Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Books, care for the earth, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Permaculture, photography

Morning

The first week of July and there’s a feint scent of Autumn in the air this morning.

The morning brings a quiet and gentle beginning to the day, untouched by the continuing perplexities of man.

IMG_2384IMG_2385“Man has drawn artificial lines on the chest of the Mother Earth, which have no significance, except for the sake of war and clashes between countries. The soil seems to be the same, the trees the same, the grass the same, and the fragrance of the air, the smell of the earth the same.”
~ Girdhar Joshi

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Yes it is…all the same…at most times hard to believe when one watches the circus of life on MSM.

IMG_2388Bread and circuses, but we all know and recognise real life.

IMG_2417It has a colour and fragrance all of its own.

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“The earth is a mosaic, and most fail to notice the gossamer tesserae floating down from the realm of the mind that form its images of beauty and horror.”
~ Lawren Leo

IMG_2423If you would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, completely dependent on people who value what I do, here’s how…
The Book… https://bealtainecottage.com/a-cottage-and-three-acres-the-bealtaine-story/

 
 You can also pay by cheque, made out to Colette O’Neill and posted to:
Bealtaine Cottage
Ballyfermoyle
Keadue
Boyle
County Roscommon
Ireland
Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Summer, Uncategorized

Midsummer Rising

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Farewell Bealtaine!

Rising on the last morning of Bealtaine and looking out the window of the lodge to be greeted by mist and sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe heat of yesterday rose in a mist over the valley and mountains beyond.

www,bealtainecottage.comRising towards Midsummer is a most magical time in the west of Ireland.

Between the rain and the sun, the jigs and the reels, the land has grown a mantle of green.

www.bealtainecottage.comFestivals are held in every village as birds, from thousands of mile away, fly low over the feeding grounds of this small island. www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer customs prevail in much of Europe and certainly here in Ireland, where the traditional bonfire is part of the celebration.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe fire is lit exactly at sunset on the eve of the solstice and celebrations continue until sunset on the solstice itself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe sense of abundance is quite tangible and visible at this time, helping to create a celebratory atmosphere.

www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer  was seen as a time when the veil between this world and the next was thin, and when the spirit of the land itself held sway.

This is encapsulated in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

www.bealtainecottage.comThis year I shall be lighting the Midsummer fire with wood cut around the time of Midwinter, in honour of my  Mother.

www.bealtainecottage.com It is a time for gathering and spending time together and a celebration I look forward to…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I walked I the gardens this morning, there arose a great sense of peace and harmony, again something which seems to be released from the very Earth herself each year, at this time of ascension to Midsummer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of a good harvest holds firm as the beautiful weather continues.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere is one of my favourite quotes by Carole Carlton…

“The festival of the summer solstice speaks of love and light, of freedom and generosity of spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a beautiful time of year where vibrant flowers whisper to us with scented breath,

www.bealtainecottage.com (2)forests and woodlands hang heavy in the summer’s heat and our souls become enchanted with midsummer magic.”

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 For magical crystals…

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For seeds…

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For Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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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 Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Birds, Climate, Earth, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Spring, Thoughts, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Warm,Naked Earth

DSCF1040The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

…except, in Permaculture gardens, little is naked, most is covered, yet the earth beneath the green mantle warms just the same.

DSCF1042April has set Spring firmly in place, with early sunrise and birdsong to lift the dullest spirit!

DSCF0999The boys awaken to the sunshine…

DSCF1006Honesty comes into flower…

DSCF1005Ribes sets the bees buzzing…apparently the Bumble Bee is losing numbers here in Ireland, as well as the UK, but certainly not at Bealtaine Cottage…the place is abuzz!

DSCF1016Amelanchier is coming into flower…yet more of the succession planting for the bees!

DSCF1002The playhouse is being transformed into a hen house…an upstairs~downstairs hen house to suit the due pecking order!

DSCF1020I’ve been busy with the brush and wood preservative, making sure that this little house sees another 10 years!

DSCF1009Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel and will keep producing right up until the newly sown Chard is ready to pick…so very easy to grow!

DSCF1019Photinia, Red Robin has opened its new leaves…a burst of red!

DSCF1013Perennial Poppy has weathered the frost well!

DSCF1032Quince is in flower against the barn.

DSCF1030These gigantic shells have been moved to hang on sticks driven into the earth, making a contrast to the emerging green!

DSCF1029Spring is bursting forth into a riot of greens, as the first Cuckoo of the year heralds its summery arrival…earlier than last year!

DSCF1027The Fairy Wood is a mass of lime green Spurge!

DSCF1046The Lavender-painted Barn takes on a new look, making a wonderful backdrop to Spring.

DSCF1057Newly painted benches are ready to withstand another year of crazy Irish weather!

DSCF1056Primroses emerge in places where birds have dropped seed!

DSCF1039And the warm earth, no longer naked, continues to push forth magic!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, compost, Crafts, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, photography, Spring, Trees

A Day in Early Spring

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Juicing is a great way to ensure one has the maximum of vitamins and minerals and this is something I do every day.
It’s also a reason to keep greens growing all the year around, as even small bits can be added to the juicer and vital vitamins extracted.
I’ve used some small bits of Kale that have escaped the frost and storms.
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There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!
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Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken! Baskets, Fedges and Obelisks are standing here!
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These beds are fairly sheltered and continue to produce Kale, which is processed in the juicer.
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Fine Willow used in basket weaving waiting to be harvested. The gardens look colourful all the way through Winter, as the stems of Willow, Dogwood, Ash and Birch are revealed.
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So much rain has fallen here in Ireland this Winter and now, in the early days of Spring, the flooding has begun to dominate the landscape. Here at Bealtaine cottage I spent much time in the early days digging out drains and water channels, as well as keeping them maintained over the past ten years…and it has paid off, as you can see from the lower pond. The water runs free, out into the streams and rivers that take it to the Atlantic Ocean. 
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In sheltered areas all over the gardens the ferns have remained green, though a little bit droopy. The winter was mild and warm, with plenty of rain!
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This is the beginning of the wood pile for next winter. It comprises of coppiced logs of Birch, Ash and Hazel. The twiggy bits are thrown into the back of the pile as they make wonderful kindling! These logs may be small, but are perfect for a small wood-burning stove!
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I’ve been stocking up on straw recently, as this makes great mulch around the garden helping to suppress weeds and line paths.
www.bealtainecottage.comGreen Beech hold their leaves right through Winter, adding even more colour and shelter to the gardens! 
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And look who’s keeping an eye on me as I type…my loyal Jack!
Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, History, Inspiration, Ireland, photography, Spring

The Enchantment of Belcoo

www.bealtainecottage.com 003It’s late as I write this blog…I really should be in bed, but the beauty of the day has filled me with enthusiasm to share it with you!

I made a journey to Omagh this morning to visit my mother.

The day was bright and the sky clear as I set off on the journey North.

I drove up around Lough Allen, across the border at Belcoo, through Enniskillen and onto Omagh.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005On the way I stopped by Lough McNean at Belcoo.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014 Legend has it that this was the scene of an ancient massacre.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006It’s a strange place, resonating some kind of ancient energy.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The mountains around the Lough stand guard over deep, dark waters that mark the borderlands

www.bealtainecottage.com 022The landscape pulls one in as if by magic, forcing the eye to examine the shadows in search of something…something…some memory of being here before…

Many thanks for the continuing support for the work of this Bealtaine Cottage  website.

Blessings

Posted in Animals, Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Buddha, Cats, celebrations, Childhood, Christmas, Crafts, Inspiration, Life, Personal, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Winter

Midwinter Cottage

midwinter cottage 002

The air is still.
The storm has passed. 
Stillness and silence pervades the cottage.
Jack is in his bed, and the boys continue to doss away the morning in the Lodge.
A midwinter scene repeated all across the northern hemisphere.
midwinter cottage 006Someone remarked on the increasing silence they noticed in the world around them.
Midwinter is a silent time, suffused with echoes and occasional sounds from strange places.
Places that are more difficult to pinpoint on the landscape…it’s a trick played on us by Mother Nature as she paces the dormitories of sleep and hibernation.
midwinter cottage 014Candles illuminate the darkness, dispelling matt grey for moving shadows.
Jingles of Christmas on the radio, some lovely, most rapaciously dreadful, urging the listener to get out now and spend, spend, spend!
And so the radio is switched off and music switched on, low and evocative.
Midwinter enchants us all with memories of stillness and light, fires and food…times past, selected for our personal album of memories.
midwinter cottage 005I found this photograph recently.
It was taken around Midwinter, in a photo-booth in London, when I first ventured away from home and Ireland.
Scents were what I most missed.
The scents of home, like turf and coal smoke, wisping out of chimney pots on rows of terraced houses.
London was filled with new, more exotic scents, especially places like Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning, where Patchouli oil perfume lingered in the air.
midwinter cottage 004Working patchwork, brings me back to early days, in London and the sheer wealth of fabric shops and stalls, Laura Ashley and the love of William Morris retro!
midwinter cottage 007Colours, fabrics and textures continue to fascinate.
midwinter cottage 003Natural fabrics hold most memory…perhaps because they are from the natural world, where energy is hosted.
midwinter cottage 009Sackcloth and old lace cover a jam jar, filled with Honesty.
midwinter cottage 010Cotton gingham of various colours in the kitchen.
midwinter cottage 012Willow, wood and clay pottery, mugs and bowls.
midwinter cottage 015The morning, washed by soft midwinter light…not to be bought and packaged for Christmas, but absorbed by the celebratory soul.
midwinter cottage 013Blessings from this midwinter cottage…
 
Posted in Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Woodland

The Girdle of Green

www.bealtainecottage.com 002An old castle on an island in the forest, not far from Bealtaine Cottage, and where I walked today with my daughter, Cara, whose birthday we celebrated, with a walk through this magical landscape on a glorious autumn day.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007This is Lough Key and the castle once belonged to the MacDermott clan who lived here hundreds of years ago.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003The castle is mentioned frequently in the ancient annals, being a focus for both fighting and partying.

Brian of the Carrick, Chief 1585-92, is reported to be last head of the clan to live on the island.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004 There is reference to Castle Island in the annals of Lough Ce as early as 1184.

During this time the park was called Moylurg and the Kings of Moylurg were the MacDermotts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017The real pleasure lies in walking among the mighty Oaks that guard the Lough.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031This Oak tree was warm and welcoming…an ancient heart holding the history of the land within.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Just resting against this tree made me feel joyous…what amazing energy and strength emanates forth from trees like this!

The mighty  Oak has had importance and great significance to the Celts, from ancient to modern times.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034This is where the ancestors worshipped and held important events in the old calendar, for the Oak Grove was considered sacred.

www.bealtainecottage.com 048Oak trees grow in almost every part of the world.

The Druids made their magic wands from only three woods…Yew, Oak and Apple.

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As the sap begins to drop in the trees and the leaves turn colour, Ivy, that has previously been shaded out by canopy, emerges into its own, as a permanent reminder to us all that spring will return.

www.bealtainecottage.com 057The evergreen girdle of Ivy, on many trees, keeps a host of small birds and insects warm and fed over the dark days of winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 043Similarly, the girdle of Moss, around the base of the mighty Oak, will secure the winter for many small creatures.

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Posted in Art, Climate, Cottage, cows, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality

The Haunting…

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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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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 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.

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You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

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Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bees, Birds, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wildlife

The Quickening

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 002As we approach the Equinox, the sun appears strong and bright in the morning sky, a clear sky at that, gathering together the ingredients for a perfect Autumn day.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 001A day for walking, stopping often and observing the quickening of change, in all that grows and flies.

I watched the Swallows flying high in the clear sky above the cottage…one of many preludes to the incredible migratory flight to Africa.

I looked down, earthwards and noticed the Sedum opening clusters of pink, one of the last meals of the year for the bees.

All is change.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 003All is good, on this calm bright morning.

Tomatoes slowly ripen here on the veranda.

Thank you Tara Angell from New York, for the amazing little seeds these grew from.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 008They’re all over the garden and have become more Irish than the Irish as the saying goes!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 005The spiders spin and weave their magic all over the gardens too.

I hear people say, “Where has the summer gone…is time speeding up?”

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 007Perhaps it is, but my body is more and more in tune with the seasons and time seems almost irrelevant.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 009The morning merges into afternoon and the quickening of autumn  reveals itself in the darker evening…yet to come!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 011If time is the measuring stick of our existence, then we are not living in the present, in the here and now.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 012I often reflect on these pictures I take, and ask myself, “What was I feeling then, at that moment?”

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 015The clock was a horrid invention really…it ticks and measures and makes us panic and fret!

Today, I don’t need a clock or a calendar…I smell the season, I see the time…it’s morning, for the sun shines in from the east!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 016The light has weakened and changed, the summer is behind us.

Flowers on the Buddleia have turned into heavy droplets of seeds for the birds to feast their way through winter.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 017Pumpkins stand to attention!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 019Masses of red berries assure the birds of a kind over-wintering at Bealtaine Cottage, where Nature has bestowed abundance on all living creatures.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 020The lacy cobwebs dance in the morning sun.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 021And the mellowing leaves of the Ribes reflect in the mirror stillness of the water barrel.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 024Time to light the stove and boil the kettle…this is a morning, where stepping back outside, with a mug of tea, seems the only really sensible course of action to take!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 025The light beckons…

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 031Missy observes from under the table…

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 029And I pass through the cottage to return to the gardens…

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Folklore, Garden, Lughnasa, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Celebrating Lughnasa

The carved head of Lugh looks in all directionsLughnasa (earlier, Lughnasadh) was the feast of Lugh.

Lughnasa Lugh, carved by Michael Quirke A harvest festival, its celebration marked the end of the period of summer growth and the beginning of the autumn harvest.

Lugh, carved by Michael Qirke of SligoIts original name does not survive in popular tradition, that being now the common word in Irish (Lúnasa) for the month of August. 

Lugh of LughnasadhThe festival is rather known as the Sunday of Crom Dubh (the god of harvest), or in varying areas as Lammas Sunday, Garland Sunday, Bilberry Sunday, or Fraughan Sunday.

Burlap and lace flower arrangementThe first weekend in August marks Ireland’s changing-of-the-season festival of Lughnasa.

Burlap and lace flower arrangementThe Irish playwright, Brian Friel, wrote the now famous,“Dancing at Lughnasa” which is all centred around the pivotal point in the Celtic calendar, Lughnasa.

Bealtaine flowers at LughnasaThe Celts regarded the Earth as a fertile Goddess, to be nurtured and honoured…a way of living I now follow, as a care-taker and care-giver to Mother Earth.

flowers for MichelleThe gate-keeper to the sanctuary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Lughnasa flowers for Michelle's weddingToday is the final day of summer in the Celtic Calendar…Happy Lughnasa!

 

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Posted in Angels, Bats, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Summer, Trees

An Angel at Sunset

Sunday morning at Bealtaine Cottage

Sun and rain has enabled wonderful growth.

Rocket stove in action The rocket stove has allowed me free tea all day…just a few twigs to boil the water.

Potager beds of abundanceThe Potager beds are filled with plants and new growth, as the seaweed is watered in by the Atlantic rains.

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineLast year’s Blackcurrants are being emptied from the freezer to make this year’s wine.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThe race is on to use the remaining harvest from last year as the summer promises yet more abundance.

sunset in Ireland

The brilliance of this sunset beckoned me out to capture it in photograph and share it with you!

Sunset at Bealtaine CottageThere is a mist descending on the mountain.

Sunset through the trees at Bealtaine CottageThe bats are beginning their night patrol.

Sunset in the window of Bealtaine CottageThe day is almost over.

Angel at sunsetThe sun is setting in the west.

It is 10pm.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 100 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Thank you for supporting this blog

 

 

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 Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Eco-Living, Garden, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Sustainable Living, Trees

Generous Sponsors and Crazy Floors…

Missy and Jack at Bealtaine Cottage

You may have noticed the difference on the blog…lots more photographs, new format and better quality images.

barn at bealtaine cottageI would like to thank some of the sponsors, who have so generously enabled me to pay for all of this…Tracy at Goldkisses Art, Bandon Pottery Ireland,  Suzanne Taylor,  Sharleen Adams, Daniel Raphael, Joanne Louise…and all the rest, Thank You! Your generosity has enabled the work of Bealtaine Cottage…thank you so very much!

My photo allowance with WordPress had reached it’s limit and I was deleting blogs and pictures to facilitate uploading more!

I have now bought the domain of  bealtainecottage.com and purchased more storage space for photos.

The future of this blog is secure for the year ahead. Mosaic tiling kitchen floor at Bealtaine Cottage
So, back to work!

Over recent days I have been hard at it, tiling the kitchen floor…not with any old tiles! No! Broken, unwanted bits of rubbish that was on it’s way to the dump…only to be recycled on my sad old kitchen floor!

Recycled kitchen floor at Bealtaine CottageThe bags of rubbish included some rather nice tile strips and chunks…ideal for star-bursts and spirals…

crazy tiling at Bealtaine CottageIt can be fun trying to be creative with rubbish…and that is the challenge!

laying a mosaic floor at Bealtaine CottageFrom the sitting room side, the floor looks quite acceptable.

cottage on a slate and painted stones at Bealtaine CottageIt has rained all night.

My little cottage-on-a-slate is dripping, as are the painted stones.

clouds on Kilronan mountain from Bealtaine Cottage gardensThe clouds hang over the mountain and the streams gush from the hill behind the cottage.

old milk churn at Bealtaine CottageA friend who lives nearby gave me this lovely old milk churn with no bottom in it…painted Emerald Green with a rust-proof paint.

Pieris, Forest Flame at Bealtaine CottageAnother friend brought me this lovely Pieris to sit inside the churn, in it’s own bed of acid soil from the bog.

permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageOutside, the sound of gushing water dominates the morning air…

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 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 Animals, Birds, Folklore, Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, photography, Wildlife, Winter

When a Fox Comes Calling…

The winter deepens.

We are but four weeks away from the midwinter.

This is a time to leave out food scraps for the birds and mammals facing into the cold short days and bitter long nights.

The plight of hungry animals was literally brought home to me during the winter of 2010.

Snow had fallen on frosted ground.

There was no thaw.

The frozen ground held sway for six long weeks.

One very beautiful, but frozen day, a handsome fox boldly walked up to the back of the cottage.

Food that was put down on the ground for the birds had tempted the hungry animal.

As I snapped these photographs, the fox looked up and stared right at me.

Hunger fuelled courage.

Posted in Autumn, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees

The Illusion of Separateness and Our Sacred Mother

A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe,” limited in time and space.

He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a prison,restricting us to… our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~Albert Einstein

The Earth, once regarded by ancient tribes as the sacred Mother, is , once more, regarded by the awakened mind, as integral to our lives.

I was reminded of this as I walked the land this evening, taking the photos below.

The moon was waxing and the sky crystal clear.

The thought occurred to me that we are not separate…

We are not separate.

We are all connected.

We are all one.

Do you doubt this?

Each time you take a breath, thank a tree!

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Posted in Cottage, Country Living, cows, Crafts, Dogs, Frugal Living, Gardens, Inspiration, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Return of Romance

Simplicity of living is much sought after these days.

There are television programmes and magazines devoted to the simple life.

We are drawn towards images of romantic simplicity…think of all the wonderful books translated into gorgeous films that espouse life before the Industrial Revolution.

I have to admit an interest here, as my most read novel is Pride and Prejudice and favourite film is the translation of that book onto the big screen by Deborah Moggach, directed by Joe Wright.

It is simply exquisite in it’s attention to detail that reflects the beautiful simplicity of everyday life.

And that is what we have been seeking, through consumption, for several chaotic decades now…a return to the simple life.

So, let’s define the simple life.

Well, it is simple enough to define, for it simply means, “less of!”

Yet all the media, while espousing the simple life, cheer-leads us to consume more.

Individually designed Lavender Hearts for sale at Bealtaine Cottage on Etsy

So, I urge you to read the book and see the film.

Within the romantic idealism of past times there sits a very clear message…less is more.

De-clutter your life.

Embrace the sunrises and sunsets.

Open the door of your de-cluttered world to romance and fall in love with Nature.

All good will follow!

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Posted in Country Living, Earth, Ecology, Garden, Permaculture, photography, Spring, Uncategorized

The Stunningly Beautiful West of Ireland

Today at Bealtaine Cottage and the weather was ducking and diving in and out of early Spring! I dashed outside and snapped these pics as it appeared to be early Spring.
It’s late here at the cottage, but I’m posting them to this blog, just to share!

Can you see the low cloud moving up the valley, cutting Ballyfermoyle off from the Arigna Mountains?

How’s that for dramatic?

The stunningly beautiful West of Ireland!

The beauty of bare trees reflected in a barrel of pure rainwater.

I rinse my clothes in this to make them extra soft…

Photinia washed by the soft Atlantic rain…

The beginnings of another willow basket waits for me on the veranda…

Moss clings to the thin slates on the cottage roof. I never clean this off as I think it looks so very beautiful and anyway, the roof manages to hold up well in face of the Atlantic storms that swoop in off the ocean!

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Childhood, Country Living, Fairies, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Poetry, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ The Land of Heart’s Desire

Faeries,
come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the
wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And Faeries
like a flame.

~William Butler Yeats, “The Land of Heart’s Desire,” 1894

Living in Ireland, at Bealtaine Cottage, it is easy to believe in Fairies.

Fairies are invisible and inaudible like angels.  But their magic sparkles in
nature.  ~Lynn Holland

The elemental spirits of Nature are all around…

As a child I was enraptured by the possibility of Fairies and often spent time constructing little altars to Nature wherever I went…arranging stones, plants and sacred things like I have done in the picture above and all over the smallholding that is Bealtaine…

Spread your wings and let the fairy in you fly!  ~

 ~Author Unknown

Princess Edane… heard a voice singing
on a May Eve like this, and followed half awake and half asleep, until she came
into the Land of Faery, where nobody gets old and godly and grave, where nobody
gets old and crafty and wise, where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.

~William Butler Yeats, “The Land of Heart’s Desire,” 1894

And the land at Bealtaine has been softly planted to embrace the possibility of Fairies…always keeping the inner child in mind and mindful of the great force that is Nature!

When the winds of March are wakening the crocuses and crickets,
Did you ever find a fairy near some budding little thickets,…
And when she sees you
creeping up to get a closer peek
She tumbles through the daffodils, a playing
hide and seek.

~Marjorie Barrows

We call them faerie.  We don’t believe in them.  Our loss.

~Charles de Lint

 The Celts…Enya…enchanting http://youtu.be/rGwUpsyDJTk

Fairies…  http://youtu.be/Vu_GyfW_AhI

Posted in Animals, Art, Autumn, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Ireland, photography, Trees, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ Today at Bealtaine Cottage

Missy. Staring wisely through her beautiful cat’s eyes. Such wisdom in that little head…  

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most
inconvenience.  ~Pam Brown   (Indeed…sitting in my seat, I do believe)!

A catless writer is almost inconceivable.  It’s a perverse taste, really, since
it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one
cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the
typewriter keys.  ~Barbara Holland

I bought this painting recently, having been drawn towards it and virtually hypnotised into the purchase…it is old and evokes a sense of 1950’s rural Ireland…and one of my favourite authors wrote expansively about this time…Edna O’Brien.

 Every
artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his
pictures.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

Jack looks over at Missy the cat…yes, Jack, keep watching…don’t take your eyes off her! 

There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking
slowly
Past my chair.
~Rod McKuen

History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man.  ~Percy
Bysshe Shelley

Today I went for a lovely, long walk, down in the old park around what was an ancient house by Lough Key. This is the old stable block as seen through the portcullis…

If one could make alive again for other people some cobwebbed skein of old dead
intrigues and breathe breath and character into dead names and stiff portraits. 
That is history to me!  ~George Macaulay Trevelyan

This is the old family church near where the old house once stood…the roof has gone and the shell of the beautiful old building stands alone…

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Garden, Gardening, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ Today at Permaculture Cottage

The hens are out foraging today.

Autumn is a good time to let the girls out to roam freely all over the smallholding…and roam they do!

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried:  “Look at this Godawful mess.”  ~Art Buchwald, 1970

Bealtaine Cottage 031

Beech planted with Bamboo. 

Close planting is one of the ways to keep unwanted weeds at bay!

If you look closely you can see Cotoneaster planted to the right.

It is easier to thin plants out than wait for them to grow!

Bealtaine Cottage 004

In the true style of the Economic Terrorist I grew all these trees from seed.

That’s what I love about growing and gardens and Nature…there is no consumerism and everything continues to grow.

The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have – and that is a moral problem, not an economic one.

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other.  It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.  Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied… but written off as trash.  The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.  ~John Berger

Testament to Dad…

My father died in April of last year.

Dad loved this smallholding and bought me a sack full of bare-rooted saplings to plant here.

All the Beech trees, including this Purple Beech are a testament to his love for Nature and the environment we make within.

As these trees turn marvellous shades of reds and browns, I smile and remember my father…