Sustainable Food Revolution

Living in a time when the cost of food is rising day on day, it might be time to re-think the lawn! This is what Bill Mollison, one of the founders of the Permaculture movement has to say on the subject: “. . . every society that grows extensive lawns could produce all its food on the same area, using the same resources, and . . . world famine could be totally relieved if we devoted the same resources of lawn culture to food culture in poor areas. These facts are before us. Thus, we can look at lawns, like…

Magical Woodland by an Irish Castle

Stepping into a magical woodland can be one of the most healing and re-energizing acts of care for oneself. This morning I ventured into the woods around Kilronan Castle and the mystical Lough Meelagh, a short distance from Bealtaine Cottage. I’m glad to have brought my little camera, as am now able to share this enchantment with you. This sacred place nestles into the valley that sweeps off towards Sligo and the Atlantic Ocean. The Lough is dotted with Crannogs…ancient dwelling places constructed by ancestral forces on the Lough itself. You can just see this Crannog in the distance. These…

A Year at Bealtaine…part 2

Nine years of planting trees into barren, north-facing land has now awoken a magical earth, with paths that lead forever among dappled shade. And every now and then open up into a secret garden… …or two… Some paths get overgrown fast as Nature’s abundance keeps giving. The thousands of plants all jostle for space… and are now self-seeding, like this little Cherry tree growing next to an Oak! Willow arches that lead into the Fairy Wood at Midsummer. The delicate blossom on the Mountain Ash, also known as the Rowan Tree. A place for tea in the garden on long…

Ghosts

Winter has finally gripped the land. Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates. The evening sky turns a cold blue. Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen. Winter is here! Sliabh An Iarainn Mountain catches the dying rays of a winter sun. Cleaving  the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.  Ancient  legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place….

Overwintering in the Lodge

For the past few evenings I have lit the stove in the Lodge and turned down the sofa bed to make a cosy sleeping area that is easy and cheap to heat! The little wood-burning stove that seems to emanate warmth from one or two small logs, is economic and easy to maintain, making this a snug and cosy place to overwinter. The layers of insulation packed into the walls of this little wooden cabin, makes for excellent heat and maximum comfort! The nights are drawing in fast now and the ice, frost and mist has been a nightly feature…

Autumn Seeds, Berries and Lichens

Harvesting Willow today in the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine. This Willow is pollarded rather than coppiced. The 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. Working 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. An opportunity to admire the berries on the Hawthorn, set against the silver of the bark. Clusters of berries on the Ivy continue to develop. Not to be out-done…the cerise…

Half Light and Shadows

The apricot glow of a fading October sky, merged with the heavy rustling of cows on the field across the lane, drawing me outdoors. This is a magical time of enchantment, with Nature and late evening light. Any noise on such a still evening exudes an eerie quality of something not understood…always best to go out and uncover the mystery. As it was, the cows and their calves had nuzzled in close to the hedgerow, to bed down for the night. The heaviness of their bodies crushing branches, as they leaned into the conspiratorial thorn hedgerow. The stillness of the…

Blackberries at Autumn Equinox

Early morning in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine, coffee in one hand, camera in the other, to record the passing of a time, a merging of a season, as we flow seamlessly into late autumn…the autumn equinox. Blackberries hang heavy near the stone circle, flattened grass signs the badgers have been here. Looking skywards, all looks different as the season casts a spell over the landscape…I never noticed the ivy on the Ash tree before, really looked and wondered… And underneath the mighty Ash, a sacred tree in Celtic lore, the ferns remain green and lush in the warm September…

Discovery in the Fairy Wood…

Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent down in the Fairy Wood, cutting back the paths and lifting the canopies on some of the bigger trees. My work was intensive and totally absorbing, as you can imagine. It wasn’t until several hours of hard labour had passed that I began to look around me… … for I had moved about ten metres through the wood, without taking much note, other than look at what I was sawing. Taking a breather, I stopped and looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings…I was in a place unknown to me in all the nine years…