A Big Thank You!

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I travelled up to see Christine Coulson this morning at the Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre, to make the presentation of the monies you raised for the much needed Animal Protection and re-homing work she does 24/7!

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(Mum and son both neutered vaccination and wormed looking to go to new home together sweet cats super friendly)

dogSome of the animals showing on the FB page were there this morning as I walked around the kennels…oh how I wanted to take them all home with me!

One of the lovely dogs was being prepared for his final home journey to England, where he has been adopted.

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(a boy and a girl never separated since birth so would like them to go together to new home)

Despite continued ill-health, Christine works hard to find homes for these unwanted sweethearts all over Europe, with 97% of all the animals getting new families to love and care for them.

Check out the FB site…

https://www.facebook.com/LeitrimAnimalWelfareCentre/

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(HI my names is Sean and this is my friend Max, poor Max has been badly treated and he is wary of humans our Dog Warden paired us together, so I can help Max be a happy dog again and we have a bed each but Dog warden keeps finding us cuddled in one, sometimes you just need your own kind to help you be yourself . Woof woof Max)

Sean looks just like my Jack!

A big thank you to the following subscribers…

Anne Faught, Alaska…28.00

Cathy Lawlor, Ireland…20.00

Sharon Hiltz, Fairmont, WV., USA…60.00

Mark Mcvittie, Rostrevor, Newry, Northern Ireland…50.00

Snapdragon Plants, Lampeter, Wales…30.00

Jane Potter, Manchester, UK…15.00

Cormac Breslin, Dublin, Ireland…50.00

Patti, Rossinver, Ireland and USA…25.00

Frances Brotzel, Stoke Newington, London…50.00

(To all past and present animal friends.)

Judith Gamble, Ireland…50.00

(Donation on behalf of our dog, Roxie, who was dumped on our Lane 7 years ago and has been with us ever since!)

Debbie Ledgard, Yorkshire, UK…50.00

Barbara Wingrove, UK…10.00

Anonymous, Ireland…50.00

Catherine McGuckin, Oughterad, Co Galway, Ireland…10.00

Beverley Little, Cornwall, UK…10.00

Linda Jarreau, Denham Springs, LA, USA…25.00

In memory of Karen, my mother who loved dogs so much!
Contributor: Marianne Burkhar…21.00

Margaret Quinn, Meath, Ireland…20.00

Lorna Lees, Moray, Scotland, UK…15.00

Anna Ballard, Bristol, UK…10.00

Willow Antiques, Leigh on Sea, Essex, UK…25.00

Karen Hillier, Herts., UK…20.00

Pamela Waterworth, Wigan, Lancs., UK…10.00

Fiona Fitzpatrick, Buncrana, Donegal, Ireland…20.00

Tina, West Wales…20.00

Jenny in Scotland…20.00

Sharon Hiltz, Fairmont, United States…30.00

Hanson design group dba HotPatterns, USA…20.00

Majella Callaghan, Lurgan, N. Ireland, UK…50.00

Denise Machon, Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales, UK…30.00

Miss Susan K Wilson, UK…50.00

Cormac O’Neill, London, UK…50.00

Colette O’Neill, Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…100.00…from Jack to Christine XXX who was there when I needed a friend!

Good Morning!

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Good morning to you! Water and Juice to be drunk before I make that essential cuppa!

It’s overcast and somewhat grey this morning, but a beautiful day in that it’s still, warm and the birds are singing!

dsc03037I spent some time yesterday in the pond, (waders on) clearing out pond-weed and cutting back on the banks.

dsc03064Hard work, so am breaking it up into a three day exercise!

I was happy to walk down there clutching my cup of tea, to just spend time looking at the water and thinking how it will all look when finished…

dsc02927Meanwhile, the Lughnasadh Garden continues to take shape and is already a lovely place to walk to and enjoy. It’s good for me to have several projects on the go at the same time!

dsc02919Nasturtiums are all in flower and the Bees are have a wonderful feast and flurry as they move from one to another.

dsc03031And…I’ve spied yet more plants that have self-seeded in the gravel…these Lady’s Mantle are ll to be moved into the Lughnasadh Garden for the Bees and Butterflies.

And…just for you…a little video…

Magical Spirits

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It’s a wet evening.

It’s a cool evening too.

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I’ve lit the stove and the kettle begins to sing on the top.

It’s a tea and toast kind of evening.

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I was thinking about Fairies today as I walked through the Fairy Wood.

It lies below the cottage, in a natural dell and is a very special place.

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There’s a Fairy tree in the centre of the woodland with a huge stone underneath it’s branches.

I’ve often wondered about the history and meaning of that tree and stone.

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I have been told that such a tree planted by a stone can mark the resting place of a person whose body was not allowed to be interred in the graveyard…the churches had all sorts of rules regarding who could and could not be interred in so called sacred ground…unbaptised babies, suicides etc…all of great sadness and shown little mercy…

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And so, while Jack plays with his football…for some reason he believes I want to steal it…I think about this tree, the Fairy Wood and…fairies…

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Fairies are widely regarded as magical spirits who can help humanity get closer to Nature and embrace harmony in the natural environment.

To the Celts, nature embodied the sovereignty of the Goddess.

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In comparison, within the church view, Nature is widely regarded as something amoral and fearsome, needing to be dominated and put to service.

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All this has led us away from our deep relationship with Mother Earth…we are now in a state of flux and near abandonment and we feel this deeply, with some more aware of the root of our unhappiness and others less, or in severe denial.

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“The creatures I seek do not want to be seen.”
Annie Dillard

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“These folk are hewers of trees and hunters of beasts; therefore we are their unfriends, and if they will not depart we shall afflict them in all ways that we can.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Maybe we need to think again about Fairies, for until we respect the natural world and our precious environment, we are doomed to be cast aside as Gaia struggles on her own…

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

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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!

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!

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.

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!

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!

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!

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

Blessings to you all X