Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Edible Gardens, Garden, hens, Herbs, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

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!

 

Posted in Abundance, compost, Country Living, Eco-Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Summer

Post Midsummer Polytunnel Gardening at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 001

Second-phase food production is under way as from this week.

Midsummer has passed and many harvests are home or under-way.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 009This week has seen me clear the tunnel, spread lots of compost afresh on the beds and begin planting for the next phase of crops.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 010As I cleared the tunnel and collected masses of seeds and seed-heads, I was thinking about the crops I would plant.

Number one on my list is Kale; one of the great foods, especially in juicing.

Regular intake of Kale juice keeps health at a peak.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 013 Soil is the most important aspect of good food.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 007The food takes up the essential minerals and goodness in the soil and turns these into health-giving good food.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 015

This was a good time to prune the Peach Tree and remove about half of the Nectarines and feed the tree.

I left some of the herbs in place and moved the rest into pots and outside beds.

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell BerryThe Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture 

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 016“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 019“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can, insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”
― Maria RodaleOrganic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 020

All the Poppy heads are now harvested, providing a massive amount of Poppy Seed…great in cooking and baking!

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 011“Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?”
― Jane GoodallHarvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 022“All the human and animal manure which the world wastes, if returned to the land, instead of being thrown into the sea, would suffice to nourish the world.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Gardening, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Recipes, Thoughts, Uncategorized

20 Day Juice Fast…Final Day!

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Dropping 13lbs in 9 days has been one of the extraordinary benefits of the Juice Fast I have been on.

Deciding to embark on a total reboot of my system has been what I can only describe as “liberating!”

This is my first glass of juice of the day and has all the ingredients shown in the pics below…

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Ginger, Cabbage, Cucumber, Orange and Lime…plus…

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Carrot and Courgette…sometimes Beetroot, but not today! Plus…

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Peppers and lots of herbs and greens from the garden…

Lemon Balm, Parsley, Rocket, Golden Oregano…

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With lots of Mint!

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Cleaning the machine straight away after use makes it an easy task…just rinse and leave to dry!

www.bealtainecottage.comI checked myself out with the Doctor after a few days and all was well.

My energy levels are good, though the first three days were tough!

www.bealtainecottage.comDuring this time I suffered headaches and tiredness, as my body came off the caffeine and wheat.

This disappeared after the initial three days and since then I have been feeling fabulous!

www.bealtainecottage.comMy tips for success:

Take time off work to start this as the first three days can be hard and you will want to sleep!

Keep busy…have books to read, walks to go on etc.,

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This is a good time to de-junk your life…start with clearing out cupboards, wardrobes etc.

This is what I have kept busy with and the feeling of clearing space is wonderful!

www.bealtainecottage.comFinally, I must add that I have never slept as well or as deeply, though keeping warm is essential, especially in the evenings!

Blessings XXX Colette

UPDATE… 2nd June, Day 12. Energy levels good. Skin clear. Eyes bright. Sleeping well. Total weight loss: 15lbs

UPDATE: 10th June, Day 20! On this final day I am so very happy that I took on this challenge!

It has been one of the best things I have ever done!

I’ve never felt this good and have lost a grand total of 20 lbs!

I shall continue from next week juice fasting 2 days out of every week until all my surplus lbs have gone.

I am now a totally committed Vegan!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture

A New Leaf

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(As I am beginning a Juice Fast today, I thought I’d re-post this from last year. I can heartily recommend Juice-Fasting as a way of restoring good health all round…it works for me!)

Fresh herbs and micro-greens from the garden are ready to be juiced.

IMG_0126As a way of recuperating from recent loss and feeling very low, I made the decision to start a twenty day Juice Fast.

www.bealtainecottage.comStarting out last Thursday, I have reached the fifth day and am feeling very good.  

www.bealtainecottage.comJuice fasting helps to balance pH and blood sugar levels.

www.bealtainecottage.com It also strengthens the immune system.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe light around the cottage this evening was ethereal, as the sunset glowed in the western sky.

www.bealtainecottage.comFor over half an hour, the setting sun created magical light that lifted the spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt was like a rainbow had enveloped the cottage and gardens!

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The red perlagoniums have turned a vivid orange in the sunset light.

www.bealtainecottage.comSunset orange on peach woodwork in the porch.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd through the window hang the roses, heavy, on the veranda

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Light and dark interact…

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This last burst of light illuminates the trees before dusk, here, this evening, in the west of Ireland.

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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 Cats, Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Vegetarian

The Best Medicine!

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Lists are great things to spend time on.

Despite the wet weather, I’ve been busy making a comprehensive list of what to grow …and the reasons why I should.

The ability to store food is at the forefront of my thinking.

I’ve discovered this year that Beetroot stores very well indeed.

Not just that it stores well, but is a first class root vegetable in the making of healthy juice.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is one taken from a box in the pantry and cut open to be juiced.

Last year was the first year that I grew this wonderful root vegetable and was surprised at how easy it was to grow! www.bealtainecottage.comThe tunnel is now ready to sow.

Most of the seeds will go into the polystyrene fish boxes I used last year.

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply scattered the seeds into the filled boxes and pricked out the seedlings as they came on…the healthiest were those from boxes where the seed was all mixed in together and in no particular order!

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby Chard
Swiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard

Greens are next on my list…and again, in no particular order, just greens!

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel
Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

As a vegetarian who tries to avoid dairy, greens are an important part of my diet.

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today
Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

I add greens to my juice every day to stay fit and healthy.

Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.
Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.

I have lived at Bealtaine Cottage for almost ten years and have only needed to visit my doctor once.

The best medicine...fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!
The best medicine…fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!

During this time I have not suffered a cold or infection and never stayed a day in bed…something I must treat myself to at some point!

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.
Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

All the Herb beds were cut back and the paths in-between covered with straw…

to keep the weeds down.

permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 013

Sometimes we do not even need to sow or plant, as foraging for wild food can produce excellent results.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

When I lived in London there were many places that bordered on wilderness and produced masses of food.

Permaculture cottage November 2011 005

There’s a growing movement to get local and municipal councils to plant fruit and nut trees in public parks and highways.

November 2011 079Resilience has it’s foundations in food security and is an aspect of life we need to take more seriously, but, more importantly, see that it not only gets onto the political agenda, but stays at the top of all planning!

If you wish you can subscribe to the latest website from Bealtaine Cottage…”Bealtaine Cottage Good Life”…simply make a donation of 12 euros for a full year and access the long list of blogs now on site. Quote: “Bealtaine Cottage Good Life” with your donation.

(Please note that this small donation sustains the work on this website, Bealtaine Cottage YouTube, Bealtaine Cottage Podcast and Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens FaceBook.)

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, biodiversity, Earth, Food, Garden, Gardens, GM Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Monsanto, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seed-Saving, Seeds, Sustainable Living

Know Your Seeds

August 2011 permaculture cottage 010There are basically four different kinds of seed you can purchase.

  1. Open Pollinated Seed.    Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland 001
    This is the most natural seed, simply because it has not been interfered with in any laboratory.Seed growing in the polytunnel in late April at Bealtaine Cottage
    This seed is pollinated by Nature…bees, insects and wind. Occasionally by us too as we brush up against flowers and accidentally get pollen on our clothes, carrying it to another flower and so on. Permaculture Cottage August 2011 007Sometimes we help Mother Nature a little by gently brushing the pollen from one flower to another. It’s all good! August 2011 permaculture cottage 024These seeds are what are commonly referred to more and more as “Organic” on the packaging. August 2011 permaculture cottage 010Organic seeds are fast becoming more difficult to obtain in Garden Shops etc. August 2011 permaculture cottage 008This is because the big seed companies are busy buying up the small seed companies, leaving the consumer with less and less choice!
  2. Gloria, me and FloHigh Yielding Seed.    These look attractive in the packet, with lots of blurb attached to get you to buy, but, these seeds thrive on chemicals and are sort of married to chemicals too! Definitely not organic and in many cases a danger to bees and insects.
  3. www.bealtainecottage.comHybrids.   These are actually designed not to be saved!
  4. www.bealtainecottage.com 006G.E. Seed.   Otherwise known as GM, GMO and all about genetic engineering Nature and patenting the result. These seeds are injected with chemicals and then patented by corporations such as Monsanto. Monsanto declares to be above God Almighty, by stating, and being supported by US Law, that it created the seed!

Bealtaine Cottage 2nd August 2011 Permaculture Cottage 007This is merely a guide for you to build on.

August 2011 permaculture 048Find out all you can about seed, for it is your future and that of your children.

Veranda at Bealtaine CottageVandana Shiva: The seed in its essence is all of the past evolution of the Earth, the evolution of human history, and the potential for future evolution. The seed is the embodiment of culture because culture shaped the seed with careful selection—women picked the best, diversified. So from one grass you get 200,000 rices.

That is a convergence of human intelligence and nature’s intelligence. It is the ultimate expression of life, and in our language, it means “that from which life arises on its own, forever and ever and ever.”

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July permaculture 2011 008Here at Bealtaine Cottage in the West of Ireland I save seed…grown under Permaculture conditions which seek to protect both the integrity of the seed and the environment!

Open pollinated seed is available from Bealtaine Cottage.

Click on the link below to see the current list of seed.

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

Posted in Animals, Badgers, Birds, Cottage, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Spring, Sustainable Living, Woodland

Permaculture Gardens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.bealtainecottage.comWe move around towards the polytunnel and one of the orchards. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are now devoid of berries. This can be a hungry time for the birds as they mate and nest…there is a big bag of Oats I can scatter around in handfuls for the hungry birds and will do this later.

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

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

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

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

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd just across from the Fennel…

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

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Year at Bealtaine Cottage…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Not in any particular order…pictures of the year that was…

Stanley stove at Bealtaine CottageWith the oven hot enough to bake a cake…my beloved Stanley Stove in the kitchen…

view morning 001Early morning mist sweeps up the valley…

Plum tree at bealtaine cottage permacultureOne of the Plum Trees laden with fruit…

 Bealtaine Cottage moon rising over the permaculture gardensThe moon rising over the gardens…

mon 27 sep 001Salix Contorta, or Twisted Willow, with Hag-Stones hanging from one of its branches.

Nasturtiums at bealtaine Cottage1Nasturtiums by the veranda.

November 2011 018Back of Bealtaine, near the main production gardens.

November Bealtaine Cottage permaculture pondThe lower pond in the Bog Garden.

December 2011 permaculture cottage 005My darling Missy…gone from this mortal coil, but her energy is felt…

Bealtaine CottageFiring up the Rocket Stove with a bit of an old fence post…wicked heat!

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageEarly Spring in the gardens near the tunnel.

washing on the line at Bealtaine CottageWashing in the wind!

Easiest ever compost at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensHome made compost.

Apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture orchardApple blossom…a great apple harvest every year without fail!

Permaculture Tunnel at bealtaine CottageThe tunnel in May…seedlings in pots and trays everywhere!

Permaculture Edible gardens of Bealtaine CottageProductive gardens, around the tunnel and herb beds, in May

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe Hen house…I will definitely get some more hens in 2014!

Hens at Bealtaine CottageI miss the girls…hens are very relaxing to watch.

Under the kitchen windowBluebells under the kitchen window…I shall post some more tomorrow

Happy New Year to you all XXX and Blessings from Bealtaine.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cats, Country Living, Garden, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Winter

Early December in a Permaculture Garden

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The shelled seed-heads of Lunaria… beautiful, ethereal, delicate additions to winter foliage arrangements.

The seeds are now packed and ready to post out all over the world.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Lunaria, commonly known as Honesty, is an early flowering annual flower, but, once seeded into your garden, spreads and re-seeds itself with wild abandon!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005This simple arrangement stands in a recycled, lace covered, jam jar!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I went shopping yesterday, to the second-hand market and bought this fruit bowl for 4 euros.

I love the simple sponged design, beautiful in its simplicity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014The veranda has been swept this morning…but don’t look too closely, as I didn’t move the clothes drier!

www.bealtainecottage.com 028The wheelbarrow holds ashes from the stoves and waste from the barn floor, ready to be spread over compost heaps, flower beds and around fruit trees.

Winter is a time of spreading and stacking, as tidy-ups take place and waste accumulates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The weather has been so very mild, that some flowers in the gardens continue to bloom, like this Fuchsia, with the Lemon Balm looking ready for harvest just behind it!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021And this Borage, growing, this morning, in the north garden of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017It’s amazing to be able to venture into the gardens in early December and pick Lemon Balm for tea!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019Even the boys are enjoying the balmy winter weather, as Che-Mousey rolls on the gravel by my feet!

www.bealtainecottage.com 023Blackbirds have been feasting on Pyracantha berries…

www.bealtainecottage.com 027New growth breaks through on the old Buddleia…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022And Slieve Aneirin sits washed in the cool blue of a winter’s morning.

Blessings X

Seeds for growing Lunaria are available on this website…just click on the link…

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

If you wish me to post seeds, from you, to a friend or loved one, cards are available on this link…

https://bealtainecottage.com/gifts-send-a-card/

Posted in Birds, Fairies, Herbs, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Winter

Overwintering in the Lodge

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For the past few evenings I have lit the stove in the Lodge and turned down the sofa bed to make a cosy sleeping area that is easy and cheap to heat!
The little wood-burning stove that seems to emanate warmth from one or two small logs, is economic and easy to maintain, making this a snug and cosy place to overwinter.
The layers of insulation packed into the walls of this little wooden cabin, makes for excellent heat and maximum comfort!
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The nights are drawing in fast now and the ice, frost and mist has been a nightly feature for about a week.
Autumn appears to continue during the day and Winter holds sway from darkness onward.
www.bealtainecottage.com 005This morning was particularly beautiful, with swirls of icy mist hanging over the mountains and the air still and warming around the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 010The berries on the Pyracantha are turning deep in colour, as the Blackbird and Thrush both eye them up!
www.bealtainecottage.com 012The Larch tree betond the Lodge is getting ready to shed its needles and the Purple Beech in the foreground hangs onto her leaves well into the middle of Spring!
Autumn is colourful and delightful and definitely my favourite season!
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Parsley grows through the winter in this old, bottom-less bread-bin, tucked into the raised stone bed…a good source of Iron and Vitamin C.
 
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 015Tiny Lichens are beginning to grow on this Birch tree…I love the delicate colours of the Lichens!
www.bealtainecottage.com 017Bamboo and Beech compliment each other on the driveway…both are a source of energy and usefulness at Bealtaine. Bamboo lends itself well to many projects and makes fantastic tapers for using in the cottage, between the fire and candles!
www.bealtainecottage.com 019Bamboo is also a wonderful medium to use when making wreathes, as it is very pliable when first cut and will bend into a circular shape with ease.
It can then be wrapped around with other plants and wood.
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 018Beech, seen here with Forsythia, grows into fairy tree shapes, all twisted and gnarled, reminiscent of the Arthur Rackham Fairy story  illustrations…these are indeed beautiful trees!
www.bealtainecottage.com 022Red Dogwood comes into its own at the entrance to the Fairy Wood.
Do I believe in Fairies?
Indeed I do…don’t you?
www.bealtainecottage.com 027Can you believe these cheeky little Perlagoniums, refusing to give up and go to sleep?
Tomorrow I shall lift them from their big pot and put them to bed for the winter!
Posted in Abundance, Angels, Cats, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Tea, Wine

Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

JackThe permaculture harvest continues, along with the increasing numbers of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage.

Garlic is harvested, dried and stored…just in time for re-planting the crop for next year, in just a few more weeks.

As the world teeters once more on the brink of chaos, in the forms of war and nuclear contamination from Fukushima, getting the harvest home and planning for next Spring is a way of keeping one’s sanity!

It’s also a way of nurturing optimism and hope for the future!

kilronan mountainTomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel.

I let them do their own thing and they have produced wildly!

All the tomatoes are late, but then the summer was dithering in and out of Spring this year!

Even the Perlagoniums in the photo above are in late flower after several months of sleepy time!

porchAs the summer fades into Autumn, the light changes inside and around the cottage in the most delightful ways.

Shadows prevail in unfamiliar places, making all look quite different.

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

I am continuing to use the remainder of last year’s Blackcurrants!

More wine I think!

I was invited to give a talk to the Green Party recently and am invited to give another talk at an Arts festival in Connemara…along with a wine making demonstration, so will be finding use for excess Blackcurrant crops!

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

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

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

I looked up some old recipes for using Blackberries, so will be collecting them and saving them in the freezer, ready to use in a plethora of delicious recipes!

Food for free and lots of it!

The new compost heap is being stacked up daily, so am already thinking about next planting season!

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

It’s a good idea to wear cotton scarves around shoulders and neck and take them off indoors!

Along with all the food harvested, there is an abundance of seeds to bring in and herbs to dry and store.

This is also the time to begin collecting tree seeds to sow in pots…something I do every year!

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

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Courses, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

A Weekend of Sustainable Living…

Kitchen at bealtaine Cottage

Many people are trying to make the transition into a more sustainable way of living.

courtyard at Bealtaine CottagePermaculture, growing food, making wine, spinning… are all facets of sustainable living that interest many people, as the economy continues to dwindle.

Willow arch and buttercupsVisitors to this blog and the Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel continue to grow at an amazing rate…sparking an interest in what sustainable living is all about.

permaculture garden at bealtaine cottageThis is an opportunity to spend a full weekend at Bealtaine Cottage, immersed in sustainable living, experiencing first hand, a comfortable and permaculture lifestyle.

Roses at bealtaine cottageThe subjects covered in this weekend workshop will include wine-making, composting, soft fruit growing, raised Potager bed construction and planting, as well as growing/harvesting fuel for the stove.

 

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageYou will get to use a rocket stove, shred harvested materials to make mulch, learn to take and plant cuttings and ask lots of questions about many aspects of sustainable living.
veranda at bealtaine cottageThis will afford you the time and space to ask  questions about the permaculture way of living, growing and developing a sustainable lifestyle…easily!

The Lodge at BealtaineYou will get to stay in the Lodge at Bealtaine, with it’s own wood-burning stove and veranda, with beautiful, peaceful views across some of the gardens.

veranda at Bealtaine CottageDuring the course of the weekend you will be able to explore the gardens at leisure, eat wholesome Vegetarian or Vegan food and enjoy home made wine!

herb gardens at bealtaine cottageThe dates for this weekend are: 2-4th of August.

Irish dresser at Bealtaine CottageThe sustainable living weekend is limited to two people sharing, so it helps if you know each other!

herb gardens at Bealtaine CottageFor further details, email: coletteoneill2010@hotmail.com

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Oops…it’s gone…This weekend is now fully booked!

Posted in Abundance, Bees, biodiversity, Celts, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, photography, Seeds, Summer, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

The Magical Garden

Bealtaine Cottage roses

The morning is hot and sultry.

The sky is clear blue.

Ireland basks in heat.

Roses on the verandaRoses on the veranda are making a spectacular show and the delicate scent fills the morning air

Columbine at Bealtaine CottageAs we ascend towards Midsummer plants have suddenly taken off and appear to have grown overnight.

Poppies self seed everywherePoppies have opened all over the gardens, even in the tunnel.

These self seed and come up more intensely year on year.

Herb bed in permaculture garden at Bealtaine CottageHerbs are filling the beds as bees buzz busily overhead.

Stone Circle at Bealtaine CottageThe grass within and around the stone circle has turned to meadow.

Cow Parsley and Ferns by the Stone CircleCow Parsley vies with Ferns for space around the Stone Circle.

Bluebells at Bealtaine CottageBluebells are just visible in the lushness of a June morning in the west of Ireland.

magical stone circle at Bealtaine CottageThere’s a sense of magic in the air around the ancient stones!

Posted in Abundance, Bees, biodiversity, Earth, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Spirituality

Manifestations of the Divine Feminine

Roses on the veranda at Bealtaine Copttage in June 2013Roses in bloom this morning at Bealtaine Cottage.

“As this era of masculine dominance comes to an end and a feminine understanding of life’s wholeness is included, we are beginning to experience a different world in which physical, mental, and spiritual well-being are interdependent.

We see the signs of this in the new age movement.

But the new age movement is often limited by its focus on individual well-being.

Our real concern is the well-being of the planet and the whole of humanity.

Central to this is the understanding that the physical world cannot be healed from a solely physical perspective, but requires a shift to an attitude that contains a multi-dimensional approach.”

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Roses at Bealtaine in June 2013Roses flower in abundance, grown from a couple of tyres…

These scented roses on the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage surround the image of Madonna and child, hand carved from wood.

The Divine Feminine is honoured.

poppies in bloom at bealtaine Cottage this morning

Poppies in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage this morning

Images of the Divine Feminine are found in all world religions.

A limited and patriarchal interpretation of the Creator, has given us a male figure, with the female as subservient.

Dominance of Nature and continuous war has ensued, with millions being slaughtered every century, in the name of the patriarchal god.

Pieris in an old bottom-less milk churn at Bealtaine CottageThis continues even today in these so-called enlightened times, with God being invoked continuously by political leaders!

Chives, Honesty and Lovage in the permaculture gardens of  Bealtaine CottageI reject this damnation of the Divine.

Herbs at bealtaine Cottage

Herbs in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Not in my name!

This is why I plant and plant…

The realm of the Divine Feminine is allowed to manifest here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Abundance from Mother  Nature

Mother Earth is honoured in all that is planted.

Bealtaine Cottage in early June 2013Her voice is heard in all that grows here at Bealtaine Cottage, reminding us all of the sacredness of life and the oneness of humanity, as we listen to the gentle coaxing of the universal Mother.
Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageIn this new, Aquarian Age, the power is shifting back towards a balance between male and female.

pealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensOld ways will, inevitably end.

What we put in their place is our own determining at this point.

Water garden in permaculture at Bealtaine CottageOne aspect of this change is learning to speak out courage from our hearts, by harnessing the power of intuitive living and reacting…we know when something is wrong!

Bee on perennial Cornflower at Bealtaine CottageBelieve in the belief that we are NOT separated from God.

We are all a part of the Creator, like this little Bee on the perennial Cornflower at Bealtaine Cottage this morning.

The postbox at Bealtaine CottageWe carry God within us and manifest the Divine in unconditional love,  compassion, nurturing, and protecting the life force of Earth.

Manifesting the Divine FeminineWe manifest the Divine Feminine by the good we do.

Bealtaine Cottage Feminine GardensDuring nine years of planting Eden into a man made monoculture, this message has become clear to me.

Bealtaine Cottage drivewayI dedicate the rest of my life to the continuation of this work, for, it is through our actions that the Divine Feminine is allowed to manifest.

 

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Country Living, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Herbs, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Trees

Permaculture Orchard and Spring Well

New mulched permaculture orchardAn update on the new orchard…the mulching continues as the blossom breaks on the little trees.

Permaculture Orchard at Bealtaine CottageLots of nettles have been chopped and layered on the mulch!

mulching the orchardThe path is being extended, as I find time to do a little more and a little more!

Look who has made a little bed for himself on the weed suppressing mat…

New apple trees in the permaculture orchardThis project will continue into the autumn as I have several other projects on the go, including the new kitchen floor.

Herbs in tyres at Bealtaine CottageHerbs are lovely flowers to grow and these are growing just outside the Lodge.

Chives, Feverfew, Comfrey, Clary Sage and Ox-Eye Daisies all happily growing together!

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe hen house this morning…I leave the girls in long enough for them to lay.

This is the entrance from the new orchard.

I have just returned from cleaning out the well up on the hill.

The water tank had stopped filling and had, in fact dried out.

A visit to the well confirmed my suspicion that the pipe had clogged up with plant life!

I can hear the water filling in the tank in the loft as I type.

The hens at Bealtaine CottageThe hens are all in good shape now and are the most passive and calm little creatures I have ever encountered.

Hens at Bealtaine CottageJust adorable!

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine CottageThe Lime trees are now in leaf.

I have discovered that these trees grow very well from cuttings!

Pollarded Willow at Bealtaine CottageWillow is growing thick and fast on the pollarded trees.

This will grow up to 15 feet high, making great fedging lengths this autumn.

Posted in Abundance, Baking, Current Affairs, Food, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Great Food Fraud

lettuce in the tunnelThere is a pleasure in making the connection between our food and where it comes from.

strawberries in the tunnel at Bealtaine CottageSo many children grow up not knowing where their food has come from, or the value of what they are eating.

hens in the permaculture gardenOn the day I brought the hens home, I stood and watched them for simply ages!

I watched them investigate their new home and make soft little shrilling sounds, as they approved of the fresh straw and new found space.

Bealtaine Cottage pearsWhat we plant and grow tastes so much better than food we buy.

Of course it does!

Food in supermarkets can be weeks old before it’s eaten!

Not only that but the irradiation can make the food eternal…well almost!

Tomatoes I bought several weeks ago, remain in the pantry, perfect…what on earth are these people doing to our food?

Tomatoes at Bealtaine CottageYes, it prolongs the shelf life of the food we buy, but it also destroys the enzymes in the food!

This procedure involves exposing food to gamma rays from a nuclear source and has wide-reaching implications for our health and the environment.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrants in the Permaculture GardensIrradiation is a way of utilising nuclear waste materials to keep food fresh longer and reduce the risk of food poisoning by killing the bacteria.

The food is killed, as it damages it by breaking up molecules and creating free radicals.

The free radicals kill some bacteria, but they also move around in the food, damaging vitamins and enzymes.

The free radicals combine with existing chemicals (like pesticides) in the food to form new chemicals, called unique radiolytic products.

Bealtaine Cottage lettuce in the potager gardenI could go on…you begin to understand why fresh, home-grown food is best!

Purple Sprouting Broccoli grown at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensMost people are prepared to pay a little more for fresh food but are unaware of the real age of the food they call “fresh!”

A loaf of bread may be 10 days old!

apple jelly at Bealtaine CottageTesco was recently reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority on claiming that it sold “fresh bread baked from scratch!”

Naughty and not nice Tesco, caught with pants on fire!

Tesco and most other supermarkets, ship in part baked loaves and finish baking them in in-store ovens!

Stanley stove at Bealtaine CottageThere are really very few, if any, cakes, bread or buns actually made in the supermarkets!

Permaculture Cottage Sep 2011 013Many fresh vegetables are flown in from all over the world and the average age of fresh peas, broccoli etc is about 10 days old!

Compare that to the stir fry I made yesterday, with vegetables a few minutes old.

Apple harvest at Bealtaine CottageOr the juice made with “freshly picked from outside the back door herbs” and fruit.

The weekend is almost here!

Why not get some food growing for yourself, for, after all, fresh is best and you will be saving money too!

Against , gathering tomorrow 1pm at the corner of O’Connell & Grattan Street, Sligo.

Posted in Cats, Crafts, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Recipes, Self-Sufficiency, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Vegan

Framed, Raw and Rather Juicy!

Upcycling Old Picture Frames

I was given this beautiful old frame by a guy in a second-hand market in the local town.

It is one of the most beautiful picture frames I have ever come across.

Look closely at it, for it is a colourful mosaic of sea washed glass and shells.

The new chalkboardFor several years now it has waited patiently in the shed for someone with a good idea…who just happened to come along this week.

Cara was helping me to find a hammer in the outside shed on Monday, when she spied this frame and suggested it be used as a chalk board for the garden…all it needed was some board cut to fit, which could then be painted with blackboard paint and fitted into the frame!

Cara turned up with the finished, magnificently up-cycled chalkboard today and promptly fitted it onto the wall of the lodge under the shelter of the veranda.

Lodge VerandaDoesn’t it look great?

organic herbs from the permaculture gardensMeanwhile…in the kitchen I prepared some wholesome juice, using organic produce from the gardens…

After juicing organic apples and carrots, I add Kale, Apple-mint, Lemon Balm, Fennel and Parsley.

Juicing is a great way of ensuring a steady supply of the finest and freshest nutrients, especially using what is so easily grown in the edible gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Preparing aVegan stir fry at Bealtaine CottageMuch of what I harvest is added to stir-fries too.

These are the ingredients for this evening’s meal.

Missy catMeanwhile, Missy Cat is enjoying the sunshine, while keeping an eye on me!

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

What We Do…

Home made greenhouse at Bealtaine CottageThe idea of not being able to change this world for the better is a nightmare for most people.

Everyone wants a better life and many want a better world. 

Raspberries and Rhubarb in the permaculture gardens at BealtaineDis-empowerment turns us all into victims, feeling trapped and helpless.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageThe solution however can be relatively simple.

Do!

In the Gardens of BealtaineDo something to improve your life or someone else’s life.

It can be as simple as saying “Hello” to an older person, or picking up litter when out for a walk.

Volunteering one day a week in a charity shop, or saving kitchen scraps for the birds.

Planting trees for the future or seed-bombing derelict land.Applemint, Lady's Mantle and Crocosmia

Whatever we do impacts upon our lives, and the world around us.

Generosity of spirit is worth cultivating.

Seedlings at Bealtaine CottageThe Blackbird sings his song regardless of  the weather.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottagePlanting a tiny sapling is a small task…sitting under a mighty Oak is heaven…

It is all about what we do!

This is what I am doing for the Earth this Saturday, 25th May…

March Against Monsanto, Sligo, 1pm!

Corner of O’Connell and Grattan Street.

See you there!

 

Posted in Animals, Bees, Cats, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Seeds, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Glimpses of Days to Come

Red maple tree at Bealtaine Cottage

Stormy weather has given way to a sunny evening.

The Red maple has caught the glow, offering glimpses of days to come, for summer seems close at hand.

Rhubarb and Blackcurrants near the herb garden at Bealtaine CottageThe spring has lingered and time seems out of step with expectation.

One day it’s flooding and the next there’s a hurricane blowing!

I heard someone say to expect frost at night this week…I hope not, as I’ve planted a lot of seedlings out!

Grapevine in the polytunnelThe tunnel has escaped the ravages of the crazy weather and the Grapevine is coming into leaf.

Herb RobertHerb Robert carpets the ground underneath the vine.

This is a perfect ground-cover, as the root system is very delicate and shallow, so doesn’t take much from the earth.

Sammy-BearI caught the boys in here sunbathing in the warmth and out of the wind…

The cats at Bealtaine CottageThey are inseparable! Che-Mousey follows Sammy-Bear everywhere.

He was very lonely before Sammy-Bear joined us…

Lunaria at Bealtaine CottageThe plan is to save masses of seed this year and already the Lunaria is developing tiny seed-heads.

If you look closely, you can see the seed-heads and a beautiful bee doing her work!

These will expand to become “Moon-Pennies”

Lunaria in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe lovely thing about Lunaria is that once you introduce it into your garden it will spread year upon year…it is a most generous flower and so loved by bees.

This is Lunaria growing by the laurel arch today.

The heavenly scent is trapped in the archway and makes a visit to the herb garden and tunnel a joy!

Valerian, Columbine and BuddhaValerian and Columbine have the same generous, spreading habit and all beloved by the bees…

Both are growing freely by Buddha…neither one planted, but self-seeded in the gravel.

Apple blossom at Bealtaine CottageThe Apple blossom has opened fully today.

It’s 8pm as I finish writing and the sky outside the window by the desk is a perfect summer blue, making it hard to believe that frost lies ahead!

Important! Message from Terri:

 On Saturday 25th May, there will be a March against Monsanto in Dublin starting at 2.30p.m in the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square.

Come along and add your support.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 535 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Bees, biodiversity, E.U., Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Smallholding, Uncategorized

The Seed, the Whole Seed, and Nothing but the Seed!

Evening Primrose seed germinating at Bealtaine CottageI used to think there was little hope for the lovely Earth we live on…that people did not care and governments would take us all to Hell…on Earth!

That was in the past.

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageFor several years, since the beginning of this blog, I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of people on-line.

potager raised beds at Bealtaine CottageHundreds have made their way here to Bealtaine Cottage to meet in person, share some food and drink and, converse.

Missy Approved Baby Pixie Bootees handknitted at Bealtaine CottageIf these walls could talk, there would be an endless stream of uplifting words and energy, that would be capable of drowning out the drivel of political leaders, all of whom have let us down and worked furiously to steer our home, Earth, towards damnation!

Bealtaine Cottage Seeds from David in the USThe movement to save and protect our environment is growing with such intensity, that many governments are rushing to instigate laws to try to stop us.

Bealtaine Cottage barnThe EU Seed Law, as I shall call it, is just one example…and oh, how the people have risen against it, and, the ecocidal maniacs behind it!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture tunnelThis is the year to save seed, share seed, nurture seed, plant seed, scatter seed, put seed inside Christmas and Birthday cards…for it is the great gift of the Divine and cannot be taken from us through unjust laws, or greedy corporations!

Bealtaine Cottage Valerian by the LodgeThe EU will continue on their Agenda 21 to control Nature.

Bealtaine Cottage Ox-Eye Daisies in the gravel at Bealtaine CottageMonsanto continues to hang around the back door, pimping it’s obscene ware to those who use the back door in Brussels.

Bealtaine Cottage laurel Archway The back door is the place for them, for they know the might of the people and now they also know our resolute determination to ensure they shall not pass!

Not on our watch!

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_Will_Not_Comply/?cCgoWbb

Today’s video…

Monsanto and EU Pimps…

Important! Message from Terri:

On Saturday 25th May, there will be a March against Monsanto in Dublin starting at 2.30p.m in the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square.

Come along and add your support.

I will be attending a March Against Monsanto in Sligo, with speeches starting at 1pm.

People will gather on the corner of O’Connell and Grattan Street.

 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 535 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Country Living, Gaia, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Progress in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Permaculture gardens in April at Bealtaine Cottage

The storm rages on, as the weather is divided between weird and wonderful.

Sun, torrential rain, gale-force winds continue to ravage the North West of Ireland.

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageDespite the weather, the progress of Spring is unstoppable.

Sorrel is up in green clumps all over the gardens.

This is a tasty and nutritions herb and salad ingredient and also great for the famous French Sorrel soup!

Buds continue to thicken on the apple trees and there’s some early blossom about to open on the Redcurrants

bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

The hens have settled in well and are laying eggs…that was much faster than I expected, so they must be happy!

Bealtaine Cottage permacultureCatkins and leaves are out on the Willow and buds are swelling on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Blossom is beginning to open on some of the Pear trees, despite the crazy weather and the temperatures remain quite high, even at night.

 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Birds, Bloom, Cats, Food, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Spring, Uncategorized

Hens in the Permaculture Garden

Hens in permacultureSix hens have come to live at Bealtaine Cottage.

They arrived on Saturday, looking rather bedraggled and grungy.

With their new lifestyle, here at the permaculture gardens, an overall improvement in their appearance and well-being is guaranteed.

hens in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageIt was lovely to take my cup of tea outside and simply watch the hens as they explored their new home.

I can get quite lost just watching them…I think they may be hypnotising me!

Amethyst Horn at Bealtaine CottageThe morning is sunny, though interrupted with showers of rain, sometimes quite heavy too!

Flowering Currant at Bealtaine CottageWe had about a month without rain and so the earth was more than ready to receive the heavy showers.

Seeds in the permaculture gardensSeeds are doing amazingly well as the temperatures rise!

Bealtaine Cottage plants in tinsAnother week or so and it’ll be difficult to keep up with the progress…so all the more important to get everything into shape now in terms of preparedness.

I have made a short video so you can see the girls settling into their new lives here at Bealtaine.

There is also some footage of the seed progress and the flowering Lunaria.

This is the video I’ve posted today…

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The archives here at Bealtaine Cottage on WordPress contain over 500 blogs

You can also visit Bealtaine Cottage on YouTube, with over 80 videos uploaded for you to enjoy.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Spring

Sowing Seeds and Dividing Plants in the Permaculture Gardens

frost through the window of the porch at Bealtaine CottageUploaded another video this morning, showing some of the productive gardens and what’s happening!

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You can view the video by clicking on this link…

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Most of the perennials are pushing their way through the soil and this is a really good time to divide and spread.

This will be the main stem of my work over the weekend.

Cottage interior, Bealtaine Cottage, IrelandThe frost descended overnight and left everything a little shocked with the cold, but the heat of the morning will rectify that.

I’m continuing to post out seeds and wanted to add a few pointers about sowing the seeds.

Bealtaine Cottage sowing seedsI follow a basic guide that suits most of what I sow…

*Cover the seed with its own depth of soil…if the seed is tiny, then just a sprinkle of fine compost will do. Bigger seeds, more depth of cover.

Bealtaine Cottage sowing seeds*Sow in modules or small pots of watered compost, place the seed on top and cover as directed. Mist with water to dampen the top and cover with a sheet of paper to keep the moisture in and stop the seeds from drying out.

*Keep an eye on the seeds and remove the paper once growth appears.

Bealtaine Cottage plant nursery*Watch for roots coming through at the bottom. As they appear, pot on into a bigger pot. I do this until the plant is big enough to withstand the hungry slugs. Slugs only really like tiny, tender baby plants!

*I plant out towards the end of May when the danger of night frost has passed. If I do decide to chance it, then I cover with fleece at night.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds in JuneThis Summer I intend to dry a lot of Herbs, as many of you have asked me to post out herbs from Bealtaine Cottage.

I am posting out packs this morning and fast running out of supplies!

If anyone wants seeds, just go to the link on the side of this page…

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The archives here at Bealtaine Cottage on WordPress contain over 500 blogs

You can also visit Bealtaine Cottage on YouTube, with over 80 videos uploaded for you to enjoy.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Folklore, Food, Garden, Health, Herbs, Ireland, Organic Garden, Ostara, Tea, Uncategorized

Dried Herbs and Some Uses…

 Oregano, Origanum vulgare, is also known as Common and Wild Marjoram, Greek Oregano and Winter Oregano.

Oregano in flower at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensOregano is a warm and aromatic yet slightly bitter herb in the mint family.

The name is derived from the Greek, meaning “mountain of joy.”

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureOregano can be made into a tea, tincture, and has powerful anti-bacterial properties.

The Oregano I harvest comes complete with flowers, so is especially potent for tea!

Oregano before harvesting at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensSome interesting folklore concerning oregano…

The Greeks and Romans used it for a variety of benefits.

~Among the Greeks, if Marjoram grew on a grave, it augured the happiness of the departed, and among both the Greeks and Romans, it was the custom to crown young couples with Marjoram.

~Oregano corresponds to Venus and air.

~It is an herb of happiness, tranquillity, good luck, well-being, and protection.

Dried oregano from Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens Ireland~Promotes joy, strength, vitality, and added energy.

~Make a Tea or burn as an incense.

~Plant Oregano around your house for protection, and scatter it inside the house to protect it.

~Carry it in a sachet or charm to bring good luck and vitality.

~It is also said to protect and promote psychic dreams when worn on the head during sleep.

~A protective herb with the power to ward off troublesome and meddling individuals, especially those who may wish to interfere with one’s personal financial dealings.

Lavender drying on the back door of my cottage

Dried Lavender is also available.

The use of Lavender goes back into the mists of time…

~Both the Greeks and the Romans had many uses for it, the most popular being for bathing, cooking, as an ingredient in perfume, for well-being, and as an insect repellent.

~English folklore advises a mixture of lavender, mugwort, chamomile, and rose petals to attract sprites, fairies, brownies, and elves.

~Lavender is used in teas, tinctures, and added to baked goods.

~Lavender is an aphrodisiac, and is still one of the most recognized scents in the world.

~Put two handfuls of Lavender Flowers into a square of cheesecloth and tie with a white ribbon.

Use this aromatic “wash-cloth” in place of your usual one.

Dried Rosemary at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens


Rosemary, or Rosmarinus Officinalis, is also known as Romero, and Dew of the Sea.

Dried Rosemary is also available in 1/2 ounce bags from the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Rosemary is most famous for its use in cooking.

Bees love Rosemary!

Burn Rosemary  for a restorative incense.

In place of more costly incense, the ancients used Rosemary in their religious ceremonies.

An old French name for it was Incensier.

I use dried Rosemary in my Wheaten Soda Bread!

It is delicious!

Thank you for supporting this blog

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

Cats in the Sink and Frogs in the Pond!

Missy Cat in the sink at Bealtaine Cottage

Missy Cat is being stubborn and uncooperative.

Frogs are laying spawn in the pond.

The sun is shining and snow is promised.

All that’s missing is the Mad March Hare!

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

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

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

Missy Cat at Bealtaine CottageI always dreamt that the magic of this little cottage in the west of Ireland would spread out, like a ripple of life and energy, to all four corners of the world…and it really is happening.

Many of the plants grown here over the years will be grown this year across Europe, America and Australia…it’s wonderful to think of.

This is today’s video all about the frogs in the pond in the Bog Garden…

Posted in Angels, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Crafts, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality, Uncategorized

An Angel in the Snow

Angel in the snow at Bealtaine Cottage

The wind howled all night as it carried snow in from the Atlantic Ocean.

The moon drifted downwards as the sun rose.

Somewhere in-between I got up and lit the stove, walked the dogs and returned to settle into a hunker-down day in the cottage.

Che Mousy Bear at Bealtaine CottageAs I write, the dogs are in their baskets and the cats are lounging on the sofas.

Animals know when it’s cold and really appreciate being indoors!

Che-Mousy-Bear is purring loudly on the sofa nearby my desk.

Sam sits opposite.

Stereo purring!

The porch at bealtaine cottageThis kind of weather often makes an appearance after Spring has been called.

The Primroses and Daffodils don’t seem to mind.

Bealtaine Cottage PorchThey know it won’t last!

The snow is soft and fluffy with little ice and no frost.

veranda at Bealtaine Cottage The wind has settled down and the sun is shining.

Today I shall work in the tunnel, sowing herbs and pumpkins…it’s Spring, even if there is snow!

Indoors I am sorting seed and making Smudge Sticks  for sale in the Bealtaine Cottage Shop.

A big pot of vegetable soup is on the menu…just the thing on a snowy day!

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Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Country Living, cows, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, History, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Wild Flowers

Herb Lore and Healthy Living

Valerian at Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe history of herbs is thousands of years old.

There are over 100 herbs growing here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Many, like this Valerian, are grown for their beautiful, Bee attracting flowers.

Elderflower herbMany herbs, like this sweet smelling Elderflower, used to make cordial here last summer, grow on trees.

Herbs, flowers and fruit on the veranda at Bealtaine CottageThe history of herbs dates back to the ancient Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine, although a seminal book on Chinese pharmacology was written during the Han dynasty, known as the Shen Nong Canon of  Herbs.

The Ebers Papyrus from Egypt was written around 1500BC.

Nettle, a permaculture herbGreek history acknowledges the importance of herbs in several important works on the subject…

Nature provides us all with everything we need to keep ourselves well and healthy.

Nettles are one of the great Spring tonics to be drunk as tea or cooked in the same way as Spinach.

valerian and Rosa Canina growing at Bealtaine CottageHerbs will grow happily alongside each other, such as the Rosa Canina and Valerian seen here on the driveway of Bealtaine Cottage.

Each year I take a stock of cuttings from the Bay tree, Laurus Nobilis.

This year I am relieved to have them growing so well as the big Bay tree in the orchard suffered badly with the frost.

Bay was revered by both the Ancient Greeks and  the Romans.

This was sacred to the sun-god Apollo.

The Bay Laurel was used to make wreaths that crowned Emperors!

It was also regarded as a highly prized protection against evil.

My favourite use for them is in hot milk before bed…delicious and nourishing.

Feverfew growing at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture smallholdingFeverfew is enough to be grown for its flowers alone!

The 17th century herbalist, Culpeper noted it as good for female conditions…whatever that may be! …and also as good for relieving headaches.

I also use it for this, macerating the foliage into a pulp and applying it to my temples before lying down and resting.

fennel in a vase at Bealtaine CottageFennel, Foeniculum Vulgare, grows in both the tunnel and outdoors, equally well.

You can see it makes a wonderful scented addition to flower arrangements here at the cottage.

Fennel tea is traditionally a remedy for baby’s colic.

I use fennel as a delicious addition to salads, both leaf and bulb.

Meadowsweet at Bealtaine CottageAll herbs are relatively easy to grow.

This Meadowsweet grows wild in the Bealtaine Bog Garden and is heavenly scented!

Rosa Rugosa at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Other herbs that grow easily here are Rosa Rugosa and

Woodbine at Bealtaine CottageHoneysuckle, or Woodbine as it’s more commonly known.

willow arch and spaghnum moss on the lawn at Bealtaine CottageHere in Ireland, Sphagnum Moss is dislodged by grass, which pushes it up from the soil, dislodging it from the earth, ready to be carried off by nesting birds in search of bedding.

Did you know that Sphagnum Moss is a natural antiseptic and blood coagulant and was used by French troops during W.W.1. as an application for wounds?…successfully!

Cows eat herbs and seek out particular ones for health benefitsHerbs are immensely important in all aspects of life, for healing, eating, flavouring, colouring etc.

Cows eat herbs and will seek out particular herbs for health.

permaculture cottage, july 2011 010The scents from a herb garden are nothing less than enchanting.

And if Pliny the Elder considered them of such importance that he wrote a book about them, then that alone should make them fascinating plants to grow in your garden…

 

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Posted in Angels, Climate, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Personal, photography, Spring

Looking Back at March 2012 in the Photo Album of Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

Bealtaine Cottage march 2012 008The gardens came back to life with new leaves on the Photinia

Bealtaine Permaculture March  2012Blossom opened on the Nectarine tree in the polytunnel.

Sunday morning Permaculture garden mar 2012Rhubarb seemed to grow in spurts overnight!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March 2012Home made Blackcurrant wine was started as I began to empty the freezer.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012Lichens opened up in the warmth of the Spring days.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012Beautiful, delicate colours of Spring.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012The warming sun began to work it’s magic on the north facing gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Permaculture March 2012Garden benches dried out and warmed up enough to beckon the visitor to stop awhile!

Bealtaine CottageSun, glorious sun…this old piece of driftwood stood up to it’s eighth winter of storms and winds.

Bealtain Cottage Permaculture 004As always, there was an early crop of herbs and greens from the tunnel.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012 Donegal Bay

Late March was so warm, we headed off to the beach for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean here in Donegal Bay.

You can see the Hills of Donegal in the background!

Posted in Baking, Cats, Country Living, Folklore, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Smallholding, Tea, Thoughts, Vegan

Keeping Good Health This Winter with Dracula!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureOne of the mainstays of good health…organically grown onions here at Bealtaine Cottage on the veranda, drying out before stringing.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Onions, Apples and Blackcurrants, organically grown, will provide an enormous amount of protection from colds and viruses and at the same time help to keep the blood free from oxidants.

All this because prevention is better than cure!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureA pot of tea, comforting and refreshing as well as being a powerful anti-oxidant

organic garlic, Bealtaine CottagePermacultureGarlic…not just for keeping vampires away!

Garlic at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture garden 015Traditionally, whole bulbs of wild garlic were placed under the thatch of Irish cottages, just above the door, to keep away evil!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

It is no surprise that the writer of the book, “Dracula,” was, in fact an Irish man, Bram Stoker.

Garlic keeps the blood clean…apparently!

A slice of garlic placed on a cut will kill all infection!

rosehips Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureStudies now suggest that Rose-hip extract can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.

Rosehips at Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureIn the past this was used to make a poultice which was then applied to painful joints in hands, knees and hips.

 Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureIt has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect and will successfully treat the inflammatory condition AND is free of any side-effects.

Rose Arch at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThis is a very easy to grow cure and has many other uses…for example, the hips are packed with Vitamin C!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture breadAnother case of prevention being better than cure…sunflower seeds, used in bread-making will provide a good source of Omega to the body and be powerful in the protection of good health all round.

I add the hulled seeds to bread and flapjacks.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture catsWe should enquire of the older generation what it is that has kept and continues to keep them in good health.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture home made soupHome made vegetable soup is one of the best sources of goodness to keep good health throughout the winter.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture pumpkinsI make this in batches, using pumpkins from the pantry and keep it in the fridge, along with home made bread.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture PumpkinsPumpkins will keep for the entire winter if stored in a cool pantry.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture TreesThe Elder tree was used as the mainstay of good health in village life long ago.

The leaves, bark, flowers, berries and roots were all used in folk medicine and herbal cures.

Bealtaine Cottage interior designThis is another easy to grow tree that keeps on giving…Elderflower Wine is absolutely scrumptious!

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Posted in Animals, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Food, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Smallholding, Winter

Winter in a Permaculture Garden…and Sam!

Awoke to frost this morning and a brilliantly clear, blue sky.

The stove had stayed lit all night, so the cottage was warm.

It’s easy to see the level of insulation in homes, looking up at roofs, as I drive to Drumshanbo on an errand.

Many of the newly built homes appear to be poorly insulated.

I took my tea outside and walked around in the sunshine…

The sheer beauty of a winter morning is stunning.

The play of winter light upon the earth is a delight to behold!

The winter stems of Spiraea colour a deep orange.

Missy followed me to the tunnel.

Her visit to the Vet’s on Monday has perked her up a bit…

Even though the covering of the tunnel is frozen, plants inside continue to flourish and will stay green and healthy for the winter.

Parsley is very healthy as it grows strong beside the water bin…an ideal micro-climate!

Washing the plastic covering on the tunnel last month allows maximum winter light through to the plants…every little helps at this time of year!

The Lemon Balm grows well and will continue all winter, unless we have extreme weather.

Introducing Sam…one very naughty little kitten!

Sam was found on Samhain, hence his name.

He had an eye infection, which is now cleared up…though he fought me every time I applied his medication!

Sam had his second vaccination on Monday and is on medication for a bad cold, though that does not stop him being this adventurous!

Posted in Autumn, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Self-Sufficiency at the Cottage

Fennel grows very well in my garden here in Ireland.

In fact all the plants from the herb family grow well here.

I’ve been harvesting seeds from the Fennel plants this morning.

The seeds taste lovely, sweet and liquorice like.

They make great chewy sweets that help to assuage the appetite, so can help in weight loss too!

I suppose the taste could be likened tio a distinctive anise-like flavour and scent.

Medicinally this seed acts as an aid to digestion, stomach pains and flatulence…it’s traditionally good for babies with colic if a tea is made from it.


No using washing powders.

No using fabric conditioners.

No using bleach or ANY chemicals here at Bealtaine Cottage.

My washing machine broke down about two years ago and I have hand-washed clothes ever since.

It really is extraordinarily simple and easy to make a routine that encompasses washing a few items of clothes each day.

If I want white fabrics to whiten up, I leave them to bleach in the sun…and a shower of rain on them is even better!

Of course the very best and quickest way to bleach fabrics naturally is to leave them out on a frosty day…brilliant whites!

Think about it…the Victorians wore a lot of white cotton and calico, with only bars of soap to clean their clothes!

We need to stop sending all those chemicals down our drains to the oceans…there is NO AWAY!

I am storing the pumpkins wherever I can find a space in the pantry, ensuring they are kept separate on shelves, cool and dry.

There are so many  recipes that use pumpkin and am collecting them up for use this winter.

Pumpkin Curry is already a tried and tested dinner and is yummy!

Tomorrow is the beginning of October.

Fortunately there are many bright and sunny days to be had in the months that make up the Autumn.

The evenings are drawing in, fires are lit and warm jumpers unpacked from summer storage, but the days are pleasant and filled with a beauty only to be found at this time of year.

Enjoy the week ahead and take time to appreciate The Fall.

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

A Perfect Little Potager Garden.

Pumpkin flowers are open wide in the brilliant sunshine this morning at Bealtaine Cottage.

The bees appear to be basking in the golden petals as they flit from one flower to another, pollinating as they go.

It’s a truly beautiful morning for the sky is blue and the sun is climbing high into a Lughnasa sky over the west of Ireland.

These modest little raised beds, constructed in an afternoon or so of work, a mere eight weeks ago, are giving a magnificent harvest.

So far we have enjoyed tomatoes, salads, sugar snap peas, greens for the juicer and herbs.

There are onions, chard, pumpkins and courgettes to come…a proper little Potager.

And all outside the back door!

A potager garden is a vegetable garden which is designed to be attractive as well as functional.

The idea is French!

A Potager Garden possesses beauty,  practicality and can fit into a wide variety of spaces and climates.

A well-planted Potager garden can satisfy a lot of the vegetable needs for a household, as well as being pleasing to the eye.

In France, where the Potager garden was first conceived, there is a long tradition of laying out practical gardens in a way which is also aesthetically pleasing.

In a Potager garden, gardeners often increase  yield, utilizing advantageous plant pairings which help deter pests and enrich the soil.

By contrast, the traditional kitchen garden tends to be more stark, laid out with a purely practical eye.

The focus of a potager garden is vegetables, herbs and edible flowers…a truly edible landscape!

 Potager gardens can also be quite ornamental in design, to include vines on trellises, bright, colourful flowers, and water features.

Garden visitors are encouraged to eat the landscape!

Meanwhile, indoors, there is knitting going on as lots of leftover and recycled wool is being put to good use in the form of a winter shawl…nothing nicer to curl up inside as the nights draw in.

While in town yesterday, I called into the local charity shop and found this beautiful Michael Kennedy teal-light holder for two euros.

I adore Michael Kennedy’s work, for as an Irish potter he is second to none and have been lucky to have come across so many pieces such as this for very little.

Missy was rolling about in the sunshine as I walked to the tunnel this morning, loving the heat of the morning.

It looks set to be a lovely weekend…have a good one!

Posted in Climate, Country Living, Folklore, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Vegan, Wild Flowers

My Herb Garden

I grow lots of herbs in the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage, picking freely wherever I walk along the paths.

Herbs grow very easily in the Irish climate, as the fairly constant temperature agrees with the plants.

Herbs have a variety of uses that include culinary and medicinal.

The crossover line is blurred, as much of what we cook with does so much good and is easily integrated with everyday food.

Think of Garlic for example, or Parsley, both great for the blood!

Herbs can also be used in spiritual practice too, usually through the method of burning to release scent and as a cleansing or purification ritual.

Many herbs release anti-bacterial oils into the air, thus cleansing, so again, the crossover line is easily blurred, as herbal oils released into the air can have a tremendously uplifted effect upon the senses.

This can also be in the form of strewing underfoot, as was the practice during medieval times, to combat pungent smells and general sickness.