Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Climate, Cottage, Earth, Gaia, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spring, Summer, Tea

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…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Tea

Visiting Bealtaine Cottage…

June 2011 Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture 002Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage have been welcomed in their thousands over the past ten years.

Bealtaine Cottage May 2012 023Many have become good friends.

Bealtaine Cottage May I have enjoyed sharing Bealtaine Cottage with foot visitors from all over the world, as well as over half a million through the website.

Bealtaine Cottage May 2012 021 Increasing amounts of my time have been spent happily showing visitors around the three acres of gardens.

May 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 011However, as the website has grown in popularity, I get more and more requests from people who want to visit the cottage and gardens.

May 2011 Bealtaine 010A decision simply had to be made, to draw a line under visits, instead, opening the gardens as many times as I can manage, during the year, for Open Days!

May 2011 Bealtaine 006The first of these Open days is planned for the 5th of April.

May 2011 PermaGoddess 002 I am happy to open my home and gardens on these days to all visitors.

June 2011 permaculture cottage 007There will be an admission charge for charity and more details can be found on this link. 

https://bealtainecottage.com/open-day-at-bealtaine-cottage-permaculture-gardens/

May 2011 permaculture 040Any questions regarding visiting the gardens can be posted in the comments section of the blog.

May 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 039 I can no longer respond to emails, as subscribers to the blog increase.

may at Bealtaine cottage permaculture wine makingI trust you understand the increasing demand on time I face and the need for me to simply get on with work, serving Mother Earth as best I can!

May in the Fairy Wood at  Bealtaine Cottage Blessings as always for your love and support for this little place in the West of Ireland.

June 2011 Bealtaine Permaculture 014I am truly blessed!

xxx Colette

Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there… https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!

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              Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
                                                    There are almost 700 blogs in the archives on this site.

I write, photograph and film, in a small way, to give a voice to Mother Earth.

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Animals, Autumn, Cats, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Tea, Trees, Woodland

Small Things…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Keeping time.

Morning merges into early afternoon.

There is a seamlessness about the work on this last day of September.

www.bealtainecottage.com 049Cutting wood, cleaning windows, stringing  chillies, all merging as the day progresses.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Somewhere, in the distance, a crow calls its lonely caw…it’s repetitive and makes me think an animal has caught it…perhaps a fox.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038I have watched the fox make it’s way across the rushy fields, darting here and there among the clumps of withering green.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026Deep in the Fairy Wood, cutting and stacking with my little handsaw, all I experience from the outside world are noises of life without.

www.bealtainecottage.com 024Che-Mousy-Bear stays with me as I work.

Once so very timid, he is finding his own place in this world, where he initially found only rejection.

www.bealtainecottage.com 032I love him for having the tenacity to stay with it all…one of the small things that weave the tapestry of life here at Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016Time to brew a pot of tea and stoke the stove…working on the land is fluid, as the day progresses.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015I am obsessed with hearts.

I have no idea why, but the shape draws me in.

I see hearts everywhere.

They fascinate me.

www.bealtainecottage.com 045The work of the day continues with juicing apples for saving in the freezer.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008Autumn changes the colours of the trees surrounding the cottage.

It seems that the view from this window changes every time I pass it…

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Tiny webs configure across and around the Celtic Knot, too beautiful to clear away.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030The woodland beckons…

 

I write and post about Bealtaine Cottage, on this website, as well as making and posting Youtube (ad-free) videos, about permaculture and life at Bealtaine Cottage, to provide inspiration and empowerment for all seeking a better way of living on this precious Earth.

Donations help me do that :)

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Cats, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Tea, Wine

Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

JackThe permaculture harvest continues, along with the increasing numbers of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage.

Garlic is harvested, dried and stored…just in time for re-planting the crop for next year, in just a few more weeks.

As the world teeters once more on the brink of chaos, in the forms of war and nuclear contamination from Fukushima, getting the harvest home and planning for next Spring is a way of keeping one’s sanity!

It’s also a way of nurturing optimism and hope for the future!

kilronan mountainTomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel.

I let them do their own thing and they have produced wildly!

All the tomatoes are late, but then the summer was dithering in and out of Spring this year!

Even the Perlagoniums in the photo above are in late flower after several months of sleepy time!

porchAs the summer fades into Autumn, the light changes inside and around the cottage in the most delightful ways.

Shadows prevail in unfamiliar places, making all look quite different.

workshopOnions, Blackcurrants, Peas and Broad beans are all stored for the year.

I am continuing to use the remainder of last year’s Blackcurrants!

More wine I think!

I was invited to give a talk to the Green Party recently and am invited to give another talk at an Arts festival in Connemara…along with a wine making demonstration, so will be finding use for excess Blackcurrant crops!

evening sun reflectionsShadow play on the door of the Lodge…isn’t this beautiful?

This is a good place to dry herbs when the stove is lit, as it gets very hot very fast!

wine, kitchenI noticed that there is a bumper crop of Blackberries on the hedgerows this Autumn.

I looked up some old recipes for using Blackberries, so will be collecting them and saving them in the freezer, ready to use in a plethora of delicious recipes!

Food for free and lots of it!

The new compost heap is being stacked up daily, so am already thinking about next planting season!

cup of tea!There is a slight chill in the air, heralding Autumn as it transits into cooler times.

It’s a good idea to wear cotton scarves around shoulders and neck and take them off indoors!

Along with all the food harvested, there is an abundance of seeds to bring in and herbs to dry and store.

This is also the time to begin collecting tree seeds to sow in pots…something I do every year!

missyAs I work, show visitors around, harvest and continue building my workshop, Missy snoozes, oblivious to it all!

Posted in Bees, biodiversity, compost, Edible Gardens, Frugal Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Seed-Saving, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Tea, Wild Flowers

Black Bees, Compost and Rocket Stoves

Blue table on veranda at bealtaine cottageNasturtiums, Lobelia, Petunia, Sweet William, Perlagonium, Valerian and Night Scented Stock are jostling for space near the back door.

Roses lead the way to the new orchardAbundance reigns supreme in the gardens, as seen here in these lovely old-fashioned roses that lead the way up to the new orchard.

Bee with a black bumBees are in a frenzy over the Cotoneaster.

This is a strange bee with a black bottom half.

Black beeThe black bit appears shiny.

strange beeDo you have any idea what kind of bee this is?

cotoneaster in full bloom at Bealtaine CottageAll this buzzing guarantees lots of food for the birds over winter!

Bee on cotoneaster at Bealtaine CottageAnother lovely bee working hard here at Bealtaine Cottage this evening.

Cotoneaster and Dog daisiesThe evening is very still and warm…perfect for all the insects that work in the gardens.

Raised Potager Beds WorkshopLots of stone and wood piled up and ready for the workshop tomorrow.

These beds are very abundant and productive, considering the shallow depth and intensive planting…the weather is promised good for tomorrow!

Lysimachia Punctata in full bloom todayLysimachia Punctata is in full bloom.

This cable table has sat in the garden for eight years…great garden furniture for free!

Redcurrants today at Bealtaine cottageThe Redcurrants are almost ready to harvest.

Rose arch today at Bealtaine CottageThis is the new rose arch…first year and doing well.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe Blackcurrants are ripening and will be ready for harvesting very soon.

Tunnel at Bealtaine Cottage todaySunflowers and lots of seeds getting ready for harvesting in the tunnel in these Potager raised beds.

compost heaps todayAs I harvest the compost started last summer, a new compost heap is started.

Friday evening at bealtaineFriday evening at Bealtaine…the rocket stove is boiling the kettle for another pot of tea…could it get any better?

rocket stoveI wonder what the equivalent saving on electricity this little contraption affords?

Would this be equal to a few solar panels?

free tea Just a small matter of washing the cups…have a great weekend everyone!

Posted in Animals, Cats, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Culture, Dublin, Fairies, Folklore, Ireland, Leitrim, Lughnasa, Permaculture, Tea, Thoughts, Woodland

Towards Lughnasa and an Open Weekend!

Stone planter at Bealtaine CottageThe festival of Lughnasa honours the Celtic god Lugh of the Tuatha de Danann.

Barn and Potager at Bealtaine CottageLugh was the  god of arts and crafts among Celtic tribes and Lughnasa sat high in the Calendar of festivals.

Polytunnel this morning at Bealtaine Cottage with Che Mousy Bear strolling through!Lughnasa ushered in the harvest season.

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageLughnasa was a celebration of, and for, the Divine, for a successful harvest.

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageThis ancient festival marks the first day of autumn in the Celtic Calendar, and thus the start of the harvest season.

The Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageIn Britain Lughnasa is known as Lammas, from the Anglo-Saxon hlaef-mass meaning ‘loaf-mass’.

Wild Hypericum in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageHere in Ireland the nearest Sunday to Lughnasa was known as Cally Sunday, the traditional day to lift the first new potatoes.

Astrantia by the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage this morningThe man of the house would dig the first stalk, while the woman of the house would don a new white apron and cook them.

Nettle seed forming at Bealtaine CottageThe floor would be spread  with fresh, green rushes in their honour.

Wild roses and Valerian at Bealtaine CottageLughnasa was celebrated on the hills and mountains as well as the valleys.

Valerian in abundance around the cottage this morningClimbing a hill or mountain and celebrating with lighting a bonfire was, and remains, a tradition.

Valerian this morning around the cottageIn addition to climbing hills, Lughnasa was also a time for visiting holy wells.

Front of cottage and porch surrounded with Valerian this morning.Lughnasa falls on August the 1st and the evening before is usually when the celebrations begin…

Che Mousy Bear today at BealtaineI am hosting an “Open Weekend,” for anyone who wishes to visit the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningThis will be over the weekend of the 7th and 8th of September and in aid of The Leitrim Animal Welfare Shelter, so there will be charge of ten euros per adult…and will include tea and home made cakes!

Bealtaine CottageThis wonderful animal sanctuary is where I have adopted two dogs from, including Jack!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.If you would like to visit Bealtaine Cottage on this special open weekend, please let me know in advance, so I can make arrangements for cakes, teas and coffees to be available!

This is a link to a short film made by RTE TV all about this wonderful animal sanctuary!

Hopefully we can raise much needed funds for this cause so close to my heart!

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Thanks to the following lovely people who have donated to the Leitrim Animal Sanctuary…

Carole (wspines) from Whispering Pines Farm

Vivien Cruickshank

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Folklore, Food, Garden, Health, Herbs, Ireland, Organic Garden, Ostara, Tea, Uncategorized

Dried Herbs and Some Uses…

 Oregano, Origanum vulgare, is also known as Common and Wild Marjoram, Greek Oregano and Winter Oregano.

Oregano in flower at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensOregano is a warm and aromatic yet slightly bitter herb in the mint family.

The name is derived from the Greek, meaning “mountain of joy.”

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureOregano can be made into a tea, tincture, and has powerful anti-bacterial properties.

The Oregano I harvest comes complete with flowers, so is especially potent for tea!

Oregano before harvesting at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensSome interesting folklore concerning oregano…

The Greeks and Romans used it for a variety of benefits.

~Among the Greeks, if Marjoram grew on a grave, it augured the happiness of the departed, and among both the Greeks and Romans, it was the custom to crown young couples with Marjoram.

~Oregano corresponds to Venus and air.

~It is an herb of happiness, tranquillity, good luck, well-being, and protection.

Dried oregano from Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens Ireland~Promotes joy, strength, vitality, and added energy.

~Make a Tea or burn as an incense.

~Plant Oregano around your house for protection, and scatter it inside the house to protect it.

~Carry it in a sachet or charm to bring good luck and vitality.

~It is also said to protect and promote psychic dreams when worn on the head during sleep.

~A protective herb with the power to ward off troublesome and meddling individuals, especially those who may wish to interfere with one’s personal financial dealings.

Lavender drying on the back door of my cottage

Dried Lavender is also available.

The use of Lavender goes back into the mists of time…

~Both the Greeks and the Romans had many uses for it, the most popular being for bathing, cooking, as an ingredient in perfume, for well-being, and as an insect repellent.

~English folklore advises a mixture of lavender, mugwort, chamomile, and rose petals to attract sprites, fairies, brownies, and elves.

~Lavender is used in teas, tinctures, and added to baked goods.

~Lavender is an aphrodisiac, and is still one of the most recognized scents in the world.

~Put two handfuls of Lavender Flowers into a square of cheesecloth and tie with a white ribbon.

Use this aromatic “wash-cloth” in place of your usual one.

Dried Rosemary at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens


Rosemary, or Rosmarinus Officinalis, is also known as Romero, and Dew of the Sea.

Dried Rosemary is also available in 1/2 ounce bags from the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Rosemary is most famous for its use in cooking.

Bees love Rosemary!

Burn Rosemary  for a restorative incense.

In place of more costly incense, the ancients used Rosemary in their religious ceremonies.

An old French name for it was Incensier.

I use dried Rosemary in my Wheaten Soda Bread!

It is delicious!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Food, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Tea, Trees, Uncategorized

As the Storm Rages…

Shed at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardensAs I write this the video is uploading…slowly and tentatively, as we are enduring power-outs with the storm raging and the day that’s in it!

Missy Cat asleep at Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureI’ve had a quick look at the video before loading and it’s hard to tell there is any storm here at Bealtaine Cottage…testament to the abundant permaculture planting.

Porch and sitting room at Bealtaine CottageThis ensures that the wind is well filtered and damage caused by storms is negligible.

Bealtaine Cottage stoveI have lit the stove, but the cottage is struggling to heat up, so I have donned my extra warm hand knitted woollen sweater! 

This is a day for endless pots of tea and toast, crumpets, cake…comfort food, just lashings of tea and cake!

stormy weather permaculture cottage Despite the cold and rain and wind, the blossom is on the Nectarine tree in the tunnel and the buds are thickening and colouring on the Apple Trees throughout the gardens.

apple jelly at Bealtaine CottageI have planted a total of 40 fruit trees all over the 3 acres of permaculture gardens…with plans for more.

Each year that passes sees the gardens grow more abundant and protective.

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Today’s video from Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

There are over 500 blogs in the archive on this site.

Donations are always welcome.

 Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Baking, Cats, Country Living, Folklore, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Smallholding, Tea, Thoughts, Vegan

Keeping Good Health This Winter with Dracula!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureOne of the mainstays of good health…organically grown onions here at Bealtaine Cottage on the veranda, drying out before stringing.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Onions, Apples and Blackcurrants, organically grown, will provide an enormous amount of protection from colds and viruses and at the same time help to keep the blood free from oxidants.

All this because prevention is better than cure!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureA pot of tea, comforting and refreshing as well as being a powerful anti-oxidant

organic garlic, Bealtaine CottagePermacultureGarlic…not just for keeping vampires away!

Garlic at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture garden 015Traditionally, whole bulbs of wild garlic were placed under the thatch of Irish cottages, just above the door, to keep away evil!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

It is no surprise that the writer of the book, “Dracula,” was, in fact an Irish man, Bram Stoker.

Garlic keeps the blood clean…apparently!

A slice of garlic placed on a cut will kill all infection!

rosehips Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureStudies now suggest that Rose-hip extract can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.

Rosehips at Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureIn the past this was used to make a poultice which was then applied to painful joints in hands, knees and hips.

 Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureIt has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect and will successfully treat the inflammatory condition AND is free of any side-effects.

Rose Arch at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThis is a very easy to grow cure and has many other uses…for example, the hips are packed with Vitamin C!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture breadAnother case of prevention being better than cure…sunflower seeds, used in bread-making will provide a good source of Omega to the body and be powerful in the protection of good health all round.

I add the hulled seeds to bread and flapjacks.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture catsWe should enquire of the older generation what it is that has kept and continues to keep them in good health.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture home made soupHome made vegetable soup is one of the best sources of goodness to keep good health throughout the winter.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture pumpkinsI make this in batches, using pumpkins from the pantry and keep it in the fridge, along with home made bread.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture PumpkinsPumpkins will keep for the entire winter if stored in a cool pantry.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture TreesThe Elder tree was used as the mainstay of good health in village life long ago.

The leaves, bark, flowers, berries and roots were all used in folk medicine and herbal cures.

Bealtaine Cottage interior designThis is another easy to grow tree that keeps on giving…Elderflower Wine is absolutely scrumptious!

If you wish you can subscribe to the latest website from Bealtaine Cottage…”Bealtaine Cottage Good Life”…simply make a donation of 12 euros for a full year and access the long list of blogs now on site. Quote: “Bealtaine Cottage Good Life” with your donation.

(Please note that this small donation sustains the work on this website, Bealtaine Cottage YouTube, Bealtaine Cottage Podcast and Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens FaceBook.)

 

Posted in Climate, Cottage, Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Lough Allen Basin, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Tea

Rose-hips, Rain and Recipe for Rose-hip Syrup

The sun rises in a cooler sky, as the mist crawls slowly along the valley floor, in from Lough Meelaugh, past Kilronan castle to eventually meet the mists that cover the giant stretch of water that is Lough Allen.

Autumn is a time of mists, just as Samhain merges into Winter, so do the mists swirl and merge away off into the low clouds.

Lough Allen is an English translation from the Gaelic, meaning ‘Beautiful Lake’, and that it is!

The little town of Drumshanbo lies just above the Lough in the County of Leitrim.

It is little wonder it is referred to as “Lovely Leitrim.”

On a calm day the Lough takes on a look of pure glass, as in Maeve Binchy’s book, “The Glass Lake.”

I am happy to see such a beautiful sunrise and then sit here writing in the still of the morning…it’s now exactly 9am.

This morning has to be slowly enjoyed because there’s a mighty storm of heavy rain approaching Ireland.

Rain has been heavy all year and the earth is quite sodden…the wettest I have ever experienced.

As I write this, clouds have shadowed out the morning sun and already spots of rain are dotting the windows.

Even as the rain falls, the harvest continues…

Did you know that Rose-hips contain 20 times more vitamin C than the same weight of oranges?

Here is an old recipe for making Rosehip Syrup, a Vitamin C product given to babies and young children during World War Two…

Rose-hip Syrup
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2lb ripe rose-hips

6 pints water

1lb sugar
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Wash and remove stalks.

Mince or finely chop.

Add to pan with 4 pints boiling water, bring back to boil then remove from heat.

Stand for 15 minutes then strain through a jelly bag.(I use a cotton pillow-case!)

Return the pulp to pan with 2 pints boiling water, bring to boil, remove and stand for 10 minutes, then strain through jelly bag.

Now mix both juices and boil until reduced to 2 pints.

Add sugar, stir until dissolved, boil for 5 minutes.

Pour into small bottles, seal and sterilize using pan method.
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Other Uses for Rose-hips…

Rose hips can be gathered and dried for tea.

Drying methods are simple as the fruit is small and easily dried…but keep it slow and steady…I use the oven on my wood stove and leave the door slightly ajar to keep the dry air circulating but not baking.

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Recipes, Seed-Saving, Self-Sufficiency, Tea, Wild Flowers

Making Elderflower Cordial…Summer in a Bottle!

The Summer harvest has begun in time for the Solstice…Elderflowers are in abundance and the making of Elderflower Cordial captures the energy of the summer solstice in a bottle of sweety goodness!

30 heads of flowers, 4 lemons, boiled spring water, sugar and citric acid to preserve the cordial well into the dark days of midwinter.

It’s a very simple process.

First boil the one and half litres of water you will use, then stir this onto the 1 kilo of sugar and leave to cool.

Then grate the lemons and slice into thick slices.

Add all to the cooled sugar water, along with the Elderflowers.

Stir well.

Add 50g of citric acid and stir again.

Cover and leave to infuse for 48 hours or so, then strain through muslin and bottle in sterilized glass bottles.

Mmmmm….

Any leftover flowers can be dried in a cool oven and kept in a clean glass jar for making Elderflower tea with during the winter…

This makes a delicious, organic tea!

I love the abundance of summer…

Bealtaine Cottage website is free, with over 1200 blogs and 15,000+ photographs.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Folklore, Food, Herbs, Permaculture, Tea, Uncategorized

Building Fireplaces and Growing Your Own Herbal Teas…

For a long time, the small fireplace in the bedroom was closed up.

Then I decided to open it up and build a small surround.

In the true vernacular style I have used stones from the area around the cottage.

These were stones that the earth had simply pushed out…pieces of red sandstone.

I collected up the small bits to make two piers, one for either side of the fireplace.

These piers were then built onto the larger stones used for raising up the fire grate.

On the top of the larger stones in the grate I placed a big flag stone I had sitting around by the back of the cottage.

I put this old fire insert in place.

I had this sitting out the back with plants in it for a long time!

An old piece of wood was placed atop of the stone piers to form a small, compact mantelpiece.

It was then painted the same colour as the walls to bring it all together!

As you can see, it serves the purpose well! 

There is nothing quite so comforting as drifting off to sleep in front of a beautiful, open fire! 

I grow over 40 varieties of herbs here at Bealtaine Cottage. These I store in glass jars in the pantry, pictured above…

As well as the cultivated herbs, there are, perhaps hundreds of wild herbs growing here as well, such as Sorrel and Mint…in fact several varieties of mint!

wild herbs at  Bealtaine Permaculture cottageOther wild herbs are less obvious, but are there when one goes looking for them!

The fact is, more and more people are becoming alarmed at the reliance on modern medicines.

herbs at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Many people are seeking natural alternatives and many of these are already known to us.

sage in the tunnel at  bealtaine cottage herbsIt is important that we pass on the wisdom accumulated  in our lifetimes as much of what was common lore, folklore is fast being lost as the lines of communication between people are closing, for people talk with each other much less these days!

Making elderflower cordial at  Bealtaine Cottage Folk wisdom was founded on a combination of what people knew, what was passed on to them, understanding of the human mind and a very deep understanding of the value of herbs and plants.

candle in the window at  Bealtaine cottageWhat is more comforting than a cup of peppermint tea to soothe a bilious stomach?

Or a cup of Camomile tea to calm the nerves, or tea made from Lemon Balm or Lemon Verbena?

Wild Mint tea, Nettle tea are ancient recipes for various health problems.

herbs at Bealtaine Cottage All these are now dried teas that we now buy in shops, but these are easily grown, cultivated or even collected from the wild!

Herbal teas are very easy to make!

Simply take half an ounce of the dried herb and pour on one pint of boiling water.  

Alternatively use one ounce of a fresh herb to one pint of boiling water and let it stand for five minutes.

One can add honey or sugar to sweeten and any milk or cream…it really is a matter of personal taste!

early morning at Bealtaine Cottage It’s important to pick the herb before flowering and in the early morning, before the sun is at it’s strongest and many of the oils in the plant are weakened.

If you have a particular herbal tea that you enjoy, it would make sense then to grow an abundance of it, dry and store for all year round use.

willow arches and ponds at bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensIt’s always best to store in either glass, or stoneware jars as these are natural and will not impart any unwanted flavour to the herb.

I often drink herbal teas that I mix with Indian or Ceylon teas…and get the goodness and flavour of both!

Posted in Cats, Food, Permaculture, Tea, Uncategorized

Tea, Toasted Bagels and Good Spirits!

Cutting back branches today.

This is a good way of creating more fuel for the fire and is easy to do even if there is no barn or shed to stack them in. Simply clean them back and make a wig-wam to stand them up so they can air dry. These little wig-wams can stand over the Spring and Summer and be ready to burn over the winter.

Daffodils placed in the warmth of the kitchen today.

I picked them yesterday whilst out on a walk in the forest. They were growing around the ruins of an old castle near the lough. The daffodils had multiplied over the years and were simply everywhere!

Spring daffodils have become a marker of displaced and emigrated families as they come into bloom around ancient, deserted ruins…

Jack is a happy dog these days…for Flo has come to stay!
Flo is yet another stray dog, re-homed through Bealtaine Cottage and a regular returnee…in fact she loves being here and Jack’s eyes have become heart shaped!

Flo and Jack make a strange looking couple, as Flo is tiny and Jack is, well, you can see what I mean!

Tea is my favourite tipple and I have recently discovered Redbush Tea…which is delicious! I have made a toasted cinnamon and sultana bagel…oh, the simple things in life are always the best!

I was chatting with Mum on the phone recently and she is already looking forward to the late Spring and the Bluebell blooming in the forest nearby Bealtaine.

It is amazing that Mum has happily been in good heath since her Breast Cancer Operation nearly two years ago. Mum resolutely refused any drug treatment or radiotherapy , saying that she simply wanted to live without any interference, appointments etc. Well, so far, so good! Mum is a great tea drinker…and I think that helps both her health and her spirit!

Many of my regular readers have said how they read this diary during morning or afternoon break, with a cup of tea or coffee…Cheers!

PS: Missy continues to be rather poorly and is visiting the Vet this afternoon.  We make sure she is kept in good spirits and with plenty of love and warmth.  Fingers crossed!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Earth, Eco-Living, Fairies, Gardening, Herbs, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Tea, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Permaculture Cottage ~ 70,000 Visitors…(now almost 300,000) seek a better way forward.

Potting, planting, protecting and nurturing the future of Earth…the babies of Gaia are secure in the Nursery beds as the storm approaches from the west, with an early winter not far behind…in late October to be expected!

Visitors to this permaculture blog topped 70,000 this week.

Interest in permaculture is booming as the forces that rule and dominate this sacred earth go into a tailspin, driven by their hatred, greed and compelling and overwhelming desire to destroy all that is good and sustainable on Gaia.

More and more people are becoming desirous of finding a way forward which can only be based on sustainability.

Permaculture is the way that has proven itself to be foolproof here at Bealtaine Cottage. Marian, Colin and Marisa, visitors this week, will testify to that!

Sedums this morning, near the tunnel.  It’s hard to believe that these are growing where once only rushes grew…with nothing sprayed, turned, dug, imported, raped or plundered.

The thing is, when you start to trust Nature and treat her as a friend, wonderful things start to happen…that is permaculture for me, in a nutshell!

Oregano growing around the water bins near the tunnel this morning.

The flower heads can be dried and used to make tea which has wonderful anti-bacterial properties.

Good for sore throats!

Ash trees stand tall and heroic all around the borders of Bealtaine…I have more faith and trust in these guardians of Gaia than any standing army!

The pathway into the Fairy Dell, lined on either side by a Willow Fedge…now is the time to create fedges like this, easy to make and cost ZERO…my favourite word as you all know!

PS…since posting this in September 2011, over 295,000 visitors have made their way to Bealtaine Cottage…permaculture is blooming!

Posted in Bats, Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Garden, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Tea, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Benefits of Tea

Evening turns to night at Bealtaine Cottage.

The bats have emerged from their home and are flying low around the cottage.

Lots of activity today at Bealtaine, especially around the Tunnel and Nursery beds.

Many of the Blackcurrant seedlings are now in bigger pots and moved to the plants area, where they will stay until planted out.

The nights are verging from warm and balmy to quite chilly.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see early frost, as the weather has become unpredictable.

Tea…the cup that cheers, especially at the end of the day.

In 2010, researchers found that people who consumed tea had significantly less cognitive decline than non-tea drinkers.

The study used data on more than 4,800 men and women aged 65 and older to examine change in cognitive function over time.

Study participants were followed for up to 14 years for naturally-occurring cognitive decline. (Study carried out by Leonore Arab PhD UCLA 2010).

Tea leaves contain more than 700 chemicals, including  flavanoides, amino acids, vitamins (C, E and K), caffeine and polysaccharides.

Tea plays an important role in improving beneficial intestinal microflora, as well as providing immunity against intestinal disorders and in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage.

Tea also prevents dental caries due to the presence of fluorine.

The role of tea is well established in normalizing blood pressure, lipid depressing activity, prevention of coronary heart diseases and diabetes by reducing the blood-glucose activity.

Both green and black tea infusions contain a number of antioxidants.

Something that my grandmother always insisted upon, though she didn’t call them antioxidants, …now, how did she know?