For more details and booking.

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Days are limited to a maximum of 4 people only per day…this is a cottage after all!

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I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Autumn, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Seeds, Sustainable Living

Excavating the Past…

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Easy to grow salads, almost ready to eat from the box!

This mixture of seeds, mostly saved seeds, so the cost is minimal, has taken about 3 weeks to germinate and grow, outdoors.

Coriander, Parsley, Lettuce, Spinach, Leeks, fennel and more, all jostle together.

These will be cut and cut again for several harvests.

Some of the bigger, stronger seedlings will be pricked out and planted on.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (23)I want to thank all of you who commented and liked on yesterday’s blog…this has really energized me!

Living on one’s own can be quiet at times and it was so great to get such lively and uplifting feedback…bless you all XXX

bealtainecottage.com permacultureI love to forage and dig about at old dump sites, many of which can be found around old Irish cottages.

Nothing was ever thrown, but rather placed in the ditch or bank, so when people like myself excavate decades later, much of what we find remains intact.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (2)This is a selection of old bottles dug up and cleaned.

Some of them are really beautiful, don’t you think?  

Among other things, the practice of excavating old sites is directly linked to antique bottle collecting and glass-making. 

This hobby is so very interesting as it allows a picture of the past to be slowly unraveled and a new tapestry created of past lives.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (24)As I write there is a light spray of rain in the air…it is barely falling!

The ground has been dry and water levels in wells have  dropped in recent weeks.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (4)A week of rain would be very welcome.

The  rain-water barrels have served me well, but are now empty.

Close planting has helped preserved the moisture in all of the beds.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (3)The dry weather has also been great for seed collection.

I have hung Mizuna and Purple Sprouting Broccoli in the barn to dry off.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (7)This Parsley seed will be ready to hang very soon.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (5)Hover-flies buzz endlessly around the flower-heads of the Cotoneaster.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (6)Leycestria Formosa grows like a weed here in the west of Ireland and the flower-heads transform into chocolate-scented berries much loved by the Blackbirds.

In between, it makes a beautiful bush…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (8)Summer prevails and may continue long into September, making a seamless merge into late Autumn.

Enjoy every day in some small way…Blessings X

Bealtaine Cottage has a brand new website…it’s called Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…TO READ MORE, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEW WEBSITE. SEE:

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Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Life, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees, Woodland

A Room with a View

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“All our wisdom is stored in the trees.”
― Santosh Kalwar

Continuing this love affair with trees…

www.bealtainecottage.com 004…the view from every window in Bealtaine Cottage…

www.bealtainecottage.com 001trees, trees, beautiful trees!

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“When trees burn, they leave the smell of heartbreak in the air.”
― Jodi Thomas, Welcome to Harmony

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“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die

www.bealtainecottage.com 011To plant a tree is to make a statement of faith in the future.

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“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”
― William Blake

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“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am into a second print run and am posting from today, Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy…

http://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings from Bealtaine X

Posted in Autumn, Country Living, Current Affairs, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Trees

Tree Gardens

www.bealtainecottage.com 043Winter is here, though it’s hard to believe! Flowers continue to bloom and leaves remain in the process of changing colour. Bowls of apples in the cottage create a sense of Autumn.

www.bealtainecottage.com 069Vibrant colours create a different garden, a very seasonal garden thanks to the many trees! The Sedum keeps its shape, despite the small frost that has attempted destruction of these tender-stemmed plants.

www.bealtainecottage.com 044Perlagoniums send forth small flowers, protected from the worst of the elements by the warmth of the window-sill. These will be collected up soon and stored in a corner of the little barn, until March, when I shall move them into the tunnel in readiness for the summer.

www.bealtainecottage.com 051An Autumn garden is a tree garden, for this is the season when the quiet, sturdy, soldiers of Earth have their very own festival…a final fling of a party before bed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 053Even the stems of the young trees join in, merging colours with the falling leaves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 052Can you see the little mushroom to the left of Che-Mousey? The earth under many of the trees is bringing forth all kinds of mushrooms!

www.bealtainecottage.com 055The coppiced tree is a Hazel…they do very well from being coppiced and grow tall, straight Hazel poles. I use these in the vegetable beds for beans.

www.bealtainecottage.com 058The air is still and warm this morning and I’m reminded of the storm hitting the Philippines at this time. The radio tells me that this is the strongest storm ever! I wish safety to all caught up in this impending disaster!  Despite the debate that hangs in the corporate media about Climate Change, there is, most definitely, Weather Change!

www.bealtainecottage.com 059Che-Mousey has become my constant companion since Missy passed on. His personality becomes more apparent to me, as I get to spend time with him. He was always a very shy cat, but has recently blossomed and I am delighting in seeing the change in him!

www.bealtainecottage.com 060I really should write something here, but am simply staring at the colours and sipping coffee!

www.bealtainecottage.com 062Fennel seeds by the veranda this morning.

www.bealtainecottage.com 067And a warm winter cottage thanks to trees!

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 Autumn, celebrations, Celts, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Samhain, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Moon of Samhain

www.bealtainecottage.com 028Leaves are changing the trees and shrubs into their vivid autumn attire.

Spiders are scurrying to and fro, spinning webs and catching food.

Berries hang in abundance on shrubs and trees.

Samhain waits in the wings.

The season makes progress towards “Summers’ End.”

www.bealtainecottage.com 015My friend, Marion has delivered some logs to me as a gift…a true and thoughtful friend indeed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Rain has fallen for some days now and the ground is saturated.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034However, Jack must be walked…Walking in the rain is therapeutic and quite humbling, reminding me of the blessings of warmth and comfort in the cottage and the fortune of friendship.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002Last night the moon was full and powerfully bright, illuminating the landscape and the sheep, on the hill behind the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005I love this time of year, my birthday month…a celebration on the 29th, a Scorpio for sure!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012I am driven by passions and am of the Earth…at times a great strength and others my downfall, though little I care!

Scorpio women rarely cast a glance over their shoulder…

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I am blessed in that I love the Earth and her seasons, an endless wardrobe of colours and textures and scents!

www.bealtainecottage.com 008And even here, in my workroom, I can watch her on the stage, through my window.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The lunar cycle is almost complete, the moon of Samhain is next on stage.

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Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Cats, Country Living, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Fairies, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Autumn Seeds, Berries and Lichens

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Harvesting Willow today in the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004This Willow is pollarded rather than coppiced.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The day is fine…good for washing to dry out on the clothes line.

Fresh air and sunshine have an excellent cleansing effect on the materials.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Working so close to the trees, and seeing the lichens and mosses in the sunlight is magical.

Little cobwebs, insects and textures becomes a world all of its’ own.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014An opportunity to admire the berries on the Hawthorn, set against the silver of the bark.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015Clusters of berries on the Ivy continue to develop.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016Not to be out-done…the cerise pink berries on the native Irish Spindle make a show of themselves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 020Seeds on the Alder trees hang low in the bog garden.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021The green of Autumn has a fairytale quality about it…it becomes a woodland green, reflected by silvery, autumnal sun light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031Where summer sun on trees casts darkness underneath, autumn sun creates shadows…

www.bealtainecottage.com 034The Fairy Wood is timeless with trailing ivy and sunlight.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Ivy and moss…

www.bealtainecottage.com 038******

www.bealtainecottage.com 042*********

www.bealtainecottage.com 056Jack and Che-Mousey-Bear play in the sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 059***************

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Food, Frugal Living, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Trees

Planning to Beat Poverty

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Pollarded Willow in the upper gardens this afternoon.

Walking around the land gives me an overall perspective of work to be carried out this coming winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007The Autumn is prolonged, as the good weather continues and so the coppicing has begun in earnest!

This is an eight year old Birch tree, that was coppiced in year one, to produce multiple stems.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010It’s very dry and still.

Trees are holding onto their leaves and flowers continue to bloom.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I was shopping in a supermarket in town the other day and noticed a sharp increase in the cost of food.

I really thought that the assistants had made genuine mistakes in the pricing tags on some of the shelves.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001I knew this was coming and have in fact warned about it, but to see the jump in overall food costs is quite scary…it appears to be all of a sudden!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I am aware that the cost of seeds have doubled in some cases…that was the precursor to the food price jump!

Corn is up 92% and corn syrup is in a lot of foods!

The Times of India reports an overall food price rise of 157% between 2004 and 20013

www.bealtainecottage.com 021If ever there was time to embrace the abundance that grows from permaculture it is now!

Even the collection of this bundle of kindling saves vital cash…a bag of kindling at the shops costs on average 3-4 euros!

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Just cleaning up the lane-way to the cottage will produce an excess of kindling and wood for the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Last month The Daily Express UK newspaper reported that, “Rising food prices are causing stress for four in ten consumers, while a third say they are struggling to feed themselves or their family.”

According to “The Mirror,” newspaper, Sep., 2013:
“Food bills rising nearly FOUR times faster than wages, figures show.”

www.bealtainecottage.com 032The dry Autumn will see me out collecting as much wood for fuel as possible.

After all, in the depths of a cold, dark winter, what sustains us better than a warm home, hot, home-made soup and pots of preserves, chutney and pickles in the pantry.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034And not forgetting the home made wine!

Warmth and good food remains within our grasp if we plan for it now!

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, biodiversity, Birds, Cats, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Seeds, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Country Living and Magic

www.bealtainecottage.com 002Red berries and silver light, weather changing frame by frame and night skies opening up to endless stars…country living, or maybe just observing.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003For as I type, a fierce storm moves across the tree tops, sweeping leaves before it like a Samhain broom!

Yet in the stillness of the sheltered gardens of Bealtaine, Perscaria blooms stand tall and erect, like soldiers guarding Summer…but not for long!

(Persicaria amplexicaulis is a species of flowering plant in the family Polygonaceae, native to the Himalayas.)

www.bealtainecottage.com 008Che-Mousey-Bear chases around the gardens, delighting in Autumn and curiously keeping watch as I take photographs this morning.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Willow arches have thickened this year…something I will plant many more of, as the Autumn progresses and leaves fall away, to reveal the best stems to cut and plant.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017  The fallen Rowan tree continues to grow strong and multiply it’s stems, year after year.

This beautiful tree had fallen in a storm over nine years ago, but now grows in the more sheltered gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.com 020The Rowan tree has long been regarded to possess magical and protective qualities and often was planted near Irish cottages.

www.bealtainecottage.com 028This may have something to do with the fact that there is a small five-pointed star, or pentagram, opposite the stalk of each berry.

www.bealtainecottage.com 023Pentagrams have long been considered symbols of protection.

www.bealtainecottage.com 035The berries’ red colour is also regarded to be the best protective colour against enchantment.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013The covering on the tunnel is in need of washing, for the algae has settled on the outside…a task to add to my weekly list!

www.bealtainecottage.com 031 The berries on the Ivy are ripening fast.

These are a welcome source of food for blackbirds and if not eaten, remain on the plant until spring, providing an important food-source for young birds.

Ivy makes a magical decoration for the home towards midwinter… I always look forward to gathering and decorating the mantelpiece with this wonderful greenery, leaving plenty for the birds!

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bees, Birds, Butterflies, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Trees, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

Pulling Down the Sky

www.bealtainecottage.com 010There is a gigantic food festival happening all around Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The partying has been going on around the clock for a few days now, with most of it taking place in and around this humble little, easy to grow plant…the Nasturtium!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Bees and Caterpillars are stocking up on the end of season glut, before the first frost descends, as surely it will this week!

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Once the frost comes then the Nasturtiums will die off completely as they appear to melt in the extreme cold!

And, in the meantime, these beautiful Caterpillars eat their way to transformation, as Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies! www.bealtainecottage.com 013The rain has fallen steadily for several days now, filling containers all over the gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015These shallow containers with rims, are essential for bees to drink from, as many die struggling to climb out from water barrels.

They are also quite beautiful, in that they pull the sky into them, creating magical light in dark areas of undergrowth, like here.

www.bealtainecottage.com 024Whether on the ground or, as here, in trees, little areas of water are welcome feeding stations for small wildlife.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021The season moves gently through the trees and shrubs, creating vibrancy of colour here and there.

This Virginia Creeper stays for much of the year, unnoticed, as it spreads its tendrils through the Rose Arch, only to dance out onto the stage as the curtain falls!

www.bealtainecottage.com 023And likewise the Spindle bush…all plain and coy until Autumn gets it drunk on colour!

www.bealtainecottage.com 030The days may be shorter, but they are packing in the entertainment!

Even the Lemon trees are coming up!

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Bealtaine cottage crafts 010Bog Oak Pendants are available from the Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop.

Each pendant is hand-crafted from locally sourced Irish Bog Oak, an ancient and profoundly mysterious wood that’s been buried in the Irish peat bogs for thousands of years.

These pendants are made from wood dated as 5,600 years old.

Visit:

http://bealtainecottage.com/craft-shop/

Posted in Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Woodland

The Girdle of Green

www.bealtainecottage.com 002An old castle on an island in the forest, not far from Bealtaine Cottage, and where I walked today with my daughter, Cara, whose birthday we celebrated, with a walk through this magical landscape on a glorious autumn day.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007This is Lough Key and the castle once belonged to the MacDermott clan who lived here hundreds of years ago.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003The castle is mentioned frequently in the ancient annals, being a focus for both fighting and partying.

Brian of the Carrick, Chief 1585-92, is reported to be last head of the clan to live on the island.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004 There is reference to Castle Island in the annals of Lough Ce as early as 1184.

During this time the park was called Moylurg and the Kings of Moylurg were the MacDermotts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017The real pleasure lies in walking among the mighty Oaks that guard the Lough.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031This Oak tree was warm and welcoming…an ancient heart holding the history of the land within.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Just resting against this tree made me feel joyous…what amazing energy and strength emanates forth from trees like this!

The mighty  Oak has had importance and great significance to the Celts, from ancient to modern times.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034This is where the ancestors worshipped and held important events in the old calendar, for the Oak Grove was considered sacred.

www.bealtainecottage.com 048Oak trees grow in almost every part of the world.

The Druids made their magic wands from only three woods…Yew, Oak and Apple.