Posted in Garden, Growing Food, hens, Permaculture, Permaculture Ireland, polytunnel gardening, ponds, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Garden in February (Part One)

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The year in the garden is now well under way, as Mother Earth awakens in a very visible way…not that she ever slept!

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Coltsfoot is one of the first herbs to come into flower, for it flowers before it leafs and a very welcome sight this is!

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Bronze fennel, that most vigorous of herbs and also a brilliant addition to the flower garden, starts to produce tasty leaves that can be added to early Spring salads.

Rocket has over-wintered well in the tunnel and forms the base ingredient.

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Daffodils are now up and beginning to flower.

Daffodils on the hill above the cottage, around an old abandoned dwelling are in full bloom!

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Reminders of Winter come and go, but not for long, sometimes just an hour or two of a light dusting of snow.

Never enough to hold back the advance of the seasons!

But beware the wind chill factor that comes with early Spring and wrap up warm when venturing out to work in the garden!

Rhubarb in a permaculture garden

When the sun does shine, it is truly glorious and plants like Rhubarb spring into exuberant life!

A very hungry plant, Rhubarb eats up a generous dressing of well-rotted manure.

Euphorbia at Bealtaine Cottage

Euphorbia comes into life in the flower garden…here it shares a half barrel with a Fig Tree and both like each other’s company!

In fact, the Fig has fruited well year on year since getting a new bed fellow!

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An old but treasured book is always at hand to delve into for advice on seasonal food, gardening and outdoors work!

I wonder if this little gem is still in print?

Bealtaine permaculture gardens

Beautiful catkins on the Hazel trees…flowers in fact!

Bealtaine Cottage frogs in the pond

The pond is filling with frogspawn and clumps of frogs celebrating the turn in the year as only frogs can!

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Out in the hen-house the girls are in touch with the growing of the light as they come back into lay!

Fox in the garden at Bealtaine Cottage

Mr and Mrs Fox are hungry and on the prowl! I often lay out food at night for the foxes, for the way I see it is simply this: we have interfered with the food chain by removing the animals that would have predated upon foxes.

This is my way of attempting to live in harmony as best I can…and ensuring that the girls in the henhouse are well protected!

Part Two  of THE GARDEN IN FEBRUARY can be found on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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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…

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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:

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

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living

Cottage and Gardens

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Morning at Bealtaine Cottage is a lazy affair as far as the cats are concerned.

No sooner do I get out of bed than the cats find a warm spot to snooze away the morning!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe morning was dry and with no threat of rain, it was important to get into the garden and get some more work done.

Most of the work is coppicing and logging, to make a new wood pile, ready for next winter.

www.bealtainecottage.comI am yet to get down to the Bog Garden and clear around the ponds and besides which, my waders have sprung a leak!

I shall wait until the weather warms up and then do a summer clear.

Moss has grown everywhere over the course of a wet Autumn and Winter.

It’s possible to collect bags of it just on the gravel on the lane-way!

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Masses of buds everywhere, especially here on the Red Robin (Photinia).

I cut it back quite hard last Autumn!

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Cleaning the steps and pruning back the Beech trees and roses.

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Another eight weeks or so and the London Pride on either side of the steps will be in bloom.

The Willow fedge will be growing and greening!

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Euphorbia is greening and growing…and spreading a lot!

Time to pot some up for gifting later in the year.

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Magical reflections in the magical gardens… even the smallest amount of water in a container, pulls the sky down into the garden!

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And the silver Moon Pennies of the Lunaria have endured the ravages of the winter in this little sheltered spot under the Laurel arch.

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The stillness and warmth of the cottage is comforting after working in the cold air outside.

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In the pantry…the lovely happy faced terracotta jar was bought for £4 in a Charity shop and holds all the garlic grown last summer in the potager beds.

It has little air holes and keeps a cool temperature inside…just perfect!

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This is another bargain picked up at a Boot Fair and costing £8…it holds a candle inside and is a storm-proof garden light.

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The shower room window faces south and catches lots of light…a good place to over-winter plants.

Posted in Abundance, Bees, Birds, Buddha, Current Affairs, Food, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Sligo, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Transition Town Sligo, Monsanto and No 2 GM

March against Monsanto, Sligo

On Saturday, as part of the “March Against Monsanto,” campaign held worldwide, I attended a public meeting to raise awareness about Monsanto,and the many issues surrounding GM foods.

march against Monsanto, IrelandJohn Brennan,a long time anti-GM campaigner,and a member of NO 2 GM,an anti GM organisation, http://www.no2gm.com, was the speaker at this event.

As Monsanto, the giant biotech U.S. company is becoming more and more determined to impose it’s GM foods on the populations of the world, people are equally becoming more and more determined to resist this pressure.

Sligo has just entered the Transition Towns Movement and has already established a Community Garden, where great, organic food is grown and people come together to make the transition from a world of peak oil to a more localized environment, where food and fuel do not have to be transported great distances.

It was a great day and an opportunity to power up with information, as well as meet new people involved in improving the world we live in!

Euphorbia in the front gardenBack home, in the gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage, the sun shines between heavy rain…ideal growing conditions!

Roses on the veranda at Bealtaine CottageThe roses on the veranda have opened their scented blooms, as the bees dart in and out to avoid the heavy rain.

Sweet Peas in a hanging basketSweet Peas have been planted in hanging baskets to avoid the slugs and…

Kanzan Cherry tree in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe blossom now covers the Kanzan Cherry Tree…a long wait, but worth it!

You can see the blue sky, but don’t be fooled as almost an inch of rain fell last night and continues, intermittently today!

Bird bath in tree at Bealtaine CottageThis is a brass dish I found at the second-hand market on Sunday.

It was 25cents!

Doesn’t it make a great bird bath set into the branches of this tree and filled with rainwater?

As the tree grows this summer, the branches will grow into the plate, holding it securely in place!

Courtyard garden at Bealtaine CottageEverything is making good progress as the weather improves.

permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageThe gardens are just drooping with abundance.

Celtic Cross at Bealtaine CottageBees and insects are in heaven!

And as you can see from today’s video…

“A Bee Healthy Permaculture Garden”

Posted in Badgers, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Ecology, Garden, hens, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Woodland

An Irish Ark

Lunaria, Honesty in the permaculture tunnel

Lunaria and Fennel in the tunnel today.

The Latin name Lunaria means “moon-like” and refers to the decorative seed-pods.

It’s warm and dry and great for working outdoors.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe clothes line is heavy with clothes moving gently in the breeze…a perfect Spring day!

I do not own an electric dryer, or a washing machine.

Washing clothes by hand in Spring water leaves them soft and smelling beautifully.

Buds on the Damson tree in the permaculture gardens

The Damson tree is now in blossom, with a strong prospect of plentiful fruit.

Cherry and Apple trees are almost ready to break blossom!

Euphorbia in a barrel

Euphorbia in a barrel outside the veranda today.

The lime green of the flowers are so joyful at this time of year!

That’s Valerian coming up at the front of the barrel.

Primroses at Bealtaine Cottage

Primroses on the driveway this morning.

I have never seen this many Primroses in bloom across the permaculture gardens.

There has been a huge amount of self-seeding over recent years and, with the absence of livestock, plants have grown and flourished in abundance!

I believe that there are more species of plants in the 3 acres of Bealtaine Cottage than anywhere else in Ireland.

Many of these are indigenous and some even rare!

It will be an interesting study to complete, when cataloguing all the plant life here.

Bealtaine Cottage  badger settBealtaine Cottage is evolving into an Ark of sorts, where many species are protected from livestock, chemicals, pesticides and the urge to dominate Nature!

Looking at the picture above of the Badger sett here in the gardens, Mr and Mrs badger will testify to that!

Hens in the permaculture gardens

The hens are out in the sunshine, just basking on the grass.

They have begun to lay eggs and appear to be quite content.

Bealtaine Cottage entrance to the fairy dell woodland

The Fairy Wood in summer…just about 8 weeks away from Midsummer!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Country Living, Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Food, Frugal Living, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Destroying Self-Sufficiency is ALL About CONTROL…Thoughts from a Permaculture Cottage

The Lower pond at Bealtaine this morning.

As I walked around the smallholding I thought about what it is we do to be self-sufficient and ultimately free from tyranny!

Yes…tyranny, because that’s what being at the mercy of the market and banks and importers of food is all about…tyranny!

The world today is governed by commerce, that means banks and business.

These institutions want us to be consumers.

Nothing else!

Just consumers!

In order to be a good consumer it is necessary to have money.

This paper trail enslaves us all.

That is why ‘bartering,’ is referred to as the ‘black market economy.’

Self-sufficiency is about providing as much as one can for oneself, family and wider community.

Is it any wonder that this is not taught in schools?

But then, the ‘make do and mend,’ philosophy does little to support any of the above…

I am not a good citizen.

I did not buy this flowering perennial, the Euphorbia above.

I got a cutting from a friend and propagated it, planted it, allowed it to spread and continued to give this plant forward to other people.

That makes me an economic terrorist.

Yet this is my philosophy for life.

To share.

I am not part of any religion.

Sharing is a human thing to do.

This is a pumpkin grown from a seed saved in Canada, planted yesterday in the tunnel.

I have grown dozens of plants this year  and given most away…because I could and I wanted to.

Growing seeds is an amazing experience as all tenders of Gaia know.

Sharing is liberating.

Why shop when you can share?

Oh dear, am I talking revolution again?

Ha! Ha!

Sharing is a human trait, beaten out of us in this competitive world we are submerged in…

Maybe it’s time to have a major rethink on that, for hard times are here…

Posted in Angels, Ecology, Fairies, Folklore, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Orchids, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Ivy, Euphorbia, Angelica and more Orchids at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding, Ireland.

The Ivy hangs in 3-4 metre tendrils on a tree in the Fairy Dell…Quite Magical!Euphorbia…this wonderful perennial comes up more lush every year and transplants easily…I started with a stolen cutting and now it dominates the April/May/June garden and beyond!Angelica, now at least 7 feet tall and with a massive spread. Medieval herbalists called it ‘Herba Angelica,’ meaning  ‘Angelic Plant.’ Traditionally it is supposed to flower on the 8th of May, which is the feast of Michael the Archangel. needless to add, Angelica possesses protective qualities. The seeds add flavour to Chartreuse Liqueur!The way up out from the Fairy Dell…Orchids continue to emerge all over Bealtaine Smallholding. I was asked by the Census Enumerator the other day if I used any chemicals here…where that came from is interesting! However, I simply told him to look around…there is far too much growing evidence of NO CHEMICALS HERE!Sunlight dapples the grass under the Blackthorn trees near the tunnel. The light dances on the ground as the Fairy trees gently sway in the breeze.