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

A Day in Early Spring

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Juicing is a great way to ensure one has the maximum of vitamins and minerals and this is something I do every day.
It’s also a reason to keep greens growing all the year around, as even small bits can be added to the juicer and vital vitamins extracted.
I’ve used some small bits of Kale that have escaped the frost and storms.
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There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!
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Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken! Baskets, Fedges and Obelisks are standing here!
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These beds are fairly sheltered and continue to produce Kale, which is processed in the juicer.
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Fine Willow used in basket weaving waiting to be harvested. The gardens look colourful all the way through Winter, as the stems of Willow, Dogwood, Ash and Birch are revealed.
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So much rain has fallen here in Ireland this Winter and now, in the early days of Spring, the flooding has begun to dominate the landscape. Here at Bealtaine cottage I spent much time in the early days digging out drains and water channels, as well as keeping them maintained over the past ten years…and it has paid off, as you can see from the lower pond. The water runs free, out into the streams and rivers that take it to the Atlantic Ocean. 
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In sheltered areas all over the gardens the ferns have remained green, though a little bit droopy. The winter was mild and warm, with plenty of rain!
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This is the beginning of the wood pile for next winter. It comprises of coppiced logs of Birch, Ash and Hazel. The twiggy bits are thrown into the back of the pile as they make wonderful kindling! These logs may be small, but are perfect for a small wood-burning stove!
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I’ve been stocking up on straw recently, as this makes great mulch around the garden helping to suppress weeds and line paths.
www.bealtainecottage.comGreen Beech hold their leaves right through Winter, adding even more colour and shelter to the gardens! 
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And look who’s keeping an eye on me as I type…my loyal Jack!

The No Dig, No Till Garden

Amethyst Horn at Bealtaine CottageBealtaine Cottage is a permaculture smallholding, as followers of this blog know.

In permaculture we mulch, mulch and carry on mulching, building up the soil as we go.Bealtaine Cottage potager bed

Over the past two years I have been creating Potager gardens near the back of the cottage, using stone found on the land to create raised beds.

Bealtaine Cottage making the Potager beds June 2012 005Into these beds I have packed raw wool, compost, ash, leaf mould and shredding…lots and lots, layer upon layer, of shredding.

Plants are planted into bottomless pots onto the top of all this, so their roots can spread down deep into the goodness!

Bealtaine Cottage Potager bedThis year has seen the extending of these beds to cover yet more of the gravel.

The most useful tool in the permaculture gardens is the shredder!

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds and BuddhaI pile the shredding on the soil, wherever there are plants growing, spreading it around the base and everywhere in-between.

Beaten earth floor in ploytunnel at Bealtaine CottageNot only does this suppress the weeds, but it feeds the soil and therefore the plants.

You can see this practice at work here in the tunnel.

April 2013 Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageAfter a few weeks, the shredding take on the dark look of soil, making it look like the soil has been just tilled…it has not!

permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage, No digCaring for 3 acres, I can assure you that I do not dig and I have no one who helps!

Does it work? …see for yourself.

No sore back and an abundance of food!

Bealtaine Cottage potager garden

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 600 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Roses on the Veranda and the Apples have set!

The roses have come out on the veranda.

I made a short video to show you some of the beauty… you can click on that below.

The apples have all set and are developing well.

There promises to be a magnificent crop this year, so all the recipes for apple wine, chutney,butter, cider and more will be perused and debated…will I make this or that or…

The Willow is now in leaf, as are most of the trees, with the Ash being the last to leaf.

The scent as I walk around the gardens from the blossom on the Hawthorn trees is heavenly!

Work in the kitchen is almost finished and the task of stencilling will start later in the week.

I thought that an Ivy stencil would be lovely, so will cut one out when I get the chance to sit down!

Anyway, here is today’s video, with love from Bealtaine Cottage…click and enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqX4Q4G8NPE&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Making and Using Compost on a Permaculture Smallholding.

Here’s a 5 minute video from Bealtaine Cottage on making and using compost on a permaculture smallholding.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLkBREOi8hE&feature=plcp&context=C4035676VDvjVQa1PpcFOWi9w1WJ3Ko7EephcqjG1KM5MBe0Xa1V8%3D

Permaculture Cottage ~ Spring Wells, Wisdom and the Hopi Indians…

First of all a BIG TA VERY MUCH for all who have visited my blog over the past year. I began in the middle of August 2010 and in little over a year, 70,000 of you have made the journey to Bealtaine Cottage at Ballyfermoyle, here in the beautiful West of Ireland…well, actually, a very great many of you have visited many times over and subscribed to the blog.  Hopefully in the next year the blog will expand even more in some exciting ways…ssshhh, it’s still a secret!

Fuschia and Fedges grow side by side. Both are grown from slips or cuttings. It will soon be time to harvest the willow and plant more cuttings, which is really the story of these gardens. Planting has been ongoing now for seven years, since day one of Bealtaine…

So much rain and so much water gushing along the stream beds in the Bog Garden…the rain brings music!

Walking up towards the woodland that is the Fairy Dell, through new plantings of Willow and Ash…

Spring water gushes up from the well in the woodland.

Deep within the Fairy Dell…has midsummer really passed that quickly?

Perfect apples…never ever sprayed, no chemicals and a bountiful harvest every year!

The Wisdom of the Hopi Indians…something to share with you, just click on the link…http://youtu.be/zNlNUJcEcoY

Have a great weekend! Plant a tree for the Mother…Gaia… x

Permaculture Zero…My Two Favourite Words! Bealtaine Smallholding West Ireland.

Willow arches, all around Bealtaine, have greened up and may need their first trim of the year…about two trims a summer are enough to keep the shape!Comfrey…this has been planted all over the smallholding. It grows wild in damp, shady places, near streams and rivers. Historically this powerful plant has been used to knitting broken bones back together, hence the names: Boneset, Knitbone and Bruisewort. Interestingly enough, research has discovered that Comfrey contains Allantoin, which actively promotes the growth of new cells! Leaves of the plant are applied to bruises, sprains and broken bones.The rose on the veranda is growing in two tyres filled with home made compost and topped up each spring.Roses about to bloom on the veranda…but we desperately need rain…west Ireland is suffering drought conditions at present!Steps from the vegetable and fruit intensive gardens down into the woodland. These were made from recycled timber boards, hammered into place, then backfilled with compacted ash from the stove. Cost:Zero…love that word!