Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Year at Bealtaine…part 3

Poppies in Permaculture

2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe potager beds were extended and two more were constructed.

angel at bealtaine cottageAquilegia and Valerian ignored the seasons and came up together, surrounding the porch with delicate shades of pink and purple.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt was a frenzy of colour!

roses on verandaThe roses made their appearance on the veranda, more abundant than ever!

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodMy friends Terri and Lol brought me masses of seaweed from their beautiful Clifden in Connemara and it was spread all over the potager beds!

Sammy Bear and meSammy-Bear turned from a rather naughty kitten into an even naughtier cat!

Roses at Bealtaine CottageVisitors had to dodge the low-hanging flowers and…

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottageemerging fruit!

bird bath in pollarded Sycamore at Bealtaine CottageBird baths were sat into trees for the rather hot birds…

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineand Blackcurrant wine was started off in the glass carboy.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThen transferred to a demijohn to sit out the next few months on the kitchen windowsill.

Roses at the back of Bealtaine Cottage todayThe heat of summer continued and the well ran dry!

Bealtaine Cottage signBealtaine Cottage basked in the sun and heat, as I carted water up from a spring well lower down the land.

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage todayRose petals fell like confetti all over the veranda…it was lovely!

bealtaine Cottage this eveningOx-Eye Daisies flourished everywhere!

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageSammy-Bear cooled off by rolling in the dirt path in the tunnel and getting absolutely filthy!

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageChe-Mousey found a cool spot in the shade of the laurel arch.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningIt was sheer abundance!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.And the summer rolled on…

Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!

Blessings from Bealtaine XXX

Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

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

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

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

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

kilronan mountainTomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More wine I think!

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

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

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

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

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

Food for free and lots of it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bealtaine Cottage Fruit Growing and Winemaking Workshop

Bealtaine Cottage rhubarbGrowing food is important.

Bealtaine Cottage BlackcurrantsHere at Bealtaine Cottage there is another bumper crop of Blackcurrants, Rhubarb, Apples, Pears and Plums growing.

Bealtaine Cottage redcurrants from the permaculture gardensPreserving and using fruit is a challenge when the crops are this abundant!

Bealtaine Cottage wine makingMaking wine is one of the delights of summer, allowing fruit to be preserved in a unique and tasteful way…wine!

Bealtaine Cottage wine makingThere will be a day long wine making and fruit growing workshop at Bealtaine Cottage on Saturday, the 29th of June.

Bealtaine Cottage teaA Vegetarian lunch will be provided, as will morning and afternoon tea/coffee and home made cakes.

home made wine at Bealtaine CottageIf you would like to book a place, please email Colette on:

coletteoneill2010@hotmail.com

Imbolc and the Ascent of Spring

  Christmas eve moon above Bealtaine Cottage The ancient peoples of the Earth celebrated the seasons by paying close attention to the skies above them, especially at night, when clear, and observation was undertaken.

Bealtaine Permaculture Feb 12 004The Celts were particularly aligned in all aspects of their lives, with the precession of the Equinoxes and the timing of the seasons.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Feb 12 003Time was, and remains, cyclical.

It is only patriarchal religions that have enforced a sense of, and adherence to, Linear Time.

The Gregorian Calendar is an example of this.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Feb 2011 002Solstices, Equinoxes and  Cross Quarter days, such as Imbolc, were of great importance to ancient people for regulating their time.

Rhubarb Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Feb 2011 015The knowledge of when to plant, when to harvest, when to stay and when to move was imperative to the well-being of the Tribe.

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2011 007Imbolc is celebrated, this year, on the 3rd day of February, at precisely 3.57pm here in Ireland.

Home made wine to celebrate Imbolc at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2011 005The time differs accordingly across the northern hemisphere.

 The Celts named the cross quarters Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasad and Samhain.

Happy Imbolc!

Growing Freedom

Growing freedom is manifesting in the new mass movement of allotment holders and people turning their oil-hungry lawns into edible gardens.

Freedom and choice is what happens when you decide to grow…whether it’s in a window box or on a half acre smallholding, or more.

The mindset of producing food in growing, foraging, making and storing induces a sense of liberation, as well as a feeling of well-being and harmony with the Earth.

Freedom of choice begins to manifest before your very eyes, for free.

Food: organic or not; how much and what kind; for storing or for selling; food to share, food to give; the choices go on…and as this happens, personal knowledge grows immensely!

Storing and making and baking and cooking and creating…

Growing food , whether it be you actually doing it or simply enabling others to grow by buying surplus, locally produced food is of great benefit to the new scheme of things…cutting down on air miles, pollution and supporting local economies.

Creating small food communities by locally sourcing, helps to grow communities, encouraging interaction on a natural level.

Selling or sharing a surplus is a positive social networking ingredient!

The choice is yours.

Isn’t that a great word, “choice?”

The Rain-Sodden Lushness of Midsummer in Ireland

Harvests are looking good despite the lack of sunshine.

Today, Sunday, is overcast and still.

If the weather is fine tomorrow I shall begin to harvest the Blackcurrants.

It looks to be a mighty harvest…certainly in excess of last year, when over 100lbs were picked…and the birds had their feast along the way!

Redcurrants are cropping well also and most of these will go in the freezer, as I enjoy fruit yoghurts throughout the winter.

The Redcurrants give the impression of jewels hanging on bushes.

I often wonder why more of these delightful and easy to grow fruit bushes are not planted in borders in the garden.

The leaves are a lovely vivid green and look really attractive!

I bought this lovely lamp in a Charity shop in Enniskillen, on my way to Omagh, my home town.

 I was up visiting my Mum on her 82nd birthday last Friday!

She is in great form and looking fantastic!

I must post a pic of her soon!

Happy Birthday Mum! (I’m saying this because she has recently started looking on the net and perusing the Bealtaine Cottage blogs!)

I notice that the flowers are all in bloom on the St John’s Wort bush…they are all open despite the lack of sun!

The Bealtaine Angel silently surveys the Valerian…

I have been gathering big bouquets of Yellow Loosestrife to fill vases in the cottage.

Everywhere the lushness of midsummer continues to hold sway…

Permaculture Fruit and Salad Update

The same thing has happened this year as did last…

I am struggling with the fruit produced last summer and am desperately using it for wine-making!

Oh well, I hear you say, that’s alright then…

However, there is a real panic setting in as the blackcurrants are fast maturing and every time that I open the freezer, a realization of the immensity of what’s to come, stares back at me in the form of bags upon bags of frozen Blackcurrants!

A goblet of the red stuff from last year…a fine vintage!

Blackcurrants do make superb wine, a real taste of summer to open in midwinter!

The only real rule to follow is that everything is kept scrupulously clean…that’s all!

So, to today and the video I have uploaded from Bealtaine Cottage…

It’s all about how the plants are progressing…and they are doing very well indeed…

Enjoy watching…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqkWO6qHZv0&feature=g-upl

Easy Permaculture Soft Fruit Growing

Growing food could not be easier than this!

Just a small part of last summer’s crop of Blackcurrants here at Bealtaine Cottage! 

Simply take a heel cutting from a Blackcurrant, Redcurrant, Jostaberry, Gooseberry and plug it into the soil…

The girls enjoying the spent blackcurrants, left over from making Blackcurrant cordial!

Nature will do the rest…

Watch…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-8SMynuOgM&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp