July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour.
Sammy-Bear lies concussed by the heat from the wood burning stove! It’s a tough life being a cat at Bealtaine Cottage!
Over the past week there has been a struggle between Winter and Spring as temperatures have moved up and down the thermometer, with hard frost, heavy rain, warm nights and brilliant sun all in the mix!
Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.
If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/
Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!
Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.
The apricot glow of a fading October sky, merged with the heavy rustling of cows on the field across the lane, drawing me outdoors.
This is a magical time of enchantment, with Nature and late evening light.
Any noise on such a still evening exudes an eerie quality of something not understood…always best to go out and uncover the mystery.
As it was, the cows and their calves had nuzzled in close to the hedgerow, to bed down for the night.
The heaviness of their bodies crushing branches, as they leaned into the conspiratorial thorn hedgerow.
Peering back in through the window of the cottage, lit only by a candle, illuminating the kitchen, it is easy to believe in the fairy folk…
It was remarked by many in 1950s rural Ireland, that the newly installed electric light drove the fairies away…
This passing of the light should be a signal for us all to slow down and embrace the stillness of the year, allowing ourselves time to reflect on our sacred journey.
The Fennel looks to all intents and purposes the magical plant it is said to be, in this half-light.
It is so majestic, scented, beautiful and useful, that I have a mind to plant it all over the gardens!
What an opportunity!
As we descend into the dark days of midwinter, what better thing to do than light a candle and enjoy the soft light and warmth.
I was making candles today to add to my stockpile for the coming weeks, when candlelight is really the best light medium to illuminate the darkness.
Sun worship was a common practice among the Celts…one only has to look at the amazing amount of motifs from that time to see this.
The god Belanos, known as, “the shining one,” had his feast on May 1, also known as Bealtaine!
The festival of Bealtaine was celebrated right up until 1895 at a place known as Mount Callan, near Ennis in County Clare.
There remains a sun altar at this place.
There is another sacred stone near Macroom, a standing stone known as “Stone of the Sun.”
It is easy to see and perhaps understand this Celtic fascination with the sun, when looking at the life and vibrancy exuded by the midwinter sun, on a clear morning at this time of year.
It’s possible to assess the insulation needs of any house by looking at the roof.
There are obvious signs to look out for!
For example, does the frost or snow remain on the roof as the house heats up?
If it does, then all is well, insulation is adequate up above.
Bealtaine has a double layer of sheep’s wool insulation added this year and it is paying for itself already.
Walking in this weather can identify insulation needs just by looking at the houses…snow or melt on the roof?
Insulation is one of the many ways we can help ourselves to live better and more frugally in these times of hardship.
I think it is time to re-visit what John Seymour, in his wisdom, had to say…
“…We have allowed ourselves to get where we are because of the ‘blind workings of the market’.
But we are not blind, so we must now start using our good sense to ‘break this sorry scheme of things and remould it to our hearts desire,’ as old Omar Khayam had it.
To allow ourselves to be dependent on some vast Thing created by the Merchants of Greed is madness.
It is time to cut out what we do not need so we can live more simply and happily.
Good food, comfortable clothes, serviceable housing and true culture – those are the things that matter.
The only way this can happen is by ordinary people, us, boycotting the huge multinational corporations that are destroying our Earth – and creating a new Age – an Age of Healing in place of the current Age of Plunder.”
May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work that you do
with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light
and renewal to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of
refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.
It’s time to start sowing seeds, especially if you have a propagator. Light has returned and there is a definite stretch in the days.
The signs of spring are to be found everywhere. Daffodils are up really early and buds are starting to thicken on the lower bushes.
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer.”
– Albert Camus
The Blackbird sits atop the Ash tree in the hedge, enjoying the morning sun.
Lots of food remains in the tunnel. If you grow anything this year, let it be Chard…so very easy to grow and so full of vitamins. It’s colourful and looks lovely planted in flower beds and pots!
In a matter of weeks, the orchard will break into blossom and all will be the promise of abundance! It’s not too late to plant apple and pear trees.
A simple tea-light in a paper bag.
Comforting and warming.
A table decoration made using greenery from the garden, with a candle in the middle of the oasis.
Judy Collins sings a beautiful rendition of “In the Bleak Midwinter,” …I scoured the web for the best version and I do believe that this is it!
So many traditions and cultures across the globe celebrate this special time…a time of rebirth and renewal.
As we prepare for the shortest day, let’s celebrate in light…
Monday morning, balmy, warm and bright. Midsummer has passed and the work outdoors continues unabated. Sheds to be cleared and painted, as well as fences to be fixed and preserved. Lots of blackcurrants still to be harvested…
Moon in the sky last night over Bealtaine, lighting the way back from the tunnel. the Cuckoo was still calling, even in the dark of the night and light of the moon. as we ascend towards Midsummer, the Cuckoo barely sleeps. I have heard him call in the middle of the night!
The garden becomes a jungle as the rain falls and the sun shines inbetween. Willow is shooting up and all of the trees are rapidly assuming a look of maturity, though they are far from it, being 7 years old and younger!
Permaculture is about connections, keeping mindful of our connections to the Earth, so walking the land is very important. Walking the land at dusk is an uplifting experience, hearing the Blackbird sing the last song of the day. Thousands of years ago our ancestors kept mindfulness of the seasons and the rivers and all that lived thereon. my ancestors, the Celts, believed that all living things had a spirit and God dwelt within all! It is easy to believe that same wonder of understanding…should not the creator be in all creation? An artist paints a picture…ask the artist how much of herself can be found therein?
The logs continue to be stacked in the barn in preparation for winter. Most of the wood is Ash and Sycamore and burns well, providing a good source of heat for the cottage which is sustainable and carbon balanced. I am aware that more and more people here in Ireland are returning to a multi-fuel source of heating for their homes, which can only be a good thing. For too long there has been a reliance on oil and a devaluation of our own resources!
Just a wooden sculpture nailed onto an old fencing post hammered into the ground makes an interesting piece of garden art. I picked this up in a junk shop for a couple of euros and it’s hardwood, so will weather well. It’s no longer in a rainforest, but settling into a young Irish woodland, that may, one day, be a forest!There is something very magical about crystals, especially as they catch the light in the early morning…this is when the light is at its purest and most transparent, before the heat of the day has set in.Arches and water…still quite free in creating a permaculture paradise in Ireland. Of course, the authorities are talking about charging for water supply. I wonder if that will eventually include this water that runs freely from the spring well at Bealtaine.The early morning sun catches the leaves of the Willow and Birch, casting a magical glow over this young forest of three acres in Ireland…
Spring water flows from the well into the ponds in the Bog Garden.