Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Christmas, Country Living, Earth, Garden, History, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Yuletide Celebrations

Yuletide is an ancient celebration.

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine CottageAs the mist encircles the cottage this morning and the stillness of the air creates echoes along the hill, Midwinter seems very close.

Painted Irish dresser at Bealtaine CottageThis is traditionally a time for people to come together and celebrate the midwinter, with feasting, music and dancing.

I have been busy painting and decorating the cottage in preparation for this special time.

Even the old dresser has been given a much needed coat of paint!

Mist and trees in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageYule is traditionally celebrated over twelve days.

This is where the Twelve days of Christmas come from.

It is also traditional to have a Yule log which will burn all night, on the longest night of the year.

The barn is filled with logs for the stoves.

Most of the wood comes from fast growing Ash, a tree which grows easily here in the west of Ireland.

Wood burning stove at Bealtaine CottageLight is important at this time and this is where the idea of Christmas lights comes from.

Opening the doors of the wood burning stove in the sitting room, allows light to fill the room.

There are many celebrations of light all across the world at this time.

Irish dresser in the cottage kitchen at Bealtaine CottageWe are drawn towards the light, in this time of darkness and mellow sunlight.

The winter will have reached it’s shortest day this week.

The Barn at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012 A time to celebrate, keep warm and look forward to the ascent towards Spring.

Veranda at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012Make the most of this beautiful aspect of the year, wrap up warm and spent time outdoors.

There is beauty in every day…and it allows you to appreciate the warmth of your home.

Happy Yuletide, everyone!

Posted in Country Living, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

A Life in the Country ~ Tree Spirits

If …
a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of
being regarded as a loafer. 

But …

if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing
off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an
industrious and enterprising citizen.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Life’s funny like that!

Have we got it all mixed up then?

You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so
venerable a neighbour, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes
you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night.  ~Denise Levertov

I believe that each tree has a spirit…one that is unique to that tree. Planting trees is one of the most joyful ways of connecting to the great divine spirit. In a country that is one of the most deforested in Europe, planting a tree is an act of environmental conservation equal to none!

We have a future…possibly…and only with the help of trees…

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and
a thousand tempests and floods.  But he cannot save them from fools.  ~John
Muir

Unfortunately, it is a fact that most people will cut down trees if it is to their own advantage. it is also a fact that most people are frightened of  because trees are beyond their control. How do I know this? Look around you!

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving,
swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship.  But
though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. 
Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like
harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. 
No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are
cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems
the Lord himself.  ~John Muir

Even as a dead tree, lying on it’s side as it decays back into the beautiful Earth, this tree holds pools of water and life…could anything so exquisite be made by the hand of man?

No town can fail of beauty, though its walks were gutters and its houses hovels,
if venerable trees make magnificent colonnades along its streets.  ~Henry Ward
Beecher, Proverbs, 1887

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Culture, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Lughnasa, Permaculture, Samhain, Smallholding, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Bealtaine Cottage ~ Autumn Equinox and Samhain…Lifting the Veil.

Saturday Morning at Bealtaine Cottage

Sun and clear skies.

As the sun rises in the east, so the moon sets in the west…one of those glorious autumn mornings in Ireland.

Today is a busy one for me.

Visitors, willow cutting, fedging and lots more.

Yes…that is a little tomato you can see in there…this being a permaculture smallholding there are lots of food plants everywhere to be harvested in the most unexpected places…


Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.

This is one of the best videos  that explains with images, words and enchanting music, this time…

http://youtu.be/nLZSy1GsvCk

We are just 4 days away from the Autumn Equinox…the turning time and the descent towards Samhain.

The sun is casting long shadows…

And as the harvest continues at Bealtaine, a Celtic blessing from Tyrone… 

http://youtu.be/4PkU0GOUCNY