Posted in Cats, Dogs, hibernation, Ireland, mountains, snow, Winter

Days of Hibernation

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Snow fell today.

As I stood by the front of the cottage, the mountain of Sliabh an Iarainn appeared to suddenly rise up in a shroud of white.

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More often than not it merges into the sky in shades of grey and sometimes blue, but today it stood out proud, gleaming white.

This mighty mountain, where once the ancients mined iron ore and ushered in the Iron Age, rises from the shores of Lough Allen to the North East, as Kilronan Mountain faces the cottage, sentinel-like, to the North.

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It too was dusted with a covering of light snow.

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I retreated to the warmth of the cottage and watched the snow fall.

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By the time I went into the bedroom to make the bed, Sammy-Bear had made a nest and curled up for the day…I exited the messy room and closed the door!

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Sammy-Bear often sleeps in my bedroom to escape Charlie, who often makes great sport from terrorizing his betters!

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Charlie and Jack are quite good friends now.

It’s a hierarchical relationship…Charlie’s the boss!

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The evening has drawn in fast…there is not much to notice yet in the stretch of the day…it slowly manifests when we are busy getting used to the new year.

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Now is the time to make the most of the days of hibernation left to us, for they are few in number…the Spring moves in faster than we realise.

Charlie knows this…in fact, looking into his eyes, I’d say that Charlie knows an awful lot!

Posted in Animals, Cats, Dogs, Permaculture, Personal, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Cats, Dogs and Long Winding Paths…

There are hundreds of metres of paths here on the permaculture smallholding, all lined with plants, trees and shrubs and all needing to be cut back and tidied up now that the midsummer growth has peaked.

It’s a task I love, especially on a day like today where the sun is clouded over, but the air is warm and still.

Last night I watched a beautiful moon rise in the North East and several shooting stars.

This morning I was entranced by dragonflies around the lower pond as I weeded the margins of the water…standing in the cool water at one point just to cool off and feel the silt between my toes!

Missy is sitting here beside me as I type, emitting little fluffs of fur into the air as she moults.

They are drawn towards my face and cling to my skin, making me stop working to brush them away.

Her soft purring is compensation for the minor discomfort.

She loves to sit near me at times, just drinking in my energy and I hers.

The straggly leftover Tomato plants are all doing well and promise a modest harvest.

The seasons continue on their slow, steady course, despite the chaos of the weather.

Jack and Flo are like an old married couple, arguing over which side of the bed they want to sleep on!

In this case it’s baskets.

Flo often pushes Jack out of his basket and takes over completely, delegating poor Jack to the close confines of her small bed…

It’s only that he adores Flo that he tolerates this!

Posted in Country Living, Health, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture

The Ebb and Flow of Life at Bealtaine Cottage

Evening at Bealtaine Cottage and the the night is drawing in.

The sunshine of this morning ebbed and flowed all day, like the waves on the strand at Rosses Point, as the sun dipped in and out of rolling clouds that occasionally deposited rain.

Strange weather, but the day was passed in constructive ways.

I sorted out the recycling, washing out cans and finding all sorts of uses for them.

They make great tea-light holders, piercing holes in the sides using a hammer and nail to make patterns.

The one above sits atop the hot stove, filled with water and essential oils, that emits small wisps of fragranced steam into the cottage.

Vases were dusted…

…as the dogs played in the porch, rearranging their beds as you can see…

At least the continual drizzle keeps all growing and lush…

And the veranda means that I can enjoy the outdoors despite the weather!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Summer, Trees, Uncategorized

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…