Good Magical Morning!

The Stone Circle here at Bealtaine Cottage is infused with early morning light. A wild wind blows in from the West carrying energy and a sense of renewal as it blows Hawthorn flowers in front of it. The morning is defined by change and renewal. Stillness pervades the air at the back of the cottage where shelter holds sway… Nearby a new sculpture of a Hare holds pride of place in one of the Potager beds… The Celts believed in the magical strength of the Hare. The Hare belonged in essence to the Celtic goddess Eostre. It was her most…

We Are At War!

The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was started at the beginning of World war two, in Britain, The people of Britain were urged to use any spare land to grow vegetables.  Victory gardens were planted everywhere…and I mean everywhere! All land was considered viable for planting, including gardens, lawns, parks, golf clubs and all public spaces even in the City of London, around the Tower of London, for example!  During the height of the war, when food was rationed through scarcity, there were 3.5 million allotments in Britain, producing over a million tonnes of vegetables and it was estimated that in 1944…

The Transmigration of the Soul

The Romans conquered Europe, but resolutely refused to invade Ireland, despite ruling England, Wales and Scotland for several hundred years. Recently I have made a concerted effort to find out why this was…Why continual Roman Emperors left Ireland alone…? What crops up in my investigations time and again, is the issue of the ancient Celtic belief in the transmigration of the soul. This was not just something that was taught by the Druids, but an unshakeable conviction in the afterlife…one so strong, that it made them absolutely fearless in battle. Transmigration of the soul is a doctrine of reincarnation. Within…

The Easiest Way to Harvest Blackcurrants

It is early July, early evening and it’s cold. The stove is lit. The weather systems all over the world appear to have gone wild, but as I sit here, sipping tea and typing, the reality of life is more to do with getting the harvest of blackcurrants into the freezer! I have returned from the kitchen with a cuppa and red-tinted fingers from all the handling of the currants as I weigh them into bags. Whatever the weather is like we have to adapt as best as possible and Blackcurrants don’t seem to mind any way! There is no…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Dividing Rhubarb, Growing Trees and Composting!

Lots of the rhubarb has been lifted and divided recently and planted into the new beds, all loaded with fresh compost from the heaps stacked last year. Rhubarb is an easy and early fruiting plant to grow. Although the leaves are toxic, various parts of the plants have medicinal and culinary uses.  In culinary use, fresh raw stalks are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong tart taste; most commonly the plant’s stalks are cooked and used in pies and other foods for their tart flavour. Personally, there is nothing equal to a Rhubarb Crumble, or, one of my absolute…

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…