Excavating the Past…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (22)

Easy to grow salads, almost ready to eat from the box!

This mixture of seeds, mostly saved seeds, so the cost is minimal, has taken about 3 weeks to germinate and grow, outdoors.

Coriander, Parsley, Lettuce, Spinach, Leeks, fennel and more, all jostle together.

These will be cut and cut again for several harvests.

Some of the bigger, stronger seedlings will be pricked out and planted on.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (23)I want to thank all of you who commented and liked on yesterday’s blog…this has really energized me!

Living on one’s own can be quiet at times and it was so great to get such lively and uplifting feedback…bless you all XXX

bealtainecottage.com permacultureI love to forage and dig about at old dump sites, many of which can be found around old Irish cottages.

Nothing was ever thrown, but rather placed in the ditch or bank, so when people like myself excavate decades later, much of what we find remains intact.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (2)This is a selection of old bottles dug up and cleaned.

Some of them are really beautiful, don’t you think?  

Among other things, the practice of excavating old sites is directly linked to antique bottle collecting and glass-making. 

This hobby is so very interesting as it allows a picture of the past to be slowly unraveled and a new tapestry created of past lives.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (24)As I write there is a light spray of rain in the air…it is barely falling!

The ground has been dry and water levels in wells have  dropped in recent weeks.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (4)A week of rain would be very welcome.

The  rain-water barrels have served me well, but are now empty.

Close planting has helped preserved the moisture in all of the beds.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (3)The dry weather has also been great for seed collection.

I have hung Mizuna and Purple Sprouting Broccoli in the barn to dry off.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (7)This Parsley seed will be ready to hang very soon.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (5)Hover-flies buzz endlessly around the flower-heads of the Cotoneaster.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (6)Leycestria Formosa grows like a weed here in the west of Ireland and the flower-heads transform into chocolate-scented berries much loved by the Blackbirds.

In between, it makes a beautiful bush…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (8)Summer prevails and may continue long into September, making a seamless merge into late Autumn.

Enjoy every day in some small way…Blessings X

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Black Bees, Compost and Rocket Stoves

Blue table on veranda at bealtaine cottageNasturtiums, Lobelia, Petunia, Sweet William, Perlagonium, Valerian and Night Scented Stock are jostling for space near the back door.

Roses lead the way to the new orchardAbundance reigns supreme in the gardens, as seen here in these lovely old-fashioned roses that lead the way up to the new orchard.

Bee with a black bumBees are in a frenzy over the Cotoneaster.

This is a strange bee with a black bottom half.

Black beeThe black bit appears shiny.

strange beeDo you have any idea what kind of bee this is?

cotoneaster in full bloom at Bealtaine CottageAll this buzzing guarantees lots of food for the birds over winter!

Bee on cotoneaster at Bealtaine CottageAnother lovely bee working hard here at Bealtaine Cottage this evening.

Cotoneaster and Dog daisiesThe evening is very still and warm…perfect for all the insects that work in the gardens.

Raised Potager Beds WorkshopLots of stone and wood piled up and ready for the workshop tomorrow.

These beds are very abundant and productive, considering the shallow depth and intensive planting…the weather is promised good for tomorrow!

Lysimachia Punctata in full bloom todayLysimachia Punctata is in full bloom.

This cable table has sat in the garden for eight years…great garden furniture for free!

Redcurrants today at Bealtaine cottageThe Redcurrants are almost ready to harvest.

Rose arch today at Bealtaine CottageThis is the new rose arch…first year and doing well.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe Blackcurrants are ripening and will be ready for harvesting very soon.

Tunnel at Bealtaine Cottage todaySunflowers and lots of seeds getting ready for harvesting in the tunnel in these Potager raised beds.

compost heaps todayAs I harvest the compost started last summer, a new compost heap is started.

Friday evening at bealtaineFriday evening at Bealtaine…the rocket stove is boiling the kettle for another pot of tea…could it get any better?

rocket stoveI wonder what the equivalent saving on electricity this little contraption affords?

Would this be equal to a few solar panels?

free tea Just a small matter of washing the cups…have a great weekend everyone!

A Life in the Country ~ The Growing Disaster of Impoverishment!

Early winter and the weather is brilliantly sunny with clear skies above the cottage and moonlit nights that are bright and cold!

It’s worth enduring the rain and grey for mornings like this…

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008Colours continue to develop in the densely planted gardens. This palette of colour continues all the year round…

Dense planting as is undertaken in any permaculture plan, lends itself well to the enrichment of the soil.

 Permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage. The verandaImpoverishment of the soil is no natural disaster, in fact it is the result of nothing less than greed…for money!

Henhouse at Bealtaine  Permaculture Cottage Cash crops and monoculture are both killing the soil, which is an integral part of our lifeline.

permaculture at Bealtaine cottage  In the past seven years since the beginning of Bealtaine, this land has gone from rushy monoculture half  life to enriched, protected earth and being continually enriched and protected due to planting.

Permaculture Cottage ...September 2011 013Poly-culture, which is the opposite of monoculture is of maximum importance for the survival of Nature as we know it.

This high level of biodiversity provides all year round food for the Natural World.

Diverse planting with permaculture at Bealtaine cottage  Peanuts, imported and therefore carrying a huge carbon footprint, are not a sustainable source of food for the birds and wildlife.

Diverse and enriched planting is.

We should therefore stop trying to re-invent the wheel and plant our gardens and urban spaces to this end.

A beautiful garden becomes a paradise when Nature is placed high on the list of important horticultural demands!

At the top!

This is one of the many delights of a garden that embraces maximum biodiversity…silky spider webs woven through Cotoneaster on a winter’s morning.

Light is important at this time of year as we descend towards the Midwinter Solstice and within it, the shortest day of the year.

Mirrored cottage of Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage Light is also very beautiful during this time…silver streams filtered through landscape hedgerows and trees.

 

In the words of Saint Columcille…”It is peaceful and it is delightful.”

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Walk on the Wild Side

Ivy loops and twirls around the trees in the Fairy Dell woodland. Ivy that feeds the birds in the depths of midwinter. Ivy that shelters the pheasant in the heat of midsummer. Strong, natural and wild…

Ivy and Lichens, so perfect in the gardens at Bealtaine that it can only be the hand of Nature…no gardener can create this perfection…

Another sacred part of the land at this permaculture smallholding…a small field of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the natural habitat of the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Nature working her pure magic and being encouraged at every turn!

Now is the time to plant Willow. This is something which is easy to do and will serve the eco-system around you well. So many insects, birds and bees depend on this plant. Simply cut a wand of Willow and push it into the ground as far as you can…about 1-2feet will do! Manure it well and it will grow fast and strong! Some people surround it with plastic to stop weeds and grass, but, personally I do not approve of this as the earth under plastic is not beneficial to wildlife and anyway, the Willow will soon shade out any unwanted weeds!

Cotoneaster…planted, but soon takes on the mantle of wildness and becomes a feeding station for birds and insects alike!

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Thursday Photo-Diary

A Celtic emblem on my back door. The paint on the door is well scratched and there is a definite patina of life therein. Dogs and children, all attempting to enter the cottage with little patience and no time to wait! I know I have to paint it soon, because the weather demands it, but then this testament to life and laughter and fun and games will be erased…

Moving the tyres in the vegetable garden is a milestone reached this week…converting all to log, deep beds and narrow paths…easier to mulch and now that the soil has improved, I can do this. It has taken 7 years of work and patience, but it has finally paid off!

Apples continue to swell and grow and are, each one, quite perfect. These trees have never had any sprays or chemicals of any kind at all, yet continue to give perfect harvest every single year. Nature knows best!

The beautiful flowers of the remarkable Comfrey plant. This generous herb is not just a pretty face!

Look how well this tiny spider manages to camouflage itself on the Cotoneaster bush…Nature is so very clever!

Flowers have opened on the Fuschia…almost an adopted native plant here in the west of Ireland…