Seedlings, Slugs and Political Shenanigans

On this beautiful day in the west of Ireland…Potting on seedlings, dealing with slugs and enjoying a bit of a rant! When something is not right, then it’s just not right!

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Garden in February (Part One)

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The year in the garden is now well under way, as Mother Earth awakens in a very visible way…not that she ever slept!

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Coltsfoot is one of the first herbs to come into flower, for it flowers before it leafs and a very welcome sight this is!

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Bronze fennel, that most vigorous of herbs and also a brilliant addition to the flower garden, starts to produce tasty leaves that can be added to early Spring salads.

Rocket has over-wintered well in the tunnel and forms the base ingredient.

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Daffodils are now up and beginning to flower.

Daffodils on the hill above the cottage, around an old abandoned dwelling are in full bloom!

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Reminders of Winter come and go, but not for long, sometimes just an hour or two of a light dusting of snow.

Never enough to hold back the advance of the seasons!

But beware the wind chill factor that comes with early Spring and wrap up warm when venturing out to work in the garden!

Rhubarb in a permaculture garden

When the sun does shine, it is truly glorious and plants like Rhubarb spring into exuberant life!

A very hungry plant, Rhubarb eats up a generous dressing of well-rotted manure.

Euphorbia at Bealtaine Cottage

Euphorbia comes into life in the flower garden…here it shares a half barrel with a Fig Tree and both like each other’s company!

In fact, the Fig has fruited well year on year since getting a new bed fellow!

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An old but treasured book is always at hand to delve into for advice on seasonal food, gardening and outdoors work!

I wonder if this little gem is still in print?

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Beautiful catkins on the Hazel trees…flowers in fact!

Bealtaine Cottage frogs in the pond

The pond is filling with frogspawn and clumps of frogs celebrating the turn in the year as only frogs can!

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Out in the hen-house the girls are in touch with the growing of the light as they come back into lay!

Fox in the garden at Bealtaine Cottage

Mr and Mrs Fox are hungry and on the prowl! I often lay out food at night for the foxes, for the way I see it is simply this: we have interfered with the food chain by removing the animals that would have predated upon foxes.

This is my way of attempting to live in harmony as best I can…and ensuring that the girls in the henhouse are well protected!

Part Two  of THE GARDEN IN FEBRUARY can be found on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, YouTube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

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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…

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Permaculture Garden

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Tonight’s Podcast from Bealtaine Cottage is all about  building a polytunnel, pruning shrubs, taking cuttings and preparing your tunnel for winter.

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Blessings X

Ascending Towards Midsummer

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This is not colour enhanced, but the vivid colours between storms here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe buds are still thickening, yet the life is visible in the stems, sky and emerging green…isn’t it simply wonderful to be able to witness the Spring as it progresses, slowly, tentatively through the landscape?

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the skyline above the Arigna Mountains, with a Rainbow, flopped over the ridge of the hill!

I watched this from the window, then rushed out with camera in hand to snap the moment!

www.bealtainecottage.comI feel blessed to be a part of the Spring, waking earlier, walking for longer and working in the tunnel in my dressing gown!

www.bealtainecottage.comShowing some wonderful garden visitors around over the weekend, reminded me of the reasons why I write and talk about Permaculture and the simple way of life…it lifts my heart to be a part of it!

As we walked the land and into the Fairy Wood, the sight of all this bright green Spurge ignited a passion for woodland in us all.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Celandines are so bright and golden as to seem unreal…but that is the wonder of Nature, Mother Earth…too beautiful!

www.bealtainecottage.comThere is work to be done too, but all to the beat of the weather…weather-proofing all the wood around the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLavender is the colour, soft on the eye, but tough and resilient!

www.bealtainecottage.comExcess donations to the website renewal were used to pay for the wood preservative…so bless you one and all, Friends of Bealtaine XXX

www.bealtainecottage.comMy right arm hurts from all the painting, but it was in desperate need!

The heavy rain we get in Ireland can ruin buildings if they are not looked after!

www.bealtainecottage.comI watched this small slug acrobat his way onto the potting table in the tunnel…on a long thin thread, like a spider!

So, that’s how they do it!

www.bealtainecottage.comGeranium is coming into leaf and exploding green under the apple trees…a good companion plant for keeping weeds at bay!

Bumble bees are in busy flight all across the gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe light grows in intensity, day on day, fading into the west way after nine o’clock in the evening.

www.bealtainecottage.comOn a clear day, the heat can be quite intense…

www.bealtainecottage.com…as the sun continues its ascent towards Midsummer.

Blessings to you all XXX

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The Best Medicine!

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Lists are great things to spend time on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby Chard

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard

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

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

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

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

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

to keep the weeds down.

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

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

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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!

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Seed the Future!

Propagator at Bealtaine CottageIn my small attempts to stand up to the Ecocidal Monsters of this world, I often feel like David (of Goliath fame), and then I am reminded of the massive opposition to Government and Corporate plans to control our planet and all the life therein!
Polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens in April 2013Amazing people like Elena from Greece, who posted seeds to me  last year…one of many subscribers to Bealtaine Cottage who is doing incredible work in protecting our Seed Sovereignty, without which we have NO future at all! home made polytunnel at Bealtaine CottageElena has written to me to inform us all about what is happening in two days time!
veranda at Bealtaine CottageElena writes:I am writing now to tell you that on January 20th there will be a big demonstration outside the European Parliament in Brussels about the forthcoming seed laws (maybe you already know this, of course). Activists from all over Europe  are coming to Brussels to be there, and events are being organised around Europe on that day. I will be coordinating the Athens events – a demonstration outside parliament, all urban farms open and giving away seeds/seedlings/information packs, hopefully some media coverage, as well as Greek blogs posting something relevant to seeds on that day (a movie, a small piece of text, etc)…
I thought that maybe you could also write something specifically for seed freedom on that day, as well – although I know that you have written so much already!
have a very happy new year
with blessings from Athens
xxx
Elena
Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 003Our struggle to keep our Seed Sovereignty is ongoing, despite the small successes we have had in various government buildings.
Aug 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008The problem is there is so much wealth tied up with seeds, food and food production, the Corporations are seeking total control!
April Bealtaine Cottage 2011 004Understand that this struggle is an ongoing battle to keep the seed!
Aug 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008I have harvested seed, like this Leek seed, here at Bealtaine Cottage for almost ten years.
Green fennel at Bealtaine CottageI allow all the plants to seed themselves and I harvest seed every year…No government will stop me!
July permaculture 2011 008No law will prevent me posting this seed to all the world.
July 2011 Permaculture Cottage 014This is the year for you to take your future into your own hands and save seed, share seed, gift seed and talk about the seed…it is your future, it is my future.
Without it we are slaves to tyranny!
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There is a wide selection of seeds available here at Bealtaine Cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 030If you would like some Bealtaine seeds for your own garden, then click on the link at the very top of the page.

A Year at Bealtaine…part 3

Poppies in Permaculture

2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe potager beds were extended and two more were constructed.

angel at bealtaine cottageAquilegia and Valerian ignored the seasons and came up together, surrounding the porch with delicate shades of pink and purple.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt was a frenzy of colour!

roses on verandaThe roses made their appearance on the veranda, more abundant than ever!

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodMy friends Terri and Lol brought me masses of seaweed from their beautiful Clifden in Connemara and it was spread all over the potager beds!

Sammy Bear and meSammy-Bear turned from a rather naughty kitten into an even naughtier cat!

Roses at Bealtaine CottageVisitors had to dodge the low-hanging flowers and…

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottageemerging fruit!

bird bath in pollarded Sycamore at Bealtaine CottageBird baths were sat into trees for the rather hot birds…

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineand Blackcurrant wine was started off in the glass carboy.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThen transferred to a demijohn to sit out the next few months on the kitchen windowsill.

Roses at the back of Bealtaine Cottage todayThe heat of summer continued and the well ran dry!

Bealtaine Cottage signBealtaine Cottage basked in the sun and heat, as I carted water up from a spring well lower down the land.

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage todayRose petals fell like confetti all over the veranda…it was lovely!

bealtaine Cottage this eveningOx-Eye Daisies flourished everywhere!

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageSammy-Bear cooled off by rolling in the dirt path in the tunnel and getting absolutely filthy!

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageChe-Mousey found a cool spot in the shade of the laurel arch.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningIt was sheer abundance!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.And the summer rolled on…

Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!

Blessings from Bealtaine XXX

Images on the First Morning of Lughnasa

bealtaine Cottage windowThe first day of Celtic Autumn has arrived.

It’s cool.

Last night seen the hot water bottle come out of storage and be filled.

Rudbeckia at Bealtaine CottageRudbeckia has opened its beautiful deep orange petals…a marker of the time of year. This has been grown from seed, this year.

I started it off in the tunnel in February, from seeds I collected last Autumn.

Sammy-BearAs I walked the gardens, Sammy-Bear walked in front of me, finally stopping in the tunnel and rolling in the dirt!

Sammy-BearFor a white cat, he can be a dirty little rascal at the best of times!

Sammy-Bear passing BuddhaOn the plus side, he doesn’t seem to mind the rain, so cleans up well!

bee on Lavender at Bealtaine CottageSeed-saving continues apace and the bees keep up the good work, even on a wet morning like today…

Bee on lavender at Bealtaine Cottage…this is where the tunnel works really well!

purple-Sprouting Broccoli seed headsThese are seeds from the three year old Purple Sprouting Broccoli, still in the pods, drying.

These seeds are big and plump and represent the very strongest, biggest, most productive and oldest of the Purple Broccoli.

Monsanto eat your heart out!

Pom-Pom Dahlias at Bealtaine CottagePom-Pom Dahlias are making a show of themselves.

This is the first year I have grown these.

Buddleia growing in two tyres at Bealtaine CottageThis Buddleia was grown from Bealtaine Cottage seed and planted in the tyres two years ago.

Lunaria seeds drying on the veranda of the Lodge Many followers of Bealtaine cottage ask me for Lunaria (Honesty) seeds…and here are some drying on the veranda of the Lodge, hung up last evening.

This is a nice airy place to start off the drying process, though I may need to bring them indoors, if the wet weather prevails for much longer.

Apple havest at Bealtaine CottageThe Apple harvest continues to delight as the fruit appears so healthy and untarnished for another year.

Apple harvest at Bealtaine Cottage, IrelandI NEVER spray my Apple trees, or, for that matter, ANY of the fruit trees, and am rewarded with a bountiful, healthy crop year after year!

Truly Organic!

Leaves of the Crocosmia MontbretiaThe rain settles onto the leaves of the Crocosmia Montbretia, a beautiful harbinger of Autumn!

Bealtaine CottageA pot of tea beckons…

Sammy-Bear CatSammy-Bear is sad to see me go indoors…

 

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