Posted in Gardens, Inspiration, society

First Open Day of 2016 at Bealtaine Cottage

kitchen window

It’s the end of a beautiful day…the first Open Day of the year at Bealtaine Cottage.

It was a joy to welcome guests and share time, tea, treats and walks.

I plan another open Day for the month of June and a further one for July.

Make sure you keep an eye on the website for details. 

Posted in Cats, Cottage, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Much Goodness…

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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…

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

I have lost my darling Che-Mousy Bear.

He has passed.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage seems empty without him.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

So, as you can imagine, I feel wounded.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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!

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

So, this week starts anew.

It is Monday and there is much to be done.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

There is an ordinariness to life that gives us all continuum.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

And in between the work and rest, a little bit of my heart remains empty.

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Birds, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Summer, Wine

A Year at Bealtaine…part 3

Poppies in Permaculture

2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe potager beds were extended and two more were constructed.

angel at bealtaine cottageAquilegia and Valerian ignored the seasons and came up together, surrounding the porch with delicate shades of pink and purple.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt was a frenzy of colour!

roses on verandaThe roses made their appearance on the veranda, more abundant than ever!

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodMy friends Terri and Lol brought me masses of seaweed from their beautiful Clifden in Connemara and it was spread all over the potager beds!

Sammy Bear and meSammy-Bear turned from a rather naughty kitten into an even naughtier cat!

Roses at Bealtaine CottageVisitors had to dodge the low-hanging flowers and…

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottageemerging fruit!

bird bath in pollarded Sycamore at Bealtaine CottageBird baths were sat into trees for the rather hot birds…

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineand Blackcurrant wine was started off in the glass carboy.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThen transferred to a demijohn to sit out the next few months on the kitchen windowsill.

Roses at the back of Bealtaine Cottage todayThe heat of summer continued and the well ran dry!

Bealtaine Cottage signBealtaine Cottage basked in the sun and heat, as I carted water up from a spring well lower down the land.

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage todayRose petals fell like confetti all over the veranda…it was lovely!

bealtaine Cottage this eveningOx-Eye Daisies flourished everywhere!

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageSammy-Bear cooled off by rolling in the dirt path in the tunnel and getting absolutely filthy!

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageChe-Mousey found a cool spot in the shade of the laurel arch.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningIt was sheer abundance!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.And the summer rolled on…

Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!

Blessings from Bealtaine XXX

Posted in Cats, Life, Lifestyle, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A Sack of Diamonds

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Sunrise is happening later each morning.

This morning was clear and beautiful.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012But also, this morning, I was faced with taking Missy into the Vet…she has not been well and hasn’t eaten for three days.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Anyway, she is in there for the day and I am at home keeping busy!

www.bealtainecottage.com 030Coming 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!

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Mature Beech trees line the road that sweeps along the edge of Lough Key.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026Stretches of blue water can be seen from the car.

www.bealtainecottage.com 028I have to drive back into Boyle to collect Missy at 6pm.

The day continues fine, so the journey will not be too stressful.

I remain on an emotional tightrope and I’m not looking down!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Last night there was a half-moon in the southern sky.

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.

Posted in Animals, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Food, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, photography, Smallholding, Winter

Winter in a Permaculture Garden…and Sam!

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.

Missy followed me to the tunnel.

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.

Parsley is very healthy as it grows strong beside the water bin…an ideal micro-climate!

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!

Sam was found on Samhain, hence his name.

He had an eye infection, which is now cleared up…though he fought me every time I applied his medication!

Sam had his second vaccination on Monday and is on medication for a bad cold, though that does not stop him being this adventurous!

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Cats, Country Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized

Beds of Abundance in a Permaculture Garden

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…

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cats, Eco-Living, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Trees

Friday at Bealtaine Cottage.

Friday at Bealtaine Cottage, featuring Missy and Flo…

Click and watch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvA7AONAaNc&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

(click on the speech bubble on the video to see Flo on her own video!)

Posted in biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Fairies, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Woodland

Permaculture Planting…The Importance of Trees

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

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Cats, Country Living, Ecology, Garden, Permaculture, Trees, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

An Irish Cottage Garden in Spring

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!

Posted in Animals, Cats, Climate, Ecology, Fairies, Lough Allen Basin, Trees, Uncategorized

Thanks!

                           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!

Last word must go to the Missy Cat…Meow…purrrrrr

Posted in Animals, Cats, Crafts, Inspiration, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

100,000 Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding

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!

Posted in Animals, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Country Living, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Country Living Ireland…Autumn work at the cottage smallholding.

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!

Posted in Autumn, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage in the Midst of a Storm, Hugh’s Pews and Shabby Chic!

Missy sits it out…the best a cat can do in the midst of a storm that has raged around the cottage for hours now!

 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!

Making use of the wind and all that drying energy means getting a wash or two out on the line!

Try to keep to sheltered areas in a strong wind though!

The wind is pulling the fire in the stove up the chimney really fast and providing a very hot oven for bread baking. It’s handy to have the fuel at the back door.

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.’

Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2011 011

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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Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Inspiration, Permaculture, Samhain, Uncategorized

Cat Hotels and Halloween Weather…Notes from a Permaculture Cottage!

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

Sitting on the window-sill this morning waiting to be let in…for a jolly hearty breakfast!

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

Today, someone told me to expect snow at Halloween…Samhain as the Celtic calendar states…but, I ask you, snow? What on earth could it be doing snowing at Halloween in Ireland?

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. ~ Jeff Valdez

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wine

Rescue Dog Jack, Abundant Rhubarb and Irusan…Another Permaculture Day in Ireland

 

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!