Posted in compost, Eco-Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Nature, Uncategorized

Using Seaweed in the Garden

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After so much rain during the past few weeks, it was a relief to have a relatively dry day! DSC01293You may remember that last week I visited the Atlantic shoreline to harvest some seaweed to use on the garden. DSC01292The strands to the south of Sligo town have piles of loose seaweed here and there along the beaches.

DSC01291Always only ever take the loose stuff…don’t pull seaweed from stones as these form habitats and are essential to the ecology of the seashore!

DSC01290In the end I managed about three big bags of seaweed and headed home with my foraged booty!

DSC01289The first thing I do is to spread it on the gravel around the cottage and allow the rain to wash out excess salt.

DSC01288After about a week, I start to spread the seaweed around established plants in the garden and tunnel.

DSC01287 The seaweed acts as a wonderful feed and a weed-suppressing mulch!

DSC01285One of the best things about growing food in the garden is the opportunity to use local and near resources that are free to be foraged or collected…seaweed is an organic fertiliser! DSC01286Seaweed is washed in by the tide, so is easy to forage!

DSC01284Only ever take what you need!

It can be used straight away too by the way!

DSC01283It’s packed with Potassium and Nitrogen, bot wonderful for the garden!

In the next blog, over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, I will explain how to make Liquid Seaweed Manure…along with lots more pics of the vegetable beds mulched with seaweed and how this feeds the plants!

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

 

 

Posted in simple life, Simple Living, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Simple Life ~ Bealtaine Cottage July 1 2016

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“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
John Burroughs, Leaf and Tendril

DSC01127A simple life is not impoverished…it’s knowing what is enough!

DSC01124Here I made a board for jigsaws…something I love to do.

DSC01125It’s simple…look closely and see how it was made…wood, glue and edging strip to keep the bits from falling off the board.

DSC01128All these photographs were snapped today, the first day of July….a few last night!

DSC01129 A little record of a simple life… Enjoy!

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Posted in Abundance, Earth, Eco-Living, forest gardens, Gaia, Garden, Lough Allen Basin, Mother earth, Permaculture, Trees, Woodland

Garden to Visit in Ireland…Unique…Permaculture!

Yesterday was a busy day for me as I worked tirelessly in the gardens, cutting, clearing and ensuring all the paths are open for visitors.

I always carry my camera with me, so here are some of the shots I took on my walk around after I’d finished my work!

It was a hard day, but, as you can see, well worth it.

I continue today and will share pics later on!

Love and Blessings XXX Colette at Bealtaine Cottage

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To arrange a visit to Bealtaine Cottage and the 3 acre Permaculture Garden created by one woman from monoculture land, go to

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Posted in Lifestyle, Permaculture, Recycling, Sustainable Living, Thrift

Simple Living

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“We’d incorporated Asia into our bones – its colours and laughter, its smells, its rhythms, its tolerance and patience, its compassion, its lack of ageism.”
~ Jane Wilson-Howarth

DSC00922DSC00921DSC00920DSC00915Colour is important to me, as you can see from both the cottage and the garden.

DSC00917DSC00916I am led to infuse it into my daily life, as in the tie-dyed sheet that hangs as a curtain on the old doorway.

DSC00914Sometimes it’s all too easy to go to the shops and buy what is deemed suitable for covering a doorway…usually a door!

DSC00912But, as always, a cottage can be very forgiving and accommodating to whatever furniture or resources one has.

DSC00905A cottage is never in competition with the big, new house down the road!

DSC00906It’s more of a “make do and mend” kind of home, where anything goes, be it period or modern, or just recycled, as is the case here at Bealtaine.

DSC00907As I snapped these photos this morning, my gaze was being continually led outside…and so it should be, for that connectivity is immensely important.

DSC00911I recall living in an old house in Muswell Hill in London and how I loved tending the window boxes beyond the old sash windows. DSC00909How just the simple act of pushing them up and the outside coming in provided a kind of release of energy both ways!

DSC00908The connectivity of life!

 

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Edible Gardens, Garden, sanctuary

Visiting Bealtaine Cottage

DSC00779Due to the demand from those of you wishing to visit Bealtaine Cottage, I am opening for visitors daily.

DSC00780However, please read on…

All visits MUST be booked online!

DSC00781To plan and book your visit,  (booking is essential, as casual visitors will be turned away), you must be a subscriber to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website.

DSC00784You will find all the details you need to plan and book your visit on

https://bealtainecottage.org/

DSC00792To become a member of Bealtaine Cottage Good life, simply visit:

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

DSC00796If you have any queries you can contact me on colette0neill2010@hotmail.com

Posted in Abundance, Summer, sustainability, vegetable garden

Today at Bealtaine Cottage

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Rain fell last night and continues this morning.

There will be no lack of water in the well for the next few weeks!

DSC00663 I have finally given away my hens…as I no longer eat eggs and there was a lovely home ready and waiting for them where they would be more useful, as they are good layers and their eggs will be anticipated and appreciated where there is a family of people to eat them.

DSC00662I shall miss them, but as with life at Bealtaine Cottage, the void is quickly filled and the hen-house will be re-purposed and appreciated further.

DSC00661In the past, their manure was a part of developing the fertility of the land at Bealtaine, but this is no longer needed.

The compoost system is now working very well and far exceeds what any animal manure could bring to three acres.

DSC00659Seed production is well under way, with some of the harvest already collected and much more coming to fruition.

DSC00660We are now one week away from Midsummer, as evidenced in the lush growth seen here! 

DSC00655We inter-breath with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans.  They are part of our own body.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

DSC00658The fruit trees and bushes were pruned back quite hard over the course of last Autumn and Winter and they are happily producing yet another bumper harvest.

DSC00656 …no matter how complex or affluent, human societies are nothing but subsystems of the biosphere, the Earth’s thin veneer of life, which is ultimately run by bacteria, fungi and green plants.  

~Vaclav Smil 

DSC00657Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.  

~Charles Cook  

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“If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.”
J.M. Coetzee

Posted in awakening, change, Earthing, Garden, Nature

Like Children

DSC00479For the 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world.  Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine. 

Janine M. Benyus

DSC00480As an integral part of the global awakening that is happening, humankind are being called back to the earth, to reconnect with Gaia.

DSC00478Not everyone is feeling this at the same time…as each one of us on our own sacred journey comes to experience in own time.

DSC00477This morning, awakening around six thirty, I ventured out into the gardens to experience the early morning mist, which, as I type at almost 11am, prevails.

DSC00475 Ireland has been experiencing some incredibly good weather in recent weeks and so it goes on.

DSC00474In other parts of the world, devastating storms have wreaked havoc!

DSC00473Yet, in all of this uncertainty and upset, the advance of those seeking to connect with Mother Earth increases.

DSC00472We are like lost children in need of the comfort of a parent.

DSC00471 And perhaps this is a good thing, for to be like children on this Sacred Earth will connect us much easier than any other way.

DSC00470So what is it about children that gives them the advantage in understanding their place in the Universe?

DSC00468Could it be that they are naturally curious?

Is it our loss that we accept so much and question so little?

DSC00465Have we allowed our lives to become subsumed in the detritus of the material world?

DSC00463I often pass gardens where all is so perfectly straight and neat that I actively squint in attempting to see Mother Nature…and often I do not see Her at all!

DSC00462 Yet I know that control of Nature brings unhappiness and discontent…the sort of feeling where frustration begins to eat at one’s very soul!

DSC00461So what are the tools we need to enable us to reconnect with Mother Earth.

DSC00460 I have the privilege to be able to observe small children when they visit Bealtaine with their parents and it is nothing less than a joy to behold!

DSC00417They hold the keys to the kingdom! 

DSC00415What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more,
to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks
where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes,
or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that
tumble and roll and climb in riotous gladness!  

~Helen Keller

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Posted in Fairies, magic, Summer, Woodland

The Watchers

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Here in the study the light is low as the day fades into the west.  

DSC00106Ten O’Clock rings out as I take up my camera and head out into the warm evening.

DSC00107I have enjoyed visitors for much of the day, so stepping out into the evening allows me time to be quiet and absorb the ending of the day. 

DSC00108“Be calm…calm as a calm lagoon, then you will look beautiful as a beautiful calm lagoon crowned by the Moon and sheltered by the brilliance of the stars reclaiming your royalty of regal life…”
Oksana Rus 

DSC00109The light lends an ethereal touch to everything. 

DSC00110“When one tunes in into nature’s frequency, life becomes change, change becomes hope!”
Aniekee Tochukwu 

DSC00111The birds continue to fly to and fro their nestlings in a frenzy to keep them fed.

DSC00112Fortunately, Bealtaine Cottage can now support dozens of pairs of breeding birds and all from the plentiful supply of food in the gardens and food forest. 

DSC00113DSC00114DSC00115“It was that time of dusk when there is a—deepening of the interior shadows. It is a melancholy time: all you need do is switch on one lamp and the inside and the outside will separate, held apart by the reflections in the glass, and evening will begin.”
Rudolph Delson 

DSC00117DSC00116DSC00118As always at this time of evening, there is magic in the air.

DSC00120DSC00121DSC00125Flowers are dancing in billows of colour around the cottage.

DSC00137DSC00127DSC00138As I walk, snapping pictures here and there, I fancy my camera may capture an image of the other world that is veiled so very thinly at this time of day…

DSC00119DSC00124DSC00123I sense the watchers…

…and then

…something moves,

DSC00142and is gone in the blink of a lens.

(This photo is as it appears…I NEVER use photoshop!)

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Posted in Abundance, ancient Ireland, biodiversity, Bloom, Celts, forest gardens, Growing Food

Natural Gardening and No-Dig Growing

DSC00027DSC00032Ireland is the richest source of Celtic  myths and legends.

DSC00029Down through the Ages, Ireland remained remote and cut off from mainland Europe, holding onto its rich folklore and spirituality.

DSC00030DSC00031It’s peoples worshipped all aspects of the natural world in which they recognised the Divine, in much the same way as I do here at Bealtaine Cottage.

DSC00034The reason for the wealth of myth and legend that pervades Ireland, today and it’s people lies not just from its isolation from mainland Europe for much of its history.

DSC00035Ireland remained free from pressures exerted by other cultures such as the Roman Empire.

DSC00036So much so, that the great writer, John B. Keane referred to his people as having only a “thin veneer of Christianity…” in that they merged their pre-Christian practices with their newly inducted Christianity.

DSC00037 And so I offer this up as a simple explanation for the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage having evolved through a similar understanding of the natural world and the supreme forces of Nature.

DSC00038This is no ordinary Permaculture garden as you can see, but one deeply nourished and inspired by the Goddess.

DSC00039For me there is a spiritual, otherworldly, ethereal force at work and play here.

DSC00040This is the rational (for me) way of explaining the extraordinary growth and extreme revving-up of biodiversity that has happened at Bealtaine.

DSC00041All beyond my control…not that I ever wanted to control this magnificent force!

I leave that to the Planet-Wreckers!

DSC00042As I re-emerged through my journey with Mother Earth, I came to an intuitive understanding of the need to stop digging Her…to let Her be!

DSC00043So I mulch and cover Her with as much tenderness as befits the Great Mother.

DSC00044You will never see any of Her precious skin exposed.

DSC00045Her mantle remains in place.

DSC00046And so this brings me to the second part of this story…

DSC00047The wonderful success of No-Dig Gardening…

DSC00050And here is the first of over twenty photographs and the story of growing success at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…continued over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life… bealtainecottage.org

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Posted in Good Life, Lifestyle, Spirituality, Summer

The Simplicity of the Morning

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“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”
Henry David Thoreau 

DSC00013Half light and shadows as the morning comes into view.

DSC00012Reflections and sunlight as the day rises.

DSC00011The silent beauty of the morning is a template for us all to follow into day…quiet simplicity.

DSC00010Gazing around the cottage as I follow through on early morning rituals.

DSC00009Checking where Sammy-Bear spent the night, opening the door for Jack to go out…

DSC00008Lighting the stove to boil the kettle…

DSC00006Looking for where I put my camera last evening, for I should record this ethereal beauty of the early morning…

DSC00005Finally, making my pot of coffee and stepping out to embrace the day…

DSC00004The morning, the blessed morning…where all is possible.

DSC00003May the Goddess of the morning touch your heart with delight.

DSC00002May you be released into day, free from negativity and matters you do not control.

DSC00001Embrace your day…it’s a blessing! 

“When you rise in the morning, form a resolution to make the day a happy one for a fellow creature.”
Sydney Smith

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Posted in Bloom, cottage style, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Organic Garden

Cottage Garden Style

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There was a full moon last night.

Sammy-Bear couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted in or out.

Previous to this photo I had opened the back door for him twice to go out, whereupon he ran around to the front of the cottage and jumped up on the window sill, as you can see here!

DSC09962It’s always a strange time when the moon is full.

I’m sure you each have stories about weird happenings at this time!

DSC09961This May moon has cast it’s brightness over Ireland, presiding over an extraordinary time of growth.

DSC09960DSC09959 All around the cottage there are flowers opening, plants growing, seemingly overnight and trees now heavy with leaf and blossom.

DSC09958Where would an Irish cottage garden be without the beautiful and traditional Perlagonium?

DSC09957And, of course, every cottage garden has a little spot for Succulents…I plant these in terracotta pots and here in this old planter.

They love dry conditions!

DSC09956DSC09955Always lots of tasks to complete as in painting the old Buddha, so he may survive another winter!

DSC09954DSC09953DSC09952As in all cottage gardens, famous for their mish-mash of flowers, vegetables fruit and just about everything else, edibles share potager beds with their close relations!

DSC09950I have had to move many plants from pots and plant them in spaces wherever I can find them.

For, as always now at this time of the year, there is a drought…sometimes prolonged, but dry enough at the best of times!

DSC09948The nursery bed, essential to a cottage garden, is being cleared fast, with plants going into the long beds down by the road.

DSC09946DSC09943Pieris and Poppies…as always, flowers are squashed in beside the most unsuitable bed mates…the Poppy is planted in with Flowering Currant!

DSC09931And sitting in my chair on the veranda, looking up…the classic cottage garden rose.

DSC09941The all-forgiving Cottage Garden will tolerate just about everything one wants to “throw out!” Except, of course, I throw little away, favouring a good old re-purpose, as in this old, but very comfy, fireside chair!

DSC09937And…the beautiful Wisteria…tougher than it looks and essential “cottage garden!”

DSC09936DSC09933DSC09932Nothing pristine here!

No manicured lawn or well-placed fountain or garden ornament…yet everything knows how to behave itself without supervision.

DSC09930Even Jack…unlike Sammy-Bear!

DSC09927DSC09924Oh Jack, you are a little beaut!

DSC09923Opening my backdoor this morning I see the Fairies have tidied up again!

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Country Living, Earth, Edible Gardens, Gardens, Nature, Permaculture, Summer

Summer in the Garden

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Being able to upload 31 photos is a real treat for me, and, I hope you will get a taste of Bealtaine Cottage today.

DSC09767I have snapped these minutes ago and come straight in to upload and write this blog…taking time en route to give Jack a cracker treat.

As you can see he’s fully engrossed with chomping!

There is an abundance of Poppies this year…these are just outside the back door and almost ready to burst open!

DSC09773Thanks and blessings to my dear friends and supporters of the Bealtaine Cottage project.

It is so very heartening to read the wonderful feedback and special messages of support.

DSC09774There was enough rain overnight to half-fill the water barrels and all is looking lush this morning! DSC09775Aquilegia is in full bloom and has grown well from an extra scattering of seeds I did last Autumn. DSC09776Here is the perennial Yellow Poppy.

This seed sold out fast last year, so I shall be harvesting as much as I can this summer.

It’s a much smaller, more delicate bloom, but strong and hardy!

DSC09777I’ve moved potted seedlings and more robust plants out of the tunnel.

Planting will be wherever I can find a space! 

DSC09778The symbolism of the Goddess is not a parallel structure to the symbolism of God the Father.
The Goddess does not rule the world…She is the world!
Manifest in each of us, She can be known internally by every individual, in all her magnificent glory.
~Starhawk

DSC09779The Permaculture design and planting at Bealtaine is not just inspired by the Goddess, but is the Goddess manifest…as natural and intuitive as the energy that flows from Mother Earth herself.

DSC09780This is the difference between Permaculture and Goddess-inspired Permaculture.

The spirit is fed as much as the stomach! 

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Each Summer the harvest grows more abundant. Redcurrants hang in droplets waiting to ripen and reveal their jewel-like qualities.

DSC09786Hawthorn has opened…

DSC09787Garden paths become enclosed, dark, shady places…

DSC09788The Spindle bush sits covered with blossom yet to open…

DSC09790“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer.  My bank of wild grass is majestic
and full of music.  It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.”
– Violette Leduc 

DSC09791To meet it — nameless as it is —
Without celestial Mail —
Audacious as without a Knock
To walk within the Veil.”
–   Emily Dickinson

DSC09792Lilac is open…

DSC09793“That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
–   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

DSC09794DSC09795DSC09796“Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me,
who could ask for more?”
–   Bev Adams 

DSC09802“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most
beautiful words in the English language.”
–  Henry James 

“The smell of manure, of sun on foliage, of evaporating water, rose to my head; two steps farther,
and I could look down into the vegetable garden enclosed within its tall pale of reeds – rich chocolate
earth studded emerald green, frothed with the white of cauliflowers, jeweled with the purple globes
of eggplant and the scarlet wealth of tomatoes.”
–  Doris Lessing

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Posted in Permaculture, Personal, Smallholding, Sustainable Living

A New Beginning for Bealtaine Cottage!

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Today is an exciting and very uplifting day for Bealtaine Cottage and me! DSC09687For the past year or so it’s been utterly frustrating not being able to share on this website.

DSC09689Restrictions were placed upon me in relation to upload space for photographs, as I had used up virtually all of the allocated space of 13GB, which is that allowed on the Premium Plan from WordPress.

DSC09691Well, today I paid for an upgrade which allows me unlimited upload space…a treat for myself and, I’m hoping one for you too!

DSC09693As I type there is a lovely soft rain falling outside, refreshing and renewing the earth.

DSC09694The same has happened here for me on the website…I feel a sense of renewal and excitement!

DSC09696To be honest, writing and photographing Bealtaine Cottage and Mother Earth constitutes my first love!

DSC09695Much as I love the interaction on social media, it can be very time-consuming and ultimately takes away from the work I do here!

DSC09684The payment of an extra 200 Euros was necessary for the extended plan, but this liberates me from the strictures of what I can put out there for everyone to enjoy.

DSC09697I will continue with the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website and am working on a plan to do a sort of “joined-up”daily blog…watch this space! DSC09698And so the story of Bealtaine Cottage continues, moving onwards and upwards!

DSC09699“Country things are the necessary root of our life – and that remains true even of a rootless and tragically urban civilization. To live permanently away from the country is a form of slow death.”
Esther Meynell

DSC09700And so I hope to continue bringing the country to you!

DSC09701Sharing this little sacred space in the west of Ireland, with the world…

DSC09702 The seasonal changes, garden, wildlife and Mother Earth…

DSC09703The song of the Goddess and her inspired Permaculture…

DSC09704Thanks for staying with Bealtaine Cottage…

This is a new beginning…Welcome back!

 

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Posted in Gardens, Inspiration, society

First Open Day of 2016 at Bealtaine Cottage

kitchen window

It’s the end of a beautiful day…the first Open Day of the year at Bealtaine Cottage.

It was a joy to welcome guests and share time, tea, treats and walks.

I plan another open Day for the month of June and a further one for July.

Make sure you keep an eye on the website for details. 

Posted in Abundance, agriculture, Uncategorized

Permaculture Potagers, Polytunnel and Gardens

Walk with me around the production gardens at Bealtaine Cottage on this May evening in the West of Ireland.

Potager beds and Peach trees, Polytunnel and Bees…all looking lush on this early Summer evening.

The soundtrack of birds is all around us!

Posted in create, Garden, good health, sanctuary, Uncategorized

Creating a Sanctuary for Yourself!

“Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit

He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing”
Marcus Tullius Cicero 

DSC07990This is very apt today as I have been in and out of the garden, working and reading…Dictator by Robert Harris, the third and last book in the Cicero trilogy.

DSC09029Many of you are aware that I do not have a TV, nor want one, come to that!

I spend my time between the garden and reading mostly.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul, and constitutionalist.

Cicero lived through the fall of the Republic and the installation of Caesar as dictator.

Barn at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensIt was a time when Roman fought Roman and the fabric of society was torn apart.

Cleopatra was on the throne of Egypt and Mark Anthony was waiting in the wings, (…most of you know of the tempestuous love affair between them both!)

10 July 2014 005But, to return to the quote above…Cicero had life sorted in my opinion.

There is much anguish and depression in society today, and, in my opinion,  exacerbated by the lack of connection we have to Mother Earth and each other, but particularly by noise!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThere is a background noise that seems to permeate home life, emanating from TVs, computers and screens linked to the internet.

Gaming seems to be the order of the day for many young people.

In short, home, for many people, is no longer a sanctuary! 

Autumn permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 018Creating a private space where you can go to read, write, pursue a craft, or simply unwind is a positive step towards establishing good mental health and physical relaxation, in other words, a body and mind space!

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, then that can be a wonderful environment to create “space”…or, as I did when I lived in London, a garden shed on my rented allotment was my personal retreat!

Feverfew and stained glassThe words of Cicero are particularly relevant today as society seems to struggle to keep a grip on sanity and calm.

It was difficult enough for Cicero over two thousand years ago…and you know what they say about history and it’s apparent repetitive nature… 

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