Early Lughnasadh in the Gardens of Bealtaine

The last flush of Summer happens in early Lughnasadh.

IMG_3049As I walk the gardens in late evening, the earthy taste of Autumn pervades the air.

IMG_3052The wheel turns as endings and beginnings wind their way through the days of change.

All is change…

Mists form in early morning cool air as heat continues to rise from the earth.

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Soon the clothes of summer will be packed away, to be replaced with woollens and woven items more suited to the cooling of Lughnasadh.

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In the world of man the destruction and threats of destruction continues, as though in another dimension. Mother Earth is unaware of their arrogance and hubris…She just goes on, as they huff and puff and eventually blow themselves out…She just goes on!

 

 

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Twitter…

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Good Morning!

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Good morning to you! Water and Juice to be drunk before I make that essential cuppa!

It’s overcast and somewhat grey this morning, but a beautiful day in that it’s still, warm and the birds are singing!

dsc03037I spent some time yesterday in the pond, (waders on) clearing out pond-weed and cutting back on the banks.

dsc03064Hard work, so am breaking it up into a three day exercise!

I was happy to walk down there clutching my cup of tea, to just spend time looking at the water and thinking how it will all look when finished…

dsc02927Meanwhile, the Lughnasadh Garden continues to take shape and is already a lovely place to walk to and enjoy. It’s good for me to have several projects on the go at the same time!

dsc02919Nasturtiums are all in flower and the Bees are have a wonderful feast and flurry as they move from one to another.

dsc03031And…I’ve spied yet more plants that have self-seeded in the gravel…these Lady’s Mantle are ll to be moved into the Lughnasadh Garden for the Bees and Butterflies.

And…just for you…a little video…

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

The Great Creatrix

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The photographer from Irish Country Magazine has just left…the magazine photo-shoot is over!
You can read all about Bealtaine Cottage in the Dec/Jan edition, which will be on the shelves at the end of November!

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As we walked around the gardens, the conversation turned to the story of how Bealtaine emerged from rushy fields and it became apparent that this story becomes harder to tell…for it all seems so improbable.

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The story has taken on myth-like qualities as visitors look around, finding it hard to believe that Nature could work such magic…but She has…the Great Creatrix!

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The gardens are now a riot of autumnal colour, due in part to what many call ‘mistakes,’ but have turned out to be inspired tree planting, with nothing other than a gut feeling of where to plant and plant without discrimination.

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When one considers it, Mother Nature does not discriminate.

She merely gets on with whatever needs to be done…nurturing and giving all her days.

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Rachel Carson was acutely aware of how the future might be, if humankind did not awaken to the need to live with her…the one…the Mother, Creatrix of beauty and life.

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“Silent Spring” remains to this time, an enduring legacy of the call to wake up and smell the roses.

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We cannot live without her, though she can go on and on into the future without us.

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The question is: does she want to?

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I believe Mother Earth is reaching out to us in a last desperate bid to stop us from destroying our habitat.

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What is being done in the name of economic progress is nothing less than a dance with death.

Despite what is apparent, there appears to be a mass awakening of people, much of it happening on internet media with a  gathering speed and force. permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 012

If this little website is anything to go by, then all is not lost, for I see the growing numbers of people interested in a more sustainable lifestyle!

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We are living in fast changing times, days of optimism and hope…we are moving into a time of co-creating with the great Creatrix…Mother Earth.

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I did not choose Bealtaine Cottage…it chose me, as one who would be an enabler of the great Mother.

In the Celtic calendar, the first day of May was known in Irish as Bealtaine.

This was the feast of bright fire, the first of summer, one of the four great quarter days of the year.

 The ancient Irish Book of Invasions tells us that the first magical inhabitants of the country, the Tuatha Dé Danaan, arrived on the feast of Bealtaine.

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Bealtaine is all about renewal, another chance, an awakening.

I will let the great Seamus Heaney have the last word…

Beacons at Bealtaine
Phoenix Park, May Day, 2004

Uisce: water. And fionn: the water’s clear.
But dip and find this Gaelic water Greek:
A phoenix flames upon fionn uisce here.

Strangers were barbaroi to the Greek ear.
Now let the heirs of all who could not speak
The language, whose ba-babbling was unclear,

Come with their gift of tongues past each frontier
And find the answering voices that they seek
As fionn and uisce answer phoenix here.

The May Day hills were burning, far and near,
When our land’s first footers beached boats in the creek
In uisce, fionn, strange words that soon grew clear;

So on a day when newcomers appear
Let it be a homecoming and let us speak
The unstrange word, as it behoves us here,

Move lips, move minds and make new meanings flare
Like ancient beacons signalling, peak to peak,
From middle sea to north sea, shining clear
As phoenix flame upon fionn uisce here.

A Feast of Autumn

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Autumn in the permaculture gardens continues in a glow.

It’s near mid October…my favourite month, my birthday month!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Stoves are keeping the cottage and the lodge warm and snug.

The nip in the morning and evening air is quite tangible.

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In the scheme of things, Autumn is an exuberant finale to the year, filled with colour and joy, mindful of all that’s passed and all left to come, as the descent towards midwinter moves ceaselessly on. 

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“The tints of autumn…a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.”
John Greenleaf Whittier 

Perlagoniums resist the cold, staying in full flower, continuing in their summer glory.

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The pink roses of Midsummer have passed, leaving behind the fruits of each visiting bee…rose-hips hang plump upon the branches.

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Wisteria turns golden on the veranda.

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The morning and evening air hangs heavy and still, laden with mist.

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“GATHERING LEAVES
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?”
Robert Frost

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Salix Contorta and Honesty catch the morning sun.

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“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn; —
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.”
Thomas Hood

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“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

[Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]”
George Eliot

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“And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…”
Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems

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“I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, and then drove the five miles to the station through the most glorious October colouring. The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of promise. I knew something was going to happen. ”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

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“Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies.”
Sharon Kay Penman, Time and Chance

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“There was a filmy veil of soft dull mist obscuring, but not hiding, all objects, giving them a lilac hue, for the sun had not yet fully set; a robin was singing … The leaves were more gorgeous than ever; the first touch of frost would lay them all low to the ground. Already one or two kept constantly floating down, amber and golden in the low slanting sun-rays.”
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

Transition

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The transition has begun.

Knitting has been brought out from hibernation.

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The final seeds have been sown.

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And  the flowers and herbs continue to thrive in the potager beds, the warmth of the gravel and stones keeping them in a summer state.

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Seasonal adjustments are happening all over the northern hemisphere, as the days draw close to balance and equinox. 

 

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Berries are in abundance this year, some say a sign of a harsh winter, but that’s to be seen.

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Cotoneaster, Hazel, Blackcurrant and Fuschia all here together.

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The changing colours are so very gentle and subtle, but they’re there if one looks…

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Blackberries ripen near the stone circle, as the leaves mottle and turn towards Autumn.

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The Sloes on the Blackthorn are ready to pick…these will make some fine Sloe Gin for Midwinter.

The Sloes are pricked with a pin and pushed into a bottle half-filled with Gin.

The bottle is then sealed and buried in the earth until Yuletide celebrations, when it is ceremoniously dug up and partaken of!

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Deep within the Fairy Wood, Autumn creates some more magic…

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These tiny mushrooms are growing on a dead branch of Goat Willow.

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Crocosmia Monbretia in all its Autumn glory.   

The Days Between Light and Dark

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Bright sun illuminating the garden, gave way to the gentle, patter-drip-patter of rain, as it slowly enveloped the cottage.

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The great change is steadily colouring the sights and sounds of Bealtaine Cottage.

Curly Kale can tolerate the changes well, needing much less light than many other vegetables…this is a good Winter green to ensure health and vitality as the daylight lessens.

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The days between light and dark merge as we approach the Equinox…the balancing point before the descent towards Midwinter.

Spiders busily spin and weave and everywhere the light dances playfully.

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Green turns slowly in the mixing pot of early autumn colours that inspire dreams of drifting through woodland, kicking up leaves in a playful, seasonal dance of joy.

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What lies beyond this Equinox is a time filled with darker evenings, not to be scorned, but embraced as a time to rest, nurture and be nurtured.

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As we enjoy this late Summer glory, the days of “mist and mellow fruitfulness,” lie ahead…what a beautiful time of year this is!

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Walking the gardens here this morning is sheer Heaven on Earth.

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The air is warm and still.

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Birds call out to one another. 

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

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“Fall has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
Lauren DeStefano, Wither

 

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Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage

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Much appreciated! 

 

The Month of Lughnasa

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Lughnasa heralds the beginning of Autumn in the Celtic calendar.

Leaves have already begun to drop, with the gentle Birch tree being the first to shed.

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There is so much fertility in this annual drop…Bealtaine now boasts reasonable soil, compared to ten years ago!

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The change is equally gentle this year, as the summer gradually fades. 

Sedums are developing their flower heads, slow to open, with big, flat, pink flowers coming through.

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Pockets of light mist occur in the early evening, shrouding valleys and dips.

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Lughnasa is my favourite month as the transition into Autumn begins.

Tonight a full moon will rise.

The air is still. Woodsmoke drifts lazily from the old stone chimney and bats begin to venture out.

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I am half-sick of the daily news and the threat of war.

I have started knitting again, as a form of relaxing therapy and a choice to be constructive in the face of impending destruction!

Just handling the pure wool and staring at the colours and textures is both a comfort and a delight!

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As we enter Autumn we are ready for change.

As we are driven into unstable times, so we need to prepare too.

Creating is important.

It keeps us grounded and optimistic.

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The seasons continue, undisturbed by the vagaries of man.

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And so shall I!