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 Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Trees

The Storm

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 004

The wind had engulfed the cottage for several days, starting its angry encirclement in the early hours of Sunday morning.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 001

The kettle kept a simmer on the stove for cups of tea to pass the evening in quiet repose.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 011The storm raged for most of yesterday too and now, this morning, the rain falls softly on the trees, hardly making a sound on the roof of the veranda.

Last evening the candles burned as the electricity flicked on and off in little staggers.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 009The stove in the sitting room was lit and I made up a bed on the sofa.

Myself, Jack and Missy kept company as the wind howled overhead.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 020The weather has settled down this morning…just a drizzle of soft rain that keeps a persistence about it.

Work here continues in the tunnel, clearing the beds and digging in new compost for the winter plantings.

Kale, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Chard were planted this morning.

The Garlic will go in outdoors in the potager beds, before the soil cools down too much…it gives them a better start! permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 014The harvesting continues as more and more produce is brought onto the shelter of the veranda.

I will slice and freeze some of the apples, sprinkling them with a little sugar and cinnamon first…this helps to keep them better.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 019One would find it hard to believe that there was a storm at all, looking around the gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage…the benefit of planting over 900 trees; just heaps of shelter now!

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 018The apples are still on all the trees!

Just a few more days until the Equinox…

Here are the wonderful “Moving Hearts” with their classic, played live, “The Storm”

Enjoy!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Roscommon, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living

Moving Forward…

Buddleia in a vaseThere’s a touch of early autumn in the air.

The air is cool and the sun is hidden behind low cloud and even a little mist.

I must admit to loving this time of year!

spinning wheelThe morning is filled with activity as I clear space for my bigger and better workshop addition.

This is all about living as sustainably as possible.

lodge at bealtaine cottageThe Lodge will now be that dedicated space that I have so long needed!

As more and more visitors make their way to Bealtaine Cottage, for workshops on sustainable living and all aspects of permaculture, a space that would define this was needed!

In order to live even more sustainably, I am aiming to install solar and wind power…upgrading the shop and workshop space will help me achieve this goal!

kitchenMoving furniture around is hard going, so I’ve stopped for a cup of tea, as the kettle has been boiling on the stove for some time now.

harvestI have spent some time building a small, sustainable business here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Tomorrow I meet with an advisor from Roscommon Enterprise…wish me luck!

 

You can find Bealtaine Cottage on Etsy… developing the range of Vintage Clothes and Cottage Bric-a-Brac…as well as lots of crafts and jewellery!

shop posterBealtaine Cottage Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BealtaineCottage

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Permaculture Ireland, Roscommon, Sligo

The Romance of Gardening…falling for Gaia

A love story in pictures…

The misty hill of Ballyfermoyle***

Petunias in pot on veranda table***

Entrance to the Fairy Wood***

The Lodge at Bealtaine Cottage***

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage today***

Angel on Midsummer morning***

Bealtaine Cottage sign***

driveway at bealtaine Cottage***Sunset through the trees at Bealtaine Cottage***

veranda at bealtaine cottage***

pealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens***

Pond in May at Bealtaine Cottage***

Pond in the Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage 015

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Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine Cottage***

Angel at Bealtaine Cottage***

Buddha under the Laurel arch at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens***

Mist and trees in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage***

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture***

Bealtaine Cottage 011***

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine Cottage***

bealtaine Cottage in the snow***

Angel in the snow at Bealtaine Cottage

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Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Butterflies, Cats, celebrations, Country Living, Dogs, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Roscommon

The Autumn Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

One of the many apple trees at Bealtaine Cottage, laden with fruit on this glorious September day.

As the nights draw in and the apple harvest swells, we realise Samhain is near.

Autumn is making it’s progress through the beautiful Arigna Mountains and the valley where Keadue nestles near the Castle of Kilronan…a place swathed in mist at this magical time of year.

Walking around the gardens today, I took these pictures to share with you.

Butterflies cover the Buddleia…this is a late flowering one as I planted it out this year, which is lucky for the butterflies as they made a late appearance!

Of course, it wasn’t long before Missy joined me, followed by Flo and Che.

It always feels so nice to walk around the gardens with the little characters who inhabit this sacred space!

Flo is just visible on the other side of the pond, near the standing stone.

She keeps an eye on everyone!

I can only add that we all enjoyed the walk.

 Bealtaine Cottage at Ballyfermoyle, is a beautiful place for sure, but, when the sun shines it is heaven!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Country Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wine

The Rain-Sodden Lushness of Midsummer in Ireland

Harvests are looking good despite the lack of sunshine.

Today, Sunday, is overcast and still.

If the weather is fine tomorrow I shall begin to harvest the Blackcurrants.

It looks to be a mighty harvest…certainly in excess of last year, when over 100lbs were picked…and the birds had their feast along the way!

Redcurrants are cropping well also and most of these will go in the freezer, as I enjoy fruit yoghurts throughout the winter.

The Redcurrants give the impression of jewels hanging on bushes.

I often wonder why more of these delightful and easy to grow fruit bushes are not planted in borders in the garden.

The leaves are a lovely vivid green and look really attractive!

I bought this lovely lamp in a Charity shop in Enniskillen, on my way to Omagh, my home town.

 I was up visiting my Mum on her 82nd birthday last Friday!

She is in great form and looking fantastic!

I must post a pic of her soon!

Happy Birthday Mum! (I’m saying this because she has recently started looking on the net and perusing the Bealtaine Cottage blogs!)

I notice that the flowers are all in bloom on the St John’s Wort bush…they are all open despite the lack of sun!

The Bealtaine Angel silently surveys the Valerian…

I have been gathering big bouquets of Yellow Loosestrife to fill vases in the cottage.

Everywhere the lushness of midsummer continues to hold sway…

Posted in Animals, Bats, biodiversity, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Roscommon, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Reflections on an Irish Hedgerow

Flo has taken over Jack’s home…a girl after my own heart…and poor Jack, he looks so downtrodden!

As soon as he dares to exit the basket, Flo spreads out so as to deter Jack from even getting his paw back in!

I’ve been out looking at the hedgerow and the incredible growth so far this year.

I’ve made a short video that you can click on at the end of this blog.

It’s an observation on how to make the hedgerow deeper and a safe wildlife corridor, as that is what the present day hedge has evolved into.

Indeed, without hedgerows, wildlife are left incredibly exposed as they traverse the land from place to place.

Our own habitats are easy to protect and enhance, but there is nothing so beneficial to the health of the environment as the common hedgerow.

As I spin wool, the hedgerow on an Autumn morning, is spun over with silky threads and webs by spiders inhabiting within.

Last evening it was very warm and balmy, so, I opened the windows in all rooms throughout the cottage. The lamps were lit and I waited for the expected visitors…Moths…but there were none! Not one! I simply cannot understand it and am somewhat bewildered. I stepped outside and switched on the lamp on the west gable end of the cottage…but still, no Moths! So I went looking for the Bats that have always inhabited the eaves of the roof. I love to watch then swirl around the cottage through the night air, feasting in flight, but…none could be seen! What has happened?

So, here is today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaIYfdURBHo

Posted in Current Affairs, Dublin, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Roscommon, Uncategorized

A Permaculture Life in the Country Interview with Tom O’Brien on From Alpha to Omega

Here is the link to the podcast interview with Tom O’Brien who interviewed me for his radio show, “From Alpha to Omega.”

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Culture, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Roscommon, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Ireland under Permaculture could feed Europe!

It is difficult to comprehend, without seeing this photograph, that what is now a lush, abundant paradise, was once a barren monoculture, devoid of wildlife, birdsong and no biodiversity to speak of…

This was Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding on day one of the transformation, only made possible by applying permaculture principles and design.

What you are looking at is the view of the land from the cottage itself.

The transformation has been carried out single-handedly, by myself, aided only by planting, mulching and manuring, again carried out by hand over the course of eight years.

Today I decided to visit the well which feeds water to the cottage. The landscape of the hill behind the cottage remains unchanged, so you can see for yourself how inhospitable the cottage and land first looked…

Click on the link below to watch…

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

Posted in Autumn, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage in the Midst of a Storm, Hugh’s Pews and Shabby Chic!

Missy sits it out…the best a cat can do in the midst of a storm that has raged around the cottage for hours now!

 There is somethinginfinitely healing in the repeated refrains
of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night,and
spring after the winter.
                                                                                – Rachel Carson
The Sense of Wonder

Yesterday, on my way back from the North, I stopped at a Charity Shop and bought this lovely throw for a few euros.

It now covers a multitude of sins on the old sofa and Missy certainly approves of the recycling effort here!

Making use of the wind and all that drying energy means getting a wash or two out on the line!

Try to keep to sheltered areas in a strong wind though!

The wind is pulling the fire in the stove up the chimney really fast and providing a very hot oven for bread baking. It’s handy to have the fuel at the back door.

My brother Hugh made the lovely bench from old Georgian doors, 150 years old! Hugh makes a lot of these and calls them, “Hugh’s Pews!”

This one is ‘Shabby Chic.’

Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2011 011

Haws and Ivy.Some of nature’s mostexquisite handiwork is on a miniature
scale, as anyone knows who has applied a magnifyingglass
to  a snowflake.
                                                                                   – Rachel Carson
..food for the birds!

No need for peanuts if you ‘plant ahead!’

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Posted in Animals, Autumn, Ireland, Permaculture, Roscommon, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland

An Early Morning Walk with Jack along Ballyfermoyle

Jack is my beautiful rescue dog…I usually introduce thus to strangers as a way of excusing his enthusiasm for life…jumping up to greet people!

Jack loves walking, so we go out at least twice a day along the laneway where I live, here at Ballyfermoyle.

I took these photos this morning for you all to see soem of what Jack and I see…

Recipe for Autumn Chutney…easy and you get to choose the fruit!

I used…

  • 1.5kg apples, chopped up in small pieces
  • 80g chopped dates
  • 100g raisins
  • 450g onions, fine chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 350g soft brown sugar
  • 550mls malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • half tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Put all the ingredients into a large pan over a gentle heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for one and a half hours. Stir a few times during cooking.

Pot immediately, but leave to mature for at least a week for the flavours to infuse.

I had some on bread whilst still hot and it’s yummy!

Posted in Culture, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Growing Food, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Politics, Roscommon, Sligo, Sustainable Living, Thoughts

Procul omen abesto! Ovid and the Days to Come…

Far be that fate from us…said Ovid over 2,000 years ago…

The Nursery at Bealtaine Cottage

It got me thinking of all I thought would not happen when I first took up growing…

Potting up in the polytunnel

We would not destroy our lifeline, the soil, for all that is necessary for life lies within…

And yet this is happening all over the developed world, and, everywhere else too!

Did you see the gigantically terrifying Dust-cloud that enveloped Phoenix, Arizona?

Reminiscent of the Dust-Bowl catastrophes of the hungry thirties…

In Permaculture we mulch…and mulch and…mulch! Building up layers of soil and goodness.

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodThere is little need to dig, disturbing the ecological balance of the soil.

weed suppressing with cardboard

The fate that awaits us all is a depleted soil and thence a depleted Earth and this is happening every day in corporate controlled Agriculture…and there is a Land-Grab going on, have no doubt about that!

The Corporate monsters are on the march!

We must all take our positions in making a stand against this and we can!

As consumers we are powerful, very powerful indeed!

Potager bed at Bealtaine Cottage

I was reminded on Twitter this morning of this when reading some of the tweets accumulated overnight and one of them was about buying local, another about imported foods from parts of Africa where hunger is now ravaging the people…think on…

Hazelnuts beginning to ripen here at Bealtaine…this is a food to forage as well as grow and forms a good source of protein for the vegan or vegetarian.

These store well and can be ground or minced and added to burgers!

And a few more words from Ovid…”Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor,” which translated means, simply…”I see the better way, and approve it; I follow the worse.”

We have choices.

We have the power.

Roses at Bealtaine Cottage

We can be the change we want to see…

Posted in Autumn, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture at the Cottage.

SWEET JOE PYE

A perennial, growing near the apple tree pictured in previous blog, it grows tall and flowers quite soon as you can see.  Otherwise known in Latin as Eutrochium Purpureum is a clump forming plant. it can grow to 2 metres high…wow, indeed it does too! The leaves grow to 30 cm (12 in) long and have a somewhat wrinkled texture. Plants  attract a lot of activity from insects that feed on the nectar produced by the flowers.

Mulching

This clump grows well beneath the Copper Beech tree and wedged between it and the Apple tree. I recently mulched around the area with cardboard and straw in oreder to clear some ground for planting out this Autumn.

I once spent Autumn in Toronto in Canada and that was definitely the most gloriously colourful place ever for that season…it took my breath away!

Roses and Willow

Roses, Willow and Copper Beech…some of my favourite plants. I must take lots of cuttings this Autumn and grow these Roses on! I took some last year and they all did well!

Planting Together

Why is it that plants like to be together? They obviously thrive well like this! Perhaps they are aware that they are not alone…

The Butterfly Bush

The white Buddleia near the Barn is coming into bloom. Soon the Butterflies will be around and about!

Posted in Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Roscommon, Sligo, Uncategorized

Permaculture Notes from Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium ), a member of the sunflower family, has been used for centuries in European folk medicine.

This sweet smelling flower is commonly associated as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, and fevers.

The name Feverfew is derived from the Latin word for fever…febrifugia, meaning, fever reducer!

It grows really easily from seed, self-seeding all over the gravel here at Bealtaine Cottage.

This is growing in a pot near the back door of the house, on the southern side.

These are rambling roses, climbing and pushing their way across a willow arch I made to help support them last year.

Roses are best known as ornamental plants grown for their flowers in the garden.

There are several different varieties here, though I don’t really know the names, as I have grown them from slips, mostly purloined from other gardens!

Roses are  used for commercial perfumery and commercial cut flower crops.

Some are used as landscape plants and for hedging.

Although Roses have minor medicinal uses, the fruits, or Rose-hips tell a different story altogether, most famous for the syrup made from them and fed to babies!

This is a little apple tree bought by my mother and planted into a quiet little spot on the land behind the cottage.

The apple is from the species, Malus domestica, in the rose family (Rosaceae).

It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits.

The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, the Alma, is still found today.

There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples.

Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.

This particular cultivar is a miniature apple tree.

At least 55 million tonnes of apples are grown worldwide, annually. China produces about 35% of this total.

The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 7.5% of world production.

Iran is third, followed by Turkey, Russia, Italy and India.

Plants in pots and tubs at the back of the cottage today.

I noticed the birds coming down to feed on the flowers of the pansies.

The red and pink plant at the front is the little plant, Herb Robert.

Another rose growing here at Bealtaine…

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Poetry, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Midsummer at Bealtaine Cottage.

Today is midsummer. The day is grey with low cloud and soft rain…a steady drizzle.

Summer has magically disappeared, just like in the magicians’ trick. Yesterday was a strange day! The clouds appeared to stand still all day long…

The soft rain has settled in drops on the red Perlagonium…Geranium to you and me! Red geraniums are linked in the minds eye with the Irish cottage. The simple, stark, vivid red stands out against the whitewash of the cottage walls. So much of Irish tradition has become subsumed into the vulgarity that was the so-called Celtic Tiger. One would be heard-pressed to find a traditional cottage that is lived in and cared for…most have been allowed to fall back into the ground.

Sweet William

This is the 5th year of bloom for this lovely white flower, planted into tyres around the veranda rose, it never fails to make a show of itself!

Strawberries in Hanging Baskets…
continue to fruit and ripen and be gorged upon!

The Sun Lounger has been temporarily abandoned…waiting for the sun!

Nasturtiums, emblematic of summer…

Delightful is the season’s splendour,

winter’s rough wind has gone;

bright is every fertile wood,

a joyful peace is summer.

-“Maytime,” Irish, 9th Century.

Posted in Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland

The Fear of Trees ~ Why Our Environment is Sick!

If we understood the need for trees on our planet, we would be out planting for our very lives!

This is a realisation being brought more and more to the fore of my thinking.

All that is wrong in our world today can be traced back to our reckless and insane treatment of the environment.

The cost of economic growth in our world has been paid for by Gaia herself.

And yes, I know I sound passionate and maybe even upset, but, then, I am!

The E.U. and Trees!

I once held out hope that Ireland’s participation in the European Union would create a sense of joined up thinking about the state of our sick environment and how we could start to create instead of continually destroy.

That somehow, policy and directives from Brussels would create enlightenment and lead to the wholesale planting of trees on our monocultured island…but recent discussions with someone in receipt of E.U. grants for tree-planting has led me to be very concerned indeed!

Grant to Plant!
In order to qualify for a specific grant to plant deciduous trees, my friend has to agree to plant 2,600 deciduous trees on 3 acres…and I’ve tweeked these figures…DOWN!
Now for those of you who don’t know what 3 acres looks like, have a closer scan of some of the 500 or so posts put up from Bealtaine Cottage.

Sitting on 3 acres, the cottage is surrounded by trees, planted over the course of the past 7 years.

Somewhere between 500-600 trees have been planted, with plans for a further 100-200 in the future.

Can you identify much room for a further 2,000 or so trees?

I conclude that the E.U. does not have a clue, not even an iota of one!

Monoculture Monsters

The state of tree planting here in Ireland can be summed up as inadequate, with the emphasis on monoculture plantations of Sitka Spruce, planted for harvesting, in long, tight rows, where only a huge machine could possibly access the nightmare of environmental sickness.

These trees are planted for money and regarded only in fiscal terms.

Monoculture is the order of the day because the environment is tied into the “Merchants of Greed,” as John Seymour called them…the institutions now viewed as the great destroyers of our country!

And, This Fear…?

Where does it come from?

What is it that makes so many people frightened of Nature?

Where does this desperation to control Gaia come from?

To see trees reduced to gangly, over-crowned sticks that need staking in order to stand up, is a sad reflection on our lack of understanding of our world and Mother Nature.

Trees don’t need stakes if the WHOLE environment in which they are planted is taken into consideration.

There are no staked trees at Bealtaine other than some of the smaller fruit trees that become heavy with fruit and need supporting during this time.

It is this continual need to dominate Nature and control her that causes humanity to fear the environment.

We must awaken to the possibilities of living with her, or, well, I don’t want to go there!

Posted in Baking, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegan

Funky Friday Fotos From…The Permaculture Cottage

Bealtaine this morning…

Got a mega-curry under way…vegan, of course and destined to be consumed over the course of the weekend!

The Red Jewels…

in the garden are redcurrants…to be made into one of the best fruit wines around!

The Kitchen…

has been a hive of activity this morning, with curry, soup and bread all made and stored for the weekend. This will be a ‘no-cook,’ weekend!

Paths…
of Lysimachia Punctata are closing in…not good when it rains…and it’s raining a lot!

Have…

a great weekend everyone. Maybe plant a tree? Be happy!

Posted in Abundance, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wine

The Permaculture Centre in N.W. Ireland. Moving Forward.

Lysamachia Punctata is just opening for its annual display of yellow. This is the 7th year of Bealtaine permaculture. It was pointed out to me recently that Bealtaine is becoming more of a centre for permaculture than any other place in the N.W. of Ireland. There are visitors all year round, as well as students who want to view a mature permaculture smallholding , functioning on a daily basis, producing food and energy, as well as a permacultured home, with permaculture principles adopted as a lifestyle choice.

The weather is warm, encouraging flowers to open. Paths are closing in, demanding my attention!

Considering the fact that there are 3 acres of tended gardens here, the total time spent maintaining these is about 2 hours per day, Monday through Friday. This is the biggest bonus to permaculture growing…once established the gardens require little tending. This is because Nature does most of the work and cutting back become the major task through the seasons.

Good harvests of Blackcurrants are promised. None of the bushes are ever covered, as there are lots to share…no need to be selfish!

Redcurrants are ripening. The Redcurrant wine I made last year was very successful and extremely potent, so I know what these will be used for!

The basic recipe I use, from an ancient book, is as follows:

4lbs redcurrants

4lbs sugar

1 gallon of Spring Water

1 tsp wine yeast

Steep the fruit in the water for 4-6 days, stirring daily. Keep covered with a clean cloth. Strain. Add sugar and stir well. Add yeast. Stir well. Pour into demijohn, insert bung and airlock and place in warm area. When clear and no more bubbles rising in airlock, syphon off carefully into bottles and cork.

Abundance in the polytunnel this afternoon.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Life, Orchids, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vegan, Wild Flowers, Wine

Saturday Morning at Permaculture Cottage, Ireland.

Mum sleeps, guarded by Flo!

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!

The apples have all set really well. These are young Bramley Cooking Apples. The recent rains will allow them to continue to grow and prosper.

Eating apples in the orchards this morning…James Grieve. So far, eleven apple trees have been planted at Bealtaine Cottage, with plans for more this year…dependant on visitors bringing presents!

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!
Elderflower Cordial
50g flowers
30g citric acid
1 litre water
1kilo sugar
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

This beautiful little Orchid appeared on one of the paths and I noticed it this morning.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Fracking, Gaia, Garden, History, Ireland, Leitrim, Lough Allen Basin, News, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Politics, Roscommon, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Ireland and Sacred Earth. Bealtaine Permaculture at the Cottage

I live in Ireland, but then you know that if you’ve been to Bealtaine before.

I live in a very beautiful part of Ireland…and you are probably aware of that too.

I consider the land sacred.

It is our umbilical cord.

It feeds and nourishes us all.

There is a sacredness in the Earth and many are just awakening to this new consciousness.

I came to Bealtaine nine years ago and my journey here has awakened me.

The greatest work we can do is to protect the sacred Earth…that’s it for me, simple as!

I did not expect what was to happen next…

Big Business coming into my beautiful North West of Ireland to exploit the Gas Reserves that lie beneath this sacred land…and, Bealtaine!

Gas?

94 BILLION DOLLARS worth of it!

And the dreaded technology that is still in its awful infancy…FRACKING!

Banned in France.

No understood outcomes…so new…since 2002, so we wait for the accumulation of information and that may be too late for our sacred Earth…What have we unleashed from Pandora’s Box?

Posted in Abundance, Beltane, Country Living, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Just Before Bed…Bealtaine Cottage, West of Ireland

Plums beginning to weigh down the tree. One of the plum trees got silver leaf last year and was cut back hard, so this heavy harvest is welcome.

Flower-less colour by the compost heaps.

The beautiful Sage in flower in the tunnel. My big drive this year is focused on seed saving, hence the amount of tall and flowering plants in the tunnel. This Sage plant is strong and prolific…ideal to save seeds from!

Using Barley straw on the paths of the tunnel has given me an unexpected crop of…yes, Barley! So, more seed! And the hens will have a harvest feast!

Now that the grapes have set it is time to prune and cut back before too much of the plants’ vigour is used up and diverted away fro developing the fruit.

Just as I was leaving the tunnel I noticed the reflection in the water barrel just inside the tunnel door…this is it!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Climate, Earth, Gaia, Garden, History, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Permaculture in Ireland.

Moon in the sky last night over Bealtaine, lighting the way back from the tunnel. the Cuckoo was still calling, even in the dark of the night and light of the moon. as we ascend towards Midsummer, the Cuckoo barely sleeps. I have heard him call in the middle of the night!

The garden becomes a jungle as the rain falls and the sun shines inbetween. Willow is shooting up and all of the trees are rapidly assuming a look of maturity, though they are far from it, being 7 years old and younger!

Permaculture is about connections, keeping mindful of our connections to the Earth, so walking the land is very important. Walking the land at dusk is an uplifting experience, hearing the Blackbird sing the last song of the day. Thousands of years ago our ancestors kept mindfulness of the seasons and the rivers and all that lived thereon. my ancestors, the Celts, believed that all living things had a spirit and God dwelt within all! It is easy to believe that same wonder of understanding…should not the creator be in all creation? An artist paints a picture…ask the artist how much of herself can be found therein?

The logs continue to be stacked in the barn in preparation for winter. Most of the wood is Ash and Sycamore and burns well, providing a good source of heat for the cottage which is sustainable and carbon balanced. I am aware that more and more people here in Ireland are returning to a multi-fuel source of heating for their homes, which can only be a good thing. For too long there has been a reliance on oil and a devaluation of our own resources!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, cows, Culture, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Orchids, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Vegetarian, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

European Monoculture Monsters…The Struggle for Biodiversity. Permaculture and Gaia.

Ferns…some of the oldest living plants in our world.

When I began the Bealtaine Permaculture Project back in 2004 there were few of these beautiful plants anywhere on this land. I remember digging one up in a woodland not far from here and planting it in the small, wannabe woodland that was to become the Fairy Dell…and yes, it is certainly magical! From then till now the population of Ferns on this smallholding has steadily increased each year…

Since the Banking Crisis broke worldwide it has become evident to me just how embedded  the corporations are with western governments and the amount of deceit and corruption that abounds within these structures. All kinds of directives come from Europe in relation to farming that, in my understanding, do nothing more than create Monoculture Monsters. To view the land as an economic farming industry is to do so at our peril…Nature WILL not tolerate what we attempt to ignore for the sake of industrialized food production and ultimately, greed.  “The world has enough for every man’s need, but not enough for every man’s greed!”

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Fairies, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Dog Daisy Afternoon @ Bealtaine Smallholding and Cottage, Ireland

Lots of lovely rain has coloured the water in the Lower Pond a shade of peaty brown. The rain has been so heavy recently that even the spring water which flows into the cottage has been churned up!

Gunnera by the side of the pond is sprouting and growing by the hour. It is surprising that this of all plants survived the bitter cold of last winter. Many of the plants like Escallonia and Eucalyptus died.

The Gunnera is a huge and stunning plant, especially grown beside water.

Copper Beech is planted throughout the gardens on the smallholding and they add a tremendous amount of colour for most of the year. Many are planted along the laneway up to the cottage and each year add another dimension to the look and shelter as they increase in size.

The flowers of the Pine trees are out and each one has this lovely white cobweb under each one. These unusual looking flowers turn into cones…pine cones, and have a delicate yellow pollen that when the tree is shaken the yellowy dust blows off in a cloud…it’s beautiful to watch!

Ivy in the Fairy Dell woodland is growing and hanging in great swirls as the light seeps through before the full shadiness of summer begins.Ivy grows in abundance here in the west of Ireland…it is almost unstoppable!

Wild Violets continue to make a show of themselves all along the shady banks and woodland here at Bealtaine. These tiny flowers are scented…delicately!

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding

Saturday in the Permaculture Garden.

Valerian coming into flower today at Bealtaine. The rain continues, almost unabated, raising the water table and pushing the water in my spring well down towards the cottage. Spent quite some time bringing water across to the tunnel to give the plants a good drenching!

Valerian growing along the west gable wall from seed scattered into the gravel…one of many reasons why permaculture and tarmac are not good mates!

Sprays of Hawthorn blossom hang in swathes around the hedgerows at the cottage. The flowers of this tree release a certain chemical which is good for the heart and it is recommended to breath deeply around these gorgeous blossoms!

I’m hoping that the roses will go on for longer this year, as they have a tendency to flower early in the summer. This has certainly been the best year yet for the blooms.

Posted in Abundance, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Ecology, Food, Frugal Living, Gaia, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegetarian, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Fruity Sourdough Bread and Real Bluebells at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding.

Made a fruit sourdough bread yesterday.  Sourdough skills are developing slowly and the real savings are tangible. Making the traditional soda bread was easy, but more costly. Buttermilk was needed, whereas sourdough requires nothing other than the flour and what one chooses over and above that! Added to that is the bonus of the bread not using commercial yeast, which is detrimental to health for more and more people.

Sultanas and spice were added to the basic dough, along with 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and it’s yummy!

Lots of wild Bluebells have appeared this year at Bealtaine. This single flower is indicative of the natural spread taking place after 7 chemical-free years on this smallholding. Open the door a little, (figuratively speaking), and Nature sweeps in…a much welcomed guest!

Beautiful, elegant Ferns have also spread, especially throughout the Fairy Dell Woodland…

The heavenly, sweet-scented flowers on the Hawthorn trees is in full bloom now. This is the edge of the Fairy Dell, where many of the apple trees thrive. Cherry and Plum are also planted on this south facing edge of the woodland.

Posted in Climate, Current Affairs, Ecology, Folklore, Gaia, History, Ireland, Leitrim, News, Permaculture, Personal, Poetry, Politics, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Osama Bin-Laden and the Day that’s in it…The Sun Sets on Permaculture Ireland

The sun sets into the west and the day is nearly over. Rain is promised for the night ahead and tomorrow. All is quiet and calm and dry at Bealtaine. The well has stopped feeding the cottage with its sweet water.

The shadows cast by the setting sun illuminate the curtained cupboard…”I am half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shallot…” Listening to the incessant reporting on the death of Osama Bin Laden, I am half-sick of news…! Is this all that is news worthy? Will we ever be told the truth by the popular media? I grew up in Omagh, a town dominated by institutional sectarianism and was aware from an early age that the BBC rarely reported what I experienced…there were two different realities, the one I lived and the one on the screen!

The sun continues its descent into the west.

There is one certainty in all of this mayhem that is civilisation…that the beauty that is Gaia will be here long after we have passed…Perhaps the words of an unknown Irish Bard can best capture the moment that’s in it-      “The world has laid low, and the wind blows away like ashes Alexander, Caesar, and all who were in their trust; grass-grown is Tara, and see Troy now how it is – and the Irish themselves, perhaps they too will pass!”   Irish; author unknown; 17th-18thcentury.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Ecology, Fairies, Gaia, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Wild Flowers, Woodland

The Importance of Compost in a Permaculture Smallholding. Notes from a Cottage.

It’s amazing to think that this compost heap in the making can lead to…

This incredible, rich, nourishing soil and plant food.

And some of the compost is used to help grow trees here at Bealtaine, many of which, like these in the pic., are grown from seed and seedlings.

This is the first of four huge compost heaps that were started, topped and thatched last year…as you can see  from the heap it is a good quality compost!

The woodland known as the Fairy Dell is high with fragrant wild herbs and flowers. Seven years Chemical-Free! No certificates of Organic testing here…see for yourself is my advice to all visitors.

Have a good day everyone!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Woodland

The Benefits of Mulching in a Land without Rain…Ireland ~ Permaculture Living.

There is little space left in the tunnel…plants and seedlings jostle for what is there and the grapevine is setting lots of fruit. Nectarine and Peach trees in here have already set an abundance of small fruits, so the harvest is looking fruitful!

Lots of tiny Pears have set on the Pear trees in Zones 1 and 2. Frost at this point can happen but is not expected, so the majority of settings should mature into good fruit.

Each year for the past four years of the seven Bealtaine has been growing I have siad that this would be a bumper harvest for Apples. I have to say this again…a bumper crop is expected! I will post regular pics to update you on this! You can see some from last harvest, when the trees were heavy with fruit! No sprays, no chemicals, just permaculture!

Heavy mulching arounf fruit trees, bushes and plants have saved them from the ravages of the drought experienced recently here in Ireland.

Living in Ireland where few trees are planted,( except the dreaded Sitka Spruce for money!) Bealtaine is fast growing to look like an Oasis in a desert. Intense planting, as per permaculture, makes this small 3 acres look exceptional. Most farmers in Ireland get financial subsidies and don’t plant trees…I have planted almost 600 and receive zero reward…well, not in financial terms, but you can see the immense rewards here for Gaia, birds, insects, animals, visitors and me! PLANT MORE TREES!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Current Affairs, Ecology, Gaia, Growing Food, Herbs, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized

Monday Morning at a Permaculture Smallholding… Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Roses are out in bloom on the veranda this morning. The air is warm and dry and the drought continues…

Considering the state of the environment in the north west of Ireland this morning, the gripe of no well water is a small one for me here at Bealtaine, for as I write this there are wildfires raging in areas of Ireland, burning tracts of land and causing some devastation!

What has happened in this part of Ireland recently has contributed towards the perfect conditions that have led to these appalling fires taking hold…heat, drought, then intense wind from the east! It is very hard to extinguish a wildfire in these conditions!

The hens are happy…no loss on them at all in this weather. It helps that they have plenty of shade! Visitors to the gardens of Bealtaine yesterday remarked on the way the hens will sit still to allow being picked up…they are very tame!

The mighty Angelica continues its skyward ascent, soaring upwards, taller every day!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Current Affairs, Earth, Folklore, History, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Uncategorized

Jack, Bealtaine and the Ocean…Permaculture Musings from Ireland at Beltane

Drove to the ocean yesterday.

Rosses Point in Sligo on the west coast of Ireland.

It was beautiful.

Took Jack and he loved it too!

Jack approves of the sea and the sand…he got really excited!

And he even found friends on the sand…

Tonight is the Eve of Bealtaine, the eve of summer, SummerEve…

A jet in the evening sky heading into the west, probably to America.

The setting sun has illuminated the trail in the dusk.

Returning home…The lane-way at Bealtaine, now densely planted with trees and shrubs and other living things.

It is almost impossible to see the cottage!

Posted in Country Living, cows, Roscommon, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Weekend Musings from a Permaculture Smallholding in the West of Ireland…and the weather is fab!

  • I love cows…they’re such sociable animals, so am glad I don’t eat them! These belong to a neighbour of mine and are very well looked after by Tom Kelly, as you can see. When I walk down the lane, they are inclined to peer over the hedge at me, full of interest. If I had the extra land I would definitely think about keeping a cow…as a pet!I’m continuing to fiddle around with this new format and try to get the blog unscrambled…bear with me! The image below was snapped on the north facing bank of the smallholding earlier. The cherry tree is in full bloom.The Lower Pond surrounded by fast growing willow fedge. 

From the Kitchen window on a good day, the world looks great…mind you the world is great, every day…well at least that’s the feeling that permaculture gives you!I decided to go for a new theme on the blog…hope you like it!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Climate, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Woodland

Photos from a Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland.

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!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Fairies, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, News, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Woodland

Earth Day Photographs from Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding, West of Ireland

Apple blossom on the Apple trees

The Bog garden springs to life…

 

Bluebells in the Fairy WoodApril 2011 Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

Earth Day…April 2011 Earth Day at bealtaine cottage permaculture gardens

Photos from Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens on Earth Day.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Personal, polytunnel gardening, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Celtic Triad. Permaculture Musings from Bealtaine Cottage, West of Ireland.

Produce in the tunnel is growing well.

There is always some food to be harvested in here all year round.

This is important as I am a vegan and need to ensure a good supply of fresh, wholesome, organic food.

A view of the fruit and vegetable gardens taken from the field behind Bealtaine.

Kilronan Mountain lies to the north.

Apple blossom and rhubarb.

A grass path leading from the hen house over to the tunnel and compost bins, lined with Amelanchier and Lime trees.

The same path…

Friendship is wonderful. There is a triad symbol to friendship…a triangle…consisting of Trust, Respect and Understanding.

Rosemary Roberts suggests that this is a Celtic Triad and forms the basis of solid friendship…”Respect yourself and others through your words and actions.”

“Trust your instincts and the intentions of those close to you.” 

And finally, “When acceptance of another’s actions is difficult, stand in the path of understanding.”

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Posted in Cottage, Culture, Earth, Ecology, History, Ireland, Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding

Abandoned Cottages in the West of Ireland

Wild Orchids are just some of the Wild Flowers at Bealtaine Smallholding today.

Walking the land it is amazing to see so many and such variety of Nature’s Bounty.

The leaves of an old Fern are just starting to unfurl.

Some of these Ferns growing along the bank at the back of the cottage are huge, denoting their age…10years and more!

The ruins of an old, old cottage on the hill behind this smallholding.

There are a few of these ancient remnants of a once much larger community of souls scattered on the hill of Ballyfermoyle.

Many of the lives born in these small cottages grew up and left Ireland.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture

Many emigrated to countries like Australia and the U.S.A.

The remnants of their lives are often dug up here at Bealtaine and sites all over the west of Ireland.