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 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…

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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, 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.

September 2014 bealtainecottage.com 040

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.

September 2014 bealtainecottage.com 005

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.

September 2014 bealtainecottage.com 006

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

September 2014 bealtainecottage.com 033

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

September 2014 bealtainecottage.com 047

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!

September 2014 bealtainecottage.com 048

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

Earth Consciousness…A Portal to the Divine

10 July 2014 001

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.

September Permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 002

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…

Woodland at bealtainecottage.com 078
And deep within the Fairy Wood, magical afternoons turn into conspiratorial evenings. 

Woodland at bealtainecottage.com 020
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.

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Earth, hens, Inspiration, Life, Nature, Thoughts

Awakening

www.bealtainecottage.comThere is a spiritual event taking place…a coming into awareness of something so fundamentally awesome and life changing that is spreading into the consciousness of all life.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis awakening can be described in simple terms and that is what I want to do here…simply explain it from my own perspective.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe power of love is building compassion and understanding in all of us.

www.bealtainecottage.comAs with great change comes great extremes too; for the power of destruction is cutting a swathe through life as we have known it.

permaculture at Bealtaine CottageWe are now aware that we are not alone, but one consciousness that is capable of immense good.

DSCF1520We have witnessed the power of that one consciousness being usurped by destructors…those who rally sacrifice yet offer nothing of themselves.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine
Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

These destructors are to be found at corporate, government and military levels of the old paradigm.

www.bealtainecottage.comI say “old paradigm,” in relation to the end of life battle they now wage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017
They know they are doomed.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The death throes of Empire can be ugly to witness, but pay witness to it we must.

www.bealtainecottage.com 060This is all part of the Paradigm Shift, the epiphany many are now in the throes of experiencing.

www.bealtainecottage.com 064This perception of the essential nature of who we are…this intuitive grasp of our own reality.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 021For many it has been a quickening of all the senses.

Gloria, me and FloThere is no new world… we have simply begun to see the beautiful one we have always had. 
With Flo and Gloria We are growing as a species.  

bealtainecottage.com permacultureWe are not fragments of something, we are one.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the tide that cannot be stopped.

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I am reliably informed that the Postal strike here in Ireland is now over…so all Seeds and Willow ordered will be posted out on Thursday 8th October. Thanks for your patience X 

Podcasts will be linked from the new Podcast page listed at the top of the website…go there for the daily podcast or just to catch up.

Bealtaine Cottage YouTube Channel…is free from adverts, with over 100 videos from the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A

Seeds and Willow  https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/  All open-pollinated seeds of flowers, vegetables and trees growing under Permaculture for 11 years.

Bealtaine Cottage Podcast  https://soundcloud.com/bealtaine-cottage  A daily podcast from Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens   https://www.facebook.com/GoddessGardens  Daily pics of the cottage and gardens, with words and inspiration.

Bealtaine Cottage Website  https://bealtainecottage.com/  is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs. A massive and comprehensive Permaculture resource.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Website   http://bealtainecottage.org/  subscription is 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.  Click on button below to join the website…Thanks for your support.

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!

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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 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, Country Living, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Thoughts, Wild Flowers

Otherworldly…

www.bealtainecottage.com

 Sunday afternoon…picking flowers in the gardens.

This feels like the full, quiet days before giving birth…

bealtainecottage.comThe force of the full moon can still be felt in the stillness of the late afternoon air.

bealtainecottage.com (2)There is an otherworldly feel to it all… Time appears to stand very still.

bealtainecottage.com (3)Bees continue in a frenzy of work on this side of the Solstice.

I have often felt a slowness as time ascends towards Midsummer…it’s as though Mother Earth is not yet ready to let go…

bealtainecottage.com (4)Evenings merge with night as daylight seems eternal in the west of Ireland…Ox-Eye Daisies reach up toward the sun, basking in summer.

bealtainecottage.com (5)Returning from Belfast and the soft hum of the city to this place of quiet solitude, this otherworldly paradise of sights and scents…

bealtainecottage.com (6)Far back from the lane, this little cottage nestles into silence, a place of tranquil tolerance, a timeless existence at midsummer.

bealtainecottage.com (7)Wood Pigeon and Cuckoo call a mantra of hypnotic sounds…a lazy Sunday afternoon…

bealtainecottage.com (8)Ground Elder, the bane of many gardeners, is allowed her magnificence here, frothy lace adorning a mantle of green. bealtainecottage.com (9)Ragged Robin dances by the wheels of an old bike.

bealtainecottage.com (10)Himalayan Musk stands sturdy by the wooden porch.

bealtainecottage.com (11)Astrantia unfolds it’s papery petals in an unending delight of pinky white and green.

bealtainecottage.com (12)Bees delight in Jacob’s Ladder as it ascends to heaven…

bealtainecottage.comAnd blue Jacob’s Ladder adorns the kitchen table in a cottage lost in time…

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Spirituality, Spring, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

Ascending Towards Midsummer

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This is not colour enhanced, but the vivid colours between storms here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe buds are still thickening, yet the life is visible in the stems, sky and emerging green…isn’t it simply wonderful to be able to witness the Spring as it progresses, slowly, tentatively through the landscape?

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the skyline above the Arigna Mountains, with a Rainbow, flopped over the ridge of the hill!

I watched this from the window, then rushed out with camera in hand to snap the moment!

www.bealtainecottage.comI feel blessed to be a part of the Spring, waking earlier, walking for longer and working in the tunnel in my dressing gown!

www.bealtainecottage.comShowing some wonderful garden visitors around over the weekend, reminded me of the reasons why I write and talk about Permaculture and the simple way of life…it lifts my heart to be a part of it!

As we walked the land and into the Fairy Wood, the sight of all this bright green Spurge ignited a passion for woodland in us all.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Celandines are so bright and golden as to seem unreal…but that is the wonder of Nature, Mother Earth…too beautiful!

www.bealtainecottage.comThere is work to be done too, but all to the beat of the weather…weather-proofing all the wood around the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLavender is the colour, soft on the eye, but tough and resilient!

www.bealtainecottage.comExcess donations to the website renewal were used to pay for the wood preservative…so bless you one and all, Friends of Bealtaine XXX

www.bealtainecottage.comMy right arm hurts from all the painting, but it was in desperate need!

The heavy rain we get in Ireland can ruin buildings if they are not looked after!

www.bealtainecottage.comI watched this small slug acrobat his way onto the potting table in the tunnel…on a long thin thread, like a spider!

So, that’s how they do it!

www.bealtainecottage.comGeranium is coming into leaf and exploding green under the apple trees…a good companion plant for keeping weeds at bay!

Bumble bees are in busy flight all across the gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe light grows in intensity, day on day, fading into the west way after nine o’clock in the evening.

www.bealtainecottage.comOn a clear day, the heat can be quite intense…

www.bealtainecottage.com…as the sun continues its ascent towards Midsummer.

Blessings to you all XXX

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, compost, Cottage, Culture, Current Affairs, E.U., Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Trees, Wildlife

EU Pimping Monoculture Failure!

Bealtaine Cottage March Ribes blossomMist prevails as the earth slowly heats, releasing some of the water absorbed during the wettest winter on record here in Ireland.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 047The air is still and birdsong echoes through the foggy dew…

The first of the seeds are now sown in a big fish box in the tunnel, made from thick, white polystyrene, once marked out for the dump but rescued and up-cycled here at Bealtaine Cottage…perfect for seeds and young plants!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture march 2011 006There’s a digger at work on the hill of Ballyfermoyle, I hear it’s machinations echoing through the misty morning.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March primrosesYoung trees and bushes are being torn up and tossed aside, in an effort for land to be measured by the EU on Google Maps.

cobwebs Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March Less tree cover shows more grass and it is grassland that the EU are paying farmers here in Ireland to grow.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 004More grass, more meat, more export, more globalization…you know the story!

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012And so, the Earth is losing more habitat in a land that cannot feed it’s own people…Ireland is heavily reliant on imported food!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March Another famine lurks around the corner, as monoculture food systems are the order of the day, financed and controlled by the EU bureaucrats, blinkered up to the eyeballs with bullshit!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March 2011 021In this land of plenty there is little food grown around this area.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture march 2011 004EU sponsored, subsidized and pimped Monoculture prevails!

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Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world…the donation remains the same no matter where you live, even Outer Mongolia!

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

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

As an Ark for Nature, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from the EU, as only farm animals, monoculture and set-aside are grant-aided!

Your donation helps remedy that…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Edible Gardens, Fairies, hens, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, New Year, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Woodland

A Year at Bealtaine…part 2

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine Cottage

Nine years of planting trees into barren, north-facing land has now awoken a magical earth, with paths that lead forever among dappled shade.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageAnd every now and then open up into a secret garden…

Plant Sanctuary, Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…or two…

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageSome paths get overgrown fast as Nature’s abundance keeps giving.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageThe thousands of plants all jostle for space…

A Cherry seed grows by an Oak tree at Bealtaine Cottageand are now self-seeding, like this little Cherry tree growing next to an Oak!

Willow arch into the Fairy woodland at Bealtaine CottageWillow arches that lead into the Fairy Wood at Midsummer.

Blossom on a Rowan tree planted in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageThe delicate blossom on the Mountain Ash, also known as the Rowan Tree.

Permaculture Paradise at Bealtaine CottageA place for tea in the garden on long summer days.

Pond at bealtaine cottageThe standing stone by the lower pond in the Bog Garden.

willow archway at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensWillow…

willow arches, dogwood and beechWillow…

crossing the pondAnd more Willow!

bog garden of bealtainePaths…

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottagePaths…

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageAnd more paths!

Manifesting the Divine FeminineThe lane-way in Summer, walking down to collect…

The postbox at Bealtaine Cottagethe post!

Water garden in permaculture at Bealtaine CottageThe plants take over as Summer holds sway…

Roses at bealtaine cottageAnd roses outside on the veranda go completely crazy!

Gosh…there’s lots more to share for 2013, so a “Part 3” will be needed!

Happy New Year from Bealtaine XXX

Posted in biodiversity, Birds, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Gardens, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Trees, Woodland

Permaculture Woodland

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Isn’t he lovely?

www.bealtainecottage.com 015This little Robin followed me around the gardens today as I walked Jack.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029I say the gardens, but after spending time walking all the paths, I am now of the opinion that I have 3 acres of woodland…and am delighted at the ongoing transformation from bare, barren, rushy fields, to magical, thronging-with-life, woodland!

www.bealtainecottage.com 032The trees have dropped a huge lot of leaves this year and the paths have taken on a woodland feel,  as I walk, kicking up the colourful debris.

www.bealtainecottage.com 045Such an amazing amount of wood to be cut this winter…and that’s only in tidying up, as the real harvest is ongoing and spans the year.

www.bealtainecottage.com 046In years to come this little cottage will be merged into the Fairy Wood.

www.bealtainecottage.com 048I think that was Nature’s plan from the beginning, when I first opened the door for her!

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Here and there, as I walk through the woods, I look skywards into canopies of blue and white.

www.bealtainecottage.com 050Bealtaine Cottage has given me great hope for the future of our lovely Earth.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054This place has revealed to me the health and vitality in Nature, despite our stupidity in ignoring her needs.

www.bealtainecottage.com 053With just a little bit of help, she is creating what she wants most…woodland!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005And in the middle of all this beauty, a little sanctuary.

The Bealtaine Cottage Little Christmas Book will be posted out to you all in the morning!

There are a few remaining, (16), if any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, by purchasing this little booklet.

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy… https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings X

Posted in Bees, biodiversity, Butterflies, Cats, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Wild Flowers

The Rise and Rise of Famine Farms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted in Country Living, Gaia, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Progress in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Permaculture gardens in April at Bealtaine Cottage

The storm rages on, as the weather is divided between weird and wonderful.

Sun, torrential rain, gale-force winds continue to ravage the North West of Ireland.

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageDespite the weather, the progress of Spring is unstoppable.

Sorrel is up in green clumps all over the gardens.

This is a tasty and nutritions herb and salad ingredient and also great for the famous French Sorrel soup!

Buds continue to thicken on the apple trees and there’s some early blossom about to open on the Redcurrants

bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

The hens have settled in well and are laying eggs…that was much faster than I expected, so they must be happy!

Bealtaine Cottage permacultureCatkins and leaves are out on the Willow and buds are swelling on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Blossom is beginning to open on some of the Pear trees, despite the crazy weather and the temperatures remain quite high, even at night.

 

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

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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Posted in Bees, biodiversity, Blessing, Celts, Eco-Living, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A Sunday Blessing

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture paradiseThe Earth wants to cover and re-forest herself.

If you have planted trees…Bless you!

Bealtaine Cottage white buddleiaIf you believe yourself to be a part of the Earth and do not seek dominion over her…Bless you!

Oak seedling at Bealtaine CottageFor all who have sent seeds to Bealtaine Cottage and supported with donations, the work here…Bless you!

bealtaine cottage giant sunflowerFor all those who work in so many ways to protect and nurture the Bees…Bless you!

trees reflected in water barrel  Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 022If you feel yourself to be confused, disconnected and wounded and seek healing from the Earth…Bless you!

Hammock in the Fairy wood at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardensEach time you breath deeply of clean, fresh air and thank the trees…Bless you! Summer dawn at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandAnd when, like the ancient Celts, you recognize the Creator in all living things: mountains and rivers; sun and stars; the darkest night and the brightest dawn, then Bless you, Bless you, Bless you!

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The archives here at Bealtaine Cottage on WordPress contain over 500 blogs

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, biodiversity, Buddha, Cottage, Country Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Nature, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Spring, Trees

April 2013 in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

April 2013 Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

Lots of work in the gardens over recent days…cutting back, shredding and tidying up.

Grass paths have been dug in along the edges and the birds have followed looking for tasty morsels!

Ribes in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage, great for the bees!eRibes bushes are now heavy with flowers, attracting the bees and feeding some of the early risers.

An early bee in April 2013 at bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensAnd just in case you thought that the bees were still in hibernation…

Polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens in April 2013The polytunnel has been cleaned and tidied, as this becomes very abundant during the summer months!

Can you see the pink blossom on the Nectarine tree?

Buddha under the Laurel arch at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensThe Laurel Archway has been given a good trim.

You can see it better in the top pic.

Laurels grow very fast and if an archway is to be maintained then a heavy cut must be carried out every 2-3 years.

All the cuttings are shredded and spread on beds and compost heaps.

Polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThis morning is warm and filled with sunshine as I walk the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Water Garden at the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageThe water garden is emerging from slumber as the frog-spawn hatches.

Bealtaine CottageThe gardens are coming back to life…

Willow archways and fedges at Bealtaine CottageWillow archways and fedges are in bud…

Broad Beans at Bealtaine Cottage

Broad beans are ready to plant out…

permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageWhat a wonderful start to the weekend!

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

The archives on this blog measure over 500 in total!

Donations are always welcome.

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Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Birds, Cottage, Country Living, Fairies, Garden, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Spirituality, Spring, Trees, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

The Days of Light and Dark

willow Bealtaine Cottage March The light filtered in through the window at around 6am this morning.

Willow catkins stood out on the tall sticks that jabbed up into the lightning sky.

cobwebs Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March Arcturus was the last star blinking in the dawn sky, as drawing the blind scared the fox off the front driveway.

He was there cleaning up the remainder of the dinner I had scattered last evening.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March primrosesThe days and nights are almost equal in length.

The Equinox approaches.

Bealtaine Cottage March woodland mossSeeds are breaking through the earth, Primroses have opened and the beginnings of Bluebells are carpeting green in the Fairy Wood.

Bealtaine Cottage March Ribes blossomRibes flowers are plumping up their blossom to tempt the bees from hibernation.

The cold morning brings the birds out from the trees and onto the frozen ground, hungrily seeking sustenance.

Willow basket making Feb  Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage Further down the gardens, tall, straight stems of Willow beckons cutting and stacking into neat bundles, ready for basket making. 

barn window reflection Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 015

The day begins…

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Posted in celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Folklore, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Nature, New Year, Spirituality, Thoughts

The Consciousness of All Things

There is a stillness in the air tonight…a preamble towards Imbolc.

These last days of the Winter in the Celtic Cycle are a time of reflection…

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Spirals fascinate me, as they fascinate so many people.

We are drawn towards them.

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They mean something to us, something we have forgotten.

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My Celtic ancestors carved Sacred Spirals on stones…and so they appear to us today, a message from the past, but we have lost the key to understand their meanings.

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They, too, would have gazed up at the night sky and tried to understand their world.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013

They, too, would have intuited a connectivity in all life…we continue to subconsciously embrace all life, yet we struggle against great odds, for we have been told for millennia that we are superior, and so removed from that life force.

And so we try to make our way back to where we can, once more, connect to life.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013

For we now know, on a deeply spiritual, non-religious level, that we are one.

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We are one, as the spiral depicts an eternal connection, we are one.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 011

Spirals are full of symbolism.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 017

The spiral is found all over the natural world and indeed is also the symbol of life itself, as represented in the famous double helix, the molecular structure of life.

April 2011 Bealtaine 013The belief among the Celts, was that communication with nature was the chief priority in their lives, and the sound, immovable belief in the consciousness of all things.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 015

They did not fear death as we do in this present time.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 020

Everything was connected, there was no beginning and no end.

Every single thing upon and in the earth had a consciousness and was a part of, a fragment of, the one cosmic entity.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 013

The sacred spiral, I believe, was a representation of this belief.

Stones were considered to be old before time itself…a fascinating thought and a manifestation of a deep spiritual understanding, if not connection.

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The Winter is almost at a close…just another fifteen days left.

The joy of Spring awaits to be welcomed in on the first day of February…Imbolc!

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As in the nature of the Sacred Spiral, we move inexorably along the path of our life, but not alone, for we are one with the Universe…

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We now know we are made of that oneness, stardust itself!

The Celts recognized the great sight held by someone who was physically blind.

That person had the greatest sight…inner sight.

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Perhaps it’s time for us to connect with our own inner sight and begin to see with our intuition.

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Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Folklore, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Samhain

The Celtic New Year Festival of Samhain

It is nearing the end of this beautiful year.

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The transition of Autumn is underway as the end of October arrives with the magical Festival of Samhain…known to many as “Halloween.”

Halloween was derived from the celebration of Samhain, with its myths and beliefs about the “Otherworld” and happily placed into Christian culture through the celebration of, “All Hallows Eve,” or “All Souls Night.”

This beautiful time of the year is extolled in many beautiful poems and odes.

The year was divided in two, with Summer and Winter heralding transition.

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“My tidings for you: the stag bells,
Winter snows, Summer is gone.

Wind high and cold, low the sun,
Short his course, sea running high.

Deep-red the bracken, its shape all gone,
The wild goose has raised his wonted cry.

Cold has caught the wings of birds.
Season of ice – these are my tidings.”


–  Irish Poem, Translated by Caitlin Matthews 

 

My favourite verse…the one that enters my head and repeats itself at this lovely time of year is the evocative verse of Keats…

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.”


–   John Keats,  To Autumn

The summer is officially over as Samhain is celebrated…and winter begins.

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This is a special time, where there is a real sense of renewal and hope.

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Time to light the annual bonfire and celebrate, with songs and games and food.

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Time to write your wishes, hopes or fears onto paper and cast it away into the flames.

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Time to share and bake and dance and laugh.

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Summer is over and we have lived to greet another year.

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And for those we have said goodbye to, wish them well on their onward journey.

As the days shorten and the sun dips low in the sky, our homes become sanctuaries of warmth and comfort.

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The over-wintering begins!

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Posted in Bees, biodiversity, Bloom, Country Living, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Nature, Orchids, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

A Message from the Master of Relativity

There are many flowers that are great for attracting and keeping bees in your garden.

Most of the berry bearing shrubs and trees are essential for the welfare of the bees.

What is a garden without bees?

Just four years… That’s how long Albert Einstein reportedly said the
human race would last in a world without bees. For the master of
relativity, the equation was relatively simple: no more bees = no more
people. ~ Valentine Warner

There is a worldwide problem concerning bees…the bee population is being decimated and people are becoming concerned…no bees=no food, simple as that!

A survey by the British Beekeepers’ Association in May 2010 revealed their members had lost 19% of their colonies (the population that inhabits a hive) in the previous year alone.

Why is this happening?

Well my own take on the problem concerns monoculture…something we should all be concerned with and striving against!

Where monoculture exists, Nature struggles.

Monoculture requires chemicals, Nature struggles.

  Farmers spray chemicals, Nature struggles.

A terrible loop of destruction is fixed into Nature and world governments are complicit with this decline in the bee population!

Are people blind?

Is science operating with a blindfold on?

I have little formal training in the field of horticulture, yet I am aware of the need to encourage and keep bees on my 3 acres.

Even planting willow like this arch above, creates food for the bees.

Planting for the bees is as important as growing food for myself!

In fact, the two go hand in hand!

 It is estimated that one in every three  households in Britain kept bees for honey to supplement the table right up until the 20th Century.

This is something that could, so easily be encouraged by our governments and our departments of agriculture.

As I walked in the garden earlier today,  the bees were continuing to be busy.

This Viburnum is a late flowering bush and very important for any late working bees!

We need to make their lives easier, not more difficult.

We all, including farmers, who own the majority of agricultural land, need to get out there and plant for the bees!

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Country Living, Food, Gardens, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Ireland…Ridden with Debt and Blessed with Land

We are a country ridden with debt and blessed with land…and water…and a temperate climate.

Ireland is capable of producing a lot of food, not just meat and dairy, but fruit and vegetables of all kinds.

We could have a great wool industry!

We were famous for our Crystal from Waterford!

Irish people are hard-working and dedicated.

What is needed is courage, integrity and honesty in our political leaders.

We need political leaders with vision and confidence…

If only we had leadership…

I have cut back many of the Dogwoods in the upper gardens and have been busily replanting some of the better cuttings.

The entrance to the Fairy Dell is enveloped in the striking reds of Dogwoods.

These easy to grow [stick a wand in the earth] shrubs are incredibly valuable to me…the stems remain a vivid red all winter, I use them in Willow wreaths for vibrant colour and vase  arrangements in the cottage to brighten a dull day.

The birds will eat the juicy ripe berries and the bees will enjoy the delicate spring flowers on the old stems.

Another misty morning.

Cobwebs everywhere shining with tiny drops of dew.

I walked through the Fairy Dell to the sound of the Blackbird rustling about among the fallen leaves, searching for breakfast!

It wasn’t just the mountains that had disappeared, this morning, into the mist, but most of the land as well.

My garden had vanished this morning!

It’s strange because the air was so still and the bird calls seemed to echo in the mist.

I hope it’s like this at Samhain…so many preparations are under way, especially gathering in the apples and preparing them for the freezer.

Despite the warm and sunny days,  nights are cold  and lots of little creatures are seeking hibernation spots…

I have to keep the windows closed at night for fear of having to share this cottage with too many visitors!

Posted in Animals, Badgers, biodiversity, Country Living, cows, Current Affairs, Earth, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, News, Permaculture, Personal, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Woodland

The Protected Badgers of Bealtaine Cottage

Badgers are set to be culled in Britain.

A sad day for this beautiful creature, once more castigated and scorned by man!

Man has blamed Badgers for illness among cattle, despite constant injecting and manipulation of herds by man.

Cattle are seen as an “Agri-industry,” and are often referred to as such.

The real welfare and needs of these animals are often over-looked in the drive for yet more production of milk and flesh…so the Badger suffers the penalty for what is not fully understood!

Kill the Badger is the cry of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Gas them, shoot them, trap them…but kill them!

But, stop!

Have you ever looked into the eyes of a badger?

I have…and I can tell you it is akin to meeting an ancient dweller of this sacred Earth…un-nerving to say the least.

And after the initial shock, a kind of emotional trauma descends, making one want to cry…and I have.

We kill what we fail to understand, or connect with.

And as our own life begins to ebb on this sacred Earth, we are the worse for it…our loss as we wrap ourselves in layers of consumer death.

The Badgers of Bealtaine Cottage will live…but how many will be killed, their sacred journeys through moonlit fields over…our loss.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl0sGQOTKwI

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Trees, Woodland

Coppicing Trees and Making Space at Bealtaine Cottage

It’s amazing how quickly trees grow.

A mere eight years and here I am today thinning and coppicing, pruning and pollarding to make enough space for the fastest growers.

The permaculture plan of planting trees is ongoing.

Many were planted over the course of the winter months.

Most were grown from seed here at Bealtaine Cottage, or sourced locally.

All these thinnings will be sorted to use in the wood-burning stove, either as kindling or small logs.

The rest of the material will be added to the compost heap, ensuring that every bit from the land is a harvest!

All this work today has left a lovely spot in which to sit, protected from the weather and listen to the life that is all around.

Already the sunlight is casting dappled shade onto the earth that was last walked upon almost eight years ago, when I planted this area out.

For eight years ago this was a barren, windswept piece of land in front of a rather sad and decrepit cottage…

And now there exudes a snug, cosy and very happy aura around Bealtaine Cottage.

Embraced by Nature and loved by all who make the journey.

Posted in Climate, Country Living, Folklore, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Vegan, Wild Flowers

My Herb Garden

I grow lots of herbs in the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage, picking freely wherever I walk along the paths.

Herbs grow very easily in the Irish climate, as the fairly constant temperature agrees with the plants.

Herbs have a variety of uses that include culinary and medicinal.

The crossover line is blurred, as much of what we cook with does so much good and is easily integrated with everyday food.

Think of Garlic for example, or Parsley, both great for the blood!

Herbs can also be used in spiritual practice too, usually through the method of burning to release scent and as a cleansing or purification ritual.

Many herbs release anti-bacterial oils into the air, thus cleansing, so again, the crossover line is easily blurred, as herbal oils released into the air can have a tremendously uplifted effect upon the senses.

This can also be in the form of strewing underfoot, as was the practice during medieval times, to combat pungent smells and general sickness.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage I grow over fifty different herbs, including perennials  such as Thyme, Lavender, Rosemary, Fennel, Lemon Balm and Mint.

The list goes on to include: Chervil; Angelica; Borage; Catnip and Chives.

Include in this list, Dill, Elderflower and Garlic. Lavender, Lovage and Salad Burnet.

Parsley is a good permaculture herb, coming up each year and growing steadily for two years as a biennial plant.

Most herbs self-seed easily.

Feverfew and Borage, once introduced to your garden will grow always.

Some perennial herbs are shrubs, such as Rosemary, Sage and Lemon Verbena, or trees, such as Bay laurel, all growing healthily here.

Oregano grows virtually wild here as does the strongest mint you will ever smell or taste, which grows in the Bog Garden as Water Mint.

Willow Herb is another wild addition and even the Valerian around the cottage looks after itself.

Inserting willow to make arches that will support the developing crop of Pumpkins and Butternut squash.

Many herbs are enjoying the space left in between the squash, such as Nasturtium and Thyme.

The production in these newly established raised beds has been phenomenal!

Growing herbs will give an easy and beneficial garden anywhere.

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Posted in Abundance, Bees, Current Affairs, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Inspiration, Life, Nature, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Thoughts

Our Food Security is Under Threat!

Bees spend a lot of time around Nasturtiums. Fortunately lots came up in the compost I filled the new raised beds with.

It is crazy to think that these beds were only created about six weeks ago.

There is a brilliant harvest to be had from these little beds already.

Tomatoes are ripening and almost ready to pick.

I’m glad about that as over recent weeks the price of tomatoes has shot up to two euros for a handful of small toms that are not even organically grown!

These Sugar-Snap Peas have been producing for several weeks already, so will definitely save some of the seeds for next year!

Food is rising in price as land is being either scorched away, washed away, or bought up by corporations!

I have just finished storing the Blackcurrant Harvest in the freezer.

It amounted to well over a hundred pounds…I stopped weighing out the bags in the end!

The Pumpkins are promising a grand harvest as they continue to grow and produce more and more fruit…I will have to stop them soon!

I made a video earlier this morning about the progress of plants and wildlife over near the tunnel…enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEnyIc7KkSc