Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Edible Gardens, Garden, hens, Herbs, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

New Permaculture Orchard

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 007Last year I planted a new orchard at Bealtaine Cottage.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 008To date there are thirty eight fruit trees planted across the three acres of land here.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 012This new orchard was planted on an area previously fenced off and used for hens over a period of years.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 009This is always a good start, as the land was prepared by the hens in terms of manuring and picking over.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 010Before the trees were planted I laid down a generous spread of seaweed and covered this with cardboard, to hold back the weeds for a year or so.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 013Over the morning I have been planting yet more layers into the orchard, mainly flowers and herbs to attract and feed the bees…my secret of abundant harvests; where would we be without the bees?

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 014The next phase will include planting a bee-friendly hedge along the south edge of the area.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 015I planted Fuschia and Berberis, Dogwood and Rubus along the north edge.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 016As I cut back around the orchard, cuttings are dropped onto the ground around the trees and bushes as a mulch.
permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 021The planting continues as more and more flowers and herbs are brought from my small nursery area, a really important part of any permaculture garden or smallholding! 

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 019As with all my projects here at Bealtaine, I couldn’t resist using some Willow to effect, constructing a simple arbour that will eventually house a home-made bench, on which to sit and sup a cup of tea!
permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 024The plan of maximum planting has worked well all over the land here, building resilience as well as fertility into the land, as a forest does naturally.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 002The days have been warm and sunny, with the back door open all day long.

There is such a good balance of biodiversity here that flies don’t seem to be a bother…this can be a serious Irish complaint during the summer months!

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 003I pulled the sofa chair over to the open door as I find the soft sounds of life in the gardens very soothing.

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 001Sammy does too!

The idea of planting food trees is taking off here in the west of Ireland.

My local town of Drumshanbo has planted a Community Orchard near the entrance to the town…a great Transition Towns inspiration!

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture

A New Leaf

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(As I am beginning a Juice Fast today, I thought I’d re-post this from last year. I can heartily recommend Juice-Fasting as a way of restoring good health all round…it works for me!)

Fresh herbs and micro-greens from the garden are ready to be juiced.

IMG_0126As a way of recuperating from recent loss and feeling very low, I made the decision to start a twenty day Juice Fast.

www.bealtainecottage.comStarting out last Thursday, I have reached the fifth day and am feeling very good.  

www.bealtainecottage.comJuice fasting helps to balance pH and blood sugar levels.

www.bealtainecottage.com It also strengthens the immune system.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe light around the cottage this evening was ethereal, as the sunset glowed in the western sky.

www.bealtainecottage.comFor over half an hour, the setting sun created magical light that lifted the spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt was like a rainbow had enveloped the cottage and gardens!

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The red perlagoniums have turned a vivid orange in the sunset light.

www.bealtainecottage.comSunset orange on peach woodwork in the porch.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd through the window hang the roses, heavy, on the veranda

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Light and dark interact…

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This last burst of light illuminates the trees before dusk, here, this evening, in the west of Ireland.

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Posted in Culture, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Growing Food, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Politics, Roscommon, Sligo, Sustainable Living, Thoughts

Procul omen abesto! Ovid and the Days to Come…

Far be that fate from us…said Ovid over 2,000 years ago…

The Nursery at Bealtaine Cottage

It got me thinking of all I thought would not happen when I first took up growing…

Potting up in the polytunnel

We would not destroy our lifeline, the soil, for all that is necessary for life lies within…

And yet this is happening all over the developed world, and, everywhere else too!

Did you see the gigantically terrifying Dust-cloud that enveloped Phoenix, Arizona?

Reminiscent of the Dust-Bowl catastrophes of the hungry thirties…

In Permaculture we mulch…and mulch and…mulch! Building up layers of soil and goodness.

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodThere is little need to dig, disturbing the ecological balance of the soil.

weed suppressing with cardboard

The fate that awaits us all is a depleted soil and thence a depleted Earth and this is happening every day in corporate controlled Agriculture…and there is a Land-Grab going on, have no doubt about that!

The Corporate monsters are on the march!

We must all take our positions in making a stand against this and we can!

As consumers we are powerful, very powerful indeed!

Potager bed at Bealtaine Cottage

I was reminded on Twitter this morning of this when reading some of the tweets accumulated overnight and one of them was about buying local, another about imported foods from parts of Africa where hunger is now ravaging the people…think on…

Hazelnuts beginning to ripen here at Bealtaine…this is a food to forage as well as grow and forms a good source of protein for the vegan or vegetarian.

These store well and can be ground or minced and added to burgers!

And a few more words from Ovid…”Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor,” which translated means, simply…”I see the better way, and approve it; I follow the worse.”

We have choices.

We have the power.

Roses at Bealtaine Cottage

We can be the change we want to see…

Posted in Abundance, Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Uncategorized

From Reproductive to Extractive Growing…What Lies Ahead…

The permaculture students have all left, making their way home filled with enthusiasm and plans for what lies ahead…and that is what a permaculture course does for one…giving hope for a future where the land is viewed as to be looked after and nurtured…

The word ‘ecology,’ comes from the word ‘oikos,’ which means house or habitat.

Ecology is something we have to understand fully before we can begin to implement the changes that are necessary to preserve our environment and nurse it back to health.

Our resource base is what forms our ecology, or home…energy and materials.

All primitive communities relied on renewable energy.

Industrialism reversed the pattern and way of life followed for millenia by our ancestors.

Since industrialisation, we have used non-renewable energy and have done so to our own peril!

The way in which we view the earth has moved from feudalism to capitalism and has marked the end of the collective view of our resource base and the start of a much more egotisitical and self-centred view  of the world around us.

Not for the better, I hasten to add!

So, what happens when humanity has spent over a 150 years or more living off the capital instead of the interest?

The advent of industrial capitalism has changed the way in which we regard and relate to our environment.

We speak of the earth’s resources as ‘raw material,’ with little respect for the land which produces it.

And as we hurtle down this path of eventual destruction, Gaia struggles to maintain a balance…all is fast becoming unbalance and anarchic.

Biodiversity is lost to the devastation that is ‘economic growth!’

 The very essence of our survival is biodiversity.

Permaculture is the only model that provides abundantly and increases biodiversity as it does!