Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, bog gardens, Cottage, First day of Spring, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, season, Uncategorized, Woodland, woods

Signs of Spring

Catnip Heart Toy made at Bealtaine Cottage

Life is stirring.

Light shines higher in the morning sky.

Thickening buds cast a haze over the land.

“But there were certain early days in Casterbridge- days of firmamental exhaustion which followed angry south-westerly tempests-when, if the sun shone, the air was like velvet.”
Thomas Hardy

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine Cottage

Colours emerge and birds sing out a joyous, higher note.

Warm weather in January

We are officially in the season of Spring in the West of Ireland and the new energy is tangible, from rising in the morning to the growing lateness of dusk.

The temperature seems rather unstable, as you can see evidence of in the photograph above.

The morning began very cold and in the space of minutes, the temperature had climbed by 18 F., causing the mirror on the veranda to steam up!

I recorded this as most of the only real information about climate and weather appears to be anecdotal evidence from social media! Cottage interior at Bealtaine, 2016

My favourite aspect of Spring is the way the light changes.

If one simply sat in this cottage and never ventured outdoors it would be possible to map the seasons in light play.

I expect birds, animals and even insects are similarly informed.

Living in the glare of artificial light can be dulling to our senses!

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”
Vita Sackville-West, The Land

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Elsewhere in the woodland gardens at Bealtaine, frogs have emerged from hibernation and busied themselves, as only frogs can in cold ponds!

Frogs in Bealtaine pond have the luxury of a shallow, sheltered, ancillary pond, hand dug by myself, just off the main one.

This water heats faster and earlier, ensuring maximum attention to the detail of frog mating and spawning…a sort of nursery pond!

Anyway, it works a treat and has done for the past eleven years.

As a consequence, the amphibian life force has healthily expanded!

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

 

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016
Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2016

Diversity of planting not only has created resilience, but bestowed all year round colour to Bealtaine Cottage…so appreciated as Spring emerges…for with this rising of the sap, comes a much defined colour change!

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Pussy Willow at Bealtaine Cottage. Ireland

Catkins have appeared on the Willow…and there’s many different varieties in the Woodland. Pond and even Orchard gardens. Essential food for the bees emerging from a hungry winter hibernation.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Quince flowers, Bealtaine Cottage, Feb 2016

This Quince grows in the Bog Garden and has begun to flower!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood

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Where would Spring be without the exquisite little Primroses?

Seen here in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine, surrounded by Spurge!

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Spurge at bealtaine cottage in the Fairy Wood

The Fairy Wood awakens!

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

 

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, YouTube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Cats, Childhood, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Summer, Trees

Earth Sense

veranda at bealtaine cottageThankfully it rained for most of the night!

Not a lot of people would be happy to report that, but as a grower, the dry heat of recent weeks has been a close call for the younger plants!

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe water barrels have filled and the well is finally sending more than a trickle to the cottage!

More peas and beans were planted out yesterday, so this rain will bed them in nicely!

potager beds and peach trees at bealtaine cottageIf it was possible to bottle the Earth Scents outside in the gardens, then I’d be a millionaire and could buy lots more land to plant trees on!

Rosa Rugosa and copper beechThere is another Earth Sense though…one we all need to tune into…one that ensures a sense of well-being.

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageA sense of belonging to the environment around us.

permaculture gardens and Sammy on the roofLiving in a small cottage ensures much time spend outdoors during the day, something that was common place for many people until fairly recent times.

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageThe advent of TV ensured more and more people lived indoors and not out.

Poppy at bealtaine cottageI recall as a child spending much of the day outdoors, as there just wasn’t room in the house to play!

after the rainWalking outdoors can add to a sense of well-being, even in the rain.

columbine The healing aspects of Nature are being continually distilled into medication by the pharmaceutical corporations, yet remains inherent all around us.

Sammy Bear and meNature massages the soul!

angel at bealtaine cottageBeing outside with plants, trees, wildlife, Nature, animals and birdsong, is unbeatably good for ones’ mental health!

angel at bealtaine cottageNature is real and alive, strong but gentle and always there for us despite the abuse we fling at her.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt is something that cannot be put into a pill and certainly not for sale in a bottle!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 800 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in biodiversity, Christmas, Earth, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thoughts, Trees

A Nation That Destroys…

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureA nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.

Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture No-one can dispute that statement.

We are all enlightened as to the importance of trees in our world.

Every time we breath it is because of the great lungs of our Earth.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture It really is a wonder why it isn’t the standard thing to do on the birth of a child… plant a tree…perhaps this should be mandatory, as a way of reminding every person on the planet about the life link between ourselves and trees.

Trees at Bealtaine, June 2011 004The battle we have fought, and are still fighting, for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong. – John Muir

Trees at Bealtaine, June 2011 007I only wish that I had more land to plant trees!

A few more acres and then some more.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureI would be happy planting trees until the day I die…and then to be planted into the ground with a beautiful tree to grow from me!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture So to be completely practical in the season I find myself in, I make a midwinter wish to my friends and family…a tree would make a lovely present!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureA growing investment for you, me and every lovely baby born today!

If you would like me to plant a tree on your behalf, or for someone dear to you, please contact me through my Etsy Shop…

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BealtaineCottage

Posted in Birds, Books, Country Living, Inspiration, Permaculture, Poetry, Thrift, Uncategorized

Frugality, Environmentalism and Optimism…

Frugality, environmentalism and optimism…big helpings of each on this very wet Wednesday!

Much of this is embodied in the painted stone which nestles near the climbing Rose next to the veranda  at Bealtaine Cottage.

I love natural shapes and garden ornaments that don’t cost the Earth.

This painted stone, embellished with water colour paint and some varnish to hold it together, was gifted to me by a child who visited Bealtaine, on a rainy day, like today, and who sat engaged in this task for simply ages, as his mother and I drank tea and shared time!

I adore Owls and have yet to see one here in the west of Ireland, so I keep Olly Owl perched on wood just outside the back door!

Never throw away an old Bear…they just keep improving with time!
My heart cries for the Brown Bears kept in captivity in China for their bile…absolutely horrid and cruel!

A peek out the window in the Den is as far as I go into the gardens today…much too wet!

On the upside, it’s incredibly mild!

Intensive planting, excludes weeds and cuts down on much work!
Intensive planting, excludes weeds and cuts down on much work!

I might mention all the divine charms of a bright spring day, but if you had never in your life utterly forgotten yourself in straining your eyes after the mounting lark, or in wandering through the still lanes when the fresh-opened blossoms fill them with a sacred silent beauty like that of fretted aisles, where would be the use of my descriptive catalogue?

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It's always good to have a special spot in your garden. Sitting in the shelter of trees is calming. This is a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa and look around.
It’s always good to have a special spot in your garden. Sitting in the shelter of trees is calming. This is a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa and look around.

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

ALFRED, Lord TENNYSON, Locksley Hall