Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, care for the earth, Country Living, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Sustainable Living

Free For All!

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It’s been a long and lovely day, filled with wonderful garden visitors, followed by some serious cutting back and clearing over near the tunnel.

DSC01961However, before I begin, I must say that I’ve been reading the comments on the Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens site on FaceBook and feel compelled to make a very important comment, for all to read…

DSC01962The lovely Bridget Birkner had this to say about her garden…

“Colette, my dear sweet friend. You know I started this year as my first year with Goddess-Inspired Permacultre Gardening and Food Forest since moving here some months ago, but being now in August, having only 1 cucumber, 6 cherry tomatoes that only turned orange and one sweet banana pepper, I wanted to sit down and cry at the lack of harvest. My soil is so insanely poor, and it looks like I need to do some more tending and research. My Willows, everything you sent me, the moment I transplanted it, it withered. I’m crushed to say the least, but I promised myself at least 10 years before I can say “goal!” It truly is hard but amazing work, but right now I feel so defeated because Mum Gaia seems so sad at the state she is in my area. I look to you with such hope and KNOW She WILL prevail! Why? Because SHE can live without us, we however, cannot live without Her. And for that, I humbly bow before her in grace and humility, that she give me another chance in helping me tend to the area where she is so sad right now in the United States” 

DSC01963So in response… and for this valuable knowledge to reach the wider world…
DSC01964Especially for Bridget…and those who are struggling with restoring fertility to soil…here’s a little secret…and what I have done and continue to do to restore health to the soil…
DSC01965I pee in a bucket and mix it 10:1 with rainwater…it is marvellous liquid fertiliser and helps to get good bacteria developing in the soil.
DSC01966However if you are on serious medication it’s best not to use it!
DSC01968Fresh urine is high in nitrogen, moderate in phosphorus and low in potassium and can act as an excellent high-nitrogen liquid fertiliser
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In a healthy person, urine is sterile.
DSC01969Urine is great as an activator for compost heaps and, in highly concentrated form, as a weed-killer.
Dilute fresh urine at a 10:1 ratio and apply to the root-zone of fruiting plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, or to leafy crops like cabbage, broccoli, spinach and lettuce every two weeks or as needed.
Dilute fresh urine at a 20:1 ratio and water in to the root zone of seedlings and new transplants.
DSC01960So, there you have it folks! No more supporting chemical fertilisers or paying extraordinary amounts of money for organic fertiliser…get yourself a bucket and a watering can and help Mother Earth the natural way!
DSC01970Now that’s out of the way, here’s an update on garden work today…this has involved an immense amount of cutting back. I have stacked all the cuttings and wood into various big piles to biodegrade naturally, whilst at the same time providing essential habitat for hibernators and small mammals.
DSC01971You can see from the followings pics the difference this has made in terms of light and space for the woodland floor to regenerate.
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Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

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Posted in Bloom, cottage style, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Organic Garden

Cottage Garden Style

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There was a full moon last night.

Sammy-Bear couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted in or out.

Previous to this photo I had opened the back door for him twice to go out, whereupon he ran around to the front of the cottage and jumped up on the window sill, as you can see here!

DSC09962It’s always a strange time when the moon is full.

I’m sure you each have stories about weird happenings at this time!

DSC09961This May moon has cast it’s brightness over Ireland, presiding over an extraordinary time of growth.

DSC09960DSC09959 All around the cottage there are flowers opening, plants growing, seemingly overnight and trees now heavy with leaf and blossom.

DSC09958Where would an Irish cottage garden be without the beautiful and traditional Perlagonium?

DSC09957And, of course, every cottage garden has a little spot for Succulents…I plant these in terracotta pots and here in this old planter.

They love dry conditions!

DSC09956DSC09955Always lots of tasks to complete as in painting the old Buddha, so he may survive another winter!

DSC09954DSC09953DSC09952As in all cottage gardens, famous for their mish-mash of flowers, vegetables fruit and just about everything else, edibles share potager beds with their close relations!

DSC09950I have had to move many plants from pots and plant them in spaces wherever I can find them.

For, as always now at this time of the year, there is a drought…sometimes prolonged, but dry enough at the best of times!

DSC09948The nursery bed, essential to a cottage garden, is being cleared fast, with plants going into the long beds down by the road.

DSC09946DSC09943Pieris and Poppies…as always, flowers are squashed in beside the most unsuitable bed mates…the Poppy is planted in with Flowering Currant!

DSC09931And sitting in my chair on the veranda, looking up…the classic cottage garden rose.

DSC09941The all-forgiving Cottage Garden will tolerate just about everything one wants to “throw out!” Except, of course, I throw little away, favouring a good old re-purpose, as in this old, but very comfy, fireside chair!

DSC09937And…the beautiful Wisteria…tougher than it looks and essential “cottage garden!”

DSC09936DSC09933DSC09932Nothing pristine here!

No manicured lawn or well-placed fountain or garden ornament…yet everything knows how to behave itself without supervision.

DSC09930Even Jack…unlike Sammy-Bear!

DSC09927DSC09924Oh Jack, you are a little beaut!

DSC09923Opening my backdoor this morning I see the Fairies have tidied up again!

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Posted in Abundance, agriculture, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Birds, compost, Ecology, Eden, Edible Gardens, food forest, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Permaculture Food Forest in Ireland

The leaves are just beginning to bud and appear.

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Bees are busy at work here in the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…without them this would be a place of hunger.

Poster after permacultureBut, it’s not…instead it boasts food for all and more to come.

This is what a food forest looks like as the sap rises and life returns.

poster permaculture viewThese are the gardens of the goddess, Mother Earth in all her splendour and abundance!

And here is today’s video…

All the videos I upload are free from advertising, so you can enjoy watching…

Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Eden, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Permaculture Ireland, Uncategorized

As Evening Descends…

Towards the end of a perfect day at Bealtaine Cottage. The gardens are looking well tended as the evening descends. Strawberries have been potted up in hanging baskets and seedlings rescued from the gravel around the cottage and potted up. These will make fine plants for the Summer ahead! And…all the while…the birds sing!

Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in homesteading, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized

How To Build Your Own Polytunnel!

The polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage has stood for eleven years, retaining it’s structure extremely well and providing all year round space for growing food. The plastic remains “as tight as a drum,” as any visitor to Bealtaine Cottage gardens will attest to.

In this blog I will endeavour to give you simple instructions on how to build your own polytunnel from scratch, as was done here…

To read more, go to Bealtaine Cottage Good life website at…

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

Posted in ancient, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Folklore, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Woodland

Transition

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The transition has begun.

Knitting has been brought out from hibernation.

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The final seeds have been sown.

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And  the flowers and herbs continue to thrive in the potager beds, the warmth of the gravel and stones keeping them in a summer state.

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Seasonal adjustments are happening all over the northern hemisphere, as the days draw close to balance and equinox. 

 

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Berries are in abundance this year, some say a sign of a harsh winter, but that’s to be seen.

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Cotoneaster, Hazel, Blackcurrant and Fuschia all here together.

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The changing colours are so very gentle and subtle, but they’re there if one looks…

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Blackberries ripen near the stone circle, as the leaves mottle and turn towards Autumn.

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The Sloes on the Blackthorn are ready to pick…these will make some fine Sloe Gin for Midwinter.

The Sloes are pricked with a pin and pushed into a bottle half-filled with Gin.

The bottle is then sealed and buried in the earth until Yuletide celebrations, when it is ceremoniously dug up and partaken of!

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Deep within the Fairy Wood, Autumn creates some more magic…

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These tiny mushrooms are growing on a dead branch of Goat Willow.

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Crocosmia Monbretia in all its Autumn glory.   

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Blessing, Cottage, Country Living, Growing Food, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Wildlife, Woodland

The Days Between Light and Dark

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Bright sun illuminating the garden, gave way to the gentle, patter-drip-patter of rain, as it slowly enveloped the cottage.

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The great change is steadily colouring the sights and sounds of Bealtaine Cottage.

Curly Kale can tolerate the changes well, needing much less light than many other vegetables…this is a good Winter green to ensure health and vitality as the daylight lessens.

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The days between light and dark merge as we approach the Equinox…the balancing point before the descent towards Midwinter.

Spiders busily spin and weave and everywhere the light dances playfully.

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Green turns slowly in the mixing pot of early autumn colours that inspire dreams of drifting through woodland, kicking up leaves in a playful, seasonal dance of joy.

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What lies beyond this Equinox is a time filled with darker evenings, not to be scorned, but embraced as a time to rest, nurture and be nurtured.

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As we enjoy this late Summer glory, the days of “mist and mellow fruitfulness,” lie ahead…what a beautiful time of year this is!

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Walking the gardens here this morning is sheer Heaven on Earth.

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The air is warm and still.

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Birds call out to one another. 

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

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“Fall has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
Lauren DeStefano, Wither

 

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Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage

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Much appreciated! 

 
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 Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Celts, Cottage, Culture, Folklore, Gaia, Garden, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality

The Most Sacred Thing

   

DSCF1716Marija Gimbutas was a most extraordinary Archaeologist, perhaps the first archaeologist to look at how life was lived in the days before war!

DSCF1717Yes, it is amazing to think that such a world ever existed, but one needs to listen to some of the recordings of her work to understand the magnificence of this discovery.

DSCF1718What Marija has to say, in light of my ten years of experience here at Bealtaine, makes perfect sense to me!

I have added a link to some of her recordings and lectures at the end of this blog.

DSCF1719The work of Gimbutas may act as a template for the future…

DSCF1724There are revelations I have experienced here at Bealtaine Cottage, that I can only link to a strong female presence, describable only as an Earth Goddess or Earth Mother.

DSCF1725Last week visitors from Queensland in Australia walked the gardens…the energy of the land was palpable.

DSCF1729Many visitors remark immediately on the luxuriant growth here at Bealtaine, as well as the warmth and aura.

DSCF1731All agree that these are the Goddess Gardens, the most sacred thing.

DSCF1732Those who welcome the Divine Mother into their gardens will understand this extraordinary energy. 

DSCF1733This link will take you to the first part of the talk and is part introduced by Starhawk…enjoy!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Buddha, Cats, Earth, Organic Garden, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Uplifted

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The roses are in bloom on the veranda.

The view through the sitting room window is cheerful and lovely!

DSCF1684I sit with my back to the stove, warm, waiting for the kettle to boil on the hob, so as I can make a big pot of tea.

As I type the kettle begins to sing…

DSCF1688The day has been warm and dry with lots of sunshine.

I am still in my dressing gown, more relaxed and rested, thank goodness!

DSCF1689Sammy-Bear and Che-Mousey have kept me amused all day and Jack has been excellent company, staying close by my side, stoic and silent, as only the best dogs can be.

DSCF1690I have listened to music and read, made vegetable soup and slept.

DSCF1699Thank you all for your lovely, warm and uplifting messages…such a pleasure to read and such reassurance too…Bless you all XXX

DSCF1701The full moon is now waning and I feel I have learned something quite valuable…something to do with energy and being, though am not sure how to articulate it just yet.

DSCF1712I feel a shift of energy has taken place…for the better!

DSCF1714 The weekend lies ahead and this Bealtaine Moon in Scorpio is waning.

DSCF1715May you all have a lovely, uplifting and positive weekend

XXX Blessings XXX

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Climate, compost, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Seeds, Sustainable Living, Trees, Woodland

Little Pots of Magic…She Stirs…

www.bealtainecottage.comThe decision, once made, gathers energy and slowly, slowly begins to move…like a baby discovering it can crawl!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so it begins…the first small movements of the Forest of Bealtaine, barely perceptible, but felt and experienced.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe Forest of Bealtaine is emerging through seed…seeds collected, saved and sown into pots of Bealtaine compost, that will travel with them, to their final destination, here, somewhere, in Mother Ireland.
www.bealtainecottage.comWhere in Mother Ireland I do not know, but, somewhere on this land bereft of the comfort of cover and canopy, open to the growing harshness of rain, that once fell soft like dew…for the changing weather patterns and climate are taking their toll!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so She grows!
www.bealtainecottage.comToday the rain falls heavy and my visitors from Dublin have gone.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe heavy rain assures me we need forest…for we are the rocky outcrop of a failing empire
www.bealtainecottage.comThere is no mistake in that word…for it is She with a capital letter, She with a need to grow and nurture.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe land we have collectively failed…our governments collecting carbon taxes whilst fracking the bowels of Mother Earth! www.bealtainecottage.comThe failing Empire of the EU paying Irish farmers to rip out trees, so land can be mapped out for Google Earth Maps!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd all so politicians and bureaucrats can peer and measure and post out cheques…
www.bealtainecottage.comBut what use is money to a people living on a land being ravaged by Climate Chaos?
www.bealtainecottage.comBut here at Bealtaine, the Goddess, the Mother, our Earth is nurtured for in her womb is cradled Eden, waiting to be birthed.
And Bealtaine is one of many birthing places, for the Mother is us and we are her…there is no separation.
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd in these little pots of hope, She grows, and slowly, barely noticeable to visitors, the magic begins to manifest.
www.bealtainecottage.comShe stirs, awakens and is…
Posted in Bees, Cottage, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Summer, Trees

Gardens in Early May

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Growth in the gardens has really taken off!

Kanzan Cherry and Purple Beech
Kanzan Cherry and Purple Beech

I was away for the weekend in Belfast and returned last night.

Euphorbia and Purple Beech
Euphorbia and Purple Beech

Making coffee and doing my early morning stroll of the gardens, coffee in one hand and camera in the other, it was a revelation…everything has grown and spread since Friday!

Fuchsia, Poppy and Lady's Mantle
Fuchsia, Poppy and Lady’s Mantle

No wonder, as a mix of rain and warmth has created the perfect conditions for plants.

Clematis, planted last year on the north-facing wall of the cottage...ready to bloom!
Clematis, planted last year on the north-facing wall of the cottage…ready to bloom!

It’s always a pleasure to walk out on a May morning.

DSCF1441It is primarily because of the growth as we ascend towards Midsummer.

By the east gable wall this morning.
By the east gable wall this morning.

The days continue to stretch before us and the promise of Summer holds sway.

Aqilegia under Fuchsia
Aqilegia under Fuchsia

Nights are shorter and days grow longer…

DSCF1460Enjoy the rest of the pics!

Blessings XXX Colette

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It's easy to believe in Fairies...isn't it?
It’s easy to believe in Fairies…isn’t it?

 

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Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, cows, Current Affairs, E.U., Ecology, Edible Gardens, Food, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Food Harvest 2020

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Small farms in Ireland are in a steady decline and have been for several decades now.

Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage
Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage

In fact farming is now referred to as an “industry”…a most illuminating use of language!

Buddha in the gardens
Buddha in the gardens

The pressure on small farmers to produce more and more, (mostly meat), is driving many off the land, as they find it difficult to compete with the bigger landowners and thus meat growers!

Sammy-Bear says "Hello!"
Sammy-Bear says “Hello!”

The countryside is fast losing vital habitat, as hedgerows are pulled out, trees felled and field size increased.

Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage

There is a government initiative behind this, of course…”Food Harvest 2020!”

Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage
Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is Simon Coveney TD.

Water that is drinkable!
Water that is drinkable!

Minister Coveney  held a meeting on the 17th of April.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine
Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

Invitations were issued to key stakeholders, including farm organisations, beef processors and relevant state agencies to a round table discussion on the future development of the Beef Sector, as it is referred to! 

Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds
Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds

Participants at this meeting were invited to discuss the government initiative, Food Harvest 2020.

Photinia and Kerria
Photinia and Kerria

This scheme was introduced by the Irish government to increase production of beef! (Ironic naming it “Food Harvest 2020!)

Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine
Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine

Now, read this statement from the Minister of Agriculture…using language of industry, markets and sport!

Commenting today on the initiative, Minister Coveney said

By some measures the beef sector is Ireland’s biggest indigenous industry, involving more than 100,000 farm families, and 8,000 jobs in processing, sales and marketing, with exports valued of more than €2 billion in 2013.  Food Harvest 2020 set an initial target of a 20% increase in the value of output for the beef sector. The target for beef exports has already been exceeded. 

The time is now right to sit down with key stakeholders in the sector, to consider the strategic approach  needed to support its development, using the best available market intelligence, and the newest technology and research to improve performance at all levels of the supply chain.  The beef sector makes a vital contribution to Irish agri food and to employment and the economy generally. I am convinced that with the right strategic approach and positive collaboration from all of the players, the beef sector in Ireland has a bright future.”

(https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/press/pressreleases/2014/april/title,74954,en.html)

Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage
Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage

All the while, loss of habitat is causing devastation!

Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood
Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood

Friends of the Earth, (FOE), have called on the Government to do a full Strategic Environmental Assessment of Food Harvest 2020. 

Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden
Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden

Other groups raising concerns with Food Harvest 2020 include:

The Irish Climate Justice Group

The Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.

Friends of the Irish Environment and Allies

Buddha at Bealtaine
Buddha at Bealtaine

The European Commission has announced it is launching an investigation of whether proper procedures were followed.

The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs...
The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs…

Each and every photograph I post here on this website is taken at Bealtaine Cottage.

Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds
Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds

These three acres of abundance exist because I took the cattle off the land.

The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage
The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

I would like to invite Minister Simon Coveney to Bealtaine Cottage to see what happens to land when it is allowed and nurtured  to re-generate!

The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!
The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!

We need, as a nation, to cherish our land and protect it for future generations.

Sammy by the pond
Sammy by the pond

We need to produce more Organic Food for our people rather than importing it…that means fruit and vegetables and grains!

Bealtaine Angel
Bealtaine Angel

Oh, by the way Minister…you may call it Food Harvest 2020, but, I and many like me, do not eat beef…not much food there then!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Childhood, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Fairies, hens, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Spring

Sustainable Food Revolution

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Living in a time when the cost of food is rising day on day, it might be time to re-think the lawn! This is what Bill Mollison, one of the founders of the Permaculture movement has to say on the subject:

Bill Mollison

“. . . every society that grows extensive lawns could produce all its food on the same area, using the same resources, and . . . world famine could be totally relieved if we devoted the same resources of lawn culture to food culture in poor areas. These facts are before us. Thus, we can look at lawns, like double garages and large guard dogs, [and Humvees and SUVs] as a badge of willful waste, conspicuous consumption, and lack of care for the earth or its people.Most lawns are purely cosmetic in function. Thus, affluent societies have, all unnoticed, developed an agriculture which produces a polluted waste product, in the presence of famine and erosion elsewhere, and the threat of water shortages at home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Climate, Country Living, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality

As Long As The Earth…

www.bealtainecottage.com
As long as the Earth can make a spring every year, I can. As long as the Earth can flower and produce nurturing fruit, I can, because I’m the Earth. I won’t give up until the Earth gives up.
Alice Walker

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

I’m writing this between lighting the stove, going in and out to the barn chopping wood and getting my breakfast together.

DSCF0915Much of the wood I save and stack in the barn is collected from the ground beneath trees after a storm…it’s amazing how much timber for the stove can be foraged in this way. 

DSCF0892I’m so delighted with this lovely gift from friends…

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Thank you my friends Nick and Danielle for this funky new birdbox, created by Nick from driftwood!

DSCF0889Steps have been taken to avoid the one big bill, from the one mains service, coming into the cottage…electricity!

This is a Pay-As-You-Go-Meter, that also monitors usage and allows one more control over the utility.

I have managed to keep this week’s usage to just under ten euros!

I would recommend this as a way of taking more responsibility for one’s little bit of Earth.

It was free to install!

DSCF0894I’m weather-proofing all the wood around the cottage…with a selection of colours, some donated, some bought and mixed with leftovers, so Bealtaine Cottage will take on a different, more interesting hue!

DSCF0890Lavender is the colour of the day…with blue here and there.

DSCF0900One of the great things about cottage life is the simplicity of design…if it’s made from natural materials, then it doesn’t look out of place.  

DSCF0898I love colour!

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DSCF0895It seems a natural decorating choice for cottage living…one lovely eclectic mix of whatever it is one scavenges!

DSCF0905Blossom is out on the Ornamental Plum…

DSCF0911The sickly little Peach tree in the tunnel shows blossom for the first time ever…it has taken me four years to nurse this little gem back to life.

It was rescued from the rubbish skip at Lidl, where it had been dumped after being snapped in half.

DSCF0904This is a new bed I wanted to share with you…it’s another one of my experiments here at bealtaine Cottage.

The tyres are protecting the bed from the East and North , allowing the solar energy to be kept in the bed.

As the land is on a north-facing slope, any rain runs off the tyres downhill towards the north, thus leaving the bed clear from any run-off.

The tyres are well-weathered and already covered with mould.

This was a compost heap from last year.

I shall keep you updated as the growing season progresses.

DSCF0916And finally, a reminder of the thin soil that made up this land ten years ago…this is how close the bedrock is to the surface in many places all over the land here.

DSCF0917Tree-planting here has ensured a future unrealized before now…everything is possible! I cannot stress enough the importance of a Nursery Bed like the one seen here…grow, grow, grow! Then plant, plant plant!

Old church pew at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

“Husband the earth.

Protect
her from greed and violence.

Build
humbly, plant trees, grow flowers and clothe her
with dignity.

Respect all her creatures.

November 2012 005

Honour her
natural laws and the universe which cradles her.
Above all, heartily worship the Source of All that is.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

This world needs secret heroes!

Be brave, speak the truth,
heal the sick, make peace.

Be strong, serve patiently, love
generously, live simply.

Enjoy fellowship, eat and drink modestly,
celebrate the festivals.

Missy Cat asleep at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Breathe deeply, sing and make music,
walk often, cycle and recycle.

Be thrifty, prefer cashflow to
possession, give good measure.

Let your work be your prayer.

Porch and sitting room at Bealtaine Cottage

Put on the whole armour of light!

Unearth the beauty in
everything.

Inhale the Spirit of Goodness.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Kindle kindness,
especially toward yourself, embracing the sweet
silence of your own soul.

Fear nothing.

Accept
what you are and — while you have
breath — give thanks.”
~John Rogers

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

The Best Medicine!

www.bealtainecottage.com

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.

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

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Current Affairs, E.U., Ecology, GM Food, Monsanto, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds

A Grievous Sin

midwinter cottage 012The biggest threat to our food security lurks in the shadowy depths of the Halls of Power…the buildings housing the European Parliament in Brussels.

www.bealtainecottage.com 037You may or may not be aware of something called The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

www.bealtainecottage.com 002TTIP is a trade agreement presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006In my estimation, this will allow full and unfettered access to our food production, from multi-national corporations, such as Monsanto, that carry the weapon of GMOs.

Polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens in April 2013I call this manifestation of utter madness, GMOs, a weapon, because that is precisely what it is…and a weapon that will cause more devastation to the environment than anything concocted in laboratories ever before!

An early bee in April 2013 at bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensThis is already the case in the US, as small farmers, producing Organic food, are hauled before courts accused of property rights violations by Monsanto.

April 2011. Permaculturecottage 001Monsanto claims ownership of any plant material infected by their GMOs!

April 2011 Earth Day at bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensOnce this insidious and odious polluted seed of mass destruction is unleashed into the environment of Europe, supported in Law by the TTIP, then the takeover will be fast-tracked by our own governments, who are mandated by us to protect us, not US Corporate interests!

April  Bealtaine Cottage PolytunnelThe countdown to the ultimate weapon of mass control and destruction is under way.

April 2011 Bealtaine 001You need to know what is happening.

April 2011 Bealtaine 011Knowledge is power.

April 2011 Bealtaine 003For my part, I will not comply with any law that says a corporation controls and profits from the very essence of life itself…seed.

April 2011 bealtaine Cottage 042For their part, all they have done is take the seed of the Divine Creator and pollute it.

April Bealtaine Cottage 2011 004That, in my eyes, is a grievous sin.

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… http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!

No More Seed Available At Present!

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              Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
                                                    There are almost 800 blogs in the archives on this site.

I write, photograph and film, in a small way, to give a voice to Mother Earth.

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

Permaculture Gardens

www.bealtainecottage.com

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…