So Grateful

IMG_6042Mother Earth is thriving.

IMG_6039Her abundance is nothing less than magnificent.

IMG_6037Everywhere on this land She thrives.

IMG_6048I have found a great many Cherry Trees She has seeded and grown over the past two years, but have remained hidden in the general mayhem of Spring and Summer, only to be discovered this year as Spring seemed to struggle and lag behind, so allowing me to see.IMG_6043

It is simply delightful to behold. The mother tree was planted by me a mere 13 yrs ago and already she has brought forth abundance.

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This Field Maple is bearing fruit this year and the Bees are soaring around its topmost branches.

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I know that I have posted this quote before, but it speaks loudly and will not be quietened…IMG_6084

“Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the earth is not bereft of four-footed life – that to the white man is an ‘unbroken wilderness.’ IMG_6080

But for us there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.IMG_6079

For us, the world was full of beauty; for the other, it was a place to be endured until he went to another world.IMG_6077

But we were wise. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.”
― Chief Luther Standing Bear

IMG_6076“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle.

IMG_6073In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them…

IMG_6075The animals had rights – the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness.

IMG_6074This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.”
― Chief Luther Standing Bear

IMG_6072And so wherever we allow Her, enable Her and protect Her, abundance flows…

IMG_6071It’s humbling to witness…

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My Goddess helps me to keep in mind the great Life Force of the Great Mother, for I, as a human need symbols to ground me and remember that She is not just a life-force, but an intelligent sentient being.

IMG_6069Symbols have always resonated with us.

IMG_6067IMG_6066IMG_6064IMG_6063We possess an innate ability to read and understand symbols, for they transcend language and culture.

Yet even as I walk back along the veranda towards the door of the cottage, I see the abundance.

IMG_6086This time in a recently re-potted tree…lots of tiny Parsley seedlings. I have no idea where they have come from, except to add that I used home made compost and these are from the seed-heads of last Summer.

Support the Bealtaine Project

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book includes all postage and packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€19.00

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

Today at Bealtaine Cottage

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Rain fell last night and continues this morning.

There will be no lack of water in the well for the next few weeks!

DSC00663 I have finally given away my hens…as I no longer eat eggs and there was a lovely home ready and waiting for them where they would be more useful, as they are good layers and their eggs will be anticipated and appreciated where there is a family of people to eat them.

DSC00662I shall miss them, but as with life at Bealtaine Cottage, the void is quickly filled and the hen-house will be re-purposed and appreciated further.

DSC00661In the past, their manure was a part of developing the fertility of the land at Bealtaine, but this is no longer needed.

The compoost system is now working very well and far exceeds what any animal manure could bring to three acres.

DSC00659Seed production is well under way, with some of the harvest already collected and much more coming to fruition.

DSC00660We are now one week away from Midsummer, as evidenced in the lush growth seen here! 

DSC00655We inter-breath with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans.  They are part of our own body.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

DSC00658The fruit trees and bushes were pruned back quite hard over the course of last Autumn and Winter and they are happily producing yet another bumper harvest.

DSC00656 …no matter how complex or affluent, human societies are nothing but subsystems of the biosphere, the Earth’s thin veneer of life, which is ultimately run by bacteria, fungi and green plants.  

~Vaclav Smil 

DSC00657Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.  

~Charles Cook  

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“If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.”
J.M. Coetzee

The Watchers

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Here in the study the light is low as the day fades into the west.  

DSC00106Ten O’Clock rings out as I take up my camera and head out into the warm evening.

DSC00107I have enjoyed visitors for much of the day, so stepping out into the evening allows me time to be quiet and absorb the ending of the day. 

DSC00108“Be calm…calm as a calm lagoon, then you will look beautiful as a beautiful calm lagoon crowned by the Moon and sheltered by the brilliance of the stars reclaiming your royalty of regal life…”
Oksana Rus 

DSC00109The light lends an ethereal touch to everything. 

DSC00110“When one tunes in into nature’s frequency, life becomes change, change becomes hope!”
Aniekee Tochukwu 

DSC00111The birds continue to fly to and fro their nestlings in a frenzy to keep them fed.

DSC00112Fortunately, Bealtaine Cottage can now support dozens of pairs of breeding birds and all from the plentiful supply of food in the gardens and food forest. 

DSC00113DSC00114DSC00115“It was that time of dusk when there is a—deepening of the interior shadows. It is a melancholy time: all you need do is switch on one lamp and the inside and the outside will separate, held apart by the reflections in the glass, and evening will begin.”
Rudolph Delson 

DSC00117DSC00116DSC00118As always at this time of evening, there is magic in the air.

DSC00120DSC00121DSC00125Flowers are dancing in billows of colour around the cottage.

DSC00137DSC00127DSC00138As I walk, snapping pictures here and there, I fancy my camera may capture an image of the other world that is veiled so very thinly at this time of day…

DSC00119DSC00124DSC00123I sense the watchers…

…and then

…something moves,

DSC00142and is gone in the blink of a lens.

(This photo is as it appears…I NEVER use photoshop!)

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The Simplicity of the Morning

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“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”
Henry David Thoreau 

DSC00013Half light and shadows as the morning comes into view.

DSC00012Reflections and sunlight as the day rises.

DSC00011The silent beauty of the morning is a template for us all to follow into day…quiet simplicity.

DSC00010Gazing around the cottage as I follow through on early morning rituals.

DSC00009Checking where Sammy-Bear spent the night, opening the door for Jack to go out…

DSC00008Lighting the stove to boil the kettle…

DSC00006Looking for where I put my camera last evening, for I should record this ethereal beauty of the early morning…

DSC00005Finally, making my pot of coffee and stepping out to embrace the day…

DSC00004The morning, the blessed morning…where all is possible.

DSC00003May the Goddess of the morning touch your heart with delight.

DSC00002May you be released into day, free from negativity and matters you do not control.

DSC00001Embrace your day…it’s a blessing! 

“When you rise in the morning, form a resolution to make the day a happy one for a fellow creature.”
Sydney Smith

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Summer in the Garden

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Being able to upload 31 photos is a real treat for me, and, I hope you will get a taste of Bealtaine Cottage today.

DSC09767I have snapped these minutes ago and come straight in to upload and write this blog…taking time en route to give Jack a cracker treat.

As you can see he’s fully engrossed with chomping!

There is an abundance of Poppies this year…these are just outside the back door and almost ready to burst open!

DSC09773Thanks and blessings to my dear friends and supporters of the Bealtaine Cottage project.

It is so very heartening to read the wonderful feedback and special messages of support.

DSC09774There was enough rain overnight to half-fill the water barrels and all is looking lush this morning! DSC09775Aquilegia is in full bloom and has grown well from an extra scattering of seeds I did last Autumn. DSC09776Here is the perennial Yellow Poppy.

This seed sold out fast last year, so I shall be harvesting as much as I can this summer.

It’s a much smaller, more delicate bloom, but strong and hardy!

DSC09777I’ve moved potted seedlings and more robust plants out of the tunnel.

Planting will be wherever I can find a space! 

DSC09778The symbolism of the Goddess is not a parallel structure to the symbolism of God the Father.
The Goddess does not rule the world…She is the world!
Manifest in each of us, She can be known internally by every individual, in all her magnificent glory.
~Starhawk

DSC09779The Permaculture design and planting at Bealtaine is not just inspired by the Goddess, but is the Goddess manifest…as natural and intuitive as the energy that flows from Mother Earth herself.

DSC09780This is the difference between Permaculture and Goddess-inspired Permaculture.

The spirit is fed as much as the stomach! 

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Each Summer the harvest grows more abundant. Redcurrants hang in droplets waiting to ripen and reveal their jewel-like qualities.

DSC09786Hawthorn has opened…

DSC09787Garden paths become enclosed, dark, shady places…

DSC09788The Spindle bush sits covered with blossom yet to open…

DSC09790“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer.  My bank of wild grass is majestic
and full of music.  It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.”
– Violette Leduc 

DSC09791To meet it — nameless as it is —
Without celestial Mail —
Audacious as without a Knock
To walk within the Veil.”
–   Emily Dickinson

DSC09792Lilac is open…

DSC09793“That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
–   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

DSC09794DSC09795DSC09796“Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me,
who could ask for more?”
–   Bev Adams 

DSC09802“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most
beautiful words in the English language.”
–  Henry James 

“The smell of manure, of sun on foliage, of evaporating water, rose to my head; two steps farther,
and I could look down into the vegetable garden enclosed within its tall pale of reeds – rich chocolate
earth studded emerald green, frothed with the white of cauliflowers, jeweled with the purple globes
of eggplant and the scarlet wealth of tomatoes.”
–  Doris Lessing

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Post Midsummer Polytunnel Gardening at Bealtaine Cottage

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Second-phase food production is under way as from this week.

Midsummer has passed and many harvests are home or under-way.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 009This week has seen me clear the tunnel, spread lots of compost afresh on the beds and begin planting for the next phase of crops.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 010As I cleared the tunnel and collected masses of seeds and seed-heads, I was thinking about the crops I would plant.

Number one on my list is Kale; one of the great foods, especially in juicing.

Regular intake of Kale juice keeps health at a peak.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 013 Soil is the most important aspect of good food.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 007The food takes up the essential minerals and goodness in the soil and turns these into health-giving good food.

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 015

This was a good time to prune the Peach Tree and remove about half of the Nectarines and feed the tree.

I left some of the herbs in place and moved the rest into pots and outside beds.

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell BerryThe Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture 

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 016“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 019“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can, insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”
― Maria RodaleOrganic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe

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All the Poppy heads are now harvested, providing a massive amount of Poppy Seed…great in cooking and baking!

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 011“Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?”
― Jane GoodallHarvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage 022“All the human and animal manure which the world wastes, if returned to the land, instead of being thrown into the sea, would suffice to nourish the world.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Morning

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Morning in the west of Ireland on a perfect day in late June.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 021The back door of the cottage is open; wood pigeons call softly to one another as blackbirds swoop noisily in and out of the blackcurrant bushes, feasting on the heavily laden stems.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 022Morning…full of stillness and promise, the prelude to a hot, dry day of high summer.

The cottage will remain a cool sanctuary, as the heat of the day rises golden over the hill of Ballyfermoyle.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 024Birds will swoop along paths of shade, wings outstretched catching the earthy updraft of chill. 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 026“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird  

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 031“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there.”
― Francis Thompson 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 028The hill at the back of the cottage captures the sounds of the birds, holding them close before echoing onto the walls and through the open door into the cool recesses of the stone.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 029Leaving this sacred place would never sit easy in my heart, for all that is Bealtaine Cottage has been co-created with the great Mother: Earth, Gaia, Nature…whatever insufficient name we draw upon to express the mystery of the Divine.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 033My dream to plant a forest will come to pass…in some divine way… 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 036I dream and manifest the vision in sleep and wakedness.

One day, a beautiful morning such as this will shine through onto a young forest floor, illuminating the darkness of a greed-stricken world. 

Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.

Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!

Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

Into the Turning

www.bealtainecottage.comThe bonfire of Midsummer night has died down.

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The midnight sky stays light on the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Bats encircle the cottage, as stars emerge into the darkness.

cavan burren 2The day has passed into the Turning…of the light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008As the light passes into the lazy warmth of an enduring summer, visitors to Bealtaine Cottage come and go.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.www.bealtainecottage.com 042Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011There is little to concern oneself with, as Nature holds sway.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031These are the gentle days of Midsummer.