Garden in February (Part One)

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The year in the garden is now well under way, as Mother Earth awakens in a very visible way…not that she ever slept!

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Coltsfoot is one of the first herbs to come into flower, for it flowers before it leafs and a very welcome sight this is!

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Bronze fennel, that most vigorous of herbs and also a brilliant addition to the flower garden, starts to produce tasty leaves that can be added to early Spring salads.

Rocket has over-wintered well in the tunnel and forms the base ingredient.

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Daffodils are now up and beginning to flower.

Daffodils on the hill above the cottage, around an old abandoned dwelling are in full bloom!

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Reminders of Winter come and go, but not for long, sometimes just an hour or two of a light dusting of snow.

Never enough to hold back the advance of the seasons!

But beware the wind chill factor that comes with early Spring and wrap up warm when venturing out to work in the garden!

Rhubarb in a permaculture garden

When the sun does shine, it is truly glorious and plants like Rhubarb spring into exuberant life!

A very hungry plant, Rhubarb eats up a generous dressing of well-rotted manure.

Euphorbia at Bealtaine Cottage

Euphorbia comes into life in the flower garden…here it shares a half barrel with a Fig Tree and both like each other’s company!

In fact, the Fig has fruited well year on year since getting a new bed fellow!

bealtaine cottage permaculture feb 2011 002

An old but treasured book is always at hand to delve into for advice on seasonal food, gardening and outdoors work!

I wonder if this little gem is still in print?

Bealtaine permaculture gardens

Beautiful catkins on the Hazel trees…flowers in fact!

Bealtaine Cottage frogs in the pond

The pond is filling with frogspawn and clumps of frogs celebrating the turn in the year as only frogs can!

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2011 028

Out in the hen-house the girls are in touch with the growing of the light as they come back into lay!

Fox in the garden at Bealtaine Cottage

Mr and Mrs Fox are hungry and on the prowl! I often lay out food at night for the foxes, for the way I see it is simply this: we have interfered with the food chain by removing the animals that would have predated upon foxes.

This is my way of attempting to live in harmony as best I can…and ensuring that the girls in the henhouse are well protected!

Part Two  of THE GARDEN IN FEBRUARY can be found on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

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New Permaculture Orchard

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 007Last year I planted a new orchard at Bealtaine Cottage.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 008To date there are thirty eight fruit trees planted across the three acres of land here.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 012This new orchard was planted on an area previously fenced off and used for hens over a period of years.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 009This is always a good start, as the land was prepared by the hens in terms of manuring and picking over.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 010Before the trees were planted I laid down a generous spread of seaweed and covered this with cardboard, to hold back the weeds for a year or so.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 013Over the morning I have been planting yet more layers into the orchard, mainly flowers and herbs to attract and feed the bees…my secret of abundant harvests; where would we be without the bees?

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 014The next phase will include planting a bee-friendly hedge along the south edge of the area.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 015I planted Fuschia and Berberis, Dogwood and Rubus along the north edge.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 016As I cut back around the orchard, cuttings are dropped onto the ground around the trees and bushes as a mulch.
permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 021The planting continues as more and more flowers and herbs are brought from my small nursery area, a really important part of any permaculture garden or smallholding! 

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 019As with all my projects here at Bealtaine, I couldn’t resist using some Willow to effect, constructing a simple arbour that will eventually house a home-made bench, on which to sit and sup a cup of tea!
permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 024The plan of maximum planting has worked well all over the land here, building resilience as well as fertility into the land, as a forest does naturally.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 002The days have been warm and sunny, with the back door open all day long.

There is such a good balance of biodiversity here that flies don’t seem to be a bother…this can be a serious Irish complaint during the summer months!

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 003I pulled the sofa chair over to the open door as I find the soft sounds of life in the gardens very soothing.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 001Sammy does too!

The idea of planting food trees is taking off here in the west of Ireland.

My local town of Drumshanbo has planted a Community Orchard near the entrance to the town…a great Transition Towns inspiration!

 

Awakening

www.bealtainecottage.comThere is a spiritual event taking place…a coming into awareness of something so fundamentally awesome and life changing that is spreading into the consciousness of all life.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis awakening can be described in simple terms and that is what I want to do here…simply explain it from my own perspective.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe power of love is building compassion and understanding in all of us.

www.bealtainecottage.comAs with great change comes great extremes too; for the power of destruction is cutting a swathe through life as we have known it.

permaculture at Bealtaine CottageWe are now aware that we are not alone, but one consciousness that is capable of immense good.

DSCF1520We have witnessed the power of that one consciousness being usurped by destructors…those who rally sacrifice yet offer nothing of themselves.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

These destructors are to be found at corporate, government and military levels of the old paradigm.

www.bealtainecottage.comI say “old paradigm,” in relation to the end of life battle they now wage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017
They know they are doomed.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The death throes of Empire can be ugly to witness, but pay witness to it we must.

www.bealtainecottage.com 060This is all part of the Paradigm Shift, the epiphany many are now in the throes of experiencing.

www.bealtainecottage.com 064This perception of the essential nature of who we are…this intuitive grasp of our own reality.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 021For many it has been a quickening of all the senses.

Gloria, me and FloThere is no new world… we have simply begun to see the beautiful one we have always had. 
With Flo and Gloria We are growing as a species.  

bealtainecottage.com permacultureWe are not fragments of something, we are one.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the tide that cannot be stopped.

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I am reliably informed that the Postal strike here in Ireland is now over…so all Seeds and Willow ordered will be posted out on Thursday 8th October. Thanks for your patience X 

Podcasts will be linked from the new Podcast page listed at the top of the website…go there for the daily podcast or just to catch up.

Bealtaine Cottage YouTube Channel…is free from adverts, with over 100 videos from the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A

Seeds and Willow  https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/  All open-pollinated seeds of flowers, vegetables and trees growing under Permaculture for 11 years.

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Follow Your Bliss and the Universe Will Open Doors

Looking out on a May evening...

Looking out on a May evening…

Making a decision is always the most difficult part of moving forward.

DSCF1379In deciding, one simply puts it out there, for the Universe to pick up.

DSCF1382That is what I have done here at Bealtaine Cottage…the next move comes from that energy.

Sammy-Bear takes a seat...

Sammy-Bear takes a seat…

The sale may, or may not happen…but the planting of trees will move forward.

The feeding system I have devised and constructed for the hens...an old pipe and tin, firmly secured on the wall of the hen-house!

The feeding system I have devised and constructed for the hens…an old pipe and tin, firmly secured on the wall of the hen-house!

I have done what was asked of me and agreed to the sacrifice.

What happens next is synchronicity and the will of Divine Energy…The Forest of Bealtaine will happen in the same magical way as Eden emerged here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Food is poured in to the top of the pipe and emerges from the feeder at the bottom as the hen peck!

Food is poured in to the top of the pipe and emerges from the feeder at the bottom as the hen peck!

As my friend, Rosie, on Twitter, pointed out to me this morning…“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” -Joseph Campbell

DSCF1394Bealtaine has begun here in the west of Ireland.

Down the steps into the may gardens

Down the steps into the may gardens

Planting is under way of crops and even a few more trees, though mostly the trees are in pots awaiting a forest!

Sedge in bloom to the left of the steps.

Sedge in bloom to the left of the steps.

Walking around the gardens this morning I snapped these pictures…

Through the Fairy Wood...

Through the Fairy Wood…

 

 

Foxglove in Spurge on the woodland floor...

Foxglove in Spurge on the woodland floor…


Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage

Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage

Sedge in the Fairy Wood

Sedge in the Fairy Wood

Stopping by the Silt-pond

Stopping by the Silt-pond

Willow in the Bog Garden

Willow in the Bog Garden

Keeping Hens, in the Town or Country

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 The hens have settled into their new home and are all laying.

Happy clucks and soft singing emanates out from the hen house.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe secure enclosure promises to keep the Fox family away…for I have lost too many of my lovely hens to Mr and Mrs Fox. www.bealtainecottage.comInside, the house is spacious and comfortable, with an upstairs and five windows in total!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe system is similar to the one I used in London for over a decade.

It is known as a deep litter system, using lots of straw.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe dirty straw is then used in the gardens as a mega-mulch!www.bealtainecottage.comThe deep litter system allows the girls foraging in a limited space and I collect greens for them on days when they are stay at home.

www.bealtainecottage.comDays when I am in the garden, the girls are allowed out under my watchful eye!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mulching continues unabated, as the grass paths are mowed…grass clippings are piled onto cardboard as a weed suppressant, allowing newly planted trees to get a footing!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the system I have used for ten years and all the fruit trees are producing well.

www.bealtainecottage.comHonesty is in full bloom now and being enjoyed by the bees.

www.bealtainecottage.comMost of the early bees are bumble bees and are most prolific here at Bealtaine Cottage, where succession planting keeps all visitors fed from February through to the end of November.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe painted stone Cockerel stands guard by the front door of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comNewly mown paths allows everything alongside to look lush!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Cherry tree, grown from seed, stands covered in blossom,  with the promise of lots of Cherries, some high for the birds and some low for me!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Bealtaine Feast has begun!

www.bealtainecottage.comSeedlings are flourishing in the late Spring sunshine.

Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

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This is what happens in Permaculture…surplus is fed back into the system or shared out!

www.bealtainecottage.com In this case there was a small surplus of blue paint…the outcome is what you see here!

www.bealtainecottage.comI woke to a magnificent sunrise this morning…Kilronan Mountain is shrouded in mist, so doesn’t appear to exist at all!

www.bealtainecottage.comBees are buzzing and birds are singing to herald in this wonderful Easter weekend here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith the emergence of Spring, several weeks ago now, there has been an accumulation of heat and light working on the earth that promises an early Summer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of seedlings has excelled…it appears that every seed sown has germinated!

www.bealtainecottage.com Fortunately, now that I have five beautiful hens, seedlings that are excess to requirements can simply be fed to the hens as a wonderful source of nutrition.

www.bealtainecottage.comSome of the seedlings are also used by me in salads, again a wonderful source of nutrition!

www.bealtainecottage.comSlabs of bedrock, rising out of the earth all over the land here at Bealtaine, show off their pink colour in the drying air of late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses play peek-a-boo on the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comCrocosmia show off a vibrant lime-green in the early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to blue, because…

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply cannot resist it!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe vibrant pink of this Saxifrage has found a perfect bed in the gravel driveway…another reason why tarmac is a non-starter here!

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses aren’t the only things around here playing peek-a-boo!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mist in the valley has cut off Kilronan Mountain.

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther up the gardens, behind where I now stand, Comfrey, Lovage, Fennel, Valerian and Chives are all about a foot high and looking very robust in the late Spring, early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy my feet, the Euphorbia flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd indoors, on the dresser, reminders of Spring and Easter…

www.bealtainecottage.comHappy Easter to all!

PS: Next month will the my tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Today marks the 700th blog!

Sustainable Food Revolution

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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:

Bill Mollison

“. . . 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 double garages and large guard dogs, [and Humvees and SUVs] as a badge of willful waste, conspicuous consumption, and lack of care for the earth or its people.Most lawns are purely cosmetic in function. Thus, affluent societies have, all unnoticed, developed an agriculture which produces a polluted waste product, in the presence of famine and erosion elsewhere, and the threat of water shortages at home.

The lawn has become the curse of modern town landscapes as sugar cane is the curse of the lowland coastal tropics, and cattle the curse of the semi-arid and arid rangelands…

www.bealtainecottage.comOver the past few days I have been busy converting this little shed into a new hen house and run…food to swap and share…fresh eggs! it is going to be a simple enough barter, swapping a sack of logs for nine eggs. Most logs are traded at 3.50 a sack, so that’s a fair swap!

www.bealtainecottage.comThat makes a good swap as eggs are getting more expensive by the day and the logs will be delivered to my door! I just have to ensure that the hen house and run are secure against Mr ans Mrs Fox and family!

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As Spring moves across the land, a drying wind is working its magic on the earth. The greening is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe view from the sitting room window is being filled in like a ‘Painting By Numbers,’ canvas. Ash trees are the last to get their leaves and so stand proud in all their silver glory against temperamental Spring skies.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the beautiful Field Maple to the front of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comContinuing my lifelong passion for trees…this is a wall tile I made from clay…complete with tree, a fairy tree.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe lone Fairy Thorn one often sees growing in the middle of fields here in Ireland served as my inspiration. They are often windswept and leaning away from the west.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis sits upon the dresser in the kitchen…a time when preserves were sold in stoneware jars. All containers were re-cycled, in that they were re-used…even milk bottles! Lemonade bottles had a money deposit attached to them and children would collect them up to return to the shop, as a way of earning pocket money!

www.bealtainecottage.comEven cream came in little stoneware jars like this, as it kept cool in the pantry in the days before every home had a fridge!

“A sacred way of life connects us to the people and places around us. That means that a sacred economy must be in large part a local economy, in which we have multidimensional, personal relationships with the land and people who meet our needs, and whose needs are met in turn.”
― Juliana Birnbaum FoxSustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide

The Memory of Eden

July permaculture 2011 010What is it that makes so many farmers and gardeners want to burn vegetative material?
The same happens here in Ireland, a country with the lowest tree cover in all of Europe!
This is essential for building soil, in fact is the only thing apart from erosion of rock, that actually gives us soil.
Permaculture Cottage July 2011 007Our connection to the soil is vital, for it gives us our food.
apple trees at Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage July 2011 011Those who fail to make that connection are doomed to starvation and loss of habitat.
July 2011 permaculture Cottage 004Loss of habitat means certain death.
Is this what is happening all over the Earth right now?
It appears to be so.
Disconnection!
 
July 2011 permaculture cottage 018Earth is not a thing we live upon, but Gaia, as described by James Lovelock.
July 2011 permaculture cottage 005Gaia is affected by everything we do, every breath we take, every loving or hateful action we do to her.
www.bealtainecottage.com 001The collective consciousness we inhabit is being infused by her cries…there are those who are evolved enough to hear and respond, and those who willfully lock themselves out from the trauma our planet is enduring.
September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 020The latter will have to watch their step for Mother earth is angry and will not abide!
September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 017I believe that we are each a part of the Divine Consciousness and dependent on every other living thing.
Permaculture Cottage ...September 2011 008I see this grasp of understanding, manifesting in so many people now, that it really lifts my heart!
There is a fusion happening.
October 2011 permaculture Cottage 010This fusion is bringing us all together with all life, every last atom of it!
May 2011 bealtaine cottage 002For those who embrace this, there is a sense of pure joy bestowed upon us by that Consciousness.
May 2011 Bealtaine 036For those who continue on the path of hate and spite, dominance and abuse, there can only be fear and a deep dark corner of a dying planet.
May 2011 Bealtaine 005The atoms we carry within us were once part of the Milky Way, of stars long since vanished back into the Divine Consciousness.
We carry Eden within us.
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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.There are almost 700 blogs in the archives on this site.I write, photograph and film, in a small way, to give a voice to Mother Earth.

A Year at Bealtaine…part 2

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine Cottage

Nine years of planting trees into barren, north-facing land has now awoken a magical earth, with paths that lead forever among dappled shade.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageAnd every now and then open up into a secret garden…

Plant Sanctuary, Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…or two…

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageSome paths get overgrown fast as Nature’s abundance keeps giving.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageThe thousands of plants all jostle for space…

A Cherry seed grows by an Oak tree at Bealtaine Cottageand are now self-seeding, like this little Cherry tree growing next to an Oak!

Willow arch into the Fairy woodland at Bealtaine CottageWillow arches that lead into the Fairy Wood at Midsummer.

Blossom on a Rowan tree planted in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageThe delicate blossom on the Mountain Ash, also known as the Rowan Tree.

Permaculture Paradise at Bealtaine CottageA place for tea in the garden on long summer days.

Pond at bealtaine cottageThe standing stone by the lower pond in the Bog Garden.

willow archway at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensWillow…

willow arches, dogwood and beechWillow…

crossing the pondAnd more Willow!

bog garden of bealtainePaths…

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottagePaths…

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageAnd more paths!

Manifesting the Divine FeminineThe lane-way in Summer, walking down to collect…

The postbox at Bealtaine Cottagethe post!

Water garden in permaculture at Bealtaine CottageThe plants take over as Summer holds sway…

Roses at bealtaine cottageAnd roses outside on the veranda go completely crazy!

Gosh…there’s lots more to share for 2013, so a “Part 3” will be needed!

Happy New Year from Bealtaine XXX