February in the Goddess Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

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Work has continued unabated all this week. I managed to get a load of cardboard to begin mulching the problem bed over by the Lughnasadh Garden.

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Here I have laid the aboard and mulched with chipping from the garden shredder and laid another layer of cardboard.

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The progress is fairly rapid, with the exception that all the chipping come from the gardens, so pruning and shredding has to happen in conjunction with the mulching…and that takes quite some time!

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These are the magnificent red dogwoods that I am pruning at the moment…providing lots of mulch.

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The shredder is electric, second hand and the cheapest one on the market. It serves me well, but capacity is limited!

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The Robin keeps me and Jack company as I work.

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All the Laurel pruned last week is now laid as weed-suppressant mulch, as well as small mammal habitat. Goddess permaculture is about ALL LIFE!

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This week has been both cold and wet, so the occasional sunshine is worth photographing…I keep my camera with me as much as possible.

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The days are getting longer, with dark drawing down around 5.30pm.

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The sap is rising in the plants, developing a depth of lovely colour!

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Work in the tunnel continues, as I move from task to task in order to remain enthused with energy…small results are energising!

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I walked down through the gardens this morning and took these photographs.

IMG_1541It was delightful to see the first catkins on the willow.

IMG_1547IMG_1552Heavy rain fell last night, so the pond was gushing!

IMG_1554IMG_1556IMG_1557Back up to the cottage to write this blog and upload some of the photographs. I have heaps more that I may put on a slideshow on YouTube.

Thank you for your continuing support…I will continue to happily share freely.

Blessings X Colette

Calendar and Midwinter Book

Special Offer! Purchase the Calendar together with the Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter for the special price of €23.00 The usual price is €30.00 Price includes postage to anywhere in the world!

€23.00

Calendar and Map

Special offer: Purchase the Calendar and Map together! Cost was €27.00…Special Offer €20.00! Price includes postage to anywhere in the world!

€20.00

SPECIAL OFFER! Reduced to clear… Bealtaine Cottage Calendar for 2019

Price includes postage and packing worldwide! The calendar hosts a page of colour photographs from Bealtaine Cottage for each month of the year. The months of the year are written in Celtic script…ie: May is Bealtaine, August is Lughnasadh and so on…many of you are already familiar with the Celtic Calendar. The pictures on each month also feature some added wisdom from Bealtaine Cottage and information on the ancient festivals of Celtic Ireland.

€9.95

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

Natural Gardening and No-Dig Growing

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DSC00027DSC00032Ireland is the richest source of Celtic  myths and legends.

DSC00029Down through the Ages, Ireland remained remote and cut off from mainland Europe, holding onto its rich folklore and spirituality.

DSC00030DSC00031It’s peoples worshipped all aspects of the natural world in which they recognised the Divine, in much the same way as I do here at Bealtaine Cottage.

DSC00034The reason for the wealth of myth and legend that pervades Ireland, today and it’s people lies not just from its isolation from mainland Europe for much of its history.

DSC00035Ireland remained free from pressures exerted by other cultures such as the Roman Empire.

DSC00036So much so, that the great writer, John B. Keane referred to his people as having only a “thin veneer of Christianity…” in that they merged their pre-Christian practices with their newly inducted Christianity.

DSC00037 And so I offer this up as a simple explanation for the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage having evolved through a similar understanding of the natural world and the supreme forces of Nature.

DSC00038This is no ordinary Permaculture garden as you can see, but one deeply nourished and inspired by the Goddess.

DSC00039For me there is a spiritual, otherworldly, ethereal force at work and play here.

DSC00040This is the rational (for me) way of explaining the extraordinary growth and extreme revving-up of biodiversity that has happened at Bealtaine.

DSC00041All beyond my control…not that I ever wanted to control this magnificent force!

I leave that to the Planet-Wreckers!

DSC00042As I re-emerged through my journey with Mother Earth, I came to an intuitive understanding of the need to stop digging Her…to let Her be!

DSC00043So I mulch and cover Her with as much tenderness as befits the Great Mother.

DSC00044You will never see any of Her precious skin exposed.

DSC00045Her mantle remains in place.

DSC00046And so this brings me to the second part of this story…

DSC00047The wonderful success of No-Dig Gardening…

DSC00050And here is the first of over twenty photographs and the story of growing success at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…continued over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life… bealtainecottage.org

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Keeping Hens, in the Town or Country

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www.bealtainecottage.com

 The hens have settled into their new home and are all laying.

Happy clucks and soft singing emanates out from the hen house.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe secure enclosure promises to keep the Fox family away…for I have lost too many of my lovely hens to Mr and Mrs Fox. www.bealtainecottage.comInside, the house is spacious and comfortable, with an upstairs and five windows in total!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe system is similar to the one I used in London for over a decade.

It is known as a deep litter system, using lots of straw.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe dirty straw is then used in the gardens as a mega-mulch!www.bealtainecottage.comThe deep litter system allows the girls foraging in a limited space and I collect greens for them on days when they are stay at home.

www.bealtainecottage.comDays when I am in the garden, the girls are allowed out under my watchful eye!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mulching continues unabated, as the grass paths are mowed…grass clippings are piled onto cardboard as a weed suppressant, allowing newly planted trees to get a footing!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the system I have used for ten years and all the fruit trees are producing well.

www.bealtainecottage.comHonesty is in full bloom now and being enjoyed by the bees.

www.bealtainecottage.comMost of the early bees are bumble bees and are most prolific here at Bealtaine Cottage, where succession planting keeps all visitors fed from February through to the end of November.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe painted stone Cockerel stands guard by the front door of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comNewly mown paths allows everything alongside to look lush!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Cherry tree, grown from seed, stands covered in blossom,  with the promise of lots of Cherries, some high for the birds and some low for me!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Bealtaine Feast has begun!

www.bealtainecottage.comSeedlings are flourishing in the late Spring sunshine.

Coppicing Trees for Future Forests

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Dwarf sunflower at Bealtaine Cottage

The day is warm and still.

flower arrangementThere’s a hint of early autumn in the air.

coppicing birch trees in the permaculture gardensI have been working in the gardens, coppicing trees.

This morning I coppiced this lovely Birch tree.

The trunk remains growing about a metre or so from the earth and will rapidly produce several new stems, that will thicken up to give even more wood for the cottage in a few short years.

Che Mousey Bear relaxes on the benchCoppicing was carried out on all medieval woodlands and is the reason why there are so many old trees in counties of England.

coppicing at Bealtaine CottageCoppicing regularly will enable a tree to live for several thousand years!

The main stem will be sawn into small logs and stored in the barn.

Shredding tree branches to use as mulchThe remaining small branches are shredded and used as a mulch on the Potager Beds! So everything is returned to the Earth.

Trees are a direct way of enabling the harvest of solar energy.cats at Bealtaine CottageMeanwhile,

Missy Cat lounges on the gravelas I worked, the cats relaxed, as only they can do…

bees on NasturtiumsAnd the bees kept working…

Bealtaine Cottage verandaAnd the morning drifted effortlessly…

fennelinto a beautiful afternoon…

Garden steps

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

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The gardens in snow.

Yesterday was a day for visitors who spent two and a half hours walking around all the different gardens.

The photo above was taken in the winter of 2010…cold but very beautiful.

Permaculture is about planting and planting without chemicals, but using Nature’s way of mulch, mulch, mulch.

It works incredibly well, for this approach feeds the soil, our food lifeline!

I mulch with shreddings; clippings; wool; compost; manure; grass and leaves, as well as any other biodegradable material I come across, including cardboard, straw etc.

I also collect silt from both ponds as the stream which feeds them often washes lots of silt down from the hill behind the cottage.

This includes pulling most of the seasonal growth from the ponds and spreading that around newly planted trees.

To date, there have been over 700 trees planted on the 3 acres that make up the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage.

It is trees that give us life and give fertility to the soil.

Let us never forget that.

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The True Gift of Permaculture!

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Flo, the littlest hobo, follows me around today as I work in the gardens.

Another waif and stray who has found a home at Bealtaine Cottage.

She is a character for sure!

Today has been busy…baking, weeding and topping up the potatoes, as well as cutting down the comfrey and topping up the compost…yes indeed, I swing from one task to another with nothing between each except the soap and sink where I wash my hands!

This used to be a pathway, one of many that needs a good trimming.

No wonder that the compost heaps are brimming and the soil is so healthy…there is so much  to feed the soil with, it’s almost impossible to keep up!

Healthy abundance, the true gift of permaculture!

Monetary systems produce scarcity, Permaculture produces abundance, freely!

As I trim archways like this willow one, I throw the cuttings around a plant or tree, as a food and mulch.

In this way, the soil is built up and good bacteria is introduced into it as the cuttings decompose.

Permaculture…it is time…instead of weapons of destruction, we need to unleash weapons of creation and abundance.

Willow archways and the beautiful Purple Beech, a stunning and simple combination!

Here are the simple white-washed stones I wrote about a few weeks ago in this blog, down by the entrance gate near the road.

This little garden was put along by the fence and has settled in really well. All the plants are home-grown from either cuttings or seed.

The stones were collected up from the land, so the cost of this was zero!

Our true divinity is in our ability to create.

 

Ireland under Permaculture could feed Europe!

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It is difficult to comprehend, without seeing this photograph, that what is now a lush, abundant paradise, was once a barren monoculture, devoid of wildlife, birdsong and no biodiversity to speak of…

This was Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding on day one of the transformation, only made possible by applying permaculture principles and design.

What you are looking at is the view of the land from the cottage itself.

The transformation has been carried out single-handedly, by myself, aided only by planting, mulching and manuring, again carried out by hand over the course of eight years.

Today I decided to visit the well which feeds water to the cottage. The landscape of the hill behind the cottage remains unchanged, so you can see for yourself how inhospitable the cottage and land first looked…

Click on the link below to watch…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzjOMUpRTQU&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Saint Patrick’s Day Permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

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Saint Patrick’s Day! The middle of March in the West of Ireland…and there is much to celebrate! For we have enjoyed a mild winter and fast warming Spring.

According to  the old Irish annals, Patrick died in AD 461 on March 17.

And so, it is today that we celebrate the greatest non-Irish person as the greatest  of the Irish… for it is in Patrick that the Irish nurture their sense of national pride.

Much of the landscape of Ireland is awakened into Spring at this point in the year as you can see from the photographs taken this morning here at Bealtaine Cottage.

It has been traditional to plant potatoes on saint Patrick’s Day or thereabouts, so this morning, this is what I shall be doing, having prepared the beds at the beginning of the week, (and sliced through the water-pipe!).

Potatoes in Ireland were traditionally planted into mounds, a form of raised bed.  

Potatoes are planted into the mounds as they have a lower tolerance to frost and this way of planting affords a certain amount of protection. Other more hardy crop,s are Peas, Beans and Cabbage, all of which can be planted out regardless of frost.

Permaculture planting takes into account these variants and straw is placed over the beds of potatoes as both a mulch to exclude weeds and a protection against late frosts, which can be expected right through to May!

All these pics were taken this morning and as you can see, it is a perfect planting day in the west of the country.
The celebrations and parades will all take place this afternoon, so the morning is planned for a little light work, planting!

So, it just suffices to say…A very Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you all, with blessings and love to each and every one of you, from Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Message…

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“I have a message from the bottom of my heart…”   “…all manifestations of life…”      Watch and listen…. http://youtu.be/KdGep07vBtY

My Sunday has been spent inside the cottage, with the exception of walking Jack…it’s stormy and the worst is yet to come…

This is one stormy old day. All photos of today are taken inside Bealtaine Cottage as it really is too stormy to venture out!

This is the Den, where I store all the crafty bits and pieces that inspire me to create, or, at least, attempt to do so.

It’s also a quiet little room where I sometimes curl up and read…

A messy window sill in the Den…but everything is there for a reason!

Did you know that laying sufficient mulch over plants will destroy them, and is more advantageous than using herbicide, cutting, mowing, pulling, raking, or tilling? This is how Bealtaine has developed into such a beautiful and bountiful smallholding and series of gardens.

Just a lazy sunday afternoon!

Listening to Moving Hearts…The Storm…click on the link for a listen too!    http://youtu.be/ynorPAwOyEA

Making compost…this can be made from: grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, kitchen scraps comfrey, shredded bark, whole bark nuggets, sawdust, shells, woodchips, shredded newspaper, cardboard, wool, and also animal manure, etc…, just thought I’d add that!

As I can’t work outdoors…just looking out the front window…