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Coppicing has taken up much of the day.

It’s remarkable just how much wood can be grown from scratch on a small amount of land.

It’s safe to say that there is a surplus of wood here, much of which will continue to grow until next winter.

Coppicing increases the amount of wood growing, as each cut tree will produces up to half a dozen more trees and so the stock increases.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe logs are easy to cut, no chainsaw is required and the cut wood dries out quicker.

The brushwood makes excellent kindling!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the most environmentally friendly energy on the planet, totally renewable and beneficial to wildlife, water and air!

Can it get any better?

Then why, oh why are governments not rushing to plant deciduous trees and develop wood-burning stove systems in homes? 

 

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Cutting back hedging and dead growth continues apace…I can see the steps once more!

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Spurge has come up early, carpeting the Fairy Wood with soft green.

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There is a gradual movement of green through the land from this Spurge, all the way through to the Mosses and Lichens of Autumn.

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The badgers will come through the wood soon and disturb some of this Spurge in their quest for food, but that disturbance will help in the spreading of this lovely carpet.

As it begins to die back a little, the primroses will make their appearance…and so the succession continues.

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Clouds have maintained a westerly sweep, in from the Atlantic Ocean, heavy with rain.

The wind has calmed down, thankfully…I worry that my cottage roof may get blown away.

It’s old and in need of replacement!

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 More rain is on the way.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe forecast is simply that, more rain to follow!

www.bealtainecottage.comStill, living on a hill is a bonus, for as I turn around and point the camera at the  wide expanse of sky, it is blue…and there’s the moon!

 

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!

The Closing Chapter

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer began to melt into Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage amidst a flurry of bees and butterflies, more than ever witnessed in the permaculture gardens.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureHarvesting began and the kitchen was a place of jam jars and bottles, all waiting to be filled and labelled.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe glut of blackcurrants became wine, jam and chutney, with even more added to the freezer.

free tea Open days and workshops seen a steady stream of visitors to the cottage and gardens.

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageKindling for the winter stoves continued to be collected and stored in the barn.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayAnd the Potager beds kept growing!

Blackcurrant ChutneyThe recipe for Blackcurrant Chutney was added to a blog post that had runaway success!

Bealtaine Cottage ValerianValerian flowered…

Rambling Roses at Bealtaine CottageRoses bloomed…

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageAnd all around, flowers showed off with total abandon!

poppies, poppy seeds and dried seed-headsI collected seeds…

Foxglove seed and more seeds…

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageDrying and labelling in every container I had to spare!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageSeedheads were stored for winter flower arrangements.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodAs the boys played in the Fairy Wood.

A path from the Fairy WoodIt was a magical time for all!

006Summer never really went away, for the wine of that season kept bubbling with life.

cottage garden harvestAnd the harvest continued…

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottageAs potatoes were lifted…

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageAnd misty mornings began to appear.

hanging webCobwebs shimmied in the morning breeze…

Buddha at BealtaineAs the light and shadows began to change.

flowers for MichelleMy son got married and I designed and made the flower arrangements, on a lovely day with my new daughter’s mother, here at Bealtaine.

Dylan and Michellw wedding 031Everyone came to the west of Ireland for a three day wedding in a 500 year old castle. Here I am with my eldest daughter.

harvestAnd when all was over, the harvest continued.

wine, kitchenAnd the cottage fell silent…

Recycling in the permaculture gardensBut not for long, as friends delivered cardboard for mulching…

apples and sunflowersAnd helped with the harvest.

fairies 035Lords and Ladies made an Autumn appearance in the Fairy Wood.

open weekend bunting by the gateAnd the cottage and gardens were opened for a special fundraiser in aid of Leitrim Animal Welfare.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Raising a magnificent sum of money for a wonderful charity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Autumn continued into Winter…

www.bealtainecottage.com 012And logs were stacked in readiness for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008The days darkened as Midwinter approached…

cropped-029.jpgAnd candlelight illuminated the dark days.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Bringing cheer to the silent grey…

www.bealtainecottage.com 025And soft light into the Midwinter Cottage.

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So few do, but if you choose to make a small donation, then Bless You! 

Irish Cottage Life

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The permaculture gardens are very wet today…the rain has been quite relentless!

Never mind!

Lots to do indoors and sorting through boxes of “things,” I was happy to find these lovely Yuletide cards.

Doesn’t she look gorgeous in the snow?

As I am receiving orders for the Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book, I thought that I would add these lovely cards, as a way for me to send the book to someone you love, with a card inscribed with your message.

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Anyway, you can have a peek, using the link at the top of the page!

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Missy continues to make a steady recovery, though has refined her taste-buds to a rather expensive prescription cat food, available only from Suzy the Vet, in Boyle.

When I refer to Missy as a “high maintenance gal!” …I’m not kidding!

Please ignore the clothes drying all over the stove today…it is rather wet outdoors!

Makes it really “Shabby Chic” style!

www.bealtainecottage.com 026I take Jack into see Suzy the Vet, tomorrow morning, to have his “thumb nails” clipped.

Jack loves travelling in the car and tries to snap every other vehicle he sees on the road!

Which is why he can only ever be walked on a lead!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Dodging in and out, to collect up the logs, my friend Marian delivered to me yesterday, I still managed to get wet!

I’m stacking them under the shelter of the veranda by the lodge.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Despite the dull, rainy day, the gardens continue to look colourful!

As you can see, the potager beds continue in their abundance, producing herbs, vegetables and flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.com 019There is never any shortage of work to be done here at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Tree coppicing continues along the north bank, in front of the cottage, opening up the view just a little, as well as supplying the stove with kindling and small logs.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The fact is, no matter what the weather is like, it is simply wonderful to be outdoors in the gardens, working here and there!

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Have a good week ahead everyone…Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage X

Planning to Beat Poverty

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Pollarded Willow in the upper gardens this afternoon.

Walking around the land gives me an overall perspective of work to be carried out this coming winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007The Autumn is prolonged, as the good weather continues and so the coppicing has begun in earnest!

This is an eight year old Birch tree, that was coppiced in year one, to produce multiple stems.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010It’s very dry and still.

Trees are holding onto their leaves and flowers continue to bloom.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I was shopping in a supermarket in town the other day and noticed a sharp increase in the cost of food.

I really thought that the assistants had made genuine mistakes in the pricing tags on some of the shelves.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001I knew this was coming and have in fact warned about it, but to see the jump in overall food costs is quite scary…it appears to be all of a sudden!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I am aware that the cost of seeds have doubled in some cases…that was the precursor to the food price jump!

Corn is up 92% and corn syrup is in a lot of foods!

The Times of India reports an overall food price rise of 157% between 2004 and 20013

www.bealtainecottage.com 021If ever there was time to embrace the abundance that grows from permaculture it is now!

Even the collection of this bundle of kindling saves vital cash…a bag of kindling at the shops costs on average 3-4 euros!

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Just cleaning up the lane-way to the cottage will produce an excess of kindling and wood for the stove!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012Last month The Daily Express UK newspaper reported that, “Rising food prices are causing stress for four in ten consumers, while a third say they are struggling to feed themselves or their family.”

According to “The Mirror,” newspaper, Sep., 2013:
“Food bills rising nearly FOUR times faster than wages, figures show.”

www.bealtainecottage.com 032The dry Autumn will see me out collecting as much wood for fuel as possible.

After all, in the depths of a cold, dark winter, what sustains us better than a warm home, hot, home-made soup and pots of preserves, chutney and pickles in the pantry.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034And not forgetting the home made wine!

Warmth and good food remains within our grasp if we plan for it now!

Resistance is Edible

Rhubarb at Bealtaine Cottage

The austerity that is being enforced upon us all makes me very angry indeed…for I know how manufactured it all is!

As an act of rebellion against the banks, government and rotten corporations I have turned to the land, one of the last vestiges of freedom that we, as a people, have.

Canned Rhubarb in the kitchen of Bealtaine CottageCreating food, from what is supplied in abundance from Nature, is as defined an act of rebellion, in these dark days, as can be found.

Food which will last long past the fruitfulness of summer and autumn…canning is a skill worth learning!

Stewed Rhubarb for crumbles, ice cream, yoghurt, pies and cakes!

Copper Beech, Euphorbia and Rosa Canina at Bealtaine CottageSpending a little time yesterday canning some of the Rhubarb harvest has given me the impetus to save and store as much as possible this year.

Pear blossom in the permaculture gardensForaging will play a role in this Resistance too, ensuring that all walks will allow a little something to be added to the store.

Permaculture Tunnel at bealtaine CottageThe store includes all that will be of benefit, including fuel, as the hedgerows are littered with dead wood ideal for kindling.

seedlings in pots in the permaculture gardensSeeds will be sown late into the season and every patch of the tunnel will be utilised!

Permaculture Edible gardens of Bealtaine CottageThe more food that can be produced for ourselves, the less money flows to the corporations…is this why the EU tried to ban us saving and sharing Heritage Seeds?

Nothing like MacDonalds!Resist, eat well and be healthy!

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.

 

 

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Permaculture Planting at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Over the last few months I have been gradually clearing the compost heaps…5 in total.

The ground under the heaps is in lovely condition, as you can imagine, so I decided to use this area to plant potatoes into tyres.

The chitted potatoes are pushed deep into the earth and the tyre place on top, then gradually filled with compost, from, you guessed right, the nearby heap.

It’s a bit like growing potatoes in the heap, but they’re much easier to find!

There’s quite a few chitted potatoes left, so I am doing the same thing in whatever spaces I can find!

Last year, many of my neighbours lost potatoes to the blight, but mine came through just fine.

I think this may be due to planting the potaoes irregularly…here and there, with no uniform rows, so blight does not get the chance to spread!

Crops in the tunnel are coming along well, with all the sunshine!

The stone edges hold the heat of the sun and release it at night…the perfect passive solar collectors.

 As I walk in the gardens, there is the most tremendous hum of bees and insects…going in a mad frenzy around all the Ribes blossom!

As you can see from the pics, the weather today is marvellous! The temperature is 21c…!

Just a small section of the Ribes…this grow like a weed here and is a stunning bush, windbreak, source of kindling for the stove and, of course, restaurant for the bees!

Early summer! It’s hot in the gardens, so lunch will be served outside!

Permaculture Flowers in a Cottage Garden

July 2011 Permaculture Cottage 010

Permaculture gardens and growers shy away from bare earth.

The introduction of a layered system simply emulates Nature herself, allowing seed to spread and drift onto open land where pioneering species are allowed to take hold.

There is a plant for every place, even here on the limestone gravel…Valerian nestles into whatever spot a seed lands upon.

In this way, this beautiful flowering plant has made the gravel driveway of Bealtaine Cottage it’s home…

Buddleia in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage

Buddleia is another pioneering plant that will nestle into stony and inhospitable places.

Have you ever seen this flowering shrub, beloved of Butterflies, growing out from old buildings, between the cracks in the mortar?  

From the introduction of two shrubs, the natural cultivation of hundreds has followed on at Bealtaine Cottage.

Harvesting is simple…pull the seedling out from the gravel path and pot on, ready to replant the following year in it’s new home.

An example of the Valerian along the west wall on the gable end of Bealtaine Cottage.

When flowers appear to grow effortlessly, like weeds, you know they have found their perfect home…let them be!

Wild Orchids here, growing on a land that is allowed to breath free from chemicals…Nature knows best!

Michaelmas Daisies…make great ground-cover under trees and grows in almost any conditions from my experience here.

This is growing under a pine tree in the Bog Garden on the lower slopes of Bealtaine Cottage.

Spiraea, a most beautiful summer flowering bush.

Easy to grow…all here have been started as slips simply pushed into the soil.

Hard pruning will give you lots of kindling for the stove as well as bulk for the all-important compost heap!

Columbine, or Aquilegia, another hardy self-seeder here at the cottage.

This made itself at home in the early days of establishing permaculture at Bealtaine and has thrived and spread ever since!

This purple Columbine comes up each year at the front of  the cottage.

Permaculture flowers are easy to grow and take good care of themselves! 

There are hundreds of photographs showing the flowers that grow here…feel free to look up the summer calender of last year…just click on Calender and hover the mouse over dates for that month, then click to go in…

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A Reason to Dig ~ Life in the Country, Town and City!

Bamboo this afternoon in the garden.

Many people are experiencing hardship at the present time.

This will, inevitably get much worse, as more and more people get trapped in the web of debt.

This is surely a time to think seriously, long and hard about sustainable living.

There are many ways that people can empower themselves and perhaps the most beneficial one is growing food.

Crocosmia shoots are growing fast this month, promising early flowers and colour!

Of course, not everyone has a garden.

In fact, I lived in an apartment at one time in London and did not have access to any growing space, so rented an allotment.

For those who have never grown fruit and vegetables this way, I can tell you, it is the best fun and most social thing one can enjoy!

Beautiful Birch trees on the north bank today.

I often think that allotment growing is even more productive as going to the allotment is a regular delight and there’s always good advice and help at hand.

More important, it is about real self-empowerment, growing and sustaining oneself and one’s family.

Willow, cut, tied and standing in the barn, ready to be used in 8 weeks time.

Growing food is only the beginning of an exciting and fulfilling journey.

What follows from here is an engagement with food…making jams, chutneys, wines, cordials for a start!

Perlagoniums standing in the barn to over-winter, continue to hang onto their flowers…that’s just how mild the winter has been!

Now is the time to get started in the garden.

A propagator can really give you a start on the growing season and there are also many seeds that can be sown on the window-ledge and even directly into the ground.

Any good gardening book will inform you well!

Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2011 006

Pot grown veggies can be very easy, as with growing in hanging baskets.

Willow off-cuts…when dried these make great kindling for the fire.

Have a go and get growing…the first big step in taking control of your life back and embracing independence!