Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Edible Gardens, Garden, sanctuary

Visiting Bealtaine Cottage

DSC00779Due to the demand from those of you wishing to visit Bealtaine Cottage, I am opening for visitors daily.

DSC00780However, please read on…

All visits MUST be booked online!

DSC00781To plan and book your visit,  (booking is essential, as casual visitors will be turned away), you must be a subscriber to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website.

DSC00784You will find all the details you need to plan and book your visit on

https://bealtainecottage.org/

DSC00792To become a member of Bealtaine Cottage Good life, simply visit:

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

DSC00796If you have any queries you can contact me on colette0neill2010@hotmail.com

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Interior Design

Evening in an Irish Cottage…

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The sun has set into the west, far out on the Atlantic Ocean and the night draws in.

DSC09709The candle is lit in the kitchen window, a soft light to welcome the night, while on the far side of the room a small lamp illuminates the dark. 

DSC09712“I love to watch the fine mist of the night come on,
The windows and the stars illumined, one by one,
The rivers of dark smoke pour upward lazily,
And the moon rise and turn them silver. I shall see
The springs, the summers, and the autumns slowly pass;
And when old Winter puts his blank face to the glass,
I shall close all my shutters, pull the curtains tight,
And build me stately palaces by candlelight.”
Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal 

DSC09711The Blackbird has sung out the day and in the night, as it flies around it’s territory, marking out it’s boundary in song.

DSC09708“Inhale and hold the evening in your lungs.”
Sebastian Faulks, Engleby 

DSC09717“Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev’ning in.”
William Cowper, The Complete Poetical Works of William Cowper 

DSC09713The time between blue and black is quiet, almost timeless.

DSC09715There is an ethereal glow that conjures night.

DSC09716And slowly, slowly, the hush becomes night.

DSC09714Goodnight from Bealtaine Cottage…goodnight.

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, bog gardens, Cottage, First day of Spring, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, season, Uncategorized, Woodland, woods

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/

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Uncategorized

Country Cottage Journal ~ A Christmas Eve Message from Bealtaine Cottage

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The cottage is quiet.

Outside the remains of the storm huff and puff it’s remaining fury.

Inside the thick stone walls it’s Christmas Eve.

There will be a full moon on Christmas night, the first one since 1977.

But, this morning, the rays of the Midwinter sun illuminate the grey morning and all is quiet.

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Quiet is a welcome word after a night of howling wind and relentless rain.

DSC07785My blessed thanks to those of you who sent me good wishes and gifts.

I am heartily grateful to receive the appreciation of friends.

DSC07784Friends like Heather, who made me this beautiful brooch, stitched with love.

I have pinned it to the lapel of my jacket…it is a thing of beauty indeed!

It is the little notes, gifts and donations that bring a sense of being appreciated.

I am indeed blessed to live my life in the service of Mother Earth and able to live without the needs so many feel they must have, forever indebting themselves to the corporate machine that is destroying her.

DSC07782As I write this journal, the radio informs me of another storm on the way.

I will soon light the traditional candle in the window of my small sitting room.

candle and spiral at bealtaine cottageThe placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas Eve is still practised today.

It remains a symbol of hope.

PaddyDog Designs at Ballyfermoyle, sold in the Bealtaine Cottage shop on EtsyHope is what Bealtaine Cottage is all about…hope and renewal.

I am a woman and a pragmatist who looks to the future.

Full moon over Bealtaine Cottage IrelandDespite the wars of man, the fear of climate upheaval, the greed of those in power and the relentless drum-banging of the corporate consumer world, life, in all it’s imperfections, is sacred and beautiful.

DSC07780On this blessed Christmas Eve, I will step out with my spade and wheelbarrow, to plant the future, in the form of five trees.

May you be blessed with love, light and happiness on this wonderful day and in the days of light to follow.

XXX Colette XXX

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Posted in biodiversity, Cottage, Gardens, Ireland, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Woodland

The Cottage in the Woods

Winter edges away slowly, with lighter mornings and longer days.

The Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage have emerged this year into the Permaculture Woods.

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However, I’ve got to admit that I’ve been flagging recently!

A combination of the time of year, family commitments and basically just trying too hard to do too much!

The saying goes, “spreading yourself too thin on the ground”, or something like that…well, that’s me!

I’m done for!

I would love to take a few days off and lounge about in my Jim-Jams, but…well, you know me by now…!

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So, in keeping with the time of year I’ve been painting, cutting, tidying the land and planting.

As you can see here, the back wall of the cottage has been (almost) finished…though I’ve run out of paint and will have to colour match, as I mixed the paint from leftovers.

Still, an old cottage can get away with mismatches…shabby chic!

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The weather has been fairly mild and despite some snow earlier in the month, it’s not been too cold.

I spent some time cleaning up the steps, removing the willow fedge, as it became too shaded by overhanging trees to grow as it should and was dying off.

Clearing other parts of the land I came across yet more stone, so have tidied the edges of the steps with some dry stone walling.

This is a lovely habitat for beetles, snails and small mammals…adding to the immense biodiversity build up here over ten years.

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Some shrubs and bushes near the cottage are looking a bit unruly…these I shall neaten up before the spring is over.

Bealtaine now sits among trees and each year becomes more like the cottage in the woods.

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To be too tidy a gardener is to deny entry to your garden to many beneficial creatures, as well as food for the birds!

Here I have thrown some rotting logs in under the hedge, where all life in the vicinity will benefit. There may well be some mushrooms in the near future as well.

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The leaves of the Hypericum have kept green all winter.

I shall prune this a little to keep a shape in it, as some order near to the cottage looks pleasant.

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“…I hear the sounds of melting snow outside my window every night and with the first faint scent of spring, I remember life exists…”
John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

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“A tree can be tempted out of its winter dormancy by a few hours of southerly sun—the readiness to believe in spring is stronger than sleep or sanity.”
Amy Leach, Things That Are 

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Aquilegia has begun to grow…this is one of the first flowers of Spring and great for early rising bees.

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The all too tidy gardener will also miss these wonderful flowerings of Moss on small standing stones.

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And leaves that are busy creating woodland paths in a garden evolving fast into much welcome woodland.

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I keep the stove in the sitting room burning as I work outside, for it’s a welcoming and warm place to retreat to now and again.

Just to sit by the fire is relaxing.

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And one learns over the years to pace oneself…knowing when it’s time to down tools and go indoors…this I need to remember to do a little more!

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There’s a heap of work to get through before settling down for the evening.

And, as a gorgeous girl in a big dress once said, “Tomorrow is another day!”

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I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 870 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as over 110 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!

If you wish to put a tip in the hat, just click below…it’s greatly appreciated, believe me!

Blessings
Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Ireland, Permaculture, Recipes, Sustainable Living, Trees

Chocolate Brownies on a Frosty Morning

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The oven was very hot on the wood stove last night.

As I watched the thermostat creep forever upwards, I imagined it to be a sign…to make a batch of Vegan Chocolate Brownies…never waste a hot oven!

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And so I quickly got the ingredients together from the pantry and whipped up a tray and a half of these delicious, and extremely nutritious, treats.

I went to bed safe in the knowledge that the morning would be filled with hot coffee and chocolate brownies…and it is!

The recipe?… I hear you ask!

Well, here goes…

Vegan Chocolate Brownies

1 can coconut milk

Half a glass of organic millet (I use a half pint glass)

150g chopped dates

Mix together in a saucepan and cook slowly on low heat for about 40 minutes

Meanwhile…

Mix and mash in a big bowl:

3 ripe bananas (I buy the brown bananas very cheap!)

half a glass of cocoa powder

4 tblsps sunflower oil

3 tblsps cornflour

1 tsp baking soda

Mix both mixtures together when ready.

At this stage I add oats, sesame seeds and other healthy seeds and grains I may have to hand..in total about 2-4 ozs

Spoon into a big baking tray and set walnuts on top.

Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes.

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And there you have it…no animal products whatsoever and very healthy!

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Meanwhile, Sammy Bear and Charlie are making full use of the dresser, as Jack has taken to sneaking their food!

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The day was just gorgeous yesterday, all sunshine and rainbows.

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With the diversity of planting comes lots of winter colour, as you can see…much more interesting than a lawn!

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All this and wood for the stove!

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Complete with a rainbow!

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This morning is very cold and frosty, but equally beautiful.

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With fresh coffee and brownies, it is idyllic!

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The stove is lit and the kettle sings low.

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There is a small stretch in the days…about 15 minutes per week is added to daylight after the Solstice!

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The frost is welcome as it will help in breaking down garden waste and allowing it to be taken down into the earth by the worms and insects.

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There are plenty of leaves all over the gardens waiting to be dealt with in this way.

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Never clear a winter garden, or cut back too early!

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You can support this website with a small donation by clicking here…

Posted in change, Cottage, de-clutter, decorating, new year changes, stuff

Energizing Change

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Decorating the cottage has been under way over recent days.

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It began with a thorough clean and dust which inevitably led onto other things…painting and moving furniture, as well as painting furniture!

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This is what happens when one starts the process…Quentin Crisp once said that it was a never-ending task once undertaken…however, it has come to a close, for the moment at least!

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Even the rough carpentry I attempted ten years ago at the beginning of my tenure here, looks appropriately renewed, if not perfect.

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The results are here for you to see and I am happy to have a cleaner, brighter kitchen, as well as an easier to use sitting room and all on a budget too!

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The paint on the walls, a slate grey, is actually masonry paint for the outside walls of a house…bequeathed to me as leftovers from a friend of a friend…it works well and is much tougher than interior matt paint.

I have taken bags of stuff to the charity shop, as well as giving much away to friends.

All are happy and most of all me!

I have a dedicated area for the juicer as I intend to do a lot more juicing in the coming year.

I have little excess stuff and so feel much lighter, both physically and spiritually.

My little cottage has space to welcome more of Mother Nature and that I am very happy about indeed!

Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.

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

Irish Country Magazine

September 2014 bealtainecottage.com 038

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

The interest in sustainable living is growing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The bees continue to enjoy Nasturtiums flowers…

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As the leaves hold onto the precious morning dew.

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

Economy? The Future is Local…the Illusion of Growth

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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 Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Thrift, Trees

A Day of Sustainable Living at Bealtaine Cottage

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Sewing patchwork today…finishing a bedspread…with the back-door open and the birds singing!

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Producing and using surplus is an integral part of living sustainably. 

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Upcycling our waste in a wasteful society is a way to create growth. 

If there is going to be a future, then our past cannot be used as a template.

We have lived in a state of excess at the cost of the future.

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Making soup today has allowed me to harvest and use vegetables from the garden, especially Spinach.

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…mmm!

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I love Spinach!

With lots planted in the tunnel and heaps of seedlings coming on in pots, this is one winter green of plenty this year!

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There are lots of windfall apples at the moment and this is the time to get out and collect them up for pies and juice.

Stew down the apples ready for a tart and store in the freezer or even can it…that means jar really!

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Having the stove fired up for cooking the soup and baking, means drying clothes in a very natural and cost-free way.

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Cleaned out the hen house and run…now there’s lots of poopy straw to spread on the vegetable beds before I mulch them with cardboard…great, organic and free vegetables for next year!

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The girls are happy! This deep litter allows a good amount of fertile straw to be used in the vegetable gardens and as a fertile mulch…for free…eggs are a sideline!

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Rosehips from the Rosa Rugosa are ripening…these make the very best Vitamin C syrup!

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Beautiful colouring on the Amalanchier trees today.

A feast for the soul!

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Blackberries continue to ripen…free fruit that not enough people bother to pick and use…though more are enjoying the fruits of foraging!

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Cleared the space beneath this Ash tree to make a little sitting and meditation space.

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Made a green juice to start the day, using Apples, Lemon Balm, Mint,  Kale and Wheatgrass from the garden. Now that’s what fired me up for a day of sustainable living!

 

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

The Days Between Light and Dark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The air is warm and still.

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Birds call out to one another. 

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

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

 

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Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage

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Much appreciated! 

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

A Permaculture Day Out

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

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

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

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

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See how it all works first hand!

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The cost remains the same as before.

Lunch…15 euros.

Dinner…20 euros

Garden Visit…10 euros.

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

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

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

For more details and booking.

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

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I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in 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 Buddha, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Current Affairs, Garden, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Uncategorized

View from the Edge of the World

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As the Roman Empire came apart at the seams, the safest place to be was on the very edges of that dying empire.

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I have recently been reading the books, by Robert Harris, detailing the life of the great thinker, orator and statesman, Cicero.

bealtainecottage.com 028It is uncanny how many parallels with modern day life can be drawn from the novels,  ‘Imperium’ and ‘Lustrum’…(the third in the trilogy is yet to be published).

Of all the cumulative reasons why the Roman Empire came apart, endless wars, an over reliance on slave labour and corruption in government appear to be at the forefront.

bealtainecottage.com 016As I read chapter on chapter, I couldn’t help but draw parallels with the state of our world today…and viewed with horror an emerging pattern of decline and fall.

bealtainecottage.com 020The template of decline and fall remains the same regardless of time.

Wealthy Romans drank water transported through lead pipes into their villas.

The water contained up to 100 times more lead that that from spring wells.

bealtainecottage.com 023Lead poisoning leads to erratic behaviour, mental decline etc., much of which could be viewed in the conduct of the ruling elite during the final days.

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 Much the same appears to be happening now, even to the point of corrupt and debased behaviour within the ranks of the ruling elite.

bealtainecottage.com 027I never cease to be both amazed and appalled at the continuing scandals.

We appear to be not so much governed, as presided over by people we would otherwise be embarrassed to call our friends…integrity and compassion being somewhat lacking!

bealtainecottage.com 030When Rome fell, the world entered the “Dark Ages”.

bealtainecottage.com 031The Dark Ages lasted several hundred years, but birthed a new Age of Enlightenment.

bealtainecottage.com 001The light of civilization was carried back into mainland Europe, from, of all places, Ireland.

bealtainecottage.com 003The edge of empire for me is a mindset, a refusal to be drawn into the madness.

bealtainecottage.com 006A resoluteness to live with integrity.

bealtainecottage.com 005A desire to continue to cultivate and practice compassion, even when our leaders applaud war and attempt to vindicate suffering and destruction.

bealtainecottage.com 010In these days of crumbling empire, (for this mayhem cannot last much longer!), it is not such a bad place to be…the edge of empire.

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Posted in compost, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Nature, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees

Easiest Ever Compost Toilet

Permaculture@ bealtainecottage.com 003

The post you’ve all been waiting for…the Bealtaine Cottage Compost Toilet.

Easy to install and simple to use.

No running outside on cold mornings to tramp across wet grass to use the toilet!

Permaculture@ bealtainecottage.com 004This is located in the bathroom…not quite a bathroom though as I took out the bath and installed a shower instead! 

There’s still a little bit of tweaking to be done to finish the project off to a high standard, like decorating the wall where the cistern used to be and making a wooden surround with a small door, but as you can see, it is simple and attractive.

Permaculture@ bealtainecottage.com 001

This is the material used for covering one’s toilet.

It is grown here at Bealtaine Cottage, shredded in the shredder and smells nice and pine fragranced, as it is cut from evergreen trees in the gardens.

This material is also anti-bacterial.

Permaculture@ bealtainecottage.com 005There is absolutely no bad odour! 

So what happens next?

compost loo 001The bucket is taken to a corner of the garden, tucked in behind a Willow fedge, and then emptied into a large bin. The bins have holes in the bottom so all liquid is drained out slowly.

compost loo 003This system uses five such bins on a rotation basis. 

After about a year, the contents have turned into sweet-smelling compost that I use around trees in the lower gardens. 

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 002This compost is not used in the productive gardens as I have adequate vegetative compost on site in the vegetable and fruit gardens. 

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 004Besides…the trees thrive on the waste produced here at Bealtaine and in return, I have plenty of wood for my stove…cycle complete!

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 011…and the Arum Lilies seem to like it!

In the course of life here at Bealtaine Cottage, there is really no need for a septic tank…flush it away?

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 009There is no away!

If you liked reading this, why not Like, Comment or share with others on Twitter, FaceBook or email to a friend! Blessings XXX

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Posted in Angels, Books, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Summer, Woodland

Morning

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Morning in the west of Ireland on a perfect day in late June.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 021The back door of the cottage is open; wood pigeons call softly to one another as blackbirds swoop noisily in and out of the blackcurrant bushes, feasting on the heavily laden stems.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 022Morning…full of stillness and promise, the prelude to a hot, dry day of high summer.

The cottage will remain a cool sanctuary, as the heat of the day rises golden over the hill of Ballyfermoyle.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 024Birds will swoop along paths of shade, wings outstretched catching the earthy updraft of chill. 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 026“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird  

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 031“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there.”
― Francis Thompson 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 028The hill at the back of the cottage captures the sounds of the birds, holding them close before echoing onto the walls and through the open door into the cool recesses of the stone.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 029Leaving this sacred place would never sit easy in my heart, for all that is Bealtaine Cottage has been co-created with the great Mother: Earth, Gaia, Nature…whatever insufficient name we draw upon to express the mystery of the Divine.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 033My dream to plant a forest will come to pass…in some divine way… 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 036I dream and manifest the vision in sleep and wakedness.

One day, a beautiful morning such as this will shine through onto a young forest floor, illuminating the darkness of a greed-stricken world. 

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Edible Gardens, Fairies, Frugal Living, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Summer, Uncategorized, Wine

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.

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

Excavating the Past…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (22)

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

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

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

These will be cut and cut again for several harvests.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In between, it makes a beautiful bush…

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

Enjoy every day in some small way…Blessings X

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Posted in Books, Celts, Cottage, Country Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Uncategorized

Obsession

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (14)

Morning light floods the kitchen.

The sky opens early revealing a mist over the valley.

It’s been very dry here in the west of Ireland, so morning mist adds a little dew to the plants and is very welcome.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (15)I am busy writing my book, all about Bealtaine Cottage and how it grew from barren monoculture into Eden, with some permaculture magic!

As I write, I compare this ten year journey to that of my great grandmother, Mary Ann, who felt compelled to leave the comforts of a small town and re-invent her life, on a small farm, in the countryside around Omagh.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (16)At the age of fifty four, during the great depression of the 1930’s, Mary Ann Baxter strode into a property auction being held in the town hall and bought, for cash, a small farm.

This swallowed up her entire life savings!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (18)My great grandmother was a remarkable woman, for in the 1930’s, a woman in her fifties was considered old and good for little!

Not alone that, women did not do anything as bold and individual as buying property, on their own, at an auction!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (19)The farm became her life and she slept for the next twenty years in a big brass bed in the barn…never in the little cottage which she kept pristine!

Her story is simply enchanting and I promised my father to write it…and I will!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (20)In the meantime the story of this obsessive desire to live close to Mother Earth continues to be written.

The first four chapters are posted on this website and I would be happy to receive any comments you may care to leave…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (21)Talking of which…I know there are many, many subscribers to this blog, running into the thousands and often wonder why so few use the “Like” button at the end of the blog.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (17)It does my heart good to see that what I write is appreciated 🙂 and maintaining a spirit of generosity in photographing and posting regularly is helped by appreciation, so please take the few seconds to like.  

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Summer

Into the Turning

www.bealtainecottage.comThe bonfire of Midsummer night has died down.

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The midnight sky stays light on the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Bats encircle the cottage, as stars emerge into the darkness.

cavan burren 2The day has passed into the Turning…of the light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008As the light passes into the lazy warmth of an enduring summer, visitors to Bealtaine Cottage come and go.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.www.bealtainecottage.com 042Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011There is little to concern oneself with, as Nature holds sway.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031These are the gentle days of Midsummer. 

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Summer Cottage

bealtainecottage.com

 

The heat of the day subsides into late evening.

A gloriously hot and sultry summer day.

bealtainecottage.com (2)The birds appear to have wakened in the cool of evening, filling the air with song and calls, as though they’d spent the day in the shade of the nest, keeping still and cool.

bealtainecottage.com (3)The grass paths are mowed in the upper gardens and plants cut back to allow safe passage.

This is Ireland at her best, with long cool evenings complete with blue sky until nearly the witching hour. bealtainecottage.com (4)Just as the fragrant roses have gone over on the veranda, archways of roses burst into being.

Roses and Virginia Creeper support one another in a frenzy of growth.

bealtainecottage.com (5)Less than a week until the Midsummer Solstice and the Earth knows.


bealtainecottage.com (7)She sings a song of endless summer days and green abundance.

Seeds are forming.

bealtainecottage.com (8)Fruit develops and ripens.

bealtainecottage.com (9)Blackcurrants darken and plump out.

bealtainecottage.comGeraniums spill out from under Blackcurrant bushes.

bealtainecottage.com (10)Lady’s Mantle flowers and falls over, drunk with summer!

bealtainecottage.com (11)And the Bealtaine Angel is surrounded by rose petals at Summer Cottage.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Summer, Uncategorized

Midsummer Rising

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Farewell Bealtaine!

Rising on the last morning of Bealtaine and looking out the window of the lodge to be greeted by mist and sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe heat of yesterday rose in a mist over the valley and mountains beyond.

www,bealtainecottage.comRising towards Midsummer is a most magical time in the west of Ireland.

Between the rain and the sun, the jigs and the reels, the land has grown a mantle of green.

www.bealtainecottage.comFestivals are held in every village as birds, from thousands of mile away, fly low over the feeding grounds of this small island. www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer customs prevail in much of Europe and certainly here in Ireland, where the traditional bonfire is part of the celebration.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe fire is lit exactly at sunset on the eve of the solstice and celebrations continue until sunset on the solstice itself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe sense of abundance is quite tangible and visible at this time, helping to create a celebratory atmosphere.

www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer  was seen as a time when the veil between this world and the next was thin, and when the spirit of the land itself held sway.

This is encapsulated in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

www.bealtainecottage.comThis year I shall be lighting the Midsummer fire with wood cut around the time of Midwinter, in honour of my  Mother.

www.bealtainecottage.com It is a time for gathering and spending time together and a celebration I look forward to…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I walked I the gardens this morning, there arose a great sense of peace and harmony, again something which seems to be released from the very Earth herself each year, at this time of ascension to Midsummer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of a good harvest holds firm as the beautiful weather continues.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere is one of my favourite quotes by Carole Carlton…

“The festival of the summer solstice speaks of love and light, of freedom and generosity of spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a beautiful time of year where vibrant flowers whisper to us with scented breath,

www.bealtainecottage.com (2)forests and woodlands hang heavy in the summer’s heat and our souls become enchanted with midsummer magic.”

www.bealtainecottage.com (3)

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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…

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

I have lost my darling Che-Mousy Bear.

He has passed.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage seems empty without him.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

So, as you can imagine, I feel wounded.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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!

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

So, this week starts anew.

It is Monday and there is much to be done.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Celts, Cottage, Culture, Folklore, Gaia, Garden, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality

The Most Sacred Thing

   

DSCF1716Marija Gimbutas was a most extraordinary Archaeologist, perhaps the first archaeologist to look at how life was lived in the days before war!

DSCF1717Yes, it is amazing to think that such a world ever existed, but one needs to listen to some of the recordings of her work to understand the magnificence of this discovery.

DSCF1718What Marija has to say, in light of my ten years of experience here at Bealtaine, makes perfect sense to me!

I have added a link to some of her recordings and lectures at the end of this blog.

DSCF1719The work of Gimbutas may act as a template for the future…

DSCF1724There are revelations I have experienced here at Bealtaine Cottage, that I can only link to a strong female presence, describable only as an Earth Goddess or Earth Mother.

DSCF1725Last week visitors from Queensland in Australia walked the gardens…the energy of the land was palpable.

DSCF1729Many visitors remark immediately on the luxuriant growth here at Bealtaine, as well as the warmth and aura.

DSCF1731All agree that these are the Goddess Gardens, the most sacred thing.

DSCF1732Those who welcome the Divine Mother into their gardens will understand this extraordinary energy. 

DSCF1733This link will take you to the first part of the talk and is part introduced by Starhawk…enjoy!

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!