Observed by Consciousness

Reality only exists when it is observed…

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These are images I photographed yesterday…what I observed here in the woodland gardens and food forest that is now Bealtaine Cottage.

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Reality can only be observed by consciousness.

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Is this why we are here?

IMG_6773Are we part of the consciousness of Mother Earth?

IMG_6771I believe we shape the beauty around us with both our physical selves and our conscious minds.

IMG_6769We often hear the statement, ‘seeing is believing.’

IMG_6768I say, believing is seeing.

IMG_6766Belief in the sentient being that is Mother Earth has formed a major part of the energy that has manifested here.

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Not so long ago, the reality of this land was a different picture.

There are links at the top of this page where you can see what was…

IMG_6761IMG_6756IMG_6757IMG_6755From the very first time I saw this place I envisioned a cottage in the woods, surrounded by the music of Nature and the beauty of life.

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And here it is.

Blessings X Colette

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book includes all postage and packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€19.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

Natural Gardening and No-Dig Growing

DSC00027DSC00032Ireland is the richest source of Celtic  myths and legends.

DSC00029Down through the Ages, Ireland remained remote and cut off from mainland Europe, holding onto its rich folklore and spirituality.

DSC00030DSC00031It’s peoples worshipped all aspects of the natural world in which they recognised the Divine, in much the same way as I do here at Bealtaine Cottage.

DSC00034The reason for the wealth of myth and legend that pervades Ireland, today and it’s people lies not just from its isolation from mainland Europe for much of its history.

DSC00035Ireland remained free from pressures exerted by other cultures such as the Roman Empire.

DSC00036So much so, that the great writer, John B. Keane referred to his people as having only a “thin veneer of Christianity…” in that they merged their pre-Christian practices with their newly inducted Christianity.

DSC00037 And so I offer this up as a simple explanation for the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage having evolved through a similar understanding of the natural world and the supreme forces of Nature.

DSC00038This is no ordinary Permaculture garden as you can see, but one deeply nourished and inspired by the Goddess.

DSC00039For me there is a spiritual, otherworldly, ethereal force at work and play here.

DSC00040This is the rational (for me) way of explaining the extraordinary growth and extreme revving-up of biodiversity that has happened at Bealtaine.

DSC00041All beyond my control…not that I ever wanted to control this magnificent force!

I leave that to the Planet-Wreckers!

DSC00042As I re-emerged through my journey with Mother Earth, I came to an intuitive understanding of the need to stop digging Her…to let Her be!

DSC00043So I mulch and cover Her with as much tenderness as befits the Great Mother.

DSC00044You will never see any of Her precious skin exposed.

DSC00045Her mantle remains in place.

DSC00046And so this brings me to the second part of this story…

DSC00047The wonderful success of No-Dig Gardening…

DSC00050And here is the first of over twenty photographs and the story of growing success at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…continued over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life… bealtainecottage.org

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Cottage Garden Style

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There was a full moon last night.

Sammy-Bear couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted in or out.

Previous to this photo I had opened the back door for him twice to go out, whereupon he ran around to the front of the cottage and jumped up on the window sill, as you can see here!

DSC09962It’s always a strange time when the moon is full.

I’m sure you each have stories about weird happenings at this time!

DSC09961This May moon has cast it’s brightness over Ireland, presiding over an extraordinary time of growth.

DSC09960DSC09959 All around the cottage there are flowers opening, plants growing, seemingly overnight and trees now heavy with leaf and blossom.

DSC09958Where would an Irish cottage garden be without the beautiful and traditional Perlagonium?

DSC09957And, of course, every cottage garden has a little spot for Succulents…I plant these in terracotta pots and here in this old planter.

They love dry conditions!

DSC09956DSC09955Always lots of tasks to complete as in painting the old Buddha, so he may survive another winter!

DSC09954DSC09953DSC09952As in all cottage gardens, famous for their mish-mash of flowers, vegetables fruit and just about everything else, edibles share potager beds with their close relations!

DSC09950I have had to move many plants from pots and plant them in spaces wherever I can find them.

For, as always now at this time of the year, there is a drought…sometimes prolonged, but dry enough at the best of times!

DSC09948The nursery bed, essential to a cottage garden, is being cleared fast, with plants going into the long beds down by the road.

DSC09946DSC09943Pieris and Poppies…as always, flowers are squashed in beside the most unsuitable bed mates…the Poppy is planted in with Flowering Currant!

DSC09931And sitting in my chair on the veranda, looking up…the classic cottage garden rose.

DSC09941The all-forgiving Cottage Garden will tolerate just about everything one wants to “throw out!” Except, of course, I throw little away, favouring a good old re-purpose, as in this old, but very comfy, fireside chair!

DSC09937And…the beautiful Wisteria…tougher than it looks and essential “cottage garden!”

DSC09936DSC09933DSC09932Nothing pristine here!

No manicured lawn or well-placed fountain or garden ornament…yet everything knows how to behave itself without supervision.

DSC09930Even Jack…unlike Sammy-Bear!

DSC09927DSC09924Oh Jack, you are a little beaut!

DSC09923Opening my backdoor this morning I see the Fairies have tidied up again!

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Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.

Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!

Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

Hens in the Permaculture Garden

Hens in permacultureSix hens have come to live at Bealtaine Cottage.

They arrived on Saturday, looking rather bedraggled and grungy.

With their new lifestyle, here at the permaculture gardens, an overall improvement in their appearance and well-being is guaranteed.

hens in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageIt was lovely to take my cup of tea outside and simply watch the hens as they explored their new home.

I can get quite lost just watching them…I think they may be hypnotising me!

Amethyst Horn at Bealtaine CottageThe morning is sunny, though interrupted with showers of rain, sometimes quite heavy too!

Flowering Currant at Bealtaine CottageWe had about a month without rain and so the earth was more than ready to receive the heavy showers.

Seeds in the permaculture gardensSeeds are doing amazingly well as the temperatures rise!

Bealtaine Cottage plants in tinsAnother week or so and it’ll be difficult to keep up with the progress…so all the more important to get everything into shape now in terms of preparedness.

I have made a short video so you can see the girls settling into their new lives here at Bealtaine.

There is also some footage of the seed progress and the flowering Lunaria.

This is the video I’ve posted today…

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A Message from the Master of Relativity

There are many flowers that are great for attracting and keeping bees in your garden.

Most of the berry bearing shrubs and trees are essential for the welfare of the bees.

What is a garden without bees?

Just four years… That’s how long Albert Einstein reportedly said the
human race would last in a world without bees. For the master of
relativity, the equation was relatively simple: no more bees = no more
people. ~ Valentine Warner

There is a worldwide problem concerning bees…the bee population is being decimated and people are becoming concerned…no bees=no food, simple as that!

A survey by the British Beekeepers’ Association in May 2010 revealed their members had lost 19% of their colonies (the population that inhabits a hive) in the previous year alone.

Why is this happening?

Well my own take on the problem concerns monoculture…something we should all be concerned with and striving against!

Where monoculture exists, Nature struggles.

Monoculture requires chemicals, Nature struggles.

  Farmers spray chemicals, Nature struggles.

A terrible loop of destruction is fixed into Nature and world governments are complicit with this decline in the bee population!

Are people blind?

Is science operating with a blindfold on?

I have little formal training in the field of horticulture, yet I am aware of the need to encourage and keep bees on my 3 acres.

Even planting willow like this arch above, creates food for the bees.

Planting for the bees is as important as growing food for myself!

In fact, the two go hand in hand!

 It is estimated that one in every three  households in Britain kept bees for honey to supplement the table right up until the 20th Century.

This is something that could, so easily be encouraged by our governments and our departments of agriculture.

As I walked in the garden earlier today,  the bees were continuing to be busy.

This Viburnum is a late flowering bush and very important for any late working bees!

We need to make their lives easier, not more difficult.

We all, including farmers, who own the majority of agricultural land, need to get out there and plant for the bees!

A World Without Butterflies and Bees…

Buddleia are in full, heavy, nectar perfumed bloom all over the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage.

This is one just opposite the front door.

The purple coloured blossoms droop expectantly, waiting for the seasonal Butterflies, but there are none…

What has happened is the fault of humankind, weather, pesticides, corporate greed and ecocide happening all around me.

If the Butterflies had to rely on the Bealtaine gardens alone, then the world is mad.

I fear, in this area, they do.

Flowers like these Perlagoniums hold nothing for Bees or Butterflies.

Colourful they are and I love the vibrancy and traditional look of them, but they are just that, traditional ornaments.

There are no others like this at Bealtaine Cottage.

Yet, parks are filled with these plants and others that are of no value to the natural world around us.

Gardens the same…

There is only one neighbour who tends a garden.

Only really one other garden in bloom with plants so loved by Bees and Butterflies.

The pathways in between are now cut as the silage machines level the meadows of meadowseet and buttercup and all the wild flowers much beloved of the humble Butterfly, whose days in the sun were always few and now, it appears, none.

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Growing Grapes in Ireland…Outside!

Those who follow this blog will know that I grow grapes in the polytunnel, very successfully.

This recent experiment is about growing a fruitful grapevine outside, in Ireland.

The first thing is to try to emulate the conditions most favourable for grapes and a recent visitor to Bealtaine cottage spent some time giving me lots of good advice to this end…thanks Sigi!

Sigi grows lots of vines in Austria and is very knowledgeable indeed on this subject.

First, the vine detests wet feet…so ensure that the soil is very well drained.

Well in this case I replanted the vine onto the gravel at the back of the cottage, which faces south, banking it up well.

Stone collects the heat of the sun and holds it well…thermal mass! I added lots of stone around the plant.

Sigi advised me to keep to one main stem, so I cut it back and will cut some more too.

Recycling tins…this one has been serving the Sedum for about 3 years now!

Just punch a few holes in the bottom using a hammer and nail!

The experiment with the tomatoes outdoors as opposed to the tunnel is good so far.

This one is cropping earlier than the several in the tunnel!

Everything in the raised bed is growing fast and furious…less than a month after the first stone was set in place!

Plenty of time yet for sowing seeds…I started these off on Saturday.

The Rudbeckia on the left were transplanted from a small pot.

Harvesting seed from Parsley…save seed, it’s our independence and our future!

Borage flowers adorn the water in the tunnel…ensuring lots of bees visit the plants in here, there’s lots of Borage!

Today’s video…and yes, Missy has barged in!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vejVN3L1_LU

The Rain-Sodden Lushness of Midsummer in Ireland

Harvests are looking good despite the lack of sunshine.

Today, Sunday, is overcast and still.

If the weather is fine tomorrow I shall begin to harvest the Blackcurrants.

It looks to be a mighty harvest…certainly in excess of last year, when over 100lbs were picked…and the birds had their feast along the way!

Redcurrants are cropping well also and most of these will go in the freezer, as I enjoy fruit yoghurts throughout the winter.

The Redcurrants give the impression of jewels hanging on bushes.

I often wonder why more of these delightful and easy to grow fruit bushes are not planted in borders in the garden.

The leaves are a lovely vivid green and look really attractive!

I bought this lovely lamp in a Charity shop in Enniskillen, on my way to Omagh, my home town.

 I was up visiting my Mum on her 82nd birthday last Friday!

She is in great form and looking fantastic!

I must post a pic of her soon!

Happy Birthday Mum! (I’m saying this because she has recently started looking on the net and perusing the Bealtaine Cottage blogs!)

I notice that the flowers are all in bloom on the St John’s Wort bush…they are all open despite the lack of sun!

The Bealtaine Angel silently surveys the Valerian…

I have been gathering big bouquets of Yellow Loosestrife to fill vases in the cottage.

Everywhere the lushness of midsummer continues to hold sway…