Posted in Lifestyle, Permaculture, Recycling, Sustainable Living, Thrift

Simple Living

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“We’d incorporated Asia into our bones – its colours and laughter, its smells, its rhythms, its tolerance and patience, its compassion, its lack of ageism.”
~ Jane Wilson-Howarth

DSC00922DSC00921DSC00920DSC00915Colour is important to me, as you can see from both the cottage and the garden.

DSC00917DSC00916I am led to infuse it into my daily life, as in the tie-dyed sheet that hangs as a curtain on the old doorway.

DSC00914Sometimes it’s all too easy to go to the shops and buy what is deemed suitable for covering a doorway…usually a door!

DSC00912But, as always, a cottage can be very forgiving and accommodating to whatever furniture or resources one has.

DSC00905A cottage is never in competition with the big, new house down the road!

DSC00906It’s more of a “make do and mend” kind of home, where anything goes, be it period or modern, or just recycled, as is the case here at Bealtaine.

DSC00907As I snapped these photos this morning, my gaze was being continually led outside…and so it should be, for that connectivity is immensely important.

DSC00911I recall living in an old house in Muswell Hill in London and how I loved tending the window boxes beyond the old sash windows. DSC00909How just the simple act of pushing them up and the outside coming in provided a kind of release of energy both ways!

DSC00908The connectivity of life!

 

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Posted in Thrift, Trees, vegetable garden

A Simple Life

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

a real sofa bedThis is a real sofa bed.

It’s a bed, with a cover and lots of cushions.

sitting roomI needed another sofa in my sitting room.

Simple.

No fuss.

Looks good and is inter-changeable.

Cost: zero!

Mosaic mirrorMost of what I have in my home cost zero.

Like this fancy mirror above the mantle piece…born from broken mirrors and turned into a mirror mosaic.

Cost: zero.

The mantle piece cost 50 euros in a second-hand furniture shop.

mosaic floorThe simplicity of living, almost cash free, is liberating and allows one to appreciate everything that comes ones way.

Like this mosaic floor, created from broken tiles, throw-a ways from a consumer driven society.

mosaic floorLife within the shop-till-you-drop, over-burdened, corporate-controlled madness that passes as culture, is beginning to wane.

mosaic floorMore people are awakening to the liberation of simplicity…a simple life.

Bog Oak garden sculptureOne where culture is developed and creativity valued.

A piece of Bog Oak, found on the…

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Thrift, Trees

A Day of Sustainable Living at Bealtaine Cottage

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Sewing patchwork today…finishing a bedspread…with the back-door open and the birds singing!

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Producing and using surplus is an integral part of living sustainably. 

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Upcycling our waste in a wasteful society is a way to create growth. 

If there is going to be a future, then our past cannot be used as a template.

We have lived in a state of excess at the cost of the future.

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Making soup today has allowed me to harvest and use vegetables from the garden, especially Spinach.

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…mmm!

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I love Spinach!

With lots planted in the tunnel and heaps of seedlings coming on in pots, this is one winter green of plenty this year!

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There are lots of windfall apples at the moment and this is the time to get out and collect them up for pies and juice.

Stew down the apples ready for a tart and store in the freezer or even can it…that means jar really!

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Having the stove fired up for cooking the soup and baking, means drying clothes in a very natural and cost-free way.

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Cleaned out the hen house and run…now there’s lots of poopy straw to spread on the vegetable beds before I mulch them with cardboard…great, organic and free vegetables for next year!

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The girls are happy! This deep litter allows a good amount of fertile straw to be used in the vegetable gardens and as a fertile mulch…for free…eggs are a sideline!

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Rosehips from the Rosa Rugosa are ripening…these make the very best Vitamin C syrup!

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Beautiful colouring on the Amalanchier trees today.

A feast for the soul!

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Blackberries continue to ripen…free fruit that not enough people bother to pick and use…though more are enjoying the fruits of foraging!

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Cleared the space beneath this Ash tree to make a little sitting and meditation space.

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Made a green juice to start the day, using Apples, Lemon Balm, Mint,  Kale and Wheatgrass from the garden. Now that’s what fired me up for a day of sustainable living!

 

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Frugal Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift

A Simple Life

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“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.”

Victoria Moran

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Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. ~Elise Boulding

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Yesterday, I found myself with two juicers.

Through fortune and kindness, my life had become too full, and so I gave one away, to a friend who needs to take good care of her health.

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She was delighted and my cupboard was, once more, roomy and ready to receive.

To live in a state of abundance, it is necessary to practice frugality.

One cannot work without the other.

Abundance needs space to grow!

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Clinging onto what one does not need creates clutter, confusion and chaos.

Is it any wonder the world is in such a state?

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We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it. ~Donald Horban

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The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed — it is a process of elimination. ~Elbert Hubbard

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I have two websites… Bealtaine Cottage and Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

This site, Bealtaine Cottage, is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

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

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Posted in Baking, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, Life, Permaculture, Thrift, Trees, Uncategorized

Home Grown and Home Made Food

 

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The cost of food has risen and the overall quality has dropped.

Much of the fruit and vegetables being sold in the supermarkets may look good, but the taste is somewhat lacking. Considering these issues, it is fair to say that there could not be a better time to grow your own food, as well as make, cook and bake your own food!

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Today I have been harvesting potatoes and clearing the beds for the next planting or simply for mulching down with cardboard and straw.

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The compost heap is growing by the day as the beds are cleared and tidied.

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Elsewhere in the gardens, the burgeoning beds await their turn to be harvested.

This Golden Oregano will dry nicely and ensure tasty tomato sauces all winter!

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This is a sheltered part of the fruit gardens to leave the potatoes in the ground for a while to come.

Those at the back of the picture will stay where they are.

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You may remember how I mulched this ground last Autumn, using cardboard, straw and shreddings…now you can see the value of this exercise.

The earth is in good condition and any weeds that did grow were very easy to pull.

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This gives you some idea of how permaculture works…a forest garden with lots of shelter, biodiversity and ultimately, resilience!

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Lots of leaf drop feeds the soil, building a much needed fertility.

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Meanwhile, indoors, one of the few electrical items I own is ready to do a lot of sewing.

I also have a hand sewing machine for less labour intensive tasks.

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And in the kitchen I’ve been baking bread and making Houmous Dip.

There really is no comparison to home made and home grown food!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Garden, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thrift, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Bartering

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Bartering home made wine for time spent fixing my computer is fantastic and affordable…this afternoon was spent in the company of two friends, who did great work for me, in return for some giggle tonic; what happens when you drink this potent Blackcurrant wine.

28 June 2014 002Jack has just returned with me from his early evening walk.

He is in desperate need of a brush as he’s moulting all over the place!

He gets all soppy when I brush his coat.

Sheepdogs are very loyal and just a wee bit crazy too!

28 June 2014 005A cottage garden gets away from all sense of colour co-ordination, as you can see here!

Many of the perennials are starting to go over a little bit as the height of Midsummer has passed.

28 June 2014 003This can be a good time to cut back on some in order to get a late summer blossoming too.

The Geranium thrives on a twice yearly cut back.

28 June 2014 006This little Fig tree grows well in a half barrel, being squashed into a tight corner with other plants and even a Rose bush; Figs thrive in tight spots!

28 June 2014 001There was a time when Ireland was dotted with little white-washed cottage, all proudly hosting red Perlagoniums on their low window sills every summer.

Sad to think those days of simple living have passed and people are no happier really!

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Ox-Eye Daisies run riot all over the top part of the gardens, thriving in the limestone gravel with carefree abandon! So often dismissed as weeds, these wild flowers are undemanding and drought tolerant. 

28 June 2014 009Nasturtiums are coming into their own and the bees are having a real feast.

28 June 2014 010An outdoors coffee table and chair…why not?

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thrift

The Art of Seduction

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0341.jpgRain falls softly as I type.

The day has given way to evening and the sun sets in the west behind the trees.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 024There is a chill in the air; I have lit the stove.

Birds swoop low over the roof of the lodge; so low, I can hear the sound of their wings.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0024.jpgOver recent weeks there has been much clearing out of sheds, cupboards and closets, as the energy of approaching Midsummer holds sway.

Through all of this, I have been mindful of need; keeping up a steady flow of goods to charity shops.

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Ever mindful of human need, my mind turns to scarcity.

What does it mean and how does it affect us?

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 020Scarcity is the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfil all human wants and needs.

The art of seduction in society has led to a feeling of scarcity in the mindset of many people.

Solstice morning at Bealtaine Cottage 2013Media and advertisements seduce many into a perpetual state of want; and when not getting what they desire, into a state of perceived deprivation.

The standing stone at Bealtaine Cottage February 2013This is what creates and maintains consumers.

table on the verandaLiving in a corporate society means being a consumer.

cropped-060.jpg It has suited successive governments to align their economic policy with that of corporations, turning us all into little more than consumers.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 002Every aspect of our lives is heavily weighted in favour of consumption, yet not even the corporate junk food fills us up!

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0141.jpgIn the process of this debasement we have lost our sense of community and dignity.

We have been systematically seduced into a continual state of perceived scarcity…the cause of a deepening unhappiness. 

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Bealtaine Cottage website is free, with over 850 blogs and 3,500+ photographs.

However there is a new website for lovers of all things Bealtaine…

” Bealtaine Cottage Good Life”

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

This amounts to 104 publications per year, at a cost of 12 cents each!

Click on button below to make your subscription.

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thrift

Small Spaces and Tiny Homes

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Tiny homes are becoming popular.

We are realizing the importance of space…the space we actually need to live comfortably.

If I had the opportunity to build another home, it would, undoubtedly, be much, much smaller than Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLiving comfortably means a warm home, less opening and closing of doors, one big room where all comforts are to be found, much in the same way as the old cottages used to be here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere in this little Lodge, built onto the back of the cottage, constructed mostly from re-cycled materials, over-wintering is now embedded into my lifestyle.

www.bealtainecottage.comEnergy use is one-quarter of that needed for the cottage.

Small pieces of coppiced wood has fed the wood-burning stove, keeping all snug and cosy.

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This was a decision I made out of a challenge, to prove that it was possible to be warm and comfortable through winter…and it is more than possible, it is a new-found freedom!

Cheap energy!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is possible with a multi-faceted approach: one small, medium or even big living space; masses of insulation; small wood-burning stove; low energy lamps; a sofa bed, or, as in my case a bed that doubles as a sofa; woollen blankets and rugs; thick curtains and menu plan for cooking one-pot meals on the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.comA small clothes-rail doubles as a drying rail as the heat from the wood burner keeps the place toasty!

www.bealtainecottage.comI am a fan of the Tiny Home movement for many reasons, but, primarily because this way of living empowers one…absolutely! www.bealtainecottage.comThe more one can conserve and live minimally, the more power one actually has !

www.bealtainecottage.comPlanting lots of shelter-giving plants, shrubs and trees around it also helps the micro-climate inside and out.

www.bealtainecottage.comA place to sew and knit in comfort with the luxury of a kettle of ever-free-boiling water is magic!

www.bealtainecottage.comA door that opens onto the most sheltered part of the garden is a bonus.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd yes…that is an old table top up-cycled as a step!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Culture, Current Affairs, Food, Fracking, Growing Food, hens, Inspiration, Ireland, New Year, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift

Where Do We Go From Here?

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Bealtaine After Samhain

As we approach the end of another year, reflection begins to take form.
As many of you know, I do not have a television and rarely tune into the radio, so, perhaps, I find myself with more time and silence to reflect and think.
www.bealtainecottage.com 003From the little I have experienced this year from the outside world, it appears that economics has been the driving force behind every problem on this tiny planet.
The mass destruction of our earthly home has been driven by economics… cost of living… better termed the cost of dying, for it is like inheritance tax.
The cost of living is an inheritance tax on the planet, forever diminishing what we inherited and scraping the bones of children as yet unborn.
www.bealtainecottage.com 001Fracking the land for gas has been justified by governments and hailed as cheap energy.
Can you tell me the last time your cost of energy fell?
From this little part of Ireland, I have witnessed the rise and rise of energy costs, whether it be gas, oil, coal or renewables…and I look out my kitchen window every day at mountains, covered by wind turbines.
The turbines multiply each year and the cost of electricity spirals out of control.www.bealtainecottage.com 003Why?

Economics…or, a better word, profit.

Nothing for the people who look at these incredible machines every day…nothing!

There is nothing in the present economic model that takes into account the real cost of anything that pays a profit to shareholders.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Take oil for example.

What is the real cost of extracting this energy source from Mother Earth?

The real cost of Nuclear Power is for future children of this Earth to pay for…there is no safe way of dealing with the waste!

Here I stop!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006It is not in my nature to be negative.

I cannot write or talk for long about any sense of helplessness we may feel, looking at the mess we have made.

As a woman, I am a pragmatist.

I was reared in poverty, so have an inbuilt ability to look at the possible.

The solutions are many-fold.

The most immediate solution is, quite simply, consume less.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009By consuming less, we become active participants in a quiet revolution against the status quo that appears to hold sway.

We are only a valued part of the economic model by being greedy consumers.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002We live in a state of scarcity, according to the economic model, for that brings the greatest profit for the economic model. However, as I have said before, we actually live in a world of abundance, if we could just stop and see the possible.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017The possibilities inherent in a simple life, where it is highly regarded to switch off lights, bake a loaf of bread, or cake, keep a few hens and grow basic vegetables…  Walk more, value good quality clothes, make shoes last by polishing them…all this and more makes you a member of society with power and not simply a faceless consumer.

Bench by entrance porchConsider what it is you want in the year that lies before us.

Visualize the world you want to live in.

Create a picture of a future for children as yet unborn…those we will never see, but can only imagine.

Imagine their world, for you are creating it.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Is that power enough for you?

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift, Vegan, Winter

Lifting the Spirits

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Midwinter is over.

For many the celebration of Christmas has begun.

Last minute frenetic shopping today and tomorrow…

The days here at Bealtaine are beginning to lengthen.

Not tangible as yet, but optimism for more daylight has taken hold and sometimes that is enough…simply knowing that the darkness has passed.

The cottage remains in a post-midwinter party state, with chairs pushed back and floor-space revealed.

It may be a day or two before this is sorted, for I want to escape outdoors, despite the stormy weather!

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The lush greenery on the mantelpiece will stay in place for as long as it retains life.

Replacing the candles daily is a small task and keeps the soft light there to lift the spirits.

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A small sadness pervades the air, now that family and friends have gone.

We all enjoyed the coming together of our midwinter feast, with music and bonfire and soft candlelight…a magical time that lifted the spirit.

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Rich food and drink will now give way to simple soups and tea…a sort of cleansing of the palette and system, together with late winter walks, to appease the feasting of recent days.

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Venturing out this morning, into the wind-driven rain, fresh in from the Atlantic, amid the sounds of birds fighting over food…time to scatter the scraps from the feast around the gravel by the cottage for my hungry and cold feathered friends.

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Parsley, Kale and Chard all continue to grow abundantly in the Potager beds…no sign of prolonged frost to diminish these green gifts.

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The Chard is particularly beneficial to the body at this time of year, as it contains generous amounts of both Vitamin C and Iron…the Vitamin C is necessary for the body to absorb the Iron.

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I use the Kale in the juicer each day…a great supplement to my diet, as it charges my energy!

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Do you recall the ground I mulched with cardboard and shreddings?

Well, here it is this morning and as you can see it has now transformed itself into a bed ready to be planted out in the Spring…how easy was that?

There are several hundred blogs on this website about mulching and preparing ground for planting using the easiest methods that I have tried and tested.

To access them simply type key words into the Search Bar at the top of this page!

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Posted in Abundance, Animals, Cottage, Dogs, Food, Frugal Living, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Financial Collapse…One Woman’s View on What to Do!

Growing Lettuce in a Hanging basket

Summer at Bealtaine Cottage.

The days are long and the simplest of good food is grown in easy ways…like this “Pick and Come Again,” lettuce in a slug-free hanging basket.

I have had lots of time to ponder the way of things in the world.

Growing strawberries in a hanging basketListening, reading and watching allows one to build up a picture of what is really happening. 

The strawberries, meantime, can take care of themselves…another hanging basket crop!

Midsummer Day in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageI do not have television, so my head is not bombarded by trivial nonsense.

Preferring to spend time, especially summer-time, in the gardens allows me to think.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden at MidwinterUnderstanding that the economy is not collapsing, but, that it has been collapsing for quite some time now, is essential to developing a plan of action.

Since 2008 when the preliminary financial shock-wave hit, people have felt the slide into financial chaos.

Ensuring a small sum of money is kept aside, at all times, for emergencies, means one is  less vulnerable.

Home made wine in demijohnsBealtaine Cottage PermacultureGetting out of debt is essential too.

That noose around your neck will only keep tightening and there is no advantage in trying to keep up with one’s neighbours.

The likelihood is that they are deeper in debt than you!

Bealtaine Cottage  bread binPay off your creditors in small regular amounts and keep one credit card…safe…at home!

Don’t go shopping with a credit card in your wallet…use cash only!

What if you are at rock bottom and have no money?

Bealtaine Cottage potager vegetable bedTurn your garden and especially your useless lawn into an edible paradise.

Tax free, organically grown, healthy food, growing as close to your home as possible, means more money in your pocket and better health!

Bealtaine Cottage toamtoes in an old bread binNo garden?

Rent an allotment.

Bealtaine Cottage summer in the permaculture tunnelDo not rely on one source for your income.

Prepare for loss of regular income by becoming as diverse as is possible in terms of income.

For example, whatever you are good at can be turned into a micro business or even skill-swap scheme.

Bealtaine Cottage garden shedBe generous in all you do and with all you have. 

Creating abundance and generosity around you will ensure the same will be returned.

Finally, let me just say this…

Bealtaine Cottage bicycle and valerianMuch of our financial despair comes from the lunatic assumption that we can throw things away.

Well, ponder on this…THERE IS NO AWAY!

Bealtaine Cottage lounger in the tunnelThere never has been an “away.”

We live on one very small planet.

What we do, we do to the planet and all it’s inhabitants.

Bealtaine Cottage dogs Flo and JackStart to live with the consequences of our actions and choices.

There is no “away!”

There is only today and what we choose to do.

Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Family, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter, Woodland

An Alternative Christmas

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture porch

The frost has settled on the ground all around the cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardenThe land looks very much like a Christmas card, with frost sparkling in the early morning sun.

Bealtaine Cottage Midwinter GardenThere is something so captivating about the light at midwinter…it really is quite magical!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden at MidwinterThe sad thing is that much of the magic has disappeared from Christmas.

This special time has become so very commercialised, that it seems near impossible to avoid the frenzy that is now Christmas!

However, in recent years I have attempted to do just that, and this year I feel comfortable with my own very special take on the festivities.

I am a baby vegan…just starting this wonderful journey.

Previous to that I was a vegetarian, so meat has been off the menu for some time now.

This dietary choice takes me out of one Christmas loop.

So, instead of a massive dinner that used to leave me wedged onto a sofa for most of the evening, stomach heavy with over-indulging, I cook up an absolute feast of dishes that serve as a dinner and evening buffet for family and friends.

Xmas eve Dec 11 001As it is a special feast, all who attend bring a special dish of food, so the term feast is justly applied.

Gifts are exchanged, but they are special, hand-made or locally sourced gifts.

This year I have made each family member an album of photographs of special memories.

A painting of a beloved pet was commissioned for another dinner guest.

An Irish woollen scarf has been knitted for another…and so on.

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 010There are lots of home made wines and liqueurs, all made from fruit and flowers grown here at Bealtaine and none of which will cause a hangover!

Games are played…most of which end in silliness!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture stoveAs there is no television we talk…something that the television usually does for us!

In the afternoon we all go for a walk in the woods down near Lough Key…usually with no-one else around.

“Who shall describe the inexpressible tenderness and immortal life of the grim forest, where Nature, though it be midwinter, is ever in her spring, where the moss-grown and decaying trees are not old, but seem to enjoy a perpetual youth.” ~Henry David Thoreau

At this special time of year, in the deep midwinter, there is beauty and joy and friendship.

Money cannot purchase any of these gifts.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Christmas, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thrift, Uncategorized, Winter

Kandinsky, Stars and Solstice Preparations

Bealtaine Cottage, Midwinter 2012

As the winter moves towards the Solstice and Midwinter festivities grow closer, cleaning and painting the cottage is taking up most of my time.

Doors have been painted, along with window frames and furniture.

Bealtaine Cottage PantryThe thing is, once started, painting just goes on and on, as more things look grubby alongside freshly painted wood!

This is the newly decorated pantry…with a piece of art on the wall by Kandinsky, one of my favourite artists.

Bealtaine Cottage Shower roomThe shower room, (I don’t have a bath), was also given a complete makeover, including some stencilling on the walls.

The stencil was cut out of cardboard for free.

Bealtaine Cottage VerandaThis morning here in the west of Ireland is filled with sun, clear skies and frost.

The weather has been frosty, but mild enough to keep the blooms on the Geraniums.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture midwinter 2012It’s the kind of day that should be bottled and sold as perfect Midwinter weather!

I have just started putting out food for the birds, in the form of rolled barley.

Barley grows here in the British Isles, so there is little transportation involved.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture midwinter 2012The birds love this and one big sack from the farm store costs less than 10 euros and lasts all winter.

There is plenty of food in the garden, but this is a supplement as many small birds use Bealtaine Cottage as a food stop.

Posted in Art, celebrations, Christmas, Crafts, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Recycling, Thrift, Winter

Ideas for Christmas on a Budget of (almost) Zero!

Christmas presents…simple painted stones that make paper-weights, door-stops or just lovely ornaments.

Here are some I made earlier!

Decorative Hearts made from scraps of material and stuffed with wool.

These make great presents and are easy to make.

Totally recycled too!

A cottage on a slate…simply stones glued onto an old roof slate, together with a mossy roof and a little painted door and window…beautiful and unique!

Make your own willow wreath and decorate it with ivy and pine cones…you’ll find instructions on how to make this on this site…

There is nothing nicer than receiving a beautiful table display for Christmas.

Scour local charity shops for a bowl or container, fill it with florist’s oasis and insert as much seasonal greenery as you like…with water in the oasis, this is guaranteed to last well into the New Year!

A few pine cones picked up in the woods and sprayed gold or silver will just top it off!

Hand-made gifts of jam, wine, sweets, woolly hats…be creative!

Who wants the same old chain store rubbish anyway?

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Recycling, Smallholding, Thoughts, Thrift, Uncategorized

Permaculture Living in the West of Ireland

Permaculture is a way of life.

It is the way of life here at Bealtaine Cottage and has been for over eight years now.

Permaculture is about making the most of our resources.

Regardless of where one lives, resources are all around us.

From an old but usable sewing machine to a stove that burns on wood and bakes a cake and heats the radiators and gives lots of hot water and boils the kettle… we are surrounded with abundance if we did but care to look!

The more we plant, the more resources we have.

The more resources we have, the more we can share.

Permaculture helps us to recognize ways of making the most of our resources, like simply insulating all the windows on the north side of my cottage last winter, helped me to make the most of my energy resource.

The simplicity of permaculture is such, that minimizing waste and maximizing potential appear to be one and the same, as one works to compliment the other.

Permaculture is about living in an ecologically sound way, embracing Nature and being able to integrate as much or as little style into that framework as one desires.

We engage in a fully conscious way with the life we attempt to build, ensuring that productivity and care for the environment are together, at the forefront of all planning and living.

In choosing to live this way, we can boast that we leave Mother Earth in a healthier and stronger position than when we first came to live with her!

Is there any other way of living that can say that?

 

Posted in Books, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Climate, Cottage, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Politics, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Thrift, Uncategorized

Light, Midwinter Sun, Signs and John Seymour

Light

What an opportunity!

As we descend into the dark days of midwinter, what better thing to do than light a candle and enjoy the soft light and warmth.

I was making candles today to add to my stockpile for the coming weeks, when candlelight is really the best light medium to illuminate the darkness.

Midwinter Sun

Sun worship was a common practice among the Celts…one only has to look at the amazing amount of motifs from that time to see this.

The god Belanos, known as, “the shining one,” had his feast on May 1, also known as Bealtaine!

The festival of Bealtaine was celebrated right up until 1895 at a place known as Mount Callan, near Ennis in County Clare.

There remains a sun altar at this place.

There is another sacred stone near Macroom, a standing stone known as “Stone of the Sun.”

It is easy to see and perhaps understand this Celtic fascination with the sun, when looking at the life and vibrancy exuded by the midwinter sun, on a clear morning at this time of year.

Signs

It’s possible to assess the insulation needs of any house by looking at the roof.

There are obvious signs to look out for!

For example, does the frost or snow remain on the roof as the house heats up?

If it does, then all is well, insulation is adequate up above.

Bealtaine has a double layer of sheep’s wool insulation added this year and it is paying for itself already.

Walking in this weather can identify insulation needs just by looking at the houses…snow or melt on the roof?

Insulation is one of the many ways we can help ourselves to live better and more frugally in these times of hardship.

I think it is time to re-visit what John Seymour, in his wisdom, had to say…

“…We have allowed ourselves to get where we are because of the ‘blind workings of the market’.

But we are not blind, so we must now start using our good sense to ‘break this sorry scheme of things and remould it to our hearts desire,’ as old Omar Khayam had it.

To allow ourselves to be dependent on some vast Thing created by the Merchants of Greed is madness.

It is time to cut out what we do not need so we can live more simply and happily.

Good food, comfortable clothes, serviceable housing and true culture – those are the things that matter.

The only way this can happen is by ordinary people, us, boycotting the huge multinational corporations that are destroying our Earth – and creating a new Age – an Age of Healing in place of the current Age of Plunder.”

Posted in Angels, Birds, Current Affairs, Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift, Wildlife

Austerity, Angels and Food

Isn’t it ridiculous how we have come to measure prosperity in terms of pieces of paper and metal?

As if that could possibly sustain us in times of hunger.

Food prices are rising steeply as the world harvests are brought in and disappointment is faced.

The excessive weather conditions of drought or flood have impacted on all the land across the world.

I don’t think that anyone escaped the extremes on Planet Earth!

I was talking with my mother about her childhood during World War 2 and she recalls how governments radically encouraged frugality, a return to the earth, growing food and sharing.

It is hard to understand the lack of empathy present day governments have with the people.

Allotments need to be increased dramatically, as the waiting list for allotments grows longer each day in towns and cities across the UK and Ireland.

As the enforced austerity takes hold on our lives, governments need to be helping people to help themselves as much as possible.

If our politicians cared to help empower people, they would…

As I write this, the stove is slowly warming up the cottage, heating the radiators, heating the water and boiling the kettle, ready for my next pot of tea.

Many of the artefacts we have in our homes around us remind us of places, people and our own journey through this world.

I am very fond of natural crafts and evocative ornaments.

We have a need to surround ourselves with beauty.

Some of the most strikingly beautiful elements in our homes can be a simple vase of greenery from the outdoors

Light catchers are fascinating for reasons that are obvious, in that we continually gravitate towards the light.

Plants defy gravity in their growing towards the light.

Sunshine beckons me outdoors, or towards a window.

How many angels have I looked up at in stained glass windows, earth on one side of the glass and all beyond it on the other.

I have recently noticed  many flower shops are also selling angels and the link therein is intriguing to ponder…spirituality, plants, the earth and beyond, all linked and increasingly acknowledged by people seeking answers to age old questions…our material world has let us down.

There is an increasing disillusionment among people seeking a better way of living and understanding their small place in the Cosmos.

People need to feel hope and a sense of purpose in their lives.

The  trees and bushes stand heavy with fruit and seed-heads, food for all, including the birds.

Why import thousands of tons of peanuts, coconuts and the like, when planting food trees for the birds as well us can do the job so much better?

Planting rather than buying can take us all onto a different level of living!

Developing independence through small steps like PLANTING food for the birds and ourselves, enables thinking and living outside of the present day model of wasted consumerism.

The change is waiting for us.

Posted in Abundance, Baking, Cats, celebrations, Cottage, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thrift

Eight Ways To Live a Better Life

This is not a check-list.

It is not about ways to recycle or buy greener energy.

There is enough advice out there for you to check out.

Lists are good for remembering things in a hurry and ensuring everything is done, completed, bought…

This is simpler and permanent.

It is what I have learned about living as lightly as possible on this beautiful Earth.

These small bits of advice are not in any particular order, but as I think of them and how they have made a difference to my life…


*** Re-claim and nurture knowledge.

Talk with older, wiser people.

Keep a notebook of knowledge.

Bealtaine Cottage May 2012 013

I have tapes I recorded of my grandmother talking to me about her life and feelings on so many different and intriguing things.

I talked lots with my mother,  pictured above at Bealtaine Cottage.

Mum learned from me too…we exchanged ideas a lot.

Staying at Bealtaine enabled Mum to develop her love for Earth too.

***Develop a close and binding relationship with Mother Earth, through a closer contact with Nature.

www.bealtaine cottage.com

We are of the Earth and we will return to the Earth and are as much a part of the cycle of life as the seasons.

***Turn off the television, or even get rid of it, and nurture silence, peace, communicating, reading, listening…for all these will allow YOU to live instead of living life through a screen.


***Sow and plant food, flowers, trees…whatever your space allows and if space is limited, rent an allotment.

If allotments are in short supply or non-existent, pester your local council to provide them!

***Re-learn to love food!

Cooking, baking, tasting, canning, making wine and cordials, sharing…food is the one part of living everyone shares.

It is a great common denominator.

Food brings people together…it certainly used to!

Home made wine in demijohnsBealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Banish TV dinners!

Decorate your dining table, no matter how small, with a vase of seasonal greenery.

Use table mats and fine crockery for the beautiful food you make.

Xmas eve Dec 11 001

Light a candle on your table…celebrate the fruits of the Earth and reject the poisonous, tasteless garbage of the corporation!

***Practice kindness.

Kindness towards others and oneself.

I love the concept of “Random Acts of Kindness.”

***Our grandparents used their acquired skills to make their living environments easier and more beautiful…sewing, carpentry, kitting, painting…whatever you are good at, keep at it and teach others!

I have recently learnt to make willow baskets and will be able to pass this skill on.

***De-clutter your life!

This is a mantra I say to myself.

Less really is more.

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Posted in Cottage, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Recycling, Thrift, Uncategorized

Recycling for Profit!

Recycling can be done in many different ways.

It’s not just about pushing used bottle and jars into a recycling bin!

Here at Bealtaine Cottage most of the contents of my home are recycled household items.

I have added to the kitchen  contents with this lovely wall shelving, bought second-hand at the Boot Fair in Carrick-on-Shannon over the weekend.

It cost me 20 euros…a bargain and I didn’t even have to barter, as this was the asking price which I thought was fair, so paid it.

It’s perfect in my kitchen!

I also bought a Bread Bin for 4 euros…in the same colour as I painted the floor.

I never know what treats await me as I forage through the Fair on a Sunday morning…and last Sunday I arrived home with three items for my cottage, the last being this unusual mirror, made from metal and looking slightly Gothic!

It seemed to fit perfectly beside the door to the porch, reflecting the Victorian wash-stand by the opposite wall.

There are so many different and interesting ways to recycle…it’s not just about glass and cans!

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Personal, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Thrift, Uncategorized

Growing Grapes in Ireland…Outside!

Those who follow this blog will know that I grow grapes in the polytunnel, very successfully.

This recent experiment is about growing a fruitful grapevine outside, in Ireland.

The first thing is to try to emulate the conditions most favourable for grapes and a recent visitor to Bealtaine cottage spent some time giving me lots of good advice to this end…thanks Sigi!

Sigi grows lots of vines in Austria and is very knowledgeable indeed on this subject.

First, the vine detests wet feet…so ensure that the soil is very well drained.

Well in this case I replanted the vine onto the gravel at the back of the cottage, which faces south, banking it up well.

Stone collects the heat of the sun and holds it well…thermal mass! I added lots of stone around the plant.

Sigi advised me to keep to one main stem, so I cut it back and will cut some more too.

Recycling tins…this one has been serving the Sedum for about 3 years now!

Just punch a few holes in the bottom using a hammer and nail!

The experiment with the tomatoes outdoors as opposed to the tunnel is good so far.

This one is cropping earlier than the several in the tunnel!

Everything in the raised bed is growing fast and furious…less than a month after the first stone was set in place!

Plenty of time yet for sowing seeds…I started these off on Saturday.

The Rudbeckia on the left were transplanted from a small pot.

Harvesting seed from Parsley…save seed, it’s our independence and our future!

Borage flowers adorn the water in the tunnel…ensuring lots of bees visit the plants in here, there’s lots of Borage!

Today’s video…and yes, Missy has barged in!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vejVN3L1_LU

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Country Living, Earth, Fairies, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Thrift

Constructing Raised Beds in Permaculture Gardens

Do you believe in Fairies?

There are times when the only way I have of explaining the growth of everything  here at the permaculture smallholding that is Bealtaine Cottage, is by citing the Fairies as the little workers that sally forth at night, as the sun descends and their Fairy Forts allow them exit…and here’s what I mean…

This bed is less than 3 weeks old, built and planted out on the same weekend…now look at the growth!

Well, it must have been the Fairies, because it wasn’t the chemical companies that most people use to grow food…

Mirrored cottage of Bealtaine Permaculture CottageTalking of which, I was in Lidyl this morning and they had some lovely Rose Bushes for sale.

I did what I always do, I read the label…and oh, the utter disappointment!

It read that the Rose was licensed and one could not grow cuttings from it!

Imagine?

Not grow cuttings?

That’s like telling me not to drink the Spring water from the well, or breathe the clean air on the mountain!

permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 008

So, …these are the raised potager beds in the Magical Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…

Cardboard straight onto the gravel to stop weeds coming through!

And now to show you a little secret…here’s what I use to line the raised beds, sheep’s wool.

It’s referred to as “shoddy,” which is the parts of the fleece of little or no use for spinning.

It is very rich in plant food and even a liquid feed can be made from it.

It will rot down nicely and the roots of plants can bury themselves into the feast of food that is trapped therein! Fairies are fond of beauty and loathe straight lines…none here!

Just one more little bit of information on this beautiful Sunday in the west of Ireland…

You may be wondering why on earth there are pots sitting on the top of the raised beds…well that’s another brainstorm I had…

Potager bed at Bealtaine CottageCut the bottoms out of pots and plant that on the raised bed, with a plant inserted, so the roots have even more depth!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Have a lovely day and watch out for the Fairies! Earth Spirits are at work everywhere!

My special thanks and blessings to:

Linda Vassar

John O’Donoghue

Lynne Gruber

and Frederique Llensa

for your wonderful support!

 Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Country Living, Earth, Frugal Living, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

A Sense of Purpose

This is a month of many visitors to Bealtaine.

It is also the month of midsummer.

The ascent towards the solstice is happening.

It is actually visible in the growth all around me at Bealtaine Cottage.

Grass has grown tall and is seeding.

Nettles are almost past their prime, for once the flower heads appear their culinary use is forbidden.

Blossoms are ready to harvest, especially the Elderflower, one of the most delicate and exquisite flowers to use for making cordial, jam and champagne.

Elderflower cordial, once made and safely bottled, will keep easily for a year or more…not that I have ever kept it that long!

It is one of the best tastes of summer, if not the best!

Many of the visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are as interested in the spiritual aspects of permaculture, as the practical aspects of embracing permaculture as a lifestyle choice.

I see both as intertwined, for as permaculture is practised, spiritual awareness deepens and religious thinking diminishes.

A transformation occurs that takes the participant to a higher plain of awareness and understanding.

For me, permaculture has led me quite naturally to a life of simplicity and increasing awareness of the natural world.

It has been a tuning in process that has reached a level of comfortable ordinariness.

In other words, I get it… I feel comfortable within the universe.

There is incredible peace of mind in a permaculture lifestyle.

Most of the time, the brain is in an alpha state, with virtually no anxiety.

There is little to be anxious about, as this lifestyle choice both empowers and disregards.

With little need for money, the desire to consume is abated and diminished.

The consuming society is fast consuming itself and mostly for greed, ego or other negative reasons.

So much of the negativity which once dominated thinking, is disregarded, thrown off.

Life is embraced as a series of sunrises and sunsets and all the day in between, noticing the natural environment, planting, harvesting and simply being.

Many who are unemployed can turn to permaculture as an unlimited resource, fractionalised only by one’s own imagination.

A sense of purpose is easily attained by working close to the Earth.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, as the night draws in and the rain scatters nourishment upon the plants, I take a final walk around the cottage before reluctantly going in for the night…

Posted in Art, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Eco-Living, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

A New Kitchen for 50 euros? Easy!

The walls painted and stencilled, the floor painted and sealed, there was little to do except sew the new curtains.

A mass of green gingham fell into my lap, enough for the job, so I set about sewing and hanging…

Frugality and simplicity are cornerstones of permaculture, so simple curtains, made from sustainable cotton are an easy way to complete a re-decoration.

The time sewing them was interspersed with baking a cake and listening to a podcast.

Multi-tasking is easy.

Life is simple and abundant.

The first curtains are hung on the west window.

I shall leave the top windows uncovered until late Autumn, just before the winter draws in…

Both windows are now finished and I even had enough material left for curtaining the sink area.

Now to find some nice material to sew a table cloth…

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I have completed the kitchen…new floor, new walls, new curtains and hangings and all for less than 50 euros.

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Thrift

Compost…here’s how I make it, easy, simple!

Reasons to make compost…

A fine way to use kitchen waste.

Feed the soil, not the plant.

Live a cyclical life…keep things going round!

It makes great potting on compost.

Potatoes grow effortlessly in it!

A short video on how to make the easiest compost ever…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlYzDY1OLPA&feature=plcp

Posted in Art, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Eco-Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Cottage Interior Design using Permaculture Ideas…

Bealtaine Cottage 003

Decorating an old cottage on a budget of near zero…

The central design technique is simple…recycle and reuse as much as you can.

Here, the sitting room was given a wall mirror using broken mirrors that would have otherwise gone to the dump.

Cost: just the price of the tile adhesive and my time.

Bealtaine Cottage 004

A painted concrete floor and stencilled wall…stencils cut from card.

The floor stencil was spray-painted using left-over gold Christmas decorative spray.

Bealtaine Cottage 002

There is hardly a faster and cheaper way to bring beauty and creativity into your home than by putting together an arrangement of foliage and flowers picked from your own garden.

 Roman Blinds are the cheapest window covering to make as they only require material to cover the window and no more!

I made these for the kitchen windows.

The material was donated to me as an off-cut from a much bigger project!

This mirror was made in the same way as the bathroom one, but the broken tiles were stuck directly onto a sheet of wood…re-cycled wood!

It now decorates the veranda and reflects the light nicely.

The sitting room floor created entirely from waste…these broken tiles were destined for the rubbish heap before I rescued them and put them to good use. 

The sink is recycled and quite old, as is the draining board. As for the dish rack…it doubles up as a cake cooling rack…or is it the other way round?

And the ideas continue, making necessity the true mother of invention!

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Green gingham curtains and red geraniums…very Irish cottage!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Painted stones on a window ledge…simplicity at Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage

No fitted kitchen…just practical things all pulled together with a little colour.

Donations are always welcome and Blessings returned!

Thank you for supporting the Bealtaine Project

Posted in Abundance, Country Living, Garden, Permaculture, Thrift, Uncategorized

Careful Watchfulness in a Permaculture Garden

A garden is a grand teacher.

It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.

– Gertrude Jekyll 1843-1932

Lilac in the front garden in April of last year.

There’s a great promise of an even better show this year from the look of the buds!

And just a few feet away from the Lilac tree is the Kanzan Flowering Cherry…again, this is from last April and the promise this year looks good!

There is something so very joyous about seeing blossom in the Spring-time. These gardens at Bealtaine Cottage are all-year round gardens, planted to surprise and delight during all four seasons.

There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight.

– Gertrude Jekyll

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine 003

Can there be anything more delightful in a garden than edible flowers?

Chives is one of my favourites and is perennial, so there’s no fuss…just plant and watch it spread every year!

A garden is never so good as it will be next year” – Thomas Cooper

I am trying not to run ahead of myself too much so am limiting my curiosity to looking only at the April album from last year…this is the tunnel last April and as I look I can see just how much difference a few days can make at this time of year!

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.

– W.E. Johns, creator of ‘Biggles’, 1893-1968

I read all the “Biggles,” books as a child, being that the local library must have received a donation of the entire collection! 

By the lower pond in the Bog Garden…as I drove down the lane-way this evening there was a heavy flapping of wings as two ducks made their heavy ascent from the surface of the water off into the darkening sky.

Posted in Birds, Books, Country Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Poetry, Thrift, Uncategorized

Frugality, Environmentalism and Optimism…

Frugality, environmentalism and optimism…big helpings of each on this very wet Wednesday!

Much of this is embodied in the painted stone which nestles near the climbing Rose next to the veranda  at Bealtaine Cottage.

I love natural shapes and garden ornaments that don’t cost the Earth.

This painted stone, embellished with water colour paint and some varnish to hold it together, was gifted to me by a child who visited Bealtaine, on a rainy day, like today, and who sat engaged in this task for simply ages, as his mother and I drank tea and shared time!

I adore Owls and have yet to see one here in the west of Ireland, so I keep Olly Owl perched on wood just outside the back door!

Never throw away an old Bear…they just keep improving with time!
My heart cries for the Brown Bears kept in captivity in China for their bile…absolutely horrid and cruel!

A peek out the window in the Den is as far as I go into the gardens today…much too wet!

On the upside, it’s incredibly mild!

Intensive planting, excludes weeds and cuts down on much work!
Intensive planting, excludes weeds and cuts down on much work!

I might mention all the divine charms of a bright spring day, but if you had never in your life utterly forgotten yourself in straining your eyes after the mounting lark, or in wandering through the still lanes when the fresh-opened blossoms fill them with a sacred silent beauty like that of fretted aisles, where would be the use of my descriptive catalogue?

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It's always good to have a special spot in your garden. Sitting in the shelter of trees is calming. This is a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa and look around.
It’s always good to have a special spot in your garden. Sitting in the shelter of trees is calming. This is a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa and look around.

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

ALFRED, Lord TENNYSON, Locksley Hall

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Country Living, Inspiration, Self-Sufficiency, Thrift, Uncategorized

Christmas Country Living Thrift Workshop…How to make a Table Decoration.

It’s time to get decorating…it’s that time of year, December and nearing midwinter.

One of the simplest decorations to make, for free, is what is called a table decoration.

This starts with a container or plate and a piece of florist wet foam. I have lined the pot with some plastic and cut a piece of foam to put inside.

The florists foam is actually called ‘Oasis,’ and holds a great amount of water. Keep pouring on the water until the foam can hold no more!

Next I insert pieces of greenery around the edge of the foam.

Keep building up the greenery and looking at your creation from all sides to ensure a balance…

I have used Teasel for the centre piece…you can use any seasonal flower, dried or fresh.

Try to include as many aspects of the season as you can lay your hands on…it’s not finished yet!

It is easy enough to insert a candle into the middle of the decoration, making sure it rises above the greenery so it can be safely lit on Christmas Eve.

Posted in Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thrift, Uncategorized

The Bealtaine Cottage Story of Stuff…and Wellies!

There’s an anglepoise lamp that lights up my desk here in the cottage. It is an ancient lamp, but a very good one and when new cost a fair bit of money, many years ago.
The reason why I am mentioning this will be apparent in a moment or two. You see, recently, here at Bealtaine Cottage, my washing machine broke down and that got me thinking about stuff…well, things in particular…

Things like wellies…
What may you ask can possibly go wrong with wellies?
And what connects wellies to the anglepoise lamp?
Well, these, again, are old wellies and they are fine! However, over the course of recent years I have bought several pairs of floral wellies that have very quickly sprung leaks!

There is a point in telling you this…
it’s a simple point…
and is this…
the trend over recent years in manufacturing right across the board is to produce low quality stuff that is hiked as quality and pricey to boot!

Things are made not to last, to expire early, to be throw-away!

I have stopped buying trendy wellies.
I am not replacing my washing machine.
I have taken up home dressmaking once more.
And all the stuff that is being hiked in the shops…well, I will return to the way my grandma used to shop…infrequently, making an annual day of it!

Posted in Art, Crafts, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Recycling, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Crafting at the Cottage…Recycling Junk!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture potagerJunk!

Lots of unwanted and used bits and pieces…I just find it hard to throw anything away…well, there is no ‘away,’ is there?

This is an old bread bin that the bottom fell out of…makes a great planter for tomatoes as it retains the heat.

The ghostly reflection of the cottage courtyard taken in the thin winter air of a rainy morning.

This mirror is reminiscent of the one belonging to “The Lady of Shalott,” in that it has cracked from side to side…but is destined to reflect the images found on the inside of Bealtaine Cottage once more.

Bealtaine Cottage mosaic mirrorFor it has become part of the Mirror Mosaic currently  constructed above the mantle in the sitting room.

A line of hearts ready for Yuletide and the Christmas decorations that will festoon the interior of Bealtaine.

All these have been made from recycled materials…old fabric swatches from a furniture store, buttons saved over time in glass jam jars and kapok stuffing removed and stored from old cushions and unwanted toys…

Bealtaine Cottage re-cycled tin cans

Nothing is unwanted really, even in a world of peak everything…for soon all will be of use!

Indeed it has begun to happen!

Tin cans have so many uses!

The cost of old metals has soared recently and as the world tumbles into recession, everything we have taken for granted will become of importance… 

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Cat...Missy

Up-cycled broken tiles…make a great floor!

Bealtaine Cottage re-cycled stained glass windows in a cupboard

Old and very beautiful stained glass windows are up-cycled into an equally beautiful cupboard for my bedroom.

Posted in Art, Baking, Country Living, Frugal Living, Inspiration, sewing, Thrift, Wine

Simplicity, Frugality and Thrift…

Made today…

Frugality, simplicity and thrift…cutting down old curtains bought at a Boot Fair, to make new curtains for this window.

Hung on curtain wire…the cheapest and most effective way to hang light curtains.

And cafe curtains on the kitchen windows… These curtains are easy and fast to make, sewing in straight lines and no need for accessories of any kind!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Think twice before you throw away tins…they make wonderful pots for plants!

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Floral displays are easy to create from all kinds of cuttings.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Twisted willow wreathes require little or no skill to make and the materials are free and readily collected from the hedgerows.

Candle at Bealtaine Cottage
Candles for Midwinter, made over recent days, using candle scraps collected up over the course of the year.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

A string of hearts made from scrap materials…one of those curtain pattern sample books that shops find difficult to dispose of!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Home made biscuits to give as gifts, always treasured as they are unique and and can be wrapped in such beautiful ways!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Tiny pots of home made jam…

bealtaine cottage

Wrapped with home made scones, these make wonderful gifts!

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Or home made jellies with herbs added!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Be really adventurous and make fruit wine…

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Once in the demijohn, they make themselves!

today

The kindest and cheapest way to bleach your tea cloths…leave them out in the sun!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture home made soup

Make a big pot of soup, fill some Kilner jars with it and store in the fridge…it will keep for several days and is better than buying factory made stuff in plastic pots!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Happy making and baking…!

 

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 1,000 blogs, as well as over 5,000 photographs.

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

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

There is a full list of posts published so far lon the right of the Home Page

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Posted in Christmas, Country Living, Crafts, Frugal Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thrift, Uncategorized, Winter

Country Living in Ireland and a Frugal Christmas…

midwinter cottage 013
As the days darken and midwinter approaches, I find myself spending more and more time in the craft room at Bealtaine Cottage…

It’s a warm and cosy room and painting it orange makes it seem even more so…no better place to be on a winter’s day!

missy in the kitchen by the stove
 Melting wax on the kitchen stove to make an abundant supply of Christmas gifts… 

And continuing to enjoy the beautiful colours of a late autumn through the kitchen window as I work…

Bealtaine Cottage wood burning stovethe best things in life are free, so be frugal this Yuletide and make, bake, share!

Posted in Art, Christmas, Crafts, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Country Living, Permaculture Style, in the West of Ireland

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Lots of cutting back to be done at the end of the season.

Masses of kindling here that will be stored to dry in the barn.

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The land is slowly returning to fertility as the trees grow and shed leaves each Autumn and the bird-life increases, along with insects and bees.

September 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 001Jack waits patiently for his walk as I take a rest from candle-making…the day is ripe for being outdoors…

There’s something quite delicious about sitting down with a cup of tea and putting one’s feet up…in this case on the coffee table.

I don’t have a television so keep an abundance of books around me…

The candle-making continues…tidying up to do, but not before a dozen or so big candles are made…

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Food, Frugal Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Spirituality, Thoughts, Thrift

The Happiness of not Having Things

Apple Jelly made from apples grown and harvested here at Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding

This will keep well for years if stored in a cool pantry and can be used in baking and cooking and makes a wonderful sweet and sour sauce!

August 2011 Permaculture Cottage 003

“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language,
and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. 

Upcycled water taps at Bealtaine Cottage

The
consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and
has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

 ~Elise Boulding

And so, tied down with the complex consumerism of life, we don’t get time to see and appreciate the simple frost on leaves, or deeply inhale the clear, morning air…

Bealtaine permaculture cottage 005Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a
burden,

and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.

~Robert Brault

Quality does not lie in quantity, but in something that is unique…and the most unigue is made by oneself, for sure.

August 2011 permaculture Cottage 007

Maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to
buy food.

~Frank A. Clark
Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

“The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your
eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before
you.

stained glass wheel of life at bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it
comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in
life.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

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As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude
will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.
~Henry David Thoreau

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I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but
private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because
they would take away my liberty.

~George Santayana

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Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be
beautiful.

~William Morris

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

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

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

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

There is a full list of posts published so far lon the right of the Home Page

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

Seeds…

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

Books…

https://bealtainecottage.com/books-for-sale/

Crafts…

https://bealtainecottage.com/craft-shop/

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 100 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.