Posted in ancient Ireland, Cats, celtic festivals, Celtic Mythology, Celts Celtic Festivals, Gaia, Garden, Lughnasa

To The Mountain!

DSC01770I’ve been spending much of this week catching up with a great many tasks that were backing up around me…cork-tiling the bathroom floor and part of the Lodge floor, clearing the tunnel for the winter crops and all the usual stuff such as clearing and mowing the paths in the gardens!

DSC01861I have got a lot done because I made the decision last week to come off Facebook…and have shared my thoughts with you on this…

DSC01860I posted a number of pics on FB this morning, as so many people delight in seeing Bealtaine Cottage!

DSC01859It is, however, almost impossible to respond to comments left on FB as I simply do not have the time and am resolved not to negate my commitment to this blog and the second website at bealtainecottage.org

DSC01853Those of you who have followed this blog for any amount of time will be aware of the enormous workload I carry and will, therefore, totally understand this.

DSC01852Recently I came across this quote by Joseph Campbell and was deeply moved to meditate upon it for a while. 

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. –

Joseph Campbell

DSC01850It has inspired me to “go with the flow” much more and to simply get on and do whatever tasks need doing, rather than planning and then becoming despondent at what I have not achieved…I can be my own hardest and most severe taskmaster!

DSC01846I am determined to come away from this driven approach and relax into life more!

DSC01784DSC01787I could do with taking lessons from Sammy-bear, seen here by the Catnip in the tunnel, out of his mind!

DSC01786DSC01785DSC01781Cats remind us all how we should relax…frequently and often!

On the other hand…looking at his spaced-out expression…maybe not!

DSC01846There is another quote I wish to share with you. It is on a slightly different note, but one that you may find meaningful at this time…for I am aware of the events in our world recently…

DSC01845This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.

Joanna Macy

DSC01844I have found this to be comforting as I attempt to make sense of the chaos!

There is so much to rejoice in when out in Nature…

DSC01837DSC01836This is a bank holiday weekend here in Ireland, and also the great festival of Lughnasadh!

DSC01835DSC01834DSC01832 I will stride forth on Lughnasadh Eve to a high point on a nearby mountain to welcome in the new season and pay tribute to Mother Earth and in particular, Mother Ireland.

DSC01829DSC01823DSC01820DSC01818To celebrate the season is to turn one’s back on the machinations, arrogance and hubris of Man, seeking instead, the warmth and generosity of the Great Mother…Earth, in all her beauty!

DSC01777DSC01772Before I go, just to let you know, I am writing a blog on the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website, all about using sheep wool in the tunnel as I prepare it for the Autumn/Winter sowing and planting.

I am still clearing, but once I begin using the wool I shall take lots of pics and post them in the blog, along with detailed explanations of how and why.

You can become a member of the site here…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

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See you on the other site tomorrow!

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

 

 

 

Posted in Cats, Gardens, Permaculture, Spring, vegetable garden, Wild Flowers

Magical Days

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Gardens in Spring are one of Nature’s great delights.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage the back door remains open and the sun streams in.

My grandson, Dylan sips tea, whilst nearby, Charlie sleeps on the rocking chair.

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It is days like these that are idyllic to recall, as the days of Spring and Summer stretch out before us. 008

Sammy-Bear sits by the open door, enjoying the strong sunshine.

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Somewhere in the scheme of things, as the days lengthen and the early morning birdsong touches our souls, a deep sense of optimism pervades the humdrum of everyday life.

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Animals react to Spring with displays of joy.

The image of the Spring lamb are there for all to see, but look at the behaviour of other animals…

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And the Earth itself…I can smell the grass growing…it’s an earthy, green, living smell that intoxicates!

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As I walk among the Potager beds in the garden, I notice how the Purple Sprouting Broccoli is regenerating, almost as fast as I can pick the small sprouts.

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In the tunnel, Calendula flowers on last Summers plants…a welcome reminder of the flowers to come and oh, they smell so sweet!

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Buds on the Peach tree are beginning to thicken.

This was a broken tree I rescued from the waste of a big store.

It’s taken four years to nurture it into a strong tree and this year, maybe, just maybe, I shall have some fruit!

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The Kale has over-wintered well, keeping me supplied with plenty of this rich food through the dark months.

Now, as almost all the leaves have been harvested, it begins to sprout abundance all over again.

Time to feed and water well!

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This Celery was planted and stem harvested last Spring.

It has regenerated and will provide yet more nutrients for juicing!

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Spring flowers, beauty to behold…feeding the spirit as I work in the kitchen.

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Flowers on the Ribes bushes have opened.

These will be ready to feed early awakening bees.

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Wood, stacked in Wigwam shape to air dry before being cut and moved to the barn.

There is so much wood here at Bealtaine that I am never going to get around to coppicing more than about 25%!

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Taking the time to bend down and look closer to the Earth, sights like this remind one there is another world below our view, reacting to the energy of Spring.

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I hope you make time to go out into Nature and find repose with her, for these are days of Spring magic…Magical days indeed!

Posted in Cats, Dogs, hibernation, Ireland, mountains, snow, Winter

Days of Hibernation

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Snow fell today.

As I stood by the front of the cottage, the mountain of Sliabh an Iarainn appeared to suddenly rise up in a shroud of white.

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More often than not it merges into the sky in shades of grey and sometimes blue, but today it stood out proud, gleaming white.

This mighty mountain, where once the ancients mined iron ore and ushered in the Iron Age, rises from the shores of Lough Allen to the North East, as Kilronan Mountain faces the cottage, sentinel-like, to the North.

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It too was dusted with a covering of light snow.

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I retreated to the warmth of the cottage and watched the snow fall.

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By the time I went into the bedroom to make the bed, Sammy-Bear had made a nest and curled up for the day…I exited the messy room and closed the door!

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Sammy-Bear often sleeps in my bedroom to escape Charlie, who often makes great sport from terrorizing his betters!

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Charlie and Jack are quite good friends now.

It’s a hierarchical relationship…Charlie’s the boss!

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The evening has drawn in fast…there is not much to notice yet in the stretch of the day…it slowly manifests when we are busy getting used to the new year.

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Now is the time to make the most of the days of hibernation left to us, for they are few in number…the Spring moves in faster than we realise.

Charlie knows this…in fact, looking into his eyes, I’d say that Charlie knows an awful lot!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Buddha, Cats, Climate, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, Spring

The Light of Spring

www.bealtainecottage.com

Sammy-Bear lies concussed by the heat from the wood burning stove! It’s a tough life being a cat at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.comOver the past week there has been a struggle between Winter and Spring as temperatures have moved up and down the thermometer, with hard frost, heavy rain, warm nights and brilliant sun all in the mix!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe rising sun reflected in the mirror at the far end of the veranda.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe amazing light of early Spring…

www.bealtainecottage.comMoving closer to the mirror, the rising sun looks back at me over the head of the Buddha…quite otherworldly.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis was how the Romantic Poets viewed the world…through a mirror…I understand why!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, the last seed-head of the Gunnera Manicata stands tall against the storms of winter, saluting the Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe ponds have remained in flood during this winter, the wettest on record since 1866 here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comCatkins stand out against a brilliant blue sky, providing some little food for any early Bees.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe shadows of Spring are long, casting patterns and shapes on an ever-changing tapestry.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe kitchen is illuminated by a different light…the light of Spring.

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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-from-bealtaine-cottage/

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 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cats, Country Living, Garden, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Winter

Early December in a Permaculture Garden

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The shelled seed-heads of Lunaria… beautiful, ethereal, delicate additions to winter foliage arrangements.

The seeds are now packed and ready to post out all over the world.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Lunaria, commonly known as Honesty, is an early flowering annual flower, but, once seeded into your garden, spreads and re-seeds itself with wild abandon!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005This simple arrangement stands in a recycled, lace covered, jam jar!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I went shopping yesterday, to the second-hand market and bought this fruit bowl for 4 euros.

I love the simple sponged design, beautiful in its simplicity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014The veranda has been swept this morning…but don’t look too closely, as I didn’t move the clothes drier!

www.bealtainecottage.com 028The wheelbarrow holds ashes from the stoves and waste from the barn floor, ready to be spread over compost heaps, flower beds and around fruit trees.

Winter is a time of spreading and stacking, as tidy-ups take place and waste accumulates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The weather has been so very mild, that some flowers in the gardens continue to bloom, like this Fuchsia, with the Lemon Balm looking ready for harvest just behind it!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021And this Borage, growing, this morning, in the north garden of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017It’s amazing to be able to venture into the gardens in early December and pick Lemon Balm for tea!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019Even the boys are enjoying the balmy winter weather, as Che-Mousey rolls on the gravel by my feet!

www.bealtainecottage.com 023Blackbirds have been feasting on Pyracantha berries…

www.bealtainecottage.com 027New growth breaks through on the old Buddleia…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022And Slieve Aneirin sits washed in the cool blue of a winter’s morning.

Blessings X

Seeds for growing Lunaria are available on this website…just click on the link…

http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

If you wish me to post seeds, from you, to a friend or loved one, cards are available on this link…

http://bealtainecottage.com/gifts-send-a-card/

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Celts, Cottage, Gardens, Ireland, Permaculture, Samhain, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Cottage Industry

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The clock ticks towards Samhain, literally meaning: Summer’s end!

Tomorrow is Samhain, a celebration of the last day of Summer and the beginning of Winter in the Celtic calendar. www.bealtainecottage.com 002Despite cold nights creeping into Bealtaine, all remains green on the ground, with just the trees showing signs of transition into Winter.

Nasturtiums have not yet melted in the frost…it seems the ground continues to put forth enough heat to protect them!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003“I ordered my food ages ago!”

Sammy-Bear waits for his breakfast on the veranda…I have to hurry up with this photography business and serve him breakfast!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007The Wisteria, on the veranda of the Lodge, is showing a last magnificent vibrancy before it sets itself into bed.

The plants and trees are making a fantastic show of colour this season!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The view from the doorway of the Lodge remains green and tranquil.

The micro-climate created here serves the cottage well.

All is sheltered from the North, West and East!
www.bealtainecottage.com 013We really have been blessed, with perfect weather this year, here in the west of Ireland.

Each season has behaved itself extraordinarily well!
www.bealtainecottage.com 020Despite the fact it was my birthday yesterday, I was sufficiently inspired to work and spent the afternoon crocheting this hat.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003It’s an “Annie Hall,” inspired creation…I adore Diane Keaton!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I love the “cloche” type, 1920’s inspired, hats and adore working with pure wool and natural fabric.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004This one is made using Donegal Tweed Pure Wool and the colour is just wonderful!

I shall be making many more for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop!

Here’s the link to the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/167531769/cloche-hat-1920s-style-in-pure-irish

Posted in Angels, Animals, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Garden, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Storms, Cats and Pumpkins

The storm has raged all day.

Wind has tossed garden debris around and every so often the heavens opened casting a deluge of rain upon the cottage.

Thunder has brought Jack and Flo rushing to my side…

Yet, through all of this, Che Mousy has lazily surveyed the scene from the comfort of his executive chair.

Missy has slept the storm away in the tunnel.

I was over there earlier clearing out weeds and harvesting parsley and seeds and she followed me, making camp on the potting table.

In between the showers I have managed a bit more pruning in the upper gardens.

Yes, I know…balanced atop a step ladder in a storm is rather silly, but single-mindedness is an integral part of my nature and has been my driving spur always!

There is an abundance of Pumpkins coming into harvest at the moment, as you can see…this one is growing outside and appears more than happy in the mad Irish weather!

I placed an old log alongside it to create warmth and a suitable micro-climate for growing.

It works!

True to form, the weather brings sunshine too…well, this is the West of Ireland!

I even managed to drink my afternoon tea whilst walking through the gardens!

Posted in Animals, Cats, Dogs, Permaculture, Personal, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Cats, Dogs and Long Winding Paths…

There are hundreds of metres of paths here on the permaculture smallholding, all lined with plants, trees and shrubs and all needing to be cut back and tidied up now that the midsummer growth has peaked.

It’s a task I love, especially on a day like today where the sun is clouded over, but the air is warm and still.

Last night I watched a beautiful moon rise in the North East and several shooting stars.

This morning I was entranced by dragonflies around the lower pond as I weeded the margins of the water…standing in the cool water at one point just to cool off and feel the silt between my toes!

Missy is sitting here beside me as I type, emitting little fluffs of fur into the air as she moults.

They are drawn towards my face and cling to my skin, making me stop working to brush them away.

Her soft purring is compensation for the minor discomfort.

She loves to sit near me at times, just drinking in my energy and I hers.

The straggly leftover Tomato plants are all doing well and promise a modest harvest.

The seasons continue on their slow, steady course, despite the chaos of the weather.

Jack and Flo are like an old married couple, arguing over which side of the bed they want to sleep on!

In this case it’s baskets.

Flo often pushes Jack out of his basket and takes over completely, delegating poor Jack to the close confines of her small bed…

It’s only that he adores Flo that he tolerates this!

Posted in Abundance, Cats, Country Living, Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Waiting for the Storm…

 The weather is about to break…we are expecting thunder storms!

The earth is dry and the well is low.

Thunderstorms and rain, lots of rain, will be very welcome indeed!

It’s eight years since I laid this floor, bit by broken bit and I decided to give it a facelift of sorts, by simply colouring in the cement using some green masonry paint, sponged on and then wiped off the tiles…it has made the floor look good and the cost was zero!

The garden is sheer abundance at the moment!

Everything is growing and flourishing.

The vegetable bed I started on Sunday, is now extended even further and planted up as I go.

I can pop out with a torch and remove slugs…easily.

Having vegetable beds near the cottage, makes taking care of these precious plants easy!

This is how permaculture works…easy!

The Willow hoops are working great, keeping the cats away…they scowl as they pass!

Planting lettuce, which grow fast and have a short time in the bed, between plants like cabbage and cauliflower, makes perfect sense, helping to keep the weeds down.

I will whitewash the stones when the bed is completed.

The Valerian has grown up around this old bicycle, affording it an arty look…sometimes the natural evolution of a piece of junk takes on a beauty all of it’s own!

Posted in Animals, Inspiration, Politics, Uncategorized

Fighting Cats and Fighting Irish

The land is wet and the streams are gushing down the hill behind the cottage. it’s not really the day to be outdoors, but, as usual, I got side-tracked into just that!

On a trip across the garden to the compost heap to empty some more stuff, I realized that there was prunings from the apple trees scattered about, so I paused and…well you can guess the rest! Two hours later, here I am, indoors writing this blog!

So here she is…still with us, Missy the fighting cat…well, fighting her illness! Following her steroid shot from the Vet yesterday, Missy is back in form and looking a bit friskier than before, as well as eating heartily. This will keep her in better spirits for the time being at least. We continue to wait for the results of her tumour…

The Beaut!

Or, Pumpkin Mouser, as she is known affectionately!

Before I sign off for today, I have posted a video link for you to follow…just in case you thought that the Irish had completely given up the fight for justice…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpUjl4LvQM8

Oh and by the way, when I posted this on Twitter this morning at 10am, it showed 7,000 views! As I write this, it has clocked up over 24,000 views! Oh happy day!

Posted in Cats, celebrations, Inspiration, Poetry, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Love, Cats and Yeats…A Bealtaine Cottage Valentine

Che nestles on top of the mantle above the stove…the warmest place in the cottage today, Valentine’s day…cats are so clever! The hearts hang below him as he teases Jack!

Willie Yeats is one of my favourite poets.

This is my favourite poem and very apt for Valentine’s Day!

W.B. Yeats

“When You Are Old” WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep, 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true, 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, 
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.” 
― W.B. YeatsThe Aloe plant in the porch has had lots of babies, even though this is the north side of the cottage and quite cold at times!

Hyacinths in full bloom today and releasing heady scents around the cottage.

One of the blue Hyacinths has decided to rest against the work-top in the kitchen.

Dylan Thomas

“Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” 
 Dylan Thomas
Posted in Animals, biodiversity, Cats, Country Living, Lifestyle, Permaculture

Self-Sufficient Living and 145,000 Cats

Bealtaine Cottage Christmas CatA Salutary Lesson

To treat a malaria outbreak in Borneo in the 1950s, the World Health Organization (WHO) sprayed DDT to kill mosquitoes. 

But the DDT also killed parasitic wasps which were controlling thatch-eating caterpillars.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture As a result, the thatched roofs of many homes fell down, and the DDT-poisoned insects were eaten by geckoes, which were in turn eaten by cats.

The cats perished, which led to the multiplication of rats, and then outbreaks of sylvatic plague and typhus.

Bealtaine Cottage 008To put an end to this destructive chain of events, WHO had to parachute one hundred and forty five thousand  live cats into the area to control the rats.

And?

So, what has this little story got to do with self-sufficiency, I hear you ask?

Bealtaine CottageWell, it’s all about circles and loops and asking oneself questions…

For to be self-sufficient it is important to engage with the World, Nature and develop awareness of consequences.

What will happen to this packaging?

Where does my waste water go?

Bealtaine Cottage 022Can I ameliorate the senseless pollution being washed down into the rivers and seas by choosing NOT to use chemicals?

In other words, make it your business to engage and understand why things are as they are! 

Bealtaine Cottage 015The clock ticks on our world.

Not the Earth, for that will go on, but humankind teeters on the brink of destruction…SELF-destruction.

And we are  part of it all the time we fail to engage fully with our state of living.

Bealtaine Cottage 013We cannot throw it away, for there is no ‘away!’

I listened to a woman berate a caller to a rather mediocre radio show here in Ireland.

The woman was stating that if people stopped killing animals, we would be over-run with rats…Veganism was being held up as a possible curse upon the country!

Bealtaine Cottage 009This is the kind of ‘closed-thinking,’ that the corrupt media has brain-washed us with for decades.

More and more people are trotting out banal statements without engaging with the problem they talk about.

Bealtaine Cottage 008As Rachel Carson once said…”The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists solely for the convenience of man…

Bealtaine Cottage 030It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators.

But it can be seen many scores of nights in any year, and so the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead.

And because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.”

Rachel Carson

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Missy, the ginger cat, has become a Bealtaine Angel…sadly missed in life, but a huge presence all around!

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If you would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, completely dependent on people who value what I do, here’s how…

Here is the link to my new Patreon page
https://www.patreon.com/BealtaineCottage

Here is where you can send a donation via PayPal:
https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/BealtaineCottage

Some links for you to use should you wish to comment on any of the videos on the Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel…

The Website… https://bealtainecottage.com/

The Goddess Gardens…
https://www.facebook.com/GoddessGardens/

Twitter… https://twitter.com/PermaGoddess

The Book… https://bealtainecottage.com/a-cottage-and-three-acres-the-bealtaine-story/

https://www.youtube.com/user/BealtaineCottage

Posted in Christmas, Cottage, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Sunshine, Oranges and Stormy Weather…Christmas in Ireland!

Wild winds and storms brought rain and as I write this the storm continues to rage.

The sun shines through the storm and illuminates the sittting room on an otherwise grey day…it’s brilliant and uplifting when this happens!

Talking of brilliant and uplifting, I’ve been looking at Judy Collins recently on Youtube and this is a brilliant rendition of “Amazing Grace”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6vR-TQ7n68

The intricate carvings on this little table top are highlighted in the silvery morning sun of midwinter…

Surely this is a new take on, “the cat sat on the mat,” …in this case it happens to be Missy on the table mat!

She does look rather elegant though, don’t you agree?

Oranges in the cool of the pantry.
When I was a child it was traditional to have oranges at Christmas, because that was when the orange harvest happened in Spain.

It behoves us all to return to a time of seasonal food as a way of eating more healthily and, ultimately, sustainably!

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