Posted in Abundance, agriculture, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Birds, compost, Ecology, Eden, Edible Gardens, food forest, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Permaculture Food Forest in Ireland

The leaves are just beginning to bud and appear.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bees are busy at work here in the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…without them this would be a place of hunger.

Poster after permacultureBut, it’s not…instead it boasts food for all and more to come.

This is what a food forest looks like as the sap rises and life returns.

poster permaculture viewThese are the gardens of the goddess, Mother Earth in all her splendour and abundance!

And here is today’s video…

All the videos I upload are free from advertising, so you can enjoy watching…

Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

 

Posted in Earth, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Woodland

Earth Consciousness…A Portal to the Divine

10 July 2014 001

Harvesting is under way.

This year more than ever sees an immense increase in the offerings from Mother Earth.

10 July 2014 005Blackcurrants are taking up much of my time over recent weeks.

Bag after bag is sealed and placed in the freezer to await further instructions! 

Several hundred pounds of Blackcurrants from what was only two original bushes, but now number several dozen…easy to grow and multiply from cuttings stuck straight into the earth!

10 July 2014 010Trees have put out a huge amount of wood which will be coppiced later in the year.

September Permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 002

This beautiful, forgiving form of energy that aids the environment as it grows ready for use! 

Masses of flowers with the resulting seed-heads…growing abundance that is now unstoppable.

10 July 2014 053Seeds that wing their way all over the planet to spread abundance in places I shall probably never gaze upon…the magic of life is impenetrable!

10 July 2014 012And through all this ceaseless activity, Sammy-Bear sunbathes and yawns the day away…

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And deep within the Fairy Wood, magical afternoons turn into conspiratorial evenings. 

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The coolness of the Fairy Dell lends itself to long hot summer days, where the sanctuary of shade is a welcome relief from the heat of the day.

10 July 2014 025I am loathe to leave this magical place…

I think it my destiny to stay here and write the stories coming from the land.

10 July 2014 026I had promised my Mother that I would dedicate my first book to her and I shall!

My story of Bealtaine Cottage will be published!

Mothers are immortal.

10 July 2014 028This consciousness we share with all life is there all the time, if we but listen!

I have come to believe in the manifestation of the Divine in all things.

10 July 2014 029Over the past ten years the Divine has manifested here at Bealtaine Cottage, in a most visual and real way.

For the first time I no longer have to imagine the Divine…I experience the mystery all around me in tangible, human and ethereal ways.

10 July 2014 030During the first few years here, growing Bealtaine from a land persecuted and dying from monoculture, I talked about permaculture and the wonder of it all…the regenerative qualities of this practical approach to caring for Mother Earth.

10 July 2014 033However, permaculture has led me further…

10 July 2014 041…into the spirit of Mother Earth herself and beyond that into an understanding of the Divine Consciousness.

10 July 2014 040Those who follow Bealtaine Cottage have witnessed the transformation and the transformative power of compassion toward Mother Earth.

10 July 2014 043We all feel this consciousness.

However it is difficult to articulate, as it is not the third dimensional consciousness we are accustomed
to.

10 July 2014 044It is rather on an emotional and feeling level that we know and love our planet.

10 July 2014 061Those who feel this connection are more at peace with themselves and in harmony with their spirit.

10 July 2014 049It is this harmony I feel at Bealtaine Cottage, which is so impossible to leave.

10 July 2014 054I sense a beginning, not an end.

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

There is a full list of posts published so far on the right of the Home Page

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Summer Cottage

bealtainecottage.com

 

The heat of the day subsides into late evening.

A gloriously hot and sultry summer day.

bealtainecottage.com (2)The birds appear to have wakened in the cool of evening, filling the air with song and calls, as though they’d spent the day in the shade of the nest, keeping still and cool.

bealtainecottage.com (3)The grass paths are mowed in the upper gardens and plants cut back to allow safe passage.

This is Ireland at her best, with long cool evenings complete with blue sky until nearly the witching hour. bealtainecottage.com (4)Just as the fragrant roses have gone over on the veranda, archways of roses burst into being.

Roses and Virginia Creeper support one another in a frenzy of growth.

bealtainecottage.com (5)Less than a week until the Midsummer Solstice and the Earth knows.


bealtainecottage.com (7)She sings a song of endless summer days and green abundance.

Seeds are forming.

bealtainecottage.com (8)Fruit develops and ripens.

bealtainecottage.com (9)Blackcurrants darken and plump out.

bealtainecottage.comGeraniums spill out from under Blackcurrant bushes.

bealtainecottage.com (10)Lady’s Mantle flowers and falls over, drunk with summer!

bealtainecottage.com (11)And the Bealtaine Angel is surrounded by rose petals at Summer Cottage.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Gardens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Poetry

Goddess Rising

www.bealtainecottage.comSummer swells; the Earth heaves a mantle of green over all the land.

www.bealtainecottage.comSwallows dip and turn above tall grass.

www.bealtainecottage.com (2)I see the Goddess rising…

www.bealtainecottage.com (3)Light dances at midnight across the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com (4)Long swathes of ivy swing from tall branches of goat willow.

www.bealtainecottage.com (5)The Fairy Wood is almost impassable.

www.bealtainecottage.com (6)I see the Goddess rising…

www.bealtainecottage.com (7)Blackcurrants plump to ripening, as apples emerge.

www.bealtainecottage.com (8)The summer is here in all her glory; a feast for the eyes.

www.bealtainecottage.com (9)The Earth, Mother Earth, the Goddess… rises.

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Cats, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Tea, Wine

Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

JackThe permaculture harvest continues, along with the increasing numbers of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage.

Garlic is harvested, dried and stored…just in time for re-planting the crop for next year, in just a few more weeks.

As the world teeters once more on the brink of chaos, in the forms of war and nuclear contamination from Fukushima, getting the harvest home and planning for next Spring is a way of keeping one’s sanity!

It’s also a way of nurturing optimism and hope for the future!

kilronan mountainTomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel.

I let them do their own thing and they have produced wildly!

All the tomatoes are late, but then the summer was dithering in and out of Spring this year!

Even the Perlagoniums in the photo above are in late flower after several months of sleepy time!

porchAs the summer fades into Autumn, the light changes inside and around the cottage in the most delightful ways.

Shadows prevail in unfamiliar places, making all look quite different.

workshopOnions, Blackcurrants, Peas and Broad beans are all stored for the year.

I am continuing to use the remainder of last year’s Blackcurrants!

More wine I think!

I was invited to give a talk to the Green Party recently and am invited to give another talk at an Arts festival in Connemara…along with a wine making demonstration, so will be finding use for excess Blackcurrant crops!

evening sun reflectionsShadow play on the door of the Lodge…isn’t this beautiful?

This is a good place to dry herbs when the stove is lit, as it gets very hot very fast!

wine, kitchenI noticed that there is a bumper crop of Blackberries on the hedgerows this Autumn.

I looked up some old recipes for using Blackberries, so will be collecting them and saving them in the freezer, ready to use in a plethora of delicious recipes!

Food for free and lots of it!

The new compost heap is being stacked up daily, so am already thinking about next planting season!

cup of tea!There is a slight chill in the air, heralding Autumn as it transits into cooler times.

It’s a good idea to wear cotton scarves around shoulders and neck and take them off indoors!

Along with all the food harvested, there is an abundance of seeds to bring in and herbs to dry and store.

This is also the time to begin collecting tree seeds to sow in pots…something I do every year!

missyAs I work, show visitors around, harvest and continue building my workshop, Missy snoozes, oblivious to it all!

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Celts, Crafts, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Cottage Garden Harvest

Cottage garden harvestRed onions and seeds dry in the heat of the afternoon sun at Bealtaine Cottage. cottage garden harvestThe Permaculture harvest is on it’s way.

cottage garden harvestI am saving lots of seed from the biggest, healthiest and tastiest plants!

cottage garden harvestThe rain came and has left a little water…not much, but enough to fill the tank in the loft!

Cottage Garden HarvestHerbs and seeds are coming into their own!

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottagePotatoes are appearing where none were planted…these have grown from seed dropped last year and have not been earthed up!

cottage garden harvestBlackcurrants are taking over the gardens!

Apple harvest

Apples are plumping out…

Runner beansRunner beans are seeking Heaven…

Raspberry harvestRaspberries are being eaten straight from the garden!

broad beansBroad Beans are looking monstrous!

potager beds at Bealtaine CottageAnd the Potager beds have received their second planting…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 006My brother Hugh O’Neill has made some very special Bog Oak pendants for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 003Hugh has carved some Rune and Ogham symbols on some of these special little pieces of Bog Oak.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 004The wood is carved and polished by Hugh into these amazing pendants, each accompanied by glass or wooden beads…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 005 A little piece of Ancient Ireland to wear around your neck!

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 002You can find these on the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/157732408/ancient-irish-bog-oak-pendants

 

Posted in Bees, biodiversity, compost, Edible Gardens, Frugal Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Seed-Saving, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Tea, Wild Flowers

Black Bees, Compost and Rocket Stoves

Blue table on veranda at bealtaine cottageNasturtiums, Lobelia, Petunia, Sweet William, Perlagonium, Valerian and Night Scented Stock are jostling for space near the back door.

Roses lead the way to the new orchardAbundance reigns supreme in the gardens, as seen here in these lovely old-fashioned roses that lead the way up to the new orchard.

Bee with a black bumBees are in a frenzy over the Cotoneaster.

This is a strange bee with a black bottom half.

Black beeThe black bit appears shiny.

strange beeDo you have any idea what kind of bee this is?

cotoneaster in full bloom at Bealtaine CottageAll this buzzing guarantees lots of food for the birds over winter!

Bee on cotoneaster at Bealtaine CottageAnother lovely bee working hard here at Bealtaine Cottage this evening.

Cotoneaster and Dog daisiesThe evening is very still and warm…perfect for all the insects that work in the gardens.

Raised Potager Beds WorkshopLots of stone and wood piled up and ready for the workshop tomorrow.

These beds are very abundant and productive, considering the shallow depth and intensive planting…the weather is promised good for tomorrow!

Lysimachia Punctata in full bloom todayLysimachia Punctata is in full bloom.

This cable table has sat in the garden for eight years…great garden furniture for free!

Redcurrants today at Bealtaine cottageThe Redcurrants are almost ready to harvest.

Rose arch today at Bealtaine CottageThis is the new rose arch…first year and doing well.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe Blackcurrants are ripening and will be ready for harvesting very soon.

Tunnel at Bealtaine Cottage todaySunflowers and lots of seeds getting ready for harvesting in the tunnel in these Potager raised beds.

compost heaps todayAs I harvest the compost started last summer, a new compost heap is started.

Friday evening at bealtaineFriday evening at Bealtaine…the rocket stove is boiling the kettle for another pot of tea…could it get any better?

rocket stoveI wonder what the equivalent saving on electricity this little contraption affords?

Would this be equal to a few solar panels?

free tea Just a small matter of washing the cups…have a great weekend everyone!

Posted in Abundance, Bees, biodiversity, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Spirituality, Summer, Trees, Wild Flowers

Defeating Monsanto…with the help of the Bees!

Part of the orchards and edible gardens
Part of the orchards and edible gardens

May 2013…This is an update on all that’s growing in the permaculture gardens today.

The season has been slow to get going, as the sunshine has been minimal, with rain and cold prevailing.

Apple blossom and blackcurrants at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom and blackcurrants at Bealtaine Cottage

Despite the appalling weather here in the west of Ireland, Apple trees are laden with blossom and bees are buzzing around the gardens busily pollinating all the blossom.

Plenty of bees in the permaculture gardens ensure masses of fruit and vegetables
Plenty of bees in the permaculture gardens ensure masses of fruit and vegetables

The bees have been hard at work on the Blackcurrants, thus ensuring a good harvest to come.

Rhubarb in the permaculture gardens...pure abundance!
Rhubarb in the permaculture gardens…pure abundance!

Rhubarb is cropping well, due to the top-dressing of manure from the hen house it received last Autumn.

This was mixed well with compost and straw and was well rotted down.

Broccoli in flower in the tunnel...seed to come and share!
Broccoli in flower in the tunnel…seed to come and share!

Purple Broccoli is now flowering in the tunnel, so seeds will be available from Bealtaine Cottage later on in the season.

lots of seed to be harvested from the Lunaria later in the summer
lots of seed to be harvested from the Lunaria later in the summer

Valerian is coming into flower and the Lunaria is seeding well.

beautiful Columbine from seed scattered outside the door of Bealtaine Cottage
beautiful Columbine from seed scattered outside the door of Bealtaine Cottage

Aquilegia is about to make a show…lots of this beautiful flower this year, as I have been busily throwing seed all over the gravel.

More photographs of the gardens from today…

Kale in flower, ready for seed setting...always choose the strongest plant to save seed from...
Kale in flower, ready for seed setting…always choose the strongest plant to save seed from…
Thank you Eric from Oregon for sending me these Cedar seeds...and here they are, growing!
Thank you Eric from Oregon for sending me these Cedar seeds…and here they are, growing!
Roses,Willow and Jostaberry combine to make an edible archway in the edible gardens
Roses,Willow and Jostaberry combine to make an edible archway in the edible gardens
Happy Sunday Everyone!
Happy Sunday Everyone!

Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…  http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!

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

There are over 1,000 blogs in the archives on this site.

As an Ark for Nature, birds, bees, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no funding or support from the EU, Irish Government or any Environment agencies.

Your donation helps remedy that…

Posted in Bees, Cats, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Trees, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

Planting for the Bees in a Permaculture Garden

London pride on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage

London Pride ready to open flower on the steps at Bealtaine Cottage.

Years of pushing and shoving by these delicate looking little plants have finally eradicated the creeping buttercup in the heavy clay soil.

Bees at Bealtaine Cottage

It’s at this time of year that bees are working hard and sometimes gardens are bereft of food for the bees.

Not here!

permaculture at bealtainecottage.org 011

I have a policy that is enshrined in Bealtaine cottage gardens…plant for the bees, the birds and then myself, always in that order!

Cordyline at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandOne of the plants that was so severely damaged by frost several years ago has made a comeback!

This is the tropical Cordyline, growing here thanks to the Gulf Stream.

That means an early start to the growing year and bees follow the same pattern, sometimes emerging as early as late February!

bealtainecottage.com 017

So food at the ready is vital for them!

Ribes, or flowering currant, is a wonderful source of nectar for the hungry bees!

Missy and the wind spiral

The smallest bit of sunshine and the garden starts to look like paradise!

Missy passes a lush looking Comfrey.

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

The flowers of the Comfrey plant are truly Bee-Loved, as are the flowers of the humble and easy to grow Nasturtium!

The leaves of the Comfrey will be cut and scattered around the apple trees, creating a source of liquid feed as the rain falls…as it does frequently here in the West of Ireland!

Apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture orchard

These trees never disappoint, year after year, with heavy blossom and heavy crops of perfect apples that have never been sprayed…never!

The bees are busy into the night around the orchards.

So plant fruit trees for the bees too!

Apple tree underplanted with Blackcurrants in permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageThere are over 40 fruit trees planted throughout the permaculture gardens.

And here you can see the apple under-planted with blackcurrants…much Bee-Loved!

Honesty underplanted in the orchards of Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensVarious flowers are planted beneath these.

Here you can see Honesty in flower under the Blackcurrants…a delight for the bees and sweet-smelling too!

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 005
I plant for bees and this is why there are consistently abundant crops here at Bealtaine Cottage.

In the case of the Cotoneaster above, food for the bees and the birds!

bealtainecottage.com 008

The trick is to ensure there is succession planting for the bees.

Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Hungry bees won’t hang around hungry gardens!

Do have a lovely weekend!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Country Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wine

The Rain-Sodden Lushness of Midsummer in Ireland

Harvests are looking good despite the lack of sunshine.

Today, Sunday, is overcast and still.

If the weather is fine tomorrow I shall begin to harvest the Blackcurrants.

It looks to be a mighty harvest…certainly in excess of last year, when over 100lbs were picked…and the birds had their feast along the way!

Redcurrants are cropping well also and most of these will go in the freezer, as I enjoy fruit yoghurts throughout the winter.

The Redcurrants give the impression of jewels hanging on bushes.

I often wonder why more of these delightful and easy to grow fruit bushes are not planted in borders in the garden.

The leaves are a lovely vivid green and look really attractive!

I bought this lovely lamp in a Charity shop in Enniskillen, on my way to Omagh, my home town.

 I was up visiting my Mum on her 82nd birthday last Friday!

She is in great form and looking fantastic!

I must post a pic of her soon!

Happy Birthday Mum! (I’m saying this because she has recently started looking on the net and perusing the Bealtaine Cottage blogs!)

I notice that the flowers are all in bloom on the St John’s Wort bush…they are all open despite the lack of sun!

The Bealtaine Angel silently surveys the Valerian…

I have been gathering big bouquets of Yellow Loosestrife to fill vases in the cottage.

Everywhere the lushness of midsummer continues to hold sway…

Posted in Abundance, Cottage, Eco-Living, Food, Herbs, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized, Wine

Permaculture Fruit and Salad Update

The same thing has happened this year as did last…

I am struggling with the fruit produced last summer and am desperately using it for wine-making!

Oh well, I hear you say, that’s alright then…

However, there is a real panic setting in as the blackcurrants are fast maturing and every time that I open the freezer, a realization of the immensity of what’s to come, stares back at me in the form of bags upon bags of frozen Blackcurrants!

A goblet of the red stuff from last year…a fine vintage!

Blackcurrants do make superb wine, a real taste of summer to open in midwinter!

The only real rule to follow is that everything is kept scrupulously clean…that’s all!

So, to today and the video I have uploaded from Bealtaine Cottage…

It’s all about how the plants are progressing…and they are doing very well indeed…

Enjoy watching…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqkWO6qHZv0&feature=g-upl

Posted in Abundance, Country Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Ireland, Permaculture, Summer, Uncategorized, Wine

Easy Permaculture Soft Fruit Growing

Growing food could not be easier than this!

Just a small part of last summer’s crop of Blackcurrants here at Bealtaine Cottage! 

Simply take a heel cutting from a Blackcurrant, Redcurrant, Jostaberry, Gooseberry and plug it into the soil…

The girls enjoying the spent blackcurrants, left over from making Blackcurrant cordial!

Nature will do the rest…

Watch…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-8SMynuOgM&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Posted in Country Living, Garden, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

The Easiest to Grow Vegetables and Fruit from Bealtaine Cottage

Potatoes.
Last year I grew them successfully on straw and manure spread on the ground on top of cardboard.
The ground was in perfect condition afterwards for digging in a new Rhubarb bed.

Swiss Chard.
A  cut and come again crop.
It just keeps on giving!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007Here it is growing outdoors during the winter.
The frost may set it back but it grows again quickly from the root.
Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby Chard
Swiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard
Eat young leaves as salad or
cook.
You can sow directly into the soil, but I prefer to start almost everything off in pots to give them some strength to resist the slugs!
Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel
Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

The stalks are marvellously coloured and can be white, as above, yellow, red, and orange, so they can look great in flower beds too!

www.bealtainecottage.com

Beetroot grows easily and stays in the ground over winter, so can be harvested without fuss.
If left in the ground until the following spring, you will be able to harvest some young leaves from the plant too.
Great in Juices too!
www.bealtainecottage.com 029Parsley…a biennial, so will over-winter perfectly and not be set back by frost if protected just a little, like above, using an old bottom-less bread tin.
 

Pumpkins…grow the same as Butternut Squash…the more enriched the soil,  the bigger they grow…so, watch out! 

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash…I grew these from saved seeds from the previous year.
Just make sure that the soil is enriched with lots of well rotted manure, or good compost, for they are hungry plants!
www.bealtainecottage.com 001
Apples…invest in a few apple trees…fruit trees will never let you down! I have planted around forty fruit trees of all varieties here at Bealtaine Cottage.
permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 019
When in blossom, fruit trees are a wonderful source of food for the Bees…
harvesting blackcurrantsBlackcurrants…the gardens at Bealtaine are infested with them!
I have grown all of my Blackcurrant bushes from seed or cuttings!
I have a surplus of Blackcurrant cuttings at the moment and these are offered for sale at this link…
http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/
 
Bealtaine Cottage http://bealtainecottage.com/
Bealtaine Cottage YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/BealtaineCottage
Bealtaine Cottage Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/bealtaine-cottage
Bealtaine Cottage Twitter https://twitter.com/PermaGoddess
Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GoddessGardens/

Bealtaine Cottage now offers a subscription website and seeds for sale at minimal cost to supporters, (this keeps me solvent, pays the mortgage and sometimes a little more)…keeping the main website free for all, along with a NO ADS Youtube channel, Podcast and FaceBook sites, all listed above.

 

“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”
Wendell Berry

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Food, Growing Food, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wine

Permaculture Harvests in Ireland

Plum Harvest

Plums from the one of the Plum Trees here on the land. 

Plums are easy to grow in Ireland as they are related to the Blackthorn tree, the one that fruits Sloes.

Rowan berries, collected from trees near my local town, Carrick. Foraging can be a very fruitful and worthwhile undertaking in the country, bringing in a bountiful harvest!

mushrooms and rosehips 002

Hips from the Rosa Rugosa growing at Bealtaine Cottage…these are brimming with Vitamin C and make a delicious syrup, as well as magnificent wine, which has the body of a good Sherry!

Home-made wines are very easy to make…simply observing the “clean” rule. Mind you, if you do have a slip-up, the wine can be turned into a delicious fruit vinegar…which makes lovely and unusual presents at Christmas!

Apple jellies and Rowan jellies…delightful garden produce!

The Apple harvest at Bealtaine has been consistently good, producing more apples than what I can use!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture pumpkins

Pumpkins and Tomatoes grow well in the tunnel. Pumpkins will store for 6 months and more in a cool pantry, as happens here.

Bealtaine Cottage June 2012 005

The so-called “poor,” land produces hundreds of pounds of Blackcurrants…which I turn into jams, chutney, wine and delicious cordial.

These are just some of the wonderful foods that can be grown on poor land, on a north-facing slope, in the west of Ireland, using Permaculture! 

Unlike so many of the books that tell you what can and cannot be grown, I simply plant it and see…and have yet to be disappointed!

Posted in Abundance, Buddha, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized, Wine, Woodland

A Life in the Country ~ Buddha, Permaculture and Growing…

What we think, we become. Buddha

Thinking plants and gardens and growing…I suppose I have become a person who is in love with the Earth!

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. 

 Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. 

 Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. 

 Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. 

 Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. 

 But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.  ~Buddha

Permaculture wine…because, all the fruit is grown here at Bealtaine Smallholding using permaculture methods and every aspect of the wine making process is carried out in a sustainable way.

Even the demijohns have been sourced as recycled/upcycled.

I’m reading ‘Blackberry Wine,’ by Joanne Harris at present and one of the central characters, ‘Joe,’ is definitely a permie!

It’s a great read!

A reminder from a few months back…and yes I planted trees and a lot more than 50.

As for the Blackcurrants, I have taken to planting them along the ditches here and into the hedges…planting a slip at a time!

Trees are very precious to me.

I have lived here for 7 years and planted over 600 to date with plans for more!

Plant as though your life depends on it…because it does!

 We could not exist as we do if there were no trees.

 A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.

 Forests  act as  giant filters  that clean the air we breath.

 Trees Shade and Cool

Shade resulting in cooling is what a tree is best known for.

Shade from trees reduces the need for air conditioning in summer.

 In winter, trees break the force of winter winds, lowering heating costs.

 Studies have shown that parts of cities without cooling shade from trees can literally be “heat islands” with temperatures as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit higher than surrounding areas.

Posted in Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Pantry

Sweetcorn harvested over the weekend…this is the native American corn, called ‘Painted Mountain,’ and is very colourful!

I will save some of the corn seeds for planting next year…

Heaps and heaps of windfalls… planting apple trees is cheap and easy and all you do is wait for the windfall! Ha! Ha!…I love it. Simple, easy and so very permaculture!

And more apples in the pantry…buckets of them…free food, good food and not a corporation in sight!

Free-range eggs with deep orange yolks and pumpkins in the pantry today…it’s starting to fill up as the  harvest comes in…

Bountiful Blackcurrants…waiting to be turned into jam, chutney, wine et al, rest in the freezer in the Pantry.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Permaculture, Sligo, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Abundance…

Harvests continue to develop and flowers bloom at Bealtaine Smallholding. Flowers like these Sedums require little or no attention and soon fill out a space.

White Buddleia in full bloom, though there are few butterflies around at the moment. This tree, well, bush really, serves as an air island for the birds nesting in the box nearby.

Pots of Curly Kale, Chard and Pumpkins, some of which will be moved across to the new beds in the Vegetable Garden. All these have been planted in pots filled with home made compost.

The grapevine, grown from a cutting about four years ago, has produced well this season. This was pruned hard at the end of the winter and then lightly at the end of spring. Well developed bunches of grapes have set and continue to thrive.

Another good year for the apple harvest. This part of Ireland is great for growing fruit, as rhubarb, blackcurrants, redcurrant, plums, apples et al appear to thrive!

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 Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Just Sunday Pics…

Curly Kale and Parsley growing in pots at the back of Bealtaine Cottage.

The flowers on the Lady’s Mantle near the tunnel have all flopped outwards, but they remain beautiful…

The flower on the Mullein has begun to open…near the vegetable garden.

Potatoes and blackcurrants and even a little orchid…can you see it on the right?

Today has been very stormy…this was yesterday! The vegetable garden and tunnel.

 

 

 

Posted in Abundance, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Uncategorized

Permaculture Sunday…Apples, Sweetcorn and more seedlings

More logs wait to be carted around to the barn and stacked ready for the cold winter days ahead!

Valerian grown from seed continues to flower and will do all summer and into the autumn all the time that the seedheads are removed…

Something else grown from seed here at Bealtaine…this gorgeous Poppy this morning in full bloom, all red and frilly like the Folly Bergere!

Blackcurrants and Sage in the Nursery area, again grown from seeds, so 100% permaculture at Bealtaine plants to come. Both of these plants grow very easily from seed scattered into limestone gravel and left to overwinter, before being pricked out and potted on…how simple is that?

This is one of the many apple trees snapped this morning. The harvest is coming on well, with plans for lots of Apple Chutney! The trees continue to be fed with mulched comfrey and nettles.

Painted Mountain, Native American Sweetcorn is a real success in the tunnel, with lots of heads coming to maturity. Definitely one to save seed from!

The Aloe Vera on the sitting room window has had babies!

Posted in Fairies, Inspiration, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Summer, Uncategorized, Woodland

And After the Weekend…Bealtaine Cottage in the West of Ireland

Monday morning, balmy, warm and bright. Midsummer has passed and the work outdoors continues unabated. Sheds to be cleared and painted, as well as fences to be fixed and preserved. Lots of blackcurrants still to be harvested…

The beautiful eerie light that falls across the land after the solstice, almost autumnal, bright and silvery and very romantic.

The heavenly scent of honeysuckle, or woodbine, is captured on the gentlest of breezes. The Fairy dell woodland is permeated with the sweet aroma.

The trees and ivy have merged into an elegant repose. Ferns have grown high and luxurious.

Light and shadows begin to play tricks on the eyes.

Posted in Abundance, Family, Food, Gaia, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Politics, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wine

The Promise of Pumpkins, and Mum at 81…Permaculture on Friday

Surrounded by pots of everything, all grown from seeds, the Pumpkin…and don’t ask me what kind it is until it produces fruit…is sporting a big, fab., yellow flower! It’s happy! I’m happy!

Talking of happy, I was in Omagh on Wedneday last to help Mum celebrate her 81st birthday…what a girl! She manages to outstyle me, out-talk me and usually outsmart me as well! Not looking bad for a woman who told the doctors to back off over her diagnosis and operation for breast cancer late last year! “No more drugs or treatment, I ready for living my life not sitting in waiting rooms,” she quipped just before Christmas…yep, you can’t keep a good woman down! …And, talking of Alice Taylor, isn’t she a woman for our times? On board the Gaza Flotilla…more power to you Alice!

Continuing to harvest a magnificent crop of blackcurrants…Permaculture sown and grown…the BEST!

More wine ready to be bottled and fined down and cleared without the use of animal products, as used in the commercial wines! Still, if you want to eat and drink the finest than it’s always best to make it yourself!

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, Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Food Freedom ~ Making Blackcurrant Cordial ~ Bealtaine Cottage

Blackcurrants are coming into ripeness.

With the potential of doubling the harvest from last year, I am looking at a possible 200-250 lbs of Blackcurrants.

These are some I picked this morning.

In previous years I have made jams and wines, but this year I have decided to make Blackcurrant Cordial.

After boiling with water, I strained them overnight by hanging a clean pillowcase from this upside down stool, filled with the stewed blackcuckcurrants and water.

It was left to drip overnight into a clean bucket.

This morning it was mixed well with the sugar, then bottled.

The bottles were all corked and topped…these will now keep all winter and through next Spring, ensuring a good supply of top notch blackcurrant cordial, with only organically grown fruit, spring water and sugar as the ingredients…the corporation food pales into insignificance!

The girls ate the leftovers…yum, yum! Nice eggs to come!

I washed the pillowcase out in a bucket of spring water outside and guess what was left in the water?

Lots of blackcurrant seeds, that when emptied over the garden, grow these…Blackcurrant bushes…a perfect permaculture cycle of life!

Almost forgot…here’s the recipe!

Blackcurrant Cordial

1 kilo Blackcurrants

600 mls water

Simmer together for 45 mins.

Strain juice, as above, overnight.

Next morning add 1 kilo of sugar to every litre of juice.

Stir in well.

Bottle.

(You can adjust the sugar, I have a sweet tooth)!

Posted in Abundance, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wine

The Permaculture Centre in N.W. Ireland. Moving Forward.

Lysamachia Punctata is just opening for its annual display of yellow. This is the 7th year of Bealtaine permaculture. It was pointed out to me recently that Bealtaine is becoming more of a centre for permaculture than any other place in the N.W. of Ireland. There are visitors all year round, as well as students who want to view a mature permaculture smallholding , functioning on a daily basis, producing food and energy, as well as a permacultured home, with permaculture principles adopted as a lifestyle choice.

The weather is warm, encouraging flowers to open. Paths are closing in, demanding my attention!

Considering the fact that there are 3 acres of tended gardens here, the total time spent maintaining these is about 2 hours per day, Monday through Friday. This is the biggest bonus to permaculture growing…once established the gardens require little tending. This is because Nature does most of the work and cutting back become the major task through the seasons.

Good harvests of Blackcurrants are promised. None of the bushes are ever covered, as there are lots to share…no need to be selfish!

Redcurrants are ripening. The Redcurrant wine I made last year was very successful and extremely potent, so I know what these will be used for!

The basic recipe I use, from an ancient book, is as follows:

4lbs redcurrants

4lbs sugar

1 gallon of Spring Water

1 tsp wine yeast

Steep the fruit in the water for 4-6 days, stirring daily. Keep covered with a clean cloth. Strain. Add sugar and stir well. Add yeast. Stir well. Pour into demijohn, insert bung and airlock and place in warm area. When clear and no more bubbles rising in airlock, syphon off carefully into bottles and cork.

Abundance in the polytunnel this afternoon.

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Today at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding…Start the Week!

Nasturtiums are now in bloom outside, despite the rain. This one is pot planted outside the veranda and is slowly winding its’ way over pieces of driftwood, stone and Herb Robert.

Our lives are full of clutter. A garden is a retreat and a permaculture garden is a perfect, food-bearing retreat, created for almost no money investment…just time and an opening of the senses. Plants like London Pride, featured here, are so very easy to transplant from snippets and cuttings.

Chives this morning in the vegetable garden, but these have been planted all over the gardens and are great visuals.

The long-flowering Columbine growing in the vegetable garden…a good Bee and pollinator insect attractant.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 004
Density of planting…the essence of permaculture.

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Flowers…just flowers and endless beauty!

Blackcurrants ripening in the sun this morning. Writing this a short time later, the sun has gone back into hiding!

Plums on one of the many fruit trees at Bealtaine this morning…a good harvest is promised!

The many Apple trees are growing heavy with fruit.

Posted in Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Summer, Wild Flowers

Days of Wine and Roses…West of Ireland Permaculture.

Continuing to empty the freezer of last summer’s huge harvest of black and red currants…so, it’s more wine on the make!

Colours in the gardens continue to develop with very little need for flowers…and those that are in bloom are strong perennials that are here to stay!

Roses hang heavy around the veranda. Valerian comes up through the gravel, astounding me year after year…where does it get its food from?

The colours and shadows of summer begin to play with the light on the window ledges.

I now add the yeast to the must and it makes a real difference in the fermentation process of the wine…speed it ip considerably!