Posted in Animals, Dogs, hens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Trees

Flo, Gloria and Me!

With Flo and Gloria I visited my daughter Cara yesterday.

I wanted to see how Gloria, (I will survive, Gaynor) the hen was settling in. When the fox killed her five sisters, Gloria was left injured and traumatised.

But, like the song, she’s a survivor…so my daughter Cara agreed to re-home her in a new environment, where she could put the past behind her!

Here she is, strutting her stuff and being very confident and bossy!

She is a real pet and eats all the slugs in Cara’s garden. 

Flo, with me holding GloriaI supported Cara with ideas and plants as she designed and evolved her first garden, using recycled materials and plants grown from seed and cuttings.

You can see one of the little benches made from recycled wood and fixed into the ground, in the background, under some very healthy Willow!

September 2013 in Cara's garden.It is amazing just how many habitats there are now, in this once bare lawn.

me and Flo, with Gloria looking onFlo is another rescue dog…she was turned out of a car when heavily pregnant and went on to birth five pups in a little nest I made for her behind the sofa in Bealtaine Cottage.

Gloria, me and FloShe is much loved and a delightful little girl…very wilful too…and she’s friends with Gloria!

All girls together…come on now…

At first I was afraid I was petrified I kept thinking I could never live…Oh, no, not I, I will survive, as long as I got love to give I know I’ll stay alive…yeah!

Posted in Animals, Cats, Climate, Country Living, Crafts, Dogs, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Winter

Missy Cat and Weird Weather

A snowy morning at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Last night the rain fell hard, in fact it rained in a thunderous fashion for around four hours.

Somewhere in the midst of the downpour I went to sleep, safe in the knowledge that with the heavy rain came the assurance of a snow free morning…I was wrong!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture smallholding in the snowThis morning the ground was covered with snow and so it continues.

How this happened is weird to say the least, but then the weather systems across the world have descended into chaos…nothing is as it used to be!

missy cat at bealtaine CottageMissy cat is very reluctant to venture out this morning.

She is making protesting meows each time I open the back door, as though to say, “Shut the door, it’s too cold!”

Missy Cat, Director of Bealtaine CottageI obey, She who must be obeyed!

Would you contemplate crossing her?

She bites those who attempt it!

Multifuel stove in the sitting room at Bealtaine CottageI have lit both stoves in the cottage and resigned myself to a day indoors…apart from walking Jack.

Flo, on the other hand, takes her wilful self for as many walks as she decides to!

light a candle at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandAs always, I have lit a candle for those I pray for. It’s also a good way of being mindful of concerns and wishes.

The Craft room at Bealtaine CottageI have some Lavender Hearts to sew, so I will be kept busy for most of the day.

I hope you’re warm and cosy wherever you are!

Posted in Animals, Autumn, biodiversity, Dogs, Garden, Life, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized

Cutting, Clearing, Planting and Composting…Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage

Cutting back the willow in the forest fruit garden today, allowing the willows archways space to develop more.

The cut willow is shredded and spread around the fruit bushes as an autumn mulch.

This will compost down over the winter months and provide food for the soil which in turn will feed the bushes…cycle of life completed with a bountiful harvest nest summer.

I have cleared some of the potager beds today to make room for an autumn sowing of garlic and onion sets.

It makes good sense to plant out the garlic bulbs before the soil cools down…same for onion sets.

This is the sure way to grow good-size onions to harvest next year!

This is my favourite time of year to work outdoors.

It’s not too hot nor too cold…and the autumn scents are so evocative.

Meanwhile, indoors, Jack and Flo have spent the morning fighting over who gets the biggest dog basket…Flo has lost this time, so has decided to make Jack as uncomfortable as possible by sitting on his back!

Isn’t it amazing how little dogs can be so bossy?

The paths around the garden are so overgrown that some are no longer navigable.

The word “jungle,” springs to mind!

However, the sheer volume of prunings is adding enormous bulk to the compost heap, which is now the biggest ever!

I have grown some mighty pumpkins in the potager beds this year that have had only compost in them.

I think that the sheer biodiversity of the plants here at Bealtaine is the basis of some great compost!

Clearing the paths and cutting back is a lovely way to spend quiet time on the land…being outdoors on a fine autumn day is hard to beat!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Life, Orchids, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vegan, Wild Flowers, Wine

Saturday Morning at Permaculture Cottage, Ireland.

Mum sleeps, guarded by Flo!

Mum celebrates her 81st birthday this month and is staying with us for a holiday. Flo is on permanent holiday! mum loves the animals to be close-by and finds great comfort in them. So, she sleeps contentedly on the bed, watched over by Flo, the rescue babe…it’s a joy to see them both in their shared happiness. Long life to them!

Dog Daisies, regarded as a weed, are blooming all over the west of Ireland at present. This is a clump of them near the back of the cottage. Allowed to grow each year, they will begin to form a little colony and eventually become a part of the flowering season, like these!

The apples have all set really well. These are young Bramley Cooking Apples. The recent rains will allow them to continue to grow and prosper.

Eating apples in the orchards this morning…James Grieve. So far, eleven apple trees have been planted at Bealtaine Cottage, with plans for more this year…dependant on visitors bringing presents!

Blackcurrants ripening…soon time to begin harvesting…cordials and wines will be on the top of the list to make from these this year. Since becoming Vegan I am aware of the importance of good quality food and drink and am developing a fondness for cordials. The Elderflower cordial at the moment is being snaffled by visitors, so am having to step up production! I have yet to make Blackcurrant Cordial, but am looking forward to learning and doing!

Here is the recipe for the Elderflower Cordial

It’s so very simple!
Elderflower Cordial
50g flowers
30g citric acid
1 litre water
1kilo sugar
Coll boiled water. Add Elderflowers & citric acid. Leave for about 48hours, strain, add sugar. Dissolve sugar, keep stirring. Bottle.
This recipe was given to me by a Permaculture Visitors to Bealtaine, Derek and Mary, who left me a bottle of the cordial and I was well impressed! It keeps for a year and more…if you have that much willpower! I use glass bottles, the screw top kind

This beautiful little Orchid appeared on one of the paths and I noticed it this morning.