I came to a little cottage in an unfamiliar place in the west of Ireland ten years ago… I was a very different woman then.
I rarely questioned the matrix that was my life.
Much has passed.
Much of me is gone too.
The years here have seen a new woman emerge, one who would have been barely recognisable to me all those years ago.
Bealtaine has sculpted me, hollowed out the fear and uncertainty, re-shaping and moulding me into someone very different.
I have journeyed back to the Mother.
I now live my life to serve the interests of Mother Earth.
I love to listen to Mother Earth, to be close to this higher power and live in awe.
I love to walk with her through seasons, work to help her overcome and, little by little, day by day, let the Goddess in.
What began as a journey into Permaculture, has transformed and taken me deeper into the heart of Sacred Earth.
There is much for me to understand and connect with, for to be in communion with Mother Earth is what energizes me and fills me with joy.
If you decide to continue this journey with me, I welcome you.
I care deeply about her restoration to health and beauty and need to listen to her heart.
What is here has grown from love and respect.
And as if Mother Earth
heard my despair, she has worked tirelessly overnight making the compost heap look beautiful…I laugh out loud in joy!
This morning as I spread compost and seaweed on the vegetable beds, before mulching down with cardboard and straw, I ponder on putting the exposed earth to bed for the winter…this makes me feel as though I am nurturing the great Mother.
It is all I can do to help assuage the horrors of what Man does to her!
The big tidy-up is important, before the wind and rain sets in…and what a lot of tidying to be done!
Just in case you thought anything about where the compost toilet is emptied…in these neat bins, holes drilled into the bottom of each, no smell, no flies and thoroughly sustainable on site!
Cutting and chopping Willow to store for burning…as Charlie supervises!
The Lime trees have begun to shed their leaves.
The bees continue their daily forage in and around the Nasturtiums.
As the seaweed dries out, all these lovely shades of autumn emerge…
Let peace rise up as the Michelmas daisies around Buddha…my mantra for today.
Tend Mother Earth…in this time of destruction…it’s the best we can do!
Bill Mollison once said, “I teach self-reliance, the world’s most subversive practice. I teach people how to grow their own food, which is shockingly subversive. So, yes, it’s seditious. But it’s peaceful sedition.”
Applying design to growing makes for good permaculture.
As Ireland endures a wetter and wetter climate, constructing vegetable beds on the top of gravel helps to counteract the worst elements of flooding.
Beds are raised and paths are lowered, allowing for good drainage on this north facing slope.
As seeds emerge and gain strength, I gently tease them out and pot them on, leaving space behind for the next swathe of emerging seedlings.Rhubarb fills out a Spring bed, with Raspberries coming along next in seasonal line!
The Summer fruiting Rhubarb lies protected under this mound of straw…excluding light from emerging weeds.
And here’s the black gold…home made compost. As all of the gardens are on a north-facing slope, the tyres do not interfere with the quality of the compost, just protects the heap from the east and north weather systems…particularly cold!
You can see one of the six bins used for compost toilet waste re-cycling tucked in on the right of the picture.
This makes great planting compost for trees!
Have a good weekend everyone.
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…
Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!
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!
Into the kitchen for a warming cup of tea after spending the morning cutting back brambles in a bid to open up another part of the land. Autumn continues and there remain quite a few leaves on the trees.
Missy cat…staring at Jack in a sort of threatening way…The autumn sun shines silver into the sitting room…I love this season for the soft silvery light.
Jack makes sure he stays in his little home in the porch…he knows that Missy is not allowed in without his say-so!
Lime trees have almost completed their leaf drop, feeding the earth for another year.
November has stayed relatively mild and warm, so many of the trees are showing off their colours a little longer!
Manure from the hens has been spread on the vegetable beds…hoping for massive pumpkins next year!
Here’s the link to Part 1 of a Tour of the Permaculture Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage
I am in love with the green earth ~Charles Lamb
Living in the country is a never ending adventure in Nature…
I love writing about this life in the west of Ireland…
However, everyone who lives on this beautiful Earth has a deeply rooted connection with it’s spirit.
The spirit of Gaia!
The day, water, sun, moon, night – I do not have to purchase
these things with money.
And this is true for all!
Bringing in the harvest, bit by bit and cooking it, bottling it, freezing it, jamming and pickling it… And the thing is, there is a huge harvest in the hedgerows this year due to the brilliant Spring we had here in Ireland…so there’s food for all, just waiting…
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is
to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone
with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and
that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple
beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace
in all troubles. ~Anne Frank
This is a good time to divide and plant up house-plants…they make fantastic Christmas/Yuletide gifts and are imbued with all the love you have given them! What better gift?
Sunlight floods in…I love mornings like this!
The less clutter around the better life you find, especially in the simple things…at least that’s what I’ve found to be true!
Find peace and joy and contentment in the Natural World! Go out walking…
GROWING THE BEALTAINE PROJECT ONE UPLOAD AT A TIME…
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.
September 1st 2011.
Rain. Water. The water of life. Thank you for watering Bealtaine today.
Monday morning, balmy, warm and bright. Midsummer has passed and the work outdoors continues unabated. Sheds to be cleared and painted, as well as fences to be fixed and preserved. Lots of blackcurrants still to be harvested…
Mum celebrates her 81st birthday this month and is staying with us for a holiday. Flo is on permanent holiday! mum loves the animals to be close-by and finds great comfort in them. So, she sleeps contentedly on the bed, watched over by Flo, the rescue babe…it’s a joy to see them both in their shared happiness. Long life to them!
Dog Daisies, regarded as a weed, are blooming all over the west of Ireland at present. This is a clump of them near the back of the cottage. Allowed to grow each year, they will begin to form a little colony and eventually become a part of the flowering season, like these!
Blackcurrants ripening…soon time to begin harvesting…cordials and wines will be on the top of the list to make from these this year. Since becoming Vegan I am aware of the importance of good quality food and drink and am developing a fondness for cordials. The Elderflower cordial at the moment is being snaffled by visitors, so am having to step up production! I have yet to make Blackcurrant Cordial, but am looking forward to learning and doing!
Here is the recipe for the Elderflower Cordial
It’s so very simple!
30g citric acid
1 litre water
Coll boiled water. Add Elderflowers & citric acid. Leave for about 48hours, strain, add sugar. Dissolve sugar, keep stirring. Bottle.
This recipe was given to me by a Permaculture Visitors to Bealtaine, Derek and Mary, who left me a bottle of the cordial and I was well impressed! It keeps for a year and more…if you have that much willpower! I use glass bottles, the screw top kind
Continuing to empty the freezer of last summer’s huge harvest of black and red currants…so, it’s more wine on the make!
Colours in the gardens continue to develop with very little need for flowers…and those that are in bloom are strong perennials that are here to stay!
Roses hang heavy around the veranda. Valerian comes up through the gravel, astounding me year after year…where does it get its food from?
The colours and shadows of summer begin to play with the light on the window ledges.
I now add the yeast to the must and it makes a real difference in the fermentation process of the wine…speed it ip considerably!
The roses hang heavy on the veranda trellis, spurred on by copious amounts of soft rain and sunshine…Today at Bealtaine.
And furry little balls of new peaches start to look important on the tiny, new tree in the tunnel…Today at Bealtaine.
And the small Nectarine tree, also in the tunnel, showing off with an abundance of fruit on its two year old branches…Today at Bealtaine.
The girls are laying and all is well with the world…well, at least at Bealtaine. Willow, willow, everywhere…it dries out magnificently and creates such a heat in the stove.As I type this the pasta is boliling on the stove fired up with wood I collected on the land today as I tidied up…and harvested the grass.Another little drop-in…picked up at the Boot Fair for one euro…sorta meant to be here!Ah! An antidote to the nonsense that is the royal nuptials…Bealtaine on the almost eve of Bealtaine!
The delicate an exquisite flowers on the Dogwoods are beautiful close-up. For colour all winter, flowers in summer and berries during the autumn, dogwoods are hard to beat.Wildflowers…the most delicate and delicious blooms at Bealtaine Cottage…Elderflower Cordial, mmm!The time of the butteflies is very near. Last summer seen a huge upturn in the butterfly population as the garden matured. This summer should be good for butterflies too, although some of the buddleia was killed off in the prolonged frost of last winter. Seed heads from last summer. All so-called weeds are in fact valuable herbs, some of which we have not yet found a use for. It’s amazing just how much knowledge we have lost over the post-industrial time, a mere 150 years!
Greening up in the East garden…the sunshine makes it look surreal!
Oh dear…my blog site is playing up, not allowing me to upload pics properly. It’s inserting one pic on top of another and I don’t know what to do! No real speed to connect with much as this is dial-up! Sorry folks…will continue to post!
All I can say is that the pics are all of Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding!
It’s a beautiful morning here in west Ireland. Summer appears to have come early. The mountains look baby blue this morning, caught in a heat haze.
I shall try posting later and hope the problem is fixed. it was the same yesterday evening!
3 acres, over 500 trees.
From monoculture to increasing biodiversity. Gaia now creates her own fertility.
The Water of Life…it is our sacred duty to ensure this supply for all is kept clean, above all else!
Growing food wherever we can helps to keep us healthy and INDEPENDENT!
Biodiversity happens because CHEMICALS are BANNED!
Everyone has choices… I chose Permaculture.
Tulips planted several years ago under one of the many Beech trees at Bealtaine.
London pride growing on either side of the steps. This is a perfect permaculture flowering plant, as it takes over, even in weedy, clay soil. Small bits were planted alongside the steps about 4 years ago and managed to push out the creeping buttercup, which can be very resolute and defiant! London Pride will flower during May and keep it’s flowers for many weeks!
Bealtaine Cottage is beginning to merge into the Spring growth…another few weeks and it will not be visible at all!
Little pots of Sedum are flowering atop the old fireplace at the back of the barn. Sedum is a great plant for enduring dry periods, then flourishing after rain!
Lilac has blossomed in a sheltered corner of the front garden. I pruned this last Autumn, cutting out all the spindley and crossover branches and consequently the blooms are lush.
Lilac today at Bealtaine.
This is growing on the side of a big log of cut wood near the veranda. Some kind of Fungi…not quite sure and am in the process of scouring books to try to find out! It’s soft, like a giant marshmallow and this is the actual size…but it appears to be growing…
Walking by Lough Key yesterday with the Tomster and his mum…well it WAS Mother’s Day and Tommy wanted to give his old mum a treat! …this tree, magnificent in its ancient grandeur.
Standing right up against it, heart to heart, looking up, skywards, through its giant arms towards the sky…it took my breath away!
And the little boat, nestled into the calm stillness of the lough…
And enough Ramsons, (Wild Garlic), to feed the world, growing everywhere in this massive old estate that was…the heady scent of delicate flavoursome food being carried on the cool, evening air…
…with just enough daylight left to harvest the first Rhubarb of the year and…
…make a Rhubarb Crumble, before saying goodnight to the Tomster and heading off out to dinner, Crumble in one hand, home-made Redcurrant Wine in the other…FRUGAL LIVING?…are you kidding?