Read Bealtaine Cottage Good Life latest blog…YULE
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Read Bealtaine Cottage Good Life latest blog…YULE
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Winter is the time for comfort, for
good food and warmth, for the touch
of a friendly hand and for a talk beside
the fire: it is the time for home.
Edith SitwellAnd so the story of Autumn and Winter begins, not in cold and dark, but comfort and light. A time to take stock and nestle into home. A time for simplicity of food before the excitement of Samhain. We move inexorably through the year, circling around celebrations, family and friends. This is what it means to be part of a society…planning and sharing the days we look forward to, as well as bringing camaraderie and support on days less well favoured. As I uploaded these photographs this morning, I enjoyed a sense of timelessness. Even as I move around Bealtaine on my own, the sense of ‘with others’ pervades the air. Perhaps, in the world we cannot see, there are many around us. This would not surprise me. My mother often said she felt surrounded by people here at this little cottage. I do too. “In a way Winter is the real Spring–the time when
Edna O’BrienLike Edna, I look forward to the
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I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written almost 800 blogs on this Bealtaine Cottage website.
As an advocate for Mother Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living Practice, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU.
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Permaculture Gardens grow all the year around.
The integration of water as a harvest system brings both light and warmth to the land.
Intensive planting creates so many micro-climate zones that encourage and nurture plants even in the severest of weather.
This was never more apparent than on my garden walk yesterday…a fine day, after all the flooding and torrential rain experienced this week.
Sheltered spots harboured mushrooms, many of which were edible.
Wild herbs continue to flourish near waterways and on banks, particularly Wild Mint and Sorrel.
Perpetual harvests of food, fuel and water, with little or no input at this stage of development, for once the sculpting and planting are complete, the eco-system of perpetual food and abundance takes over!
Permaculture is a clever system which copies Mother Nature at her finest.
There are few parts of the world where she is allowed to truly be herself.
The Rainforest is one of the few remaining ecosystems where this remains governed by the Wise Mother.
My journey into Permaculture began along practical lines, but as I became immersed in planting and sculpting, my life transformed with hardly a blip, as Sacred Permaculture merged the boundary lines between the practical and the ethereal.
Perhaps the pictures I took yesterday best sum this up…walk with me…
Thanks and blessings to those of you who support this site…it’s good to be appreciated XXX
People have returned to work and credit card bills are dropping on doormats all over the world.
The reality of living has dawned, after a long party season, where many have struggled to just buy necessities.
Profits announced by corporations defy any understanding of mathematics.
Bill has not actually worked in 14 years.
All this as many workers, already working overtime, are having to apply for welfare and charity to keep their families out of extreme penury.
Here at Bealtaine I have lit the stove, on a grey, wet and windy day in early January.
As the fire roared up under a spitting kettle, my thoughts turned to those who rely solely on fossil fuel or electricity for warmth.
Governments have failed, to put in place any substantial remedial action, that may help alleviate the burden of fuel costs.
There have been small measures, like attic insulation offered to those on minimum income…little indeed as the energy costs spiral.
I say this because I witness the one man in a white van, who services the Wind Turbines on the mountain opposite Bealtaine Cottage.
I imagine the maintenance costs, say, compared to power stations, are very minimal!
So where does the escalating costs of that electricity, generated by those turbines, actually go?
We are surrounded by solutions to the most grievous and pressing poverty.
We are surrounded by wealth, held tightly by the few.
We start this New Year with a New Moon in Capricorn, a very auspicious beginning, a fresh start!
It is rare that a New Year begins at the same time as a Lunar New Year, so, in preparation, I am clearing space all around the cottage, clearing away the decorations of Yuletide and opening up lots of space to embrace this new energy!
This New Moon brings with it hope for those feeling tired and low by all the negativity experienced over the past year; change is on the horizon.
This is a powerful time to make resolutions and implement change!
This is a rare opportunity to begin anew…a time to clear all old intentions that never materialized and start afresh! The last time we had a New Moon at the start of the New Year, was nineteen years ago, in the early nineties.
New Moon, New Year
The New Moon greets the New Year
Saying “let go of the past”
For the things that are worth keeping
Will in their beauty last-
Yet that that does not serve us
Must be released and shed
The fear, anger and patterns
Which hog space in our head-
And when we call our Spirit
To release them to the Earth
The New Moon greets us with her light
And offers us rebirth.
Flagstaff, AZ 12-28-13
A truly beautiful website filled with inspirational poetry by Jen…
The month comes to a close with a second New Moon!
Energy begins to seep back into the earth and plants.
Winter is not yet over, by any means and frost can be devastating, but the little signs of hope are there… Daffodils have begun to throw up green shoots!
Time to eat healthy food and build health for the year ahead!
Time to clear out the old and bring in the new and time to clear the laundry basket…I wash clothes daily, for I do not possess a washing machine, so will spend a little more time than usual to ensure an empty basket for New year!
The lengthening of the days has already begun.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Parsley, Kale and Chard all continue to grow abundantly in the Potager beds…no sign of prolonged frost to diminish these green gifts.
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.
I use the Kale in the juicer each day…a great supplement to my diet, as it charges my energy!
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!
Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage
The ancients believed winter, especially Midwinter, was a time of tremendous spiritual power.
And so the shortest day has passed and we are looking forward, at last, to the ascending sun, from tomorrow.
The greenery on the mantelpiece will stay a few days longer, as the days slowly lengthen.
Work on the potager beds and orchards begins in the next week or so.
Cloud and mist have enveloped Kilronan Mountain today, between snow falls and dark skies…the sun has shone intermittently.
Of the Solstices and Equinoxes, the Winter Solstice was the most important among the Ancients, since it marked the rebirth of the sun after the shortest day.
The worst of the winter is yet to come though…Kale and Parsley stand proud in the Potager beds, not yet diminished by prolonged frost.
The small Yuletide tree, at the end of the veranda, tied to the supports, stands stout against the wind and storms of the past week.
The sky changes dress in spectacular fashion from winter to summer and all in-between!
And jewels of melted sleet decorate the skeletal Fennel.
Yule marks the rebirth of the sun.
It is a potent symbol of death and rebirth – going from the darkness into the light.
Yule starts before the Solstice and continues on until New Year’s Day.
Midwinter Blessings to you all XXX
Just a few left of the second and last print run…
Winter has finally gripped the land.
Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates.
Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen.
Winter is here!
Cleaving the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.
Ancient legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place.
Descending in a thick mist, the Tuatha De Danann found the mountain and the lough.
The mountain contained deposits of iron, and so the magical people proceeded to forge the first metal weapons in Ireland.
There followed a mighty battle with the Tribe of the Formorians, nearby at Magh Tuireadh…and so the legends began.
There are pockets of Bealtaine that refuse to give up Summer, protecting and nurturing flowers through to Spring.
The Tuatha De Danann, as legend tells us, never died, but were banished underground.
They became the Sidhe…the Fairies.
On an evening like this, the ethereal energy of the Tuatha De Danann is almost tangible…
A video from Bealtaine…Towards Midwinter…enjoy X