Simple Living

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“We’d incorporated Asia into our bones – its colours and laughter, its smells, its rhythms, its tolerance and patience, its compassion, its lack of ageism.”
~ Jane Wilson-Howarth

DSC00922DSC00921DSC00920DSC00915Colour is important to me, as you can see from both the cottage and the garden.

DSC00917DSC00916I am led to infuse it into my daily life, as in the tie-dyed sheet that hangs as a curtain on the old doorway.

DSC00914Sometimes it’s all too easy to go to the shops and buy what is deemed suitable for covering a doorway…usually a door!

DSC00912But, as always, a cottage can be very forgiving and accommodating to whatever furniture or resources one has.

DSC00905A cottage is never in competition with the big, new house down the road!

DSC00906It’s more of a “make do and mend” kind of home, where anything goes, be it period or modern, or just recycled, as is the case here at Bealtaine.

DSC00907As I snapped these photos this morning, my gaze was being continually led outside…and so it should be, for that connectivity is immensely important.

DSC00911I recall living in an old house in Muswell Hill in London and how I loved tending the window boxes beyond the old sash windows. DSC00909How just the simple act of pushing them up and the outside coming in provided a kind of release of energy both ways!

DSC00908The connectivity of life!

 

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A Fireside Chat

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There is much talk about energy and the best way to keep warm.
Last night I arrived back from visiting my mother in Omagh, to a cold cottage.
After walking Jack and feeding the boys, I set about lighting the stove in the Lodge.
Within ten minutes the Lodge was warm and cosy.
I could take off my coat and think about a pot of tea!
www.bealtainecottage.com 001This has got to be the most efficient, and gentle on the planet way, to warm a home, especially using wood from nearby…in my case the land around the cottage.
Why even setting a fire with cardboard is effective and warms the cold air very quickly indeed!
When I lived in London, I was a perpetual Skip Hunter…forever foraging for wood and never disappointed, for the amount of waste in the cities is incredible!
www.bealtainecottage.com 003The kettle sits atop the stove and will be ready for making tea shortly.
Not many gas or oil central heating boilers can do this…for free!
This wood is stuff I collected from the hedgerows.
There is a lot of wood lying around following the storm of last night and it’s just a matter of picking it up!
www.bealtainecottage.com 006Elsewhere in this little Lodge, coziness abounds!
I have started to use the top of the little stove for making soups upon.
The heat is equivalent to that on a gas or electric hob and can be adjusted with regulation of the air-flow.
www.bealtainecottage.com 008The place is toasty warm in a very short time!
Talking of which…making toast by an open fire is the height of luxury!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007This stove only needs a metal chimney and can be installed in a day.
If you can’t install a wood-burning stove, then ensure you make one room in your home as cosy as you can, with a little bed that doubles as a sofa, where you can sleep on especially cold nights.
Here in the Irish countryside there are a lot of splendid looking mansions, all recently built over the past decade.
I doubt if many of them are as cozy and welcoming as this little Lodge.
 
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A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am into a second print run and am posting from today, Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy… https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings X

Orchards and Thunderstorms

New orchard at Bealtaine Cottage

An update on the new orchard at Bealtaine Cottage…the mulch is holding well and the little fruit trees are all bearing leaves and a little blossom too!

The ground beneath the mulching is layered with seaweed.

new orchard at Bealtaine CottageA new path has been created using shreddings from the garden waste and stones dug out from the ground.

A membrane for the path has been cut from builders material, that was on it’s way to a landfill, before I hi-jacked it!

Blackcurrant bushes are ready to be planted underneath the trees and flowers beneath those.

Barn and Potager at Bealtaine CottageThe main drive is to ensure succession planting for the bees.

If this is put into place, then all will be abundant and fruitful!

Meanwhile other work is under-way…re-planting the Potager beds and spreading compost.

About to open at Bealtaine Cottage

About to open at Bealtaine Cottage

Perennial poppies are about to open…these are red and white flowers and quite unusual.

And all this despite the early summer thunderstorms and incessant rain!

Wind Spiral on Willow arch in the permaculture gardens today

Wind Spiral on Willow arch in the permaculture gardens today

Geranium , Bamboo and Willow holds back the Ground Elder…there seems little point in trying to get rid of it as planting equally insistent plants appears to hold it in check!

Yellow Dogwood in the evening sun at Bealtaine Cottage

Yellow Dogwood in the evening sun at Bealtaine Cottage

The evening sun illuminates the gardens and all is still…the prelude to further thunder storms apparently!

Cotoneaster caught in the glare of the evening sun in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

Cotoneaster caught in the glare of the evening sun in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine!

300,000 Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

Irish dresser in the cottage kitchen at Bealtaine Cottage

As more and more people follow this blog and the Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel, one thing is evident. 

Bealtaine Cottage candles in the windowThere is a fast growing movement of people wanting to re-connect with the Earth, grow food, plant trees, secure the future of habitats for bees and wildlife and find their way to food security and a better way of living.

Bealtaine Cottage, Midwinter Something very interesting is happening to the consciousness of many people, for when I started writing this blog, few had even heard of permaculture.

Bealtaine Cottage potager vegetable bedNow, the movement towards self sufficiency, growing food and living richer but simpler lives in harmony with the Earth, is snowballing faster than anyone could have predicted.

Bealtaine Cottage toamtoes in an old bread binPermaculture is a way of looking at life where everything has an intrinsic value.

Bealtaine Cottage potager gardenWhere throwing anything away seems utterly ridiculous, as we come to the realisation that there is no ‘away’.

Bealtaine Cottage lettuce in the potager garden

We are here on this beautiful planet for a very short time.

Bealtaine Cottage Missy on the benchProbably just enough time to begin to appreciate what we have and what we must protect for those to come.

Bealtaine Cottage plant nurseryThank you for visiting Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage Celtic crossYou give me the reason to keep photographing, filming and writing…Bless you all!

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Ideas for Christmas on a Budget of (almost) Zero!

Christmas presents…simple painted stones that make paper-weights, door-stops or just lovely ornaments.

Here are some I made earlier!

Decorative Hearts made from scraps of material and stuffed with wool.

These make great presents and are easy to make.

Totally recycled too!

A cottage on a slate…simply stones glued onto an old roof slate, together with a mossy roof and a little painted door and window…beautiful and unique!

Make your own willow wreath and decorate it with ivy and pine cones…you’ll find instructions on how to make this on this site…

There is nothing nicer than receiving a beautiful table display for Christmas.

Scour local charity shops for a bowl or container, fill it with florist’s oasis and insert as much seasonal greenery as you like…with water in the oasis, this is guaranteed to last well into the New Year!

A few pine cones picked up in the woods and sprayed gold or silver will just top it off!

Hand-made gifts of jam, wine, sweets, woolly hats…be creative!

Who wants the same old chain store rubbish anyway?

Permaculture Living in the West of Ireland

Permaculture is a way of life.

It is the way of life here at Bealtaine Cottage and has been for over eight years now.

Permaculture is about making the most of our resources.

Regardless of where one lives, resources are all around us.

From an old but usable sewing machine to a stove that burns on wood and bakes a cake and heats the radiators and gives lots of hot water and boils the kettle… we are surrounded with abundance if we did but care to look!

The more we plant, the more resources we have.

The more resources we have, the more we can share.

Permaculture helps us to recognize ways of making the most of our resources, like simply insulating all the windows on the north side of my cottage last winter, helped me to make the most of my energy resource.

The simplicity of permaculture is such, that minimizing waste and maximizing potential appear to be one and the same, as one works to compliment the other.

Permaculture is about living in an ecologically sound way, embracing Nature and being able to integrate as much or as little style into that framework as one desires.

We engage in a fully conscious way with the life we attempt to build, ensuring that productivity and care for the environment are together, at the forefront of all planning and living.

In choosing to live this way, we can boast that we leave Mother Earth in a healthier and stronger position than when we first came to live with her!

Is there any other way of living that can say that?

 

Recycling for Profit!

Recycling can be done in many different ways.

It’s not just about pushing used bottle and jars into a recycling bin!

Here at Bealtaine Cottage most of the contents of my home are recycled household items.

I have added to the kitchen  contents with this lovely wall shelving, bought second-hand at the Boot Fair in Carrick-on-Shannon over the weekend.

It cost me 20 euros…a bargain and I didn’t even have to barter, as this was the asking price which I thought was fair, so paid it.

It’s perfect in my kitchen!

I also bought a Bread Bin for 4 euros…in the same colour as I painted the floor.

I never know what treats await me as I forage through the Fair on a Sunday morning…and last Sunday I arrived home with three items for my cottage, the last being this unusual mirror, made from metal and looking slightly Gothic!

It seemed to fit perfectly beside the door to the porch, reflecting the Victorian wash-stand by the opposite wall.

There are so many different and interesting ways to recycle…it’s not just about glass and cans!

Permaculture Harvest Home and Easiest Strawberries Ever!

After a full moon last night, the morning is beautiful.

As I write this the sun has illuminated the interior of the cottage and blue skies are making themselves known.

I’ve just snapped this pic…it’s the view from my desk, so you can see for yourself!

It’s been busy here over recent days as I attempt to bring some of the enormous harvest home.

It helps to have a veranda to sit where I can prepare the blackcurrants for the freezer.

This is a home-made drying rack for the fruit, after it’s been washed in the rainwater barrel.

I have lined it with a piece of bridal veil, sourced from an old dressing up box .

As the weather has turned out so fine, I am making the most of the day by mowing and harvesting some of the grass on the many paths here at Bealtaine Cottage.

This path to the tunnel and compost area is well worn as you can imagine, so I’ve laid a little leftover gravel onto the bare areas.

It stops me from slipping, as I make a dash to the compost with the bucket of waste!

Talking of compost, this was the beautiful sight that greeted me today…Poppies in the compost heap and lots of growth on the potatoes!

This is just the beginning of the harvest.

It will continue for several months and is a very busy time…in fact there are days when the stillness of midwinter seems awfully appealing!

But even as the harvest is brought home, sowing and planting continues as the most of the long days are appreciated.

I have recently sown these, swedes and beetroot…they can be planted outdoors or in the tunnel and make tasty additions to meals later on.

Lastly, a pic of a rather successful and very easy way to get perfect strawberries…I planted these in the hanging pot about two years ago and have had good crops of strawberries with no input what so ever, other than a feed in late spring! I will be planting and hanging lots more here on these Blackthorn tress…a good way of using the vertical garden approach!

Making a Rocket Stove is so very easy!

Today I made a Rocket Stove, using materials scavenged from waste ground…some old concrete blocks.

Many of the instructions up on the web are complicated and involve the use of metal and cutting equipment, none of which I have.

The basic principle of a Rocket Stove, once grasped, allows for more freedom of materials.

Basically, the air is drawn into the chimney, through a corridor of sorts, with a fire set into the base.

The kettle or pot is placed on the top of the chimney, just allowing for air and smoke to escape…in my case I set some pieces of slate on the four corners of the chimney top that the pot then rested on.

Anyway…have a look at the video and you will see what I have done.

The stove uses tiny amounts of wood and is just the most amazing and economical way to cook!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO495ZwdA94&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp