Frogspawn, Sunshine and a Walk in the Garden

DSC08362Went for a walk down to the pond and made a video on the way, as the sun shone and the birds sang…what a beautiful day!

The lower pond is filled with Frogspawn…almost heaving really…I’ve never seen so much!

DSC08368Just recalling how a mere twelve years ago there was nothing here by wet, rushy ground that was impenetrable to the spade!

Now it’s packed with wildlife, young woodland, ponds, streams, orchards, soft fruits and vegetables!

DSC08374There is even a Spring Well, dug out from stone, deep within the Fairy Wood! DSC08357Bealtaine Cottage…from monoculture to permaculture in twelve short years!

Enjoy the video!

Those interested in the Fuchsia, Blackcurrant or Rubus cuttings need to hurry and order, as they are fast coming into leaf…another couple of weeks left to get them in the ground and growing…and they will grow very fast indeed! To place your order, click on the link below…

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

 

 

 

Signs of Spring

Catnip Heart Toy made at Bealtaine Cottage

Life is stirring.

Light shines higher in the morning sky.

Thickening buds cast a haze over the land.

“But there were certain early days in Casterbridge- days of firmamental exhaustion which followed angry south-westerly tempests-when, if the sun shone, the air was like velvet.”
Thomas Hardy

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine Cottage

Colours emerge and birds sing out a joyous, higher note.

Warm weather in January

We are officially in the season of Spring in the West of Ireland and the new energy is tangible, from rising in the morning to the growing lateness of dusk.

The temperature seems rather unstable, as you can see evidence of in the photograph above.

The morning began very cold and in the space of minutes, the temperature had climbed by 18 F., causing the mirror on the veranda to steam up!

I recorded this as most of the only real information about climate and weather appears to be anecdotal evidence from social media! Cottage interior at Bealtaine, 2016

My favourite aspect of Spring is the way the light changes.

If one simply sat in this cottage and never ventured outdoors it would be possible to map the seasons in light play.

I expect birds, animals and even insects are similarly informed.

Living in the glare of artificial light can be dulling to our senses!

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”
Vita Sackville-West, The Land

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Elsewhere in the woodland gardens at Bealtaine, frogs have emerged from hibernation and busied themselves, as only frogs can in cold ponds!

Frogs in Bealtaine pond have the luxury of a shallow, sheltered, ancillary pond, hand dug by myself, just off the main one.

This water heats faster and earlier, ensuring maximum attention to the detail of frog mating and spawning…a sort of nursery pond!

Anyway, it works a treat and has done for the past eleven years.

As a consequence, the amphibian life force has healthily expanded!

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

 

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2016

Diversity of planting not only has created resilience, but bestowed all year round colour to Bealtaine Cottage…so appreciated as Spring emerges…for with this rising of the sap, comes a much defined colour change!

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Pussy Willow at Bealtaine Cottage. Ireland

Catkins have appeared on the Willow…and there’s many different varieties in the Woodland. Pond and even Orchard gardens. Essential food for the bees emerging from a hungry winter hibernation.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Quince flowers, Bealtaine Cottage, Feb 2016

This Quince grows in the Bog Garden and has begun to flower!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood

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Where would Spring be without the exquisite little Primroses?

Seen here in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine, surrounded by Spurge!

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Spurge at bealtaine cottage in the Fairy Wood

The Fairy Wood awakens!

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

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

 

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

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

Fertile Edges of the Imagination

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The day is ending and night is closing in.

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Floods have swollen the rivers, causing aquifers to burst out across the land.

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Everywhere is sodden.

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I put on my wellies to walk the gardens, eager to see the mighty force of water sweeping through the pond.

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I step in squelching earth underfoot as the last blackbirds sing out their territorial salute to the day as it passes into the west.

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With the pond weed all but cleared, the last vestiges of a winter’s day linger on the surface of the water.

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Droplets of rain cling to twigs and ivy in the still of the evening air.

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Lichens, sodden with rain, flop across the horizontal branches of the Goat Willow.

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The otherworldliness of the Fairy Wood beckons as  the birdsong ends and silence descends.

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I make haste up the gentle hill towards the cottage and the warmth of home.

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Once indoors, I sit for a few precious minutes in the fading light, blissfully soaking up the silence.

Day, evening and night merge seamlessly at dusk, fertile edges of the imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silt Harvesting…Benefiting From Climate Change

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When beginning to plant the land here at Bealtaine Cottage over ten years ago, one of the most important tasks was to dig out drains and create two large ponds.

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The upper pond is mainly to catch the silt washed down from the hilly land behind the cottage.

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The lower pond as a pure delight for humans…a place where the sky is pulled onto the earth and light is reflected upwards, back towards the sky.

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In order to keep the reflective powers of the water, it is essential for me to clear the pond weeds and plants every year.

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This is an arduous task, but a beneficial one for all the trees here in the Bog Gardens.

As I pull up the weed, huge roots packed with fertile silt come up with it.

This is then spread around trees and shrubs in the gardens.

There is a substantial amount of fertility spread this way.

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However, further back, in the silt pond, the sandy, loamy soil is dredged out in buckets.

All this is happening because of extreme weather, causing heavy rains that leach the soil on the hill and wash it down into the stream that feeds the ponds.

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In the face of climate change, it is imperative we adapt in these small ways, for much of our topsoil is being washed into the oceans.

Besides which, silt is one of the most productive soils known to humankind!