Posted in Abundance, Summer, sustainability, vegetable garden

Today at Bealtaine Cottage

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Rain fell last night and continues this morning.

There will be no lack of water in the well for the next few weeks!

DSC00663 I have finally given away my hens…as I no longer eat eggs and there was a lovely home ready and waiting for them where they would be more useful, as they are good layers and their eggs will be anticipated and appreciated where there is a family of people to eat them.

DSC00662I shall miss them, but as with life at Bealtaine Cottage, the void is quickly filled and the hen-house will be re-purposed and appreciated further.

DSC00661In the past, their manure was a part of developing the fertility of the land at Bealtaine, but this is no longer needed.

The compoost system is now working very well and far exceeds what any animal manure could bring to three acres.

DSC00659Seed production is well under way, with some of the harvest already collected and much more coming to fruition.

DSC00660We are now one week away from Midsummer, as evidenced in the lush growth seen here! 

DSC00655We inter-breath with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans.  They are part of our own body.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

DSC00658The fruit trees and bushes were pruned back quite hard over the course of last Autumn and Winter and they are happily producing yet another bumper harvest.

DSC00656 …no matter how complex or affluent, human societies are nothing but subsystems of the biosphere, the Earth’s thin veneer of life, which is ultimately run by bacteria, fungi and green plants.  

~Vaclav Smil 

DSC00657Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.  

~Charles Cook  

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“If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.”
J.M. Coetzee

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Gardens, midsummer, Permaculture, Poetry, Shakespeare

The Secret Energy of Midsummer

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As the days of early summer move inexorably towards the Solstice, life at Bealtaine Cottage takes on a brilliant energy.

Everything is growing!

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There’s a bench in my garden,  shaded by many beautiful trees, near to the lower pond, where I enjoy sitting alone, as early in the morning as I can manage… to simply be.

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 004

“I can’t get enough of watching the bees and trying to imagine how they experience the abundance of, say, a blue Campanula blossom, the dizzy light pulsing, every fibre of being immersed in the flower. …”

~ Mary Rose O’Reilly

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Moments of such silence are overlaid with birdsong, a joy-filled backdrop to the main stage, where images manifest peace.

Flowers growing out from gravel and roses creating miracles from old tyres, are as much a part of Midsummer madness here at Bealtaine as some of the ancient celebrations themselves!

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“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”

~ From “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare

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We all know of places where the secret energy of Midsummer holds sway.

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It is to these special places we are continually drawn, where peace is found and imagination set free

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Garden, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thrift, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Bartering

28 June 2014 004

Bartering home made wine for time spent fixing my computer is fantastic and affordable…this afternoon was spent in the company of two friends, who did great work for me, in return for some giggle tonic; what happens when you drink this potent Blackcurrant wine.

28 June 2014 002Jack has just returned with me from his early evening walk.

He is in desperate need of a brush as he’s moulting all over the place!

He gets all soppy when I brush his coat.

Sheepdogs are very loyal and just a wee bit crazy too!

28 June 2014 005A cottage garden gets away from all sense of colour co-ordination, as you can see here!

Many of the perennials are starting to go over a little bit as the height of Midsummer has passed.

28 June 2014 003This can be a good time to cut back on some in order to get a late summer blossoming too.

The Geranium thrives on a twice yearly cut back.

28 June 2014 006This little Fig tree grows well in a half barrel, being squashed into a tight corner with other plants and even a Rose bush; Figs thrive in tight spots!

28 June 2014 001There was a time when Ireland was dotted with little white-washed cottage, all proudly hosting red Perlagoniums on their low window sills every summer.

Sad to think those days of simple living have passed and people are no happier really!

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Ox-Eye Daisies run riot all over the top part of the gardens, thriving in the limestone gravel with carefree abandon! So often dismissed as weeds, these wild flowers are undemanding and drought tolerant. 

28 June 2014 009Nasturtiums are coming into their own and the bees are having a real feast.

28 June 2014 010An outdoors coffee table and chair…why not?

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Summer

Into the Turning

www.bealtainecottage.comThe bonfire of Midsummer night has died down.

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The midnight sky stays light on the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Bats encircle the cottage, as stars emerge into the darkness.

cavan burren 2The day has passed into the Turning…of the light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008As the light passes into the lazy warmth of an enduring summer, visitors to Bealtaine Cottage come and go.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.www.bealtainecottage.com 042Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011There is little to concern oneself with, as Nature holds sway.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031These are the gentle days of Midsummer. 

Posted in Abundance, Country Living, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Thoughts, Wild Flowers

Otherworldly…

www.bealtainecottage.com

 Sunday afternoon…picking flowers in the gardens.

This feels like the full, quiet days before giving birth…

bealtainecottage.comThe force of the full moon can still be felt in the stillness of the late afternoon air.

bealtainecottage.com (2)There is an otherworldly feel to it all… Time appears to stand very still.

bealtainecottage.com (3)Bees continue in a frenzy of work on this side of the Solstice.

I have often felt a slowness as time ascends towards Midsummer…it’s as though Mother Earth is not yet ready to let go…

bealtainecottage.com (4)Evenings merge with night as daylight seems eternal in the west of Ireland…Ox-Eye Daisies reach up toward the sun, basking in summer.

bealtainecottage.com (5)Returning from Belfast and the soft hum of the city to this place of quiet solitude, this otherworldly paradise of sights and scents…

bealtainecottage.com (6)Far back from the lane, this little cottage nestles into silence, a place of tranquil tolerance, a timeless existence at midsummer.

bealtainecottage.com (7)Wood Pigeon and Cuckoo call a mantra of hypnotic sounds…a lazy Sunday afternoon…

bealtainecottage.com (8)Ground Elder, the bane of many gardeners, is allowed her magnificence here, frothy lace adorning a mantle of green. bealtainecottage.com (9)Ragged Robin dances by the wheels of an old bike.

bealtainecottage.com (10)Himalayan Musk stands sturdy by the wooden porch.

bealtainecottage.com (11)Astrantia unfolds it’s papery petals in an unending delight of pinky white and green.

bealtainecottage.com (12)Bees delight in Jacob’s Ladder as it ascends to heaven…

bealtainecottage.comAnd blue Jacob’s Ladder adorns the kitchen table in a cottage lost in time…

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Summer, Uncategorized

Midsummer Rising

www.bealtainecottage.com

Farewell Bealtaine!

Rising on the last morning of Bealtaine and looking out the window of the lodge to be greeted by mist and sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe heat of yesterday rose in a mist over the valley and mountains beyond.

www,bealtainecottage.comRising towards Midsummer is a most magical time in the west of Ireland.

Between the rain and the sun, the jigs and the reels, the land has grown a mantle of green.

www.bealtainecottage.comFestivals are held in every village as birds, from thousands of mile away, fly low over the feeding grounds of this small island. www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer customs prevail in much of Europe and certainly here in Ireland, where the traditional bonfire is part of the celebration.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe fire is lit exactly at sunset on the eve of the solstice and celebrations continue until sunset on the solstice itself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe sense of abundance is quite tangible and visible at this time, helping to create a celebratory atmosphere.

www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer  was seen as a time when the veil between this world and the next was thin, and when the spirit of the land itself held sway.

This is encapsulated in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

www.bealtainecottage.comThis year I shall be lighting the Midsummer fire with wood cut around the time of Midwinter, in honour of my  Mother.

www.bealtainecottage.com It is a time for gathering and spending time together and a celebration I look forward to…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I walked I the gardens this morning, there arose a great sense of peace and harmony, again something which seems to be released from the very Earth herself each year, at this time of ascension to Midsummer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of a good harvest holds firm as the beautiful weather continues.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere is one of my favourite quotes by Carole Carlton…

“The festival of the summer solstice speaks of love and light, of freedom and generosity of spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a beautiful time of year where vibrant flowers whisper to us with scented breath,

www.bealtainecottage.com (2)forests and woodlands hang heavy in the summer’s heat and our souls become enchanted with midsummer magic.”

www.bealtainecottage.com (3)

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Spirituality, Spring, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

Ascending Towards Midsummer

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This is not colour enhanced, but the vivid colours between storms here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe buds are still thickening, yet the life is visible in the stems, sky and emerging green…isn’t it simply wonderful to be able to witness the Spring as it progresses, slowly, tentatively through the landscape?

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the skyline above the Arigna Mountains, with a Rainbow, flopped over the ridge of the hill!

I watched this from the window, then rushed out with camera in hand to snap the moment!

www.bealtainecottage.comI feel blessed to be a part of the Spring, waking earlier, walking for longer and working in the tunnel in my dressing gown!

www.bealtainecottage.comShowing some wonderful garden visitors around over the weekend, reminded me of the reasons why I write and talk about Permaculture and the simple way of life…it lifts my heart to be a part of it!

As we walked the land and into the Fairy Wood, the sight of all this bright green Spurge ignited a passion for woodland in us all.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Celandines are so bright and golden as to seem unreal…but that is the wonder of Nature, Mother Earth…too beautiful!

www.bealtainecottage.comThere is work to be done too, but all to the beat of the weather…weather-proofing all the wood around the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comLavender is the colour, soft on the eye, but tough and resilient!

www.bealtainecottage.comExcess donations to the website renewal were used to pay for the wood preservative…so bless you one and all, Friends of Bealtaine XXX

www.bealtainecottage.comMy right arm hurts from all the painting, but it was in desperate need!

The heavy rain we get in Ireland can ruin buildings if they are not looked after!

www.bealtainecottage.comI watched this small slug acrobat his way onto the potting table in the tunnel…on a long thin thread, like a spider!

So, that’s how they do it!

www.bealtainecottage.comGeranium is coming into leaf and exploding green under the apple trees…a good companion plant for keeping weeds at bay!

Bumble bees are in busy flight all across the gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe light grows in intensity, day on day, fading into the west way after nine o’clock in the evening.

www.bealtainecottage.comOn a clear day, the heat can be quite intense…

www.bealtainecottage.com…as the sun continues its ascent towards Midsummer.

Blessings to you all XXX

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Edible Gardens, Fairies, hens, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, New Year, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Woodland

A Year at Bealtaine…part 2

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine Cottage

Nine years of planting trees into barren, north-facing land has now awoken a magical earth, with paths that lead forever among dappled shade.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageAnd every now and then open up into a secret garden…

Plant Sanctuary, Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…or two…

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageSome paths get overgrown fast as Nature’s abundance keeps giving.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageThe thousands of plants all jostle for space…

A Cherry seed grows by an Oak tree at Bealtaine Cottageand are now self-seeding, like this little Cherry tree growing next to an Oak!

Willow arch into the Fairy woodland at Bealtaine CottageWillow arches that lead into the Fairy Wood at Midsummer.

Blossom on a Rowan tree planted in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageThe delicate blossom on the Mountain Ash, also known as the Rowan Tree.

Permaculture Paradise at Bealtaine CottageA place for tea in the garden on long summer days.

Pond at bealtaine cottageThe standing stone by the lower pond in the Bog Garden.

willow archway at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensWillow…

willow arches, dogwood and beechWillow…

crossing the pondAnd more Willow!

bog garden of bealtainePaths…

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottagePaths…

permaculture gardens of bealtaine cottageAnd more paths!

Manifesting the Divine FeminineThe lane-way in Summer, walking down to collect…

The postbox at Bealtaine Cottagethe post!

Water garden in permaculture at Bealtaine CottageThe plants take over as Summer holds sway…

Roses at bealtaine cottageAnd roses outside on the veranda go completely crazy!

Gosh…there’s lots more to share for 2013, so a “Part 3” will be needed!

Happy New Year from Bealtaine XXX

Posted in Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Cats, celebrations, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Wild Flowers

A Magical Midsummer Morning…

Solstice morning at Bealtaine Cottage 2013Happy Solstice everyone…

Midsummer morning at bealtaine cottage, IrelandIn this special year of the return of the Divine Feminine…

Angel on Midsummer morningThere will be a full moon on Sunday, June 23…

Bealtaine Cottage on Midsummer morning 2013And it’s a rather special one…

Midsummer at Bealtaine CottageThe biggest moon at Midsummer

Bealtaine Cottage on Midsummer morningIt will not only be the largest full moon of the year…

Midsummer morning at Bealtaine Cottage...and MissyIt will also be the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013.

Missy on midsummer morningThe moon will be at it’s peak on Sunday…

Bealtaine Cottage midsummer morningCelebrate this Solstice…it’s a rare one!

Bealtaine Lodge on Midsummer morningI’m heading to the ocean for a long walk along the Atlantic shoreline…

Midsummer morning at Bealtaine CottageMy Midsummer Treat!

Happy Solstice Everyone!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 550 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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Posted in Abundance, Bees, biodiversity, Celts, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, photography, Seeds, Summer, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

The Magical Garden

Bealtaine Cottage roses

The morning is hot and sultry.

The sky is clear blue.

Ireland basks in heat.

Roses on the verandaRoses on the veranda are making a spectacular show and the delicate scent fills the morning air

Columbine at Bealtaine CottageAs we ascend towards Midsummer plants have suddenly taken off and appear to have grown overnight.

Poppies self seed everywherePoppies have opened all over the gardens, even in the tunnel.

These self seed and come up more intensely year on year.

Herb bed in permaculture garden at Bealtaine CottageHerbs are filling the beds as bees buzz busily overhead.

Stone Circle at Bealtaine CottageThe grass within and around the stone circle has turned to meadow.

Cow Parsley and Ferns by the Stone CircleCow Parsley vies with Ferns for space around the Stone Circle.

Bluebells at Bealtaine CottageBluebells are just visible in the lushness of a June morning in the west of Ireland.

magical stone circle at Bealtaine CottageThere’s a sense of magic in the air around the ancient stones!

Posted in Badgers, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Ecology, Garden, hens, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Woodland

An Irish Ark

Lunaria, Honesty in the permaculture tunnel

Lunaria and Fennel in the tunnel today.

The Latin name Lunaria means “moon-like” and refers to the decorative seed-pods.

It’s warm and dry and great for working outdoors.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe clothes line is heavy with clothes moving gently in the breeze…a perfect Spring day!

I do not own an electric dryer, or a washing machine.

Washing clothes by hand in Spring water leaves them soft and smelling beautifully.

Buds on the Damson tree in the permaculture gardens

The Damson tree is now in blossom, with a strong prospect of plentiful fruit.

Cherry and Apple trees are almost ready to break blossom!

Euphorbia in a barrel

Euphorbia in a barrel outside the veranda today.

The lime green of the flowers are so joyful at this time of year!

That’s Valerian coming up at the front of the barrel.

Primroses at Bealtaine Cottage

Primroses on the driveway this morning.

I have never seen this many Primroses in bloom across the permaculture gardens.

There has been a huge amount of self-seeding over recent years and, with the absence of livestock, plants have grown and flourished in abundance!

I believe that there are more species of plants in the 3 acres of Bealtaine Cottage than anywhere else in Ireland.

Many of these are indigenous and some even rare!

It will be an interesting study to complete, when cataloguing all the plant life here.

Bealtaine Cottage  badger settBealtaine Cottage is evolving into an Ark of sorts, where many species are protected from livestock, chemicals, pesticides and the urge to dominate Nature!

Looking at the picture above of the Badger sett here in the gardens, Mr and Mrs badger will testify to that!

Hens in the permaculture gardens

The hens are out in the sunshine, just basking on the grass.

They have begun to lay eggs and appear to be quite content.

Bealtaine Cottage entrance to the fairy dell woodland

The Fairy Wood in summer…just about 8 weeks away from Midsummer!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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Posted in Animals, Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Earth, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Lughnasa, Nature, Permaculture, Thoughts

Lughnasa and the Solstice…Ancient Time

At certain times today, as I was working outside, I had a distinct sense of Autumn.

The way the sun shone on a plant, the smell from the earth around my feet…it was quite tangible.

The growing cycle in the west of Ireland adheres very much to the old Celtic calendar.

It is easy to tell the season just by walking the land and watching shadows…

Autumn begins on the 1st day of August.

This cycle is in essence closely linked to the Solstices and Equinoxes of the year.

 It is the  same solar alignment that determines the correct time for Lughnasa and this is also the exact same alignment for Bealtaine.

The ancient calendar is correct, as it follows the sun and planets rather than the time of man.

I am more attuned to Natural Time as I work on the land.

I am also much happier in this time mode.

The midsummer solstice was last month, four weeks ago and harvesting is well under way.

I do believe that animals are more closely tied into these ancient seasons than we care to admit.

I have enjoyed the company of many rescue dogs and cats over the years and often observed their habits, right down to times when they will bury food.

Flo, here, is a little hobo dog and has been used to fending for herself for most of her life…

Flo is a persistent food secreter and will often sit on a stash in her basket!

On that note, I think I’ll just go and check…

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Posted in Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Gardening, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Vegan

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Ireland in Summer

Drought is no longer a problem as the land in sodden with rain, but it’s not all bad!

Not that it bothers Missy in the slightest!

In fact it’s a glorious summer for the plants and Nature, as the abundance of midsummer flows through a permaculture landscape.

I am uploading today’s video as I type and thinking about the lands that have little or no rain.

It can be tremendously difficult for growers in drought conditions and I am mindful of a the wonderful work being done by by permaculture teachers all over the world as they help people design their way back to abundance.

Indeed, this is the vital message I continue to learn as I do the same…designing the best landscapes in my continual adaptation to the chaos that is climate change.

In the example here at Bealtaine Cottage, that means using stone to make raised beds closer to the cottage and in the warmth of a south-facing aspect.

It also means ensuring both east and west sides of the smallholding are kept exceedingly sheltered, for, indeed, I have noticed that the winds have blown hard from the east over recent days and heavy rains.

Usually they come in from the west and the Atlantic Ocean.

 Over recent days I have been on the forage for all the crops that are free in the hedgerows and across the land.

Elderflowers are at their most scented peak and I recall similar wet conditions last year when I went in search of an Elderflower harvest.

It is interesting to keep a record of weather rather than relying on external sources.

Local knowledge is intrinsic to making plans for the next year!

On todays diary of photographs you can see the raised bed, now less than 3 weeks old and already yieding a harvest, as well as the 2nd bed currently completed and being filled with compost.

On today’s video diary you can see the most recent compost heap uncovered and the progress of the latest compost heap under construction.

 Today the sky is heavy and grey, but summer rolls on and is quite marvellous.

The Earth exudes the most wonderful summer scents and the birds sing…life is good!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q67PdS7QWT0

Posted in Abundance, Bees, biodiversity, Birds, Country Living, Earth, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Woodland

Abundance in the Edible Gardens Today.

Cloud and rain, interspersed with brilliant sunshine as the gardens move into their total abundance period as we approach midsummer.

A cold wind is blowing from the East, but the edible gardens are well sheltered with the warm micro-climate protected by the abundance of growth in the trees, hedging and shrubs.

These are the plants near my desk inside the cottage, on a north-facing window ledge.

I’m heading outside to embrace the morning, armed with tea and camera, followed by two cats…Jack and Flo have already been out for their walk!

Looking back at the cottage before I move through the Laurel Arch and into the Edible Gardens.

I love the colours on the Purple Beech as the leaves collide with the Rosa Rugosa, Sedge and vibrant, lime-green Crocosmia Montbretia!

Willow archways continue to strengthen as the new growth develops.

There are masses of Blackcurrants and Jostaberries growing all around the Willow…appearing to enjoy the company.

Both tolerate shade and damp, in fact, thriving on it!

And then the sun explodes onto the gardens, making everything appear in glorious technicolour!

Lush and abundant, Nature puts forth her expression of sheer joy.

Birds sing and Bees buzz.

No Monsanto here, or Dow or any other enemies of Nature…they are banished!

Apples and soft fruits are plentiful, as they were before the invention of odious chemicals.

No sprays or any other form of ecocide.

Nature is well able to look after herself, for at Bealtaine Cottage, she is officially off the critical list and life support machine that is corporate greed!

Bees find their way from flower to flower in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Archways of roses that have cost nothing more than encouragement of a slip from a rose.

And paths of wild flowers and herbs that lead one towards the deepest and most intimate recesses of Nature…

Posted in Country Living, Earth, Frugal Living, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

A Sense of Purpose

This is a month of many visitors to Bealtaine.

It is also the month of midsummer.

The ascent towards the solstice is happening.

It is actually visible in the growth all around me at Bealtaine Cottage.

Grass has grown tall and is seeding.

Nettles are almost past their prime, for once the flower heads appear their culinary use is forbidden.

Blossoms are ready to harvest, especially the Elderflower, one of the most delicate and exquisite flowers to use for making cordial, jam and champagne.

Elderflower cordial, once made and safely bottled, will keep easily for a year or more…not that I have ever kept it that long!

It is one of the best tastes of summer, if not the best!

Many of the visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are as interested in the spiritual aspects of permaculture, as the practical aspects of embracing permaculture as a lifestyle choice.

I see both as intertwined, for as permaculture is practised, spiritual awareness deepens and religious thinking diminishes.

A transformation occurs that takes the participant to a higher plain of awareness and understanding.

For me, permaculture has led me quite naturally to a life of simplicity and increasing awareness of the natural world.

It has been a tuning in process that has reached a level of comfortable ordinariness.

In other words, I get it… I feel comfortable within the universe.

There is incredible peace of mind in a permaculture lifestyle.

Most of the time, the brain is in an alpha state, with virtually no anxiety.

There is little to be anxious about, as this lifestyle choice both empowers and disregards.

With little need for money, the desire to consume is abated and diminished.

The consuming society is fast consuming itself and mostly for greed, ego or other negative reasons.

So much of the negativity which once dominated thinking, is disregarded, thrown off.

Life is embraced as a series of sunrises and sunsets and all the day in between, noticing the natural environment, planting, harvesting and simply being.

Many who are unemployed can turn to permaculture as an unlimited resource, fractionalised only by one’s own imagination.

A sense of purpose is easily attained by working close to the Earth.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, as the night draws in and the rain scatters nourishment upon the plants, I take a final walk around the cottage before reluctantly going in for the night…

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Birds, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Walk on the Wild Side

Ivy loops and twirls around the trees in the Fairy Dell woodland. Ivy that feeds the birds in the depths of midwinter. Ivy that shelters the pheasant in the heat of midsummer. Strong, natural and wild…

Ivy and Lichens, so perfect in the gardens at Bealtaine that it can only be the hand of Nature…no gardener can create this perfection…

Another sacred part of the land at this permaculture smallholding…a small field of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the natural habitat of the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Nature working her pure magic and being encouraged at every turn!

Now is the time to plant Willow. This is something which is easy to do and will serve the eco-system around you well. So many insects, birds and bees depend on this plant. Simply cut a wand of Willow and push it into the ground as far as you can…about 1-2feet will do! Manure it well and it will grow fast and strong! Some people surround it with plastic to stop weeds and grass, but, personally I do not approve of this as the earth under plastic is not beneficial to wildlife and anyway, the Willow will soon shade out any unwanted weeds!

Cotoneaster…planted, but soon takes on the mantle of wildness and becomes a feeding station for birds and insects alike!

Posted in Fairies, Inspiration, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Summer, Uncategorized, Woodland

And After the Weekend…Bealtaine Cottage in the West of Ireland

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…

The beautiful eerie light that falls across the land after the solstice, almost autumnal, bright and silvery and very romantic.

The heavenly scent of honeysuckle, or woodbine, is captured on the gentlest of breezes. The Fairy dell woodland is permeated with the sweet aroma.

The trees and ivy have merged into an elegant repose. Ferns have grown high and luxurious.

Light and shadows begin to play tricks on the eyes.

Posted in celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Culture, Earth, Folklore, Inspiration, Permaculture, Poetry, Summer, Uncategorized

A Little Celtic Magic at Midsummer…

Wild Honeysuckle…Woodbine

The Celts believed that endurance and patience were two of the elements in Woodbine, or Honeysuckle as we commonly call it.

The spiral journey could be found within the vine, so to have it growing wild at the entrance to Bealtaine Smallholding is magic indeed!

Winter and Summer…Thomas Telynog Evans

In lovely harmony the wood has put on its green mantle,

and summer is on its throne, playing its string-music;

the willow, whose harp hung silent when it was

withered in winter, now gives forth its melody-

Hush! Listen! The world is alive.

“We honour the land which supports us,

we respect the waters which give us life.”

Amergin the Bard

Here are three things to hold dear on your journey…

Belief in oneself,

Belief in a higher self, and

Belief in the truth.

Celtic Triad

The longest day is almost over…

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Poetry, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Midsummer at Bealtaine Cottage.

Today is midsummer. The day is grey with low cloud and soft rain…a steady drizzle.

Summer has magically disappeared, just like in the magicians’ trick. Yesterday was a strange day! The clouds appeared to stand still all day long…

The soft rain has settled in drops on the red Perlagonium…Geranium to you and me! Red geraniums are linked in the minds eye with the Irish cottage. The simple, stark, vivid red stands out against the whitewash of the cottage walls. So much of Irish tradition has become subsumed into the vulgarity that was the so-called Celtic Tiger. One would be heard-pressed to find a traditional cottage that is lived in and cared for…most have been allowed to fall back into the ground.

Sweet William

This is the 5th year of bloom for this lovely white flower, planted into tyres around the veranda rose, it never fails to make a show of itself!

Strawberries in Hanging Baskets…
continue to fruit and ripen and be gorged upon!

The Sun Lounger has been temporarily abandoned…waiting for the sun!

Nasturtiums, emblematic of summer…

Delightful is the season’s splendour,

winter’s rough wind has gone;

bright is every fertile wood,

a joyful peace is summer.

-“Maytime,” Irish, 9th Century.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Climate, Earth, Gaia, Garden, History, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Permaculture in Ireland.

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!

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!