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.

An Irish Cottage Garden and Homestead in Spring

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The promise of peaches growing outdoors in the west of Ireland, another Bealtaine Cottage first! Blossom on these home grown trees, grown from seed, is looking good. So far, with only the first month behind us, this has been a remarkable Spring!

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New Bird Boxes have been added to the rich habitat, now in its fifteenth year on these three acres.

IMG_1967The interior of the tunnel has been remodelled  to create a sanctuary in which to enjoy being in the garden, even in very wet weather!

IMG_1678Sanctuaries are much needed in today’s world!

IMG_1965The plastic has been washed inside and out, ready for its fourteenth year!

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IMG_1963The area around the tunnel, which includes compost heaps and potting corner, is now tidy.

IMG_1961Crocosmia is growing into fine clumps of lime green foliage.

IMG_1959Rhubarb doesn’t need forcing in the mild climate enjoyed here in the west of Ireland. IMG_1960Beds have been well mulched and Rhubarb banked up with enriched compost.

IMG_1954Work in the garden never stops, because Mother Earth never sleeps.

Sweet Peas have successfully germinated outdoors in plastic buckets. Many of you have been following this experiment.

IMG_1953IMG_1952There are lots more seeds germinating in this way and I expect them to be stronger and hardier for their experience being outdoors, even through the recent snow!

IMG_1949In between the outdoors work, clothes are hand-washed and hung out to dry in the wind and sporadic sunshine.

IMG_1948IMG_1947Potatoes are arranged to chit, as pots are brought together and prepared for potato planting.

IMG_1955In a home without television, reading is the great entertainment…my book of the moment is all about the incredible life of Vita Sackville-West…a rollicking good read in the form of a wonderful biography by Victoria Glendinning.

IMG_1940And, as always, whenever the weather allows, the back door is thrown open to welcome in the day that’s in it!

Books, Map, Calendar and Bumper Sticker selection…

Bealtaine Cottage Press: 

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-publications-books-and-maps/

Today at Bealtaine Cottage

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Rain fell last night and continues this morning.

There will be no lack of water in the well for the next few weeks!

DSC00663 I have finally given away my hens…as I no longer eat eggs and there was a lovely home ready and waiting for them where they would be more useful, as they are good layers and their eggs will be anticipated and appreciated where there is a family of people to eat them.

DSC00662I shall miss them, but as with life at Bealtaine Cottage, the void is quickly filled and the hen-house will be re-purposed and appreciated further.

DSC00661In the past, their manure was a part of developing the fertility of the land at Bealtaine, but this is no longer needed.

The compoost system is now working very well and far exceeds what any animal manure could bring to three acres.

DSC00659Seed production is well under way, with some of the harvest already collected and much more coming to fruition.

DSC00660We are now one week away from Midsummer, as evidenced in the lush growth seen here! 

DSC00655We inter-breath with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans.  They are part of our own body.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

DSC00658The fruit trees and bushes were pruned back quite hard over the course of last Autumn and Winter and they are happily producing yet another bumper harvest.

DSC00656 …no matter how complex or affluent, human societies are nothing but subsystems of the biosphere, the Earth’s thin veneer of life, which is ultimately run by bacteria, fungi and green plants.  

~Vaclav Smil 

DSC00657Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.  

~Charles Cook  

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“If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.”
J.M. Coetzee

Permaculture Food Forest in Ireland

The leaves are just beginning to bud and appear.

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Bees are busy at work here in the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…without them this would be a place of hunger.

Poster after permacultureBut, it’s not…instead it boasts food for all and more to come.

This is what a food forest looks like as the sap rises and life returns.

poster permaculture viewThese are the gardens of the goddess, Mother Earth in all her splendour and abundance!

And here is today’s video…

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Hens, Compost and St Patrick’s Day at Bealtaine Cottage

 

Collecting fresh laid eggs from the hen house on the morning of St Patrick’s Day at Bealtaine Cottage.

Step inside the Hen House with me to see where the girls have laid… then over to the tunnel to check on the seedlings.

I explain how the compost toilet system is so simple and easy and essential!

Finally, walking around the front of the cottage to delight in the quickening growth of the season! 

 

 

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Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Preparedness

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Midwinter has passed, and with it, the counting down of the days towards the light.

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Visitors have now left and the cottage seems eerily quiet…somewhere in the stone walls I can hear a mouse scrambling about.

The cats are sleeping off their party food, including creamy custard from the sherry trifle, and are ensconced on top of the straw bales in the barn.

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This was my first opportunity to get out into the gardens and observe the flow of the water through the ponds after all the heavy rain of recent days.

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The weather has been very warm with heavy rain.

The temperature has stayed around and above 55F day and night.

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Despite the midwinter, there remains plenty of colour in the gardens.

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Dogwoods of red and lime green, willow and evergreens merge to make a colourful picture, especially in the winter.

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The weather experts are fore-casting possible snow and hard frost after Christmas and before New Year.

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The worst of the weather is yet to come, as so often is the case in December.

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The warm weather has seen the continued growth of Fungi, one of the beautiful aspects of decaying wood.DSC00261

I have watched the cost of food escalate this year, so am mindful that this is a good time to start preparing food-grow areas, such as raised beds.

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The small potager beds here at Bealtaine continue to give food through these darks days of winter.

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If you have not yet started a compost heap, then section off a corner of the garden for that too.

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There’s masses of leaves still on the ground, so just bagging these up will give you precious leaf mould in the growing season!

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I want to take this opportunity to say a huge “Thanks” to all of you who have posted cards, presents and donations over the past week.

I am overwhelmed by your love, kindness and generosity.

Bless you XXX

As War Looms…keeping Faith with Mother Earth!

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 008Such news as makes me angry…so off into the gardens to get working and channel my energy as best I can!

And as if Mother Earth

heard my despair, she has worked tirelessly overnight making the compost heap look beautiful…I laugh out loud in joy!

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This morning as I spread compost and seaweed on the vegetable beds, before mulching down with cardboard and straw, I ponder on putting the exposed earth to bed for the winter…this makes me feel as though I am nurturing the great Mother. 

It is all I can do to help assuage the horrors of what Man does to her!

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The big tidy-up is important, before the wind and rain sets in…and what a lot of tidying to be done!

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Just in case you thought anything about where the compost toilet is emptied…in these neat bins, holes drilled into the bottom of each, no smell, no flies and thoroughly sustainable on site!

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Cutting and chopping Willow to store for burning…as Charlie supervises!

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The Lime trees have begun to shed their leaves.

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The bees continue their daily forage in and around the Nasturtiums.

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As the seaweed dries out, all these lovely shades of autumn emerge…

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Let peace rise up as the Michelmas daisies around Buddha…my mantra for today.

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Tend Mother Earth…in this time of destruction…it’s the best we can do!

From the Fringe…

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 001The start of the week in this sacred place, where edges meet and overlap…a cooling, calming morning. 

Yesterday was a day of visits and creating bouquets to take with me.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 002The gardens are flourishing and birthing beauty all around me, so there was much to gather and choose from.

This is the tenth year using the roll of cellophane bought for me by my eldest daughter all those years ago as a leaving London present!

Small investments can and do go on giving!

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 003Walking the gardens this morning, after the rain, with the earth scents rising all around me, it was a delight to see the apples well on their way to a grand harvest.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 004I continue to drink the apple juice saved as frozen juice from the harvest last year.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 005The “poor” land here has given me more food than I can cope with…a continuing surplus builds year on year.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 006In this tenth year, it is no longer a surprise that the main stream media has steered clear of permaculture, for the truth of biodiversity undermines the huge Agri-business pushed by governments and those in power.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 007Permaculture has been pushed out to the fringes of society by ignoring the outcomes of such an approach.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 008This is why I write and photograph and film and keep putting it out there.

I don’t mind being ignored, but Mother Earth WILL have her voice heard and those tuning in are rising in numbers to a point where the mainstream media will have to take notice or end up being overtaken.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 010The compost heaps continue to rise toward the sky, dropping back down to earth as they bio-degrade.
Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 011Newly planted beds promise a rich return all Autumn and well into the Winter.
Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 012Natural Spring water flows in abundance from an aquifer that is unabused by demanding “flush it away,” toilet cisterns.

There is no away and besides which, water is sacred!

Why use clean water to flush our human waste into the rivers and oceans…no way, there is no away!
Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 013Taking care of people means taking care of the Earth…how simple is that philosophy to put into practice?

Not if you are a corporation or a politician on the make and take, for there is no money in caring, just an abundant, real economy!

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 014Our abiding relationship is with Mother Earth.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 016It is the only physical relationship which surpasses all others in this life.

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 017If we imagine our world as a tapestry, then where are you on the stitching?

Permaculture at www.bealtainecottage.com 020Where do you want to be on the weave?

Here’s a thought: one of the biggest and most powerful supermarket chains in the UK and Ireland spent a small fortune on creating this advertising slogan, “Every Little Helps!”  

Own it!