Posted in Cats, Climate, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Samhain

The Passing of Samhain

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Autumn remains, despite the passing of Samhain.

Nasturtiums hold their blooms and the occasional bee busies himself with work, inside the generous flowers of orange and yellow.

Sammy-Bear and Che-Mousey have drunk all their milk and turned their noses up at the biscuits…they may be spoiled!

www.bealtainecottage.com 010The leaves of the Nasturtium appear to grow huge, as the season of growth comes to an end…capturing and reflecting the dew of the morning.
www.bealtainecottage.com 016Giant Willow, (Biomass), drops its leaves and the winter duvet, that will cover the earth, spreads.

This Willow grows at the top of the gardens and is pollarded, to allow for ground space.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018

Few gardeners here in Ireland pollard Willow, so these trees always attract attention from visitors to Bealtaine!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Che-Mousey has taken to following me around the gardens, as I take pictures.

He has even managed to develop a feint miaow!
www.bealtainecottage.com 024The reflective quality of the rainwater improves, as the air cools into early winter.
www.bealtainecottage.com 025Vivid colours are manifested on the Copper Beech trees…
www.bealtainecottage.com 028Cats are all around on this first day of winter!
www.bealtainecottage.com 031Can you believe these colours?

Grapevine on the veranda against blue sky…it actually appears photo-shopped, but is not!
www.bealtainecottage.com 032The raw beginnings of a basket, hung into the eaves of the veranda, now appearing, as the leaves fall away from around it!
www.bealtainecottage.com 033The Pumpkins are ready to store away in the pantry…I must remember to do this today!
www.bealtainecottage.com 036I’m just enjoying all this green, before Jack Frost steals it!
www.bealtainecottage.com 041Have a wonderful weekend everyone XXX

Posted in Animals, Bees, Cats, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Seeds, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Glimpses of Days to Come

Red maple tree at Bealtaine Cottage

Stormy weather has given way to a sunny evening.

The Red maple has caught the glow, offering glimpses of days to come, for summer seems close at hand.

Rhubarb and Blackcurrants near the herb garden at Bealtaine CottageThe spring has lingered and time seems out of step with expectation.

One day it’s flooding and the next there’s a hurricane blowing!

I heard someone say to expect frost at night this week…I hope not, as I’ve planted a lot of seedlings out!

Grapevine in the polytunnelThe tunnel has escaped the ravages of the crazy weather and the Grapevine is coming into leaf.

Herb RobertHerb Robert carpets the ground underneath the vine.

This is a perfect ground-cover, as the root system is very delicate and shallow, so doesn’t take much from the earth.

Sammy-BearI caught the boys in here sunbathing in the warmth and out of the wind…

The cats at Bealtaine CottageThey are inseparable! Che-Mousey follows Sammy-Bear everywhere.

He was very lonely before Sammy-Bear joined us…

Lunaria at Bealtaine CottageThe plan is to save masses of seed this year and already the Lunaria is developing tiny seed-heads.

If you look closely, you can see the seed-heads and a beautiful bee doing her work!

These will expand to become “Moon-Pennies”

Lunaria in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe lovely thing about Lunaria is that once you introduce it into your garden it will spread year upon year…it is a most generous flower and so loved by bees.

This is Lunaria growing by the laurel arch today.

The heavenly scent is trapped in the archway and makes a visit to the herb garden and tunnel a joy!

Valerian, Columbine and BuddhaValerian and Columbine have the same generous, spreading habit and all beloved by the bees…

Both are growing freely by Buddha…neither one planted, but self-seeded in the gravel.

Apple blossom at Bealtaine CottageThe Apple blossom has opened fully today.

It’s 8pm as I finish writing and the sky outside the window by the desk is a perfect summer blue, making it hard to believe that frost lies ahead!

Important! Message from Terri:

 On Saturday 25th May, there will be a March against Monsanto in Dublin starting at 2.30p.m in the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square.

Come along and add your support.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 535 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Personal, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Thrift, Uncategorized

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

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Books, Climate, Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Summer Feast on a Wet Evening

Lots of Parsley and loads of eggs…yes, it’s summer and the food is in plentiful supply here on this Permaculture smallholding.

An easy way of preserving food for the leaner times is to use it to cook and freeze, or bottle or…anyway, you know what I mean…just don’t let it go to waste!

Here is one of my favourite fast foods, devised by Rose Elliot, my favourite Vegetarian Cookery writer…Parsley Burgers.

I made these on the Cook and Dine Evening I hosted on Monday evening at Cleen Hall, Knockvicar, and, they were very well received!
Anyway, here’s the recipe…
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2 eggs / 6 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs / 1 small onion, chopped / 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley / salt and fresh ground black pepper / oil for shallow frying.

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Add the breadcrumbs, onion and parsley to the beaten egg and season to taste.

Pour oil into pan to cover the base thinly and heat.

Spoon the mixture into the pan and fry for about 3 minutes on either side, until crisp.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve with salad or baked beans!

As they freeze really well and there is a glut of all the ingredients here at Bealtaine, I have made dozens of them to freeze and save as a fast food…

AN UPDATE ON THE GRAPEVINE…I planted outdoors…it’s doing really well, so far!

It had over-wintered at Bealtaine and endured being frozen in its pot for weeks on end, survived well and is now set to be a successful outdoor grape…

A Forecast for the Winter Ahead…

Lots of logs continue to be stockpiled for what is going to be a very cold winter indeed.

Seriously, now is the time to prepare!

If you live in the British Isles, try to get hold of a wood burning stove now and start your woodpile.

Ash can be burned without seasoning!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Permaculture, Sligo, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Abundance…

Harvests continue to develop and flowers bloom at Bealtaine Smallholding. Flowers like these Sedums require little or no attention and soon fill out a space.

White Buddleia in full bloom, though there are few butterflies around at the moment. This tree, well, bush really, serves as an air island for the birds nesting in the box nearby.

Pots of Curly Kale, Chard and Pumpkins, some of which will be moved across to the new beds in the Vegetable Garden. All these have been planted in pots filled with home made compost.

The grapevine, grown from a cutting about four years ago, has produced well this season. This was pruned hard at the end of the winter and then lightly at the end of spring. Well developed bunches of grapes have set and continue to thrive.

Another good year for the apple harvest. This part of Ireland is great for growing fruit, as rhubarb, blackcurrants, redcurrant, plums, apples et al appear to thrive!

Posted in Country Living, Eco-Living, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Hothouse Flowers in a Permaculture Environment. Evening @ Bealtaine Cottage

Laburnum and Ferns, hastily picked, make a casual, summer bouquet for the sitting room window of the cottage. I never buy flowers and don’t support the polluting, hothouse methods involved in growing shop bought arrangements. The seasonal look is more in keeping with caring for the environment as well as being much more stylish.

The rain has passed over for the day as the evening sweeps in from the East. Hoping for a lot more if the wells are going to resume full flow! I still haven’t moved the logs as the rain has continued unabated for most of the day. Added to this is the task of clearing out the barn in order to stack the logs, which is pending…ahem!

Jack has been having a ripping time, literally…nothing is safe around him! I got him some massive bones from the butcher yesterday and he has been crunching and chewing away to his heart’s content! I can’t quite get over just how intelligent he is! I would advise anyone thinking of getting a pet to visit their local animal sanctuary first…you might be as lucky as myself and come away with a gem like Jack!

Looking out the window onto the veranda is uplifting when the roses are in bloom. I planted a grapevine further along, into a couple of tyres and have big expectations for equally bountiful harvests of grapes!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Woodland

The Benefits of Mulching in a Land without Rain…Ireland ~ Permaculture Living.

There is little space left in the tunnel…plants and seedlings jostle for what is there and the grapevine is setting lots of fruit. Nectarine and Peach trees in here have already set an abundance of small fruits, so the harvest is looking fruitful!

Lots of tiny Pears have set on the Pear trees in Zones 1 and 2. Frost at this point can happen but is not expected, so the majority of settings should mature into good fruit.

Each year for the past four years of the seven Bealtaine has been growing I have siad that this would be a bumper harvest for Apples. I have to say this again…a bumper crop is expected! I will post regular pics to update you on this! You can see some from last harvest, when the trees were heavy with fruit! No sprays, no chemicals, just permaculture!

Heavy mulching arounf fruit trees, bushes and plants have saved them from the ravages of the drought experienced recently here in Ireland.

Living in Ireland where few trees are planted,( except the dreaded Sitka Spruce for money!) Bealtaine is fast growing to look like an Oasis in a desert. Intense planting, as per permaculture, makes this small 3 acres look exceptional. Most farmers in Ireland get financial subsidies and don’t plant trees…I have planted almost 600 and receive zero reward…well, not in financial terms, but you can see the immense rewards here for Gaia, birds, insects, animals, visitors and me! PLANT MORE TREES!