Equinox Return

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I have returned home from my friends Terri and Lol in Clifden, Connemara. The Arts Festival was in full swing in the town, with a real buzz in the air! Staying with my friends whose house is outside of the town near the ocean was a calm and reviving experience. This is one of their beautiful cats in the garden.

IMG_8544Driving home through the landscape of this beautiful part of Ireland was a holiday in itself. The road from Clifden to Westport is the stuff made of legends, with mountains that rear up in front of one and water reflecting the ever-changing sky.

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This is Kylemore Abbey, where I stopped for tea and a welcome rest…it’s a long drive, over three hours in total!

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If you look closely you can see the mountains behind the tree…

Then I arrived home…

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Three days away makes a big difference as I walked the woodland gardens admiring the rapidly developing colours of Autumn. Today is the Equinox and midway between Lughnasadh and Samhain, so the Autumn is really colouring the land.

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Jack was delighted to have me home…well the feeling was mutual, as I was over-joyed to see him!

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Lots of work to get done now that I am feeling invigorated with new thoughts and ideas, especially here in the Lughnasadh Garden…masses of bindweed to remove as well!

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It is pure joy to be able to be outdoors at this time of year…ah…if only there were more hours in the day!

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Thanks to all of you who have ordered a calendar…I shall be posting calendars and books in the morning! Lots of calendars left…the link is at the top of the page!

 

A Year at Bealtaine…part 3

Poppies in Permaculture

2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe potager beds were extended and two more were constructed.

angel at bealtaine cottageAquilegia and Valerian ignored the seasons and came up together, surrounding the porch with delicate shades of pink and purple.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt was a frenzy of colour!

roses on verandaThe roses made their appearance on the veranda, more abundant than ever!

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodMy friends Terri and Lol brought me masses of seaweed from their beautiful Clifden in Connemara and it was spread all over the potager beds!

Sammy Bear and meSammy-Bear turned from a rather naughty kitten into an even naughtier cat!

Roses at Bealtaine CottageVisitors had to dodge the low-hanging flowers and…

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottageemerging fruit!

bird bath in pollarded Sycamore at Bealtaine CottageBird baths were sat into trees for the rather hot birds…

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineand Blackcurrant wine was started off in the glass carboy.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThen transferred to a demijohn to sit out the next few months on the kitchen windowsill.

Roses at the back of Bealtaine Cottage todayThe heat of summer continued and the well ran dry!

Bealtaine Cottage signBealtaine Cottage basked in the sun and heat, as I carted water up from a spring well lower down the land.

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage todayRose petals fell like confetti all over the veranda…it was lovely!

bealtaine Cottage this eveningOx-Eye Daisies flourished everywhere!

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageSammy-Bear cooled off by rolling in the dirt path in the tunnel and getting absolutely filthy!

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageChe-Mousey found a cool spot in the shade of the laurel arch.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningIt was sheer abundance!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.And the summer rolled on…

Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!

Blessings from Bealtaine XXX

The Haunting…

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With great longing for home and sadness of leaving, I made the journey back from Connemara today.

As I passed Kylemore Abbey, the clouds began a hasty descent, down over the mountains of the pass…

I longed for home, but was mesmerized by the play of light and mist that is a magical part of the landscape of the West of Ireland.

A landscape that haunts one forever…


Their cottage is surrounded by the most ethereal  play of light, being near the shoreline and surrounded by mountains.


I first met Terri and Lol when they visited Bealtaine Cottage to learn more about Permaculture and quickly bonded in a deep friendship.


I meet so many wonderful people here at Bealtaine and am often invited to visit with them, though rarely take the time to do so…

I’m glad I made this journey into the hauntingly beautiful land of Connemara…the images will inspire dreams for many nights ahead in Winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 051The past three days in Connemara have inspired me in many ways.

I met some fine people and talked about wine making and permaculture.

www.bealtainecottage.com 060Connaught, the province of Ireland where Connemara lies, has, historically, been associated with immense poverty and harsh living conditions, though its beauty has kept it populated, albeit sparsely in parts.

Many Irish have emigrated from here, down through the centuries, especially so during the Great Famine.

 

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Yesterday morning, I walked in the gardens as the sun rose, and watched the mist slowly lift from the fields, that run down to the shoreline.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Terri and Lol have planted lots of Willow, as a wind break and are developing a sustainable smallholding around their cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Living this close to the mighty Atlantic Ocean, the land is swept by salt-winds and gales, that roar in over thousands of miles of turbulent sea, making landfall, with all the power and destruction only those winds can carry.

The soil is scraped off rock and carried on the winds, to fill crevice and glen.

Even the cows have learned to forage and climb like mountain goats in search of food!

This beautiful creature stood atop the rocks watching the sun rise, as I walked in my dressing gown around the cottage gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030In the distance, my little camera picked out the walls of ancient cottages, abandoned to the elements of sea, rain, wind and sun, casting imaginary sounds of past lives upon the mist that lifted heavenwards, in the warm morning air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 059As I drove towards home, leaving this magically, evocative landscape behind me, the sheer beauty of Connemara urged me to stop… and take one last image to share with you…

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Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

JackThe permaculture harvest continues, along with the increasing numbers of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage.

Garlic is harvested, dried and stored…just in time for re-planting the crop for next year, in just a few more weeks.

As the world teeters once more on the brink of chaos, in the forms of war and nuclear contamination from Fukushima, getting the harvest home and planning for next Spring is a way of keeping one’s sanity!

It’s also a way of nurturing optimism and hope for the future!

kilronan mountainTomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel.

I let them do their own thing and they have produced wildly!

All the tomatoes are late, but then the summer was dithering in and out of Spring this year!

Even the Perlagoniums in the photo above are in late flower after several months of sleepy time!

porchAs the summer fades into Autumn, the light changes inside and around the cottage in the most delightful ways.

Shadows prevail in unfamiliar places, making all look quite different.

workshopOnions, Blackcurrants, Peas and Broad beans are all stored for the year.

I am continuing to use the remainder of last year’s Blackcurrants!

More wine I think!

I was invited to give a talk to the Green Party recently and am invited to give another talk at an Arts festival in Connemara…along with a wine making demonstration, so will be finding use for excess Blackcurrant crops!

evening sun reflectionsShadow play on the door of the Lodge…isn’t this beautiful?

This is a good place to dry herbs when the stove is lit, as it gets very hot very fast!

wine, kitchenI noticed that there is a bumper crop of Blackberries on the hedgerows this Autumn.

I looked up some old recipes for using Blackberries, so will be collecting them and saving them in the freezer, ready to use in a plethora of delicious recipes!

Food for free and lots of it!

The new compost heap is being stacked up daily, so am already thinking about next planting season!

cup of tea!There is a slight chill in the air, heralding Autumn as it transits into cooler times.

It’s a good idea to wear cotton scarves around shoulders and neck and take them off indoors!

Along with all the food harvested, there is an abundance of seeds to bring in and herbs to dry and store.

This is also the time to begin collecting tree seeds to sow in pots…something I do every year!

missyAs I work, show visitors around, harvest and continue building my workshop, Missy snoozes, oblivious to it all!

Growing Food in Cottage Gardens

Roses at bealtaine cottageIt’s a perfect day for being in the garden, with just the right amount of sun and shade as the voluminous clouds drift overhead, sun shines full in between and there’s just a promise of rain!

roses on verandaThe roses on the veranda are hanging so low that one has to limbo-dance under them to get in and out of the cottage.

roses at bealtaine cottageIn doing this manoeuvre, one gets smothered in the most heavenly scent.

weed suppressing with cardboardMy friend, Terri brought lots of cardboard and seaweed from Connemara and I laid the cardboard down in the new orchard yesterday.

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodThe seaweed is being spread on the Potager beds much to the disdain of the slugs…but they will move out, deeper into the gardens, where their voracious appetites will be welcomed!

bees and peas at bealtaine cottagePeas are podding…these are an Irish heritage variety and seeds will be saved!

Peas and Bees at Bealtaine CottageThe bees work hard here at Bealtaine Cottage to make sure I have harvests of abundance every year!

Young Kale in the Potager Beds at Bealtaine CottageKale and Broccoli are thriving in between herbs and flowers.

Potager bed at Bealtaine CottageGarlic stands ready to be harvested.

Young Pumpkins at Bealtaine CottageOnions are thriving and Pumpkins are finally rooting in and beginning to grow.

Roses at Bealtaine CottageCara, who now has Gloria, is delighted to report that the aforementioned hen adores slugs and eats 20-30 daily.

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Raspberries are coming into fruit.

Sweet Joe Pye at Bealtaine CottageSweet Joe Pye…food for the eye…soon to be in flower!

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Salads are continually harvested from the tunnel…mixed with much herbs and very tasty!

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Blackcurrants ripen towards a promise of Cordial, Wine, Jam and Chutney.

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Mother Earth knows no austerity!

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Permaculture Planting at Bealtaine Cottage

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine CottageCardboard and seaweed.

Copious amounts of both were brought to the cottage last Sunday by two followers of this Permaculture blog, Terri and Lol, now good friends!

Living by the Atlantic Ocean in Connemara, access to seaweed was available and, as Terri has a health shop, cardboard was plentiful.

Bealtaine Cottage willowMaking the journey  all the way from Connemara, with their friend, John, the boot of the car was opened and this incredible valuable material was hauled out.

Atlantic shore seaweed, bags of it, along with flattened cardboard, was to be used in the making of a new garden.

As with all permaculture gardening, it would be simple and easy.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture plantingI started this process yesterday and made a short film about my progress this morning…see the link at the bottom of the page.

Preparation of the permaculture is easy and takes a relatively short amount of time.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Permaculture is the easiest and most environmentally-friendly way to garden, grow or farm.

Bealtaine Cottage willow archPermaculture considers every single aspect of the world around us, from the home, extending into the garden and beyond.

You will see how this is applied in some small way in the video.

Enjoy!

As Snow Falls on the Mountain…

Friday morning.

The sun is shining, as snow falls on the mountain and tries to gain ground here in the valley.

Even as the snow falls on Kilronan Mountain, the midwinter sun shines weakly onto the back of the cottage.
The Geraniums continue to bloom…

This is the view of the mountain opposite Bealtaine Cottage this morning.
Snow dustd the top of Kilronan, making it look like a huge Christmas cake!

Rosehips from the Rosa Canina shelter in the lee of one of the pine trees.

Trees of all-sorts and all-colours…the birds approve of all and the landscape is better for the diversity…monoculture is not an option.

The beautiful energy that is Ireland’s greatest hope…it’s young people…

Mike Scott from “The Waterboys,” sings live to a school in Connemara, west of Ireland…feel the energy, wow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLAPOxpXGkU&feature=related