Posted in biodiversity, Cottage, Gardens, Ireland, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Woodland

The Cottage in the Woods

Winter edges away slowly, with lighter mornings and longer days.

The Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage have emerged this year into the Permaculture Woods.

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However, I’ve got to admit that I’ve been flagging recently!

A combination of the time of year, family commitments and basically just trying too hard to do too much!

The saying goes, “spreading yourself too thin on the ground”, or something like that…well, that’s me!

I’m done for!

I would love to take a few days off and lounge about in my Jim-Jams, but…well, you know me by now…!

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So, in keeping with the time of year I’ve been painting, cutting, tidying the land and planting.

As you can see here, the back wall of the cottage has been (almost) finished…though I’ve run out of paint and will have to colour match, as I mixed the paint from leftovers.

Still, an old cottage can get away with mismatches…shabby chic!

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The weather has been fairly mild and despite some snow earlier in the month, it’s not been too cold.

I spent some time cleaning up the steps, removing the willow fedge, as it became too shaded by overhanging trees to grow as it should and was dying off.

Clearing other parts of the land I came across yet more stone, so have tidied the edges of the steps with some dry stone walling.

This is a lovely habitat for beetles, snails and small mammals…adding to the immense biodiversity build up here over ten years.

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Some shrubs and bushes near the cottage are looking a bit unruly…these I shall neaten up before the spring is over.

Bealtaine now sits among trees and each year becomes more like the cottage in the woods.

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To be too tidy a gardener is to deny entry to your garden to many beneficial creatures, as well as food for the birds!

Here I have thrown some rotting logs in under the hedge, where all life in the vicinity will benefit. There may well be some mushrooms in the near future as well.

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The leaves of the Hypericum have kept green all winter.

I shall prune this a little to keep a shape in it, as some order near to the cottage looks pleasant.

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“…I hear the sounds of melting snow outside my window every night and with the first faint scent of spring, I remember life exists…”
John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

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“A tree can be tempted out of its winter dormancy by a few hours of southerly sun—the readiness to believe in spring is stronger than sleep or sanity.”
Amy Leach, Things That Are 

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Aquilegia has begun to grow…this is one of the first flowers of Spring and great for early rising bees.

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The all too tidy gardener will also miss these wonderful flowerings of Moss on small standing stones.

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And leaves that are busy creating woodland paths in a garden evolving fast into much welcome woodland.

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I keep the stove in the sitting room burning as I work outside, for it’s a welcoming and warm place to retreat to now and again.

Just to sit by the fire is relaxing.

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And one learns over the years to pace oneself…knowing when it’s time to down tools and go indoors…this I need to remember to do a little more!

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There’s a heap of work to get through before settling down for the evening.

And, as a gorgeous girl in a big dress once said, “Tomorrow is another day!”

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Blessings
Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Birds, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Walk on the Wild Side

Ivy loops and twirls around the trees in the Fairy Dell woodland. Ivy that feeds the birds in the depths of midwinter. Ivy that shelters the pheasant in the heat of midsummer. Strong, natural and wild…

Ivy and Lichens, so perfect in the gardens at Bealtaine that it can only be the hand of Nature…no gardener can create this perfection…

Another sacred part of the land at this permaculture smallholding…a small field of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the natural habitat of the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Nature working her pure magic and being encouraged at every turn!

Now is the time to plant Willow. This is something which is easy to do and will serve the eco-system around you well. So many insects, birds and bees depend on this plant. Simply cut a wand of Willow and push it into the ground as far as you can…about 1-2feet will do! Manure it well and it will grow fast and strong! Some people surround it with plastic to stop weeds and grass, but, personally I do not approve of this as the earth under plastic is not beneficial to wildlife and anyway, the Willow will soon shade out any unwanted weeds!

Cotoneaster…planted, but soon takes on the mantle of wildness and becomes a feeding station for birds and insects alike!

Posted in Abundance, Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Uncategorized

From Reproductive to Extractive Growing…What Lies Ahead…

The permaculture students have all left, making their way home filled with enthusiasm and plans for what lies ahead…and that is what a permaculture course does for one…giving hope for a future where the land is viewed as to be looked after and nurtured…

The word ‘ecology,’ comes from the word ‘oikos,’ which means house or habitat.

Ecology is something we have to understand fully before we can begin to implement the changes that are necessary to preserve our environment and nurse it back to health.

Our resource base is what forms our ecology, or home…energy and materials.

All primitive communities relied on renewable energy.

Industrialism reversed the pattern and way of life followed for millenia by our ancestors.

Since industrialisation, we have used non-renewable energy and have done so to our own peril!

The way in which we view the earth has moved from feudalism to capitalism and has marked the end of the collective view of our resource base and the start of a much more egotisitical and self-centred view  of the world around us.

Not for the better, I hasten to add!

So, what happens when humanity has spent over a 150 years or more living off the capital instead of the interest?

The advent of industrial capitalism has changed the way in which we regard and relate to our environment.

We speak of the earth’s resources as ‘raw material,’ with little respect for the land which produces it.

And as we hurtle down this path of eventual destruction, Gaia struggles to maintain a balance…all is fast becoming unbalance and anarchic.

Biodiversity is lost to the devastation that is ‘economic growth!’

 The very essence of our survival is biodiversity.

Permaculture is the only model that provides abundantly and increases biodiversity as it does!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Culture, Earth, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Wild Orchids and Abundance Growing @ Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage, Ireland

Found this morning on a bank at Bealtaine…the first Orchid of the year and I think this is the Green Winged Orchid that can be found only in occasional habitats here in Ireland. The flowers should open up today…when I shall take another pic and post later…it’s exciting!

The flower head of Lunaria, (Honesty) is about to open…one of my favourite flowers.

Cherry Blossom this morning.

All these photos show a richness, an abundance…which is strange considering the fact I am a pauper, a word I laugh heartily at! Abundance is what happens when you start to give. It’s a form of energy. Perhaps the energy that was alluded to in all the Creation Myths. The Garden of Eden story for example. Anyone who has visited Bealtaine will have experienced Abundance. Everything has to be shared simply because there is so much of it. The more I give away, the more grows…and with less and less effort!

Apple blossom today at Bealtaine…just when I thought that last year was a bumper crop of all time, the same trees are heavy with blossom promising even more…Abundance!

One of the Plum Trees in blossom today…

One of the many Blackthorn Trees in blossom this morning…plentiful Sloes this Autumn!