Posted in Cats, Dogs, hibernation, Ireland, mountains, snow, Winter

Days of Hibernation

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Snow fell today.

As I stood by the front of the cottage, the mountain of Sliabh an Iarainn appeared to suddenly rise up in a shroud of white.

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More often than not it merges into the sky in shades of grey and sometimes blue, but today it stood out proud, gleaming white.

This mighty mountain, where once the ancients mined iron ore and ushered in the Iron Age, rises from the shores of Lough Allen to the North East, as Kilronan Mountain faces the cottage, sentinel-like, to the North.

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It too was dusted with a covering of light snow.

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I retreated to the warmth of the cottage and watched the snow fall.

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By the time I went into the bedroom to make the bed, Sammy-Bear had made a nest and curled up for the day…I exited the messy room and closed the door!

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Sammy-Bear often sleeps in my bedroom to escape Charlie, who often makes great sport from terrorizing his betters!

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Charlie and Jack are quite good friends now.

It’s a hierarchical relationship…Charlie’s the boss!

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The evening has drawn in fast…there is not much to notice yet in the stretch of the day…it slowly manifests when we are busy getting used to the new year.

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Now is the time to make the most of the days of hibernation left to us, for they are few in number…the Spring moves in faster than we realise.

Charlie knows this…in fact, looking into his eyes, I’d say that Charlie knows an awful lot!

Posted in Animals, Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Dogs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Little Things

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 012A day of many things, but mostly of remembering and giving thanks…thanks for little things…like fresh, Spring water.
permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 012Seemingly inconsequential things…like an almost filled rain tub, a place where Jack loves to drink.
cottage 024 Things many do not see…little things.
Of a beautiful card made for me by a visitor… cottage 025and the wonderful, heartfelt message she wrote.
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Of all the little things we happen upon in our daily lives… those whose hearts we touch and all who touch our hearts.
DSCF1684It is indeed, all the little things, which really matter!
Posted in Animals, Badgers, Birds, Cottage, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Spring, Sustainable Living, Woodland

Permaculture Gardens

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The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.

www.bealtainecottage.comMeanwhile, down in the Fairy Wood, ferns have kept their green in the shelter of the dell. Mosses grow bright in the sunlight and ivy twists and twirls around the Goat Willow.

www.bealtainecottage.comLots of Goat Willow has been coppiced over recent months, and although it takes a year or so to season, it makes excellent logs for the stove, giving out masses of heat for free!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, Pine, laurel and Great Western Cedar all grow happily together and appear healthy in the spring sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comDaffodils are on their way to opening under the shelter of the Beech hedge. This is down beside the pond by the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd as I turn around from the Daffodils, the Ivy that hangs from some of the mature Goat Willow, swings about in the wind and sunshine…this is turning into a lovely walk around the gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.comI amble around the lower pond, snapping as I go…Jack moves ahead of me, tugging on his lead for he has picked up the scent of a fox or badger!

www.bealtainecottage.comI put my camera away and let Jack pull me along, hot on the scent of other life…we finally stop as we come up to the east side of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comWe 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.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to the cottage and the shelter of the veranda…it’s very stormy, despite the sunshine!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith a full moon over Bealtaine Cottage tonight and a hard frost to come, the evening will be cold for sure.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe coppicing continues and the woodpile grows…

www.bealtainecottage.comFennel is beginning to send forth lots of new growth in the shelter of the veranda and the back of the cottage. These new shoots are delicious added to salad!

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd just across from the Fennel…

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd a reminder for anyone wanting 100% Bealtaine seeds from Bealtaine Cottage…there is a link at the top of this page where you can choose what you want.

Posted in Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Books, Culture, Dogs, Frugal Living, Personal, Spring, Uncategorized

An Evening with Mr D’Arcy

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Snow is falling this evening.
It has fallen in small flurries all day, only to melt and try again.
This evening the snow is sticking.
A near full moon rose in the afternoon sky.
Spring has scurried back under a blanket of white.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe oven is very hot as the stove has been kept topped up with wood, so I have slid a tray of vegetables onto the top shelf to roast…always a healthy, tasty meal.
What remains will be blended into a soup, with stock and red lentils…tomorrows lunch!
DSCF0480I visited the library in town today and borrowed  books and DVDs, always good value, as the yearly membership of less than ten euros covers all loans, unlimited throughout the year.
DSCF0478Tonight will be a cosy time watching Pride and Prejudice, (The BBC version) on DVD in the lodge, wood-burning stove hot and kettle boiling for tea atop!
www.bealtainecottage.comIt will be cosy enough to enjoy the thought of snow all around the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a dreadful thing to be cold.
If I relied on Electric, Gas or Oil, I would be huddled in blankets for sure, as all are prohibitively expensive.
The advantage of the wood stove is that I can even burn old pallet wood in it and be assured of heat.
The skips in cities are filled with waste wood and many people are cold…this is nonsensical!
www.bealtainecottage.comEarlier today, as the sun shone into the cottage, Jack spread himself across the floor, enjoying the day that was.
www.bealtainecottage.comIt was lovely to watch him lapping up the Spring sunshine.
www.bealtainecottage.comThere has been a small lapse back into winter, but Spring is here!
Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, compost, Crafts, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, photography, Spring, Trees

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!
Posted in Angels, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Christmas, Dogs, Spirituality, Thoughts

Angels and Animals in an Irish Cottage on Christmas Eve

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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 It’s good to give thanks for a warm home and a full plate.

May you all enjoy both this Christmastide…

www.bealtainecottage.com 003An Irish Christmas Blessing

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.

Happy Christmas!

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

This will be my last blog for a little while as I am taking some time out.

Blessings to you all X

Posted in Animals, Cats, Crafts, Dogs, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Lifestyle, Thoughts, Uncategorized

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)

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Eco-Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Trees

Irish Cottage Life

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The permaculture gardens are very wet today…the rain has been quite relentless!

Never mind!

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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Anyway, you can have a peek, using the link at the top of the page!

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Missy 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!

www.bealtainecottage.com 026I take Jack into see Suzy the Vet, tomorrow morning, to have his “thumb nails” clipped.

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!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Dodging 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Despite the dull, rainy day, the gardens continue to look colourful!

As you can see, the potager beds continue in their abundance, producing herbs, vegetables and flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.com 019There is never any shortage of work to be done here at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Tree 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The fact is, no matter what the weather is like, it is simply wonderful to be outdoors in the gardens, working here and there!

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Have a good week ahead everyone…Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage X

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Cats, Country Living, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Fairies, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Autumn Seeds, Berries and Lichens

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Harvesting Willow today in the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004This Willow is pollarded rather than coppiced.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The day is fine…good for washing to dry out on the clothes line.

Fresh air and sunshine have an excellent cleansing effect on the materials.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Working so close to the trees, and seeing the lichens and mosses in the sunlight is magical.

Little cobwebs, insects and textures becomes a world all of its’ own.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014An opportunity to admire the berries on the Hawthorn, set against the silver of the bark.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015Clusters of berries on the Ivy continue to develop.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016Not to be out-done…the cerise pink berries on the native Irish Spindle make a show of themselves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 020Seeds on the Alder trees hang low in the bog garden.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021The green of Autumn has a fairytale quality about it…it becomes a woodland green, reflected by silvery, autumnal sun light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031Where summer sun on trees casts darkness underneath, autumn sun creates shadows…

www.bealtainecottage.com 034The Fairy Wood is timeless with trailing ivy and sunlight.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Ivy and moss…

www.bealtainecottage.com 038******

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www.bealtainecottage.com 056Jack and Che-Mousey-Bear play in the sunshine.

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Posted in Animals, Dogs, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture

A Wonderful Donation!

donation 003This arrived by special delivery this morning from a lovely lady who visited Bealtaine Cottage all the way from Austria.

Her name is Monika and her kindness for animals is abundant.

BimboMonika has a gorgeous little dog named Bimbo, seen here.

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 

Non-Profit Organization
Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre 0719648300 leitrimawt@eircom.net

 

Posted in Animals, Dogs, hens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Trees

Flo, Gloria and Me!

With Flo and Gloria I visited my daughter Cara yesterday.

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. 

Flo, with me holding GloriaI 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!

September 2013 in Cara's garden.It is amazing just how many habitats there are now, in this once bare lawn.

me and Flo, with Gloria looking onFlo 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.

Gloria, me and FloShe is much loved and a delightful little girl…very wilful too…and she’s friends with Gloria!

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!

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Cats, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Tea, Wine

Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

JackThe 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!

kilronan mountainTomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel.

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!

porchAs 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.

workshopOnions, Blackcurrants, Peas and Broad beans are all stored for the year.

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!

evening sun reflectionsShadow play on the door of the Lodge…isn’t this beautiful?

This is a good place to dry herbs when the stove is lit, as it gets very hot very fast!

wine, kitchenI noticed that there is a bumper crop of Blackberries on the hedgerows this Autumn.

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!

cup of tea!There is a slight chill in the air, heralding Autumn as it transits into cooler times.

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!

missyAs I work, show visitors around, harvest and continue building my workshop, Missy snoozes, oblivious to it all!

Posted in Books, Cats, Climate, compost, Current Affairs, Dogs, Earth, Gaia, Garden, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Summer, Sustainable Living

The Great Disruption

Flo and JackPlanet Earth is a closed system.

Flo and JackMost politicians and all governments simply do not understand that fact!

Bealtaine Cottage interior designThere cannot be infinite economic growth!

view from a window at Bealtaine CottageThe 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!

roses at bealtaine cottage Ireland June 2013The problem is so big, that it requires one to change everything about the way one thinks, lives and interacts with the world.

compost bucket at Bealtaine CottageThe problem with our current thinking and those who lead us further into the mire, is that denial is the natural response.

Potager garden at Bealtaine Cottage June 2013Those young enough now will look back on this era when food and energy prices soared, as the world population surged.

Morning at Bealtaine Cottage gardens, June 2013The time when tornadoes ploughed through cities, killing and devastating people and homes and sometimes whole communities.

Lunaria in early June 2013 at Bealtaine CottageA 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.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens in June 2013A time when populations were displaced by continuous disasters that those in government did little to avert or help communities recover from!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThose alive will ask, “what were they thinking?”

Missy Cat at Bealtaine cottage June 2013”The only answer can be denial,” argues Paul Gilding, Australian environmentalist and former executive director of Greenpeace International.

Trees at Bealtaine CottageGilding 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.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens in June 2013”We are heading for a crisis-driven choice…

The Lodge at Bealtaine Cottage June 2013We either allow collapse to overtake us or develop a new sustainable economic model…

Poppy at Bealtaine Cottage June 2013We will choose the latter…

Roses on the verand at Bealtaine CottageWe may be slow, but we’re not stupid.”

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Eco-Living, Garden, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Sustainable Living, Trees

Generous Sponsors and Crazy Floors…

Missy and Jack at Bealtaine Cottage

You may have noticed the difference on the blog…lots more photographs, new format and better quality images.

barn at bealtaine cottageI 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.

The future of this blog is secure for the year ahead. Mosaic tiling kitchen floor at Bealtaine Cottage
So, back to work!

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!

Recycled kitchen floor at Bealtaine CottageThe bags of rubbish included some rather nice tile strips and chunks…ideal for star-bursts and spirals…

crazy tiling at Bealtaine CottageIt can be fun trying to be creative with rubbish…and that is the challenge!

laying a mosaic floor at Bealtaine CottageFrom the sitting room side, the floor looks quite acceptable.

cottage on a slate and painted stones at Bealtaine CottageIt has rained all night.

My little cottage-on-a-slate is dripping, as are the painted stones.

clouds on Kilronan mountain from Bealtaine Cottage gardensThe clouds hang over the mountain and the streams gush from the hill behind the cottage.

old milk churn at Bealtaine CottageA friend who lives nearby gave me this lovely old milk churn with no bottom in it…painted Emerald Green with a rust-proof paint.

Pieris, Forest Flame at Bealtaine CottageAnother friend brought me this lovely Pieris to sit inside the churn, in it’s own bed of acid soil from the bog.

permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageOutside, the sound of gushing water dominates the morning air…

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Cats, Climate, Country Living, Dogs, Ecology, Garden, Herbs, Ireland, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Cats in the Sink and Frogs in the Pond!

Missy Cat in the sink at Bealtaine Cottage

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!

Bealtaine Cottage SeedsI’ve been having fun stamping my little cat stamp all over the seed envelopes.

Bealtaine Cottage stampAs you can see it is a specially made stamp that says “by Bealtaine Cottage.”

Bealtaine Cottage summer in the permaculture tunnelLots of you have asked for seed, so I’ve been busy sorting and labelling before posting all over the world!

Missy Cat at Bealtaine CottageI 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…

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Cottage, Dogs, Food, Frugal Living, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Financial Collapse…One Woman’s View on What to Do!

Growing Lettuce in a Hanging basket

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.

Growing strawberries in a hanging basketListening, reading and watching allows one to build up a picture of what is really happening. 

The strawberries, meantime, can take care of themselves…another hanging basket crop!

Midsummer Day in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageI do not have television, so my head is not bombarded by trivial nonsense.

Preferring to spend time, especially summer-time, in the gardens allows me to think.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden at MidwinterUnderstanding 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.

Home made wine in demijohnsBealtaine Cottage PermacultureGetting out of debt is essential too.

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!

Bealtaine Cottage  bread binPay off your creditors in small regular amounts and keep one credit card…safe…at home!

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?

Bealtaine Cottage potager vegetable bedTurn your garden and especially your useless lawn into an edible paradise.

Tax free, organically grown, healthy food, growing as close to your home as possible, means more money in your pocket and better health!

Bealtaine Cottage toamtoes in an old bread binNo garden?

Rent an allotment.

Bealtaine Cottage summer in the permaculture tunnelDo not rely on one source for your income.

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.

Bealtaine Cottage garden shedBe generous in all you do and with all you have. 

Creating abundance and generosity around you will ensure the same will be returned.

Finally, let me just say this…

Bealtaine Cottage bicycle and valerianMuch of our financial despair comes from the lunatic assumption that we can throw things away.

Well, ponder on this…THERE IS NO AWAY!

Bealtaine Cottage lounger in the tunnelThere never has been an “away.”

We live on one very small planet.

What we do, we do to the planet and all it’s inhabitants.

Bealtaine Cottage dogs Flo and JackStart to live with the consequences of our actions and choices.

There is no “away!”

There is only today and what we choose to do.

Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Animals, Cats, Climate, Country Living, Crafts, Dogs, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Winter

Missy Cat and Weird Weather

A snowy morning at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

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!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture smallholding in the snowThis morning the ground was covered with snow and so it continues.

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!

missy cat at bealtaine CottageMissy cat is very reluctant to venture out this morning.

She is making protesting meows each time I open the back door, as though to say, “Shut the door, it’s too cold!”

Missy Cat, Director of Bealtaine CottageI obey, She who must be obeyed!

Would you contemplate crossing her?

She bites those who attempt it!

Multifuel stove in the sitting room at Bealtaine CottageI have lit both stoves in the cottage and resigned myself to a day indoors…apart from walking Jack.

Flo, on the other hand, takes her wilful self for as many walks as she decides to!

light a candle at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandAs always, I have lit a candle for those I pray for. It’s also a good way of being mindful of concerns and wishes.

The Craft room at Bealtaine CottageI have some Lavender Hearts to sew, so I will be kept busy for most of the day.

I hope you’re warm and cosy wherever you are!

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Dogs, Imbolc, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Saint Bridget Cross, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Collective Consciousness of Hope

Brigid Cross  Bealtaine Cottage Shop on EtsyFebruary the 1st is the feast of Saint Brigid.

Brigid was also a Celtic Goddess, who was venerated for protection of the home from fire.

morning sun at Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage Ireland is full of spring wells named after the Goddess Brigid, who held sway over them.

The Spring Wells are often seen as a portal to the Otherworld and a source of wisdom and healing.

Jack, the rescue dog at Bealtaine CottageThere is a Brigid in all who nurture compassion, hope, love and life.

Buddleia in bloom at Bealtaine CottageThese 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.

Rhubarb beds at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensI 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.

Polytunnel at Bealtaine CottageThis is the beginning of the expansion of the Collective Consciousness.

Where once there was solitary repulsion towards what was wrong, there is now a growing movement of outrage.

Bealtaine CottageThis Imbolc I shall recall the legacy of Brigid.

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.

Ducks at Bealtaine CottageOften I think we are slowly emerging from the Dark Ages of Greed, Ignorance and Arrogance.

We are all sacred beings on a journey towards the Divine.

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageCompassion and Joy connects us all to the Divine.

Change is happening.

Hope abounds.

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Trees

Photos of the Permaculture Gardens and Cottage of Bealtaine in January 2012

Bealtaine Cottage seen through the camera in 2012

Jack, January 2012

jack in January 2012 at Bealtaine Cottage Ireland

Beech and Bamboo January 2012

Jan 12 permaculture cottage 008

The girls on the veranda January 2012

Hens at Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2012

The Mighty Ash tree against the stormy January sky of 2012

Mighty Ash tree at Bealtaine Cottage

The full moon over Bealtaine Cottage in January 2012

Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2011 004

First snow of 2012 settles on the permaculture gardens.

Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2011 006

A well-mulched bed in the fruit gardens

Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 002

Sorting and tying Willow in the shelter of the veranda, January 2012

Tying Willow from the Permaculture gardens

The polytunnel in January 2012

permaculture polytunnels

Posted in Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Dogs, Fairies, Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Vegan, Winter

Merry Tidings from Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Christmas eve moon above Bealtaine Cottage

The Christmas Eve moon rises over Bealtaine Cottage.

The air is still and warm, yet the clouds rush by in the upper sky.

moon rising over Bealtaine CottageThe Blackbird calls a final song on this eve.

The cottage lies snug and warm.

Christmas Eve, 2012 at Bealtaine CottageAll is well, all is as it should be.

Dogs are walked and cats sleep in the warmest corners of the cottage.

Christmas Angel 2012The Angel dances on the tree.

Cottage Christmas in IrelandA vegetable soup simmers atop the stove.

Wood-smoke fills the air outside.

Bealtaine Cottage interiorThe stillness is magical.

Angel EveContentment reigns.

Happy Christmas.

Peace and joy to you this eve.

Posted in Animals, Autumn, biodiversity, Dogs, Garden, Life, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized

Cutting, Clearing, Planting and Composting…Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage

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!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Butterflies, Cats, celebrations, Country Living, Dogs, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Roscommon

The Autumn Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

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.

Walking around the gardens today, I took these pictures to share with you.

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!

Of course, it wasn’t long before Missy joined me, followed by Flo and Che.

It always feels so nice to walk around the gardens with the little characters who inhabit this sacred space!

Flo is just visible on the other side of the pond, near the standing stone.

She keeps an eye on everyone!

I can only add that we all enjoyed the walk.

 Bealtaine Cottage at Ballyfermoyle, is a beautiful place for sure, but, when the sun shines it is heaven!

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, cows, Crafts, Dogs, Frugal Living, Gardens, Inspiration, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Return of Romance

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.

Individually designed Lavender Hearts for sale at Bealtaine Cottage on Etsy

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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Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Angels, Animals, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Garden, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Storms, Cats and Pumpkins

The storm has raged all day.

Wind has tossed garden debris around and every so often the heavens opened casting a deluge of rain upon the cottage.

Thunder has brought Jack and Flo rushing to my side…

Yet, through all of this, Che Mousy has lazily surveyed the scene from the comfort of his executive chair.

Missy has slept the storm away in the tunnel.

I was over there earlier clearing out weeds and harvesting parsley and seeds and she followed me, making camp on the potting table.

In between the showers I have managed a bit more pruning in the upper gardens.

Yes, I know…balanced atop a step ladder in a storm is rather silly, but single-mindedness is an integral part of my nature and has been my driving spur always!

There is an abundance of Pumpkins coming into harvest at the moment, as you can see…this one is growing outside and appears more than happy in the mad Irish weather!

I placed an old log alongside it to create warmth and a suitable micro-climate for growing.

It works!

True to form, the weather brings sunshine too…well, this is the West of Ireland!

I even managed to drink my afternoon tea whilst walking through the gardens!

Posted in Animals, Cats, Dogs, Permaculture, Personal, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Cats, Dogs and Long Winding Paths…

There are hundreds of metres of paths here on the permaculture smallholding, all lined with plants, trees and shrubs and all needing to be cut back and tidied up now that the midsummer growth has peaked.

It’s a task I love, especially on a day like today where the sun is clouded over, but the air is warm and still.

Last night I watched a beautiful moon rise in the North East and several shooting stars.

This morning I was entranced by dragonflies around the lower pond as I weeded the margins of the water…standing in the cool water at one point just to cool off and feel the silt between my toes!

Missy is sitting here beside me as I type, emitting little fluffs of fur into the air as she moults.

They are drawn towards my face and cling to my skin, making me stop working to brush them away.

Her soft purring is compensation for the minor discomfort.

She loves to sit near me at times, just drinking in my energy and I hers.

The straggly leftover Tomato plants are all doing well and promise a modest harvest.

The seasons continue on their slow, steady course, despite the chaos of the weather.

Jack and Flo are like an old married couple, arguing over which side of the bed they want to sleep on!

In this case it’s baskets.

Flo often pushes Jack out of his basket and takes over completely, delegating poor Jack to the close confines of her small bed…

It’s only that he adores Flo that he tolerates this!