Posted in charity, Frugal Living, Mother earth, Permaculture

Returning Thanks

www.bealtainecottage.com 022

Saint Vincent de Paul is a charity that helps people here in Ireland cope with poverty.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008

It does fantastic work, helping those in need pay bills, buy clothes and food and even keeping a roof over the heads of many.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012

I decided to have a good clear out of things…clothes, books, trinkets, ornaments…all boxed up and off to the SVdP Charity shop.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001

I am delighted that the cottage is lighter and the Charity has a little more to give. In turn,

cropped-wed-24-11-10-013.jpg

I often visit the same shop and buy clothes and occasional trinkets.

Stone Circle at Bealtaine Cottage

It’s a great way of recycling, all round!

The porch at bealtaine cottage

This is my favourite form of recycling, because it underpins the fact that everything has a value.

Christmas Eve, 2012 at Bealtaine Cottage

Also, by clearing out lots of stuff I no longer need or even want, I am making room for Mother Nature, for I love to bring bouquets of greenery in from the land and spend time adorning the cottage.

The turn of the wheel

This beautiful Iroquois prayer encapsulates it all…

We return thanks to our mother, the Earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.

~ Iroquois ~

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

Thanks for your continued support in sustaining and developing this site.

                                                                                

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Thrift, Trees

A Day of Sustainable Living at Bealtaine Cottage

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 019

Sewing patchwork today…finishing a bedspread…with the back-door open and the birds singing!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 018

Producing and using surplus is an integral part of living sustainably. 

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 017

Upcycling our waste in a wasteful society is a way to create growth. 

If there is going to be a future, then our past cannot be used as a template.

We have lived in a state of excess at the cost of the future.

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 021

Making soup today has allowed me to harvest and use vegetables from the garden, especially Spinach.

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 028

…mmm!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 023

I love Spinach!

With lots planted in the tunnel and heaps of seedlings coming on in pots, this is one winter green of plenty this year!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 020

There are lots of windfall apples at the moment and this is the time to get out and collect them up for pies and juice.

Stew down the apples ready for a tart and store in the freezer or even can it…that means jar really!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 024

Having the stove fired up for cooking the soup and baking, means drying clothes in a very natural and cost-free way.

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 026

Cleaned out the hen house and run…now there’s lots of poopy straw to spread on the vegetable beds before I mulch them with cardboard…great, organic and free vegetables for next year!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 027

The girls are happy! This deep litter allows a good amount of fertile straw to be used in the vegetable gardens and as a fertile mulch…for free…eggs are a sideline!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 003

Rosehips from the Rosa Rugosa are ripening…these make the very best Vitamin C syrup!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 006

Beautiful colouring on the Amalanchier trees today.

A feast for the soul!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 012

Blackberries continue to ripen…free fruit that not enough people bother to pick and use…though more are enjoying the fruits of foraging!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 013

Cleared the space beneath this Ash tree to make a little sitting and meditation space.

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 015

Made a green juice to start the day, using Apples, Lemon Balm, Mint,  Kale and Wheatgrass from the garden. Now that’s what fired me up for a day of sustainable living!

 

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Garden, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees

A Permaculture Day Out

bealtainecottage.com 021

As we begin to embrace the beauty of early Autumn, I am getting requests about the availability of B&B at Bealtaine Cottage over the coming cooler months.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008

Lots of you want to visit Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens and they will remain open all the way through the year! bealtainecottage.com 006

For those who want a little bit more than just a visit, I am offering a Full Day Experience which includes Lunch and Dinner. bealtainecottage.com 076

This affords the opportunity to spend a full day here, asking all the questions about permaculture and Sustainable Living you ever wanted to!

bealtainecottage.com 041

See how it all works first hand!

bealtainecottage.com 006

The cost remains the same as before.

Lunch…15 euros.

Dinner…20 euros

Garden Visit…10 euros.

So a full day is only 45 euros, with all the food you can eat!

Oh, and that includes lashings of tea and home-made cake!

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 017

If you’d like to book a day, that will change how you see the world and your own life, contact coletteoneill2010@hotmail.com Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 012

For more details and booking.

10 July 2014 005

Days are limited to a maximum of 4 people only per day…this is a cottage after all!

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 001

I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Frugal Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift

A Simple Life

bealtainecottage.com 011

“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.”

Victoria Moran

bealtainecottage.com 007

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. ~Elise Boulding

bealtainecottage.com 012

Yesterday, I found myself with two juicers.

Through fortune and kindness, my life had become too full, and so I gave one away, to a friend who needs to take good care of her health.

bealtainecottage.com 009

She was delighted and my cupboard was, once more, roomy and ready to receive.

To live in a state of abundance, it is necessary to practice frugality.

One cannot work without the other.

Abundance needs space to grow!

bealtainecottage.com 013

Clinging onto what one does not need creates clutter, confusion and chaos.

Is it any wonder the world is in such a state?

bealtainecottage.com 003

We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it. ~Donald Horban

bealtainecottage.com 014

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed — it is a process of elimination. ~Elbert Hubbard

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

I have two websites… Bealtaine Cottage and Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

This site, Bealtaine Cottage, is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life costs 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

Making this small donation adds your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

This amounts to 104 publications per year, at a cost of 12 cents each!

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Edible Gardens, Fairies, Frugal Living, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Summer, Uncategorized, Wine

Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.

Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!

Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, compost, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Summer, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

A New Way of Living

DSCF1520Food production can be a problem for many people who have little or no access to land.

DSCF1521There are many who live in conditions where even a balcony is a precious space.

DSCF1532I have spoken before about the ways in which access to growing space can be achieved, through allotments, community gardens and the like, but here is something which may prove to be an inspiration, a new way of looking at food, both growing it and eating!

DSCF1527As an aspiring Vegan, (sometimes I miss the mark!) and dedicated grower and lover of all life, I have recently been converted to “Micro Greens.”

DSCF1526The concept is extraordinarily simple!

DSCF1525Seeds such as lettuce, peas, beets, etc., are sown and grown for about two weeks or less, before being harvested and added to dishes.

DSCF1519These Micro-Greens, it is said, contain up to 40% more nutrients than older, traditionally grown and harvested vegetables.

I can believe it!

DSCF1524Yesterday evening, I had a dish of cooked brown rice, mixed with Micro Greens, seasoned and drenched with the juice of half a fresh lime and this morning I feel a surge of energy!

DSCF1530Micro Greens can be grown on a window ledge, balcony, hanging basket…anywhere they can get a decent dose of light!

DSCF1538Growing Organic is easy to manage in small areas too!

DSCF1541Little or no problem with slugs and availability all the year around!

DSCF1540For me, the days of packaged salad of any kind are over and the tiresome task of cooking greens are almost over…adding raw makes more sense in every aspect of preparing and eating food!

DSCF1544All you need is a tray, or pot of compost, seeds and water!

DSCF1545So, there you have it…a new way of living…simple, easy and kind to Mother Earth!

And the fun part? Now you can enjoy seeing some of your vegetables run to seed, like this Mizuna in the Potager Bed!

DSCF1546Here are just some of the seeds you can grow Micro Salads from…
Arugula
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Kale
Mustard greens
Radish
Red cabbage
Turnips
Watercress
Basil
Chervil
Chives
Coriander
Fennel
Lemon Balm
Mizuna
Rocket
Sage
Chard
and many more…
DSCF1547(Both the Light Catcher and the Bird Box were gifts, made by Nick O’Neill…aren’t they lovely?)
Happy growing!
Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage XXX




 

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

An Evening with Mr D’Arcy

www.bealtainecottage.com

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, Cottage, Current Affairs, Earth, Frugal Living, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spring, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Why It Matters!

www.bealtainecottage.comExtreme weather is fast becoming normal.

Another storm is on the way.

This storm, according to the radio, will unleash a massive amount of water in the form of heavy rain.

www.bealtainecottage.com

This morning was beautiful, as the photographs testify, today is one of extremes…or is that normal too?

www.bealtainecottage.comApart from the predictably unpredictable weather, there is a lot of work getting done here at Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.comI have been moving around the gardens with my secateurs, nipping and cutting here and there, followed by sticking and stamping in other places…inserting cuttings straight into the earth!

www.bealtainecottage.comMost of the shrubs I cut from are serious proliferators, given half a chance!

Ribes, Spirea, Senecio, Willow, Fuschia, Rubus…the list goes on.

www.bealtainecottage.comI was totting up all the energy saving so far in slowly divesting myself of electrical items…it’s substantial indeed.

Many say that one person cannot make a difference.

My acquired wisdom says the opposite…one person can make a difference.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mindset of mindfulness and care for our great Mother, Earth, is a growing consciousness.

Each one person adds to that.

www.bealtainecottage.com A hero of mine, David Holmgren, co-founder of the Permaculture movement, urges us all reduce consumption and be domestically responsible.

I heartily agree with David, in that if enough of us scale down our impact on the planet, then one becomes many and a real shift starts to take place.

www.bealtainecottage.comOver the past few decades humanity has committed acts of great violence against its home, Earth. Now we see acts of great violence being reciprocated in extreme weather.

If we love our home, we will do all we can to protect it and all life therein.

This, I believe, is what connects us to the Divine, in life and after.

Love is all.

Love for all Creation, every last nano particle of it.

www.bealtainecottage.comTo switch off a light is to love and appreciate the environment that has to produce that power.

Love is all.

It’s time we really loved and appreciated this incredible home.

It is the only one we have.

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thrift

Small Spaces and Tiny Homes

owww.bealtainecottage.com

Tiny homes are becoming popular.

We are realizing the importance of space…the space we actually need to live comfortably.

If I had the opportunity to build another home, it would, undoubtedly, be much, much smaller than Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLiving comfortably means a warm home, less opening and closing of doors, one big room where all comforts are to be found, much in the same way as the old cottages used to be here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere in this little Lodge, built onto the back of the cottage, constructed mostly from re-cycled materials, over-wintering is now embedded into my lifestyle.

www.bealtainecottage.comEnergy use is one-quarter of that needed for the cottage.

Small pieces of coppiced wood has fed the wood-burning stove, keeping all snug and cosy.

www.bealtainecottage.com

This was a decision I made out of a challenge, to prove that it was possible to be warm and comfortable through winter…and it is more than possible, it is a new-found freedom!

Cheap energy!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is possible with a multi-faceted approach: one small, medium or even big living space; masses of insulation; small wood-burning stove; low energy lamps; a sofa bed, or, as in my case a bed that doubles as a sofa; woollen blankets and rugs; thick curtains and menu plan for cooking one-pot meals on the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.comA small clothes-rail doubles as a drying rail as the heat from the wood burner keeps the place toasty!

www.bealtainecottage.comI am a fan of the Tiny Home movement for many reasons, but, primarily because this way of living empowers one…absolutely! www.bealtainecottage.comThe more one can conserve and live minimally, the more power one actually has !

www.bealtainecottage.comPlanting lots of shelter-giving plants, shrubs and trees around it also helps the micro-climate inside and out.

www.bealtainecottage.comA place to sew and knit in comfort with the luxury of a kettle of ever-free-boiling water is magic!

www.bealtainecottage.comA door that opens onto the most sheltered part of the garden is a bonus.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd yes…that is an old table top up-cycled as a step!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Frugal Living, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Winter

Money…Lots and Lots of Money!

midwinter cottage 013The New Year party dust has settled.

People have returned to work and credit card bills are dropping on doormats all over the  world.

The reality of living has dawned, after a long party season, where many have struggled to just buy necessities.

midwinter cottage 006Recent figures released have stated that the rich have got richer and the poor poorer, with the severest erosion of the middle classes ever witnessed.

Profits announced by corporations defy any understanding of mathematics.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I read the other day, that Bill Gates earns more profit on his investments, than himself and Melinda can insert into their foundation.

Bill has not actually worked in 14 years.

All this as many workers, already working overtime,  are having to apply for welfare and charity to keep their families out of extreme penury.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004I do not understand this form of economics and am not ashamed to say so…I really do not understand!

Here at Bealtaine I have lit the stove, on a grey, wet and windy day in early January.

As the fire roared up under a spitting kettle, my thoughts turned to those who rely solely on fossil fuel or electricity for warmth.

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Escalating costs for fuel is now prohibiting many from keeping a warm home.

Governments have failed, to put in place any substantial remedial action, that may help alleviate the burden of fuel costs.

There have been small measures, like attic insulation offered to those on minimum income…little indeed as the energy costs spiral.

www.bealtainecottage.com 022The cost of wind-generated energy must be very small indeed, compared to say, Nuclear.

I say this because I witness the one man in a white van, who services the Wind Turbines on the mountain opposite Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030He attends to these as and when they need attention…not on a daily basis, by any means.

I imagine  the maintenance costs, say, compared to power stations, are very minimal!

So where does the escalating costs of that electricity, generated by those turbines, actually go?

www.bealtainecottage.com 004There appears to be a lot of money in the world, with but a few holding the purse-strings…and that makes no sense at all!

We are surrounded by solutions to the most grievous and pressing poverty.

We are surrounded by wealth, held tightly by the few.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Cottage, Frugal Living, Lifestyle, New Year, Uncategorized, Winter

New Moon, New Year…All Change!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005The time of a New Moon is a time to set intention for the coming month.

We start this New Year with a New Moon in Capricorn, a very auspicious beginning, a fresh start!

It is rare that a New Year begins at the same time as a Lunar New Year, so, in preparation, I am clearing space all around the cottage, clearing away the decorations of Yuletide and opening up lots of space to embrace this new energy!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003

This New Moon brings with it hope for those feeling tired and low by all the negativity experienced over the past year; change is on the horizon.

This is a powerful time to make resolutions and implement change!

www.bealtainecottage.com 001This is a rare opportunity to begin anew…a time to clear all old intentions that never materialized and start afresh! www.bealtainecottage.com 002The last time we had a New Moon at the start of the New Year, was nineteen years ago, in the early nineties.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007

New Moon, New Year

The New Moon greets the New Year
Saying “let go of the past”
For the things that are worth keeping
Will in their beauty last-
Yet that that does not serve us
Must be released and shed
The fear, anger and patterns
Which hog space in our head-
And when we call our Spirit
To release them to the Earth
The New Moon greets us with her light
And offers us rebirth.

Jen Reich
Flagstaff, AZ 12-28-13

http://poetry-not-poverty.blogspot.ie/

A truly beautiful website filled with inspirational poetry by Jen…

www.bealtainecottage.com 006However, it won’t just be one New Moon in January, but two!

The month comes to a close with a second New Moon!

www.bealtainecottage.com 013

Energy begins to seep back into the earth and plants.

Winter is not yet over, by any means and frost can be devastating, but the little signs of hope are there… Daffodils have begun to throw up green shoots!

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Light has begun to play with shadows here in the shower room (there is no bath in this tiny cottage!) and even the hanging crystals are catching and reflecting the strengthening sun.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Fruit continues to occupy its Yuletide celebratory place on tables throughout Bealtaine.

Time to eat healthy food and build health for the year ahead!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Time to clear out the old and bring in the new and time to clear the laundry basket…I wash clothes daily, for I do not possess a washing machine, so will spend a little more time than usual to ensure an empty basket for New year!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012

The lengthening of the days has already begun.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Food, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Winter

Fighting Poverty in Ireland!

 
www.bealtainecottage.com 003It’s a hard winter for many people across the western world as the recession digs deep.
As the utility companies have increased their charges, wages have remained static and in some cases fallen.  
As I predicted, food costs have risen and fuel charges increased.
www.bealtainecottage.com 002For myself, I am having a “Pay As You Go,” electricity meter installed, as the bi-monthly bills have created financial chaos in my accounting!
www.bealtainecottage.com 016Even with this, the Electricity company, (State-owned…that’s me, by the way!), charges 37 cents per day for the meter.
So, before the light is switched on, the monthly charge is over 11 euros!
Add that up over a year, over 135 euros, and the meter is paid for…however, the cost continues, year after year, so that’s profiting from people who are struggling!
Politicians have not a clue!
www.bealtainecottage.com 006However, I am not a woman who embraces being a victim and so I am now very pro-active in finding and using alternatives (I can afford), to utilities. (No, I cannot afford wind power.)
Oh, how this little Rocket Stove works at boiling my kettle…all day boiling!
www.bealtainecottage.com 012As I type I hear the low whistle from outside, reminding me that tea, coffee and home-cooking is available, for  the no-cost of a few bits of dry wood, my rebel heart lifts…
www.bealtainecottage.com 010As Alice Walker once wrote, “You Can’t keep A Good Woman Down!” (Brilliant short stories by the way!)
Time to get a big pot of soup started!
Posted in Country Living, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Recycling, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized

A Fireside Chat

www.bealtainecottage.com 004

There is much talk about energy and the best way to keep warm.
Last night I arrived back from visiting my mother in Omagh, to a cold cottage.
After walking Jack and feeding the boys, I set about lighting the stove in the Lodge.
Within ten minutes the Lodge was warm and cosy.
I could take off my coat and think about a pot of tea!
www.bealtainecottage.com 001This has got to be the most efficient, and gentle on the planet way, to warm a home, especially using wood from nearby…in my case the land around the cottage.
Why even setting a fire with cardboard is effective and warms the cold air very quickly indeed!
When I lived in London, I was a perpetual Skip Hunter…forever foraging for wood and never disappointed, for the amount of waste in the cities is incredible!
www.bealtainecottage.com 003The kettle sits atop the stove and will be ready for making tea shortly.
Not many gas or oil central heating boilers can do this…for free!
This wood is stuff I collected from the hedgerows.
There is a lot of wood lying around following the storm of last night and it’s just a matter of picking it up!
www.bealtainecottage.com 006Elsewhere in this little Lodge, coziness abounds!
I have started to use the top of the little stove for making soups upon.
The heat is equivalent to that on a gas or electric hob and can be adjusted with regulation of the air-flow.
www.bealtainecottage.com 008The place is toasty warm in a very short time!
Talking of which…making toast by an open fire is the height of luxury!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007This stove only needs a metal chimney and can be installed in a day.
If you can’t install a wood-burning stove, then ensure you make one room in your home as cosy as you can, with a little bed that doubles as a sofa, where you can sleep on especially cold nights.
Here in the Irish countryside there are a lot of splendid looking mansions, all recently built over the past decade.
I doubt if many of them are as cozy and welcoming as this little Lodge.
 
**********************************

A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am into a second print run and am posting from today, Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy… https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings X

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Food, Frugal Living, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Trees

Planning to Beat Poverty

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Pollarded Willow in the upper gardens this afternoon.

Walking around the land gives me an overall perspective of work to be carried out this coming winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007The Autumn is prolonged, as the good weather continues and so the coppicing has begun in earnest!

This is an eight year old Birch tree, that was coppiced in year one, to produce multiple stems.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010It’s very dry and still.

Trees are holding onto their leaves and flowers continue to bloom.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I was shopping in a supermarket in town the other day and noticed a sharp increase in the cost of food.

I really thought that the assistants had made genuine mistakes in the pricing tags on some of the shelves.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001I knew this was coming and have in fact warned about it, but to see the jump in overall food costs is quite scary…it appears to be all of a sudden!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I am aware that the cost of seeds have doubled in some cases…that was the precursor to the food price jump!

Corn is up 92% and corn syrup is in a lot of foods!

The Times of India reports an overall food price rise of 157% between 2004 and 20013

www.bealtainecottage.com 021If ever there was time to embrace the abundance that grows from permaculture it is now!

Even the collection of this bundle of kindling saves vital cash…a bag of kindling at the shops costs on average 3-4 euros!

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Just cleaning up the lane-way to the cottage will produce an excess of kindling and wood for the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Last month The Daily Express UK newspaper reported that, “Rising food prices are causing stress for four in ten consumers, while a third say they are struggling to feed themselves or their family.”

According to “The Mirror,” newspaper, Sep., 2013:
“Food bills rising nearly FOUR times faster than wages, figures show.”

www.bealtainecottage.com 032The dry Autumn will see me out collecting as much wood for fuel as possible.

After all, in the depths of a cold, dark winter, what sustains us better than a warm home, hot, home-made soup and pots of preserves, chutney and pickles in the pantry.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034And not forgetting the home made wine!

Warmth and good food remains within our grasp if we plan for it now!

Posted in Earth, Fracking, Frugal Living, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Politics, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

An Act of Defiance from the Edge of Empire!

Box for the birds and the beesIt seems as though governments all over the western world are colluding with big corporations and the energy companies to deliberately destroy our environments, and, in the face of much opposition from those who elected them into power…the people.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureI have yet to meet the person who supports

war, fracking, privatisation of utilities, or GMOs.

Yet, politicians have, and are, engaged in the pursuit of all of these.

growing seeds at BealtaineAs we approach a global food crisis- and all the warning signs are there, such as rising food prices, oil and the effects of extreme weather- we are in desperate need of leadership.

herb gardens at bealtaine cottageLeadership is absent.

bees and peas at bealtaine cottageRhetoric is everywhere.

weed suppressing with cardboardWe are being force-fed a diet of ‘GMOs are all that can save us,’  publicity, when patently this is not true!

potager beds and peach trees at bealtaine cottageThe less choice in seed diversity, the more prone we are to potential famine.

rocket stove in the permaculture gardenI know that as a grower, working 3 acres of poor land…that it is diversity that builds fertility and food security!

Bench in the garden at Bealtaine CottageWhat are we to do?

Abundance from Mother  NatureAct as defiantly in the face of bullish nonsense and stupid politicians as one can.

bird and bee house at bealtaine cottageHow?

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottagePlant!

Evening Primrose seed germinating at Bealtaine CottageLiving near the western seaboard of the Atlantic Ocean, I live on the edge of empire.

cottage on a slate and painted stones at Bealtaine CottageI refuse to allow the insanity of empire to bellow it’s anarchic way into my home…I have no television.

I plant.

I grow.

I live frugally.

Euphorbia in a barrelIf I lived in the middle of a city I would keep the same philosophy.

Broad Beans at Bealtaine CottageBe defiant: buy less; plant more; save seeds and share! It’s your future…don’t let the politicians mess it up!

Missy Cat at Bealtaine CottageThis is a video I watched earlier and a fantastic template for those without gardens or allotments…or even with!

The Green Backyard
This is the story of a once neglected urban wasteland in Peterborough, recently transformed into a much-loved community resource by a crew of eager volunteer…
*********************

If you would like to support the work of the Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture website, Youtube (ad-free) videos and Compassion for Mother Earth Gardens project, please feel free to…

Posted in Edible Gardens, Food, Frugal Living, Growing Food, Ireland, Recipes, Self-Sufficiency, Vegan

An Ancient Recipe for Blackcurrant Chutney

Evening kitchen at Bealtaine CottageFinally, finally coming to the bottom of the freezer and the last of last years Blackcurrants…so many of them…over 150lbs!

I have eaten Blackcurrants every day since last summer.

kitchen at Bealtaine CottageI have a very simple meal that I make with them…raw food vegan!

It’s simply putting a handful of sunflower seeds in the blender with 3 or 4 big handfuls of organic oats.

Blend.

Add soya or other vegan milk, or dairy if that’s your choice.

Blend.

Add 1/4 lb of frozen Blackcurrants and some Maple Syrup to taste.

Blend.

The result is a cross between an ice cream and a smoothie…spoon it out and enjoy!

Blackcurrant ChutneyThis evening I have made four pound pots of delicious Blackcurrant Chutney. Blackcurrant ChutneyThe recipe is quite ancient…passed down to me from someone very close.

The taste of this chutney is unique and delicious and not to be compared to any other!

Here’s the recipe…

1 lb Blackcurrants

 1 lb moist brown sugar

1/4 lb chopped seedless raisins

1oz crushed mustard seeds

1oz chopped onion

1/2 oz  ground ginger

1 heaped teaspoon salt

1/2 pint distilled white vinegar

Cover the currants with the vinegar, and cook them gently until they are tender.

Let them cool, then mix in all the other ingredients.

Stir well together, boil up for about ten minutes, and bottle and cover tightly when cold.

Lysimachia Punctata on the table in the kitchenMost delicious and you can adjust the ingredients to taste and to suit…not too much though!

This recipe was handed down from my great grandmother, Mary Ann Higgins-Baxter, who grew masses of Blackcurrants on her small farm on the Derry Road in Omagh, County Tyrone.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThis was the thatched cottage owned by my great grandmother.

bealtainecottage.com (9)It was recommended by Mary Ann that the Blackcurrant Chutney be served with Goats Cheese, which she made herself from the many goats she kept and milked.

If you enjoy Bealtaine Cottage, please consider subscribing to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

Click on the link below

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Posted in Current Affairs, Edible Gardens, Frugal Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Politics, Thoughts

How to Change the World, Starting Today…

Roses open at Bealtaine Cottage todayMany people are feeling dis-empowered and frustrated at the way the world around them seems to be disintegrating.

Rosa Rugosa in bloom at Bealtaine CottageIt is the role of mainstream media to keep you locked in that paradigm, for it is much easier to control and influence those who feel helpless and dis-empowered…ask any victim of domestic violence or bullying!

Pyracantha in flower today in the permaculture gardensYou would be truly shocked to realise how much power you really have!

Redcurrants today at Bealtaine CottageYou can reclaim your power, along with your humanity, in just a few short steps…steps that will lead you on to bigger and better things!

Change the world, starting today, with just a few, very small changes…

veranda at Bealtaine Cottage, July 2013Buy local.

If we are merely consumers, then exercise your power daily and often.

Count how much you refused to give to the corporations…for they are definitely counting!

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageBe frugal.

Our grandparents were actively encouraged by government to be frugal during the war years of WW2 and how many times have you heard them say that those times were happier and more fulfilling…

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayConsume less.

Processed, TV dinners and junk food is killing us…return to the art of cooking and eating at a dining table.

Clean out wardrobes and closets.

Give away or sell what is surplus to your quality of life.

cable Table in the gardenWalk more.

Don’t just drive into town where parking meters are waiting to gobble up your precious pennies…park on the outskirts and walk in.

You will meet other people, enjoy your surroundings and get some good exercise, as well as save money and avoid the stress of parking wardens!

Potager beds at Bealtaine CottageGrow food.

The social life on Allotments and Community Gardens is fantastic!

Drying Garlic at Bealtaine CottageTurn off TV.

Enough said!

Bench and Ox-Eye daisies at Bealtaine CottageSpeak out.

Find out the email addresses of local and national newspapers and fire off the regular broadside at them, about issues you feel concerned about.

You have a voice, use it!

Bealtaine Cottage courtyardHarass politicians!

Your local and national politicians are happy to engage with you at election time and expect you to be quiet and timid for the duration of their office…time to change that, don’t you think? 

Posted in Bees, biodiversity, compost, Edible Gardens, Frugal Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Seed-Saving, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Tea, Wild Flowers

Black Bees, Compost and Rocket Stoves

Blue table on veranda at bealtaine cottageNasturtiums, Lobelia, Petunia, Sweet William, Perlagonium, Valerian and Night Scented Stock are jostling for space near the back door.

Roses lead the way to the new orchardAbundance reigns supreme in the gardens, as seen here in these lovely old-fashioned roses that lead the way up to the new orchard.

Bee with a black bumBees are in a frenzy over the Cotoneaster.

This is a strange bee with a black bottom half.

Black beeThe black bit appears shiny.

strange beeDo you have any idea what kind of bee this is?

cotoneaster in full bloom at Bealtaine CottageAll this buzzing guarantees lots of food for the birds over winter!

Bee on cotoneaster at Bealtaine CottageAnother lovely bee working hard here at Bealtaine Cottage this evening.

Cotoneaster and Dog daisiesThe evening is very still and warm…perfect for all the insects that work in the gardens.

Raised Potager Beds WorkshopLots of stone and wood piled up and ready for the workshop tomorrow.

These beds are very abundant and productive, considering the shallow depth and intensive planting…the weather is promised good for tomorrow!

Lysimachia Punctata in full bloom todayLysimachia Punctata is in full bloom.

This cable table has sat in the garden for eight years…great garden furniture for free!

Redcurrants today at Bealtaine cottageThe Redcurrants are almost ready to harvest.

Rose arch today at Bealtaine CottageThis is the new rose arch…first year and doing well.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe Blackcurrants are ripening and will be ready for harvesting very soon.

Tunnel at Bealtaine Cottage todaySunflowers and lots of seeds getting ready for harvesting in the tunnel in these Potager raised beds.

compost heaps todayAs I harvest the compost started last summer, a new compost heap is started.

Friday evening at bealtaineFriday evening at Bealtaine…the rocket stove is boiling the kettle for another pot of tea…could it get any better?

rocket stoveI wonder what the equivalent saving on electricity this little contraption affords?

Would this be equal to a few solar panels?

free tea Just a small matter of washing the cups…have a great weekend everyone!

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 Angels, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Life, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Preparing for the Collapse.

Spinning wheel and craft studio at Bealtaine Cottage Over recent months it has become more and more apparent that there is a massive problem rolling towards us in the financial markets.

Angel and Field Maple at Bealtaine CottageMaking money without production has been the mainstay of the economic markets.

Bealtaine Cottage February 2013The men in suits deal in commodities, pension plans, mortgages and hedge funds.

The standing stone at Bealtaine Cottage February 2013Money that is put into savings and pension plans is being scooped up and processed out of the country, to be invested in other, slave-labour nations of corruption and despotism.

The lower pond in the Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage in February 2013That money should be invested in our own economies, but, asking for integrity and honesty from the bankers and brokers is a useless and pointless exercise.

The Ash tree walk in the Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage February 2013So, it behoves us all to think and act in a prompt and practical way to avoid, as best we can, being a hapless victim in all of this.

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine CottageMy advice is simple and easy to apply.

1.Grow food. Edible gardens, allotments, containers, patios and window ledges…great fun too!

2.Build a pantry and stock it well. This will cut down on multiple visits to the supermarket.

3.Learn as many practical skills and crafts as you can. Knitting, sewing, carpentry…everything is treasured that is hand made.

4.De-clutter your home. Let the energy flow freely around your living space.

5.Teach yourself to cook and bake. This is a real chance to improve your health and become powered up!

6.Collect together a library of knowledge and interest. The internet may never be as reliable as a solid book of information.

7.Invest in the most comfortable bed you can afford. You do, after all, spend one third of your precious life in bed!

8.Make your home cosy and draught-free. Your home is your haven, your sanctuary, your blessed space…be comfortable and warm in it.

9.Bulk-buy local when available. This will enable you to turn food gluts into storable feasts.

10.Invest in a chest freezer and put it in your new pantry…don’t forget, even a spare room will double as a pantry, especially a north facing one.

bealtaine Cottage in February 2013*****************************

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

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Living the Good Life

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture landscape

Some friends of mine called the other day.

They were off to Sligo to do their Christmas shopping.

The list of what they had to buy was long and detailed…three children and lots of family living close by!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture landscapeWhilst here, they collected Holly, Ivy, lots of other greenery, as well as a small Christmas tree, which they left down by the gate to collect later on.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardenBack inside the cottage, warming ourselves by the stove in the kitchen and drinking mugs of hot tea, they remarked on the similarity between my lifestyle and that of the television series, “The Good Life.”

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture kitchenI won’t expand too much on the series as you can always look it up on YouTube and have a laugh at my expense…

So, what exactly can be called a “good life?”

And here, we’re talking in terms of lifestyle choices, rather than anything too holy!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture kitchenI could draw up a list of all the things that make my life feel good, but, instead, I shall condense it all into one little word.

Simplicity.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardenFor the past few months I have been endeavouring to make my life as simple as possible, by giving away as much as I do not want…clothes, books, household items…and painting furniture to bring it all together.

The result is very satisfying…less stuff to move around, fall over, gather dust and fret about and, more simple elegance.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture designDid you know that Coco Chanel built an empire on that very theme, Simple Elegance.

Her little black dress, well cut suit and No.5 perfume are still as popular as ever they were!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Cat...MissyLiving the “Good Life,” is not all about muck and wellies, no…it’s about lots of simple elegance too!

Ask Missy, she knows where to sit to look her best!

Part one of The Good Life, Christmas special 1977…

                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v7Vy9lHv6I

Posted in Art, celebrations, Christmas, Crafts, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Recycling, Thrift, Winter

Ideas for Christmas on a Budget of (almost) Zero!

Christmas presents…simple painted stones that make paper-weights, door-stops or just lovely ornaments.

Here are some I made earlier!

Decorative Hearts made from scraps of material and stuffed with wool.

These make great presents and are easy to make.

Totally recycled too!

A cottage on a slate…simply stones glued onto an old roof slate, together with a mossy roof and a little painted door and window…beautiful and unique!

Make your own willow wreath and decorate it with ivy and pine cones…you’ll find instructions on how to make this on this site…

There is nothing nicer than receiving a beautiful table display for Christmas.

Scour local charity shops for a bowl or container, fill it with florist’s oasis and insert as much seasonal greenery as you like…with water in the oasis, this is guaranteed to last well into the New Year!

A few pine cones picked up in the woods and sprayed gold or silver will just top it off!

Hand-made gifts of jam, wine, sweets, woolly hats…be creative!

Who wants the same old chain store rubbish anyway?

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!

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

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Cottage, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Recycling, Thrift, Uncategorized

Recycling for Profit!

Recycling can be done in many different ways.

It’s not just about pushing used bottle and jars into a recycling bin!

Here at Bealtaine Cottage most of the contents of my home are recycled household items.

I have added to the kitchen  contents with this lovely wall shelving, bought second-hand at the Boot Fair in Carrick-on-Shannon over the weekend.

It cost me 20 euros…a bargain and I didn’t even have to barter, as this was the asking price which I thought was fair, so paid it.

It’s perfect in my kitchen!

I also bought a Bread Bin for 4 euros…in the same colour as I painted the floor.

I never know what treats await me as I forage through the Fair on a Sunday morning…and last Sunday I arrived home with three items for my cottage, the last being this unusual mirror, made from metal and looking slightly Gothic!

It seemed to fit perfectly beside the door to the porch, reflecting the Victorian wash-stand by the opposite wall.

There are so many different and interesting ways to recycle…it’s not just about glass and cans!

Posted in Climate, Country Living, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

The Easiest Way to Harvest Blackcurrants

It is early July, early evening and it’s cold.

The stove is lit.

The weather systems all over the world appear to have gone wild, but as I sit here, sipping tea and typing, the reality of life is more to do with getting the harvest of blackcurrants into the freezer!

Blackcurrants in the freezer at Bealtaine CottageI have returned from the kitchen with a cuppa and red-tinted fingers from all the handling of the currants as I weigh them into bags.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrants in the Permaculture GardensWhatever the weather is like we have to adapt as best as possible and Blackcurrants don’t seem to mind any way!

There is no sense in this weather here at the moment, or in the fact that Summer in Ireland started in March of this year and ended in April…take a look at the blogs I posted during that time, bearing in mind that I take photographs on a daily basis, real-time so to speak!

However, life at the permaculture smallholding goes on in quite a pleasant way, harvesting, freezing and making chutney.

I have found that the easiest way of harvesting the currants is to cut whole stems and wheel-barrow them over to the veranda where I can sit quietly and harvest the berries, listening to the gentle tinkling of the wind-chimes…it’s pleasant work with lots of time for fleeting thoughts!

It saves a lot of backache and gives the bushes a good pruning too!

The sky seems to be perpetual grey blanket of cloud, with the very occasional peek through of blue sky and sunshine…very occasional that is!

It does remain fairly bright, being that this is the west of Ireland  and we are surrounded by ocean.

Visitors to Bealtaine tell me about droughts in western USA and torrential rain in England.

It does all seem rather mad!

I’m hoping for a beautiful Autumn!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Food, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Rocket Stove makes the Tea at Bealtaine Cottage…

Harvesting Blackcurrants, mowing grass and mulching…deserves a pot of tea, at least.

So, the trusty Rocket stove was put into action and I enjoyed endless cuppas as I worked through this glorious day.

It gave me the opportunity to sit and watch the birds and insects get on with their work too.

And the scent of wood burning on the early evening air  is simply one of the most evocative smells ever!

So, here it is…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgjOODGXa0c

Posted in Abundance, Ecology, Frugal Living, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized

The Transforming Power of Permaculture…Here it is!

This was the land in 2004, at the beginning.

This was poor agricultural land, north facing and very wet.

Certainly a challenge!

One pair of hands and a permaculture plan, turned this into…

Eight years and one pair of female hands later…yes, I wore gloves, so they’re not all hard and gnarled!

Seriously though, the miracle is simply this…Plant, Mulch, Plant, Mulch and keep making the compost!

Of course as everything you’ve planted starts to grow, there is no shortage of material for the compost heap or for mulching.

Also, the more planting one does, the more birds and insects make  the garden their home, so fertility is increased.

The grass and earth had encroached onto the back of the cottage, making it damp and miserable inside.

The only time that heavy machinery was involved here at the beginning of this permaculture project, was in clearing all of this and spreading a gravel driveway and courtyard, digging drains and digging out the two ponds.

That done, all the work since then has been carried out by myself only, by hand!

The back of the cottage faces south and so is a sun-trap.

Building the veranda was a practical measure, allowing a dry space that linked the gardens to the cottage.

Here is the view from the front door of Bealtaine Cottage, taken at the start.

Below is the view today.

The land is planted with over 750 trees and many, many shrubs and plants.

It is now a self-sustaining small-holding, requiring the minimum of work and the maximum of production and delight.

Permaculture requires little money to establish.

Recycling was a key element in my plan.

I collected up and used what other people threw away.

Ireland is now in severe recession.

Many of the people who once threw things away are now trying to get by in a decimated economy.

There is a different way.

A better way.

It only requires a change of direction and will transform your entire life!

Abundance is waiting for you…

Today’s video diary from Bealtaine Cottage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uKc15Erlyw

Posted in Country Living, Earth, Frugal Living, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

A Sense of Purpose

This is a month of many visitors to Bealtaine.

It is also the month of midsummer.

The ascent towards the solstice is happening.

It is actually visible in the growth all around me at Bealtaine Cottage.

Grass has grown tall and is seeding.

Nettles are almost past their prime, for once the flower heads appear their culinary use is forbidden.

Blossoms are ready to harvest, especially the Elderflower, one of the most delicate and exquisite flowers to use for making cordial, jam and champagne.

Elderflower cordial, once made and safely bottled, will keep easily for a year or more…not that I have ever kept it that long!

It is one of the best tastes of summer, if not the best!

Many of the visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are as interested in the spiritual aspects of permaculture, as the practical aspects of embracing permaculture as a lifestyle choice.

I see both as intertwined, for as permaculture is practised, spiritual awareness deepens and religious thinking diminishes.

A transformation occurs that takes the participant to a higher plain of awareness and understanding.

For me, permaculture has led me quite naturally to a life of simplicity and increasing awareness of the natural world.

It has been a tuning in process that has reached a level of comfortable ordinariness.

In other words, I get it… I feel comfortable within the universe.

There is incredible peace of mind in a permaculture lifestyle.

Most of the time, the brain is in an alpha state, with virtually no anxiety.

There is little to be anxious about, as this lifestyle choice both empowers and disregards.

With little need for money, the desire to consume is abated and diminished.

The consuming society is fast consuming itself and mostly for greed, ego or other negative reasons.

So much of the negativity which once dominated thinking, is disregarded, thrown off.

Life is embraced as a series of sunrises and sunsets and all the day in between, noticing the natural environment, planting, harvesting and simply being.

Many who are unemployed can turn to permaculture as an unlimited resource, fractionalised only by one’s own imagination.

A sense of purpose is easily attained by working close to the Earth.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, as the night draws in and the rain scatters nourishment upon the plants, I take a final walk around the cottage before reluctantly going in for the night…

Posted in Abundance, Country Living, Culture, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

A Vintage Feel to Frugal (…or the trend of less is more).

I’ve been de-cluttering over recent weeks.

An empowering exercise that allows one to see the beauty of less is more…

Despite the trend of pretending to have little, distressing perfectly good furniture to add a vintage look and working hard to create a ‘country, frugal feel,’ to one’s home, the reality of actually living this way is liberating!

At Bealtaine Cottage, money is not an option…living a frugal life is the only way to go and the rewards are immense.

The little stool above has been carefully re-painted each year to protect it from the elements.

The plastic slippers are several years old, comfortable and practical, despite costing only a couple of euros.

Bird boxes all made from bits of used wood and metal, a gift from a friend in a fair exchange.

These will be put up around the gardens for yet more birds to make their homes in…a pleasure to watch that money cannot buy!

A permaculture gravel garden, fashioned from the leftovers and recycled bits of everyday life.

Permaculture Cottage August 2011 003Logs, stones, tyres and stones, merge together informally to lend an “always been here,” feel to the courtyard of the cottage.

A garden path made from spare gravel and plant cuttings, together with scattered seed and wild flowers, cost: zero.

Simplify your life.

Permaculture at Bealtaine  Cottage August 2011 004Less really is more.

Bealtaine Cottage 2nd August 2011 Permaculture Cottage 007Keep it natural.

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

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Recycling, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized

Making a Rocket Stove is so very easy!

Today I made a Rocket Stove, using materials scavenged from waste ground…some old concrete blocks.

Many of the instructions up on the web are complicated and involve the use of metal and cutting equipment, none of which I have.

The basic principle of a Rocket Stove, once grasped, allows for more freedom of materials.

Basically, the air is drawn into the chimney, through a corridor of sorts, with a fire set into the base.

The kettle or pot is placed on the top of the chimney, just allowing for air and smoke to escape…in my case I set some pieces of slate on the four corners of the chimney top that the pot then rested on.

Anyway…have a look at the video and you will see what I have done.

The stove uses tiny amounts of wood and is just the most amazing and economical way to cook!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO495ZwdA94&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Stencilled Walls and Stencilled Floors…yes, Floors!

Decorating the kitchen over the past week has been hard work, as a year’s worth of dust and grime was removed from the walls, shelves, dresser, stove and floor…not to mention the ceiling!

Everything has been moved around and the walls and floor painted.

The off-white paint has brightened up the kitchen and as a finishing touch I have added some stencilling in the form of trailing ivy.

The stencil was easy to make, using card, a cutting mat and a craft knife.

The paint was from the tin used on the floor, so there was no expense involved!

That’s useful to note, as I am not a fiscally enhanced person, but have the means in my head to do without the dreaded lucre!

Of course I donned my arty hat and decided to prance around with the stencil, adding bits here and there…

This bit stays as I imagine it to look rather romantic…

The floor will need another coat of varnish…and should be tough for a good year or so!

This is just emulsion type paint and I used a home-made stencil and some gold spray paint left over from the Yuletide festivities. The cost overall was minimal and the labour was my own.

It has charged me with energy to move onto the pantry…the bathroom…my bedroom…you get the picture!

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Garden design using white-washed stones.

It is standard permaculture practice to use whatever is to hand when constructing features in the garden.

I happen to live in a part of West Ireland where there is a surplus of stone…in fact there is stone just about everywhere.

This is a very rocky part of Ireland and is in fact very beautiful for it.

However, when making a small garden, and in this case it was one by the entrance to the cottage near the public road, then it made perfect sense to collect up some stones and white-wash them.

That way the edges are marked out well for passing cars to note and stay clear from!

I used a traditional lime mixed with water and left to sour for a few days.

This is a very cheap and easy way to create an effective white paint and as it washes down into the soil over the course of time it actually benefits the plants growing there!

The cost of making this little garden was almost zero…about one euro in total!

Here’s how it looks…click on the link to view today’s video diary from Bealtaine Cottage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpZ92T1ws-0

Posted in celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Summer, Trees, Woodland

Urban Foraging and Accidental Coppicing!

Happy Bealtaine Everyone!

I began the day with a trip to my local town of Carrick-on-Shannon and managed to fit in a spot of urban foraging while I was there!

You see, many of the shops package up their cardboard waste into huge bundles, ready for the waste collection, a service they pay for, by the way!

This kind of waste is excellent for using in both the cottage and on the land.

Using it in the cottage, in the stoves, as an excellent way to start the fire, as the cardboard gives out a brilliant heat!

As a mulch in the garden, especially around newly planted trees as it keeps the weeds and tall grass at bay for a year or more!

This kind of foraging is very practical, as it offsets the cost of the petrol used in the car driving to town…the cardboard in the stove alone saves money that would be spent on firelighters!

When I was building the porch, shown here, I used a lot of recycled cardboard as an insulating material and it works rather well too!

It is also a great, compostable material after using it on the floors on particularly wet days…muddy feet and wet paws!

The video today is about Roses and coppicing…accidental coppicing!

Click on the link below and enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gr-SI2_V7Y&feature=plcp

Posted in Art, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Eco-Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Cottage Interior Design using Permaculture Ideas…

Bealtaine Cottage 003

Decorating an old cottage on a budget of near zero…

The central design technique is simple…recycle and reuse as much as you can.

Here, the sitting room was given a wall mirror using broken mirrors that would have otherwise gone to the dump.

Cost: just the price of the tile adhesive and my time.

Bealtaine Cottage 004

A painted concrete floor and stencilled wall…stencils cut from card.

The floor stencil was spray-painted using left-over gold Christmas decorative spray.

Bealtaine Cottage 002

There is hardly a faster and cheaper way to bring beauty and creativity into your home than by putting together an arrangement of foliage and flowers picked from your own garden.

 Roman Blinds are the cheapest window covering to make as they only require material to cover the window and no more!

I made these for the kitchen windows.

The material was donated to me as an off-cut from a much bigger project!

This mirror was made in the same way as the bathroom one, but the broken tiles were stuck directly onto a sheet of wood…re-cycled wood!

It now decorates the veranda and reflects the light nicely.

The sitting room floor created entirely from waste…these broken tiles were destined for the rubbish heap before I rescued them and put them to good use. 

The sink is recycled and quite old, as is the draining board. As for the dish rack…it doubles up as a cake cooling rack…or is it the other way round?

And the ideas continue, making necessity the true mother of invention!

Bealtaine Cottage 005

Green gingham curtains and red geraniums…very Irish cottage!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Painted stones on a window ledge…simplicity at Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage

No fitted kitchen…just practical things all pulled together with a little colour.

Donations are always welcome and Blessings returned!

Thank you for supporting the Bealtaine Project

Posted in Art, Crafts, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Recycling, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Crafting at the Cottage…Recycling Junk!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture potagerJunk!

Lots of unwanted and used bits and pieces…I just find it hard to throw anything away…well, there is no ‘away,’ is there?

This is an old bread bin that the bottom fell out of…makes a great planter for tomatoes as it retains the heat.

The ghostly reflection of the cottage courtyard taken in the thin winter air of a rainy morning.

This mirror is reminiscent of the one belonging to “The Lady of Shalott,” in that it has cracked from side to side…but is destined to reflect the images found on the inside of Bealtaine Cottage once more.

Bealtaine Cottage mosaic mirrorFor it has become part of the Mirror Mosaic currently  constructed above the mantle in the sitting room.

A line of hearts ready for Yuletide and the Christmas decorations that will festoon the interior of Bealtaine.

All these have been made from recycled materials…old fabric swatches from a furniture store, buttons saved over time in glass jam jars and kapok stuffing removed and stored from old cushions and unwanted toys…

Bealtaine Cottage re-cycled tin cans

Nothing is unwanted really, even in a world of peak everything…for soon all will be of use!

Indeed it has begun to happen!

Tin cans have so many uses!

The cost of old metals has soared recently and as the world tumbles into recession, everything we have taken for granted will become of importance… 

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Cat...Missy

Up-cycled broken tiles…make a great floor!

Bealtaine Cottage re-cycled stained glass windows in a cupboard

Old and very beautiful stained glass windows are up-cycled into an equally beautiful cupboard for my bedroom.

Posted in Art, Baking, Country Living, Frugal Living, Inspiration, sewing, Thrift, Wine

Simplicity, Frugality and Thrift…

Made today…

Frugality, simplicity and thrift…cutting down old curtains bought at a Boot Fair, to make new curtains for this window.

Hung on curtain wire…the cheapest and most effective way to hang light curtains.

And cafe curtains on the kitchen windows… These curtains are easy and fast to make, sewing in straight lines and no need for accessories of any kind!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Think twice before you throw away tins…they make wonderful pots for plants!

002

Floral displays are easy to create from all kinds of cuttings.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Twisted willow wreathes require little or no skill to make and the materials are free and readily collected from the hedgerows.

Candle at Bealtaine Cottage
Candles for Midwinter, made over recent days, using candle scraps collected up over the course of the year.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

A string of hearts made from scrap materials…one of those curtain pattern sample books that shops find difficult to dispose of!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Home made biscuits to give as gifts, always treasured as they are unique and and can be wrapped in such beautiful ways!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Tiny pots of home made jam…

bealtaine cottage

Wrapped with home made scones, these make wonderful gifts!

apple jelly 008

Or home made jellies with herbs added!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Be really adventurous and make fruit wine…

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture march 2011 004

Once in the demijohn, they make themselves!

today

The kindest and cheapest way to bleach your tea cloths…leave them out in the sun!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture home made soup

Make a big pot of soup, fill some Kilner jars with it and store in the fridge…it will keep for several days and is better than buying factory made stuff in plastic pots!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Happy making and baking…!

 

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 1,000 blogs, as well as over 5,000 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

There is a full list of posts published so far lon the right of the Home Page

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…