Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Country Living, Uncategorized

Life in the Country at Christmas

Living miles from the nearest town, beyond a fair stretch of the legs, shopping becomes an event…not to be treated in a casual way at all!

There is no such thing as, ‘just popping out to the shops,’ as the journey there and back can be costly on limited resources, such as petrol for the car.

Running out of food is simply not an option, so a pantry is essential, where a good stock of food can be built up and held in reserve.

The pantry really comes into it’s own at Christmas and other festivals where visitors are expected to descend with little notice…and the tradition is to always feed the visitor!

As the pantry is a cool, dark place, storing food is easy, much better than a fridge in some cases, especially when it comes to cakes, home made bread, vegetables and the like.

The Victorians were especially adept at designing and building pantries and larders.  However, there appears to be little inclusion of this excellent feature in any modern design. I would even go so far as to say that few architects would even have heard of this small, but very essential room.

I used to live in an old Victorian house in London that came complete with a stone slabbed pantry, with fine mesh wire window, facing north for ultimate coolness!

Ideally the only light to penetrate the pantry is an artificial light or weak light from the north.

It is possible to build a small pantry in any home and I have even seen them made from wood, lined with various materials, in city apartments. 

The pantry here at Bealtaine Cottage is well stocked. Over the course of this week it will fill up with home baked goodies. Jellies and cakes will jostle with cans and jars on the shelves.

Christmas cannot be bought…well, not here at any rate!

Posted in Abundance, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Fairies, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, polytunnel gardening, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

A Sunday Ramble around Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding, Ireland

My visitors have left. Home made wine and pocheen, lots of home made vegan food and cakes and talk into the wee small hours…what better way to share a weekend!

Sunday afternoon. The first in July. Bealtaine basks in the sunshine.

Willow has been trimmed. Grass cut. Pumpkins are in flower.

The pears are making good progress on the youngest of the Pear Trees planted here at Bealtaine Cottage. I continue to feed the earth around them with a liquid tea made from nettles and comfrey.

The heady scent of Meadowsweet fills the air on this calm and balmy Sunday afternoon. It grows all over the Bog garden…here is some in the woodland, Fairy dell.

On an afternoon such as this I feel almost intoxicated as I walk around the gardens, with sweets scents filling the air and bees flying to and fro along their pathways of pollen.

Turning to look back at the tunnel as I approach the Fairy Dell, I am taken with the sounds coming from the blackcurrant bushes, only to see a Blackbird swooping out from a gorgefest of fruit…

Geraniums and Oregano spill across mown grass paths. All is peace.