Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celts, Ireland

As Pleiades Rose…

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A fabulous sunset on Bealtaine 2015.

A Bealtaine filled with much love and sunshine, as visitors came and went all through the day. bealtainecottage.com open gardens 018

First arrivals walked up the lane at 10am, with the last leaving at 8pm.

At Bealtaine the star cluster known as Pleiades rises in the early morning sky, just before dawn. Bealtaine Cottage interior design

The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus.

Bealtaine, was always regarded as a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest.

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This morning, as the Pleiades rose, I walked the gardens, tea in one hand, steadying myself by holding onto trees, as I gazed up into the brightening sky.

Today was a Bealtaine of great renewal as the Summer moved into the Northern hemisphere.

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I want to say a massive “Thank You!” to those who made the journey in person and especially the good people who sent beautiful wishes and messages from all over the world.

There are times when I feel totally over-whelmed by the love and support you show for this little piece of Ireland.

Today was such a time.

Bless you and thank you from the bottom of my heart XXX Colette

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You can subscribe to the new website, Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, by clicking the link at the top of this page.

Posted in Abundance, Books, Celtic Mythology, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Sustainable Living

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.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

A Country Remedy

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As the days move inexorably towards the fullness of August, visitors come and go.

I hear the same words being spoken, from many disillusioned souls, who make their way to Bealtaine Cottage…in search of inspiration and ways to live the better life they dream of having.

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Seeking a way back that takes them forward is how I describe it best. Being able to examine first hand the joys of living simply in order to simply live.

Back to a time when home made cakes were the only cakes to be had and bread was made and baked twice a week.

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Staying at Bealtaine Cottage is becoming a remedy holiday…one to counteract the negative influences that drag us down and inspire ideas on how to apply simplicity into one’s own life.

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This is the what overnight visitors are telling me…of a need for sanctuary.

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 And to escape the harshness of everyday life, in a quite ragged world, where many feel disenchanted. www.bealtainecottage.com 003

Speaking with recent visitors, it is apparent to me that the world of acquirement, where all is of material value, is a very narrow one. 

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There appears to be a great need for peace and solitude, time to be still and listen to the sounds of Mother Earth.

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As I busy myself in my everyday chores, my visitors drink tea and eat home-made bread or cake and just chill out. 

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If you would like your own Chill-out Time at Bealtaine Cottage, visit the link  at the top of this page, (Booking Your Visit) and book a few days out from the crazy carousel of life out there!

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It’s also a great opportunity to find out all about Permaculture at no extra cost!

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Included in your stay is an endless supply of tea and cakes!

 

 

 

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Woodland

The Forest of Bealtaine Connected

permaculture orchard at bealtainecottage.com 014Following on from comments and emails you have written about planting The Forest of Bealtaine, I have realised the international importance of this healing project.

10 July 2014 030You, my dear friends, have been planting this forest all over the world and have gently reminded me of the connectedness of which I so often write.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (15)I am dedicating a section of this website to that dream made reality and here’s how…

cropped-img_0132.jpgIf you have been inspired through Bealtaine Cottage to plant a tree, then can I ask you to email a picture and a few words to me, including your name, country and website, so it can be added to The Forest of Bealtaine page?

Buddha at Bealtaine
Buddha at Bealtaine

This page will be located at the top of the website in the coming day/s.

DSCF1256I will continually update it and maybe even create a special website, if it grows like a forest!

What do you think?

Is this a good idea?

www.bealtainecottage.comI know so many of you have been inspired to plant trees through Bealtaine…this site will hopefully pay deep respect to you and your love for Mother Earth.

I await your response.

Blessings XXX Colette 

And here it is…The Inspired Forest of Bealtaine…

http://bealtainecottage.com/the-inspired-forest-of-bealtaine/
Posted in compost, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Nature, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees

Easiest Ever Compost Toilet

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The post you’ve all been waiting for…the Bealtaine Cottage Compost Toilet.

Easy to install and simple to use.

No running outside on cold mornings to tramp across wet grass to use the toilet!

Permaculture@ bealtainecottage.com 004This is located in the bathroom…not quite a bathroom though as I took out the bath and installed a shower instead! 

There’s still a little bit of tweaking to be done to finish the project off to a high standard, like decorating the wall where the cistern used to be and making a wooden surround with a small door, but as you can see, it is simple and attractive.

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This is the material used for covering one’s toilet.

It is grown here at Bealtaine Cottage, shredded in the shredder and smells nice and pine fragranced, as it is cut from evergreen trees in the gardens.

This material is also anti-bacterial.

Permaculture@ bealtainecottage.com 005There is absolutely no bad odour! 

So what happens next?

compost loo 001The bucket is taken to a corner of the garden, tucked in behind a Willow fedge, and then emptied into a large bin. The bins have holes in the bottom so all liquid is drained out slowly.

compost loo 003This system uses five such bins on a rotation basis. 

After about a year, the contents have turned into sweet-smelling compost that I use around trees in the lower gardens. 

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 002This compost is not used in the productive gardens as I have adequate vegetative compost on site in the vegetable and fruit gardens. 

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 004Besides…the trees thrive on the waste produced here at Bealtaine and in return, I have plenty of wood for my stove…cycle complete!

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 011…and the Arum Lilies seem to like it!

In the course of life here at Bealtaine Cottage, there is really no need for a septic tank…flush it away?

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 009There is no away!

If you liked reading this, why not Like, Comment or share with others on Twitter, FaceBook or email to a friend! Blessings XXX

If you enjoy all the stuff shared from Bealtaine Cottage on FaceBook, Youtube, Podcast, Twitter and this website…

 

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Celts, Cottage, Culture, Folklore, Gaia, Garden, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality

The Most Sacred Thing

   

DSCF1716Marija Gimbutas was a most extraordinary Archaeologist, perhaps the first archaeologist to look at how life was lived in the days before war!

DSCF1717Yes, it is amazing to think that such a world ever existed, but one needs to listen to some of the recordings of her work to understand the magnificence of this discovery.

DSCF1718What Marija has to say, in light of my ten years of experience here at Bealtaine, makes perfect sense to me!

I have added a link to some of her recordings and lectures at the end of this blog.

DSCF1719The work of Gimbutas may act as a template for the future…

DSCF1724There are revelations I have experienced here at Bealtaine Cottage, that I can only link to a strong female presence, describable only as an Earth Goddess or Earth Mother.

DSCF1725Last week visitors from Queensland in Australia walked the gardens…the energy of the land was palpable.

DSCF1729Many visitors remark immediately on the luxuriant growth here at Bealtaine, as well as the warmth and aura.

DSCF1731All agree that these are the Goddess Gardens, the most sacred thing.

DSCF1732Those who welcome the Divine Mother into their gardens will understand this extraordinary energy. 

DSCF1733This link will take you to the first part of the talk and is part introduced by Starhawk…enjoy!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Buddha, Cats, Earth, Organic Garden, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Uplifted

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The roses are in bloom on the veranda.

The view through the sitting room window is cheerful and lovely!

DSCF1684I sit with my back to the stove, warm, waiting for the kettle to boil on the hob, so as I can make a big pot of tea.

As I type the kettle begins to sing…

DSCF1688The day has been warm and dry with lots of sunshine.

I am still in my dressing gown, more relaxed and rested, thank goodness!

DSCF1689Sammy-Bear and Che-Mousey have kept me amused all day and Jack has been excellent company, staying close by my side, stoic and silent, as only the best dogs can be.

DSCF1690I have listened to music and read, made vegetable soup and slept.

DSCF1699Thank you all for your lovely, warm and uplifting messages…such a pleasure to read and such reassurance too…Bless you all XXX

DSCF1701The full moon is now waning and I feel I have learned something quite valuable…something to do with energy and being, though am not sure how to articulate it just yet.

DSCF1712I feel a shift of energy has taken place…for the better!

DSCF1714 The weekend lies ahead and this Bealtaine Moon in Scorpio is waning.

DSCF1715May you all have a lovely, uplifting and positive weekend

XXX Blessings XXX

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Climate, compost, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Seeds, Sustainable Living, Trees, Woodland

Little Pots of Magic…She Stirs…

www.bealtainecottage.comThe decision, once made, gathers energy and slowly, slowly begins to move…like a baby discovering it can crawl!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so it begins…the first small movements of the Forest of Bealtaine, barely perceptible, but felt and experienced.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe Forest of Bealtaine is emerging through seed…seeds collected, saved and sown into pots of Bealtaine compost, that will travel with them, to their final destination, here, somewhere, in Mother Ireland.
www.bealtainecottage.comWhere in Mother Ireland I do not know, but, somewhere on this land bereft of the comfort of cover and canopy, open to the growing harshness of rain, that once fell soft like dew…for the changing weather patterns and climate are taking their toll!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so She grows!
www.bealtainecottage.comToday the rain falls heavy and my visitors from Dublin have gone.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe heavy rain assures me we need forest…for we are the rocky outcrop of a failing empire
www.bealtainecottage.comThere is no mistake in that word…for it is She with a capital letter, She with a need to grow and nurture.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe land we have collectively failed…our governments collecting carbon taxes whilst fracking the bowels of Mother Earth! www.bealtainecottage.comThe failing Empire of the EU paying Irish farmers to rip out trees, so land can be mapped out for Google Earth Maps!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd all so politicians and bureaucrats can peer and measure and post out cheques…
www.bealtainecottage.comBut what use is money to a people living on a land being ravaged by Climate Chaos?
www.bealtainecottage.comBut here at Bealtaine, the Goddess, the Mother, our Earth is nurtured for in her womb is cradled Eden, waiting to be birthed.
And Bealtaine is one of many birthing places, for the Mother is us and we are her…there is no separation.
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd in these little pots of hope, She grows, and slowly, barely noticeable to visitors, the magic begins to manifest.
www.bealtainecottage.comShe stirs, awakens and is…
Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Ireland, Spirituality, Summer, Uncategorized

Bealtaine Eve in Ireland

 

The hen-house is all quiet on the Eve of Bealtaine.
The hen-house is all quiet on the Eve of Bealtaine.

 

The rain taps on the cottage roof as the Eve of Bealtaine draws in.

All the dry, warm weather is ended abruptly with heavy, rhythmic rain.

The lushness of Bealtaine Eve here at Bealtaine Cottage is merely a prelude to Summer and all to come...
The lushness of Bealtaine Eve here at Bealtaine Cottage is merely a prelude to Summer and all to come…

 

This Summer’s Eve will be freshened with Atlantic rain and the dry earth will release scents of green…yes, indeed, colour has a scent!

Honesty, Lunaria in full bloom this day
Honesty, Lunaria in full bloom this day

 

Bealtaine is the oldest festival in all of Europe and was historically celebrated on the Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath.

looking deep into the gardens of Bealtaine
looking deep into the gardens of Bealtaine

 

This ancient ceremonial hill was, and remains, a sacred place and one of the most significant places of ancient ritual in all of Ireland.

Apple blossom on Bealtaine Eve at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom on Bealtaine Eve at Bealtaine Cottage

 

This was the home of the Goddess Eriu…a place of High Kings and Tribes, a gathering place, where laws were passed and old allegiance re-newed!  

Bealtaine Eve by the Laurel Arch
Bealtaine Eve by the Laurel Arch

 

Bealtaine“Beacon-fires lit upon its summit could be seen over a quarter of Ireland, and in most directions the hills upon the horizons could relay the message of the beacon as far as the sea-coast.  The claim of Uisneach to be the centre of Ireland is thus quite justifiable, even though it may not be mathematically accurate.”[Macalister]

Bealtaine Eve in an Irish  Permaculture Garden.
Bealtaine Eve in an Irish Permaculture Garden.

 

In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer and the bright half of the year started with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.

Seedlings and new growth
Seedlings and new growth

 

May Summer be long and joyful for you, with a great harvest all the way through.

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, cows, Current Affairs, E.U., Ecology, Edible Gardens, Food, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Food Harvest 2020

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Small farms in Ireland are in a steady decline and have been for several decades now.

Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage
Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage

In fact farming is now referred to as an “industry”…a most illuminating use of language!

Buddha in the gardens
Buddha in the gardens

The pressure on small farmers to produce more and more, (mostly meat), is driving many off the land, as they find it difficult to compete with the bigger landowners and thus meat growers!

Sammy-Bear says "Hello!"
Sammy-Bear says “Hello!”

The countryside is fast losing vital habitat, as hedgerows are pulled out, trees felled and field size increased.

Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage

There is a government initiative behind this, of course…”Food Harvest 2020!”

Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage
Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is Simon Coveney TD.

Water that is drinkable!
Water that is drinkable!

Minister Coveney  held a meeting on the 17th of April.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine
Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

Invitations were issued to key stakeholders, including farm organisations, beef processors and relevant state agencies to a round table discussion on the future development of the Beef Sector, as it is referred to! 

Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds
Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds

Participants at this meeting were invited to discuss the government initiative, Food Harvest 2020.

Photinia and Kerria
Photinia and Kerria

This scheme was introduced by the Irish government to increase production of beef! (Ironic naming it “Food Harvest 2020!)

Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine
Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine

Now, read this statement from the Minister of Agriculture…using language of industry, markets and sport!

Commenting today on the initiative, Minister Coveney said

By some measures the beef sector is Ireland’s biggest indigenous industry, involving more than 100,000 farm families, and 8,000 jobs in processing, sales and marketing, with exports valued of more than €2 billion in 2013.  Food Harvest 2020 set an initial target of a 20% increase in the value of output for the beef sector. The target for beef exports has already been exceeded. 

The time is now right to sit down with key stakeholders in the sector, to consider the strategic approach  needed to support its development, using the best available market intelligence, and the newest technology and research to improve performance at all levels of the supply chain.  The beef sector makes a vital contribution to Irish agri food and to employment and the economy generally. I am convinced that with the right strategic approach and positive collaboration from all of the players, the beef sector in Ireland has a bright future.”

(https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/press/pressreleases/2014/april/title,74954,en.html)

Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage
Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage

All the while, loss of habitat is causing devastation!

Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood
Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood

Friends of the Earth, (FOE), have called on the Government to do a full Strategic Environmental Assessment of Food Harvest 2020. 

Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden
Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden

Other groups raising concerns with Food Harvest 2020 include:

The Irish Climate Justice Group

The Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.

Friends of the Irish Environment and Allies

Buddha at Bealtaine
Buddha at Bealtaine

The European Commission has announced it is launching an investigation of whether proper procedures were followed.

The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs...
The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs…

Each and every photograph I post here on this website is taken at Bealtaine Cottage.

Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds
Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds

These three acres of abundance exist because I took the cattle off the land.

The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage
The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

I would like to invite Minister Simon Coveney to Bealtaine Cottage to see what happens to land when it is allowed and nurtured  to re-generate!

The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!
The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!

We need, as a nation, to cherish our land and protect it for future generations.

Sammy by the pond
Sammy by the pond

We need to produce more Organic Food for our people rather than importing it…that means fruit and vegetables and grains!

Bealtaine Angel
Bealtaine Angel

Oh, by the way Minister…you may call it Food Harvest 2020, but, I and many like me, do not eat beef…not much food there then!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Year at Bealtaine Cottage…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Not in any particular order…pictures of the year that was…

Stanley stove at Bealtaine CottageWith the oven hot enough to bake a cake…my beloved Stanley Stove in the kitchen…

view morning 001Early morning mist sweeps up the valley…

Plum tree at bealtaine cottage permacultureOne of the Plum Trees laden with fruit…

 Bealtaine Cottage moon rising over the permaculture gardensThe moon rising over the gardens…

mon 27 sep 001Salix Contorta, or Twisted Willow, with Hag-Stones hanging from one of its branches.

Nasturtiums at bealtaine Cottage1Nasturtiums by the veranda.

November 2011 018Back of Bealtaine, near the main production gardens.

November Bealtaine Cottage permaculture pondThe lower pond in the Bog Garden.

December 2011 permaculture cottage 005My darling Missy…gone from this mortal coil, but her energy is felt…

Bealtaine CottageFiring up the Rocket Stove with a bit of an old fence post…wicked heat!

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageEarly Spring in the gardens near the tunnel.

washing on the line at Bealtaine CottageWashing in the wind!

Easiest ever compost at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensHome made compost.

Apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture orchardApple blossom…a great apple harvest every year without fail!

Permaculture Tunnel at bealtaine CottageThe tunnel in May…seedlings in pots and trays everywhere!

Permaculture Edible gardens of Bealtaine CottageProductive gardens, around the tunnel and herb beds, in May

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe Hen house…I will definitely get some more hens in 2014!

Hens at Bealtaine CottageI miss the girls…hens are very relaxing to watch.

Under the kitchen windowBluebells under the kitchen window…I shall post some more tomorrow

Happy New Year to you all XXX and Blessings from Bealtaine.

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift, Vegan, Winter

Lifting the Spirits

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Midwinter is over.

For many the celebration of Christmas has begun.

Last minute frenetic shopping today and tomorrow…

The days here at Bealtaine are beginning to lengthen.

Not tangible as yet, but optimism for more daylight has taken hold and sometimes that is enough…simply knowing that the darkness has passed.

The cottage remains in a post-midwinter party state, with chairs pushed back and floor-space revealed.

It may be a day or two before this is sorted, for I want to escape outdoors, despite the stormy weather!

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The lush greenery on the mantelpiece will stay in place for as long as it retains life.

Replacing the candles daily is a small task and keeps the soft light there to lift the spirits.

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A small sadness pervades the air, now that family and friends have gone.

We all enjoyed the coming together of our midwinter feast, with music and bonfire and soft candlelight…a magical time that lifted the spirit.

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Rich food and drink will now give way to simple soups and tea…a sort of cleansing of the palette and system, together with late winter walks, to appease the feasting of recent days.

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Venturing out this morning, into the wind-driven rain, fresh in from the Atlantic, amid the sounds of birds fighting over food…time to scatter the scraps from the feast around the gravel by the cottage for my hungry and cold feathered friends.

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Parsley, Kale and Chard all continue to grow abundantly in the Potager beds…no sign of prolonged frost to diminish these green gifts.

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The Chard is particularly beneficial to the body at this time of year, as it contains generous amounts of both Vitamin C and Iron…the Vitamin C is necessary for the body to absorb the Iron.

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I use the Kale in the juicer each day…a great supplement to my diet, as it charges my energy!

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Do you recall the ground I mulched with cardboard and shreddings?

Well, here it is this morning and as you can see it has now transformed itself into a bed ready to be planted out in the Spring…how easy was that?

There are several hundred blogs on this website about mulching and preparing ground for planting using the easiest methods that I have tried and tested.

To access them simply type key words into the Search Bar at the top of this page!

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Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Poetry, Samhain, Spirituality, Thoughts

A Time of Early Shadows

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Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.

Scents of woodsmoke and compost fill the air.

Samhain is close.

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The Celts divided the year into two parts…the light and the dark.

Samhain is the crossover point into the dark.

Seamus Heaney wrote a wonderful collection of poetry entitled, “Into The Dark.”

One of my favourite reads at this time of the year.

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Poetry is like that…it can be turned over again and again, extracted from the past into the present and enjoyed afresh.

The turning of the year towards the light is heralded in the Feast of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054Bealtaine also means, “May,” in Irish and is why I named this cottage Bealtaine Cottage…for it was in May I first spied it!

Bealtaine celebrates the beginning of summer as we turn towards the light and short shadows.

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In Ireland the Tribes gathered for Samhain, at the ritual centres across the land to celebrate this most important festival of the year.

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It was a time to reconnect with the past, a time of early shadows and light veils of separation.

A time of magic.

Posted in Books, Culture, Politics, Uncategorized

A Most Formidable Woman…

The stretch in the days is quite tangible…it remained light until after 5:30 today. Yesterday I wrote about the frogs in the lower pond and the frog-spawn therein…so, yes, Spring is creeping in!

I lit the stove here in the sitting room earlier as I intend to curl up with a glass of home-made vino and a book…

I am reading all about the reign of Elizabeth 1st…a formidable woman who lived in dangerous times in a world dominated by man! This biography is the best to date that I have read…it’s alive!

Just two oranges remain from the Christmas fruit bowl and these will be finished off tonight. Oranges are a treat as I get most of my daily Vitamin C from the ample supply of frozen blackcurrants I keep in the freezer from the summer harvest here at Bealtaine.

Jack is turning out to be a good dog and great company.

As I type this he sits at my feet.

Although I never intended to adopt a Collie from the Rescue centre, Jack has been a good addition to life here at the cottage!

From the 1890s on, American corporate business, in league with key institutions, began the transformation of American society into a society preoccupied with consumption, with comfort and bodily well-being, with luxury, spending, and acquisition, with more goods this year than last, more next year than this. American consumer capitalism produced a culture almost violently hostile to the past and tradition, a future-oriented culture of desire that confused the good life with goods. It was a culture that first appeared as an alternative culture—or as one moving largely against the grain of earlier traditions of republicanism and Christian virtue—and then unfolded to become the reigning culture of the United States.

-William Leach, Land of Desire, 1993 

Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature. He has been transformed into a commodity, experiences his life forces as an investment which must bring him the maximum profit obtainable under existing market conditions.

– Erich Fromm (1900–1980), The Art of Loving, 1957

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Life, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wildlife

A Life in the Country ~ Today in the Garden…Ponds and Streams

With all the floods of recent days, the ponds are high and the streams gushing, but the morning is sunny and bright and there’s no better time for a walk through Bealtaine Gardens…

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Fairies, Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

A Life in the Country ~ The Video Tour of Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding…

Continuing the tour of Bealtaine, as we leave the Fairy Dell woodland and come out into the small garden at the front of the Bealtaine.

Looking up towards Kilronan Mountain…

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Childhood, Country Living, Fairies, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Poetry, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ The Land of Heart’s Desire

Faeries,
come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the
wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And Faeries
like a flame.

~William Butler Yeats, “The Land of Heart’s Desire,” 1894

Living in Ireland, at Bealtaine Cottage, it is easy to believe in Fairies.

Fairies are invisible and inaudible like angels.  But their magic sparkles in
nature.  ~Lynn Holland

The elemental spirits of Nature are all around…

As a child I was enraptured by the possibility of Fairies and often spent time constructing little altars to Nature wherever I went…arranging stones, plants and sacred things like I have done in the picture above and all over the smallholding that is Bealtaine…

Spread your wings and let the fairy in you fly!  ~

 ~Author Unknown

Princess Edane… heard a voice singing
on a May Eve like this, and followed half awake and half asleep, until she came
into the Land of Faery, where nobody gets old and godly and grave, where nobody
gets old and crafty and wise, where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.

~William Butler Yeats, “The Land of Heart’s Desire,” 1894

And the land at Bealtaine has been softly planted to embrace the possibility of Fairies…always keeping the inner child in mind and mindful of the great force that is Nature!

When the winds of March are wakening the crocuses and crickets,
Did you ever find a fairy near some budding little thickets,…
And when she sees you
creeping up to get a closer peek
She tumbles through the daffodils, a playing
hide and seek.

~Marjorie Barrows

We call them faerie.  We don’t believe in them.  Our loss.

~Charles de Lint

 The Celts…Enya…enchanting http://youtu.be/rGwUpsyDJTk

Fairies…  http://youtu.be/Vu_GyfW_AhI

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Food, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Recipes, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Permaculture Cottage ~ Funky Scarf and Chunky Cake!

Friday afternoon at Bealtaine and despite the rain work between showers has contiued throughout the day. I hung this plaque on the kitchen door earlier, a present from a friend. It’s simple, colourful and evokes a sense of what lies beyond the door…the pantry!

Talking of which…there’s several demijohns of wine waiting to be bottled and laid down in here!

Knitted a scarf recently and was thinking about the edging…and after considerable searching around in the craft boxes stashed under beds and other forgetful places, I found these wooden beads, which I’ve threaded onto the edges of the scarf with wool and a big darning needle!

A big and bold arrangement in the vase on the mantlepiece in the sitting room, using some quickly cut pieces from the upper garden…just two varieties here! Simple is best and looks fab!

Simple and easy chunky cake…

  • 12 ozs SR Flour
  • 6 ozs  Margarine
  • 4 ozs caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • buttermilk
  • home made Rhubarb Jam
  • Organic oats
  1. Weigh all the ingredients.
  2. Put all ingredients into the mixer.
  3. Whizz.
  4. Add eggs
  5. Whizz
  6. Add a little buttermilk
  7. Whizz.
  8. Line a cake tray, add half of the mix.
  9. Dollop jam on top and add remaining mix.
  10. Sprinkle with oats and demerara sugar.

Bake at 190 c for about 20 minutes or so.

And for a wet Friday evening…what can be nicer than a hot vegetable stew, with big chunks of fresh bread?

Have a good weekend!

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Birds, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Walk on the Wild Side

Ivy loops and twirls around the trees in the Fairy Dell woodland. Ivy that feeds the birds in the depths of midwinter. Ivy that shelters the pheasant in the heat of midsummer. Strong, natural and wild…

Ivy and Lichens, so perfect in the gardens at Bealtaine that it can only be the hand of Nature…no gardener can create this perfection…

Another sacred part of the land at this permaculture smallholding…a small field of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the natural habitat of the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Nature working her pure magic and being encouraged at every turn!

Now is the time to plant Willow. This is something which is easy to do and will serve the eco-system around you well. So many insects, birds and bees depend on this plant. Simply cut a wand of Willow and push it into the ground as far as you can…about 1-2feet will do! Manure it well and it will grow fast and strong! Some people surround it with plastic to stop weeds and grass, but, personally I do not approve of this as the earth under plastic is not beneficial to wildlife and anyway, the Willow will soon shade out any unwanted weeds!

Cotoneaster…planted, but soon takes on the mantle of wildness and becomes a feeding station for birds and insects alike!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Photographs from Today…

The front of the cottage here at Bealtaine, in the early morning light, today.

There’s a lot of cutting back to be done over the next few days and lots of compost to be made from it!

The driveway from the cottage down to the gate and road…misty in the early morning.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Culture, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Personal, photography, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Ramble aound the Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

Working in the gardens today. The evening has arrived. It’s hot and still and sweat appears effortlessly. To chill out I decided to just ramble around the gardens here at Bealtaine, mug of coffee in one hand, camera in the other.

These are some of the poppies grown from seed this year…all are different shades of pink and red and white and, I hope, perennial.

The girls are happy! I deposited heaps of fresh barley straw all around their extensive runs today. They enjoy scratching around…

I have often thought that what we need more than any religion in the world today is a spiritual order that will teach a sense of belonging to Earth and communion with Nature. I say this because working on this land over the past seven years has brought a sense of spirituality into my life that was never before experienced. This spirituality is creation centred and allows me to see the Divine in so much of Nature that it sometimes takes my breath away.

Even though all our institutions and governments are in debt, it isn’t money that we lack in our lives today…it is that spiritual awakening we most need and it is that which will change our lives and our communities.

Over recent decades we have been exposed to great materialism, yet drug and alcohol abuse increases daily. Here in Ireland, a study out just today, has put Irish motorists at the very top of European drivers surveyed for drug and alcohol abuse. Even here, in this green island paradise, there is a deep disconnect!

Growth on all of the trees planted here has been amazing this year. As I walked through the land I stopped often to look at trees that I had simply forgotten I had planted…they now towered above my head and appeared to look down at me. I almost felt like an intruder!

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Baking, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Daily News from Ireland…Bumper Permaculture Harvest!

The first day of Autumn in the Celtic calendar and the harvest continues. Blackcurrants are being picked at Bealtaine, along with masses of herbs, including Oregano, Chives, Dill and Fennel…though the Fennel in the tunnel is seeding and will be dried and stored for baking purposes later on.

The Plum trees are bearing up well with the wight of the fruit and this will be used for jam and wine. I have planted four Plum trees so far and am also growing some trees from seed.

Yes…it’s hard to believe, but there have been bumper harvest every year at Bealtaine and this is set to continue as the land moves from monoculture in year one to wonderful biodiversity in year seven, with shelter developing and compost heaps bursting…

This is the Fennel in the tunnel this morning, with a good crop of seeds developing.

Apple too are plumping out well…juice, chutneys, pies and crumbles here!

Remember the immense power as a consumer you have…and ultimately, your ability, with others, to control the market…buying Fairtrade and supporting local producers is one way to control the market for the good, rather than giving your precious money and support to the global corporations who wreak havoc on our world…

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Folklore, Ireland, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees

Permaculture Cottage ~ Many Magical Trees

The Life Force of Trees

It was a common belief, long ago, that many conditions could be cured by bringing the patient into contact with the powerful life force or MANA represented by trees…

Nearly 800 trees have been planted here at Bealtaine and there is something so awesome about trees that makes me want to get more land and keep on planting. 

Today has seen the transplanting of another 20 or so Birch trees, seedlings rescued from the road verge before the tractors mow the grass.

More Buddleias for FREE!

Managed to pull up 3 tiny Buddleias from the gravel around the cottage…gravel makes an ideal seeding ground for many plants and trees.

These too have been potted on and will make fine specimens for planting out next year.

Birch Trees

This is a little Birch sapling planted only a few weeks ago and already grown over a foot in height and spread.

Grass cuttings have been spread around the base to deter weeds and provide food for the fast growing tree.

Apple Trees and Verbascum

Apple trees under-planted with Blackcurrants and perennial flowers…here is the Verbascum in bloom with Geranium  and Calendula amongst others.

Many Magical Trees…

Willow, Birch, Copper Beech, Twisted Willow, Oak and Pine, all planted in very close proximity to one another…this is the permaculture way and very quickly excludes weeds and provides an excellent source of coppiced wood for the stove.

Ash trees were traditionally used in Folk Medicine against poison and evil. Lightning runs to the Ash…’Avoid the Ash, it courts the flash!’

Long ago, in many parts of the Highlands of Scotland, on the birth of a child, the midwife would take a green stick from the Ash tree and hold it in the fire. As the heat worked on one end of the stick, the sap would ooze from the other. This was administered to the newborn baby as the first liquid to pass its lips!

I write about, film and photograph Mother Earth, for Mother Earth, opening little portals of healing energy all over the world.

Blessings and thanks for your support.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Books, Climate, Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Summer Feast on a Wet Evening

Lots of Parsley and loads of eggs…yes, it’s summer and the food is in plentiful supply here on this Permaculture smallholding.

An easy way of preserving food for the leaner times is to use it to cook and freeze, or bottle or…anyway, you know what I mean…just don’t let it go to waste!

Here is one of my favourite fast foods, devised by Rose Elliot, my favourite Vegetarian Cookery writer…Parsley Burgers.

I made these on the Cook and Dine Evening I hosted on Monday evening at Cleen Hall, Knockvicar, and, they were very well received!
Anyway, here’s the recipe…
********************************
2 eggs / 6 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs / 1 small onion, chopped / 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley / salt and fresh ground black pepper / oil for shallow frying.

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Add the breadcrumbs, onion and parsley to the beaten egg and season to taste.

Pour oil into pan to cover the base thinly and heat.

Spoon the mixture into the pan and fry for about 3 minutes on either side, until crisp.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve with salad or baked beans!

As they freeze really well and there is a glut of all the ingredients here at Bealtaine, I have made dozens of them to freeze and save as a fast food…

AN UPDATE ON THE GRAPEVINE…I planted outdoors…it’s doing really well, so far!

It had over-wintered at Bealtaine and endured being frozen in its pot for weeks on end, survived well and is now set to be a successful outdoor grape…

A Forecast for the Winter Ahead…

Lots of logs continue to be stockpiled for what is going to be a very cold winter indeed.

Seriously, now is the time to prepare!

If you live in the British Isles, try to get hold of a wood burning stove now and start your woodpile.

Ash can be burned without seasoning!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Hare and the Ducks

Managed to snap a pic of the baby Hare who has come to live at Bealtaine, just as he emerged from the shelter of the underneath of the shed this morning.

He wasn’t at all fazed as I stood near the back door snapping away with my camera.

There are 3 ducks staying here at Bealtaine for a short break.

The hens are very intolerant of them and boss them around continually.

If the weather dries up any time soon I will get all the wood on the sheds painted.

Harvesting continues in and around the Blackcurrant bushes.

For the moment I am freezing them.

This is a good way of collecting and saving daily.

The ducks are sticking together…but will be happy to return home on Thursday…I’m sure!

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Eco-Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, News, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

50,000 Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding , West Ireland.

Thanks to all the visitors to Bealtaine Cottage! Through this blog I’ve had the opportunity to meet some great friends and welcome some of those as visitors to Bealtaine in the flesh so to speak! I hope that in the coming weeks and months to welcome many more!

Each year the gardens grow a little more and after seven years there is a sense of maturity at Bealtaine, which is quite noticable. Some trees now reach thirty feet and more and shrubs have more than filled the spaces they were planned for.

All the Mother Plants remain in situ and many of their children have spread out into new areas of the land. There are now fifth and sixth generation plants dotted around the smallholding.

Even the verge on the public road is planted with Bealtaine plants that are all the more hardy for being raised organically here on site. These are planted straight into grass using the no-dig method where only a slit is opened in the ground to receive the rootball, then closed and mulched with grass clippings to keep the plant free from pressure of grass and weeds.

Some of the blackcurrants harvested here yesterday…

Sunset through the window of the porch. Up-cycled window, up-cycled stained glass, continuously re-cycled sun.

Posted in Abundance, Inspiration, Ireland, Lough Allen Basin, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Summer, Sustainable Living

Creating a Permaculture Garden of Eden…It’s Easy!

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Seven years ago this space was a wet, rushy field that hosted a rather angry looking cow…that was on the first day I spied Bealtaine, as it was to become known.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here was the upper field where the orchards are now!

There is a pic somewhere on all these posts of that very angry cow, poor thing!

www.bealtainecottage.com

Lots of mulching, planting and mulching later, here is the same field…mad, isn’t it?

I know I’m always singing the praises of permaculture, but there is no other method I could have followed in order to make this transformation on my own.

The Ladys Mantle has just done its ‘spill thing,’ as you can see…I love this, as it grows beside one of the water bins.

The Rose Arch between the orchards.

Grapes and Poppies in the tunnel.

www.bealtainecottage.com

Permaculture works on so many different levels and in all situations, even here on the gravel driveway.

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The reason why Permaculture works so well lies in it’s simplicity and economy…encouraging us to use what is already around us.

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It’s about purposeful living born out of observation of and compassion toward Mother Earth.

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Working in harmony with Mother Earth, your investment grows year on year.

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There’s not a bank on Earth can guarantee that!

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

There are over 850 blogs from bealtainecottage.com here in the archives for you to enjoy!

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