Posted in ancient Ireland, Cats, celtic festivals, Celtic Mythology, Celts Celtic Festivals, Gaia, Garden, Lughnasa

To The Mountain!

DSC01770I’ve been spending much of this week catching up with a great many tasks that were backing up around me…cork-tiling the bathroom floor and part of the Lodge floor, clearing the tunnel for the winter crops and all the usual stuff such as clearing and mowing the paths in the gardens!

DSC01861I have got a lot done because I made the decision last week to come off Facebook…and have shared my thoughts with you on this…

DSC01860I posted a number of pics on FB this morning, as so many people delight in seeing Bealtaine Cottage!

DSC01859It is, however, almost impossible to respond to comments left on FB as I simply do not have the time and am resolved not to negate my commitment to this blog and the second website at bealtainecottage.org

DSC01853Those of you who have followed this blog for any amount of time will be aware of the enormous workload I carry and will, therefore, totally understand this.

DSC01852Recently I came across this quote by Joseph Campbell and was deeply moved to meditate upon it for a while. 

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. –

Joseph Campbell

DSC01850It has inspired me to “go with the flow” much more and to simply get on and do whatever tasks need doing, rather than planning and then becoming despondent at what I have not achieved…I can be my own hardest and most severe taskmaster!

DSC01846I am determined to come away from this driven approach and relax into life more!

DSC01784DSC01787I could do with taking lessons from Sammy-bear, seen here by the Catnip in the tunnel, out of his mind!

DSC01786DSC01785DSC01781Cats remind us all how we should relax…frequently and often!

On the other hand…looking at his spaced-out expression…maybe not!

DSC01846There is another quote I wish to share with you. It is on a slightly different note, but one that you may find meaningful at this time…for I am aware of the events in our world recently…

DSC01845This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.

Joanna Macy

DSC01844I have found this to be comforting as I attempt to make sense of the chaos!

There is so much to rejoice in when out in Nature…

DSC01837DSC01836This is a bank holiday weekend here in Ireland, and also the great festival of Lughnasadh!

DSC01835DSC01834DSC01832 I will stride forth on Lughnasadh Eve to a high point on a nearby mountain to welcome in the new season and pay tribute to Mother Earth and in particular, Mother Ireland.

DSC01829DSC01823DSC01820DSC01818To celebrate the season is to turn one’s back on the machinations, arrogance and hubris of Man, seeking instead, the warmth and generosity of the Great Mother…Earth, in all her beauty!

DSC01777DSC01772Before I go, just to let you know, I am writing a blog on the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website, all about using sheep wool in the tunnel as I prepare it for the Autumn/Winter sowing and planting.

I am still clearing, but once I begin using the wool I shall take lots of pics and post them in the blog, along with detailed explanations of how and why.

You can become a member of the site here…

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

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See you on the other site tomorrow!

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

 

 

 

Posted in Cats, Gardens, Permaculture, Spring, vegetable garden, Wild Flowers

Magical Days

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Gardens in Spring are one of Nature’s great delights.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage the back door remains open and the sun streams in.

My grandson, Dylan sips tea, whilst nearby, Charlie sleeps on the rocking chair.

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It is days like these that are idyllic to recall, as the days of Spring and Summer stretch out before us. 008

Sammy-Bear sits by the open door, enjoying the strong sunshine.

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Somewhere in the scheme of things, as the days lengthen and the early morning birdsong touches our souls, a deep sense of optimism pervades the humdrum of everyday life.

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Animals react to Spring with displays of joy.

The image of the Spring lamb are there for all to see, but look at the behaviour of other animals…

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And the Earth itself…I can smell the grass growing…it’s an earthy, green, living smell that intoxicates!

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As I walk among the Potager beds in the garden, I notice how the Purple Sprouting Broccoli is regenerating, almost as fast as I can pick the small sprouts.

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In the tunnel, Calendula flowers on last Summers plants…a welcome reminder of the flowers to come and oh, they smell so sweet!

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Buds on the Peach tree are beginning to thicken.

This was a broken tree I rescued from the waste of a big store.

It’s taken four years to nurture it into a strong tree and this year, maybe, just maybe, I shall have some fruit!

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The Kale has over-wintered well, keeping me supplied with plenty of this rich food through the dark months.

Now, as almost all the leaves have been harvested, it begins to sprout abundance all over again.

Time to feed and water well!

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This Celery was planted and stem harvested last Spring.

It has regenerated and will provide yet more nutrients for juicing!

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Spring flowers, beauty to behold…feeding the spirit as I work in the kitchen.

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Flowers on the Ribes bushes have opened.

These will be ready to feed early awakening bees.

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Wood, stacked in Wigwam shape to air dry before being cut and moved to the barn.

There is so much wood here at Bealtaine that I am never going to get around to coppicing more than about 25%!

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Taking the time to bend down and look closer to the Earth, sights like this remind one there is another world below our view, reacting to the energy of Spring.

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I hope you make time to go out into Nature and find repose with her, for these are days of Spring magic…Magical days indeed!

Posted in Cats, Dogs, hibernation, Ireland, mountains, snow, Winter

Days of Hibernation

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Snow fell today.

As I stood by the front of the cottage, the mountain of Sliabh an Iarainn appeared to suddenly rise up in a shroud of white.

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More often than not it merges into the sky in shades of grey and sometimes blue, but today it stood out proud, gleaming white.

This mighty mountain, where once the ancients mined iron ore and ushered in the Iron Age, rises from the shores of Lough Allen to the North East, as Kilronan Mountain faces the cottage, sentinel-like, to the North.

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It too was dusted with a covering of light snow.

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I retreated to the warmth of the cottage and watched the snow fall.

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By the time I went into the bedroom to make the bed, Sammy-Bear had made a nest and curled up for the day…I exited the messy room and closed the door!

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Sammy-Bear often sleeps in my bedroom to escape Charlie, who often makes great sport from terrorizing his betters!

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Charlie and Jack are quite good friends now.

It’s a hierarchical relationship…Charlie’s the boss!

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The evening has drawn in fast…there is not much to notice yet in the stretch of the day…it slowly manifests when we are busy getting used to the new year.

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Now is the time to make the most of the days of hibernation left to us, for they are few in number…the Spring moves in faster than we realise.

Charlie knows this…in fact, looking into his eyes, I’d say that Charlie knows an awful lot!

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!

September 2014 bealtainecottage.com 033

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 Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Edible Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts

Economy? The Future is Local…the Illusion of Growth

Vintage Chest 016

I keep hens.

These hens feed into my local economy in small, positive ways.

However, these beautiful creatures are not part of Ireland’s economy, despite their consistent hard work!

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Economic growth is all about measuring the flow of money.

Surplus eggs at Bealtaine Cottage are bartered for other goods.

The details of that growth are almost irrelevant.

Yet, every day, the news is filled with details about the economy, difficult to relate to any aspect of our daily lives.

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There is not one aspect of what I do here at Bealtaine Cottage which would be deemed to contribute to economic growth. Sewing, spinning, planting trees, growing food, supporting wildlife, caring…

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Planting trees?

Only measured on the day of cutting and selling!  

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Ensuring the land is brought back to fertility…not measured.

If it cannot be measured in  the transfer of money, then it is not counted.

If you produce what you consume, then, apparently, you do not produce…the real economy of people like me is zero.

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However, the future is local in terms of the real economy, because the real economy is about real people and the real lives they lead!

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I believe that in order to stabilize the world, we must first stabilize our country and in order to do that, we must ensure our homes and communities are efficient and resilient.

The future can only be welcomed if our present is secure.

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We are of real flesh and blood; real feelings: compassion and hope; real lives, not economic statistics on the six o’clock news.

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The future is local, resources are plentiful; the future is us…just us and justice!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

A Country Remedy

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As the days move inexorably towards the fullness of August, visitors come and go.

I hear the same words being spoken, from many disillusioned souls, who make their way to Bealtaine Cottage…in search of inspiration and ways to live the better life they dream of having.

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Seeking a way back that takes them forward is how I describe it best. Being able to examine first hand the joys of living simply in order to simply live.

Back to a time when home made cakes were the only cakes to be had and bread was made and baked twice a week.

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Staying at Bealtaine Cottage is becoming a remedy holiday…one to counteract the negative influences that drag us down and inspire ideas on how to apply simplicity into one’s own life.

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This is the what overnight visitors are telling me…of a need for sanctuary.

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 And to escape the harshness of everyday life, in a quite ragged world, where many feel disenchanted. www.bealtainecottage.com 003

Speaking with recent visitors, it is apparent to me that the world of acquirement, where all is of material value, is a very narrow one. 

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There appears to be a great need for peace and solitude, time to be still and listen to the sounds of Mother Earth.

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As I busy myself in my everyday chores, my visitors drink tea and eat home-made bread or cake and just chill out. 

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If you would like your own Chill-out Time at Bealtaine Cottage, visit the link  at the top of this page, (Booking Your Visit) and book a few days out from the crazy carousel of life out there!

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It’s also a great opportunity to find out all about Permaculture at no extra cost!

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Included in your stay is an endless supply of tea and cakes!

 

 

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Edible Gardens, Garden, hens, Herbs, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

New Permaculture Orchard

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 007Last year I planted a new orchard at Bealtaine Cottage.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 008To date there are thirty eight fruit trees planted across the three acres of land here.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 012This new orchard was planted on an area previously fenced off and used for hens over a period of years.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 009This is always a good start, as the land was prepared by the hens in terms of manuring and picking over.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 010Before the trees were planted I laid down a generous spread of seaweed and covered this with cardboard, to hold back the weeds for a year or so.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 013Over the morning I have been planting yet more layers into the orchard, mainly flowers and herbs to attract and feed the bees…my secret of abundant harvests; where would we be without the bees?

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 014The next phase will include planting a bee-friendly hedge along the south edge of the area.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 015I planted Fuschia and Berberis, Dogwood and Rubus along the north edge.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 016As I cut back around the orchard, cuttings are dropped onto the ground around the trees and bushes as a mulch.
permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 021The planting continues as more and more flowers and herbs are brought from my small nursery area, a really important part of any permaculture garden or smallholding! 

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 019As with all my projects here at Bealtaine, I couldn’t resist using some Willow to effect, constructing a simple arbour that will eventually house a home-made bench, on which to sit and sup a cup of tea!
permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 024The plan of maximum planting has worked well all over the land here, building resilience as well as fertility into the land, as a forest does naturally.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 002The days have been warm and sunny, with the back door open all day long.

There is such a good balance of biodiversity here that flies don’t seem to be a bother…this can be a serious Irish complaint during the summer months!

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 003I pulled the sofa chair over to the open door as I find the soft sounds of life in the gardens very soothing.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 001Sammy does too!

The idea of planting food trees is taking off here in the west of Ireland.

My local town of Drumshanbo has planted a Community Orchard near the entrance to the town…a great Transition Towns inspiration!

 

Posted in Cats, Cottage, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Much Goodness…

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

The roses are in bloom on the veranda, resplendent with furniture cast-offs from friends!

Standing by the back door, surrounded by such beauty, I have a heavy heart…

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I have lost my darling Che-Mousy Bear.

He has passed.

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Bealtaine Cottage seems empty without him.

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Last week was difficult for me, as I struggle to come to terms with the loss of my mother.

Losing Che seems to be a deeper grief…pets have a way of getting deep into the recesses of the human heart and clearing a space there.

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So, as you can imagine, I feel wounded.

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This much I have to say, for there is so much goodness in the world that, at times, we are blinded to it in our own despair, anger, or whatever we feel consumed by…

Upon bringing Che to the Vet to be examined and worked on and after some time of dedication from the vet and all failing…the Vet refused payment!

Can you imagine how that felt?

Such kindness and compassion in the face of chaos and despair.

Never, ever doubt that there is much goodness in this world!

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Following that, my daughter made the long journey from Belfast, so that we, as a family could mourn and finally bury him, within the stone circle…where he often played.

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So, this week starts anew.

It is Monday and there is much to be done.

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It’s a cloudy morning, at times, with the sun making brief appearances.

The paths need mowing and branches need trimming as the new leaves weigh them down.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

There is an ordinariness to life that gives us all continuum.

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And in between the work and rest, a little bit of my heart remains empty.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Buddha, Cats, Earth, Organic Garden, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Uplifted

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The roses are in bloom on the veranda.

The view through the sitting room window is cheerful and lovely!

DSCF1684I sit with my back to the stove, warm, waiting for the kettle to boil on the hob, so as I can make a big pot of tea.

As I type the kettle begins to sing…

DSCF1688The day has been warm and dry with lots of sunshine.

I am still in my dressing gown, more relaxed and rested, thank goodness!

DSCF1689Sammy-Bear and Che-Mousey have kept me amused all day and Jack has been excellent company, staying close by my side, stoic and silent, as only the best dogs can be.

DSCF1690I have listened to music and read, made vegetable soup and slept.

DSCF1699Thank you all for your lovely, warm and uplifting messages…such a pleasure to read and such reassurance too…Bless you all XXX

DSCF1701The full moon is now waning and I feel I have learned something quite valuable…something to do with energy and being, though am not sure how to articulate it just yet.

DSCF1712I feel a shift of energy has taken place…for the better!

DSCF1714 The weekend lies ahead and this Bealtaine Moon in Scorpio is waning.

DSCF1715May you all have a lovely, uplifting and positive weekend

XXX Blessings XXX

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Buddha, Cats

Scorpio Moon

 

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

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

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

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

The full moon is in Scorpio, my star sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Woodland

A Sacred Space

DSCF1479 Early, matrilinear civilizations held certain areas as sanctuaries, for religious purposes.

DSCF1460These were marked out in forests as groves, and mountains with stone, but all bound with markers, many of which can be recognized in the landscape today.  

www.bealtainecottage.comHere in Ireland it is still possible to walk and sit in these sacred places near water, rock and remnants of ancient forest.

www.bealtainecottage.comIn ancient societies the Earth Mother was one of the earliest deities.

www.bealtainecottage.comHer marriage with the Sky God produced life on Earth.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis was a way of understanding the interconnectedness of life, for people evolving societies.

March 2014These are some of the Sacred Spaces that have evolved in the gardens of Bealtaine, each one co-created with Mother Earth.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe alignment of these Sacred Spaces holds particular fascination for me, for I have watched each one come into being and am aware that one must enter from a particular direction and engage the space on a particular alignment.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Alignments that engage the human interacting within the gardens are particularly interesting…

www.bealtainecottage.com 075I watch where the visitor is attracted to and the position they hold upon entering that space.

www.bealtainecottage.com 039These alignments indicate energy pathways, referred to as Ley Lines.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Regarding the Earth as sacred, allows one to engage with the possibility of co-creating Sacred Space. 

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 013It is a way of opening portals to allow the Earth a sacred space in which she can re-generate herself.

permaculture cottage july 2011 003Abundant energy flows from these spaces, connecting the land around and drawing in more energy.

open weekend sunsetThis is the most remarked upon aspect of Bealtaine Cottage from visitors far and wide.

fairies 028This is the time to create Sacred Space…

chimes and angels…for when we regard Mother Earth as sacred…

kilronan mountain…we will cease to abuse her, or, more importantly, allow her to be abused!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Fairies, Garden, hens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Follow Your Bliss and the Universe Will Open Doors

Looking out on a May evening...
Looking out on a May evening…

Making a decision is always the most difficult part of moving forward.

DSCF1379In deciding, one simply puts it out there, for the Universe to pick up.

DSCF1382That is what I have done here at Bealtaine Cottage…the next move comes from that energy.

Sammy-Bear takes a seat...
Sammy-Bear takes a seat…

The sale may, or may not happen…but the planting of trees will move forward.

The feeding system I have devised and constructed for the hens...an old pipe and tin, firmly secured on the wall of the hen-house!
The feeding system I have devised and constructed for the hens…an old pipe and tin, firmly secured on the wall of the hen-house!

I have done what was asked of me and agreed to the sacrifice.

What happens next is synchronicity and the will of Divine Energy…The Forest of Bealtaine will happen in the same magical way as Eden emerged here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Food is poured in to the top of the pipe and emerges from the feeder at the bottom as the hen peck!
Food is poured in to the top of the pipe and emerges from the feeder at the bottom as the hen peck!

As my friend, Rosie, on Twitter, pointed out to me this morning…“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” -Joseph Campbell

DSCF1394Bealtaine has begun here in the west of Ireland.

Down the steps into the may gardens
Down the steps into the may gardens

Planting is under way of crops and even a few more trees, though mostly the trees are in pots awaiting a forest!

Sedge in bloom to the left of the steps.
Sedge in bloom to the left of the steps.

Walking around the gardens this morning I snapped these pictures…

Through the Fairy Wood...
Through the Fairy Wood…

 

 

Foxglove in Spurge on the woodland floor...
Foxglove in Spurge on the woodland floor…


Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage
Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage
Sedge in the Fairy Wood
Sedge in the Fairy Wood
Stopping by the Silt-pond
Stopping by the Silt-pond
Willow in the Bog Garden
Willow in the Bog Garden
Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cats, Climate, Current Affairs, E.U., Food, Fracking, Growing Food, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Lower The Lifeboats!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe economic crisis, that became evident to all in October 2008, has never really been discussed in the mainstream media. www.bealtainecottage.comMuch of what could, and should, have been put in place by national governments, to ameliorate the dreadful effects of this crisis, have been blatantly air-brushed from the media and political debate!

www.bealtainecottage.comWe continue to be sold the illusion of full employment for all.

www.bealtainecottage.comAs direct fallout from the media hype around this lie, many people are feeling inadequate and hopeless, believing it to be their fault that they are job-less.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe media has demonized the unemployed and disabled, citing examples of welfare abuse, whilst ignoring the very real struggles many good people face in their everyday lives!

www.bealtainecottage.comGovernments have introduced all kinds of hoops and hurdles, that intimidate those seeking employment, into a state of hopelessness and despair.

www.bealtainecottage.comLeadership, has and continues to, fail us!

www.bealtainecottage.comGovernments are aware that carbon reductions in relation to Climate Change cannot facilitate Economic Growth in the present paradigm, but resist any debate or discussion on this!

www.bealtainecottage.comGovernment GDP figures do not take into consideration any guide to National Well-being, including health, food, clean air, clean water etc.

www.bealtainecottage.comFracking is part of GDP for example, as that produces a commodity to be sold, but look at the utter shambles it leaves in its’ wake, for local people to have to deal with!

www.bealtainecottage.comPoisoned water, devastated land, sick children…the list goes on!

www.bealtainecottage.comWe are on-board a rudder-less ship with a drunk Captain and crew…time to lower the life-boats and row towards resilience, community and sustainable living!

www.bealtainecottage.comWhen this ship goes down it will take everyone on board with it!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Buddhism, Cats, Garden, Permaculture

Only if You Can…


cropped-019.jpgThis time last year I encountered a major problem on this website.

midwinter cottage 002I could no longer upload photographs, as the limit for the free WordPress blog had been reached.

www.bealtainecottage.com 028This led me to seek funding from you, in order to continue the blog, through a website package from WordPress, that would allocate more space to upload more photographs.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014(All the photos I post are in the public domain, for anyone to use, as long as they acknowledge the source.)

www.bealtainecottage.com 007The cost of this was 99 euros and was met by lots of small donations from you!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The annual renewal for this site is now due and the cost is 99 euros once more.

www.bealtainecottage.com 024Living on an income of just over 50 euros per week means it’s difficult for me to meet this payment.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017If you can help with a small donation, just a couple of euros, that would be wonderful!

 Bless you! 

 

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

The Light of Spring

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

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

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

www.bealtainecottage.comThe amazing light of early Spring…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

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

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

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

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

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

Counting Down the Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Cats, Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Vegetarian

The Best Medicine!

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Lists are great things to spend time on.

Despite the wet weather, I’ve been busy making a comprehensive list of what to grow …and the reasons why I should.

The ability to store food is at the forefront of my thinking.

I’ve discovered this year that Beetroot stores very well indeed.

Not just that it stores well, but is a first class root vegetable in the making of healthy juice.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is one taken from a box in the pantry and cut open to be juiced.

Last year was the first year that I grew this wonderful root vegetable and was surprised at how easy it was to grow! www.bealtainecottage.comThe tunnel is now ready to sow.

Most of the seeds will go into the polystyrene fish boxes I used last year.

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply scattered the seeds into the filled boxes and pricked out the seedlings as they came on…the healthiest were those from boxes where the seed was all mixed in together and in no particular order!

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby Chard
Swiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard

Greens are next on my list…and again, in no particular order, just greens!

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel
Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

As a vegetarian who tries to avoid dairy, greens are an important part of my diet.

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today
Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

I add greens to my juice every day to stay fit and healthy.

Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.
Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.

I have lived at Bealtaine Cottage for almost ten years and have only needed to visit my doctor once.

The best medicine...fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!
The best medicine…fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!

During this time I have not suffered a cold or infection and never stayed a day in bed…something I must treat myself to at some point!

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.
Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

All the Herb beds were cut back and the paths in-between covered with straw…

to keep the weeds down.

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Sometimes we do not even need to sow or plant, as foraging for wild food can produce excellent results.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

When I lived in London there were many places that bordered on wilderness and produced masses of food.

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There’s a growing movement to get local and municipal councils to plant fruit and nut trees in public parks and highways.

November 2011 079Resilience has it’s foundations in food security and is an aspect of life we need to take more seriously, but, more importantly, see that it not only gets onto the political agenda, but stays at the top of all planning!

If you wish you can subscribe to the latest website from Bealtaine Cottage…”Bealtaine Cottage Good Life”…simply make a donation of 12 euros for a full year and access the long list of blogs now on site. Quote: “Bealtaine Cottage Good Life” with your donation.

(Please note that this small donation sustains the work on this website, Bealtaine Cottage YouTube, Bealtaine Cottage Podcast and Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens FaceBook.)

 

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

Monet in Gaia’s Garden

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

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

The building of the next pile is under-way.

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

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

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

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

www.bealtainecottage.comEthereal…

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

www.bealtainecottage.comThe spawn was visible…

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

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

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

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

www.bealtainecottage.comnear the lower pond.

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

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

Heartfelt thanks for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thrift

Small Spaces and Tiny Homes

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Tiny homes are becoming popular.

We are realizing the importance of space…the space we actually need to live comfortably.

If I had the opportunity to build another home, it would, undoubtedly, be much, much smaller than Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLiving comfortably means a warm home, less opening and closing of doors, one big room where all comforts are to be found, much in the same way as the old cottages used to be here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere in this little Lodge, built onto the back of the cottage, constructed mostly from re-cycled materials, over-wintering is now embedded into my lifestyle.

www.bealtainecottage.comEnergy use is one-quarter of that needed for the cottage.

Small pieces of coppiced wood has fed the wood-burning stove, keeping all snug and cosy.

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This was a decision I made out of a challenge, to prove that it was possible to be warm and comfortable through winter…and it is more than possible, it is a new-found freedom!

Cheap energy!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is possible with a multi-faceted approach: one small, medium or even big living space; masses of insulation; small wood-burning stove; low energy lamps; a sofa bed, or, as in my case a bed that doubles as a sofa; woollen blankets and rugs; thick curtains and menu plan for cooking one-pot meals on the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.comA small clothes-rail doubles as a drying rail as the heat from the wood burner keeps the place toasty!

www.bealtainecottage.comI am a fan of the Tiny Home movement for many reasons, but, primarily because this way of living empowers one…absolutely! www.bealtainecottage.comThe more one can conserve and live minimally, the more power one actually has !

www.bealtainecottage.comPlanting lots of shelter-giving plants, shrubs and trees around it also helps the micro-climate inside and out.

www.bealtainecottage.comA place to sew and knit in comfort with the luxury of a kettle of ever-free-boiling water is magic!

www.bealtainecottage.comA door that opens onto the most sheltered part of the garden is a bonus.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd yes…that is an old table top up-cycled as a step!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living

Cottage and Gardens

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Morning at Bealtaine Cottage is a lazy affair as far as the cats are concerned.

No sooner do I get out of bed than the cats find a warm spot to snooze away the morning!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe morning was dry and with no threat of rain, it was important to get into the garden and get some more work done.

Most of the work is coppicing and logging, to make a new wood pile, ready for next winter.

www.bealtainecottage.comI am yet to get down to the Bog Garden and clear around the ponds and besides which, my waders have sprung a leak!

I shall wait until the weather warms up and then do a summer clear.

Moss has grown everywhere over the course of a wet Autumn and Winter.

It’s possible to collect bags of it just on the gravel on the lane-way!

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Masses of buds everywhere, especially here on the Red Robin (Photinia).

I cut it back quite hard last Autumn!

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Cleaning the steps and pruning back the Beech trees and roses.

bealtaine cottage permaculture

Another eight weeks or so and the London Pride on either side of the steps will be in bloom.

The Willow fedge will be growing and greening!

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Euphorbia is greening and growing…and spreading a lot!

Time to pot some up for gifting later in the year.

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Magical reflections in the magical gardens… even the smallest amount of water in a container, pulls the sky down into the garden!

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And the silver Moon Pennies of the Lunaria have endured the ravages of the winter in this little sheltered spot under the Laurel arch.

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The stillness and warmth of the cottage is comforting after working in the cold air outside.

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In the pantry…the lovely happy faced terracotta jar was bought for £4 in a Charity shop and holds all the garlic grown last summer in the potager beds.

It has little air holes and keeps a cool temperature inside…just perfect!

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This is another bargain picked up at a Boot Fair and costing £8…it holds a candle inside and is a storm-proof garden light.

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The shower room window faces south and catches lots of light…a good place to over-winter plants.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Family, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Personal, Summer, Woodland

The Closing Chapter

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer began to melt into Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage amidst a flurry of bees and butterflies, more than ever witnessed in the permaculture gardens.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureHarvesting began and the kitchen was a place of jam jars and bottles, all waiting to be filled and labelled.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe glut of blackcurrants became wine, jam and chutney, with even more added to the freezer.

free tea Open days and workshops seen a steady stream of visitors to the cottage and gardens.

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageKindling for the winter stoves continued to be collected and stored in the barn.