A Day in Early Spring

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Juicing is a great way to ensure one has the maximum of vitamins and minerals and this is something I do every day.
It’s also a reason to keep greens growing all the year around, as even small bits can be added to the juicer and vital vitamins extracted.
I’ve used some small bits of Kale that have escaped the frost and storms.
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There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!
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Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken! Baskets, Fedges and Obelisks are standing here!
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These beds are fairly sheltered and continue to produce Kale, which is processed in the juicer.
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Fine Willow used in basket weaving waiting to be harvested. The gardens look colourful all the way through Winter, as the stems of Willow, Dogwood, Ash and Birch are revealed.
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So much rain has fallen here in Ireland this Winter and now, in the early days of Spring, the flooding has begun to dominate the landscape. Here at Bealtaine cottage I spent much time in the early days digging out drains and water channels, as well as keeping them maintained over the past ten years…and it has paid off, as you can see from the lower pond. The water runs free, out into the streams and rivers that take it to the Atlantic Ocean. 
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In sheltered areas all over the gardens the ferns have remained green, though a little bit droopy. The winter was mild and warm, with plenty of rain!
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This is the beginning of the wood pile for next winter. It comprises of coppiced logs of Birch, Ash and Hazel. The twiggy bits are thrown into the back of the pile as they make wonderful kindling! These logs may be small, but are perfect for a small wood-burning stove!
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I’ve been stocking up on straw recently, as this makes great mulch around the garden helping to suppress weeds and line paths.
www.bealtainecottage.comGreen Beech hold their leaves right through Winter, adding even more colour and shelter to the gardens! 
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And look who’s keeping an eye on me as I type…my loyal Jack!

Midwinter Cottage

midwinter cottage 002

The air is still.
The storm has passed. 
Stillness and silence pervades the cottage.
Jack is in his bed, and the boys continue to doss away the morning in the Lodge.
A midwinter scene repeated all across the northern hemisphere.
midwinter cottage 006Someone remarked on the increasing silence they noticed in the world around them.
Midwinter is a silent time, suffused with echoes and occasional sounds from strange places.
Places that are more difficult to pinpoint on the landscape…it’s a trick played on us by Mother Nature as she paces the dormitories of sleep and hibernation.
midwinter cottage 014Candles illuminate the darkness, dispelling matt grey for moving shadows.
Jingles of Christmas on the radio, some lovely, most rapaciously dreadful, urging the listener to get out now and spend, spend, spend!
And so the radio is switched off and music switched on, low and evocative.
Midwinter enchants us all with memories of stillness and light, fires and food…times past, selected for our personal album of memories.
midwinter cottage 005I found this photograph recently.
It was taken around Midwinter, in a photo-booth in London, when I first ventured away from home and Ireland.
Scents were what I most missed.
The scents of home, like turf and coal smoke, wisping out of chimney pots on rows of terraced houses.
London was filled with new, more exotic scents, especially places like Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning, where Patchouli oil perfume lingered in the air.
midwinter cottage 004Working patchwork, brings me back to early days, in London and the sheer wealth of fabric shops and stalls, Laura Ashley and the love of William Morris retro!
midwinter cottage 007Colours, fabrics and textures continue to fascinate.
midwinter cottage 003Natural fabrics hold most memory…perhaps because they are from the natural world, where energy is hosted.
midwinter cottage 009Sackcloth and old lace cover a jam jar, filled with Honesty.
midwinter cottage 010Cotton gingham of various colours in the kitchen.
midwinter cottage 012Willow, wood and clay pottery, mugs and bowls.
midwinter cottage 015The morning, washed by soft midwinter light…not to be bought and packaged for Christmas, but absorbed by the celebratory soul.
midwinter cottage 013Blessings from this midwinter cottage…
 

The Heart of the Matter

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Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre is a wonderful place for any unwanted dog or cat to end up…because 97% of these poor, abandoned animals are re-homed!

Today I visited Christine Coulson, the lady whose dedicated commitment to the welfare of animals in this part of Ireland, made the sanctuary possible.

Chistine opened this light of hope for the unwanted and stray cats and dogs, back in 1997 and has worked continuously, for the protection and welfare of abandoned animals.

Back in September, I held an “Open Gardens” fundraiser for Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre and raised 610 euros…thanks to all the friends and supporters of Bealtaine Cottage, who came from all over Ireland and sent donations from all over the world!

Christine has been quite ill over these past few months and was only well enough recently for this presentation to take place.

I’m sure you’ll all raise a glass with me, in wishing this great woman, good health, now and in the future.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Back in the cottage, I’ve been busy making cards.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004The theme of hearts is compelling for me…drawn towards the heart as a symbol, not just of love, but of compassion, hope and trust.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Celtic designs are also a passion of mine…the intricacy of the knot-work fascinates and soothes.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Hearts and cats…inseparable!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011And hearts and seeds, for the love of bees!

(I will be adding a little section to the top of the website especially for hand-made cards…X)

Fairy Lights

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Winter sunlight turns bare branches, that drip with rain, into fascinating fairy lights.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Silver prisms of fantasy, dangling precariously from thin Birch trees.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The days of light and dark are confused with bright full moons, illuminating the bare landscape…

www.bealtainecottage.com 015This is a delightful time of year, as the sun makes its steady progress downwards, ever down…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Light is delicate and unpredictable, sometimes overwhelming in its glow, at others, just a whisper of the day.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Entire worlds are captured in water droplets.

Fitting too, as water and sun give life.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026The coppicing continues and long branches are hauled up from the gardens to the dry environment of the veranda.

This is next year’s fuel for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Seeds continue to be sorted and packaged.

www.bealtainecottage.com 037These are special little packs requested for Yuletide gifts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Poppies are easy to sow…simply sprinkle!

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Most of the second run of Christmas booklets have been posted… all over the world! https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

The few remaining will not sit here for long.

www.bealtainecottage.com 020It’s strange sorting seeds at this time of year, as it seems that summer was only yesterday…gosh but the time passes quickly!

Moving Forward…

Buddleia in a vaseThere’s a touch of early autumn in the air.

The air is cool and the sun is hidden behind low cloud and even a little mist.

I must admit to loving this time of year!

spinning wheelThe morning is filled with activity as I clear space for my bigger and better workshop addition.

This is all about living as sustainably as possible.

lodge at bealtaine cottageThe Lodge will now be that dedicated space that I have so long needed!

As more and more visitors make their way to Bealtaine Cottage, for workshops on sustainable living and all aspects of permaculture, a space that would define this was needed!

In order to live even more sustainably, I am aiming to install solar and wind power…upgrading the shop and workshop space will help me achieve this goal!

kitchenMoving furniture around is hard going, so I’ve stopped for a cup of tea, as the kettle has been boiling on the stove for some time now.

harvestI have spent some time building a small, sustainable business here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Tomorrow I meet with an advisor from Roscommon Enterprise…wish me luck!

 

You can find Bealtaine Cottage on Etsy… developing the range of Vintage Clothes and Cottage Bric-a-Brac…as well as lots of crafts and jewellery!

shop posterBealtaine Cottage Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BealtaineCottage

Cottage Garden Harvest

Cottage garden harvestRed onions and seeds dry in the heat of the afternoon sun at Bealtaine Cottage. cottage garden harvestThe Permaculture harvest is on it’s way.

cottage garden harvestI am saving lots of seed from the biggest, healthiest and tastiest plants!

cottage garden harvestThe rain came and has left a little water…not much, but enough to fill the tank in the loft!

Cottage Garden HarvestHerbs and seeds are coming into their own!

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottagePotatoes are appearing where none were planted…these have grown from seed dropped last year and have not been earthed up!

cottage garden harvestBlackcurrants are taking over the gardens!

Apple harvest

Apples are plumping out…

Runner beansRunner beans are seeking Heaven…

Raspberry harvestRaspberries are being eaten straight from the garden!

broad beansBroad Beans are looking monstrous!

potager beds at Bealtaine CottageAnd the Potager beds have received their second planting…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 006My brother Hugh O’Neill has made some very special Bog Oak pendants for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 003Hugh has carved some Rune and Ogham symbols on some of these special little pieces of Bog Oak.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 004The wood is carved and polished by Hugh into these amazing pendants, each accompanied by glass or wooden beads…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 005 A little piece of Ancient Ireland to wear around your neck!

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 002You can find these on the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/157732408/ancient-irish-bog-oak-pendants

 

Cottage Industry

Hand made earrings from Bealtaine CottageGifts from Bealtaine Cottage…

Lots of work going on here at the cottage making earrings…these are now in the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

Bead Earrings

Bead Earrings
Bead Earrings Bead Earrings Bead Earrings Bead Earrings

Beautiful and very light-weight Bead drop Earrings with tiny bells on the end, that jingle softly as you move.
I make each pair with attention to detail and colour…you can ask for a specific colour blend if you wish!
These make exquisite gifts to post to that someone special…and can be posted direct from Bealtaine Cottage, set inside one of the Bealtaine Cottage Photo cards from this shop, to anywhere in the world!
Just write out the name, message and address when you pay…
Each pair is quite unique…this is the first to post on the Cottage Shop.

Link to click…  https://www.etsy.com/listing/154712794/bead-earrings

Bead EarringsBealtaine Cottage Earrings

Beautiful and very light-weight Bead drop Earrings with tiny bells on the end, that jingle softly as you move.
I make each pair with attention to detail and colour…you can ask for a specific colour blend if you wish!
These make exquisite gifts to post to that someone special…and can be posted direct from Bealtaine Cottage, set inside one of the Bealtaine Cottage Photo cards from this shop, to anywhere in the world!
Just write out the name, message and address when you pay…
Each pair is quite unique…this is the first to post on the Cottage Shop.

Dispatches from Ireland

Bealtaine Cottage hand made cards

One of the hand-made cards depicting images from the gardens at Bealtaine.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 100 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 004Sculpted from ancient Bog Oak…special pendants, hand-made here in the west of Ireland by Hugh O’Neill of Tyrone.

Visit the Bealtaine Cottage shop on Etsy…

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BealtaineCottage

Framed, Raw and Rather Juicy!

Upcycling Old Picture Frames

I was given this beautiful old frame by a guy in a second-hand market in the local town.

It is one of the most beautiful picture frames I have ever come across.

Look closely at it, for it is a colourful mosaic of sea washed glass and shells.

The new chalkboardFor several years now it has waited patiently in the shed for someone with a good idea…who just happened to come along this week.

Cara was helping me to find a hammer in the outside shed on Monday, when she spied this frame and suggested it be used as a chalk board for the garden…all it needed was some board cut to fit, which could then be painted with blackboard paint and fitted into the frame!

Cara turned up with the finished, magnificently up-cycled chalkboard today and promptly fitted it onto the wall of the lodge under the shelter of the veranda.

Lodge VerandaDoesn’t it look great?

organic herbs from the permaculture gardensMeanwhile…in the kitchen I prepared some wholesome juice, using organic produce from the gardens…

After juicing organic apples and carrots, I add Kale, Apple-mint, Lemon Balm, Fennel and Parsley.

Juicing is a great way of ensuring a steady supply of the finest and freshest nutrients, especially using what is so easily grown in the edible gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Preparing aVegan stir fry at Bealtaine CottageMuch of what I harvest is added to stir-fries too.

These are the ingredients for this evening’s meal.

Missy catMeanwhile, Missy Cat is enjoying the sunshine, while keeping an eye on me!

Bealtaine Cottage Fruit Growing and Winemaking Workshop

Bealtaine Cottage rhubarbGrowing food is important.

Bealtaine Cottage BlackcurrantsHere at Bealtaine Cottage there is another bumper crop of Blackcurrants, Rhubarb, Apples, Pears and Plums growing.

Bealtaine Cottage redcurrants from the permaculture gardensPreserving and using fruit is a challenge when the crops are this abundant!

Bealtaine Cottage wine makingMaking wine is one of the delights of summer, allowing fruit to be preserved in a unique and tasteful way…wine!

Bealtaine Cottage wine makingThere will be a day long wine making and fruit growing workshop at Bealtaine Cottage on Saturday, the 29th of June.

Bealtaine Cottage teaA Vegetarian lunch will be provided, as will morning and afternoon tea/coffee and home made cakes.

home made wine at Bealtaine CottageIf you would like to book a place, please email Colette on:

coletteoneill2010@hotmail.com