Creating a Bee and Butterfly Garden

A new garden!

permaculture cottage july 2011 003A big task is underway. It’s a labour of love for the Butterflies and Bees…so bound to be beautiful, with lots and lots of flowers and flowering shrubs.

September Permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 026This is a garden I have often dreamed of creating, so am very excited about getting stuck in!

DSC01236The video will introduce you to the task in hand…

Signs of Spring

Catnip Heart Toy made at Bealtaine Cottage

Life is stirring.

Light shines higher in the morning sky.

Thickening buds cast a haze over the land.

“But there were certain early days in Casterbridge- days of firmamental exhaustion which followed angry south-westerly tempests-when, if the sun shone, the air was like velvet.”
Thomas Hardy

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine Cottage

Colours emerge and birds sing out a joyous, higher note.

Warm weather in January

We are officially in the season of Spring in the West of Ireland and the new energy is tangible, from rising in the morning to the growing lateness of dusk.

The temperature seems rather unstable, as you can see evidence of in the photograph above.

The morning began very cold and in the space of minutes, the temperature had climbed by 18 F., causing the mirror on the veranda to steam up!

I recorded this as most of the only real information about climate and weather appears to be anecdotal evidence from social media! Cottage interior at Bealtaine, 2016

My favourite aspect of Spring is the way the light changes.

If one simply sat in this cottage and never ventured outdoors it would be possible to map the seasons in light play.

I expect birds, animals and even insects are similarly informed.

Living in the glare of artificial light can be dulling to our senses!

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”
Vita Sackville-West, The Land

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Elsewhere in the woodland gardens at Bealtaine, frogs have emerged from hibernation and busied themselves, as only frogs can in cold ponds!

Frogs in Bealtaine pond have the luxury of a shallow, sheltered, ancillary pond, hand dug by myself, just off the main one.

This water heats faster and earlier, ensuring maximum attention to the detail of frog mating and spawning…a sort of nursery pond!

Anyway, it works a treat and has done for the past eleven years.

As a consequence, the amphibian life force has healthily expanded!

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

 

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2016

Diversity of planting not only has created resilience, but bestowed all year round colour to Bealtaine Cottage…so appreciated as Spring emerges…for with this rising of the sap, comes a much defined colour change!

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Pussy Willow at Bealtaine Cottage. Ireland

Catkins have appeared on the Willow…and there’s many different varieties in the Woodland. Pond and even Orchard gardens. Essential food for the bees emerging from a hungry winter hibernation.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Quince flowers, Bealtaine Cottage, Feb 2016

This Quince grows in the Bog Garden and has begun to flower!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood

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Where would Spring be without the exquisite little Primroses?

Seen here in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine, surrounded by Spurge!

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Spurge at bealtaine cottage in the Fairy Wood

The Fairy Wood awakens!

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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:

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

 

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https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Into the Turning

www.bealtainecottage.comThe bonfire of Midsummer night has died down.

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The midnight sky stays light on the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Bats encircle the cottage, as stars emerge into the darkness.

cavan burren 2The day has passed into the Turning…of the light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008As the light passes into the lazy warmth of an enduring summer, visitors to Bealtaine Cottage come and go.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.www.bealtainecottage.com 042Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011There is little to concern oneself with, as Nature holds sway.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031These are the gentle days of Midsummer. 

Irish Cottage Life

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The permaculture gardens are very wet today…the rain has been quite relentless!

Never mind!

Lots to do indoors and sorting through boxes of “things,” I was happy to find these lovely Yuletide cards.

Doesn’t she look gorgeous in the snow?

As I am receiving orders for the Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book, I thought that I would add these lovely cards, as a way for me to send the book to someone you love, with a card inscribed with your message.

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Anyway, you can have a peek, using the link at the top of the page!

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Missy continues to make a steady recovery, though has refined her taste-buds to a rather expensive prescription cat food, available only from Suzy the Vet, in Boyle.

When I refer to Missy as a “high maintenance gal!” …I’m not kidding!

Please ignore the clothes drying all over the stove today…it is rather wet outdoors!

Makes it really “Shabby Chic” style!

www.bealtainecottage.com 026I take Jack into see Suzy the Vet, tomorrow morning, to have his “thumb nails” clipped.

Jack loves travelling in the car and tries to snap every other vehicle he sees on the road!

Which is why he can only ever be walked on a lead!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Dodging in and out, to collect up the logs, my friend Marian delivered to me yesterday, I still managed to get wet!

I’m stacking them under the shelter of the veranda by the lodge.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Despite the dull, rainy day, the gardens continue to look colourful!

As you can see, the potager beds continue in their abundance, producing herbs, vegetables and flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.com 019There is never any shortage of work to be done here at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Tree coppicing continues along the north bank, in front of the cottage, opening up the view just a little, as well as supplying the stove with kindling and small logs.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The fact is, no matter what the weather is like, it is simply wonderful to be outdoors in the gardens, working here and there!

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Have a good week ahead everyone…Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage X

Growing Grapes in Ireland…Outside!

Those who follow this blog will know that I grow grapes in the polytunnel, very successfully.

This recent experiment is about growing a fruitful grapevine outside, in Ireland.

The first thing is to try to emulate the conditions most favourable for grapes and a recent visitor to Bealtaine cottage spent some time giving me lots of good advice to this end…thanks Sigi!

Sigi grows lots of vines in Austria and is very knowledgeable indeed on this subject.

First, the vine detests wet feet…so ensure that the soil is very well drained.

Well in this case I replanted the vine onto the gravel at the back of the cottage, which faces south, banking it up well.

Stone collects the heat of the sun and holds it well…thermal mass! I added lots of stone around the plant.

Sigi advised me to keep to one main stem, so I cut it back and will cut some more too.

Recycling tins…this one has been serving the Sedum for about 3 years now!

Just punch a few holes in the bottom using a hammer and nail!

The experiment with the tomatoes outdoors as opposed to the tunnel is good so far.

This one is cropping earlier than the several in the tunnel!

Everything in the raised bed is growing fast and furious…less than a month after the first stone was set in place!

Plenty of time yet for sowing seeds…I started these off on Saturday.

The Rudbeckia on the left were transplanted from a small pot.

Harvesting seed from Parsley…save seed, it’s our independence and our future!

Borage flowers adorn the water in the tunnel…ensuring lots of bees visit the plants in here, there’s lots of Borage!

Today’s video…and yes, Missy has barged in!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vejVN3L1_LU

A Sense of Purpose

This is a month of many visitors to Bealtaine.

It is also the month of midsummer.

The ascent towards the solstice is happening.

It is actually visible in the growth all around me at Bealtaine Cottage.

Grass has grown tall and is seeding.

Nettles are almost past their prime, for once the flower heads appear their culinary use is forbidden.

Blossoms are ready to harvest, especially the Elderflower, one of the most delicate and exquisite flowers to use for making cordial, jam and champagne.

Elderflower cordial, once made and safely bottled, will keep easily for a year or more…not that I have ever kept it that long!

It is one of the best tastes of summer, if not the best!

Many of the visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are as interested in the spiritual aspects of permaculture, as the practical aspects of embracing permaculture as a lifestyle choice.

I see both as intertwined, for as permaculture is practised, spiritual awareness deepens and religious thinking diminishes.

A transformation occurs that takes the participant to a higher plain of awareness and understanding.

For me, permaculture has led me quite naturally to a life of simplicity and increasing awareness of the natural world.

It has been a tuning in process that has reached a level of comfortable ordinariness.

In other words, I get it… I feel comfortable within the universe.

There is incredible peace of mind in a permaculture lifestyle.

Most of the time, the brain is in an alpha state, with virtually no anxiety.

There is little to be anxious about, as this lifestyle choice both empowers and disregards.

With little need for money, the desire to consume is abated and diminished.

The consuming society is fast consuming itself and mostly for greed, ego or other negative reasons.

So much of the negativity which once dominated thinking, is disregarded, thrown off.

Life is embraced as a series of sunrises and sunsets and all the day in between, noticing the natural environment, planting, harvesting and simply being.

Many who are unemployed can turn to permaculture as an unlimited resource, fractionalised only by one’s own imagination.

A sense of purpose is easily attained by working close to the Earth.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, as the night draws in and the rain scatters nourishment upon the plants, I take a final walk around the cottage before reluctantly going in for the night…

Simplicity, Frugality and Thrift…

Made today…

Frugality, simplicity and thrift…cutting down old curtains bought at a Boot Fair, to make new curtains for this window.

Hung on curtain wire…the cheapest and most effective way to hang light curtains.

And cafe curtains on the kitchen windows… These curtains are easy and fast to make, sewing in straight lines and no need for accessories of any kind!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Think twice before you throw away tins…they make wonderful pots for plants!

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Floral displays are easy to create from all kinds of cuttings.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Twisted willow wreathes require little or no skill to make and the materials are free and readily collected from the hedgerows.

Candle at Bealtaine Cottage
Candles for Midwinter, made over recent days, using candle scraps collected up over the course of the year.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

A string of hearts made from scrap materials…one of those curtain pattern sample books that shops find difficult to dispose of!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Home made biscuits to give as gifts, always treasured as they are unique and and can be wrapped in such beautiful ways!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Tiny pots of home made jam…

bealtaine cottage

Wrapped with home made scones, these make wonderful gifts!

apple jelly 008

Or home made jellies with herbs added!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Be really adventurous and make fruit wine…

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture march 2011 004

Once in the demijohn, they make themselves!

today

The kindest and cheapest way to bleach your tea cloths…leave them out in the sun!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture home made soup

Make a big pot of soup, fill some Kilner jars with it and store in the fridge…it will keep for several days and is better than buying factory made stuff in plastic pots!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Happy making and baking…!

 

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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…