Posted in Cottage, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Recycling, Thrift, Uncategorized

Recycling for Profit!

Recycling can be done in many different ways.

It’s not just about pushing used bottle and jars into a recycling bin!

Here at Bealtaine Cottage most of the contents of my home are recycled household items.

I have added to the kitchen  contents with this lovely wall shelving, bought second-hand at the Boot Fair in Carrick-on-Shannon over the weekend.

It cost me 20 euros…a bargain and I didn’t even have to barter, as this was the asking price which I thought was fair, so paid it.

It’s perfect in my kitchen!

I also bought a Bread Bin for 4 euros…in the same colour as I painted the floor.

I never know what treats await me as I forage through the Fair on a Sunday morning…and last Sunday I arrived home with three items for my cottage, the last being this unusual mirror, made from metal and looking slightly Gothic!

It seemed to fit perfectly beside the door to the porch, reflecting the Victorian wash-stand by the opposite wall.

There are so many different and interesting ways to recycle…it’s not just about glass and cans!

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Cats, Country Living, Ecology, Garden, Permaculture, Trees, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

An Irish Cottage Garden in Spring

I’ve been listening to Sinead O’Connor this morning as I clean the cottage.

What is it about music that energizes and propels one along in whatever work they are engaged in?

It reminds me of the factories during WW2 where music was introduced as the women worked, building components for, and weapons of, war! And afterwards, the BBC introduced a programme on the radio, entitled, “Music While You Work,” aimed at women, of course!

Good grief…that’s a mental leap of thoughts from Sinead to WW2…amazing what a duster in one hand and a headscarf wrapped around the hair can evoke…

As you can see from the pic of today…spring and sunshine has a compelling effect on one’s energy and drive!

Foxgloves this morning, near the vegetable garden. There is no shortage of these beautiful, wild flowers around the land of Bealtaine.

In the tunnel earlier…Missy follows me as I work.
I received a lovely gift recently of 3 Elder trees and 3 Sycamores, so planting these will be enjoyable work to do this afternoon, no doubt, overseen by herself!

It is amazing just how much heat is captured daily in these stones edging the paths…passive solar collectors. Missy can tell you all about warm stones…just watch a cat!

The Bumble Bees are out in force, enjoying the heavily scented flowers of the Ribes. It is easy enough to plant an all year round forage for the Bees, whether they are the humble Bumble or the hard-working Honey Bee…all are welcome and catered for here at Bealtaine!

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Cottage, Eco-Living, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

Hens…Raising Happy Girls!

The Bealtaine Girls…a bit like the Bluebell Girls, except they don’t dance!

I love hens.

They are social creatures.

Bealtaine Permaculture

They are inquisitive by nature and become very tame when treated well.

I have kept hens for years, even when I lived in London, I kept hens in my garden in Muswell Hill.

So, hens are familiar to me and have taught me a lot about what makes them happy!

Hens love to scratch and peck…fresh straw is great for this as they peck all the seeds left on the stalks.

Food is easy…lots of greens.

You can pick a few weeds every day and give to the hens, fresh is best.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture hens

Lots of starchy food leftovers is good for them as it provides a balanced diet.

I supplement with rolled barley, which they love!

If the girls can roam freely then this is good for all.

Bealtaine Cottage

Mine get out for a good long roam-about when I’m working in the upper gardens.

This is because the handsome old fox lives on the hill above the cottage!

Say no more!

Hens love the berries of the Ribes, which stay on the bushes over the winter.

I have watched the girls jump up high to eat these from the bush on winter days.

Blackcurrant Cordial Bealtaine Cottage 015

Here they are scoffing the remains of blackcurrants from wine-making.

Hens are great foragers and will happily troop off on a good old forage through the bushes and woodland, emerging hours later at some unexpected point!

The henhouse is very spacious, with two floors and a long perch…and, you’ve probably noticed, very light too.

This is because it has a perspex roof, so all the sunshine and moonlight can brighten the inside.

In this way, the hens continue to lay eggs all year round as the light induces this process.

I built this on site and positioned the roof on a slope towards the south to catch as much sun and warmth as possible.

Trees are planted around it for maximum shelter, especially from the wind.

It works!

The hens even laid eggs on Christmas day.

Bealtaine in June 2011 046

Hens will lay for years and live for over 7 years and more.

Posted in Culture, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Growing Food, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Politics, Roscommon, Sligo, Sustainable Living, Thoughts

Procul omen abesto! Ovid and the Days to Come…

Far be that fate from us…said Ovid over 2,000 years ago…

The Nursery at Bealtaine Cottage

It got me thinking of all I thought would not happen when I first took up growing…

Potting up in the polytunnel

We would not destroy our lifeline, the soil, for all that is necessary for life lies within…

And yet this is happening all over the developed world, and, everywhere else too!

Did you see the gigantically terrifying Dust-cloud that enveloped Phoenix, Arizona?

Reminiscent of the Dust-Bowl catastrophes of the hungry thirties…

In Permaculture we mulch…and mulch and…mulch! Building up layers of soil and goodness.

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodThere is little need to dig, disturbing the ecological balance of the soil.

weed suppressing with cardboard

The fate that awaits us all is a depleted soil and thence a depleted Earth and this is happening every day in corporate controlled Agriculture…and there is a Land-Grab going on, have no doubt about that!

The Corporate monsters are on the march!

We must all take our positions in making a stand against this and we can!

As consumers we are powerful, very powerful indeed!

Potager bed at Bealtaine Cottage

I was reminded on Twitter this morning of this when reading some of the tweets accumulated overnight and one of them was about buying local, another about imported foods from parts of Africa where hunger is now ravaging the people…think on…

Hazelnuts beginning to ripen here at Bealtaine…this is a food to forage as well as grow and forms a good source of protein for the vegan or vegetarian.

These store well and can be ground or minced and added to burgers!

And a few more words from Ovid…”Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor,” which translated means, simply…”I see the better way, and approve it; I follow the worse.”

We have choices.

We have the power.

Roses at Bealtaine Cottage

We can be the change we want to see…