Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Birds, Climate, Earth, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Spring, Thoughts, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Warm,Naked Earth

DSCF1040The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

…except, in Permaculture gardens, little is naked, most is covered, yet the earth beneath the green mantle warms just the same.

DSCF1042April has set Spring firmly in place, with early sunrise and birdsong to lift the dullest spirit!

DSCF0999The boys awaken to the sunshine…

DSCF1006Honesty comes into flower…

DSCF1005Ribes sets the bees buzzing…apparently the Bumble Bee is losing numbers here in Ireland, as well as the UK, but certainly not at Bealtaine Cottage…the place is abuzz!

DSCF1016Amelanchier is coming into flower…yet more of the succession planting for the bees!

DSCF1002The playhouse is being transformed into a hen house…an upstairs~downstairs hen house to suit the due pecking order!

DSCF1020I’ve been busy with the brush and wood preservative, making sure that this little house sees another 10 years!

DSCF1009Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel and will keep producing right up until the newly sown Chard is ready to pick…so very easy to grow!

DSCF1019Photinia, Red Robin has opened its new leaves…a burst of red!

DSCF1013Perennial Poppy has weathered the frost well!

DSCF1032Quince is in flower against the barn.

DSCF1030These gigantic shells have been moved to hang on sticks driven into the earth, making a contrast to the emerging green!

DSCF1029Spring is bursting forth into a riot of greens, as the first Cuckoo of the year heralds its summery arrival…earlier than last year!

DSCF1027The Fairy Wood is a mass of lime green Spurge!

DSCF1046The Lavender-painted Barn takes on a new look, making a wonderful backdrop to Spring.

DSCF1057Newly painted benches are ready to withstand another year of crazy Irish weather!

DSCF1056Primroses emerge in places where birds have dropped seed!

DSCF1039And the warm earth, no longer naked, continues to push forth magic!

Posted in Bees, biodiversity, Butterflies, Climate, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spring

April Snow, Bees and Butterflies

April  Bealtaine Cottage pond gardenApril weather is always unpredictable.

Snow fell this morning…in between rain and brilliant sunshine!

It was like a convergence of all the seasons in one morning!

April permaculture rhubarb at Bealtainecottage 016This time last year we were swimming in the Atlantic Ocean down by Mullaghmore Pier.

Legs and arms, uncovered for the first time in months, looked a sickly white in shorts and T-shirts.

April 2011 permaculture cottage 022The apple blossom was fully out and the season was about a month ahead of what was expected.

This year, the season is late.

About 4-6 weeks in some parts of the garden!

April  Bealtaine Cottage PolytunnelHowever, the polytunnel is really paying for itself, as I have all the fruit and veg in pots, growing big and strong and ready for when the weather settles down and all danger of frost has passed!

April Bealtaine Cottage permaculture GardensI have been hauling more and more stone from the edges of the land, into specific areas, where the passive solar heat trapped in the stone will help growth in annual crops, creating micro-climates.

As the season is late, it allows more time for me to catch up with the bigger tasks here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Always looking for the silver lining!

Bealtaine Cottage Gardens  in April 2011 001The Bats are out from hibernation and yesterday, as I walked down the lane-way, a butterfly fluttered just ahead of me, for most of the walk.

The bees are flitting from one heavily laden Ribes bush to another…their end of hibernation feast!

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The EU are making it against the law to save and share seed…

This is not a petition asking the EU for anything, but one that sends a clear, sharp message…We Will Not Comply!

A shot across the bow!

Please sign and share…

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_Will_Not_Comply/?wCgoWbb

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Posted in Garden, hens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Spring, Thoughts, Wild Flowers

The Drama Unfolds…

Lower pond in flood at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

The rain has fallen for 48 hours.

Heavy, relentless rain, that has washed down the hill behind the cottage and into the ditches, I constructed for such a deluge.

The water is carried around the ditches and into the stream bed that flows down through the Fairy Wood and on, into the ponds.

This is how it looked, as water rushed into the lower pond, about 10 minutes ago!

The Barn at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012Visitors are coming this afternoon and more tomorrow…I hope they bring their wellies!

The Bog garden is not navigable in this weather otherwise!

Tulips in April at bealtaine CottageAll is not wet though…there’s a nice warm stove in the kitchen and the air temperature outside isn’t too cold.

In between the downpours, the sun shines, reflected by the watery scene that makes up the gardens today.

April at bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardensThe birds are singing and the wind-chimes are melodic rather than frenetic! April Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria in the tunnelThe hens have settled in well and have even laid a few eggs!

They don’t mind being indoors, as the roof on the hen-house is transparent and tilted to the south, admitting the sun as it shines on.

April Celandines at  Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensThe lovely aspect to April is the sheer drama of it all…and total unpredictability!

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Posted in Angels, Ecology, Fairies, Folklore, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Orchids, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Ivy, Euphorbia, Angelica and more Orchids at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding, Ireland.

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.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Ecosystems, Stability, Wild Orchids and Cuckoos @ Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding, Ireland

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.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Country Living, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

From Monoculture to Permaculture…Beyond Organic in Ireland!

From monoculture grass and cows to Pear blossom on an April evening…Permaculture.

Where once was a field covered in grass and rushes, there is now an orchard and…permaculture.

Blackthorn blossom through the arch…

The barbed wire that once bordered this area by the cottage is gone, replaced with a new border…of plants and trees…permaculture!

And permaculture paths where you have to duck to avoid the swooping birds…