Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift, Vegan, Winter

Lifting the Spirits

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Midwinter is over.

For many the celebration of Christmas has begun.

Last minute frenetic shopping today and tomorrow…

The days here at Bealtaine are beginning to lengthen.

Not tangible as yet, but optimism for more daylight has taken hold and sometimes that is enough…simply knowing that the darkness has passed.

The cottage remains in a post-midwinter party state, with chairs pushed back and floor-space revealed.

It may be a day or two before this is sorted, for I want to escape outdoors, despite the stormy weather!

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The lush greenery on the mantelpiece will stay in place for as long as it retains life.

Replacing the candles daily is a small task and keeps the soft light there to lift the spirits.

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A small sadness pervades the air, now that family and friends have gone.

We all enjoyed the coming together of our midwinter feast, with music and bonfire and soft candlelight…a magical time that lifted the spirit.

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Rich food and drink will now give way to simple soups and tea…a sort of cleansing of the palette and system, together with late winter walks, to appease the feasting of recent days.

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Venturing out this morning, into the wind-driven rain, fresh in from the Atlantic, amid the sounds of birds fighting over food…time to scatter the scraps from the feast around the gravel by the cottage for my hungry and cold feathered friends.

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Parsley, Kale and Chard all continue to grow abundantly in the Potager beds…no sign of prolonged frost to diminish these green gifts.

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The Chard is particularly beneficial to the body at this time of year, as it contains generous amounts of both Vitamin C and Iron…the Vitamin C is necessary for the body to absorb the Iron.

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I use the Kale in the juicer each day…a great supplement to my diet, as it charges my energy!

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Do you recall the ground I mulched with cardboard and shreddings?

Well, here it is this morning and as you can see it has now transformed itself into a bed ready to be planted out in the Spring…how easy was that?

There are several hundred blogs on this website about mulching and preparing ground for planting using the easiest methods that I have tried and tested.

To access them simply type key words into the Search Bar at the top of this page!

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Christmas, Country Living, Earth, Garden, History, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Yuletide Celebrations

Yuletide is an ancient celebration.

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine CottageAs the mist encircles the cottage this morning and the stillness of the air creates echoes along the hill, Midwinter seems very close.

Painted Irish dresser at Bealtaine CottageThis is traditionally a time for people to come together and celebrate the midwinter, with feasting, music and dancing.

I have been busy painting and decorating the cottage in preparation for this special time.

Even the old dresser has been given a much needed coat of paint!

Mist and trees in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageYule is traditionally celebrated over twelve days.

This is where the Twelve days of Christmas come from.

It is also traditional to have a Yule log which will burn all night, on the longest night of the year.

The barn is filled with logs for the stoves.

Most of the wood comes from fast growing Ash, a tree which grows easily here in the west of Ireland.

Wood burning stove at Bealtaine CottageLight is important at this time and this is where the idea of Christmas lights comes from.

Opening the doors of the wood burning stove in the sitting room, allows light to fill the room.

There are many celebrations of light all across the world at this time.

Irish dresser in the cottage kitchen at Bealtaine CottageWe are drawn towards the light, in this time of darkness and mellow sunlight.

The winter will have reached it’s shortest day this week.

The Barn at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012 A time to celebrate, keep warm and look forward to the ascent towards Spring.

Veranda at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012Make the most of this beautiful aspect of the year, wrap up warm and spent time outdoors.

There is beauty in every day…and it allows you to appreciate the warmth of your home.

Happy Yuletide, everyone!