Another Trip Around The Sun!

My birthday has passed. It was a wonderful day and here I am in a new year of my life, another journey around the sun! It’s been an extraordinary journey so far and, as usual, it’s been a wonderful time for casting the occasional, cursory glance over my shoulder to the past. To this end, I have recalled many aspects of my relationship with my parents, especially in my younger years, realising more and more just how wonderful they both were! When one is in the thick of it all it’s sometimes very hard to see the people behind the…

Moving with Orion Towards Midwinter

The signs are everywhere… Nights drawing in… Unexpected sunshine on frosted mornings. The bare beauty of trees silhouetted against clear winter skies.  As Orion strides across the evening sky, we draw closer to the Winter Solstice and the darkest, stillest, nights of the year. Winter Solstice celebrations begin on the 21st of December, a time of hope and joy for all, regardless of belief or religious observances. Magical Midwinter! Ancient tribes all over the world observed rituals around Solstice time. We too can  celebrate Winter Solstice, integrating it into our own traditional celebrations. A chance to step outdoors and observe…

The Power of Ritual

Ritual, everyday ritual, is incredibly powerful! Examine the ritual of power, be that in the opening of parliament, royal celebrations, religious ceremony…and you begin to see the importance and power of ritual! So where does this fit into a sustainable life or a permaculture smallholding? It is simple to understand in the context of power… Since the rise of the Age of Technology, our real power as human beings has become diminished. We have become reliant on technology, without stopping to assess and filter the bits we really need and want. I was contemplating this as I lit the stove…

Saint Patrick’s Day Permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

Saint Patrick’s Day! The middle of March in the West of Ireland…and there is much to celebrate! For we have enjoyed a mild winter and fast warming Spring. According to  the old Irish annals, Patrick died in AD 461 on March 17. And so, it is today that we celebrate the greatest non-Irish person as the greatest  of the Irish… for it is in Patrick that the Irish nurture their sense of national pride. Much of the landscape of Ireland is awakened into Spring at this point in the year as you can see from the photographs taken this morning…

On the Eve of Imbolc…

Imbolc is a time to celebrate the promise of Spring and to think about planting… Imbolc, or St Brigid’s Day  Lá Fhéile Bríde,  is an Irish festival marking the beginning of spring. Imbolc is celebrated on the 1st day of February, the date that falls approximately halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The holiday was, and for many still is, a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Celebrations are focused around hearth fires, special foods, as in a family dinner or feast, candles, invoking a sense of the…

Weekend Permaculture Tree Planting at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

  Blossom on the Plum and Cherry trees continue to develop at Bealtaine Smallholding. As I type this blog on a calm and warm Friday evening I am amazed at the continual good weather experienced here in the west of Ireland since the middle of March. The climate is changing…that I know. Peach blossom covers the tree in the tunnel and all the seedlings are growing well. The bottom line is that food is very easy to grow. A small warm space is all that’s needed to get seedlings up and ready for planting out. The Fairy Dell is now…