Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, care for the earth, Country Living, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Sustainable Living

Free For All!

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It’s been a long and lovely day, filled with wonderful garden visitors, followed by some serious cutting back and clearing over near the tunnel.

DSC01961However, before I begin, I must say that I’ve been reading the comments on the Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens site on FaceBook and feel compelled to make a very important comment, for all to read…

DSC01962The lovely Bridget Birkner had this to say about her garden…

“Colette, my dear sweet friend. You know I started this year as my first year with Goddess-Inspired Permacultre Gardening and Food Forest since moving here some months ago, but being now in August, having only 1 cucumber, 6 cherry tomatoes that only turned orange and one sweet banana pepper, I wanted to sit down and cry at the lack of harvest. My soil is so insanely poor, and it looks like I need to do some more tending and research. My Willows, everything you sent me, the moment I transplanted it, it withered. I’m crushed to say the least, but I promised myself at least 10 years before I can say “goal!” It truly is hard but amazing work, but right now I feel so defeated because Mum Gaia seems so sad at the state she is in my area. I look to you with such hope and KNOW She WILL prevail! Why? Because SHE can live without us, we however, cannot live without Her. And for that, I humbly bow before her in grace and humility, that she give me another chance in helping me tend to the area where she is so sad right now in the United States” 

DSC01963So in response… and for this valuable knowledge to reach the wider world…
DSC01964Especially for Bridget…and those who are struggling with restoring fertility to soil…here’s a little secret…and what I have done and continue to do to restore health to the soil…
DSC01965I pee in a bucket and mix it 10:1 with rainwater…it is marvellous liquid fertiliser and helps to get good bacteria developing in the soil.
DSC01966However if you are on serious medication it’s best not to use it!
DSC01968Fresh urine is high in nitrogen, moderate in phosphorus and low in potassium and can act as an excellent high-nitrogen liquid fertiliser
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In a healthy person, urine is sterile.
DSC01969Urine is great as an activator for compost heaps and, in highly concentrated form, as a weed-killer.
Dilute fresh urine at a 10:1 ratio and apply to the root-zone of fruiting plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, or to leafy crops like cabbage, broccoli, spinach and lettuce every two weeks or as needed.
Dilute fresh urine at a 20:1 ratio and water in to the root zone of seedlings and new transplants.
DSC01960So, there you have it folks! No more supporting chemical fertilisers or paying extraordinary amounts of money for organic fertiliser…get yourself a bucket and a watering can and help Mother Earth the natural way!
DSC01970Now that’s out of the way, here’s an update on garden work today…this has involved an immense amount of cutting back. I have stacked all the cuttings and wood into various big piles to biodegrade naturally, whilst at the same time providing essential habitat for hibernators and small mammals.
DSC01971You can see from the followings pics the difference this has made in terms of light and space for the woodland floor to regenerate.
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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…

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Posted in Climate, climate change, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Nature

Giordano Bruno

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I have been reading much of late…in particular, two books by James Lovelock, setting out the case for Gaia and the ensuing extreme weather generated by a change in our climate, among other things, some would argue! 

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DSC01462This is not a blog about Climate Change or, even, extreme weather…enduring it is quite enough!

DSC01467This is about an extraordinary human being, who, 400 years before James Lovelock, set out the case for our Earth being alive…as I know her to be today!

DSC01464For this and other beliefs, Giordano was burned at the stake in the year 1600.

DSC01471Giordano Bruno, born Filippo Bruno, was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer.

DSC01472He is remembered for his cosmological theories, which conceptually extended the then novel Copernican model.

DSC01470He proposed that the stars were just distant suns surrounded by their own exoplanets and raised the possibility that these planets could even foster life of their own (a philosophical position known as cosmic pluralism).

DSC01469He also insisted that the universe is in fact infinite and could have no celestial body at its “centre”.

DSC01463Beginning in 1593, Bruno was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges including denial of several core Catholic doctrines (including Eternal Damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, and Transubstantiation).

DSC01460So, you can begin to see why I have warmed to this rather extraordinary and brave human being!

DSC01458Not, as some would imagine, for having strong views…but for daring to question!

DSC01457Bruno’s pantheism was also a matter of grave concern.

DSC01456 The Inquisition found him guilty, and he was burned at the stake in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori in 1600.

DSC01452In short, Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake just over 400 years ago for maintaining that the Earth was alive!

DSC01449After many years of isolation in the science community, James Lovelock was acknowledged as the bearer of truth, sometimes a painful burden to carry in a society fixated with staying well inside the box!

DSC01447I know from my intimate work with Mother Earth, that she is indeed alive.

I open myself to her communication.

DSC01439Her voice grows louder with each passing day…indeed, many of you hear or feel her communication.

DSC01432The change in acceptance of James Lovelock’s Gaia theory was summed up in a declaration published by scientists from the four international research programmes in 2001 which said…

DSC01428“The Earth system behaves as a single, self-regulating system,comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components. The interactions and feedbacks between the component parts are complex and exhibit multi-scale temporal and spatial variability.” DSC01426We need to make peace with Her…and to do that we need to listen!

Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage…there is a link at the top of this page where you may choose to purchase a book, calendar or map. Blessings X Colette

Posted in compost, Eco-Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Nature, Uncategorized

Using Seaweed in the Garden

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After so much rain during the past few weeks, it was a relief to have a relatively dry day! DSC01293You may remember that last week I visited the Atlantic shoreline to harvest some seaweed to use on the garden. DSC01292The strands to the south of Sligo town have piles of loose seaweed here and there along the beaches.

DSC01291Always only ever take the loose stuff…don’t pull seaweed from stones as these form habitats and are essential to the ecology of the seashore!

DSC01290In the end I managed about three big bags of seaweed and headed home with my foraged booty!

DSC01289The first thing I do is to spread it on the gravel around the cottage and allow the rain to wash out excess salt.

DSC01288After about a week, I start to spread the seaweed around established plants in the garden and tunnel.

DSC01287 The seaweed acts as a wonderful feed and a weed-suppressing mulch!

DSC01285One of the best things about growing food in the garden is the opportunity to use local and near resources that are free to be foraged or collected…seaweed is an organic fertiliser! DSC01286Seaweed is washed in by the tide, so is easy to forage!

DSC01284Only ever take what you need!

It can be used straight away too by the way!

DSC01283It’s packed with Potassium and Nitrogen, bot wonderful for the garden!

In the next blog, over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, I will explain how to make Liquid Seaweed Manure…along with lots more pics of the vegetable beds mulched with seaweed and how this feeds the plants!

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

 

 

Posted in awakening, change, Earthing, Garden, Nature

Like Children

DSC00479For the 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world.  Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine. 

Janine M. Benyus

DSC00480As an integral part of the global awakening that is happening, humankind are being called back to the earth, to reconnect with Gaia.

DSC00478Not everyone is feeling this at the same time…as each one of us on our own sacred journey comes to experience in own time.

DSC00477This morning, awakening around six thirty, I ventured out into the gardens to experience the early morning mist, which, as I type at almost 11am, prevails.

DSC00475 Ireland has been experiencing some incredibly good weather in recent weeks and so it goes on.

DSC00474In other parts of the world, devastating storms have wreaked havoc!

DSC00473Yet, in all of this uncertainty and upset, the advance of those seeking to connect with Mother Earth increases.

DSC00472We are like lost children in need of the comfort of a parent.

DSC00471 And perhaps this is a good thing, for to be like children on this Sacred Earth will connect us much easier than any other way.

DSC00470So what is it about children that gives them the advantage in understanding their place in the Universe?

DSC00468Could it be that they are naturally curious?

Is it our loss that we accept so much and question so little?

DSC00465Have we allowed our lives to become subsumed in the detritus of the material world?

DSC00463I often pass gardens where all is so perfectly straight and neat that I actively squint in attempting to see Mother Nature…and often I do not see Her at all!

DSC00462 Yet I know that control of Nature brings unhappiness and discontent…the sort of feeling where frustration begins to eat at one’s very soul!

DSC00461So what are the tools we need to enable us to reconnect with Mother Earth.

DSC00460 I have the privilege to be able to observe small children when they visit Bealtaine with their parents and it is nothing less than a joy to behold!

DSC00417They hold the keys to the kingdom! 

DSC00415What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more,
to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks
where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes,
or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that
tumble and roll and climb in riotous gladness!  

~Helen Keller

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Posted in Birds, Country Living, Earth, environment, Garden

First Flight…

DSC00414And here it is, the very first flight of the baby Bluetits!

As you can see, one of the parents is feeding the nestlings.

I was lucky to get this shot as the birds are so very fast!

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This is the first one to put it’s head out of the box.

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The parents will feed their young almost round the clock!

Blue Tits feed mostly on insects, especially caterpillars, and seeds.

Through this feeding, pattern the birds are of great assistance to the gardener in her attempt at natural pest control.DSC00413

And here we go…

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Posted in Bloom, cottage style, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Organic Garden

Cottage Garden Style

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There was a full moon last night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They love dry conditions!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSC09936DSC09933DSC09932Nothing pristine here!

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

DSC09930Even Jack…unlike Sammy-Bear!

DSC09927DSC09924Oh Jack, you are a little beaut!

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

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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, biodiversity, Country Living, Earth, Edible Gardens, Gardens, Nature, Permaculture, Summer

Summer in the Garden

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Being able to upload 31 photos is a real treat for me, and, I hope you will get a taste of Bealtaine Cottage today.

DSC09767I have snapped these minutes ago and come straight in to upload and write this blog…taking time en route to give Jack a cracker treat.

As you can see he’s fully engrossed with chomping!

There is an abundance of Poppies this year…these are just outside the back door and almost ready to burst open!

DSC09773Thanks and blessings to my dear friends and supporters of the Bealtaine Cottage project.

It is so very heartening to read the wonderful feedback and special messages of support.

DSC09774There was enough rain overnight to half-fill the water barrels and all is looking lush this morning! DSC09775Aquilegia is in full bloom and has grown well from an extra scattering of seeds I did last Autumn. DSC09776Here is the perennial Yellow Poppy.

This seed sold out fast last year, so I shall be harvesting as much as I can this summer.

It’s a much smaller, more delicate bloom, but strong and hardy!

DSC09777I’ve moved potted seedlings and more robust plants out of the tunnel.

Planting will be wherever I can find a space! 

DSC09778The symbolism of the Goddess is not a parallel structure to the symbolism of God the Father.
The Goddess does not rule the world…She is the world!
Manifest in each of us, She can be known internally by every individual, in all her magnificent glory.
~Starhawk

DSC09779The Permaculture design and planting at Bealtaine is not just inspired by the Goddess, but is the Goddess manifest…as natural and intuitive as the energy that flows from Mother Earth herself.

DSC09780This is the difference between Permaculture and Goddess-inspired Permaculture.

The spirit is fed as much as the stomach! 

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Each Summer the harvest grows more abundant. Redcurrants hang in droplets waiting to ripen and reveal their jewel-like qualities.

DSC09786Hawthorn has opened…

DSC09787Garden paths become enclosed, dark, shady places…

DSC09788The Spindle bush sits covered with blossom yet to open…

DSC09790“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer.  My bank of wild grass is majestic
and full of music.  It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.”
– Violette Leduc 

DSC09791To meet it — nameless as it is —
Without celestial Mail —
Audacious as without a Knock
To walk within the Veil.”
–   Emily Dickinson

DSC09792Lilac is open…

DSC09793“That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
–   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

DSC09794DSC09795DSC09796“Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me,
who could ask for more?”
–   Bev Adams 

DSC09802“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most
beautiful words in the English language.”
–  Henry James 

“The smell of manure, of sun on foliage, of evaporating water, rose to my head; two steps farther,
and I could look down into the vegetable garden enclosed within its tall pale of reeds – rich chocolate
earth studded emerald green, frothed with the white of cauliflowers, jeweled with the purple globes
of eggplant and the scarlet wealth of tomatoes.”
–  Doris Lessing

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Posted in Abundance, agriculture, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Birds, compost, Ecology, Eden, Edible Gardens, food forest, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Permaculture Food Forest in Ireland

The leaves are just beginning to bud and appear.

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Bees are busy at work here in the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…without them this would be a place of hunger.

Poster after permacultureBut, it’s not…instead it boasts food for all and more to come.

This is what a food forest looks like as the sap rises and life returns.

poster permaculture viewThese are the gardens of the goddess, Mother Earth in all her splendour and abundance!

And here is today’s video…

All the videos I upload are free from advertising, so you can enjoy watching…

Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Birds, bog gardens, Country Living, Earth, frogs, Garden, Uncategorized

Frogspawn, Sunshine and a Walk in the Garden

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the video!

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

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

 

 

 

Posted in Climate, climate change, Collapse, COP 21, Country Living, Earth, Uncategorized

Love in a (not so) Cold Climate

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With the back door wide open and the birds singing out a chorus more resonant of Spring than Winter, welcome to Sunday morning at Bealtaine Cottage in the west of Ireland!

Despite the mild Winter, snow has fallen and added a seasonal touch to the landscape…in fact it remains on the mountains to the north of the cottage and here and there on banks and ditches.

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I’ve been very busy in the gardens since the end of December, pruning hard, cutting back, washing the tunnel, cleaning pots and generally trying to stay ahead of the work that will suddenly seem oppressive at the start of Spring!

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If previous years are anything to go by, the Spring will be very short and Summer will make itself known in mid to late March!

Shocking I know, but that is the measure of it!

So, for a gardener like myself there’s nothing else for it but to adapt!

Seeds are sown in the propagator and compost will be mixed today in preparation for the potting on that is to come in the next few weeks!

It’s a case of just getting on with it as best I can!

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There is a distinct difference in the shadow patterns as the outline of the roof of the cottage falls beneath the tree tops…

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“Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from plants that died long ago. We can give thanks to these ancestors of our present-pay foliage, but we can’t give back to them. We can, however, give forward. When we are unable to return the favor, we can pay it forward to someone or something else. Using this approach, we can see ourselves as part of a larger flow of giving and receiving throughout time. Receiving from the past, we can give to the future. When tackling issues such as climate change, the stance of gratitude is a refreshing alternative to guilt or fear as a source of motivation.”
Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone

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Sowing and planting, growing tiny trees in pots of hope, tending Mother Earth with love…brings me joy.

Sitting here, with the back door open in the middle of January, may be a cause for concern, but it is over-ridden by the call of Mother Earth from outside.

And for the many visitors to Bealtaine Cottage this year, there will be small pots of hope to take away…

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

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, cottage life, cottage style, Country Living, de-clutter, decorating, Good Life, homesteading, Inspiration, Interior Design, Lifestyle, midwinter, Uncategorized

Cottage Makeover…Finished!

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A sneak preview of the new look Bealtaine Cottage is to be had over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website….

There are also a great many other photographic essays to view on the site…

Visit today and subscribe…

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

Posted in Christmas, cottage life, cottage style, Country Living, Uncategorized

Country Cottage Journal

Preparing the cottage for Yuletide and the Midwinter Feast has been underway for the past week or so.

A smaller stove has been installed in the sitting room and much of the furniture in the cottage has been moved around…a great swap has taken place!

The end of all this turmoil is almost in sight…I breath a big sigh of relief, for the organising of sleeping arrangements, food and fuel is next on my “To-Do” list!

This is a great time of the year for working indoors and in many ways it’s also a good time to prepare for the year ahead, get work done and a sense of order into the cottage.

The weather has been stormy and wet, leaving little time for any works outdoors anyway.

Despite this, it’s lovely to walk in the aftermath of such weather, as mists arise and sunsets glimmer…

Presents are made and wrapped and put to one side, to be taken out after the feast and distributed amidst excitement and anticipation.

Many of the gifts are cherished, home-made and unique.

It’s interesting to note that this appears to be much of a trend now as the big manufacturers are attempting to emulate the same “home-made, folksy, country craft” look.

It also shows that people are tired of the commercial glitz!

As I write, sitting here in the small study at the front of the cottage, the rain pours down from the heavens.

Storm Desmond is casting it’s remains down upon us!

I have posted Ancient Bog Oak pendants, hand crafted by my brother Hugh O’Neill, to many countries.

There are a few left should anyone want a gift posted from Bealtaine Cottage on their behalf, though time is limited to a few days for posting in time for Christmas.

This is the link…

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

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Blessings to you all on this stormy Saturday…keep snug and warm!

Posted in Gardens, Ireland, Nature, Poetry, water, Wildlife

The Visit

Recently, I had the pleasure of welcoming one of my five brothers to Bealtaine Cottage.

Felim had visited very briefly once before, some years back, but this visit was different…something here, on this sacred little piece of Ireland, connected with him.

The energy that thrives here and the sheer joy of the living Mother Nature around him, touched his soul.

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Felim spoke little about his feelings at the time, but this week I received a poem he wrote, inspired by Bealtaine Cottage.

I have decided to share it with you, for it truly expresses an awakening deep in the heart of one who now “gets it!”

Here it is…

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BEALTAINE COTTAGE

A bruised and battered Mother Earth,

Driven to despair by the dearth

Of man’s ignorance of her needs,

Has found a nursery for her seeds

In the soil of this marshy slope.

Here she flourishes in hope-

In this arboreous pottage

Known as Bealtaine Cottage.

Three acres of managed landscape

Has reversed the ruminant rape

Of her natural rotation,

Restoring her to propagation,

Awarding her the well-earned fame

Which we once granted to her name.

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Now a nurturing Mother Earth

Displays the grandeur of her worth:

A forest of young varied trees

Offer feasting to hungry bees;

Small seeds imported from distant shores

Grow to saplings, their hopeful spores

Pollinated, sowing new birth

Within the womb of Mother Earth.

Their young branches shiver and shake

As birds alight, eager to make

Their own claim to the budding feast-

A bounty that will never cease.

At dawn each day, this feathered throng

Praise the earth with angel-song.

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And what about the Water Sprite,

Her sluggish flow a sorry plight?

Her new dug channels’ sparkling flow

Take her to the ponds below,

To spread her silt and rest awhile

Then disappear beneath the stile.

The ponds replace a former bog

And now play host to speckled frog,

While safe beneath the pond-weeds’ root

Swims a little crested newt.

A passing heron stops for tea,

(The food here, after all, is free.)

And willows of all shapes abound

They thrive on such well-watered ground.

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At Bealtaine there is a wealth

Of Mother Earth restored to health.

She shows her true vitality

All over this locality.

She integrates her plants and trees

With cuckoos, wrens and bumble bees;

While Water Sprite, once so random,

Now flows along with her in tandem:

And all because a loving hand

Was laid upon this stretch of land;

A hand with skill to recognise

That Mother Earth is strong and wise;

And if allowed, she will restore

Her bounty to our slopes once more.

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“Bealtaine Cottage” by Felim O’Neill.

Composed on the evening of my return from two days at Bealtaine Cottage.

Posted in Autumn, Country Living, environment, Garden, Permaculture, Thoughts

A Feast of Autumn

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Autumn in the permaculture gardens continues in a glow.

It’s near mid October…my favourite month, my birthday month!

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

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Stoves are keeping the cottage and the lodge warm and snug.

The nip in the morning and evening air is quite tangible.

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In the scheme of things, Autumn is an exuberant finale to the year, filled with colour and joy, mindful of all that’s passed and all left to come, as the descent towards midwinter moves ceaselessly on. 

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“The tints of autumn…a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.”
John Greenleaf Whittier 

Perlagoniums resist the cold, staying in full flower, continuing in their summer glory.

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The pink roses of Midsummer have passed, leaving behind the fruits of each visiting bee…rose-hips hang plump upon the branches.

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Wisteria turns golden on the veranda.

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The morning and evening air hangs heavy and still, laden with mist.

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“GATHERING LEAVES
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?”
Robert Frost

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Salix Contorta and Honesty catch the morning sun.

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“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn; —
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.”
Thomas Hood

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“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

[Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]”
George Eliot

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“And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…”
Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems

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“I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, and then drove the five miles to the station through the most glorious October colouring. The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of promise. I knew something was going to happen. ”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

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“Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies.”
Sharon Kay Penman, Time and Chance

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“There was a filmy veil of soft dull mist obscuring, but not hiding, all objects, giving them a lilac hue, for the sun had not yet fully set; a robin was singing … The leaves were more gorgeous than ever; the first touch of frost would lay them all low to the ground. Already one or two kept constantly floating down, amber and golden in the low slanting sun-rays.”
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

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!

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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 Bealtaine Cottage, compost, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Lifestyle, Permaculture

Your Power, Your Choice!

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Solar panels!

Many permaculture garden visitors ask me why I have no solar panels?

My stock answer is that I cannot afford them…but that hides all the other reasons why solar panel are not high on my wish-list of add-ons to Bealtaine Cottage!

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I see the issue in much more simple terms…frugality!

Over the past ten years of developing Bealtaine Cottage, I have successively scaled back on my use of electricity.

From getting rid of many of my original electrical appliances and refusing to replace those that have given up along the way, I have the equivalent of a roof load of solar panels!

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We are a wasteful society that is easily swayed towards consumerism, failing to take responsibility for our waste, when there is NO AWAY…just Mother Earth!

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Studies in America, for example, have shown that 20% of all electricity produced is wasted. (Dr Helen Caldicott)

This is interesting as Nuclear power represents 20% of all the electricity produced!

The correlation between what we waste and our environmental concerns can be very revealing!

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According to statistics produced by the WWF “Power plants typically only turn about 30% of the energy input into usable electricity.
We are losing up to 75 % of the energy in the fuel at the start of the process. Energy companies could do much better – combining power and heat production can lift efficiency to over 70%.”( http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/cause/wasting_energy_eff/ )

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In a detailed study in 2001, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that from 3% (Switzerland) to a scarcely credible 13% (Australia) of residential electricity used in OECD countries was standby.

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“I was amazed when I first learned the dimensions of standby power,” said Robert Priddle, IEA executive director. “In my own home, appliances that I thought were ‘off’ were actually consuming considerable power.”

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 You have immense power…the power to choose!

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Your power to consume is there as a choice.

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It is MY DESIRE  to have a wind turbine and solar panels, but it is MY CHOICE to live lightly with Mother Earth. permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 001

Understand power…but more importantly, understand YOUR power!

***************************************

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

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

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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

*******************************

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 Country Living, Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Lughnasa, Permaculture, Politics, Spirituality, Thoughts

The Month of Lughnasa

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Lughnasa heralds the beginning of Autumn in the Celtic calendar.

Leaves have already begun to drop, with the gentle Birch tree being the first to shed.

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There is so much fertility in this annual drop…Bealtaine now boasts reasonable soil, compared to ten years ago!

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The change is equally gentle this year, as the summer gradually fades. 

Sedums are developing their flower heads, slow to open, with big, flat, pink flowers coming through.

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Pockets of light mist occur in the early evening, shrouding valleys and dips.

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Lughnasa is my favourite month as the transition into Autumn begins.

Tonight a full moon will rise.

The air is still. Woodsmoke drifts lazily from the old stone chimney and bats begin to venture out.

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I am half-sick of the daily news and the threat of war.

I have started knitting again, as a form of relaxing therapy and a choice to be constructive in the face of impending destruction!

Just handling the pure wool and staring at the colours and textures is both a comfort and a delight!

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As we enter Autumn we are ready for change.

As we are driven into unstable times, so we need to prepare too.

Creating is important.

It keeps us grounded and optimistic.

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The seasons continue, undisturbed by the vagaries of man.

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And so shall I!

 

 

 

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 Earth, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Woodland

Earth Consciousness…A Portal to the Divine

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Harvesting is under way.

This year more than ever sees an immense increase in the offerings from Mother Earth.

10 July 2014 005Blackcurrants are taking up much of my time over recent weeks.

Bag after bag is sealed and placed in the freezer to await further instructions! 

Several hundred pounds of Blackcurrants from what was only two original bushes, but now number several dozen…easy to grow and multiply from cuttings stuck straight into the earth!

10 July 2014 010Trees have put out a huge amount of wood which will be coppiced later in the year.

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This beautiful, forgiving form of energy that aids the environment as it grows ready for use! 

Masses of flowers with the resulting seed-heads…growing abundance that is now unstoppable.

10 July 2014 053Seeds that wing their way all over the planet to spread abundance in places I shall probably never gaze upon…the magic of life is impenetrable!

10 July 2014 012And through all this ceaseless activity, Sammy-Bear sunbathes and yawns the day away…

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And deep within the Fairy Wood, magical afternoons turn into conspiratorial evenings. 

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The coolness of the Fairy Dell lends itself to long hot summer days, where the sanctuary of shade is a welcome relief from the heat of the day.

10 July 2014 025I am loathe to leave this magical place…

I think it my destiny to stay here and write the stories coming from the land.

10 July 2014 026I had promised my Mother that I would dedicate my first book to her and I shall!

My story of Bealtaine Cottage will be published!

Mothers are immortal.

10 July 2014 028This consciousness we share with all life is there all the time, if we but listen!

I have come to believe in the manifestation of the Divine in all things.

10 July 2014 029Over the past ten years the Divine has manifested here at Bealtaine Cottage, in a most visual and real way.

For the first time I no longer have to imagine the Divine…I experience the mystery all around me in tangible, human and ethereal ways.

10 July 2014 030During the first few years here, growing Bealtaine from a land persecuted and dying from monoculture, I talked about permaculture and the wonder of it all…the regenerative qualities of this practical approach to caring for Mother Earth.

10 July 2014 033However, permaculture has led me further…

10 July 2014 041…into the spirit of Mother Earth herself and beyond that into an understanding of the Divine Consciousness.

10 July 2014 040Those who follow Bealtaine Cottage have witnessed the transformation and the transformative power of compassion toward Mother Earth.

10 July 2014 043We all feel this consciousness.

However it is difficult to articulate, as it is not the third dimensional consciousness we are accustomed
to.

10 July 2014 044It is rather on an emotional and feeling level that we know and love our planet.

10 July 2014 061Those who feel this connection are more at peace with themselves and in harmony with their spirit.

10 July 2014 049It is this harmony I feel at Bealtaine Cottage, which is so impossible to leave.

10 July 2014 054I sense a beginning, not an end.

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

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

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

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