A Day in Early Spring

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Juicing is a great way to ensure one has the maximum of vitamins and minerals and this is something I do every day.
It’s also a reason to keep greens growing all the year around, as even small bits can be added to the juicer and vital vitamins extracted.
I’ve used some small bits of Kale that have escaped the frost and storms.
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There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!
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Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken! Baskets, Fedges and Obelisks are standing here!
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These beds are fairly sheltered and continue to produce Kale, which is processed in the juicer.
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Fine Willow used in basket weaving waiting to be harvested. The gardens look colourful all the way through Winter, as the stems of Willow, Dogwood, Ash and Birch are revealed.
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So much rain has fallen here in Ireland this Winter and now, in the early days of Spring, the flooding has begun to dominate the landscape. Here at Bealtaine cottage I spent much time in the early days digging out drains and water channels, as well as keeping them maintained over the past ten years…and it has paid off, as you can see from the lower pond. The water runs free, out into the streams and rivers that take it to the Atlantic Ocean. 
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In sheltered areas all over the gardens the ferns have remained green, though a little bit droopy. The winter was mild and warm, with plenty of rain!
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This is the beginning of the wood pile for next winter. It comprises of coppiced logs of Birch, Ash and Hazel. The twiggy bits are thrown into the back of the pile as they make wonderful kindling! These logs may be small, but are perfect for a small wood-burning stove!
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I’ve been stocking up on straw recently, as this makes great mulch around the garden helping to suppress weeds and line paths.
www.bealtainecottage.comGreen Beech hold their leaves right through Winter, adding even more colour and shelter to the gardens! 
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And look who’s keeping an eye on me as I type…my loyal Jack!

No Tarmac Here!

Valerian and Rubus edge a path

It’s not often that I dedicate an entire blog to the driveway of Bealtaine Cottage, but today is totally about that most viewed and often ignored part of the gardens.

Rosa Canina on the drivewayRosa Canina is opening with the promise of hips this Autumn.

driveway at bealtaine CottageThe driveway is an integral part of the gardens as it is not only the entrance to the cottage but the corridor of connection between the cottage and the rest of the land.

Hazel on the drivewayI counted the trees I planted along this 120metre stretch of lane…over 70!

Trees like this Hazel… Providing clean air!

Valerian and Ox-eye daisies on the driveway at bealtaine Cottage

Cotoneaster gives flowers, colour in autumn and food for the birds during the winter.

Bealtaine Cottage drivewayThis lane-way will never suffer the suffocation of tarmac…and seeds will continue to germinate in the gravel.

Bealtaine Cottage signThe gravel ensures equal drainage into the soil with no run-off.

Beech, Laurel, Box and Willow

Beech, Laurel, Buddleia and Box all grow shoulder to shoulder!

Postbox at bealtaine CottageDriveways are not just for cars!

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As Evening Approaches…

The evening approaches…

Taking Jack out for a walk was pleasant as the air was still and warm.

One of the first real signs of Spring is birdsong…excessive birdsong…morning, noon and evening!

The gardens here at Bealtaine are taking on some extraordinary colours as the spring proceeds.

White, cream, shades of pink and amber…all these colours represent the life force awakening!

Jack is driven mad with scents…of the badger, hare, frog, all traversing the ground as the earth awakens!

Buds are beginning to appear on one of the Pear trees near the cottage.

The young Lilac tree has a thickening of green buds.

Moss that has spent the winter covering the ground, is beginning to loosen and rise in clumps, as the grass beneath it pushes upwards, towards the light.

Catkins hang majestically from the Hazel trees.

The leaves of the Blackcurrant are opening.

Spring…

A Life in the Country ~ Today at Permaculture Cottage

The hens are out foraging today.

Autumn is a good time to let the girls out to roam freely all over the smallholding…and roam they do!

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried:  “Look at this Godawful mess.”  ~Art Buchwald, 1970

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Beech planted with Bamboo. 

Close planting is one of the ways to keep unwanted weeds at bay!

If you look closely you can see Cotoneaster planted to the right.

It is easier to thin plants out than wait for them to grow!

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In the true style of the Economic Terrorist I grew all these trees from seed.

That’s what I love about growing and gardens and Nature…there is no consumerism and everything continues to grow.

The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have – and that is a moral problem, not an economic one.

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other.  It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.  Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied… but written off as trash.  The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.  ~John Berger

Testament to Dad…

My father died in April of last year.

Dad loved this smallholding and bought me a sack full of bare-rooted saplings to plant here.

All the Beech trees, including this Purple Beech are a testament to his love for Nature and the environment we make within.

As these trees turn marvellous shades of reds and browns, I smile and remember my father…

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Forethought and temperance are the virtues which produced thrift, and with thrift the economic progress of society.  And those are the virtues which today are gravely compromised.  ~Adriano Tilgher