Goddess Rising

www.bealtainecottage.comSummer swells; the Earth heaves a mantle of green over all the land.

www.bealtainecottage.comSwallows dip and turn above tall grass.

www.bealtainecottage.com (2)I see the Goddess rising…

www.bealtainecottage.com (3)Light dances at midnight across the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com (4)Long swathes of ivy swing from tall branches of goat willow.

www.bealtainecottage.com (5)The Fairy Wood is almost impassable.

www.bealtainecottage.com (6)I see the Goddess rising…

www.bealtainecottage.com (7)Blackcurrants plump to ripening, as apples emerge.

www.bealtainecottage.com (8)The summer is here in all her glory; a feast for the eyes.

www.bealtainecottage.com (9)The Earth, Mother Earth, the Goddess… rises.

The Permaculture Loop of Plenty!

bealtaine cottageHarvesting continues from the Potager beds.

It’s worth noting that theses productive little beds, built near the back of the cottage, straight onto gravel, have no soil in them whatsoever!

Soil is precious here in North Roscommon and the land is rushy and wet, so I filled the beds with home-made cold compost and shredding…I continue to build up the structure with shredding, made in my little electric shredder!

bealtaine cottageThe beds carry a lot of food in them still, due to the close planting system I use…as food and flowers are harvested, other plants spread themselves out and the gaps are quickly filled with seasonal planting.

Garlic will be planted out over the weekend in this bed.

bealtaine cottageLoads of material is then transported over to the growing compost heap…and so the cycle of life continues in a wonderful loop of plenty!

bealtaine cottageThe huge Sunflower head will yield a generous amount of seeds…I use these in Oat Smoothies, an important part of a healthy diet.

bealtaine cottageRudbeckia, Marigolds and Evening Primrose continue to bring colour and delight to the Potager Beds as they’re cleared, providing food for many visiting insects.

bealtaine cottageThere is a good amount of herbs around the edges of this bed.

They like the micro-climate afforded them by the stones, as well as the good drainage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Apples continue to plump out, surviving the storm of last weekend by virtue of the fact they are all very sheltered.

This is an important aspect to growing apples in the west of Ireland, as many storms blow in from the western seaboard at a terrifying speed, decimating fruit production that’s in any way exposed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Today is a fine day with clear skies and strong sunlight…this will help the tomatoes in one of the baskets to ripen, the salad tomatoes! it’s such a pleasure to be outdoors on days like today…one of the last flings of Summer as she goes on her wilful way!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The hips of the Rosa Rugosa hang heavy over the path.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010“The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” continues…

If you would like to support the work of the Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture website, Youtube (ad-free) videos and Open Gardens project, please feel free to…

or visit the Etsy shop and purchase a hand-made or vintage product.

A Simple Life

a real sofa bedThis is a real sofa bed.

It’s a bed, with a cover and lots of cushions.

sitting roomI needed another sofa in my sitting room.

Simple.

No fuss.

Looks good and is inter-changeable.

Cost: zero!

Mosaic mirrorMost of what I have in my home cost zero.

Like this fancy mirror above the mantle piece…born from broken mirrors and turned into a mirror mosaic.

Cost: zero.

The mantle piece cost 50 euros in a second-hand furniture shop.

mosaic floorThe simplicity of living, almost cash free, is liberating and allows one to appreciate everything that comes ones way.

Like this mosaic floor, created from broken tiles, throw-a ways from a consumer driven society.

mosaic floorLife within the shop-till-you-drop, over-burdened, corporate-controlled madness that passes as culture, is beginning to wane.

mosaic floorMore people are awakening to the liberation of simplicity…a simple life.

Bog Oak garden sculptureOne where culture is developed and creativity valued.

A piece of Bog Oak, found on the beach and stood up in the garden, surrounded by plants…

bee pollinating broccoliA simple life, is one where bees are appreciated for the work they do and not just seen as a source of honey.

There are several wild bee nests here in the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

I plant food for them, though have no hives.

I want nothing from them, but their labour…let them keep their honey, they deserve it!

apples at Bealtaine CottageA simple life is less cluttered, quieter, calmer.

With little in material goods, there is less to think about and worry about.

Cottage Garden Harvest

Cottage garden harvestRed onions and seeds dry in the heat of the afternoon sun at Bealtaine Cottage. cottage garden harvestThe Permaculture harvest is on it’s way.

cottage garden harvestI am saving lots of seed from the biggest, healthiest and tastiest plants!

cottage garden harvestThe rain came and has left a little water…not much, but enough to fill the tank in the loft!

Cottage Garden HarvestHerbs and seeds are coming into their own!

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottagePotatoes are appearing where none were planted…these have grown from seed dropped last year and have not been earthed up!

cottage garden harvestBlackcurrants are taking over the gardens!

Apple harvest

Apples are plumping out…

Runner beansRunner beans are seeking Heaven…

Raspberry harvestRaspberries are being eaten straight from the garden!

broad beansBroad Beans are looking monstrous!

potager beds at Bealtaine CottageAnd the Potager beds have received their second planting…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 006My brother Hugh O’Neill has made some very special Bog Oak pendants for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 003Hugh has carved some Rune and Ogham symbols on some of these special little pieces of Bog Oak.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 004The wood is carved and polished by Hugh into these amazing pendants, each accompanied by glass or wooden beads…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 005 A little piece of Ancient Ireland to wear around your neck!

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 002You can find these on the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/157732408/ancient-irish-bog-oak-pendants

 

Framed, Raw and Rather Juicy!

Upcycling Old Picture Frames

I was given this beautiful old frame by a guy in a second-hand market in the local town.

It is one of the most beautiful picture frames I have ever come across.

Look closely at it, for it is a colourful mosaic of sea washed glass and shells.

The new chalkboardFor several years now it has waited patiently in the shed for someone with a good idea…who just happened to come along this week.

Cara was helping me to find a hammer in the outside shed on Monday, when she spied this frame and suggested it be used as a chalk board for the garden…all it needed was some board cut to fit, which could then be painted with blackboard paint and fitted into the frame!

Cara turned up with the finished, magnificently up-cycled chalkboard today and promptly fitted it onto the wall of the lodge under the shelter of the veranda.

Lodge VerandaDoesn’t it look great?

organic herbs from the permaculture gardensMeanwhile…in the kitchen I prepared some wholesome juice, using organic produce from the gardens…

After juicing organic apples and carrots, I add Kale, Apple-mint, Lemon Balm, Fennel and Parsley.

Juicing is a great way of ensuring a steady supply of the finest and freshest nutrients, especially using what is so easily grown in the edible gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Preparing aVegan stir fry at Bealtaine CottageMuch of what I harvest is added to stir-fries too.

These are the ingredients for this evening’s meal.

Missy catMeanwhile, Missy Cat is enjoying the sunshine, while keeping an eye on me!

Abundant Harvest at Bealtaine Cottage…seeing is believing!

Despite the problems with weather and lack of sunshine, this  is turning out to be one of the best years on record for the harvest at Bealtaine Cottage.

Continual adaptation to climate change is paying off, as the Potager Beds have excelled themselves in little over ten weeks since construction and planting.

Designed and built in the truly vernacular style, using stone sourced on site, these beds have been a blessing in production and style.

Blessed with continual warmth and shelter at the back of the cottage, the plants have excelled themselves, doing better than those planted in the tunnel!

Bees and, blessed be, Butterflies are all in abundance too, a sight to behold!

The Apple harvest is the best ever, as these trees have brought apples to my table every year since planting.

I have been out this morning and made a video for you to see for yourselves…it is amazing.

Oh, and as a joyous footnote…the Bats are back at Bealtaine Cottage…small and few, I suspect a new colony, but it is a stunning sight to watch at dusk!

Today’s video…just click on the link!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWLrpb6_9Wc

The Magic of Autumn, A Permaculture Floor and Free Rose Arch

Irish Dresser

Pumpkins take pride of place on my dresser back in 2010.

There is a brilliant Pumpkin season underway here in the west of Ireland, with some of the biggest and best being grown outdoors, despite the lack of sun this summer.

There was an almost full moon in the southern sky last night and the sky was clear and blue this morning.

However, rain and storms are forecast!

The moon last night was strong enough to light up the back of the cottage.

It waxed and shone brightly.

I am busy harvesting onions, garlic, herbs, potatoes, chard and loads of Apples.

Nights are closing in and there’s even a little frost on the grass some mornings.

This is my favourite season!

I wanted to integrate re-cycling as a theme in my cottage.

I feel strongly about the amount of waste that happens every day in our lives…”throw it away”…but where is ‘away?’

We all live on this finite planet.

We share the oceans…they’re all connected.

We share the air, good grief, we share everything on this planet, though some are greedy beyond belief!

These broken tiles were going to be buried in a landfill site…I needed a floor…and so a connection was made between some like-minded people.

This is the result, much admired by visitors to the cottage…my floor, a statement of permaculture fusion, permaculture art maybe?

Making a Rose Arch in the garden needn’t cost a penny!

This Rambling Rose is supported by a Ribes hedge and a couple of lengths of Willow.

There are several different kinds of flowering shrubs on either side to support wildlife and biodiversity, which is probably the reason why my Apple Harvest this year and every other year is so bountiful!

Observation is a key element in Permaculture.

It is also a great friend of any gardener, for observing one’s garden allows one to continually create small and interesting places from what grows and shapes itself.

Archways will form naturally and give a good indication of what is possible in that space.

A kind of evolutionary gardening if you like!

According to the Irish Calendar which is based on ancient Celtic traditions, autumn lasts throughout the months of August, September, and October, or possibly a few days later, depending on tradition….so the first month of autumn is almost over!

There is a heavy harvest of all berries this year…sign of a cold winter to come…but the birds will be fed well as there are simply tons of berries here at Bealtaine Cottage.

I began my work here providing nuts for the birds in feeders all over the gardens, but the shrubs and trees planted are all producing more than adequate food for the birds and all wildlife, so the bird-feeders have all been passed on.

The Magical Festival of Lughnasa…

The land approaches Lughnasa, (Lughnasadh), August and the beginning of Autumn.

Looking at the apples today on the trees at Bealtaine Cottage, it is easy to see how this is.

Harvests continue to be gathered and develop, ripening to plumpness and fullness.

Tomatoes, like the ones above, grown outdoors in areas of micro-climate warmth and shelter, continue to flower and produce.

The weather is promised good for the week ahead, as grass moves in the gentle breeze of a July afternoon…the only missing part of this picture is the beautiful Butterflies, so decimated by rain last year and almost finished off with rain and cold this summer.

There is little I can do to help this situation, other than continue to grow and plant out Buddleias and other shrubs and flowers much beloved of these fairy creatures with coloured wings.

Herbs are harvested, tied into small bunches and hung to dry in the warmth of the tunnel, with lots of air circulating, as both doors remain open day and night during summer.

Lughnasa is a harvest festival, marking the end of the period of summer growth and the beginning of the autumn harvest.

This is the time to save seed…as you can see, seed-heads have formed beautifully on the Leeks in the tunnel today.

I will save the seed of the strongest plant, for sowing next year.

Jostaberries are almost ready to harvest.

They come into season just after the Blackcurrant.

Many people think  that Lughnasa was a fire festival, but it was not.

Lughnasa was associated with water and earth, as seen in decoration of wells, making of corn-dollies, decorating and adorning with flowers, and climbing mountains.

Many of the most beautiful flowers come into flower at this time…the Crocosmia by the door of the tunnel will flower over the next week or so, as will the gorgeous Shasta Daisy!

The plant just peeping into the tunnel is Lemon Balm.

Wonderful scents arise as one brushes past it!

Wood cut last winter will be ready for the barn by Lughnasa.

It dries well when stacked like this!

Lughnasa is a Celtic cross-quarter festival, meaning it is not a Solstice or an Equinox, but falls between.

Perhaps this Lughnasa you will climb a mountain, visit a Holy Well, collect Bilberries, bring in the first potatoes…all celebrations of this special, magical, Celtic Festival!