A Home for the Jackdaws

The Jackdaws have up residence in the unused chimney.

A beautiful pair of Jackdaws…here is the male keeping watch, waiting for the female to put the twig, carefully carried to the cave, into place in the nest. He will alert her to my presence!

He’s just spotted me! Now there followed a flapping of wings as both took off together into the cold, clear morning sky. I don’t object to their presence…let all life find sanctuary here at Bealtaine Cottage.
Yes indeed, it is very cold, with a deep cap of snow on Slieve Anierin to prove it.

Blossom on the Blackthorn is abundant this year…the Wild Bees are in their nectar Heaven, with a promise of Sloes to follow in Autumn.
The tunnel is evolving as my own sanctuary, where I can sit and observe the burgeoning life all around me. A place of silent retreat and mindfulness.
The days of clearing up the compost and pots area are almost at an end. The new compost area is now where the hundreds of pots used to be. The compost to the left will be distributed around the gardens where it is needed.
I intend planting out the old compost area with shrubs, to provide both protection from the east winds and colour to lighten the heart!

There remains much work to be done here in the gardens over the coming days and weeks. It is essential I get on with it! I shall leave you with the rest of the photographs I took this morning as I walked around the gardens.

Apple blossom ready to break out.
Blackcurrant blossom near to opening.

Decorating an Old Cottage

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Those of you familiar with Bealtaine Cottage online and the many hundreds who have visited will be interested to see the results of what a little paint can do in terms of brightening up a home.

Yes, I’ve been busy over recent days, stood on a step-ladder, paintbrush in one hand and paint tin in the other, alongside dusters to remove the heaps of cobwebs…eek!

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There’s a certain old world loveliness to “Duck Egg Blue,” as the paint is referred to, more often than not!

The colour is reminiscent of the eighteenth century and the novels of Jane Austen…a favourite author of mine. sitting room at Bealtaine Cottage bealtainecottage.com 005

There’s a simplicity about the soft pastel shades which bring out the best in an old cottage.

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Decorating a cottage is fairly simple too, as the walls and general layout are quite forgiving…in other words, anything goes as long as it’s a good mix of styles and time periods, for a cottage is a harbourer of both!

The wooden chest of drawers in the corner is relatively new-style, but provides a practical function of storing clothes not in seasonal use…and what better position, than by the chimney wall, where dampness is never an issue!

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It’s a fuss-free environment indeed! Decorating an old cottage works well when one projects personality and quirkiness into the general style…in my case it’s always a case of what frugality allows for, so an eclectic style is as much practical as it is creative.

A reflection of what the great William Morris once said…”Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”...that allows me free reign really!

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Cosy. Practical. Colourful. That’s what works for me.

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The colours will also be a good backdrop to Samhain and Yule decorations…as many of the pumpkins are seasoned indoors and the window ledges are needed for storage too.

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And as for the paint…well, it does go a long way…

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Bealtaine cottage crafts 010Bog Oak Pendants are available from the Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop.

Each pendant is hand-crafted from locally sourced Irish Bog Oak, an ancient and profoundly mysterious wood that’s been buried in the Irish peat bogs for thousands of years.

These pendants are hand carved from wood dated as 5,600 years old.

Visit:

https://bealtainecottage.com/craft-shop/

Making a Rocket Stove is so very easy!

Today I made a Rocket Stove, using materials scavenged from waste ground…some old concrete blocks.

Many of the instructions up on the web are complicated and involve the use of metal and cutting equipment, none of which I have.

The basic principle of a Rocket Stove, once grasped, allows for more freedom of materials.

Basically, the air is drawn into the chimney, through a corridor of sorts, with a fire set into the base.

The kettle or pot is placed on the top of the chimney, just allowing for air and smoke to escape…in my case I set some pieces of slate on the four corners of the chimney top that the pot then rested on.

Anyway…have a look at the video and you will see what I have done.

The stove uses tiny amounts of wood and is just the most amazing and economical way to cook!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO495ZwdA94&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

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.’

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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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