Posted in Christmas, cottage life, cottage style, Country Living, Uncategorized

Country Cottage Journal

Preparing the cottage for Yuletide and the Midwinter Feast has been underway for the past week or so.

A smaller stove has been installed in the sitting room and much of the furniture in the cottage has been moved around…a great swap has taken place!

The end of all this turmoil is almost in sight…I breath a big sigh of relief, for the organising of sleeping arrangements, food and fuel is next on my “To-Do” list!

This is a great time of the year for working indoors and in many ways it’s also a good time to prepare for the year ahead, get work done and a sense of order into the cottage.

The weather has been stormy and wet, leaving little time for any works outdoors anyway.

Despite this, it’s lovely to walk in the aftermath of such weather, as mists arise and sunsets glimmer…

Presents are made and wrapped and put to one side, to be taken out after the feast and distributed amidst excitement and anticipation.

Many of the gifts are cherished, home-made and unique.

It’s interesting to note that this appears to be much of a trend now as the big manufacturers are attempting to emulate the same “home-made, folksy, country craft” look.

It also shows that people are tired of the commercial glitz!

As I write, sitting here in the small study at the front of the cottage, the rain pours down from the heavens.

Storm Desmond is casting it’s remains down upon us!

I have posted Ancient Bog Oak pendants, hand crafted by my brother Hugh O’Neill, to many countries.

There are a few left should anyone want a gift posted from Bealtaine Cottage on their behalf, though time is limited to a few days for posting in time for Christmas.

This is the link…

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

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Blessings to you all on this stormy Saturday…keep snug and warm!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Christmas, december, family and friends, holiday, midwinter, Permaculture, season

Moving with Orion Towards Midwinter

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The signs are everywhere…

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Nights drawing in…

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Unexpected sunshine on frosted mornings.

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The bare beauty of trees silhouetted against clear winter skies. 

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As Orion strides across the evening sky, we draw closer to the Winter Solstice and the darkest, stillest, nights of the year.

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Winter Solstice celebrations begin on the 21st of December, a time of hope and joy for all, regardless of belief or religious observances.

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Magical Midwinter!

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Ancient tribes all over the world observed rituals around Solstice time.

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We too can  celebrate Winter Solstice, integrating it into our own traditional celebrations.

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A chance to step outdoors and observe the night sky.

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An opportunity to nurture and develop connections to family and friends.

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From this day, there are 22 days to go before the descent into the Midwinter Solstice.

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Yes, the coldest days precede the Spring, so January rarely feels like the prelude to that beautiful season!

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But, here in the West of Ireland, with Imbolc on the first day of February, the signs are there for all to see, as new life emerges from the frozen earth.

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Thanks for your support in sustaining and developing this site.

 

Posted in Christmas, control, Debt, Earth, gifts

Who Controls You?

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Midwinter approaches.

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The holiday season draws near.

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There is no television here at Bealtaine Cottage, so I am unaware of the masses of advertising you are being bombarded with!

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I realise that the pressure is upon you to spend, spend, spend!

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But, hold on a minute or two and think about this… Every pound, euro or dollar you spend this Yuletide will put you deeper and deeper into debt and force others to compete with the madness that is gift-buying!

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As you spend, so the debt piles up around you, pressing you down, deeper into the mire of anxiety!

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Many people spend to the limit on their plastic cards and spend the entirety of the following year just paying it back.

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This represents the most insidious form of control on what should be a life of choices and freedom.

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All the time you are controlled by debt you are enslaved…and for what?

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Most of what is bought at Christmas ends up in landfill sites over the ensuing months. www.bealtainecottage.com 014

Mother Earth pays a huge price for your debt slavery.

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Who controls you?

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The same corporations who pollute Mother Earth?

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Change begins with you and me and the freedom to choose!

Posted in Collapse, Permaculture, Sustainable Living

The Great Collapse

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The great collapse of society, as we know it, is under way.

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Most people are unaware of this.

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Every aspect of controlled living is the same as ever it was.

Sammy-Bear says "Hello!"

The television keeps pumping out much of the same.

Supermarkets hum with shoppers.

Christmas lights flicker in shopping centres.

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The madness of more predominates a world in crisis.

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The populations of countries, channelled to look one way, as governments and the one percent carry on their relentless rendition of acquisition and destruction.

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Look at how we live compared to a few decades ago…

There is no longer a mentality of saving for one’s heart’s desire.

All is instant, right down to the way we satisfy our hunger.

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Hunger?

Merely a concept to most people in the western world.

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I dare not say developed, for that implies evolved and the fact is, we are not in the least bit evolved!

We devour resources, as we revolve.

March 2014

Society is revolving on a mad merry-go-round of consumption.

Revolving, not evolving!

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We all know, in our mere moments of sanity, that this cannot go on.

Eco-systems around us are collapsing.

Species extinction is a runaway train-wreck.

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Another Christmas looms, as people prepare to celebrate the birth of a baby with an orgy of consumerism!

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We should take a bit more notice of that collapse and extinction, for anyone with common sense knows who’s next!

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Future generations will look back upon this time and refer to it as the Great Collapse, much in the same way as we refer to the death of millions in The Great War.

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And, as we all know, there was nothing great about it!

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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…I have posted over 120 videos about Permaculture, Sustainable living practice, planting, growing and living.

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written almost 800 blogs on this Bealtaine Cottage website.

As an advocate for Mother Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living Practice, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU.

Everything created here is self-funded, with a little support from occasional donations..

Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.

Blessings
Posted in Angels, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Christmas, Dogs, Spirituality, Thoughts

Angels and Animals in an Irish Cottage on Christmas Eve

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Christmas Eve at Bealtaine Cottage.

Snow has fallen.

The air is cold and a bitter wind blows.

It rained hard last night and the streams are in flood.

The blackbirds are hungry and have taken to stealing cat biscuits from the bowls on the veranda!

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The blackbirds are clever creatures and have watched both cats enter the lodge through the cat door, where they now sleep away the day, their bellies filled with food and milk.

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Jack stays by my side, in and out of the cottage, as I work.

Jack looks out for me and is a wonderful friend and guardian angel!

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This is a difficult Christmas for many who are without basic necessities.

I am thankful to have a well stocked pantry and woodpile.

For many, food and heat are major problems in their everyday lives.

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 It’s good to give thanks for a warm home and a full plate.

May you all enjoy both this Christmastide…

www.bealtainecottage.com 003An Irish Christmas Blessing

The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you.

Happy Christmas!

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This will be my last blog for a little while as I am taking some time out.

Blessings to you all X

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift, Vegan, Winter

Lifting the Spirits

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Midwinter is over.

For many the celebration of Christmas has begun.

Last minute frenetic shopping today and tomorrow…

The days here at Bealtaine are beginning to lengthen.

Not tangible as yet, but optimism for more daylight has taken hold and sometimes that is enough…simply knowing that the darkness has passed.

The cottage remains in a post-midwinter party state, with chairs pushed back and floor-space revealed.

It may be a day or two before this is sorted, for I want to escape outdoors, despite the stormy weather!

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The lush greenery on the mantelpiece will stay in place for as long as it retains life.

Replacing the candles daily is a small task and keeps the soft light there to lift the spirits.

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A small sadness pervades the air, now that family and friends have gone.

We all enjoyed the coming together of our midwinter feast, with music and bonfire and soft candlelight…a magical time that lifted the spirit.

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Rich food and drink will now give way to simple soups and tea…a sort of cleansing of the palette and system, together with late winter walks, to appease the feasting of recent days.

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Venturing out this morning, into the wind-driven rain, fresh in from the Atlantic, amid the sounds of birds fighting over food…time to scatter the scraps from the feast around the gravel by the cottage for my hungry and cold feathered friends.

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Parsley, Kale and Chard all continue to grow abundantly in the Potager beds…no sign of prolonged frost to diminish these green gifts.

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The Chard is particularly beneficial to the body at this time of year, as it contains generous amounts of both Vitamin C and Iron…the Vitamin C is necessary for the body to absorb the Iron.

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I use the Kale in the juicer each day…a great supplement to my diet, as it charges my energy!

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Do you recall the ground I mulched with cardboard and shreddings?

Well, here it is this morning and as you can see it has now transformed itself into a bed ready to be planted out in the Spring…how easy was that?

There are several hundred blogs on this website about mulching and preparing ground for planting using the easiest methods that I have tried and tested.

To access them simply type key words into the Search Bar at the top of this page!

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Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture

Here’s Why…

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The morning is cold with a spectacular sunrise that washes the sky with shades of red and orange…this is midwinter in all it’s glory!

I’m sat by the computer with coffee, as oftentimes I do in the early morning, uploading photographs and thinking of what I shall write for you.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016There are times when I think to myself, “why continue writing this blog and forever taking pictures and waiting endlessly for uploads and…” but then I get a message, a letter, a card, an email and I am reassured about what I do…

This morning, the writing is done, not by me, but by one of you…my friends, who share this healing journey with me…a winding path, back to an understanding and love for, Mother Earth.

As we help to heal her and make peace with her, so, in turn, she does the same for us…

Dear Colette,

I do hope that this (long overdue) email finds that you are in good form and that all is well with you ? My illness`have been kicking up a bit , not allowing me into the garden as much as I would like , but , still , any chance I get I plan , I plant (myself and my youngest daughter Daisy have gone on a frenzy over the past few months of planting all kinds of seeds, chestnuts, acorns, even apple pips, we plan to give them as gifts to people who DO have the space to plant them , thank you for the inspiration!

Martina 2

Next year (Spring) my husband is building me a small veranda (based on your own…I hope you don’t mind we “robbed “ the design? I just FELL IN LOVE with it!) at the back of our little cottage , I plan to show people that you CAN have the country and self-sufficiency in the town! We do get the “they are cracked” looks , but sure, whats normal really?

Martina 1I am sending you some photos to show you , our pantry is complete!

Martina 4And I managed to make some blackcurrant cordial and jelly (all gone now) , also my yearly elderberry cordial , I still have some hips in the garden and hope to send “himself” out with a bucket this week so I can make so rose hip jam , lovely 😉

martina 5Our ducks are huge now , no egg as yet , but Spring will come, all things in there own good time ! And our Christmas tree this year is a little 3 foot dote in a pot , ready to go to its new home in the garden after Christmas , I`ll find a space somewhere says you , there’s always space!

My husband won the Irish Red Cross “Carer of the Year”

The presentation was last night.

He really deserves it! No other carer in Ireland I`m sure puts up with , “no , that doesn’t look right , move that pot there instead” or “will you dig me another pottage bed please” ? 😉

Martina 3As I write , I have beside me Alice Taylor’s new book “The gift of  a garden” , like all her writing, its lovely and homely , if you get a chance I do recommend you read it!

martina 6We too are hoping it will be fine outside for the solstice , if not , we will make toast by the fire inside and tell stories by candle-light…

MartinaDo have a wonderful Solstice and Christmas season… bless you and keep you , and THANK YOU…when I am bed-bound, I read and re-read your posts , they give me SO much hope , in more ways than you`ll ever know!

Its like I am beside you walking in Bealtaine Cottage , soaking up the healing , and I can almost feel it running through my tired bones!

Take care , love from Tia and all in Moilligh Cottage xx

Posted in Animals, Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Buddha, Cats, celebrations, Childhood, Christmas, Crafts, Inspiration, Life, Personal, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Winter

Midwinter Cottage

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The air is still.
The storm has passed. 
Stillness and silence pervades the cottage.
Jack is in his bed, and the boys continue to doss away the morning in the Lodge.
A midwinter scene repeated all across the northern hemisphere.
midwinter cottage 006Someone remarked on the increasing silence they noticed in the world around them.
Midwinter is a silent time, suffused with echoes and occasional sounds from strange places.
Places that are more difficult to pinpoint on the landscape…it’s a trick played on us by Mother Nature as she paces the dormitories of sleep and hibernation.
midwinter cottage 014Candles illuminate the darkness, dispelling matt grey for moving shadows.
Jingles of Christmas on the radio, some lovely, most rapaciously dreadful, urging the listener to get out now and spend, spend, spend!
And so the radio is switched off and music switched on, low and evocative.
Midwinter enchants us all with memories of stillness and light, fires and food…times past, selected for our personal album of memories.
midwinter cottage 005I found this photograph recently.
It was taken around Midwinter, in a photo-booth in London, when I first ventured away from home and Ireland.
Scents were what I most missed.
The scents of home, like turf and coal smoke, wisping out of chimney pots on rows of terraced houses.
London was filled with new, more exotic scents, especially places like Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning, where Patchouli oil perfume lingered in the air.
midwinter cottage 004Working patchwork, brings me back to early days, in London and the sheer wealth of fabric shops and stalls, Laura Ashley and the love of William Morris retro!
midwinter cottage 007Colours, fabrics and textures continue to fascinate.
midwinter cottage 003Natural fabrics hold most memory…perhaps because they are from the natural world, where energy is hosted.
midwinter cottage 009Sackcloth and old lace cover a jam jar, filled with Honesty.
midwinter cottage 010Cotton gingham of various colours in the kitchen.
midwinter cottage 012Willow, wood and clay pottery, mugs and bowls.
midwinter cottage 015The morning, washed by soft midwinter light…not to be bought and packaged for Christmas, but absorbed by the celebratory soul.
midwinter cottage 013Blessings from this midwinter cottage…
 
Posted in Childhood, Christmas, Current Affairs, Life, Thoughts

A Wish for The Children of Gaza

The full moon rises above Bealtaine Cottage.

Last night there was a new moon, somewhere in the sky.

Often times I watch the moon and think of all those it shines upon.

Many dark nights, when the stars fill the sky with their own light show and shooting stars leave a momentary arch in the night sky, I make a wish.

In the cold November air of a Sunday night in the west of Ireland, I made a wish, a heartfelt wish, for The Children of Gaza.

It was quite a simple wish too.

There was nothing of Christmas, Santa or presents galore.

Nothing to do with Disney, or mince pies, or turkey.

It was simply this…

That somewhere here in the western world, there will be one human being, one hero, one person of compassion and integrity, a leader, who will stand up for what is right.

One brave person and true… for there is one, at least…

Just one, who will say, “No more!”

One who will stand in front of the Children of Gaza and say…”You shall not pass…not on my watch!”

The days when one associated a political leader with integrity and justice are over.

Their mandate appears to be greed and psychopathy.

One can still wish.

Last night I made a wish…

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Country Living, Inspiration, Self-Sufficiency, Thrift, Uncategorized

Christmas Country Living Thrift Workshop…How to make a Table Decoration.

It’s time to get decorating…it’s that time of year, December and nearing midwinter.

One of the simplest decorations to make, for free, is what is called a table decoration.

This starts with a container or plate and a piece of florist wet foam. I have lined the pot with some plastic and cut a piece of foam to put inside.

The florists foam is actually called ‘Oasis,’ and holds a great amount of water. Keep pouring on the water until the foam can hold no more!

Next I insert pieces of greenery around the edge of the foam.

Keep building up the greenery and looking at your creation from all sides to ensure a balance…

I have used Teasel for the centre piece…you can use any seasonal flower, dried or fresh.

Try to include as many aspects of the season as you can lay your hands on…it’s not finished yet!

It is easy enough to insert a candle into the middle of the decoration, making sure it rises above the greenery so it can be safely lit on Christmas Eve.

Posted in Christmas, Country Living, Crafts, Frugal Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thrift, Uncategorized, Winter

Country Living in Ireland and a Frugal Christmas…

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As the days darken and midwinter approaches, I find myself spending more and more time in the craft room at Bealtaine Cottage…

It’s a warm and cosy room and painting it orange makes it seem even more so…no better place to be on a winter’s day!

missy in the kitchen by the stove
 Melting wax on the kitchen stove to make an abundant supply of Christmas gifts… 

And continuing to enjoy the beautiful colours of a late autumn through the kitchen window as I work…

Bealtaine Cottage wood burning stovethe best things in life are free, so be frugal this Yuletide and make, bake, share!

Posted in Art, Christmas, Crafts, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

Country Living, Permaculture Style, in the West of Ireland

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Lots of cutting back to be done at the end of the season.

Masses of kindling here that will be stored to dry in the barn.

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The land is slowly returning to fertility as the trees grow and shed leaves each Autumn and the bird-life increases, along with insects and bees.

September 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 001Jack waits patiently for his walk as I take a rest from candle-making…the day is ripe for being outdoors…

There’s something quite delicious about sitting down with a cup of tea and putting one’s feet up…in this case on the coffee table.

I don’t have a television so keep an abundance of books around me…

The candle-making continues…tidying up to do, but not before a dozen or so big candles are made…

Posted in Animals, Climate, Uncategorized

Country Living at Bealtaine Cottage…Soaring temperatures for November!

The weather has been so very mild over the past few days with temperatures hitting 17 centigrade…this is hotter than Valencia in Spain!
The hens don’t seem to mind and working outside has been pleasant, so it’s good all round.
Oregano grows almost wild here in the west of Ireland…growing up around the water bins here in this pic…it’s such a bee friendly plant and is perennial too, so once planted it will happily spread all over the place. It especially likes the gravelly ground and indeed is sprouting all along the driveway up to the cottage! The flowers dry well and make great teas…the leaves are, of course, an essential part of any decent pasta or pizza dish!

I am busy making candles for Christmas and bottling wine…to give as presents of course! Home made gifts are always the best!
It’s been a busy week, but I hope to get the video camera out at the weekend and make some more film of the gardens…

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Angels, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Food, Gaia, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Smallholding

A Life in the Country ~ In Love with the Green Earth…

I am in love with the green earth   ~Charles Lamb

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Living in the country is a never ending adventure in Nature…

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I love writing about this life in the west of Ireland…

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However, everyone who lives on this beautiful Earth has a deeply rooted connection with it’s spirit.

The spirit of Gaia!

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The day, water, sun, moon, night – I do not have to purchase
these things with money.
                                                                                            – Plautis

And this is true for all!

Bringing in the harvest, bit by bit and cooking it, bottling it, freezing it,  jamming and pickling it… And the thing is, there is a huge harvest in the hedgerows this year due to the brilliant Spring we had here in Ireland…so there’s food for all, just waiting…

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The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is
to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone
with the heavens, nature and God.

Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and
that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple
beauty of nature.  I firmly believe that nature brings solace
in all troubles. ~Anne Frank
                                 


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This is a good time to divide and plant up house-plants…they make fantastic Christmas/Yuletide gifts and are imbued with all the love you have given them! What better gift?


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Sunlight floods in…I love mornings like this!

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A certain simplicity of living is usually necessary to happiness.
                                                                                       – Henry D. Chapin

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The less clutter around the better life you find, especially in the simple things…at least that’s what I’ve found to be true!

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Find peace and joy and contentment in the Natural World! Go out walking…

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GROWING THE BEALTAINE PROJECT ONE UPLOAD AT A TIME…

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 support…