Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, celebrations, Cottage, Garden, hens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spring, Wildlife

Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

www.bealtainecottage.com

This is what happens in Permaculture…surplus is fed back into the system or shared out!

www.bealtainecottage.com In this case there was a small surplus of blue paint…the outcome is what you see here!

www.bealtainecottage.comI woke to a magnificent sunrise this morning…Kilronan Mountain is shrouded in mist, so doesn’t appear to exist at all!

www.bealtainecottage.comBees are buzzing and birds are singing to herald in this wonderful Easter weekend here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith the emergence of Spring, several weeks ago now, there has been an accumulation of heat and light working on the earth that promises an early Summer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of seedlings has excelled…it appears that every seed sown has germinated!

www.bealtainecottage.com Fortunately, now that I have five beautiful hens, seedlings that are excess to requirements can simply be fed to the hens as a wonderful source of nutrition.

www.bealtainecottage.comSome of the seedlings are also used by me in salads, again a wonderful source of nutrition!

www.bealtainecottage.comSlabs of bedrock, rising out of the earth all over the land here at Bealtaine, show off their pink colour in the drying air of late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses play peek-a-boo on the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comCrocosmia show off a vibrant lime-green in the early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to blue, because…

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply cannot resist it!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe vibrant pink of this Saxifrage has found a perfect bed in the gravel driveway…another reason why tarmac is a non-starter here!

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses aren’t the only things around here playing peek-a-boo!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mist in the valley has cut off Kilronan Mountain.

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther up the gardens, behind where I now stand, Comfrey, Lovage, Fennel, Valerian and Chives are all about a foot high and looking very robust in the late Spring, early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy my feet, the Euphorbia flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd indoors, on the dresser, reminders of Spring and Easter…

www.bealtainecottage.comHappy Easter to all!

PS: Next month will the my tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Today marks the 700th blog!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, celebrations, Celts, Inspiration, Permaculture, Winter

Midwinter Blessings

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The ancients believed winter, especially Midwinter, was a time of tremendous spiritual power.

And so the shortest day has passed and we are looking forward, at last, to the ascending sun, from tomorrow.

The greenery on the mantelpiece will stay a few days longer, as the days slowly lengthen.

Work on the potager beds and orchards begins in the next week or so.

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Cloud and mist have enveloped Kilronan Mountain today, between snow falls and dark skies…the sun has shone intermittently.

Of the Solstices and Equinoxes, the Winter Solstice was the most important among the Ancients, since it marked the rebirth of the sun after the shortest day.

The worst of the winter is yet to come though…Kale and Parsley stand proud in the Potager beds, not yet diminished by prolonged frost.

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The small Yuletide tree, at the end of the veranda, tied to the supports, stands stout against the wind and storms of the past week.

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The sky changes dress in spectacular fashion from winter to summer and all in-between!

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And jewels of melted sleet decorate the skeletal Fennel.

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Yule marks the rebirth of the sun.

It is a potent symbol of death and rebirth – going from the darkness into the light.

Yule starts before the Solstice and continues on until New Year’s Day.

Midwinter Blessings to you all XXX

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Fairies, Folklore, Winter

Ghosts

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Winter has finally gripped the land.

Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The evening sky turns a cold blue.

Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen.

Winter is here!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Sliabh An Iarainn Mountain catches the dying rays of a winter sun.

Cleaving  the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.

 Ancient  legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place.

 Descending in a thick mist, the Tuatha De Danann found the mountain and the lough.

The mountain contained deposits of iron, and so the magical people proceeded to forge the first metal weapons in Ireland.

There followed a mighty battle with the Tribe of the Formorians, nearby at Magh Tuireadh…and so the legends began.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Willful and determined, like ancient tribes who once battled on this land, Fuchsia continues to hold their flowers, in sheltered parts of the gardens.

There are pockets of Bealtaine that refuse to give up Summer, protecting and nurturing flowers through to Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Kilronan Mountain holds sway to the north of Bealtaine Cottage, washed with shades of purple in the early evening thin winter air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Of all of Ireland, the mountains and valleys of this part hold most history, legend and mystery.

The Tuatha De Danann, as legend tells us, never died, but were banished underground.

They became the Sidhe…the Fairies.

On an evening like this, the ethereal energy of the Tuatha De Danann is almost tangible…

 

A video from Bealtaine…Towards Midwinter…enjoy X

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOu72QAAkro

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Blessings X

Posted in Country Living, Inspiration, Music, Uncategorized

As Snow Falls on the Mountain…

Friday morning.

The sun is shining, as snow falls on the mountain and tries to gain ground here in the valley.

Even as the snow falls on Kilronan Mountain, the midwinter sun shines weakly onto the back of the cottage.
The Geraniums continue to bloom…

This is the view of the mountain opposite Bealtaine Cottage this morning.
Snow dustd the top of Kilronan, making it look like a huge Christmas cake!

Rosehips from the Rosa Canina shelter in the lee of one of the pine trees.

Trees of all-sorts and all-colours…the birds approve of all and the landscape is better for the diversity…monoculture is not an option.

The beautiful energy that is Ireland’s greatest hope…it’s young people…

Mike Scott from “The Waterboys,” sings live to a school in Connemara, west of Ireland…feel the energy, wow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLAPOxpXGkU&feature=related

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Fairies, Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

A Life in the Country ~ The Video Tour of Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding…

Continuing the tour of Bealtaine, as we leave the Fairy Dell woodland and come out into the small garden at the front of the Bealtaine.

Looking up towards Kilronan Mountain…

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.

Posted in Family, History, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Old Stone Cottages and Windswept Mountains in the West of Ireland…Bealtaine Permaculture

Kilronan Mountain melts away into the valley below on a glorious easter sunday evening… The land below stretches west to Sligo Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, south to Boyle and the land of Roscommon  and east towards Dublin City. Loughs are too numerous to mention, villages and townlands with ancient names that stretch back into the mists of legends. Beauty that is both exhilarating and tragic… Abandoned amidst the bleak beauty of Kilronan Mountain, it’s empty windows gazing out across an early summer landscape.Ireland is dotted with these beautiful and evocative old stone cottages. It is heartbreaking to think of the skill and hard work involved in building these unique, vernacular style homes…and like this one, sometimes in the most windswept landscapes imaginable.As the evening draws in and the air begins to chill, it’s time to leave the mountain behind and head home to the warmth of Bealtaine Cottage and a mug of hot tea.

Posted in Uncategorized

Lovage and Lettuce…Easy Permaculture Crops in Ireland

The view from my window a few moments ago.

Mist is clearing upwards from the valley floor up towards the top of Kilronan Mountain.

There’s great promise in the day.

Frost has melted into the heat of the morning as the temperature rises…

As the buds burst open and the blossom thickens, the planting grows dense and shade descends below…the earth is once more protected from the impending heat of the summer.

Leaves opening on the dogwoods.

This is a good time of the year to feed plants like these.

I make up a sludge from chicken droppings that have been left to ferment.

Lovage is growing fast at the moment and will continue to grow, reaching heights of over seven feet by midsummer!

This is a perennial herb.

The flavour is intense…spiced celery and strong!

I use it in soups and curries.

I grow most of my summer lettuce in hanging baskets for a slug-free happy growing system!

This is one recently planted out and hanging in the tunnel to get ahead before hanging outside.

This is a lovely and easy way to grow all the organic lettuce you need, from now until early October!