Posted in beauty, Bees, care for the earth, sustainable gardens, Sustainable Living, Trees, Wild Flowers

Creating Environment and Powering Down!

DSC09873Most of the energy we use at home comes from burning fossil fuels.

DSC09872Using less energy means burning fewer fossil fuels and putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Over the past twelve years I have endeavoured to reduce not just my own carbon footprint, but that of Bealtaine Cottage and gardens.

DSC09866When first planting the forest gardens it was important to keep the paths open, so mowing once a week during the growing season was a huge task!

DSC09868That issue is now almost resolves as the trees have shaded the paths…

DSC09855 and dropped lots of leaves to create quite a dense mulch.

DSC09865I am now tackling the long grass area that is the frontage of the gardens onto the road.

I began this task about three days ago, sculpting as I prepared a strip into which I planted.

DSC09829DSC09832DSC09831Planting is diverse and from my own Nursery where I grow trees, flowers, shrubs, herbs and vegetables.

DSC09834DSC09833DSC09835DSC09839It has always been important to me to keep this neat and attractive as it is an encouragement to passers-by to consider Goddess-Inspired Permaculture in a positive light! 

DSC09827DSC09828This is the stage I am at today. I simply strip back some grass and turn the sod upside down behind the strip…then plant!

DSC09848DSC09849DSC09850The end result will be that there is about half the amount of grass to mow…so half the amount of fossil fuel used!

Best of all will be an extended feeding ground for the Bees!

DSC09857That’s what I call a result!

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Posted in Cats, Gardens, Permaculture, Spring, vegetable garden, Wild Flowers

Magical Days

003

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

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

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

006

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

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

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

010

Animals react to Spring with displays of joy.

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

020

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

018

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

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

023

Buds on the Peach tree are beginning to thicken.

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

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

025

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

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

Time to feed and water well!

027

This Celery was planted and stem harvested last Spring.

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

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

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Flowers on the Ribes bushes have opened.

These will be ready to feed early awakening bees.

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

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

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

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

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Family, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Personal, Spirituality, Wild Flowers

The Tipping Point Moment

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 001 “Right now over  70% of the world population is convinced that something serious has to be done about the dangers facing the planet. …Most of humanity wants to know how to make the change. It’s one of those tipping-point times where things can change unbelievably fast…”

~ Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson, The Cultural Creatives

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 004Words of wisdom.

Words of vision.

The coming times; a glimpse of what’s to come.

These times are infused with uncertainty and fear.

Many people deal with this by switching off.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 005The Tipping Point has arrived.

Most of us know this to be a truth.

We know it deep in our hearts.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 007There is a panic among those who hold power over us.

This is manifested in the shifting sands of policy as things appear to fall apart.

Our governments have sown the seeds of chaos…in what they have done and what they have failed to do.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 008The most insidious, Machiavellian, duplicitous human beings are rampaging and corralling us all into dark times.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 010“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.” 
― W.B. YeatsThe Collected Poems

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 011For several years, as I have written this blog, and photographed the exquisite and the beautiful that is Mother Earth, I have attempted to inspire and encourage a return to Mother Earth.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 013For those who dwell close to her, quickly find the connection to life and spirit they have searched for, and in the finding is birthed a renewed sense of humanity, compassion, goodness and joy.

These are the values we have, as humans, innate within us.

permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 045

The intuitive, intrinsic, spontaneous gifts of the Divine which make us as one.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 012

Those we have elected as Trustees of Our Planet are conjuring wars, corruption, hatred and despair; thrusting us into the darkest of times.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 005
As the falcon turns, hold on tight to what you know to be the truth. 

_____________

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.

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

Bartering

28 June 2014 004

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!

28 June 2014 008
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 Abundance, Country Living, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Thoughts, Wild Flowers

Otherworldly…

www.bealtainecottage.com

 Sunday afternoon…picking flowers in the gardens.

This feels like the full, quiet days before giving birth…

bealtainecottage.comThe force of the full moon can still be felt in the stillness of the late afternoon air.

bealtainecottage.com (2)There is an otherworldly feel to it all… Time appears to stand very still.

bealtainecottage.com (3)Bees continue in a frenzy of work on this side of the Solstice.

I have often felt a slowness as time ascends towards Midsummer…it’s as though Mother Earth is not yet ready to let go…

bealtainecottage.com (4)Evenings merge with night as daylight seems eternal in the west of Ireland…Ox-Eye Daisies reach up toward the sun, basking in summer.

bealtainecottage.com (5)Returning from Belfast and the soft hum of the city to this place of quiet solitude, this otherworldly paradise of sights and scents…

bealtainecottage.com (6)Far back from the lane, this little cottage nestles into silence, a place of tranquil tolerance, a timeless existence at midsummer.

bealtainecottage.com (7)Wood Pigeon and Cuckoo call a mantra of hypnotic sounds…a lazy Sunday afternoon…

bealtainecottage.com (8)Ground Elder, the bane of many gardeners, is allowed her magnificence here, frothy lace adorning a mantle of green. bealtainecottage.com (9)Ragged Robin dances by the wheels of an old bike.

bealtainecottage.com (10)Himalayan Musk stands sturdy by the wooden porch.

bealtainecottage.com (11)Astrantia unfolds it’s papery petals in an unending delight of pinky white and green.

bealtainecottage.com (12)Bees delight in Jacob’s Ladder as it ascends to heaven…

bealtainecottage.comAnd blue Jacob’s Ladder adorns the kitchen table in a cottage lost in time…

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Woodland

The Permaculture Challenge

IMG_0057This is the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding.

IMG_0002It’s hard to believe that ten years ago this was a desolate cottage on three acres of the poorest agriculture land imaginable.

permaculture at Bealtaine CottageWet, north-facing, thin, dauby soil promised little in the way of growing.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt was a challenge few in their right minds would have contemplated, let alone sink their life savings into, as well as borrowing from the bank!

DSCF1274But, I fell in love with the land, for it looked immeasurably forlorn and abandoned.

www.bealtainecottage.comMy approach was simple…it was holistic, nothing was separated or apart…all was connected and that included being connected to me, as the new caretaker and caregiver.

www.bealtainecottage.comI have never taken a Permaculture course, but read every book on the subject and applied the principles. Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 015As a teacher I had created environmental gardens in primary school grounds in London, bringing Mother Nature to children living, in many cases, remote from Mother Nature and all her wonders!

www.bealtainecottage.comIn the early days I was physician and surgeon, intensive care nurse and visitor, channeling all my energy and hope into the sick land.

DSCF0813Working on my own was a blessing, for the land took all my time and love.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 002
After ten years, this once barren little place is one of the most fertile and productive pieces of land in all of Ireland…in fact I would like to issue a challenge to The Botanical Gardens in Dublin and it is this: Bealtaine Cottage has more biodiversity in it’s flora and fauna than the Botanical Gardens, Dublin!

Dog Daisy benchVisit and prove me wrong!

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And in the beginning there was only this…

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Fairies, Garden, hens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Follow Your Bliss and the Universe Will Open Doors

Looking out on a May evening...
Looking out on a May evening…

Making a decision is always the most difficult part of moving forward.

DSCF1379In deciding, one simply puts it out there, for the Universe to pick up.

DSCF1382That is what I have done here at Bealtaine Cottage…the next move comes from that energy.

Sammy-Bear takes a seat...
Sammy-Bear takes a seat…

The sale may, or may not happen…but the planting of trees will move forward.

The feeding system I have devised and constructed for the hens...an old pipe and tin, firmly secured on the wall of the hen-house!
The feeding system I have devised and constructed for the hens…an old pipe and tin, firmly secured on the wall of the hen-house!

I have done what was asked of me and agreed to the sacrifice.

What happens next is synchronicity and the will of Divine Energy…The Forest of Bealtaine will happen in the same magical way as Eden emerged here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Food is poured in to the top of the pipe and emerges from the feeder at the bottom as the hen peck!
Food is poured in to the top of the pipe and emerges from the feeder at the bottom as the hen peck!

As my friend, Rosie, on Twitter, pointed out to me this morning…“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” -Joseph Campbell

DSCF1394Bealtaine has begun here in the west of Ireland.

Down the steps into the may gardens
Down the steps into the may gardens

Planting is under way of crops and even a few more trees, though mostly the trees are in pots awaiting a forest!

Sedge in bloom to the left of the steps.
Sedge in bloom to the left of the steps.

Walking around the gardens this morning I snapped these pictures…

Through the Fairy Wood...
Through the Fairy Wood…

 

 

Foxglove in Spurge on the woodland floor...
Foxglove in Spurge on the woodland floor…


Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage
Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage
Sedge in the Fairy Wood
Sedge in the Fairy Wood
Stopping by the Silt-pond
Stopping by the Silt-pond
Willow in the Bog Garden
Willow in the Bog Garden
Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Birds, Climate, Earth, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Spring, Thoughts, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Warm,Naked Earth

DSCF1040The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

…except, in Permaculture gardens, little is naked, most is covered, yet the earth beneath the green mantle warms just the same.

DSCF1042April has set Spring firmly in place, with early sunrise and birdsong to lift the dullest spirit!

DSCF0999The boys awaken to the sunshine…

DSCF1006Honesty comes into flower…

DSCF1005Ribes sets the bees buzzing…apparently the Bumble Bee is losing numbers here in Ireland, as well as the UK, but certainly not at Bealtaine Cottage…the place is abuzz!

DSCF1016Amelanchier is coming into flower…yet more of the succession planting for the bees!

DSCF1002The playhouse is being transformed into a hen house…an upstairs~downstairs hen house to suit the due pecking order!

DSCF1020I’ve been busy with the brush and wood preservative, making sure that this little house sees another 10 years!

DSCF1009Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel and will keep producing right up until the newly sown Chard is ready to pick…so very easy to grow!

DSCF1019Photinia, Red Robin has opened its new leaves…a burst of red!

DSCF1013Perennial Poppy has weathered the frost well!

DSCF1032Quince is in flower against the barn.

DSCF1030These gigantic shells have been moved to hang on sticks driven into the earth, making a contrast to the emerging green!

DSCF1029Spring is bursting forth into a riot of greens, as the first Cuckoo of the year heralds its summery arrival…earlier than last year!

DSCF1027The Fairy Wood is a mass of lime green Spurge!

DSCF1046The Lavender-painted Barn takes on a new look, making a wonderful backdrop to Spring.

DSCF1057Newly painted benches are ready to withstand another year of crazy Irish weather!

DSCF1056Primroses emerge in places where birds have dropped seed!

DSCF1039And the warm earth, no longer naked, continues to push forth magic!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Spirituality, Spring, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

Ascending Towards Midsummer

www.bealtainecottage.com

This is not colour enhanced, but the vivid colours between storms here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe buds are still thickening, yet the life is visible in the stems, sky and emerging green…isn’t it simply wonderful to be able to witness the Spring as it progresses, slowly, tentatively through the landscape?

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the skyline above the Arigna Mountains, with a Rainbow, flopped over the ridge of the hill!

I watched this from the window, then rushed out with camera in hand to snap the moment!

www.bealtainecottage.comI feel blessed to be a part of the Spring, waking earlier, walking for longer and working in the tunnel in my dressing gown!

www.bealtainecottage.comShowing some wonderful garden visitors around over the weekend, reminded me of the reasons why I write and talk about Permaculture and the simple way of life…it lifts my heart to be a part of it!

As we walked the land and into the Fairy Wood, the sight of all this bright green Spurge ignited a passion for woodland in us all.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Celandines are so bright and golden as to seem unreal…but that is the wonder of Nature, Mother Earth…too beautiful!

www.bealtainecottage.comThere is work to be done too, but all to the beat of the weather…weather-proofing all the wood around the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLavender is the colour, soft on the eye, but tough and resilient!

www.bealtainecottage.comExcess donations to the website renewal were used to pay for the wood preservative…so bless you one and all, Friends of Bealtaine XXX

www.bealtainecottage.comMy right arm hurts from all the painting, but it was in desperate need!

The heavy rain we get in Ireland can ruin buildings if they are not looked after!

www.bealtainecottage.comI watched this small slug acrobat his way onto the potting table in the tunnel…on a long thin thread, like a spider!

So, that’s how they do it!

www.bealtainecottage.comGeranium is coming into leaf and exploding green under the apple trees…a good companion plant for keeping weeds at bay!

Bumble bees are in busy flight all across the gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe light grows in intensity, day on day, fading into the west way after nine o’clock in the evening.

www.bealtainecottage.comOn a clear day, the heat can be quite intense…

www.bealtainecottage.com…as the sun continues its ascent towards Midsummer.

Blessings to you all XXX

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Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Cats, Climate, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Wild Flowers

Monet in Gaia’s Garden

Coppiced wood makes one neat pile to be used in the wood stove next winter.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe small logs burn very well in the wood stove and give tremendous heat!

The building of the next pile is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comMuch of today has been spent cutting back the growth on the stream that carries the water into the ponds.

Che-Mousey-Bear has stayed in the Bog Garden with me as I worked, keeping me entertained… www.bealtainecottage.comas you can see!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe lower pond looked like a Monet painting…

www.bealtainecottage.comin the soft afternoon light after the storm.

www.bealtainecottage.comEthereal…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I worked silently along the banks of the stream, frogs croaked, mating, swimming and spawning in both ponds.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe spawn was visible…

www.bealtainecottage.comand floated in big chunks across the water and weeds.

www.bealtainecottage.comWillow and Dogwood was pruned back and cuttings inserted along the stream banks,

www.bealtainecottage.comwhere they will root and keep the earth from being eroded by the ever-increasing rain…this is building resilience and adapting to Climate Change!

www.bealtainecottage.comBirdsong filled the gardens all afternoon and Coltsfoot made an early show of yellow flowers in the gravel…

www.bealtainecottage.comnear the lower pond.

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cats, Christmas, Climate, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Wild Flowers, Winter

Midwinter in an Irish Cottage

www.bealtainecottage.com 002

Rain is falling, softly, silently, onto a warm land.

The air is still.

Birds sing out loud.

A touch of Spring is in the air as Midwinter approaches.

It often happens this way, birds singing in the still air near Solstice.

The cold is saved for January…the biting winds that bring the snow.

I have spent much time indoors, making cards and packaging seeds.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001This is a quiet, yet productive time, a chance to reflect as work proceeds.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Yesterday was the last day for posting abroad in time for Christmas.

I am already thinking of the New Year, as I make these cards and planning out a few lovely walks to enjoy over Midwinter.

Walking at this time of year really clears the head and clarifies life in general.

There is a silence around Solstice that creates harmony in all things.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015The chimney in the kitchen remains blocked.

Armed with a borrowed crowbar, I shall attempt excavation of resin like tar this morning…something I’m not looking forward to!

Still, once cleared, the stove will heat the cool air and a sense of Yuletide be conjured up in a less smoky kitchen!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The air is so still that even the Rocket Stove smokes and billows!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005After harvesting the seed from the Lunaria, translucent seed heads decorate the window ledge in the Lodge, and…

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Outdoors, in sheltered spots, the empty seed heads create interest and beauty…

www.bealtainecottage.com 008Despite the delicate beauty, the little flowers that produced these seed-heads are strong and enduring!

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Sheltered in the Laurel Archway…

www.bealtainecottage.com 016

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bees, Birds, Butterflies, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Trees, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

Pulling Down the Sky

www.bealtainecottage.com 010There is a gigantic food festival happening all around Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The partying has been going on around the clock for a few days now, with most of it taking place in and around this humble little, easy to grow plant…the Nasturtium!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Bees and Caterpillars are stocking up on the end of season glut, before the first frost descends, as surely it will this week!

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Once the frost comes then the Nasturtiums will die off completely as they appear to melt in the extreme cold!

And, in the meantime, these beautiful Caterpillars eat their way to transformation, as Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies! www.bealtainecottage.com 013The rain has fallen steadily for several days now, filling containers all over the gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015These shallow containers with rims, are essential for bees to drink from, as many die struggling to climb out from water barrels.

They are also quite beautiful, in that they pull the sky into them, creating magical light in dark areas of undergrowth, like here.

www.bealtainecottage.com 024Whether on the ground or, as here, in trees, little areas of water are welcome feeding stations for small wildlife.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021The season moves gently through the trees and shrubs, creating vibrancy of colour here and there.

This Virginia Creeper stays for much of the year, unnoticed, as it spreads its tendrils through the Rose Arch, only to dance out onto the stage as the curtain falls!

www.bealtainecottage.com 023And likewise the Spindle bush…all plain and coy until Autumn gets it drunk on colour!

www.bealtainecottage.com 030The days may be shorter, but they are packing in the entertainment!

Even the Lemon trees are coming up!

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Bealtaine cottage crafts 010Bog Oak Pendants are available from the Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop.

Each pendant is hand-crafted from locally sourced Irish Bog Oak, an ancient and profoundly mysterious wood that’s been buried in the Irish peat bogs for thousands of years.

These pendants are made from wood dated as 5,600 years old.

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Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Folklore, Garden, Lughnasa, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Celebrating Lughnasa

The carved head of Lugh looks in all directionsLughnasa (earlier, Lughnasadh) was the feast of Lugh.

Lughnasa Lugh, carved by Michael Quirke A harvest festival, its celebration marked the end of the period of summer growth and the beginning of the autumn harvest.

Lugh, carved by Michael Qirke of SligoIts original name does not survive in popular tradition, that being now the common word in Irish (Lúnasa) for the month of August. 

Lugh of LughnasadhThe festival is rather known as the Sunday of Crom Dubh (the god of harvest), or in varying areas as Lammas Sunday, Garland Sunday, Bilberry Sunday, or Fraughan Sunday.

Burlap and lace flower arrangementThe first weekend in August marks Ireland’s changing-of-the-season festival of Lughnasa.

Burlap and lace flower arrangementThe Irish playwright, Brian Friel, wrote the now famous,“Dancing at Lughnasa” which is all centred around the pivotal point in the Celtic calendar, Lughnasa.

Bealtaine flowers at LughnasaThe Celts regarded the Earth as a fertile Goddess, to be nurtured and honoured…a way of living I now follow, as a care-taker and care-giver to Mother Earth.

flowers for MichelleThe gate-keeper to the sanctuary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Lughnasa flowers for Michelle's weddingToday is the final day of summer in the Celtic Calendar…Happy Lughnasa!

 

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Posted in Climate, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seed-Saving, Seeds, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Always an Upside!

Feverfew and stained glassIt is very hot and very, very dry.

sedum in a tin canThe well has dropped low and trickles down to the cottage, threatening water supply to the tank in the loft.

Feverfew and DriftwoodPlants are thirsty and the rain barrels are empty.

Lysimachia Punctata and willow archA potential disaster ensues if the clouds don’t spill the rain soon!

Meadowsweet and Vetch in the Bog Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage todayHowever, there is always an upside…sometimes one just has to search around a little.

Perlagoniums on the Cable Table at Bealtaine CottageI found it!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageThis is perfect weather for harvesting seed that is ripe and there are lots of it!

Foxglove seed The seed is dry and the air is dry…that makes for perfect harvesting in my experience!

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageAnd so I harvested…

Bealtaine CottageThere is always an upside!

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 biodiversity, Current Affairs, Garden, GM Food, Growing Food, Inspiration, Monsanto, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Seeds, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Thank You, Monsanto!

Evening at BealtaineSo much for panicking…my computer is fixed!

I was really in a tiz thinking that I was going to be without the means of spreading the energy from Bealtaine Cottage and I’m glad about that, because as the evening progressed and my computer was being fixed, I had time to think about all the people I have met through this blog…and what we all have in common…Passion!

growing seeds at BealtaineGrowing life from seed and sharing the abundance of the ensuing seed and all because of Monsanto!

Elena's Rocket at BealtaineIf Monsanto had not attempted to own and monopolize  our seed, I would never have met Elena from Greece, who posted me this Rocket seed…now in the process of making more seed!

Oak seedlings growing at BealtaineOr David from the U.S. who sent me these Oak seeds, now growing in pots in the shelter of one of the sheds.

Sycamore and Fern at Bealtaine CottageAnd Eric who posted me a selection of tree seeds, all scattered in the gardens, for me to find in the autumn, as flowers and fruit and vegetables die back.

For then I will carefully lift and pot them on.

Fruit trees and berry bushes in the permaculture gardens of bealtaine CottageAnd the package I recently received from Switzerland, filled with Ginkgo seeds,  a unique species of tree with no close living relatives.

A tree that tolerates pollution and indeed even survived the Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima!

Tunnel at Bealtaine this eveningOr the Black Tomato seeds from Tara in New York!

redcurrants ripening at Bealtaine CottageThe wickedness perpetrated by Monsanto, in trying to arrest, control and kill off the great biodiversity of life, has awakened so many to the very essence of life itself…seed!

Another Rose arch at bealtaine CottageWe are now aware and able to articulate what it is that makes life so fantastic…and it all stems from seed.

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageNine years ago, my main interest in seed was far from protecting it, but simply in growing.

Thanks to Monsanto, I got to know great people like Dr Vandana Shiva, who  opened the door into a wonderful world of possibilities and challenges, to save and nurture seed.

Feverfew at BealtaineNine years ago I was growing food and flowers…today I am growing an Ark for Mother Nature, one that is more than the sum total of everything I have ever done before!

Feverfew at Bealtaine CottageMonsanto has aroused passions in people that few were ever aware of…certainly I never felt this passionate about Mother Earth!

Poppies growing up through the Nectarine tree at Bealtaine CottageAnd that is the difference between Monsanto executives and Seed savers and nurturers…passion.

bealtaine Cottage this eveningThey just don’t have it!

Eat your heart out, Monsanto!

 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 120 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

There are over 550 blogs in the archives on this site.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Cats, celebrations, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Wild Flowers

A Magical Midsummer Morning…

Solstice morning at Bealtaine Cottage 2013Happy Solstice everyone…

Midsummer morning at bealtaine cottage, IrelandIn this special year of the return of the Divine Feminine…

Angel on Midsummer morningThere will be a full moon on Sunday, June 23…

Bealtaine Cottage on Midsummer morning 2013And it’s a rather special one…

Midsummer at Bealtaine CottageThe biggest moon at Midsummer

Bealtaine Cottage on Midsummer morningIt will not only be the largest full moon of the year…

Midsummer morning at Bealtaine Cottage...and MissyIt will also be the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013.

Missy on midsummer morningThe moon will be at it’s peak on Sunday…

Bealtaine Cottage midsummer morningCelebrate this Solstice…it’s a rare one!

Bealtaine Lodge on Midsummer morningI’m heading to the ocean for a long walk along the Atlantic shoreline…

Midsummer morning at Bealtaine CottageMy Midsummer Treat!

Happy Solstice Everyone!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 550 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Summer, Wild Flowers

Heritage Seeds in a Cottage Garden

rocket stove in the permaculture gardenThe morning is dry and hot.

7am sees me boiling the kettle on the rocket stove, eager for fresh coffee.

The water is ready in under 10 minutes, from lighting the stove and inserting a handful of twigs.

As I walk back into the cottage a blackbird swoops noisily through the courtyard, followed by it’s assailant, another blackbird.

These birds are very territorial!

Ox-Eye Daisies in the permaculture gardensThe Dog Daisies are opening in the heat of the morning.

These magical flowers were used to treat madness and Smallpox during the middle ages!

Daisies in the gravel at Bealtaine CottageThese Ox-Eye Daisies were thrown onto this patch of gravel as seed two years ago and are ready to make a fine show this summer.

During the time of the early Christian church, this flower was dedicated to Mary Magdalen and became known as the Maudlin Daisy!

Ox-Eye daisies in the garden at Bealtaine CottageThey are lovely, wild flowers to grow in poor soil, but are not good for flower arrangements as they make a stink when cut and put into a vase.

I grow Shasta Daisies for that!

Using spent mushroom compost in the gardenMushrooms are growing up through the mushroom compost I spread a few weeks back…one of the benefits of collecting and spreading spent mushroom compost at this time of year!

Pea flowers at Bealtaine CottagePeas and Chard this morning in the Potager Beds.

The young peas are now in flower and looking strong and healthy!

Crimson flowered Broad beanThis is the beautiful crimson flowered Broad Bean, a heritage seed, vicia faba, this morning.

So delightful, it fits into the Potager gardens as a flower and a vegetable.

It’s wind tolerant as it only grows about a foot or so!

Red-flowered broad beans were described in seed lists in the late 18th century.

This variety was lost and appeared to have become extinct, until an elderly lady from Kent donated it to the Heritage Seed Library in 1978.

This red-flowered Broad Bean  had been grown by her  father, who was given the seeds during his childhood years a century earlier.

Monsanto eat your heart out, for this is what we gardeners do well…preserve the seed!

I shall be saving and posting this seed by the end of the summer!

ValerianValerian is now flowering around the cottage in wild abandon!

Wisteria in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe first ever flowers on the Wisteria…this was planted about 4 years ago.

Poppies in PermacultureThese Poppies have already seeded and are beginning to fall over, so need to be staked this morning.

More seeds to save…I shall be very busy from now through to the autumn, saving and cataloguing seed.

Thyme in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe hot, dry weather has encouraged the Thyme to flower outdoors.

Recent weeks have been so hot, that this potent, little herb thinks itself in the Mediterranean, where it once lived!

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 1100 blogs, as well as over 15000 photographs.

 

Seeds…

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

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 200 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, E.U., Garden, Seeds, Wild Flowers

The Nature of the Beast

roses at Bealtaine CottageThe patenting of seeds is a violation against Nature.

Bealtaine Cottage June 2013The patenting of genes is also a violation against Nature.

poppies at bealtaine CottageNature cannot be owned by any corporation or government, for it is for us all to share.

Lunaria at Bealtaine CottageThe privatisation of the planet is under way, supported by the very governments who are under trust to protect us all and represent our best interests in state.

Buttercups and Driftwood at Bealtaine CottageGreed is rewarded with patents in the US courts, as the very essence of life itself is being pimped as a product of the corporation…seed.

May blossom at Bealtaine CottageQuite simply…Nature is being subjected to Corporate Cannibalism, as corporations like Monsanto feast upon small seed companies, the last hope of a planet in crisis!

poppies at Bealtaine Cottage The Earth offers her bounty…the Divine harvest of love and promise, first in food and then in seed, a gift for all to share!

Poppies in the sun at Bealtaine CottageHowever, the nature of the beast that eyes the feast is greed…eye-popping, drooling, slathering greed!

Veranda at Bealtaine CottageThere will never be enough profit for the beast.

Nature must be protected.

Bench in the garden at Bealtaine CottageMy message to those who wish to dominate, control and own Mother Nature?

This law is wrong.

Patenting the seeds of Nature is wrong!

My conscience says “No!”

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageThe patenting of seeds leads to monoculture and loss of diversity.

At a time when the planet is in such crisis, with loss of eco-systems and bio-diversity, governments need to be actively encouraging people to protect, nurture and save seed…not allowing chemical companies to enslave humanity to a corporate controlled seed bank!

The nature of the beast is greed.

That greed will destroy what remains of a planet and its’ people in crisis. 

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.

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

 

Posted in Abundance, Bees, biodiversity, Celts, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, photography, Seeds, Summer, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

The Magical Garden

Bealtaine Cottage roses

The morning is hot and sultry.

The sky is clear blue.

Ireland basks in heat.

Roses on the verandaRoses on the veranda are making a spectacular show and the delicate scent fills the morning air

Columbine at Bealtaine CottageAs we ascend towards Midsummer plants have suddenly taken off and appear to have grown overnight.

Poppies self seed everywherePoppies have opened all over the gardens, even in the tunnel.

These self seed and come up more intensely year on year.

Herb bed in permaculture garden at Bealtaine CottageHerbs are filling the beds as bees buzz busily overhead.

Stone Circle at Bealtaine CottageThe grass within and around the stone circle has turned to meadow.

Cow Parsley and Ferns by the Stone CircleCow Parsley vies with Ferns for space around the Stone Circle.

Bluebells at Bealtaine CottageBluebells are just visible in the lushness of a June morning in the west of Ireland.

magical stone circle at Bealtaine CottageThere’s a sense of magic in the air around the ancient stones!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, biodiversity, Butterflies, Culture, E.U., Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Thoughts, Trees, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

In Search of Sanctuary

Barn at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

“Sanctuary” refers to a place set aside or designated as a protected spot.

Under EU Agricultural Policy there is a “Set Aside” plan for farmers to fence off small, protected areas for biodiversity.

However, this does not apply to Bealtaine Cottage, as the holding is too small to be significant!

Plant diversity at Bealtaine CottageI plant and protect for the love of Nature, not for the money from the EU!

Maybe that is why there is such diversity packed into these three acres!

Protected plants at Bealtaine CottageThe more well-known forms of sanctuary are areas set aside by humans for the protection of land wildlife, sea life, or ocean life.

Plant sanctuary at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandHere at Bealtaine there are areas of woodland, fresh water ponds and wetland, as well as other significant areas.

Plant Sanctuary, Bealtaine Cottage, IrelandBealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens is, in essence, a wildlife and unique sanctuary.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageWithin these three acres exist a flourishing ecosystem, as well as  areas set aside to maintain functioning natural habitats.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageThese ecosystems act as refuges for species, whilst maintaining ecological processes that cannot survive beyond Bealtaines’ boundaries in most intensely managed landscapes.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensProtected areas act as benchmarks against which we understand human interactions with the natural world.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageToday they are often the only hope we have of stopping many threatened or endemic species from becoming extinct.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

In the midst of EU sponsored monoculture, Bealtaine Cottage is an Ark for Nature.

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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.

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!

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Posted in Abundance, Bees, biodiversity, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Spirituality, Summer, Trees, Wild Flowers

Defeating Monsanto…with the help of the Bees!

Part of the orchards and edible gardens
Part of the orchards and edible gardens

May 2013…This is an update on all that’s growing in the permaculture gardens today.

The season has been slow to get going, as the sunshine has been minimal, with rain and cold prevailing.

Apple blossom and blackcurrants at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom and blackcurrants at Bealtaine Cottage

Despite the appalling weather here in the west of Ireland, Apple trees are laden with blossom and bees are buzzing around the gardens busily pollinating all the blossom.

Plenty of bees in the permaculture gardens ensure masses of fruit and vegetables
Plenty of bees in the permaculture gardens ensure masses of fruit and vegetables

The bees have been hard at work on the Blackcurrants, thus ensuring a good harvest to come.

Rhubarb in the permaculture gardens...pure abundance!
Rhubarb in the permaculture gardens…pure abundance!

Rhubarb is cropping well, due to the top-dressing of manure from the hen house it received last Autumn.

This was mixed well with compost and straw and was well rotted down.

Broccoli in flower in the tunnel...seed to come and share!
Broccoli in flower in the tunnel…seed to come and share!

Purple Broccoli is now flowering in the tunnel, so seeds will be available from Bealtaine Cottage later on in the season.

lots of seed to be harvested from the Lunaria later in the summer
lots of seed to be harvested from the Lunaria later in the summer

Valerian is coming into flower and the Lunaria is seeding well.

beautiful Columbine from seed scattered outside the door of Bealtaine Cottage
beautiful Columbine from seed scattered outside the door of Bealtaine Cottage

Aquilegia is about to make a show…lots of this beautiful flower this year, as I have been busily throwing seed all over the gravel.

More photographs of the gardens from today…

Kale in flower, ready for seed setting...always choose the strongest plant to save seed from...
Kale in flower, ready for seed setting…always choose the strongest plant to save seed from…
Thank you Eric from Oregon for sending me these Cedar seeds...and here they are, growing!
Thank you Eric from Oregon for sending me these Cedar seeds…and here they are, growing!
Roses,Willow and Jostaberry combine to make an edible archway in the edible gardens
Roses,Willow and Jostaberry combine to make an edible archway in the edible gardens
Happy Sunday Everyone!
Happy Sunday Everyone!

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-for-sale/

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 over 1,000 blogs in the archives on this site.

As an Ark for Nature, birds, bees, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no funding or support from the EU, Irish Government or any Environment agencies.

Your donation helps remedy that…

Posted in Animals, Bees, Cats, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Seeds, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Glimpses of Days to Come

Red maple tree at Bealtaine Cottage

Stormy weather has given way to a sunny evening.

The Red maple has caught the glow, offering glimpses of days to come, for summer seems close at hand.

Rhubarb and Blackcurrants near the herb garden at Bealtaine CottageThe spring has lingered and time seems out of step with expectation.

One day it’s flooding and the next there’s a hurricane blowing!

I heard someone say to expect frost at night this week…I hope not, as I’ve planted a lot of seedlings out!

Grapevine in the polytunnelThe tunnel has escaped the ravages of the crazy weather and the Grapevine is coming into leaf.

Herb RobertHerb Robert carpets the ground underneath the vine.

This is a perfect ground-cover, as the root system is very delicate and shallow, so doesn’t take much from the earth.

Sammy-BearI caught the boys in here sunbathing in the warmth and out of the wind…

The cats at Bealtaine CottageThey are inseparable! Che-Mousey follows Sammy-Bear everywhere.

He was very lonely before Sammy-Bear joined us…

Lunaria at Bealtaine CottageThe plan is to save masses of seed this year and already the Lunaria is developing tiny seed-heads.

If you look closely, you can see the seed-heads and a beautiful bee doing her work!

These will expand to become “Moon-Pennies”

Lunaria in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe lovely thing about Lunaria is that once you introduce it into your garden it will spread year upon year…it is a most generous flower and so loved by bees.

This is Lunaria growing by the laurel arch today.

The heavenly scent is trapped in the archway and makes a visit to the herb garden and tunnel a joy!

Valerian, Columbine and BuddhaValerian and Columbine have the same generous, spreading habit and all beloved by the bees…

Both are growing freely by Buddha…neither one planted, but self-seeded in the gravel.

Apple blossom at Bealtaine CottageThe Apple blossom has opened fully today.

It’s 8pm as I finish writing and the sky outside the window by the desk is a perfect summer blue, making it hard to believe that frost lies ahead!

Important! Message from Terri:

 On Saturday 25th May, there will be a March against Monsanto in Dublin starting at 2.30p.m in the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square.

Come along and add your support.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 535 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Bees, Cats, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Trees, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

Planting for the Bees in a Permaculture Garden

London pride on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage

London Pride ready to open flower on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage.

Years of pushing and shoving by these delicate looking little plants have finally eradicated the creeping buttercup in the heavy clay soil.

Bees at Bealtaine Cottage

It’s at this time of year that bees are working hard and sometimes gardens are bereft of food for the bees.

Not here!

permaculture at bealtainecottage.org 011

I have a policy that is enshrined in Bealtaine cottage gardens…plant for the bees, the birds and then myself, always in that order!

Cordyline at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandOne of the plants that was so severely damaged by frost several years ago has made a comeback!

This is the tropical Cordyline, growing here thanks to the Gulf Stream.

That means an early start to the growing year and bees follow the same pattern, sometimes emerging as early as late February!

bealtainecottage.com 017

So food at the ready is vital for them!

Ribes, or flowering currant, is a wonderful source of nectar for the hungry bees!

Missy and the wind spiral

The smallest bit of sunshine and the garden starts to look like paradise!

Missy passes a lush looking Comfrey.

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

The flowers of the Comfrey plant are truly Bee-Loved, as are the flowers of the humble and easy to grow Nasturtium!

The leaves of the Comfrey will be cut and scattered around the apple trees, creating a source of liquid feed as the rain falls…as it does frequently here in the West of Ireland!

Apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture orchard

These trees never disappoint, year after year, with heavy blossom and heavy crops of perfect apples that have never been sprayed…never!

The bees are busy into the night around the orchards.

So plant fruit trees for the bees too!

Apple tree underplanted with Blackcurrants in permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageThere are over 40 fruit trees planted throughout the permaculture gardens.

And here you can see the apple under-planted with blackcurrants…much Bee-Loved!

Honesty underplanted in the orchards of Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensVarious flowers are planted beneath these.

Here you can see Honesty in flower under the Blackcurrants…a delight for the bees and sweet-smelling too!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 005
I plant for bees and this is why there are consistently abundant crops here at Bealtaine Cottage.

In the case of the Cotoneaster above, food for the bees and the birds!

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The trick is to ensure there is succession planting for the bees.

Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Hungry bees won’t hang around hungry gardens!

Do have a lovely weekend!

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Fairies, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Trees, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Blessings from Bealtaine

willow arch and tunnel at Bealtaine Cottage

The permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage today, Tuesday 7th of May.

I’m too exhausted from working in the gardens to write…enjoy the pics, mostly taken this morning in the Fairy Wood here at Bealtaine Cottage!

Blessings to you all!

Celandines at Bealtaine Cottage

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Primroses in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage

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The Fairy Tree at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

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The Spring Well in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage

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Primroses at the Spring Well in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

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

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Posted in Bees, biodiversity, Butterflies, Cats, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Wild Flowers

The Rise and Rise of Famine Farms

Before permaculture. Bealtaine CottageI describe monoculture  practice as creating “Famine Farms” for bees and wildlife…becoming places of slow starvation for all.

I recall thinking this when first beginning to plant out the permaculture gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

As you can see from the place as it looked then, it was bereft of food for anything!

Bealtaine Cottage potage beds in the permaculture gardensWalking around the gardens of Bealtaine during the Spring and Summer, watching bees forage in the blossom, frogs delight in the ponds and listening to the birds sing out a mighty chorus, makes me think of the dire situation these creatures face in the monoculture world of modern farming.

Bealtaine Cottage barnThe average person knows little of bees and their importance to all life as we know it.

It forms part of the massive disconnect going right through the core of society.

Bealtaine Cottage Buddleia flowers for the butterflies and beesIn much the same way that medical doctors have a two week slot on diet and nutrition, during their four year medical training, farmers are unaware of much of the way in which the food chain operates around them and, in particular, the intricacies of Nature.

Bealtaine Cottage hanging baskets in the trees...a slug free zoneWithin western culture, religion teaches us that we are placed here to have dominion over Nature.

Such arrogance is reprehensible as we gather more and more knowledge of the decline and loss of habitat of life as we know it!

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds and BuddhaIt is widely held that our increasing use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, which honeybees ingest during their daily pollination rounds, are largely to blame for the continuing decline of the bees.

Many people point to the proliferation of  genetically modified crops, which may generate pollen with compromised nutritional value.

The list of who and what is to blame goes on…

Bealtaine Cottage flowering Ground ElderHowever, from my own observations I have come to this conclusion: we are responsible for starving the bees; with loss of hedgerows; tree depletion; use of chemicals; growing of gaudy flowers with no pollen; proliferation of ridiculous lawns and constant demand for monoculture raised foods, to name but a few!

Bealtaine Cottage flowers and porchIt behoves us all to make it our business to know how to create and nurture bee habitats.

Bealtaine Cottage Missy and ValerianAnd that means looking at the natural world, not as a resource to be continually trodden on and suppressed, but as a wondrous gift from the Divine we all need to cherish.

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 access to the website at bealtainecottage.org

Click on button below to make your subscription.

Posted in Garden, hens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Spring, Thoughts, Wild Flowers

The Drama Unfolds…

Lower pond in flood at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

The rain has fallen for 48 hours.

Heavy, relentless rain, that has washed down the hill behind the cottage and into the ditches, I constructed for such a deluge.

The water is carried around the ditches and into the stream bed that flows down through the Fairy Wood and on, into the ponds.

This is how it looked, as water rushed into the lower pond, about 10 minutes ago!

The Barn at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012Visitors are coming this afternoon and more tomorrow…I hope they bring their wellies!

The Bog garden is not navigable in this weather otherwise!

Tulips in April at bealtaine CottageAll is not wet though…there’s a nice warm stove in the kitchen and the air temperature outside isn’t too cold.

In between the downpours, the sun shines, reflected by the watery scene that makes up the gardens today.

April at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardensThe birds are singing and the wind-chimes are melodic rather than frenetic! April Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria in the tunnelThe hens have settled in well and have even laid a few eggs!

They don’t mind being indoors, as the roof on the hen-house is transparent and tilted to the south, admitting the sun as it shines on.

April Celandines at  Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensThe lovely aspect to April is the sheer drama of it all…and total unpredictability!

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Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Birds, Cottage, Country Living, Fairies, Garden, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Spirituality, Spring, Trees, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

The Days of Light and Dark

willow Bealtaine Cottage March The light filtered in through the window at around 6am this morning.

Willow catkins stood out on the tall sticks that jabbed up into the lightning sky.

cobwebs Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March Arcturus was the last star blinking in the dawn sky, as drawing the blind scared the fox off the front driveway.

He was there cleaning up the remainder of the dinner I had scattered last evening.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March primrosesThe days and nights are almost equal in length.

The Equinox approaches.

Bealtaine Cottage March woodland mossSeeds are breaking through the earth, Primroses have opened and the beginnings of Bluebells are carpeting green in the Fairy Wood.

Bealtaine Cottage March Ribes blossomRibes flowers are plumping up their blossom to tempt the bees from hibernation.

The cold morning brings the birds out from the trees and onto the frozen ground, hungrily seeking sustenance.

Willow basket making Feb  Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage Further down the gardens, tall, straight stems of Willow beckons cutting and stacking into neat bundles, ready for basket making. 

barn window reflection Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 015

The day begins…

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spring, Thoughts, Wild Flowers

A Spring Day at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Spring in Ireland at Bealtaine Cottage

Spring and the day that’s in it…a beautiful morning at Bealtaine Cottage.

Missy Cat sleeps on the bed at Bealtaine Cottage

Missy sleeps in the light of a Spring morning.

Daffodils dance in the light breeze

Outside, on a grassy bank, sheltered by trees and earth mounds, the tiny daffodils, Narcissus, dance in a gentle breeze.

Willow and Sedge at bealtaine Cottage

Willow, bent into looped fedges vie for space with green Sedge.

The heady scented flower droplets of Ribes at Bealtaine Cottage

The heady scented droplets of rich pink flowers have begun to open on the Ribes, heralding an early feast for any bee that may emerge from hibernation.

Nature provides for her most vulnerable of life…if helped a little.

Ribes grow easily from cuttings inserted straight into the ground!

The front steps at Bealtaine Cottage

The mantle of green, heralding Spring, begins to drape and swathe the land.

Rosehips in a bowl at Bealtaine Cottage

Rosehips from the pink roses on the veranda, sit, gathered in a dish, ready for a flower bouquet to be made.

Once dried, the hips are attached to small wires and added into a seasonal bouquet from Bealtaine Cottage.

This is a day to be celebrated as the sun shines warm upon the land.

Enjoy the day that’s in it!

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Posted in Bees, Food, Growing Food, Spring, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

As the Bees Die…Our Role in Heaven or Hell

Bees at Bealtaine CottageKeeping Bees and making honey turned into Keeping Bees and making money…on a vast commercial scale, with hundreds of hives being transported all over the world, to ensure pollination of vast stretches of monoculture crops.

Roses at Bealtaine CottageThere is an Orwellian feel to this scenario.

Something feels so very wrong about this.

Alarm bells should have been triggered at this point, about 20 years ago…monoculture madness would end up consuming all that is sacred about our Earth.

Redcurrants at Bealtaine CottageTrusting our food security to corporations and governments has led us all to the edge of the abyss.

This is particularly highlighted with the recent, disgraceful episode of horse-meat found in the Beef supply chain all across Europe.

Wren in a basket at Bealtaine Cottage 012

(Can you see the little Wren in the hanging basket?)

The incessant greed for higher profits and the complicity of government departments in this money-making racket resonates with previous scandals.

Barn at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

We had regulators in place for the banking system…scandal!

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

We had regulators in place for the church…scandal!

Herbs in tyres at Bealtaine Cottage

We had regulations in place for politicians…scandal!

Celtic Cross at Bealtaine Cottage

Yet, all the time, the people we should have trusted, we ignored…ourselves!

Euphorbia in the front garden

We CAN do something to help ameliorate this disaster happening before our very eyes.

seedlings in pots in the permaculture gardens

There are a few simple steps we can take, starting this very weekend, the first weekend in March!

Valerian at Bealtaine Cottage May 2012 011The first is fun…sow flower seeds, flowers for the bees.

Columbine at Bealtaine Cottage Everyone can do this and be aware that as you make your environment a more beautiful place, so too, the world becomes a happier place for the bees.

Strawberries at Bealtaine CottageThe other action you can take, starting immediately, is to buy locally produced, seasonal, fresh food, not of the monoculture produced variety!

Look at it this way…Every cent or penny you spend is an investment in the world you want to see.

Home made Blackcurrant Chutney permaculture cottage 001

Local food is quality food with no air miles or massive profit included!

Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

Be the change you want to see…

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Bealtaine Cottage YouTube Channel…is free from adverts, with over 100 videos from the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-ASeeds and Willow  https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/  All open-pollinated seeds of flowers, vegetables and trees growing under Permaculture for 11 years.

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Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Country Living, cows, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, History, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Wild Flowers

Herb Lore and Healthy Living

Valerian at Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe history of herbs is thousands of years old.

There are over 100 herbs growing here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Many, like this Valerian, are grown for their beautiful, Bee attracting flowers.

Elderflower herbMany herbs, like this sweet smelling Elderflower, used to make cordial here last summer, grow on trees.

Herbs, flowers and fruit on the veranda at Bealtaine CottageThe history of herbs dates back to the ancient Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine, although a seminal book on Chinese pharmacology was written during the Han dynasty, known as the Shen Nong Canon of  Herbs.

The Ebers Papyrus from Egypt was written around 1500BC.

Nettle, a permaculture herbGreek history acknowledges the importance of herbs in several important works on the subject…

Nature provides us all with everything we need to keep ourselves well and healthy.

Nettles are one of the great Spring tonics to be drunk as tea or cooked in the same way as Spinach.

valerian and Rosa Canina growing at Bealtaine CottageHerbs will grow happily alongside each other, such as the Rosa Canina and Valerian seen here on the driveway of Bealtaine Cottage.

Each year I take a stock of cuttings from the Bay tree, Laurus Nobilis.

This year I am relieved to have them growing so well as the big Bay tree in the orchard suffered badly with the frost.

Bay was revered by both the Ancient Greeks and  the Romans.

This was sacred to the sun-god Apollo.

The Bay Laurel was used to make wreaths that crowned Emperors!

It was also regarded as a highly prized protection against evil.

My favourite use for them is in hot milk before bed…delicious and nourishing.

Feverfew growing at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture smallholdingFeverfew is enough to be grown for its flowers alone!

The 17th century herbalist, Culpeper noted it as good for female conditions…whatever that may be! …and also as good for relieving headaches.

I also use it for this, macerating the foliage into a pulp and applying it to my temples before lying down and resting.

fennel in a vase at Bealtaine CottageFennel, Foeniculum Vulgare, grows in both the tunnel and outdoors, equally well.

You can see it makes a wonderful scented addition to flower arrangements here at the cottage.

Fennel tea is traditionally a remedy for baby’s colic.

I use fennel as a delicious addition to salads, both leaf and bulb.

Meadowsweet at Bealtaine CottageAll herbs are relatively easy to grow.

This Meadowsweet grows wild in the Bealtaine Bog Garden and is heavenly scented!

Rosa Rugosa at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Other herbs that grow easily here are Rosa Rugosa and

Woodbine at Bealtaine CottageHoneysuckle, or Woodbine as it’s more commonly known.