The roses are in bloom on the veranda, resplendent with furniture cast-offs from friends!
Standing by the back door, surrounded by such beauty, I have a heavy heart…
I have lost my darling Che-Mousy Bear.
He has passed.
Bealtaine Cottage seems empty without him.
Last week was difficult for me, as I struggle to come to terms with the loss of my mother.
Losing Che seems to be a deeper grief…pets have a way of getting deep into the recesses of the human heart and clearing a space there.
So, as you can imagine, I feel wounded.
This much I have to say, for there is so much goodness in the world that, at times, we are blinded to it in our own despair, anger, or whatever we feel consumed by…
Upon bringing Che to the Vet to be examined and worked on and after some time of dedication from the vet and all failing…the Vet refused payment!
Can you imagine how that felt?
Such kindness and compassion in the face of chaos and despair.
Never, ever doubt that there is much goodness in this world!
Following that, my daughter made the long journey from Belfast, so that we, as a family could mourn and finally bury him, within the stone circle…where he often played.
So, this week starts anew.
It is Monday and there is much to be done.
It’s a cloudy morning, at times, with the sun making brief appearances.
The paths need mowing and branches need trimming as the new leaves weigh them down.
There is an ordinariness to life that gives us all continuum.
And in between the work and rest, a little bit of my heart remains empty.
2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.
Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!
Blessings from Bealtaine XXX
This morning was clear and beautiful.
But also, this morning, I was faced with taking Missy into the Vet…she has not been well and hasn’t eaten for three days.
Coming back home, a journey of about eight miles, I stopped several times to take photos…it is really such a beautiful day here in the west of Ireland!
The day continues fine, so the journey will not be too stressful.
I remain on an emotional tightrope and I’m not looking down!
At 5am the sky was a black velvet sack of diamonds.
The moon had set and the sky was illuminated by stars…endless stars!
The Earth continues to turn.
Awoke to frost this morning and a brilliantly clear, blue sky.
The stove had stayed lit all night, so the cottage was warm.
It’s easy to see the level of insulation in homes, looking up at roofs, as I drive to Drumshanbo on an errand.
Many of the newly built homes appear to be poorly insulated.
I took my tea outside and walked around in the sunshine…
The sheer beauty of a winter morning is stunning.
The play of winter light upon the earth is a delight to behold!
The winter stems of Spiraea colour a deep orange.
Her visit to the Vet’s on Monday has perked her up a bit…
Even though the covering of the tunnel is frozen, plants inside continue to flourish and will stay green and healthy for the winter.
Washing the plastic covering on the tunnel last month allows maximum winter light through to the plants…every little helps at this time of year!
The Lemon Balm grows well and will continue all winter, unless we have extreme weather.
Introducing Sam…one very naughty little kitten!
He had an eye infection, which is now cleared up…though he fought me every time I applied his medication!
Missy manages to climb to the top of the barn and nestle herself into the barley straw…high enough to keep a watchful eye on all!
This is one girl who takes no prisoners…just look at that expression!
A good sprinkling of lettuce seeds and within a few weeks there is more than enough to harvest for weeks to come.
Most people can manage to be self-sufficient in salad for at least half the year!
This is a potager style bed, with Lavender and Thyme nearby.
There are several varieties of lettuce here, in amongst the Nasturtium and Borage.
Sedum and Poppies continue to push their way up through the compost!
Moving compost from last year’s heap over to the new raised vegetable bed today.
A bed of abundance outside the tunnel today.
And here’s the new raised vegetable bed…coming along…
Friday at Bealtaine Cottage, featuring Missy and Flo…
Click and watch
(click on the speech bubble on the video to see Flo on her own video!)
Following on from the short video on Willow and using willow in the garden as living willow fedges and structures, here’s a short video on trees… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBu_fP82VDY&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp
I’ve been listening to Sinead O’Connor this morning as I clean the cottage.
What is it about music that energizes and propels one along in whatever work they are engaged in?
It reminds me of the factories during WW2 where music was introduced as the women worked, building components for, and weapons of, war! And afterwards, the BBC introduced a programme on the radio, entitled, “Music While You Work,” aimed at women, of course!
Good grief…that’s a mental leap of thoughts from Sinead to WW2…amazing what a duster in one hand and a headscarf wrapped around the hair can evoke…
As you can see from the pic of today…spring and sunshine has a compelling effect on one’s energy and drive!
Foxgloves this morning, near the vegetable garden. There is no shortage of these beautiful, wild flowers around the land of Bealtaine.
In the tunnel earlier…Missy follows me as I work.
I received a lovely gift recently of 3 Elder trees and 3 Sycamores, so planting these will be enjoyable work to do this afternoon, no doubt, overseen by herself!
It is amazing just how much heat is captured daily in these stones edging the paths…passive solar collectors. Missy can tell you all about warm stones…just watch a cat!
The Bumble Bees are out in force, enjoying the heavily scented flowers of the Ribes. It is easy enough to plant an all year round forage for the Bees, whether they are the humble Bumble or the hard-working Honey Bee…all are welcome and catered for here at Bealtaine!
Just to let everyone know the good news…the results have come back on Missy’s tumour and it is treatable!
Needless to add, everyone here at Bealtaine is delighted and Missy is especially so!
It’s always worrying and upsetting when a much loved pet is ill and worst of all it would seem that the animal often picks up on this…but all is well and we breath a collective sigh of relief!
Thanks to everyone for all your good wishes…really, thank you all so much!
Salix Tortuosa…or simply, Twisted Willow, growing here at Bealtaine Cottage. It grows readily and will take easily from cuttings. A beautiful addition to a bouquet or flower arrangement.
I Ivy hangs in long trails in the Fairy Dell woodland. There are times when this place resembles a rain forest. The combination of micro climate and damp creates a strange little world down here in the Dell!
Today there has been all four seasons in one, with sun, rain, wind, snow, sleet, then warm evening sun…
This is the beautiful Fin lough, near Bealtaine Cottage. There are literally hundreds of loughs, rivers, streams, ponds and waterways within a twenty mile radius of Bealtaine…one thing is for certain; Ireland will never run dry!
Missy investigates the basket I made yesterday.
She may be sussing it out for a new home!
I noticed that she spent some time licking the new basket and wondered if she was in search of Aspirin, a drug derived from the bark of the Willow.
Visitors to Bealtaine have reached the 100,000 mark…almost…probably today, and you may be the one to match that number!
I am delighted that so many people seek out this blog, or even stumble across it and decide to re-visit again and again.
Interest in Permaculture and the resulting self-sufficiency and sustainable living is growing…
“Oh, well…back into this basket…I may decide on a tenancy, depends on the decoration…”
A big “Thank You,” to all visitors!
Into the kitchen for a warming cup of tea after spending the morning cutting back brambles in a bid to open up another part of the land. Autumn continues and there remain quite a few leaves on the trees.
Missy cat…staring at Jack in a sort of threatening way…The autumn sun shines silver into the sitting room…I love this season for the soft silvery light.
Jack makes sure he stays in his little home in the porch…he knows that Missy is not allowed in without his say-so!
Lime trees have almost completed their leaf drop, feeding the earth for another year.
November has stayed relatively mild and warm, so many of the trees are showing off their colours a little longer!
Manure from the hens has been spread on the vegetable beds…hoping for massive pumpkins next year!
There is somethinginfinitely healing in the repeated refrains
of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night,and
spring after the winter.
– Rachel Carson
The Sense of Wonder
Yesterday, on my way back from the North, I stopped at a Charity Shop and bought this lovely throw for a few euros.
It now covers a multitude of sins on the old sofa and Missy certainly approves of the recycling effort here!
Try to keep to sheltered areas in a strong wind though!
My brother Hugh made the lovely bench from old Georgian doors, 150 years old! Hugh makes a lot of these and calls them, “Hugh’s Pews!”
This one is ‘Shabby Chic.’
Haws and Ivy.Some of nature’s mostexquisite handiwork is on a miniature
scale, as anyone knows who has applied a magnifyingglass
to a snowflake.
– Rachel Carson
..food for the birds!
No need for peanuts if you ‘plant ahead!’
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Cats will always find a home. The cleverest cats manage to find hotels. Cat hotels. The best food, drink and accomodation, free of charge with limitless facilities!
And so it is that Missy the ginger cat has come to stay at Bealtaine Cottage…
Missy is the daughter of a feral cat. Her mother was killed on the road, leaving Missy and her siblings orphaned and living in the hedgerow. A kindly man rescued them and Missy came to live at Bealtaine. years later she went further afield, to London and became a city cat…but has now returned to Bealtaine Cottage.
I think all cats are wild. They only act tame if there’s a saucer of milk in it for them. ~ Douglas Adams
Lat take a cat, and fostre hym wel with milk
And tendre flessh, and make his couche of silk,
And lat hym seen a mous go by the wal,
Anon he weyveth milk and flessh and al,
And every deyntee that is in that hous,
Swich appetit hath he to ete a mous.
~ Geoffrey Chaucer The Manciple’s Tale
Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. ~ Jeff Valdez
Just returned from the Animal Rescue Centre in Leitrim with the latest addition to the family…Jack!
Never a replacement for The Tomster, but in need of a home and Bealtaine is just that! he’s wandering about the cottage at the moment and sussing everything out!
He is a little bit nervous at the moment as you can see, but I expect he will settle in quite rapidly. It’ll take time then for us to bond and become trusting of each other…time will out!
Harvesting Rhubarb yesterday evening, just as the moon was rising…this is some of the crop, now sliced and in bags in the freezer, waiting for the wine and jam making process. The problem with permaculture is just keeping up with the abundance…
This is a plant box I made several years ago from reclaimed timber and driftwood. Planted out with edibles it will be really useful on the veranda, growing within easy reach of the kitchen…especially when it’s raining!
Irusan the cat has gone home to allow Jack to settle in without being continually glowered at…Irusan is pretty good at making a dog feel very uncomfortable…except for those he likes!
It looks like I’m in for an eventful weekend!