Half Light and Shadows

www.bealtainecottage.com 039The apricot glow of a fading October sky, merged with the heavy rustling of cows on the field across the lane, drawing me outdoors.

This is a magical time of enchantment, with Nature and late evening light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 027Any noise on such a still evening exudes an eerie quality of something not understood…always best to go out and uncover the mystery.

As it was, the cows and their calves had nuzzled in close to the hedgerow, to bed down for the night.

The heaviness of their bodies crushing branches, as they leaned into the conspiratorial thorn hedgerow.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056The stillness of the evening makes one want to tip-toe on the lane.

Peering back in through the window of the cottage, lit only by a candle, illuminating the kitchen, it is easy to believe in the fairy folk…

It was remarked by many in 1950s rural Ireland, that the newly installed electric light drove the fairies away…

www.bealtainecottage.com 048The light is on its descent towards Samhain and deeper still to midwinter.

This passing of the light should be a signal for us all to slow down and embrace the stillness of the year, allowing ourselves time to reflect on our sacred journey.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031The Fennel looks to all intents and purposes the magical plant it is said to be, in this half-light.

It is so majestic, scented, beautiful and useful, that I have a mind to plant it all over the gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.com 058…the warmth of the kitchen beckons me towards the light, as the apricot shadows fall back into night.

An Autumn Afternoon in an Irish Cottage Garden

Colours of the season, dogwoods ablaze and Loosestrife turned to straw.

Birch and Beech turn earthy tones.

Near the lake, the cows move slowly in the afternoon heat, seeking shady spots to stand and stare.

Old driftwood from the ocean salutes the cottage.

The horses come to look over the fence, waiting for a treat they are sure to get!

A last flush of yellow on the Hypericum bush holds the moisture from the October air.

The Beech trees will cling onto their leaves for most of the winter, even though the life within has passed.

And little Newts seek a place to over-winter, resting on the back door mat as they make their path towards hibernation.

The Festival of Bealtaine

Aquilegia, now growing all over the permaculture gardens and driveway of Bealtaine Cottage, from its beginnings here 8 years ago, with a handful of seed, saved from a some flowers growing in a garden in North London.

The time is near…Mayday, known as Bealtaine here in Ireland. It is pronounced “Be Al Tan Ah”

Irish mythology marks the beginning of May as the  the start of the summer.

This was  heralded in  with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.

Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition.

There was the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and celebrations were accompanied with rituals to protect the people from any harm by otherworldly spirits. Cattle would be driven through the dying embers of the great bonfires, to protect them from disease.

The Ancient Races who constructed  Newgrange in Ireland aligned their monuments to the major solar events.

These were the Winter Solstice, the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox.

The solar year was further divided to mark the half way points between the major solar events giving the cross quarter days of Imbolc,  Bealtaine,  Lughnasadh and Samhain.

Click on the link below for today’s video from Bealtaine Cottage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiyT1TSbaU&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Permaculture Cottage ~ Herbs and Cows

I have a fascination with cows.

They are very sociable and family oriented animals.

These belong to my neighbour, Gabriel, here in Ballyfermoyle.

They are contented and very laid back.

At this time of year the land is over-run with wild herbs and flowers and cows are out in the fields all the time.

It’s fascinating to watch them…and they watch me…and Jack, but mostly Jack!

Isn’t the little brown calf and the white one coming along behind, just adorable?

I stood by the fence for about half an hour and they were as interested in me as I was in them.

The flowers of the Rosa Rugusa are in full bloom at the moment and already quite a few hips have formed.

These are packed with Vitamin C and used to make syrup, amongst other foods.

They also make lovely additions to Seasonal wreaths and bouquets.

A spider has encapsulated this plant inside a web, all silky and delicate.

I am reading a book about life in Medieval Times in England and was fascinated to read how soldiers going off to battle would carry a tiny box with them at all times, filled with…spider’s webs!

These would be used, very successfully apparently, to stem the flow of blood from a wound.

Amazing!

Willow arches in a quiet spot near the vegetable garden.

The sun setting over Bealtaine Cottage…

Weekend Musings from a Permaculture Smallholding in the West of Ireland…and the weather is fab!

  • I love cows…they’re such sociable animals, so am glad I don’t eat them! These belong to a neighbour of mine and are very well looked after by Tom Kelly, as you can see. When I walk down the lane, they are inclined to peer over the hedge at me, full of interest. If I had the extra land I would definitely think about keeping a cow…as a pet!I’m continuing to fiddle around with this new format and try to get the blog unscrambled…bear with me! The image below was snapped on the north facing bank of the smallholding earlier. The cherry tree is in full bloom.The Lower Pond surrounded by fast growing willow fedge. 

From the Kitchen window on a good day, the world looks great…mind you the world is great, every day…well at least that’s the feeling that permaculture gives you!I decided to go for a new theme on the blog…hope you like it!

From Monoculture to Permaculture…Beyond Organic in Ireland!

From monoculture grass and cows to Pear blossom on an April evening…Permaculture.

Where once was a field covered in grass and rushes, there is now an orchard and…permaculture.

Blackthorn blossom through the arch…

The barbed wire that once bordered this area by the cottage is gone, replaced with a new border…of plants and trees…permaculture!

And permaculture paths where you have to duck to avoid the swooping birds…