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!
Blossom on the Plum and Cherry trees continue to develop at Bealtaine Smallholding.
As I type this blog on a calm and warm Friday evening I am amazed at the continual good weather experienced here in the west of Ireland since the middle of March. The climate is changing…that I know.
Peach blossom covers the tree in the tunnel and all the seedlings are growing well. The bottom line is that food is very easy to grow. A small warm space is all that’s needed to get seedlings up and ready for planting out.
The Fairy Dell is now covered in green growth. Primroses, Mosses, Violets and Ferns are all competing with hundreds of other species to grow. The scents emanating from the warm earth below my feet as I walk the woodland are nothing less than intoxicating!
This is the willow wreath made here in December. I will strip back the winter foliage of Larch and Ivy and re-dress the willow base for the Easter celebrations. This Willow wreath will keep for several years and can be dressed for seasonal celebrations.
The leaves on the Amelanchier tree are out and making colour in the garden.
The weekend is here and I have another five trees to plant. These are all pot grown from seeds, so can be planted at any time of the year as long as they are kept well watered!
Apple blossom this morning at Bealtaine.
As I write this I am listening to Irish Radio…talking endlessly about money, economics, making people spend money, kick-starting the economy! They just don’t get it! The wealth of a country must be measured in the health and wellbeing of its people…
Rhubarb waiting for me to turn it into jam…bumper harvests have begun again!
Apple blossom open today. the bees have feasted on the Ribes and are ready to continue the party on the fruit blossoms.
Irusan in the Fairy Dell this morning. He loves to walk the land with me each morning when he is staying at Bealtaine. Irusan is a Bombay Black Cat, whose mother was feral, living almost wild in London. he is extremely perceptive and interactive with people he chooses to like.
Growth over recent days has begun to impact on the paths that connect the permaculture zones at Bealtaine Cottage. Where monoculture fields around this smallholding are waiting for chemical fertilizer to green them, the grass and herbal pathways do the greening for themselves, for underneath lies a healthy soil that now pushes forth abundance!
Violets have emerged in the Fairy Dell…woodland abundance!
Working in the tunnel this morning I heard the first Cuckoo of the year calling from the hill behind Bealtaine. This is extraordinarily early to hear the Cuckoo…usually in May, or at the earliest, very late April…the seasons are coming earlier here in Ireland.
The flowers on the first Wild Orchid of the year are opening. I noticed a second Orchid beginning to open further along the bank.
Biodiversity is more than an elastoplast sticking plaster on the skin of Gaia…it is the CURE!
I would go so far as to say that it has been the introduction of biodiversity here on the 3 acres of Bealtaine Smallholding that has allowed such incredible harvest of food to manifest.
Permaculture plantings aim to create and sustain as many food webs as possible, as this gives stability and strength to the environment.
The structure of an ecosystem is represented by food webs and the more cmplex the ecosystem, the greater the stability. It is unfortunate that even Organic farms are not home to complex enough ecosystems, as many of the crops are grown in a monoculture, uniform row, type way.
Found this morning on a bank at Bealtaine…the first Orchid of the year and I think this is the Green Winged Orchid that can be found only in occasional habitats here in Ireland. The flowers should open up today…when I shall take another pic and post later…it’s exciting!
The flower head of Lunaria, (Honesty) is about to open…one of my favourite flowers.
Cherry Blossom this morning.
All these photos show a richness, an abundance…which is strange considering the fact I am a pauper, a word I laugh heartily at! Abundance is what happens when you start to give. It’s a form of energy. Perhaps the energy that was alluded to in all the Creation Myths. The Garden of Eden story for example. Anyone who has visited Bealtaine will have experienced Abundance. Everything has to be shared simply because there is so much of it. The more I give away, the more grows…and with less and less effort!
Apple blossom today at Bealtaine…just when I thought that last year was a bumper crop of all time, the same trees are heavy with blossom promising even more…Abundance!
One of the Plum Trees in blossom today…
One of the many Blackthorn Trees in blossom this morning…plentiful Sloes this Autumn!
The need for a decent bed has been uppermost in my thoughts recently…I had made a bed using pallets, but kept banging my feet on the wood, tripping and, the worst thing of all…could not shove boxes of old shoes etc., under the bed. So, I had a long hard think about the problem and came up with two possible solutions…Buy a new bed, a mere 300 euros, yes, okay, beam me up spotty! Or, dismantle the old sofa bed and use the bed part with a mattress on the top…so guess which one I went with then?
You guessed right…now I’m chopping up the remains of the sofa for the stove, composting the material and storing the foam for future cushions…cost, ahem, sorry multinationals…zero!
Every Sunday I visit the second-hand market, always on the lookout for bargains and objet d’art. Last Sunday was a lovely day and there were plenty of stalls selling lots of interesting items…and I bought this for 5euros! Handknitted and warm and colourful and beautiful, the perfect throw for another old sofa! Rather gorgeous, don’t you think?
Strawberry flowers are opening up in the tunnel today.
And the strawberry plants in the hanging baskets on the veranda are not far behind! I have planted up lots more baskets and have them hanging in the tunnel, this time with lettuce and lots of other edibles, including herbs.
The tunnel has certainly come to life over recent weeks. I shall move the baskets to the veranda once they are established.
Just a walk around Bealtaine on a still, warm and misty morning…
And the soundtrack of Bealtaine…birds and bees and insects…
Scents of Spring and early summer pervade the air…
The promise of Sloes with Blackthorn Blossom…
Growing in the Fairy Dell…
And deep within the Fairy Dell the Rowan Tree comes to life…
Willi Paul from Planetshifter Magazine in America asked me yesterday how I was doing…and I told him…that this year at Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding was on course to be the bumper harvest of all time!
This is the seventh year of permaculture here on the land and the magic of Nature continues unabated. Blossom, the promise of fruit and food, is in abundance this morning!
The Redcurrants are coming…
. What is happening on this earth is crucial to our survival…we need good food, clean water, clean air and a deeper understanding of our Mother Earth. So many writers are beginning to articulate these needs and provide guides for us to be able to start engaging… Bealtaine is here for all to see and gain from. It is not about ME, no pics of ME…it is about the possible overcoming the improbable, about hope and living a better life WITH this struggling planet.
What will be…heavy droplets of blossom promise heavy bunches of redcurrants, for free!
Flowers on one of the plum trees this morning…there is nothing more delicious to eat when feshly harvested from your own trees. These should be planted in every town and village in Ireland, for all to eat and enjoy!
And cherries…lots and lots of sweet cherries…councils should be urged to plant fruit trees in public spaces…why on EARTH not?
Blossom is beautiful, it lifts the spirit and feeds the soul. The fruit that follows feeds all, including the birds. Perfect!
This is growing on the side of a big log of cut wood near the veranda. Some kind of Fungi…not quite sure and am in the process of scouring books to try to find out! It’s soft, like a giant marshmallow and this is the actual size…but it appears to be growing…
Walking by Lough Key yesterday with the Tomster and his mum…well it WAS Mother’s Day and Tommy wanted to give his old mum a treat! …this tree, magnificent in its ancient grandeur.
Standing right up against it, heart to heart, looking up, skywards, through its giant arms towards the sky…it took my breath away!
And the little boat, nestled into the calm stillness of the lough…
And enough Ramsons, (Wild Garlic), to feed the world, growing everywhere in this massive old estate that was…the heady scent of delicate flavoursome food being carried on the cool, evening air…
…with just enough daylight left to harvest the first Rhubarb of the year and…
…make a Rhubarb Crumble, before saying goodnight to the Tomster and heading off out to dinner, Crumble in one hand, home-made Redcurrant Wine in the other…FRUGAL LIVING?…are you kidding?
Bog Oak…Cockerel Crowing.
Mound of Sedum.
An old fireplace.
Keep on planting!
The first visitors to Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding have just left. Today is the first ‘open day,’ of the year and the weather has remained good. Visitors from Kilkenny, Enniskillen and Devon, England, have spent a day enjoying the gardens of Bealtaine, exploring the many aspects of permaculture and discovering for themselves just what is possible.
We shared stories, experiences, wisdom, food and plants…this has been a truly permaculture day! Abundance has been shared and received in the true spirit of Permaculture Ethics.
It’s amazing the rate of growth in the gardens at the moment! The rain of last night has certainly been turned into green shoots today. Bees are busy in the orchards and especially on the blackcurrant as many of the bushes display flowers opening to the warmth of the sun!
Bees and flowers make fruit…the hens love the small, hard fruit of the Ribes, an autumn treat for them…
These lime green flowers of the Euphorbia have just come into blossom in the garden near the veranda. I always think they look like aliens!
An early flowering Anenome peeps through the mulch…
And now, time to put my feet up and reflect on a lovely day!