Equinox and Early Shadows

Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.dsc03334

And cobwebs everywhere! And here, in the Northern Hemisphere, one can easily notice the later dawns and earlier sunsets,as Spring is ushered in south of the Equator.

dsc03306Equinox is all about balance…the balance of equal day and night, of dark and light.

dsc03307I await the first light of morning with great anticipation, aware that the light grows more and more precious, to be cherished.

dsc03308We are creatures of the light!

dsc03309

During these colder mornings I use the electric kettle to make my early tea.

dsc03310

There is something very comforting about an old tea tin…often referred to as a Tea Caddy!

dsc03311We are poised at the turning time and the descent towards Samhain.

dsc03312The Celts only recognised two parts of the year in terms of life, and that was Summer and Winter, for Samhain, despite falling on the 31st of October, meant “Summer’s End.”

dsc03313The sun is casting long shadowswe grow evermore closer to the turning. 

dsc03371In the night sky, Fomalhaut – the Autumn Star – is making its way across the heavens each night. 

dsc03370The equinoxes and solstices formed an important part of ancient rituals here in Ireland.

dsc03366This Autumn Equinox is also referred to as Mabon.

dsc03365Mabon is a good time to look at the ancient Greek legend of Persephone and Demeter.

dsc03364“The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

–   John Updike, September

dsc03362Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.
–  William Wordsworth, September

dsc03369Stone monuments were built here in Ireland and aligned to witness the light on these days.

dsc03368One can still view the illumination of these chambers in ancient cairns, at sunrise, on important celestial days.

dsc03367It just remains for me to wish you all a Happy Equinox on this beautiful evening at Bealtaine Cottage.

Celtic Ireland~Imbolc Rising

And so the wheel turns towards Spring and its tentative beginnings in the West of Ireland as the sun rises tomorrow morn.

With the rising of the sun comes Imbolc!

Oftentimes it does not look or even feel like Spring, but the light has changed…something that animals see, feel and react to before we do.

BgQ7qv3CEAAL835

The understanding of the changing seasons grew from the deep connections between us and the natural world, as can be seen in the word itself, for “Imbolc” refers to sheep’s milk in Old Irish.

During ancient times, lactating ewes represented one of the first signs of Spring.

Imbolc is a Cross Quarter Day, which means it is midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Depending on the year that’s in it, Imbolc can fall between the 2nd & 7th of February…the  calculations vary, despite the best will of man to box it all up into calendars!

Celtic festivals are based on astronomical events!

ByZ99-eCYAAbdJT

Festivals like Imbolc are often claimed to be Wiccan or Pagan, but Imbolc belongs to the ancient peoples of Ireland who were neither Wiccan or Pagan!

Wicca itself is less than one hundred years old

Pagan was a term used to describe those in Ireland before Christianity…a sort of name-calling, in that it became and remains for many, a derogatory term.

My ancestors were never without spiritual beliefs!

 B7pqJOeCEAIZ7g4

Paganism is a term that developed among the Christian community of southern Europe during late antiquity to describe religions other than their own, Judaism, or Islam–the three Abrahamic religions.

Imbolc (February 2) marks the lengthening days as the growing light awakens the Earth Goddess.

The warmth of the rising, growing sun fertilizes the Earth (the Goddess), and causes seeds to germinate and sprout.

And so the earliest beginnings of Spring occur.

As Imbolc rises on the second day of February, the last quarter moon is in Scorpio, my birth sign.

Now is the time to secure your seeds for the Spring sowing which is now well underway in propagators and sheltered places.

CRUTg5WUEAEBJ1u

You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

I continue to clear out spaces in my cottage and renew many aspects of my life…always a good preparation for Imbolc!

Happy Imbolc to you all!

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, Youtube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…thanks for the appreciation! X

The Days Between Light and Dark

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 002

Bright sun illuminating the garden, gave way to the gentle, patter-drip-patter of rain, as it slowly enveloped the cottage.

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 004

The great change is steadily colouring the sights and sounds of Bealtaine Cottage.

Curly Kale can tolerate the changes well, needing much less light than many other vegetables…this is a good Winter green to ensure health and vitality as the daylight lessens.

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 007

The days between light and dark merge as we approach the Equinox…the balancing point before the descent towards Midwinter.

Spiders busily spin and weave and everywhere the light dances playfully.

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 011

Green turns slowly in the mixing pot of early autumn colours that inspire dreams of drifting through woodland, kicking up leaves in a playful, seasonal dance of joy.

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 015

What lies beyond this Equinox is a time filled with darker evenings, not to be scorned, but embraced as a time to rest, nurture and be nurtured.

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 016

As we enjoy this late Summer glory, the days of “mist and mellow fruitfulness,” lie ahead…what a beautiful time of year this is!

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 017

Walking the gardens here this morning is sheer Heaven on Earth.

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 023

The air is warm and still.

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 035

Birds call out to one another. 

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 037

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 047

“Fall has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
Lauren DeStefano, Wither

 

 bealtainecottage.com Permaculture 055

Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage

*******************************

Much appreciated! 

 

Approaching Equinox

March 2014

Mist and frost in the early mornings are a feature of March and the approaching Equinox.

March 2014

Buds have opened on the Ribes to reveal scented pink flowers that serve as an early breakfast for Bees making their way out of hibernation and in desperate search of a nectar shot or two!

March 2014Work has been ratcheted up a few notches, as the rain has ceased and everything, including the woodwork, has begun to dry out…time to paint fences and sheds with preservative!

March 2014This is the new blue fence, courtesy of three rather rusted looking tins of blue wood preservative I have had donated to me from a friend, who had them in her shed for quite a few years!

March 2014The colour of the sky on a clear day!

March 2014Daffodils have really come into their own this week, with splashes of yellow all over the gardens.

March 2014The flooded ponds remain delightfully brimming and filled with frogs spawn.

March 2014…a decoy duck, I have to add!

March 2014And a rarely seen view, looking past the Willow Fedge, into the undergrowth of trees.

March 2014May 2014 marks the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage, from rushy grass monoculture to this little Eden.

March 2014The gardens will be open for one day each month through Spring, Summer and Autumn this year…check out the link at the top of this page!

March 2014After painting this little bench with some of the preservative, I moved it…

March 2014…down to this newly cleared dry spot by a Great Western Cedar, planted eight years ago and now affording wonderful shelter in which to sit and enjoy the sun.

March 2014The last full moon before Equinox rises over Bealtaine.

*************************

Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available, Not-For-Profit seeds, this link will take you there…https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world, the donation is the same wherever you live!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

As an Ark for Nature, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from the EU, as only farm animals, monoculture and set-aside are grant-aided!

Your donation helps remedy that…

The Storm

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 004

The wind had engulfed the cottage for several days, starting its angry encirclement in the early hours of Sunday morning.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 001

The kettle kept a simmer on the stove for cups of tea to pass the evening in quiet repose.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 011The storm raged for most of yesterday too and now, this morning, the rain falls softly on the trees, hardly making a sound on the roof of the veranda.

Last evening the candles burned as the electricity flicked on and off in little staggers.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 009The stove in the sitting room was lit and I made up a bed on the sofa.

Myself, Jack and Missy kept company as the wind howled overhead.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 020The weather has settled down this morning…just a drizzle of soft rain that keeps a persistence about it.

Work here continues in the tunnel, clearing the beds and digging in new compost for the winter plantings.

Kale, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Chard were planted this morning.

The Garlic will go in outdoors in the potager beds, before the soil cools down too much…it gives them a better start! permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 014The harvesting continues as more and more produce is brought onto the shelter of the veranda.

I will slice and freeze some of the apples, sprinkling them with a little sugar and cinnamon first…this helps to keep them better.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 019One would find it hard to believe that there was a storm at all, looking around the gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage…the benefit of planting over 900 trees; just heaps of shelter now!

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 018The apples are still on all the trees!

Just a few more days until the Equinox…

Here are the wonderful “Moving Hearts” with their classic, played live, “The Storm”

Enjoy!

March Progress in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Arabica and angel in permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Arabica in flower today around the raised stone bed.

This beautiful, perennial flower was originally planted as a little cutting in the raised bed, underneath the Cotoneaster, but escaped and is on the run…long may it remain free!

new compost heap bordered with willow at Bealtaine Cottage

I constructed another compost heap over the weekend and here it is!

Easy enough to make as I used materials that were either lying around…the broken plastic sheeting, tucked into hoops of willow…masses of willow cut back and lots more to come!

I was donated two huge sacks of shredded paper from a local company, so that went into layers in the heap!

Visiting males get the compost activated…ssh! don’t tell…they pee on it!

A really super compost activator!

applemint in pots ready for planting out at Bealtaine Cottage

The little pots of mint are now near the open door of the tunnel, growing sturdier in the cool breeze every day.

I placed the pots into this wooden box, I made from driftwood years ago.

The piece of wood on the front was attached with a screw…it seemed too lovely not to include!

I transferred the fennel into bigger pots as they need lots of root space to stretch out…this is bronze fennel!

home made polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage

The home made poly tunnel green house is now eight years old.

Nothing has been changed on it and the plastic has held in well as it is washed twice a year and has remained as tight as a drum!

I love days like this as it seems almost necessary to simply walk the land and enjoy the Spring.

Potatoes Chitting at Bealtaine Cottage

Happy Equinox…Happy Ostara to all!

 

If you enjoy the free content of this blog, please consider making a donation using the button below.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage in February

Stone Circle at Bealtaine Cottage

The strength of the sun shining on the stone circle is quite powerful.

No need to wear a coat today as I work in the permaculture gardens.

Frost that had settled on the roof of the cottage during the night dissipated early as the sun rose and illuminated the trees.

re-cycled tile floor in Bealtaine CottageAt this time of year the change in the seasons can be quite dramatic as the sun warms the interior of the cottage, making the need for  a fire to be set in the stove unnecessary.

Euphorbia at Bealtaine CottageNear the back of the cottage, Euphorbia begins to make a show.

The yellow and lime green aliens will be making an appearance very soon!

This is the time to sow seeds and chit early potatoes, so there’s lots of work in the tunnel.

There’s heaps of Willow still to be cut.

Woolen gloves, hand knitted at Bealtaine CottageI’m busy indoors knitting finger-less gloves for sale in my Etsy shop.

To order only…already knitting a pair for a friend who has coveted these…they are immensely warm!

As well as that I am sorting through my extensive library…books are taking over the cottage, so it may be time to offer some for sale in the Etsy shop.

Rhubarb in a permaculture gardenRhubarb is making progress and a crumble looks to be fixed on the March horizon!

Willow wigwam in a permaculture garden in FebruaryI made a willow wigwam the other day and put up a short video about it on YouTube.

This one will be used to support beans in one of the potager beds this summer.

Now is the time to plant willow in your garden!Full Moon at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Last night was a full moon and it was very cold…a reminder for me to close the doors of the tunnel before it gets dark!Bealtaine Cottage Kilronan Mountain in Feb

And looking forward to another beautiful morning in this special time before the Equinox.

Don’t Forget to visit the Bealtaine Cottage Shop on Etsy

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BealtaineCottage

If you enjoy the free content of this blog, please consider making a donation using the button below. My PayPal account can receive your donations and will convert from your local currency, and you don’t need a PayPal account to make a donation. Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Fruits of the Earth

Kilronan Mountain rises above the mist early in the morning here in the north west of Ireland.

The solace of an early Autumn and a brightening sky.

Fruits of the Earth are ready to harvest.

Apples scattered on the grass in the orchard are nibbled by night-time visitors and afternoon wasps.

The seasonal change-over is happening, hot becomes warm and cool becomes cold.

Crocosmia is blooming…the brilliant burnt orange of an artist’s palette.

This little flower, once brought to Ireland from South Africa, now colours the roadsides for departing visitors…an orange farewell and abiding memory.

The orange flag of Lughnasa spent in an Emerald Isle.

As the Equinox approaches and the days shorten, the scents rising from Mother Earth are full of fermenting fruit and wood smoke.

Plums split open in fertile ripeness.

Wasps descend.

Samhain is just around the corner and then the descent towards the longest night of the year…the seasons progress…

The promise of a Toffee Apple on a stick.

Scrumping children sneak into gardens for the promise of apples and pockets filled with booty to carry off.

Permaculture Cottage ~ Beyond Consumerism…Life after Debt.

Friday…always a good feeling!

The weekend lies ahead and there lies the potential for something happening and all sorts of possibilities.

Many people look forward to going out and many go shopping, as a form of retail therapy!

However, change is happening…and it is good!

This is a time of change.

The Equinox is upon us and the day itself is changing as we enter the descent towards Midwinter.

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator.

The day and night are equal…

Consumerism is slowing down.

People are buying less and are turning more and more towards growing and foraging food.

The social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts has failed us all.

This may appear to be a bad thing to some people, but the Earth has been given a break…the first real break in a very long time.

The flowers at the front gate are beginning to replace the  concrete walls, iron gates that are closed and an intercom service that you have to speak into in order just to drive or walk up to the house!

The idea of neighbours and helping one another is slowly catching on…

Today has seen several visitors to Bealtaine Cottage, including a neighbour concerned about ‘Fracking’ and wanting more information.

The times we live in are all about change…

Change is happening and happening fast.

We either embrace the change in our living circumstances, taking time to evaluate our lives, or we continue on as mere consumers, or in the present scenario, unhappy people without the money to keep consuming.

The choice is ours.

 Today is the actual Autumn Equinox…the descent towards Midwinter begins…a time to nurture, bake, cook, sew and…rest a bit!

What was it that Bob Dylan sang about…oh yes…

The Times They Are A Changin’

http://youtu.be/9vou4qUu5YY      Go on…