My Wildest Dreams

IMG_0096Bees are declining all over the world, for multiple reasons.
The most serious one in my estimation is habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation…in other words… Homelessness!
IMG_0097This is not a problem at Bealtaine Cottage, as Bee habitat and food source creation was implemented in the early years of the Bealtaine project.

IMG_0087As a direct consequence of this, the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage are thriving!

This is a part of the new Lughnasadh Garden, created especially for the bees and butterflies.

IMG_0046One only has to plant it and they will come! One only has to be a little untidy and they will create a home!

IMG_0085Sadly, many gardeners are not aware of the ways in which habitat and food source can be secured and managed for wildlife.  Here I’ve planted Blueberry bushes, and heaped mulch around them…a possible habitat! The flowers are pollinated by bees and in return I get masses of fruit!

IMG_0098However, some time spent observing Nature can be very empowering and planting near the cottage means I get to sit and watch the bees and butterflies as well as discover more about their feeding habits.

IMG_0089 In planning and planting this new garden, I observed a quiet respect for “nooks and crannies,” …stones, logs, small mounds…all areas of potential habitat. When cutting back the Jostaberry, above, I stacked the cut wood underneath the bush as potential habitat. Some species of Butterflies can over-winter, (leaf piles are particularly good!) and guess what…I got to see two butterflies in the garden at the end of March!

The sight of new and first butterflies in spring is a joyful, reaffirming vision of hope.

IMG_0080Water availability, layers of plants, trees, shrubs, a succession of flowers for the majority of the year…and much more was taken into the planning and planting of the garden. Habitat and food are the main drivers in my planning and planting.

The trending emphasis, when it comes to bee-decline, seems to be on bee-keeping rather than bee-habitat…the latter being something that each of us can do something about.

bees and peas at bealtaine cottageFor my part, I don’t keep bees…they keep me…and all are wild and free!

A Cottage and Three Acres…the book, available now.

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The cost of the book is 21.00 euros, plus 5.50 P&P for addresses in Ireland, 6.50 P&P the rest of the world.

Thus books posted to Ireland, total cost 26.50 euros

All other countries worldwide, total cost 27.50 euros

I am happy to inscribe and sign your copy.

To order and pay, use this button…

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 is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

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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:

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

In Search of Sanctuary

Barn at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

“Sanctuary” refers to a place set aside or designated as a protected spot.

Under EU Agricultural Policy there is a “Set Aside” plan for farmers to fence off small, protected areas for biodiversity.

However, this does not apply to Bealtaine Cottage, as the holding is too small to be significant!

Plant diversity at Bealtaine CottageI plant and protect for the love of Nature, not for the money from the EU!

Maybe that is why there is such diversity packed into these three acres!

Protected plants at Bealtaine CottageThe more well-known forms of sanctuary are areas set aside by humans for the protection of land wildlife, sea life, or ocean life.

Plant sanctuary at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandHere at Bealtaine there are areas of woodland, fresh water ponds and wetland, as well as other significant areas.

Plant Sanctuary, Bealtaine Cottage, IrelandBealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens is, in essence, a wildlife and unique sanctuary.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageWithin these three acres exist a flourishing ecosystem, as well as  areas set aside to maintain functioning natural habitats.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageThese ecosystems act as refuges for species, whilst maintaining ecological processes that cannot survive beyond Bealtaines’ boundaries in most intensely managed landscapes.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensProtected areas act as benchmarks against which we understand human interactions with the natural world.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageToday they are often the only hope we have of stopping many threatened or endemic species from becoming extinct.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

In the midst of EU sponsored monoculture, Bealtaine Cottage is an Ark for Nature.

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

This amounts to 104 publications per year, at a cost of 12 cents each!

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You may like to visit the Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop…

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

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March Against Monsanto

No Fracking

The new sign at Bealtaine Cottage, alongside a more important one…”No Fracking!”

Time to advertise what it is we stand for!

The power of advertising is immense.

Free advertising at Bealtaine CottageCorporations and governments allocate massive amounts of money each year to get their messages of suppression and control across to the public.

However, we have the access to advertising ourselves, if we decide to use our windows, cars, front doors, entrances to propagate our messages…what a load of free advertising space!

Bee on Linaria flower at Bealtaine CottageOn Saturday 25th May, there is a worldwide March Against Monsanto, taking place in all major cities.

If Monsanto is allowed to pimp it’s wares, as it does so successfully to central governments, then pictures such as this, the bee on Lunaria in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage, will be rare indeed!

Here in Ireland, marches are taking place in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Clare…with more being added.

WE NEED EVERYONES HELP
WE ARE ASKING ALL ANTI GMO, ANTI MONSANTO, PRO NATURE, PRO HEALTH, PRO ENVIRONMENT, ANTI CHEMICAL POLLUTION, PRO ORGANIC, FACEBOOK PAGES WEBSITES, BLOGS, NEWS CHANNELS, AND NEWSPAPERS TO GET BEHIND THIS MOVEMENT. WE HAVE JUST A FEW WEEKS LEFT. LETS ALL WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS A HISTORY MAKING EVENT. THIS IS OUR MARCH, ALL OF US, THE WORLD UNITED AGAINST SELFISH GREED THAT WOULD DESTROY OUR HEALTH AND THE PLANET IN ITS PATH.
MAY 25th EVERYWHERE
THIS IS EVENT IS FOR ALL OF US
THIS IS OUR EVENT
OUR VOICES HEARD
EDUCATE ALL

All Events in this Link
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0Ah7h2ApbBPnpdGhOMElaSVg1QUQtRlJQWm1FaUZISlE&toomany=true 

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria at Bealtaine CottageButterflies are making a welcome appearance here in the permaculture gardens, with this lovely little Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) making an appearance this morning.

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeriaIt settled for a little sunbathing on the Ribes hedge near the Fairy Wood.

apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine CottageThe apple trees continue to make a big show of blossom as it all opens to attract the busy bees.

bealtaine Cottage archwayIt’s sunny and bright this morning, but appears to be clouding over as the day progresses.

I will be marching against Monsanto in Sligo on Saturday 25th May.

The march begins with a rally at the corner of O’Connell and Grattan Streets at 1pm.

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

Over 550 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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April Snow, Bees and Butterflies

April  Bealtaine Cottage pond gardenApril weather is always unpredictable.

Snow fell this morning…in between rain and brilliant sunshine!

It was like a convergence of all the seasons in one morning!

April permaculture rhubarb at Bealtainecottage 016This time last year we were swimming in the Atlantic Ocean down by Mullaghmore Pier.

Legs and arms, uncovered for the first time in months, looked a sickly white in shorts and T-shirts.

April 2011 permaculture cottage 022The apple blossom was fully out and the season was about a month ahead of what was expected.

This year, the season is late.

About 4-6 weeks in some parts of the garden!

April  Bealtaine Cottage PolytunnelHowever, the polytunnel is really paying for itself, as I have all the fruit and veg in pots, growing big and strong and ready for when the weather settles down and all danger of frost has passed!

April Bealtaine Cottage permaculture GardensI have been hauling more and more stone from the edges of the land, into specific areas, where the passive solar heat trapped in the stone will help growth in annual crops, creating micro-climates.

As the season is late, it allows more time for me to catch up with the bigger tasks here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Always looking for the silver lining!

Bealtaine Cottage Gardens  in April 2011 001The Bats are out from hibernation and yesterday, as I walked down the lane-way, a butterfly fluttered just ahead of me, for most of the walk.

The bees are flitting from one heavily laden Ribes bush to another…their end of hibernation feast!

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The EU are making it against the law to save and share seed…

This is not a petition asking the EU for anything, but one that sends a clear, sharp message…We Will Not Comply!

A shot across the bow!

Please sign and share…

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_Will_Not_Comply/?wCgoWbb

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you for supporting this blog

The Rise and Rise of Famine Farms

Before permaculture. Bealtaine CottageI describe monoculture  practice as creating “Famine Farms” for bees and wildlife…becoming places of slow starvation for all.

I recall thinking this when first beginning to plant out the permaculture gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

As you can see from the place as it looked then, it was bereft of food for anything!

Bealtaine Cottage potage beds in the permaculture gardensWalking around the gardens of Bealtaine during the Spring and Summer, watching bees forage in the blossom, frogs delight in the ponds and listening to the birds sing out a mighty chorus, makes me think of the dire situation these creatures face in the monoculture world of modern farming.

Bealtaine Cottage barnThe average person knows little of bees and their importance to all life as we know it.

It forms part of the massive disconnect going right through the core of society.

Bealtaine Cottage Buddleia flowers for the butterflies and beesIn much the same way that medical doctors have a two week slot on diet and nutrition, during their four year medical training, farmers are unaware of much of the way in which the food chain operates around them and, in particular, the intricacies of Nature.

Bealtaine Cottage hanging baskets in the trees...a slug free zoneWithin western culture, religion teaches us that we are placed here to have dominion over Nature.

Such arrogance is reprehensible as we gather more and more knowledge of the decline and loss of habitat of life as we know it!

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds and BuddhaIt is widely held that our increasing use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, which honeybees ingest during their daily pollination rounds, are largely to blame for the continuing decline of the bees.

Many people point to the proliferation of  genetically modified crops, which may generate pollen with compromised nutritional value.

The list of who and what is to blame goes on…

Bealtaine Cottage flowering Ground ElderHowever, from my own observations I have come to this conclusion: we are responsible for starving the bees; with loss of hedgerows; tree depletion; use of chemicals; growing of gaudy flowers with no pollen; proliferation of ridiculous lawns and constant demand for monoculture raised foods, to name but a few!

Bealtaine Cottage flowers and porchIt behoves us all to make it our business to know how to create and nurture bee habitats.

Bealtaine Cottage Missy and ValerianAnd that means looking at the natural world, not as a resource to be continually trodden on and suppressed, but as a wondrous gift from the Divine we all need to cherish.

Bealtaine Cottage website is free, with over 850 blogs and 3,500+ photographs.

However there is a new website for lovers of all things Bealtaine…

 Bealtaine Cottage Good Life

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The Autumn Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

One of the many apple trees at Bealtaine Cottage, laden with fruit on this glorious September day.

As the nights draw in and the apple harvest swells, we realise Samhain is near.

Autumn is making it’s progress through the beautiful Arigna Mountains and the valley where Keadue nestles near the Castle of Kilronan…a place swathed in mist at this magical time of year.

Walking around the gardens today, I took these pictures to share with you.

Butterflies cover the Buddleia…this is a late flowering one as I planted it out this year, which is lucky for the butterflies as they made a late appearance!

Of course, it wasn’t long before Missy joined me, followed by Flo and Che.

It always feels so nice to walk around the gardens with the little characters who inhabit this sacred space!

Flo is just visible on the other side of the pond, near the standing stone.

She keeps an eye on everyone!

I can only add that we all enjoyed the walk.

 Bealtaine Cottage at Ballyfermoyle, is a beautiful place for sure, but, when the sun shines it is heaven!

Abundant Harvest at Bealtaine Cottage…seeing is believing!

Despite the problems with weather and lack of sunshine, this  is turning out to be one of the best years on record for the harvest at Bealtaine Cottage.

Continual adaptation to climate change is paying off, as the Potager Beds have excelled themselves in little over ten weeks since construction and planting.

Designed and built in the truly vernacular style, using stone sourced on site, these beds have been a blessing in production and style.

Blessed with continual warmth and shelter at the back of the cottage, the plants have excelled themselves, doing better than those planted in the tunnel!

Bees and, blessed be, Butterflies are all in abundance too, a sight to behold!

The Apple harvest is the best ever, as these trees have brought apples to my table every year since planting.

I have been out this morning and made a video for you to see for yourselves…it is amazing.

Oh, and as a joyous footnote…the Bats are back at Bealtaine Cottage…small and few, I suspect a new colony, but it is a stunning sight to watch at dusk!

Today’s video…just click on the link!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWLrpb6_9Wc

The Magic of Life

I had no idea!

Reading about soil today has enlightened me…no, transported me…into another world, seriously!

The world beneath my feet.

I have always had a fascination with Fairies and the world of Nature, but was never fully cognisant of the facts about our soil…that deep, dark, rich matter that gives forth all we eat.

Facts like, a gram of soil contains about 100 million bacteria.

A square metre of fertile farmland can be inhabited by something like around 55 million worms and about 50,000 small insects and mites.

Monoculture diminishes all this, of course.

A monocultured ecosystem is very weak and may not be up to withstanding disturbance…hence the severe erosion and dust storms seen throughout places like the mid west of America.

A complex ecosystem, such as can be found here at Bealtaine Cottage, is better able to adapt to disturbance.

Permaculture has a healing effect in a very short time, allowing the soil to build up a strong ecosystem relatively fast…a few years in the case of this monocultured 3 acres!

Homo sapiens, means, Wise Man.

A Wise Man would not be sieving life out of our Eco-system, or interfering with our food chain and supply by patenting seeds.

A Wise man in Government would not allow that to happen.

Where have all the Homo sapiens gone?

Today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCIaK07EieY

Monsanto, Bono, Africa and Suicide

He was once a hero of mine.

A singer who sang about the issues I cared about.

But, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” has become “Endgame, Bloody Endgame,” as the one time singer who articulated the ideals of a generation, turns advocate and spokesperson for the awful, dreadful, death impregnated, GM seed and food corporations of the globe.

The G8 Summit, where the great and the greedy met to plan their attack on an unsuspecting continent, will go down in history as the final chapter in a globalized attack on the poor and downtrodden of our world.

For we all know about India and the almost quarter of a million dirt poor farmers who have taken their lives in all manner of disturbing ways.

That was about seed.

GM seed.

Seed with great advertising and promises behind it, pushing it upon the most vulnerable upon our sacred Earth.

And, if I know…I, a woman living in the remote west of Ireland without television or daily paper, then I am certain that Bono knows all this and more!

After all, did he not spend time with President Obama at the G8 Summit?

So, why, Bono…why?

Today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqkpQyo5CjM

I write about, film and photograph, Mother Earth, from Bealtaine Cottage, encouraging others to open little portals of healing energy all over the world.

Blessings and thanks for your support.

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The Magical Festival of Lughnasa…

The land approaches Lughnasa, (Lughnasadh), August and the beginning of Autumn.

Looking at the apples today on the trees at Bealtaine Cottage, it is easy to see how this is.

Harvests continue to be gathered and develop, ripening to plumpness and fullness.

Tomatoes, like the ones above, grown outdoors in areas of micro-climate warmth and shelter, continue to flower and produce.

The weather is promised good for the week ahead, as grass moves in the gentle breeze of a July afternoon…the only missing part of this picture is the beautiful Butterflies, so decimated by rain last year and almost finished off with rain and cold this summer.

There is little I can do to help this situation, other than continue to grow and plant out Buddleias and other shrubs and flowers much beloved of these fairy creatures with coloured wings.

Herbs are harvested, tied into small bunches and hung to dry in the warmth of the tunnel, with lots of air circulating, as both doors remain open day and night during summer.

Lughnasa is a harvest festival, marking the end of the period of summer growth and the beginning of the autumn harvest.

This is the time to save seed…as you can see, seed-heads have formed beautifully on the Leeks in the tunnel today.

I will save the seed of the strongest plant, for sowing next year.

Jostaberries are almost ready to harvest.

They come into season just after the Blackcurrant.

Many people think  that Lughnasa was a fire festival, but it was not.

Lughnasa was associated with water and earth, as seen in decoration of wells, making of corn-dollies, decorating and adorning with flowers, and climbing mountains.

Many of the most beautiful flowers come into flower at this time…the Crocosmia by the door of the tunnel will flower over the next week or so, as will the gorgeous Shasta Daisy!

The plant just peeping into the tunnel is Lemon Balm.

Wonderful scents arise as one brushes past it!

Wood cut last winter will be ready for the barn by Lughnasa.

It dries well when stacked like this!

Lughnasa is a Celtic cross-quarter festival, meaning it is not a Solstice or an Equinox, but falls between.

Perhaps this Lughnasa you will climb a mountain, visit a Holy Well, collect Bilberries, bring in the first potatoes…all celebrations of this special, magical, Celtic Festival!

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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