Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Country Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wine

The Rain-Sodden Lushness of Midsummer in Ireland

Harvests are looking good despite the lack of sunshine.

Today, Sunday, is overcast and still.

If the weather is fine tomorrow I shall begin to harvest the Blackcurrants.

It looks to be a mighty harvest…certainly in excess of last year, when over 100lbs were picked…and the birds had their feast along the way!

Redcurrants are cropping well also and most of these will go in the freezer, as I enjoy fruit yoghurts throughout the winter.

The Redcurrants give the impression of jewels hanging on bushes.

I often wonder why more of these delightful and easy to grow fruit bushes are not planted in borders in the garden.

The leaves are a lovely vivid green and look really attractive!

I bought this lovely lamp in a Charity shop in Enniskillen, on my way to Omagh, my home town.

 I was up visiting my Mum on her 82nd birthday last Friday!

She is in great form and looking fantastic!

I must post a pic of her soon!

Happy Birthday Mum! (I’m saying this because she has recently started looking on the net and perusing the Bealtaine Cottage blogs!)

I notice that the flowers are all in bloom on the St John’s Wort bush…they are all open despite the lack of sun!

The Bealtaine Angel silently surveys the Valerian…

I have been gathering big bouquets of Yellow Loosestrife to fill vases in the cottage.

Everywhere the lushness of midsummer continues to hold sway…

Posted in Country Living, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Healing Environment…

Flowering Currant, or Ribes as it is called, is in full blossom all over Bealtaine smallholding and it is already calling the bees out from hibernation with it’s heavy scent and glorious flower droplets!

This incredible shrub is the ultimate in permaculture planting, because wherever one chooses to plant a cutting or two, it will grow readily and develop into a flowering shrub rapidly. The flowers turn into droplets of berries adored by birds and hens alike!

Free food and beauty and windbreaks…that is so permaculture!

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Yesterday was International Women’s Day and I made the journey to Omagh to visit my mother…who is hale and hearty and looking forward to coming down to Bealtaine for a holiday very soon.

Mum insists that she finds her holidays here to be invigorating and healing. Mainly due to the birdsong and cool atmosphere around the cottage, which helps enormously with that plague of old age, swollen feet!

I am convinced that this is due, in part, to the overwhelming heat in the environs where most older people live, especially the constant dry central heating and sealed homes. It is no coincidence that Mum’s feet are returned to normal size within 24hours of her visit here!

Cool, clean air was once a mainstay of the Health System…open windows in hospitals were de rigeur under the watchful eye of Matron! Today, with closed windows, sealed buildings and air conditioning, health problems in hospitals abound, especially MRSA! Cool, clean air is healing…make no mistake!

I have been busy spreading gravel on the driveway and around the cottage. This is the first top dressing I have laid in almost eight years. As it had to be done, I chose a local stone which, as you can see, is very bright and reflects the light beautifully!

Periwinkle in bloom in a sheltered spot near the west of the cottage.

A big stack of straw in the barn…I have stocked up on bales of straw for the hens and vegetable garden as the next harvest will not be until around August…it pays to plan ahead, besides which, the girls will only lay eggs on clean straw!

Posted in Abundance, Family, Food, Gaia, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Politics, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wine

The Promise of Pumpkins, and Mum at 81…Permaculture on Friday

Surrounded by pots of everything, all grown from seeds, the Pumpkin…and don’t ask me what kind it is until it produces fruit…is sporting a big, fab., yellow flower! It’s happy! I’m happy!

Talking of happy, I was in Omagh on Wedneday last to help Mum celebrate her 81st birthday…what a girl! She manages to outstyle me, out-talk me and usually outsmart me as well! Not looking bad for a woman who told the doctors to back off over her diagnosis and operation for breast cancer late last year! “No more drugs or treatment, I ready for living my life not sitting in waiting rooms,” she quipped just before Christmas…yep, you can’t keep a good woman down! …And, talking of Alice Taylor, isn’t she a woman for our times? On board the Gaza Flotilla…more power to you Alice!

Continuing to harvest a magnificent crop of blackcurrants…Permaculture sown and grown…the BEST!

More wine ready to be bottled and fined down and cleared without the use of animal products, as used in the commercial wines! Still, if you want to eat and drink the finest than it’s always best to make it yourself!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Life, Orchids, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vegan, Wild Flowers, Wine

Saturday Morning at Permaculture Cottage, Ireland.

Mum sleeps, guarded by Flo!

Mum celebrates her 81st birthday this month and is staying with us for a holiday. Flo is on permanent holiday! mum loves the animals to be close-by and finds great comfort in them. So, she sleeps contentedly on the bed, watched over by Flo, the rescue babe…it’s a joy to see them both in their shared happiness. Long life to them!

Dog Daisies, regarded as a weed, are blooming all over the west of Ireland at present. This is a clump of them near the back of the cottage. Allowed to grow each year, they will begin to form a little colony and eventually become a part of the flowering season, like these!

The apples have all set really well. These are young Bramley Cooking Apples. The recent rains will allow them to continue to grow and prosper.

Eating apples in the orchards this morning…James Grieve. So far, eleven apple trees have been planted at Bealtaine Cottage, with plans for more this year…dependant on visitors bringing presents!

Blackcurrants ripening…soon time to begin harvesting…cordials and wines will be on the top of the list to make from these this year. Since becoming Vegan I am aware of the importance of good quality food and drink and am developing a fondness for cordials. The Elderflower cordial at the moment is being snaffled by visitors, so am having to step up production! I have yet to make Blackcurrant Cordial, but am looking forward to learning and doing!

Here is the recipe for the Elderflower Cordial

It’s so very simple!
Elderflower Cordial
50g flowers
30g citric acid
1 litre water
1kilo sugar
Coll boiled water. Add Elderflowers & citric acid. Leave for about 48hours, strain, add sugar. Dissolve sugar, keep stirring. Bottle.
This recipe was given to me by a Permaculture Visitors to Bealtaine, Derek and Mary, who left me a bottle of the cordial and I was well impressed! It keeps for a year and more…if you have that much willpower! I use glass bottles, the screw top kind

This beautiful little Orchid appeared on one of the paths and I noticed it this morning.