Magic in the Fairy Wood

On such a morning as this, there can only be one place to gently go…come with me as I venture down into the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage. Nature spirits are in evidence in the lush new growth. Magic abounds…

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Signs of Spring

Catnip Heart Toy made at Bealtaine Cottage

Life is stirring.

Light shines higher in the morning sky.

Thickening buds cast a haze over the land.

“But there were certain early days in Casterbridge- days of firmamental exhaustion which followed angry south-westerly tempests-when, if the sun shone, the air was like velvet.”
Thomas Hardy

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine Cottage

Colours emerge and birds sing out a joyous, higher note.

Warm weather in January

We are officially in the season of Spring in the West of Ireland and the new energy is tangible, from rising in the morning to the growing lateness of dusk.

The temperature seems rather unstable, as you can see evidence of in the photograph above.

The morning began very cold and in the space of minutes, the temperature had climbed by 18 F., causing the mirror on the veranda to steam up!

I recorded this as most of the only real information about climate and weather appears to be anecdotal evidence from social media! Cottage interior at Bealtaine, 2016

My favourite aspect of Spring is the way the light changes.

If one simply sat in this cottage and never ventured outdoors it would be possible to map the seasons in light play.

I expect birds, animals and even insects are similarly informed.

Living in the glare of artificial light can be dulling to our senses!

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”
Vita Sackville-West, The Land

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Elsewhere in the woodland gardens at Bealtaine, frogs have emerged from hibernation and busied themselves, as only frogs can in cold ponds!

Frogs in Bealtaine pond have the luxury of a shallow, sheltered, ancillary pond, hand dug by myself, just off the main one.

This water heats faster and earlier, ensuring maximum attention to the detail of frog mating and spawning…a sort of nursery pond!

Anyway, it works a treat and has done for the past eleven years.

As a consequence, the amphibian life force has healthily expanded!

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

 

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2016

Diversity of planting not only has created resilience, but bestowed all year round colour to Bealtaine Cottage…so appreciated as Spring emerges…for with this rising of the sap, comes a much defined colour change!

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Pussy Willow at Bealtaine Cottage. Ireland

Catkins have appeared on the Willow…and there’s many different varieties in the Woodland. Pond and even Orchard gardens. Essential food for the bees emerging from a hungry winter hibernation.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Quince flowers, Bealtaine Cottage, Feb 2016

This Quince grows in the Bog Garden and has begun to flower!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood

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Where would Spring be without the exquisite little Primroses?

Seen here in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine, surrounded by Spurge!

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Spurge at bealtaine cottage in the Fairy Wood

The Fairy Wood awakens!

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

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

 

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, YouTube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

The Spirit of Bealtaine

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Even though the day has been drizzly, most of it has been spent out on the land, cutting, pruning and clearing.

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The paths need cutting back to keep them open.

It’s hard work, but there’s lots of brushwood and thicker bits for the stove.

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Leaves are laying a thick and colourful carpet on the ground.

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It’s good to be outdoors.

The air is invigorating!

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The light is more silvery and as the trees shed their leaves, more can be touched by the low autumn sun.

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The Goat Willow has grown remarkably well over the past ten years, creating canopy and helping to establish a healthy woodland floor.

Now it’s the turn of greater trees like this young Ash, to take the reins and establish woodland that will see the next century and more!

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Many of you have followed the journey of Bealtaine, as the gardens have taken the small tentative steps into woodland.

It has been a magical journey and continues to enthrall and inspire me and all who visit on foot or online.

The spirit of Bealtaine has emerged from a small, desolate piece of land…

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It is heartening indeed to hear from so many of you who are inspired to plant trees and heal the Earth…it is so very important that we do this!

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I am hoping to be able to get a landline link so as to get a reliable Broadband connection.

This will make uploading blogs and videos much faster and reliable.

Uploading a five minute video takes over an hour with the present connection.

Sometimes it fails at the last minute and I have to begin the process all over again!

The initial cost of getting a landline installed is quite expensive.

If you feel you can help at all with a small donation, it will be greatly appreciated…blessings X

Equinox Magic in the Woods

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Equinox was a magical day, spent in the beautiful woodland around Lough Meelagh, about three miles from Bealtaine Cottage.

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Equinox is always a special time, with day and night perfectly in balance, a time to enjoy the last long stretch of day before time moves inexorably towards the dark.

This is a Bog Oak sculpture by the Lough…beautiful, isn’t it?

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Herons are widespread in this region, with many visiting the ponds at Bealtaine Cottage.

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Pathways wind and snake their way into the depths of the woods, where an ancient Court Tomb, from the Neolithic period, is hidden among the old, tall trees.

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Ancient trees stand sentry around the Court Tomb, laid out in the shape of the womb of the Goddess.

This magical place of my Celtic ancestors.

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One is in awe of the beauty of this sacred place.

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Fairies abound in this ancient place…can you see them?

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I wrapped my arms around this beautiful tree and inhaled the energy.

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Breathtaking trees…looking up makes me feel dizzy!

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Can you see the smiling Green Man within the tree?

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Here’s another Green Man…

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And every now and then a little path leads down to the water’s edge.

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Wishing you all a Blessed Equinox…time to prepare to snuggle into the darker nights!

A Place To Be Endured

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As a species on this Earth, we are separated from other life forms by consciousness, in that we are aware of our own existence.

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In being aware, we are able to make conscious choices every day, as we proceed through the maze of miracles and events that makes up our lives. Autumn in permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 012

“Live like a tree, giving, forgiving and free.”
Debasish Mridha M.D.

The best choices we make are those that involve, in some way or another, a generosity of spirit, for in those choices we give. Autumn in permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 013

I was walking the gardens this morning…really I should say, woodland, for that is what it has become, and pondering on the way in which all this manifested.

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It began with an unblinking, unfettered generosity of spirit…a conscious choice to simply plant trees into a land bereft of habitat.

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Growing and planting trees from seed has been my work over the past ten years.

Growing trees has been the work of Mother Nature for hundreds of thousands of years.

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However, at this point in time, Mother Nature, Mother Earth, needs our help…for she is so badly damaged by humankind!

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For my part, I continue to sow seeds of mighty trees in small pots…to give away with a generous heart, to the hundreds of annual visitors to Bealtaine.

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So many of you have made this sacred journey with me, planting trees wherever you live, in countries all over the Earth.

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“I have come to the conclusion that imperialism and exploitation are forms of cannibalism and, in fact, are precisely those forms of cannibalism which are most diabolical or evil.”
Jack D Forbes

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“Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the Earth is not bereft of four-footed life – that to the white man is an ‘unbroken wilderness.’

But for us there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.

For us, the world was full of beauty; for the other, it was a place to be endured until he went to another world.

But we were wise. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.”
Chief Luther Standing Bear

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To plant and restore the sacred Earth means that it will never be “a place to be endured…”

We choose!

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“We return to you, O Earth, the things which you have given us willingly and most graciously; with our hearts, hands and minds, in the best way we know how.”
Taj Mahal

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The Magical and The Sacred

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It is a rare thing…to be lost for words.

A day in Autumn that changes one perspective on life and the meaning of it all.

Where shall I begin?

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Perhaps where I started, this morning, camera in my dressing gown pocket and mug of hot coffee in my hand, traipsing out in rubber clogs onto grass saturated with morning dew.

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Or maybe, a little earlier, as this year began, immersed in deep sadness, as my mother made her own journey back to the Divine.

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But the Wheel, as they say, turns and the beauty of the Sacred overcomes the grief of the mortal…I stepped out…

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What magic lies in Nature that transforms barren into life again and again?

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The gardens have emerged this year as Woodland…and my mother loved walking in the woods.

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Come walk with me…

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Blessings X