Kilronan Mountain melts away into the valley below on a glorious easter sunday evening… The land below stretches west to Sligo Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, south to Boyle and the land of Roscommon and east towards Dublin City. Loughs are too numerous to mention, villages and townlands with ancient names that stretch back into the mists of legends. Beauty that is both exhilarating and tragic… Abandoned amidst the bleak beauty of Kilronan Mountain, it’s empty windows gazing out across an early summer landscape.Ireland is dotted with these beautiful and evocative old stone cottages. It is heartbreaking to think of the skill and hard work involved in building these unique, vernacular style homes…and like this one, sometimes in the most windswept landscapes imaginable.As the evening draws in and the air begins to chill, it’s time to leave the mountain behind and head home to the warmth of Bealtaine Cottage and a mug of hot tea.
The Ivy hangs in 3-4 metre tendrils on a tree in the Fairy Dell…Quite Magical!Euphorbia…this wonderful perennial comes up more lush every year and transplants easily…I started with a stolen cutting and now it dominates the April/May/June garden and beyond!Angelica, now at least 7 feet tall and with a massive spread. Medieval herbalists called it ‘Herba Angelica,’ meaning ‘Angelic Plant.’ Traditionally it is supposed to flower on the 8th of May, which is the feast of Michael the Archangel. needless to add, Angelica possesses protective qualities. The seeds add flavour to Chartreuse Liqueur!The way up out from the Fairy Dell…Orchids continue to emerge all over Bealtaine Smallholding. I was asked by the Census Enumerator the other day if I used any chemicals here…where that came from is interesting! However, I simply told him to look around…there is far too much growing evidence of NO CHEMICALS HERE!Sunlight dapples the grass under the Blackthorn trees near the tunnel. The light dances on the ground as the Fairy trees gently sway in the breeze.
The delicate an exquisite flowers on the Dogwoods are beautiful close-up. For colour all winter, flowers in summer and berries during the autumn, dogwoods are hard to beat.Wildflowers…the most delicate and delicious blooms at Bealtaine Cottage…Elderflower Cordial, mmm!The time of the butteflies is very near. Last summer seen a huge upturn in the butterfly population as the garden matured. This summer should be good for butterflies too, although some of the buddleia was killed off in the prolonged frost of last winter. Seed heads from last summer. All so-called weeds are in fact valuable herbs, some of which we have not yet found a use for. It’s amazing just how much knowledge we have lost over the post-industrial time, a mere 150 years!
Just a wooden sculpture nailed onto an old fencing post hammered into the ground makes an interesting piece of garden art. I picked this up in a junk shop for a couple of euros and it’s hardwood, so will weather well. It’s no longer in a rainforest, but settling into a young Irish woodland, that may, one day, be a forest!There is something very magical about crystals, especially as they catch the light in the early morning…this is when the light is at its purest and most transparent, before the heat of the day has set in.Arches and water…still quite free in creating a permaculture paradise in Ireland. Of course, the authorities are talking about charging for water supply. I wonder if that will eventually include this water that runs freely from the spring well at Bealtaine.The early morning sun catches the leaves of the Willow and Birch, casting a magical glow over this young forest of three acres in Ireland…
Spring water flows from the well into the ponds in the Bog Garden.
I love cows…they’re such sociable animals, so am glad I don’t eat them! These belong to a neighbour of mine and are very well looked after by Tom Kelly, as you can see. When I walk down the lane, they are inclined to peer over the hedge at me, full of interest. If I had the extra land I would definitely think about keeping a cow…as a pet!I’m continuing to fiddle around with this new format and try to get the blog unscrambled…bear with me! The image below was snapped on the north facing bank of the smallholding earlier. The cherry tree is in full bloom.The Lower Pond surrounded by fast growing willow fedge.
From the Kitchen window on a good day, the world looks great…mind you the world is great, every day…well at least that’s the feeling that permaculture gives you!I decided to go for a new theme on the blog…hope you like it!
Another beautiful day at Bealtaine…it looks like there is an early summer for sure. Wild herbs are up in the woodland, as are the Bluebells. Primroses are continuing to bloom and seem to be in abundance this year. Nights are quite balmy and there is no sign of any ground frost, as the grass in the early morning is holding the dew.
There remains a problem with the uploader/browser, so apologies for the stacking effect of the photographs!
Normality Will Resume…
Greening up in the East garden…the sunshine makes it look surreal!
Oh dear…my blog site is playing up, not allowing me to upload pics properly. It’s inserting one pic on top of another and I don’t know what to do! No real speed to connect with much as this is dial-up! Sorry folks…will continue to post!
All I can say is that the pics are all of Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding!
It’s a beautiful morning here in west Ireland. Summer appears to have come early. The mountains look baby blue this morning, caught in a heat haze.
I shall try posting later and hope the problem is fixed. it was the same yesterday evening!
Produce in the tunnel is growing well.
There is always some food to be harvested in here all year round.
This is important as I am a vegan and need to ensure a good supply of fresh, wholesome, organic food.
A view of the fruit and vegetable gardens taken from the field behind Bealtaine.
Kilronan Mountain lies to the north.
Apple blossom and rhubarb.
A grass path leading from the hen house over to the tunnel and compost bins, lined with Amelanchier and Lime trees.
The same path…
Friendship is wonderful. There is a triad symbol to friendship…a triangle…consisting of Trust, Respect and Understanding.
Rosemary Roberts suggests that this is a Celtic Triad and forms the basis of solid friendship…”Respect yourself and others through your words and actions.”
“Trust your instincts and the intentions of those close to you.”
And finally, “When acceptance of another’s actions is difficult, stand in the path of understanding.”
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Wild Orchids are just some of the Wild Flowers at Bealtaine Smallholding today.
Walking the land it is amazing to see so many and such variety of Nature’s Bounty.
The leaves of an old Fern are just starting to unfurl.
Some of these Ferns growing along the bank at the back of the cottage are huge, denoting their age…10years and more!
The ruins of an old, old cottage on the hill behind this smallholding.
There are a few of these ancient remnants of a once much larger community of souls scattered on the hill of Ballyfermoyle.
Many of the lives born in these small cottages grew up and left Ireland.
Many emigrated to countries like Australia and the U.S.A.
The remnants of their lives are often dug up here at Bealtaine and sites all over the west of Ireland.
It might be that someone reading this blog is a descendant of a Ballyfermoyle emigrant.
There is a sadness around these ruins and many like them scattered the length and breadth of this land…encapsulated in the small clumps of daffodils which re-appear each Spring, reminiscent of the loving hands that planted them deep in the soil around their modest home.
These little flowers would have been the nearest the dweller would have got to gardening…their lives taken up with the burden of work to eke out a modest living.
Ash trees and Ivy grow up the inside of the gable wall of an old, stone cottage.
Large families of up to twenty children lived in tiny two bedroom cottages.
A woman I once interviewed had a family of fifteen children, born over the course of sixteen consecutive years…that is almost one child every year!
It is most likely, if your name is of Irish origin, that a home like the one above would have housed your ancestors…they would have, at least, looked out upon the great natural beauty that would have surrounded them and mourned this loss in their adopted country…
3 acres, over 500 trees.
From monoculture to increasing biodiversity. Gaia now creates her own fertility.
The Water of Life…it is our sacred duty to ensure this supply for all is kept clean, above all else!
Growing food wherever we can helps to keep us healthy and INDEPENDENT!
Biodiversity happens because CHEMICALS are BANNED!
Everyone has choices… I chose Permaculture.
Tulips planted several years ago under one of the many Beech trees at Bealtaine.
London pride growing on either side of the steps. This is a perfect permaculture flowering plant, as it takes over, even in weedy, clay soil. Small bits were planted alongside the steps about 4 years ago and managed to push out the creeping buttercup, which can be very resolute and defiant! London Pride will flower during May and keep it’s flowers for many weeks!
Bealtaine Cottage is beginning to merge into the Spring growth…another few weeks and it will not be visible at all!
Little pots of Sedum are flowering atop the old fireplace at the back of the barn. Sedum is a great plant for enduring dry periods, then flourishing after rain!
Lilac has blossomed in a sheltered corner of the front garden. I pruned this last Autumn, cutting out all the spindley and crossover branches and consequently the blooms are lush.
Lilac today at Bealtaine.
This morning at Bealtaine…blue skies, sunshine and just about the best weather this year…
Walking Jack is such a pleasant task on such a morning!
Willow arches are coming alive in the Bog garden. The greening of the Willow is always a sign of early summer and today is warm and sunny!
Water levels in the ground are dropping, but the Spring Well continues to feed the ponds in the Lower Gardens. Blackcurrant was planted in raised areas in this area and are doing well, with lots of blossom promising good fruit later on.
Green Beech continues to hold onto the last of the leaves from last year. Buds are thickening and will open in the next few days.
Wild Violets peeping up between Wild Strawberries on a bank near the Fairy Dell.
The moon last night as the sun was setting, colouring the fading jet stream in the S.E. sky.
There is something special about walking out on a moonlit night. There is a full moon at present in the sky and it’s rising early enough in the evening to enjoy its full beauty and splendour. A glass of wine or cup of tea tastes all the more lovely after a walk that has allowed you to engage with Gaia.
Nostalgia and the moon seem to go together…there is something in the energy of the full moon that appeals to the senses and the power of reflection. The full moon can be mesmerizing and evocative and in permaculture terms is a good time for growth, as the power of the moon pulls the plants up from the earth and keeps the water levels high.
The last light of the setting sun catches the open blossom on the Pear Tree near the cottage. The sky is clear this evening and the week ahead is promised fine. if you look closely you might see the tiny shape of a Pear just under the flower.
Sunlight catching blossom one one of the many Cherry trees at Bealtaine. Each Spring becomes more dramatic than the one before as the many fruit trees begin to mature.
The sun has set and daylight begins to fade into the West as the moon emerges to the East of the land.
Just returned from the Animal Rescue Centre in Leitrim with the latest addition to the family…Jack!
Never a replacement for The Tomster, but in need of a home and Bealtaine is just that! he’s wandering about the cottage at the moment and sussing everything out!
He is a little bit nervous at the moment as you can see, but I expect he will settle in quite rapidly. It’ll take time then for us to bond and become trusting of each other…time will out!
Harvesting Rhubarb yesterday evening, just as the moon was rising…this is some of the crop, now sliced and in bags in the freezer, waiting for the wine and jam making process. The problem with permaculture is just keeping up with the abundance…
This is a plant box I made several years ago from reclaimed timber and driftwood. Planted out with edibles it will be really useful on the veranda, growing within easy reach of the kitchen…especially when it’s raining!
Irusan the cat has gone home to allow Jack to settle in without being continually glowered at…Irusan is pretty good at making a dog feel very uncomfortable…except for those he likes!
It looks like I’m in for an eventful weekend!