Framed, Raw and Rather Juicy!

Upcycling Old Picture Frames

I was given this beautiful old frame by a guy in a second-hand market in the local town.

It is one of the most beautiful picture frames I have ever come across.

Look closely at it, for it is a colourful mosaic of sea washed glass and shells.

The new chalkboardFor several years now it has waited patiently in the shed for someone with a good idea…who just happened to come along this week.

Cara was helping me to find a hammer in the outside shed on Monday, when she spied this frame and suggested it be used as a chalk board for the garden…all it needed was some board cut to fit, which could then be painted with blackboard paint and fitted into the frame!

Cara turned up with the finished, magnificently up-cycled chalkboard today and promptly fitted it onto the wall of the lodge under the shelter of the veranda.

Lodge VerandaDoesn’t it look great?

organic herbs from the permaculture gardensMeanwhile…in the kitchen I prepared some wholesome juice, using organic produce from the gardens…

After juicing organic apples and carrots, I add Kale, Apple-mint, Lemon Balm, Fennel and Parsley.

Juicing is a great way of ensuring a steady supply of the finest and freshest nutrients, especially using what is so easily grown in the edible gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Preparing aVegan stir fry at Bealtaine CottageMuch of what I harvest is added to stir-fries too.

These are the ingredients for this evening’s meal.

Missy catMeanwhile, Missy Cat is enjoying the sunshine, while keeping an eye on me!

Building Fireplaces and Growing Your Own Herbal Teas…

For a long time, the small fireplace in the bedroom was closed up.

Then I decided to open it up and build a small surround.

In the true vernacular style I have used stones from the area around the cottage.

These were stones that the earth had simply pushed out…pieces of red sandstone.

I collected up the small bits to make two piers, one for either side of the fireplace.

These piers were then built onto the larger stones used for raising up the fire grate.

On the top of the larger stones in the grate I placed a big flag stone I had sitting around by the back of the cottage.

I put this old fire insert in place.

I had this sitting out the back with plants in it for a long time!

An old piece of wood was placed atop of the stone piers to form a small, compact mantelpiece.

It was then painted the same colour as the walls to bring it all together!

As you can see, it serves the purpose well! 

There is nothing quite so comforting as drifting off to sleep in front of a beautiful, open fire! 

I grow over 40 varieties of herbs here at Bealtaine Cottage. These I store in glass jars in the pantry, pictured above…

As well as the cultivated herbs, there are, perhaps hundreds of wild herbs growing here as well, such as Sorrel and Mint…in fact several varieties of mint!

wild herbs at  Bealtaine Permaculture cottageOther wild herbs are less obvious, but are there when one goes looking for them!

The fact is, more and more people are becoming alarmed at the reliance on modern medicines.

herbs at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Many people are seeking natural alternatives and many of these are already known to us.

sage in the tunnel at  bealtaine cottage herbsIt is important that we pass on the wisdom accumulated  in our lifetimes as much of what was common lore, folklore is fast being lost as the lines of communication between people are closing, for people talk with each other much less these days!

Making elderflower cordial at  Bealtaine Cottage Folk wisdom was founded on a combination of what people knew, what was passed on to them, understanding of the human mind and a very deep understanding of the value of herbs and plants.

candle in the window at  Bealtaine cottageWhat is more comforting than a cup of peppermint tea to soothe a bilious stomach?

Or a cup of Camomile tea to calm the nerves, or tea made from Lemon Balm or Lemon Verbena?

Wild Mint tea, Nettle tea are ancient recipes for various health problems.

herbs at Bealtaine Cottage All these are now dried teas that we now buy in shops, but these are easily grown, cultivated or even collected from the wild!

Herbal teas are very easy to make!

Simply take half an ounce of the dried herb and pour on one pint of boiling water.  

Alternatively use one ounce of a fresh herb to one pint of boiling water and let it stand for five minutes.

One can add honey or sugar to sweeten and any milk or cream…it really is a matter of personal taste!

early morning at Bealtaine Cottage It’s important to pick the herb before flowering and in the early morning, before the sun is at it’s strongest and many of the oils in the plant are weakened.

If you have a particular herbal tea that you enjoy, it would make sense then to grow an abundance of it, dry and store for all year round use.

willow arches and ponds at bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensIt’s always best to store in either glass, or stoneware jars as these are natural and will not impart any unwanted flavour to the herb.

I often drink herbal teas that I mix with Indian or Ceylon teas…and get the goodness and flavour of both!