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!
************************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.
Morning merges into early afternoon.
There is a seamlessness about the work on this last day of September.
Somewhere, in the distance, a crow calls its lonely caw…it’s repetitive and makes me think an animal has caught it…perhaps a fox.
I have watched the fox make it’s way across the rushy fields, darting here and there among the clumps of withering green.
Deep in the Fairy Wood, cutting and stacking with my little handsaw, all I experience from the outside world are noises of life without.
Once so very timid, he is finding his own place in this world, where he initially found only rejection.
I 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.
I have no idea why, but the shape draws me in.
I see hearts everywhere.
They fascinate me.
It seems that the view from this window changes every time I pass it…
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
The 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!
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!
As 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.
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!
This is a good place to dry herbs when the stove is lit, as it gets very hot very fast!
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!
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!
Nasturtiums, Lobelia, Petunia, Sweet William, Perlagonium, Valerian and Night Scented Stock are jostling for space near the back door.
Abundance reigns supreme in the gardens, as seen here in these lovely old-fashioned roses that lead the way up to the new orchard.
This is a strange bee with a black bottom half.
These beds are very abundant and productive, considering the shallow depth and intensive planting…the weather is promised good for tomorrow!
This cable table has sat in the garden for eight years…great garden furniture for free!
Sunflowers and lots of seeds getting ready for harvesting in the tunnel in these Potager raised beds.
Friday evening at Bealtaine…the rocket stove is boiling the kettle for another pot of tea…could it get any better?
Would this be equal to a few solar panels?
Lugh was the god of arts and crafts among Celtic tribes and Lughnasa sat high in the Calendar of festivals.
This ancient festival marks the first day of autumn in the Celtic Calendar, and thus the start of the harvest season.
Here in Ireland the nearest Sunday to Lughnasa was known as Cally Sunday, the traditional day to lift the first new potatoes.
The man of the house would dig the first stalk, while the woman of the house would don a new white apron and cook them.
I am hosting an “Open Weekend,” for anyone who wishes to visit the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.
This 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!
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!
Thanks to the following lovely people who have donated to the Leitrim Animal Sanctuary…
Carole (wspines) from Whispering Pines Farm
Oregano, Origanum vulgare, is also known as Common and Wild Marjoram, Greek Oregano and Winter Oregano.
The name is derived from the Greek, meaning “mountain of joy.”
The Oregano I harvest comes complete with flowers, so is especially potent for tea!
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.
~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.
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.
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!
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As 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!
I’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.
I 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!
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.
I 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.
Today’s video from Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens
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 for supporting this blog
One of the mainstays of good health…organically grown onions here at Bealtaine Cottage on the veranda, drying out before stringing.
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!
Traditionally, whole bulbs of wild garlic were placed under the thatch of Irish cottages, just above the door, to keep away evil!
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!
In the past this was used to make a poultice which was then applied to painful joints in hands, knees and hips.
It has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect and will successfully treat the inflammatory condition AND is free of any side-effects.
This is a very easy to grow cure and has many other uses…for example, the hips are packed with Vitamin C!
Another 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.
We should enquire of the older generation what it is that has kept and continues to keep them in good health.
Home made vegetable soup is one of the best sources of goodness to keep good health throughout the winter.
I make this in batches, using pumpkins from the pantry and keep it in the fridge, along with home made bread.
The leaves, bark, flowers, berries and roots were all used in folk medicine and herbal cures.
This is another easy to grow tree that keeps on giving…Elderflower Wine is absolutely scrumptious!
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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…
2lb ripe rose-hips
6 pints water
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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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!
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!
The fact is, more and more people are becoming alarmed at the reliance on modern medicines.
It 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
It’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!
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!