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 Baking, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegan

Funky Friday Fotos From…The Permaculture Cottage

Bealtaine this morning…

Got a mega-curry under way…vegan, of course and destined to be consumed over the course of the weekend!

The Red Jewels…

in the garden are redcurrants…to be made into one of the best fruit wines around!

The Kitchen…

has been a hive of activity this morning, with curry, soup and bread all made and stored for the weekend. This will be a ‘no-cook,’ weekend!

Paths…
of Lysimachia Punctata are closing in…not good when it rains…and it’s raining a lot!

Have…

a great weekend everyone. Maybe plant a tree? Be happy!

Posted in Abundance, Current Affairs, Family, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

How Permaculture Helps Us Re-Connect…Notes from a Cottage in Ireland

The beautiful Kilronan Mountain…

Rubbish dumped over a bridge into the Mountain Stream Bed below…How we perceive the world around us depends largely on how we connect with it, if at all. Most dog owners will know this to be true, because an otherwise dull morning can be transformed by simply walking the dog…getting OUT into the natural world. Walking and connecting with Nature is tremendously uplifting and inspiring…the Romantic Poets and Artists did a lot of walking in Nature and we have their legacy of work to prove that uplifting feeling.

 Walking out to the tunnel in the morning is enough to make the heart happy!As I write this I am listening to the radio and am shocked to hear that Ireland has the 2nd highest alcohol consumption per capita, (that means per person), in the world, spending on average 2000euros per person.

 Drinking large amounts of alcohol depresses the body, causing bio rhythmns to move chaotically, eventually causing depression. The suicide rate here in Ireland is also fairly high with many deaths from suicide not being reported as such. Playstation users in Ireland rank amoung the highest users in the world. There are many signs that the disconnect from the land is causing unhappiness. Litter is a big problem here also. How we treat the land can be a reflection of how we view ourselves…we are connected but are more often than not in denial about this.

 Re-connecting with Gaia is the best one single action to make/take for personal health and wellbeing…

The north facing bank which protects the cottage  from the worst of the weather is filling out as the trees and shrubs come into flower and leaf. The variety of planting gives all year round colour.Lettuce and Oregano growing together in a home made planter box. This sits on the veranda and so is close by for quick and easy salads…usually an add-on thought at any meal, so I don’t have to go far!Conditions have been exactly right over the past nine months or so for the germination of Blackcurrant seeds and these tiny Blackcurrant seedlings are all over the gardens here at Bealtaine.