Of all the little things we happen upon in our daily lives… those whose hearts we touch and all who touch our hearts. It is indeed, all the little things, which really matter!
The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.
We move around towards the polytunnel and one of the orchards. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are now devoid of berries. This can be a hungry time for the birds as they mate and nest…there is a big bag of Oats I can scatter around in handfuls for the hungry birds and will do this later.
Christmas Eve at Bealtaine Cottage.
Snow has fallen.
The air is cold and a bitter wind blows.
It rained hard last night and the streams are in flood.
The blackbirds are hungry and have taken to stealing cat biscuits from the bowls on the veranda!
The blackbirds are clever creatures and have watched both cats enter the lodge through the cat door, where they now sleep away the day, their bellies filled with food and milk.
Jack stays by my side, in and out of the cottage, as I work.
Jack looks out for me and is a wonderful friend and guardian angel!
This is a difficult Christmas for many who are without basic necessities.
I am thankful to have a well stocked pantry and woodpile.
For many, food and heat are major problems in their everyday lives.
It’s good to give thanks for a warm home and a full plate.
May you all enjoy both this Christmastide…
The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you.
This will be my last blog for a little while as I am taking some time out.
Blessings to you all X
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.
The theme of hearts is compelling for me…drawn towards the heart as a symbol, not just of love, but of compassion, hope and trust.
(I will be adding a little section to the top of the website especially for hand-made cards…X)
Lots to do indoors and sorting through boxes of “things,” I was happy to find these lovely Yuletide cards.
Doesn’t she look gorgeous in the snow?
As I am receiving orders for the Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book, I thought that I would add these lovely cards, as a way for me to send the book to someone you love, with a card inscribed with your message.
Missy continues to make a steady recovery, though has refined her taste-buds to a rather expensive prescription cat food, available only from Suzy the Vet, in Boyle.
When I refer to Missy as a “high maintenance gal!” …I’m not kidding!
Please ignore the clothes drying all over the stove today…it is rather wet outdoors!
Makes it really “Shabby Chic” style!
Jack loves travelling in the car and tries to snap every other vehicle he sees on the road!
Which is why he can only ever be walked on a lead!
Dodging in and out, to collect up the logs, my friend Marian delivered to me yesterday, I still managed to get wet!
I’m stacking them under the shelter of the veranda by the lodge.
As you can see, the potager beds continue in their abundance, producing herbs, vegetables and flowers.
Tree coppicing continues along the north bank, in front of the cottage, opening up the view just a little, as well as supplying the stove with kindling and small logs.
The fact is, no matter what the weather is like, it is simply wonderful to be outdoors in the gardens, working here and there!
Fresh air and sunshine have an excellent cleansing effect on the materials.
Little cobwebs, insects and textures becomes a world all of its’ own.
The green of Autumn has a fairytale quality about it…it becomes a woodland green, reflected by silvery, autumnal sun light.
Her name is Monika and her kindness for animals is abundant.
Monika has donated this £375 to the fund-raiser weekend total of 200 euros.
The grand total now stands around 600 euros!
Christine, who runs the sanctuary, is in hospital this morning having an operation…please be mindful of her and wish her a speedy recovery, for she does amazing work and is quite devoted to unwanted animals…97% are re-homed!
I have organized to visit Christine next week to hand over the entire donation.
Once again, bless you all for your kindness and generosity to this cause, so close to my heart. XXX
I wanted to see how Gloria, (I will survive, Gaynor) the hen was settling in. When the fox killed her five sisters, Gloria was left injured and traumatised.
But, like the song, she’s a survivor…so my daughter Cara agreed to re-home her in a new environment, where she could put the past behind her!
Here she is, strutting her stuff and being very confident and bossy!
She is a real pet and eats all the slugs in Cara’s garden.
I supported Cara with ideas and plants as she designed and evolved her first garden, using recycled materials and plants grown from seed and cuttings.
You can see one of the little benches made from recycled wood and fixed into the ground, in the background, under some very healthy Willow!
Flo is another rescue dog…she was turned out of a car when heavily pregnant and went on to birth five pups in a little nest I made for her behind the sofa in Bealtaine Cottage.
All girls together…come on now…
” At first I was afraid I was petrified I kept thinking I could never live…Oh, no, not I, I will survive, as long as I got love to give I know I’ll stay alive…yeah!
The permaculture harvest continues, along with the increasing numbers of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage.
Garlic is harvested, dried and stored…just in time for re-planting the crop for next year, in just a few more weeks.
As the world teeters once more on the brink of chaos, in the forms of war and nuclear contamination from Fukushima, getting the harvest home and planning for next Spring is a way of keeping one’s sanity!
It’s also a way of nurturing optimism and hope for the future!
I let them do their own thing and they have produced wildly!
All the tomatoes are late, but then the summer was dithering in and out of Spring this year!
Even the Perlagoniums in the photo above are in late flower after several months of sleepy time!
As the summer fades into Autumn, the light changes inside and around the cottage in the most delightful ways.
Shadows prevail in unfamiliar places, making all look quite different.
I am continuing to use the remainder of last year’s Blackcurrants!
More wine I think!
I was invited to give a talk to the Green Party recently and am invited to give another talk at an Arts festival in Connemara…along with a wine making demonstration, so will be finding use for excess Blackcurrant crops!
This is a good place to dry herbs when the stove is lit, as it gets very hot very fast!
I looked up some old recipes for using Blackberries, so will be collecting them and saving them in the freezer, ready to use in a plethora of delicious recipes!
Food for free and lots of it!
The new compost heap is being stacked up daily, so am already thinking about next planting season!
It’s a good idea to wear cotton scarves around shoulders and neck and take them off indoors!
Along with all the food harvested, there is an abundance of seeds to bring in and herbs to dry and store.
This is also the time to begin collecting tree seeds to sow in pots…something I do every year!
The world has limited resources, yet humankind is governed by an extractive mentality, encouraged by those in power to continue extracting the Earth’s resources, regardless of the cost to the next generation…never mind future generations!
The problem is so big, that it requires one to change everything about the way one thinks, lives and interacts with the world.
The problem with our current thinking and those who lead us further into the mire, is that denial is the natural response.
Those young enough now will look back on this era when food and energy prices soared, as the world population surged.
The time when tornadoes ploughed through cities, killing and devastating people and homes and sometimes whole communities.
A time when floods swept away life and homesteads, as droughts wrecked harvests, while governments aided and abetted the corporations that sought to control our food.
A time when populations were displaced by continuous disasters that those in government did little to avert or help communities recover from!
”The only answer can be denial,” argues Paul Gilding, Australian environmentalist and former executive director of Greenpeace International.
Gilding writes about this crisis in a new book called The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring on the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.
You may have noticed the difference on the blog…lots more photographs, new format and better quality images.
I would like to thank some of the sponsors, who have so generously enabled me to pay for all of this…Tracy at Goldkisses Art, Bandon Pottery Ireland, Suzanne Taylor, Sharleen Adams, Daniel Raphael, Joanne Louise…and all the rest, Thank You! Your generosity has enabled the work of Bealtaine Cottage…thank you so very much!
My photo allowance with WordPress had reached it’s limit and I was deleting blogs and pictures to facilitate uploading more!
I have now bought the domain of bealtainecottage.com and purchased more storage space for photos.
Over recent days I have been hard at it, tiling the kitchen floor…not with any old tiles! No! Broken, unwanted bits of rubbish that was on it’s way to the dump…only to be recycled on my sad old kitchen floor!
The bags of rubbish included some rather nice tile strips and chunks…ideal for star-bursts and spirals…
My little cottage-on-a-slate is dripping, as are the painted stones.
A friend who lives nearby gave me this lovely old milk churn with no bottom in it…painted Emerald Green with a rust-proof paint.
Another friend brought me this lovely Pieris to sit inside the churn, in it’s own bed of acid soil from the bog.
Missy Cat is being stubborn and uncooperative.
Frogs are laying spawn in the pond.
The sun is shining and snow is promised.
All that’s missing is the Mad March Hare!
Lots of you have asked for seed, so I’ve been busy sorting and labelling before posting all over the world!
I always dreamt that the magic of this little cottage in the west of Ireland would spread out, like a ripple of life and energy, to all four corners of the world…and it really is happening.
Many of the plants grown here over the years will be grown this year across Europe, America and Australia…it’s wonderful to think of.
This is today’s video all about the frogs in the pond in the Bog Garden…
Summer at Bealtaine Cottage.
The days are long and the simplest of good food is grown in easy ways…like this “Pick and Come Again,” lettuce in a slug-free hanging basket.
I have had lots of time to ponder the way of things in the world.
The strawberries, meantime, can take care of themselves…another hanging basket crop!
Preferring to spend time, especially summer-time, in the gardens allows me to think.
Understanding that the economy is not collapsing, but, that it has been collapsing for quite some time now, is essential to developing a plan of action.
Since 2008 when the preliminary financial shock-wave hit, people have felt the slide into financial chaos.
Ensuring a small sum of money is kept aside, at all times, for emergencies, means one is less vulnerable.
That noose around your neck will only keep tightening and there is no advantage in trying to keep up with one’s neighbours.
The likelihood is that they are deeper in debt than you!
Don’t go shopping with a credit card in your wallet…use cash only!
What if you are at rock bottom and have no money?
Tax free, organically grown, healthy food, growing as close to your home as possible, means more money in your pocket and better health!
Rent an allotment.
Prepare for loss of regular income by becoming as diverse as is possible in terms of income.
For example, whatever you are good at can be turned into a micro business or even skill-swap scheme.
Creating abundance and generosity around you will ensure the same will be returned.
Finally, let me just say this…
Well, ponder on this…THERE IS NO AWAY!
We live on one very small planet.
What we do, we do to the planet and all it’s inhabitants.
There is no “away!”
There is only today and what we choose to do.
Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage
It is simple.
We can begin today, now, by simply considering and acting wherever we can.
If… people planted fruit trees, there would be free fruit for people and by increasing the oxygen levels, the ecosystem would flourish.
Many parks could have edible gardens as leisure zones.
People would interact more with the Earth and each other.
Invite others to share shopping trips, food co-ops, gardens, allotments, fuel…
Don’t be frightened to share…our existence is not a competition.
Instead, take the problems, one by one and try to address them.
Blame changes nothing.
If…we realise that destiny is about choice, energy and how we direct that energy, for therein lies the consequences we then live with.
You are a sacred soul on a journey, your journey, your choice to change the world you inhabit.
Words are powerful…uplift others with your words today…the good energy will return to you.
Last night the rain fell hard, in fact it rained in a thunderous fashion for around four hours.
Somewhere in the midst of the downpour I went to sleep, safe in the knowledge that with the heavy rain came the assurance of a snow free morning…I was wrong!
How this happened is weird to say the least, but then the weather systems across the world have descended into chaos…nothing is as it used to be!
She is making protesting meows each time I open the back door, as though to say, “Shut the door, it’s too cold!”
Would you contemplate crossing her?
She bites those who attempt it!
Flo, on the other hand, takes her wilful self for as many walks as she decides to!
As always, I have lit a candle for those I pray for. It’s also a good way of being mindful of concerns and wishes.
I hope you’re warm and cosy wherever you are!
Brigid was also a Celtic Goddess, who was venerated for protection of the home from fire.
The Spring Wells are often seen as a portal to the Otherworld and a source of wisdom and healing.
These are aspects of the Divine Feminine and this is the Age of the Awakening of the Divine Feminine in all of humanity.
Governments are the trustees we elect…
They will only do what we allow them to… for we are many and they are few.
Empowerment rests within us.
This Awakening is speeding up through the medium of Social Media.
I have observed the transformation of people, from being passive receivers of air-brushed, sanitized information through television, to actively engaging in exchanging information, comment and knowledge through shared social media on the internet.
Where once there was solitary repulsion towards what was wrong, there is now a growing movement of outrage.
There was a Christian Monastery built upon the sacred shrine of Brigid.
It went on to become known as a great European centre of learning and culture, that became instrumental in preserving the ancient learning and literature during the Dark Ages.
We are all sacred beings on a journey towards the Divine.
Change is happening.
Bealtaine Cottage seen through the camera in 2012
Jack, January 2012
Beech and Bamboo January 2012
The girls on the veranda January 2012
The Mighty Ash tree against the stormy January sky of 2012
The full moon over Bealtaine Cottage in January 2012
First snow of 2012 settles on the permaculture gardens.
A well-mulched bed in the fruit gardens
Sorting and tying Willow in the shelter of the veranda, January 2012
The polytunnel in January 2012
The Christmas Eve moon rises over Bealtaine Cottage.
The air is still and warm, yet the clouds rush by in the upper sky.
The cottage lies snug and warm.
Dogs are walked and cats sleep in the warmest corners of the cottage.
Wood-smoke fills the air outside.
Peace and joy to you this eve.
Cutting back the willow in the forest fruit garden today, allowing the willows archways space to develop more.
The cut willow is shredded and spread around the fruit bushes as an autumn mulch.
This will compost down over the winter months and provide food for the soil which in turn will feed the bushes…cycle of life completed with a bountiful harvest nest summer.
I have cleared some of the potager beds today to make room for an autumn sowing of garlic and onion sets.
It makes good sense to plant out the garlic bulbs before the soil cools down…same for onion sets.
This is the sure way to grow good-size onions to harvest next year!
This is my favourite time of year to work outdoors.
It’s not too hot nor too cold…and the autumn scents are so evocative.
Meanwhile, indoors, Jack and Flo have spent the morning fighting over who gets the biggest dog basket…Flo has lost this time, so has decided to make Jack as uncomfortable as possible by sitting on his back!
Isn’t it amazing how little dogs can be so bossy?
The paths around the garden are so overgrown that some are no longer navigable.
The word “jungle,” springs to mind!
However, the sheer volume of prunings is adding enormous bulk to the compost heap, which is now the biggest ever!
I have grown some mighty pumpkins in the potager beds this year that have had only compost in them.
I think that the sheer biodiversity of the plants here at Bealtaine is the basis of some great compost!
Clearing the paths and cutting back is a lovely way to spend quiet time on the land…being outdoors on a fine autumn day is hard to beat!
One of the many apple trees at Bealtaine Cottage, laden with fruit on this glorious September day.
As the nights draw in and the apple harvest swells, we realise Samhain is near.
Autumn is making it’s progress through the beautiful Arigna Mountains and the valley where Keadue nestles near the Castle of Kilronan…a place swathed in mist at this magical time of year.
Butterflies cover the Buddleia…this is a late flowering one as I planted it out this year, which is lucky for the butterflies as they made a late appearance!
It always feels so nice to walk around the gardens with the little characters who inhabit this sacred space!
She keeps an eye on everyone!
I can only add that we all enjoyed the walk.
Simplicity of living is much sought after these days.
There are television programmes and magazines devoted to the simple life.
We are drawn towards images of romantic simplicity…think of all the wonderful books translated into gorgeous films that espouse life before the Industrial Revolution.
I have to admit an interest here, as my most read novel is Pride and Prejudice and favourite film is the translation of that book onto the big screen by Deborah Moggach, directed by Joe Wright.
It is simply exquisite in it’s attention to detail that reflects the beautiful simplicity of everyday life.
And that is what we have been seeking, through consumption, for several chaotic decades now…a return to the simple life.
So, let’s define the simple life.
Well, it is simple enough to define, for it simply means, “less of!”
Yet all the media, while espousing the simple life, cheer-leads us to consume more.
So, I urge you to read the book and see the film.
Within the romantic idealism of past times there sits a very clear message…less is more.
De-clutter your life.
Embrace the sunrises and sunsets.
Open the door of your de-cluttered world to romance and fall in love with Nature.
All good will follow!
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