Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU Pimping Monoculture Failure!

Bealtaine Cottage March Ribes blossomMist prevails as the earth slowly heats, releasing some of the water absorbed during the wettest winter on record here in Ireland.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 047The air is still and birdsong echoes through the foggy dew…

The first of the seeds are now sown in a big fish box in the tunnel, made from thick, white polystyrene, once marked out for the dump but rescued and up-cycled here at Bealtaine Cottage…perfect for seeds and young plants!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture march 2011 006There’s a digger at work on the hill of Ballyfermoyle, I hear it’s machinations echoing through the misty morning.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March primrosesYoung trees and bushes are being torn up and tossed aside, in an effort for land to be measured by the EU on Google Maps.

cobwebs Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March Less tree cover shows more grass and it is grassland that the EU are paying farmers here in Ireland to grow.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 004More grass, more meat, more export, more globalization…you know the story!

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012And so, the Earth is losing more habitat in a land that cannot feed it’s own people…Ireland is heavily reliant on imported food!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March Another famine lurks around the corner, as monoculture food systems are the order of the day, financed and controlled by the EU bureaucrats, blinkered up to the eyeballs with bullshit!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March 2011 021In this land of plenty there is little food grown around this area.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture march 2011 004EU sponsored, subsidized and pimped Monoculture prevails!

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Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…

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

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world…the donation remains the same no matter where you live, even Outer Mongolia!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

As an Ark for Nature, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from the EU, as only farm animals, monoculture and set-aside are grant-aided!

Your donation helps remedy that…

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.

The Closing Chapter

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer began to melt into Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage amidst a flurry of bees and butterflies, more than ever witnessed in the permaculture gardens.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureHarvesting began and the kitchen was a place of jam jars and bottles, all waiting to be filled and labelled.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe glut of blackcurrants became wine, jam and chutney, with even more added to the freezer.

free tea Open days and workshops seen a steady stream of visitors to the cottage and gardens.

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageKindling for the winter stoves continued to be collected and stored in the barn.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayAnd the Potager beds kept growing!

Blackcurrant ChutneyThe recipe for Blackcurrant Chutney was added to a blog post that had runaway success!

Bealtaine Cottage ValerianValerian flowered…

Rambling Roses at Bealtaine CottageRoses bloomed…

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageAnd all around, flowers showed off with total abandon!

poppies, poppy seeds and dried seed-headsI collected seeds…

Foxglove seed and more seeds…

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageDrying and labelling in every container I had to spare!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageSeedheads were stored for winter flower arrangements.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodAs the boys played in the Fairy Wood.

A path from the Fairy WoodIt was a magical time for all!

006Summer never really went away, for the wine of that season kept bubbling with life.

cottage garden harvestAnd the harvest continued…

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottageAs potatoes were lifted…

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageAnd misty mornings began to appear.

hanging webCobwebs shimmied in the morning breeze…

Buddha at BealtaineAs the light and shadows began to change.

flowers for MichelleMy son got married and I designed and made the flower arrangements, on a lovely day with my new daughter’s mother, here at Bealtaine.

Dylan and Michellw wedding 031Everyone came to the west of Ireland for a three day wedding in a 500 year old castle. Here I am with my eldest daughter.

harvestAnd when all was over, the harvest continued.

wine, kitchenAnd the cottage fell silent…

Recycling in the permaculture gardensBut not for long, as friends delivered cardboard for mulching…

apples and sunflowersAnd helped with the harvest.

fairies 035Lords and Ladies made an Autumn appearance in the Fairy Wood.

open weekend bunting by the gateAnd the cottage and gardens were opened for a special fundraiser in aid of Leitrim Animal Welfare.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Raising a magnificent sum of money for a wonderful charity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Autumn continued into Winter…

www.bealtainecottage.com 012And logs were stacked in readiness for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008The days darkened as Midwinter approached…

cropped-029.jpgAnd candlelight illuminated the dark days.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Bringing cheer to the silent grey…

www.bealtainecottage.com 025And soft light into the Midwinter Cottage.

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So few do, but if you choose to make a small donation, then Bless You! 

Permaculture Midwinter Gathering

www.bealtainecottage.com 002

Sprouting winter greens on the kitchen window sill, couldn’t be easier than this…the top of a swede sitting in a saucer of shallow water and left to continue growing and giving!
I shall harvest small leaves to add to stir-fries.
It actually looks quite Christmassy too!
www.bealtainecottage.com 001The seed-heads of Poppy and Honesty, now void of seeds, but perfect for winter displays.
I have harvested all the seeds and am packing them up for distribution across the world…especially for the bees, but also for their extraordinary beauty, even when dried!
www.bealtainecottage.com 003Dried Chillies, ready for packing into containers and storing in the pantry…an effortless way to store food!
www.bealtainecottage.com 012And outside, in the gardens this morning, the colours of winter deepen as the mists continue their journey from the lough.
www.bealtainecottage.com 008Nature’s baubles decorate the bare trees…
www.bealtainecottage.com 016The mild, early winter creates a feast of chocolate scented berries, for the Blackbird, on the Leycestria Formosa…early mornings can be noisy, as birds squabble over this winter feast!
www.bealtainecottage.com 004This old bread tin, bought in a Charity shop in Belfast last month, is ready to be packed with seeds, saved at Bealtaine Cottage…a perfect container for this purpose!
www.bealtainecottage.com 009Potager beds continue to hoard food in this little micro-climate area at the back of the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 013Vibrant red dogwood splashes colour here and there, making winter as joyous an occasion in the gardens as any other season!
www.bealtainecottage.com 015Midwinter, on the 21st of December, is a lovely time to be with loved ones and celebrate!
This year will be easy to gather, as the 21st falls on a Saturday…
I had arranged a get-together for the Sunday, 22nd, but…The Midwinter Gathering is transferred to a closer date…all on the list have been contacted and there’s sure to be some great fun on the day!
 
Enjoy your Gathering!
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 017Blessings X
 

The Haunting…

www.bealtainecottage.com 049

With great longing for home and sadness of leaving, I made the journey back from Connemara today.

As I passed Kylemore Abbey, the clouds began a hasty descent, down over the mountains of the pass…

I longed for home, but was mesmerized by the play of light and mist that is a magical part of the landscape of the West of Ireland.

A landscape that haunts one forever…


Their cottage is surrounded by the most ethereal  play of light, being near the shoreline and surrounded by mountains.


I first met Terri and Lol when they visited Bealtaine Cottage to learn more about Permaculture and quickly bonded in a deep friendship.


I meet so many wonderful people here at Bealtaine and am often invited to visit with them, though rarely take the time to do so…

I’m glad I made this journey into the hauntingly beautiful land of Connemara…the images will inspire dreams for many nights ahead in Winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 051The past three days in Connemara have inspired me in many ways.

I met some fine people and talked about wine making and permaculture.

www.bealtainecottage.com 060Connaught, the province of Ireland where Connemara lies, has, historically, been associated with immense poverty and harsh living conditions, though its beauty has kept it populated, albeit sparsely in parts.

Many Irish have emigrated from here, down through the centuries, especially so during the Great Famine.

 

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Yesterday morning, I walked in the gardens as the sun rose, and watched the mist slowly lift from the fields, that run down to the shoreline.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Terri and Lol have planted lots of Willow, as a wind break and are developing a sustainable smallholding around their cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Living this close to the mighty Atlantic Ocean, the land is swept by salt-winds and gales, that roar in over thousands of miles of turbulent sea, making landfall, with all the power and destruction only those winds can carry.

The soil is scraped off rock and carried on the winds, to fill crevice and glen.

Even the cows have learned to forage and climb like mountain goats in search of food!

This beautiful creature stood atop the rocks watching the sun rise, as I walked in my dressing gown around the cottage gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030In the distance, my little camera picked out the walls of ancient cottages, abandoned to the elements of sea, rain, wind and sun, casting imaginary sounds of past lives upon the mist that lifted heavenwards, in the warm morning air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 059As I drove towards home, leaving this magically, evocative landscape behind me, the sheer beauty of Connemara urged me to stop… and take one last image to share with you…

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Home Made Wine from the Permaculture Garden.

 

Checking out the demijohns of various wines yesterday, I realised that some were ready to either rack off-that means transferring them to another, clean demijohn, or bottle up…so I spent a couple of hours doing just that, as well as sampling each one…well, it has to be done!Making wine from the abundant harvest of organic blackcurrants is one of my favourite summer tasks.

Plenty of bees in the permaculture gardens ensure masses of fruit and vegetables

Plenty of bees in the permaculture gardens ensure masses of fruit and vegetables

I also use Strawberries, Redcurrants, Rosehips and Jostaberries, all grown here at Bealtaine.home made wine at Bealtaine Cottage

The wine here is Strawberry and Redcurrant.

Bealtaine Cottage redcurrants from the permaculture gardens

After bottling it needs to be laid down for about 3 months minimum.

This improves the taste and helps maturity.

Bealtaine Cottage wine makingMost of the flower and fruit wines I have made over the years have needed this, with the occasional wine being drinkable straight from the demijohn!

The big freezer in the pantry is still in the process of being cleared out.

Blackcurrants in the freezer at Bealtaine CottageKilos of Blackcurrants and Redcurrants remain, as well as the Rhubarb added this year.

Wines and jams will be on the ‘To Do List,’ for the coming week!Bealtaine Cottage wine making

Keeping everything clean is very important in wine making and bottling.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrant and Redcurrants

I use a baby equipment sterilising fluid and find this cheap and effective.

A bowlful is enough, making sure that lots of swirling takes place!

Dried herbs from Bealtaine Cottage

I use one pound of sugar to one pound of fruit. each demijohn takes about four pounds of fruit.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrants

I add 1 teaspoon of wine yeast and fill with spring water, which thankfully comes out of the tap here!

I use a hand corker as you can see.

It is effective and works well in corking the bottles efficiently and completely.

Home made wine to celebrate Imbolc at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2011 005All in all the process uses absolutely no imported energy, as all the bottles are re-cycled from friends.

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