Earth Day at Bealtaine Cottage

DSC09083Photographs (18 exclusive photos taken today) from the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage on EarthDay 2016.

Words from the Earth Day network…on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

We are now entering the 46th year of a movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action.

In 1970, the year of our first Earth Day, the movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channelling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with ground-breaking ideas and by the power of our example.

And so it begins. Today. Right here and right now. Earth Day is more than just a single day — April 22, 2016.

This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable. 

The main website, with over 1,000 blogs and 4,500 photographs is FREE FOR EVERYONE!
There are NO ADS on Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel either!
Bealtaine Cottage https://bealtainecottage.com/
Bealtaine Cottage YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/user/BealtaineCottage
Bealtaine Cottage Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/bealtaine-cottage
Bealtaine Cottage Twitter https://twitter.com/PermaGoddess
Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/GoddessGardens/

April 2011 Ballyfermoyle 013The paid subscription website, Bealtaine Cottage Good Life allows you to support my work in return for some extra special blogs and photographs…and allows me a small, but much needed, income.

Here’s where you can sign up…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Yes, I have a mortgage and some bills to meet each month and this is my only source of income. The free website, Bealtaine Cottage, has almost reached maximum capacity at 97.8% of 13 GB allowance at a cost of 199 Euros per year. Bealtaine Cottage Good Life has the same 13 GB allowance, but with only 18% used, so you can see why I now publish new blogs on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life! My total expenditure on both sites and internet maintenance now exceeds 700 Euros.

I will continue to write about, and photograph, Mother Earth whether you subscribe/donate or not…but I so appreciate those who do!
…blessings to all XXX Colette

Magical Days

003

Gardens in Spring are one of Nature’s great delights.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage the back door remains open and the sun streams in.

My grandson, Dylan sips tea, whilst nearby, Charlie sleeps on the rocking chair.

006

It is days like these that are idyllic to recall, as the days of Spring and Summer stretch out before us. 008

Sammy-Bear sits by the open door, enjoying the strong sunshine.

011

Somewhere in the scheme of things, as the days lengthen and the early morning birdsong touches our souls, a deep sense of optimism pervades the humdrum of everyday life.

010

Animals react to Spring with displays of joy.

The image of the Spring lamb are there for all to see, but look at the behaviour of other animals…

020

And the Earth itself…I can smell the grass growing…it’s an earthy, green, living smell that intoxicates!

018

As I walk among the Potager beds in the garden, I notice how the Purple Sprouting Broccoli is regenerating, almost as fast as I can pick the small sprouts.

022

In the tunnel, Calendula flowers on last Summers plants…a welcome reminder of the flowers to come and oh, they smell so sweet!

023

Buds on the Peach tree are beginning to thicken.

This was a broken tree I rescued from the waste of a big store.

It’s taken four years to nurture it into a strong tree and this year, maybe, just maybe, I shall have some fruit!

025

The Kale has over-wintered well, keeping me supplied with plenty of this rich food through the dark months.

Now, as almost all the leaves have been harvested, it begins to sprout abundance all over again.

Time to feed and water well!

027

This Celery was planted and stem harvested last Spring.

It has regenerated and will provide yet more nutrients for juicing!

028

Spring flowers, beauty to behold…feeding the spirit as I work in the kitchen.

029

Flowers on the Ribes bushes have opened.

These will be ready to feed early awakening bees.

031

Wood, stacked in Wigwam shape to air dry before being cut and moved to the barn.

There is so much wood here at Bealtaine that I am never going to get around to coppicing more than about 25%!

034

Taking the time to bend down and look closer to the Earth, sights like this remind one there is another world below our view, reacting to the energy of Spring.

035

I hope you make time to go out into Nature and find repose with her, for these are days of Spring magic…Magical days indeed!

A Time of Hope

Imbolc is the day that we celebrate the passing of Winter and the return of Spring.

002

Imbolc marks the seasonal change, where the first signs of Spring and the return of the sun are noted.

003

A festival of light, to celebrate the return of the sun, now gaining power in its’ ascent from its’ low travail across the horizon.

004

I walked out across the gardens today, recording in image the day of Imbolc.

The rays of the sun, felt warm upon my face and as I walked away from it, warmed my back.

006

This renewal that is Imbolc has cast its’ energy upon the land and myself…here I am re-sculpting the beds near the veranda and creating more of a movable pot garden.

007

The hens in the hen-house are sitting against one wall of the building where the sunlight falls warmly upon them.

Even they are aware of Spring and have begun to lay eggs once more.

008

Lunaria seed-heads have finally scattered the next generation of flowers and seeds to come.

009

Sammy-Bear finds it is his time to be outdoors, almost invisible in the light dusting of snow on this Imbolc morning.

010

Many stems of shrubs and trees give off a vibrancy of colour as the sap begins to push up.

011

Later today, in the cottage, as the day closes, I shall light candles in each window to celebrate the return of the light and for a brief moment or two, illuminate my home with every light and lamp switched on!

012

It is heart warming today to realise that the snow will melt and the warm days lie ahead of us.

013

A time to contemplate changes and new beginnings…a time of hope.

006

And in tune with that hope, new wine bubbles and ferments in the warm kitchen, ready for warmer days and celebrations.

005

Winter projects, such as this knitted throw, are brought to a conclusion…soon to be finished off and gifted to its’ recipient.

002

The last days of candlelight are here.

007

The dark days are over.

008

The sun ascends…

009

Illumination, warmth and renewal lie ahead…

004

All is light and renewal…

011

Prayer for Imbolc
Morgana West
On this Imbolc day, as I kindle the flame upon my hearth,
I pray that the flame of Brigid may burn in my soul,
and the souls of all I meet today.

I pray that no envy and malice,
no hatred or fear, may smother the flame.
I pray that indifference and apathy,
contempt and pride,
may not pour like cold water on the flame.

Instead, may the spark of Brigid light the love in my soul,
that it may burn brightly through this season.
And may I warm those that are lonely,
whose hearts are cold and lifeless,
so that all may know the comfort of Brigid’s love.

************************************************************************

012

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 870 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as over 110 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!

You are very welcome and appreciated by leaving a comment, liking, sharing, or even leaving a small donation.

Blessings X

Rising to Imbolc

The morning in the garden is bitterly cold.

These are the days before Imbolc.

001

We have endured the long sleep and are ready to waken to Imbolc…

002

Magical days, filled to the brim with anticipation, a sense of urgency too, as the precious days of sleep and hibernation in the gardens comes to a close.

003

As I walk around the gardens this morning, I become increasingly aware of short time left in which to prune and cut back, clear and prepare, the gardens for Spring and Summer.

004

Ah, Summer, just the thought of Summer on this cold, white morning of late Winter, comforts the bones.

005

The days of walking barefoot in the damp grass lie ahead of me.

006

The promise of a warm Summer makes the cold of the day recoil.

007

Imbolc heralds Spring here in the West of Ireland.

It is one of the four big Celtic celebrations in Ireland.

008

Imbolc was also Christianized into Saint Brigid’s Day.

010

Imbolc is a festival of purification, hence the “Spring Cleaning” and a celebration of the first signs of Spring.

011

Walking along the paths that wind through the gardens, the colours of an all year round planting scheme are evident.

012

Here and there are stacked reminders of work to be completed, in this case, wood to be taken up to the barn, to be cut and stacked for the next winter.

013

As the snow melts on the upper hill of Ballyfermoyle, so the water flows through the ponds to be carried further into the mighty Shannon and beyond into the Atlantic Ocean.

014

Coming round once more to Imbolc, reminds one of the eternal cycle of renewal and one we are all a part of, though less understood today as by our ancestors of past millennia.

017

Willows, Birch and Dogwoods fill ground where once only the Rush held sway. This is the new cycle here of regeneration and renewal…a return to a fertile Earth.

015

And, where clean water flows, so does life!

To the ancients peoples of this sacred isle, the water was life and honoured in such a way.

018

The starkness of these remaining days are etched with beauty…a rare kind of ethereal beauty that is both proud and alone.

025

In a garden so welcoming of the sunlight, for this all faces north, each tree receives these low rays with grace.

027

The old name Imbolc occurs only in the very old literature, as many have forgotten it’s magic as the move towards modernity was embraced…but what is lost?

028

The Ancient Ways have been suppressed by all invaders and religions, and much dogma of uniformity, without thread of meaning.

029

For many in the western world this is now Candlemas in non-Gaelic speaking areas.

However there appears to be a revival of many traditions as people seek to understand their tribal ancestry and re-establish the threads of the tapestry to an older time.

030

And so we rise to Imbolc, as our faces seek out the sun and count the lengthening days.

032

We strain our necks to peep out onto sunsets, remarking on the time that’s in it.

033

Rising, from our long darkness, to Imbolc.

***************************************

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 1,000 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as over 110 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!

Most of you are familiar with this Bealtaine Cottage website.

Bealtaine Cottage is free to all, as it has been for the past five years.  

With over 1,000 blogs and 4,000+ photographs, Bealtaine Cottage continues as a free to access website.

As a way of supporting the work of Bealtaine Cottage, I have developed a second website… Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is 12 euros per year for full access and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

Blessings

From A Window on Earth Day

DSCF1226

Spring progresses through the west of Ireland.

It may be Earth Day, but every day is so.

Earth is our only home.

DSCF1227Clear skies and sunshine have hastened the beginning of Summer.

DSCF1228I walked around the cottage this morning and snapped a picture of the view from each window.

DSCF1229Now that the warmer days are here, the cottage has gone into reversal, remaining cool and dark on hot days, when it is a relief to walk indoors.

DSCF1230It is evening as I write and the rain is falling, fast filling the barrels that have run dry over recent days.

DSCF1241I have lit the stove in the Lodge and am in the midst of painting the floor a nice shade of navy blue.

DSCF1236Toast and tea are filling the air with scent.

DSCF1237This little wood-burner more than earns its keep here at Bealtaine Cottage. DSCF1238Before I started painting the floor, clothes were drying beside the stove.

DSCF1240Life at the end of Empire is quite comfortable and cheap, as this little home crafted bench, sitting outside the lodge window, testifies.

DSCF1231The rain falls heavier…but back to the window views of this morning.

DSCF1232You can feel the cool of the interior…

DSCF1233A beautiful day to be sure, but night is falling and the kettle sings a song of tea and toast once more…

DSCF1234Let tomorrow be Earth day and the next day and…

Blessings from Bealtaine…

Keeping Hens, in the Town or Country

www.bealtainecottage.com

 The hens have settled into their new home and are all laying.

Happy clucks and soft singing emanates out from the hen house.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe secure enclosure promises to keep the Fox family away…for I have lost too many of my lovely hens to Mr and Mrs Fox. www.bealtainecottage.comInside, the house is spacious and comfortable, with an upstairs and five windows in total!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe system is similar to the one I used in London for over a decade.

It is known as a deep litter system, using lots of straw.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe dirty straw is then used in the gardens as a mega-mulch!www.bealtainecottage.comThe deep litter system allows the girls foraging in a limited space and I collect greens for them on days when they are stay at home.

www.bealtainecottage.comDays when I am in the garden, the girls are allowed out under my watchful eye!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mulching continues unabated, as the grass paths are mowed…grass clippings are piled onto cardboard as a weed suppressant, allowing newly planted trees to get a footing!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the system I have used for ten years and all the fruit trees are producing well.

www.bealtainecottage.comHonesty is in full bloom now and being enjoyed by the bees.

www.bealtainecottage.comMost of the early bees are bumble bees and are most prolific here at Bealtaine Cottage, where succession planting keeps all visitors fed from February through to the end of November.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe painted stone Cockerel stands guard by the front door of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comNewly mown paths allows everything alongside to look lush!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Cherry tree, grown from seed, stands covered in blossom,  with the promise of lots of Cherries, some high for the birds and some low for me!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Bealtaine Feast has begun!

www.bealtainecottage.comSeedlings are flourishing in the late Spring sunshine.

Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

www.bealtainecottage.com

This is what happens in Permaculture…surplus is fed back into the system or shared out!

www.bealtainecottage.com In this case there was a small surplus of blue paint…the outcome is what you see here!

www.bealtainecottage.comI woke to a magnificent sunrise this morning…Kilronan Mountain is shrouded in mist, so doesn’t appear to exist at all!

www.bealtainecottage.comBees are buzzing and birds are singing to herald in this wonderful Easter weekend here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith the emergence of Spring, several weeks ago now, there has been an accumulation of heat and light working on the earth that promises an early Summer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of seedlings has excelled…it appears that every seed sown has germinated!

www.bealtainecottage.com Fortunately, now that I have five beautiful hens, seedlings that are excess to requirements can simply be fed to the hens as a wonderful source of nutrition.

www.bealtainecottage.comSome of the seedlings are also used by me in salads, again a wonderful source of nutrition!

www.bealtainecottage.comSlabs of bedrock, rising out of the earth all over the land here at Bealtaine, show off their pink colour in the drying air of late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses play peek-a-boo on the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comCrocosmia show off a vibrant lime-green in the early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to blue, because…

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply cannot resist it!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe vibrant pink of this Saxifrage has found a perfect bed in the gravel driveway…another reason why tarmac is a non-starter here!

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses aren’t the only things around here playing peek-a-boo!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mist in the valley has cut off Kilronan Mountain.

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther up the gardens, behind where I now stand, Comfrey, Lovage, Fennel, Valerian and Chives are all about a foot high and looking very robust in the late Spring, early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy my feet, the Euphorbia flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd indoors, on the dresser, reminders of Spring and Easter…

www.bealtainecottage.comHappy Easter to all!

PS: Next month will the my tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Today marks the 700th blog!

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!

Sustainable Food Revolution

www.bealtainecottage.com

Living in a time when the cost of food is rising day on day, it might be time to re-think the lawn! This is what Bill Mollison, one of the founders of the Permaculture movement has to say on the subject:

Bill Mollison

“. . . every society that grows extensive lawns could produce all its food on the same area, using the same resources, and . . . world famine could be totally relieved if we devoted the same resources of lawn culture to food culture in poor areas. These facts are before us. Thus, we can look at lawns, like double garages and large guard dogs, [and Humvees and SUVs] as a badge of willful waste, conspicuous consumption, and lack of care for the earth or its people.Most lawns are purely cosmetic in function. Thus, affluent societies have, all unnoticed, developed an agriculture which produces a polluted waste product, in the presence of famine and erosion elsewhere, and the threat of water shortages at home.

The lawn has become the curse of modern town landscapes as sugar cane is the curse of the lowland coastal tropics, and cattle the curse of the semi-arid and arid rangelands…

www.bealtainecottage.comOver the past few days I have been busy converting this little shed into a new hen house and run…food to swap and share…fresh eggs! it is going to be a simple enough barter, swapping a sack of logs for nine eggs. Most logs are traded at 3.50 a sack, so that’s a fair swap!

www.bealtainecottage.comThat makes a good swap as eggs are getting more expensive by the day and the logs will be delivered to my door! I just have to ensure that the hen house and run are secure against Mr ans Mrs Fox and family!

www.bealtainecottage.com

As Spring moves across the land, a drying wind is working its magic on the earth. The greening is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe view from the sitting room window is being filled in like a ‘Painting By Numbers,’ canvas. Ash trees are the last to get their leaves and so stand proud in all their silver glory against temperamental Spring skies.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the beautiful Field Maple to the front of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comContinuing my lifelong passion for trees…this is a wall tile I made from clay…complete with tree, a fairy tree.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe lone Fairy Thorn one often sees growing in the middle of fields here in Ireland served as my inspiration. They are often windswept and leaning away from the west.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis sits upon the dresser in the kitchen…a time when preserves were sold in stoneware jars. All containers were re-cycled, in that they were re-used…even milk bottles! Lemonade bottles had a money deposit attached to them and children would collect them up to return to the shop, as a way of earning pocket money!

www.bealtainecottage.comEven cream came in little stoneware jars like this, as it kept cool in the pantry in the days before every home had a fridge!

“A sacred way of life connects us to the people and places around us. That means that a sacred economy must be in large part a local economy, in which we have multidimensional, personal relationships with the land and people who meet our needs, and whose needs are met in turn.”
― Juliana Birnbaum FoxSustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide