Posted in Birds, Country Living, Earth, environment, Garden

First Flight…

DSC00414And here it is, the very first flight of the baby Bluetits!

As you can see, one of the parents is feeding the nestlings.

I was lucky to get this shot as the birds are so very fast!

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This is the first one to put it’s head out of the box.

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The parents will feed their young almost round the clock!

Blue Tits feed mostly on insects, especially caterpillars, and seeds.

Through this feeding, pattern the birds are of great assistance to the gardener in her attempt at natural pest control.DSC00413

And here we go…

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Posted in Bloom, cottage style, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Organic Garden

Cottage Garden Style

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There was a full moon last night.

Sammy-Bear couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted in or out.

Previous to this photo I had opened the back door for him twice to go out, whereupon he ran around to the front of the cottage and jumped up on the window sill, as you can see here!

DSC09962It’s always a strange time when the moon is full.

I’m sure you each have stories about weird happenings at this time!

DSC09961This May moon has cast it’s brightness over Ireland, presiding over an extraordinary time of growth.

DSC09960DSC09959 All around the cottage there are flowers opening, plants growing, seemingly overnight and trees now heavy with leaf and blossom.

DSC09958Where would an Irish cottage garden be without the beautiful and traditional Perlagonium?

DSC09957And, of course, every cottage garden has a little spot for Succulents…I plant these in terracotta pots and here in this old planter.

They love dry conditions!

DSC09956DSC09955Always lots of tasks to complete as in painting the old Buddha, so he may survive another winter!

DSC09954DSC09953DSC09952As in all cottage gardens, famous for their mish-mash of flowers, vegetables fruit and just about everything else, edibles share potager beds with their close relations!

DSC09950I have had to move many plants from pots and plant them in spaces wherever I can find them.

For, as always now at this time of the year, there is a drought…sometimes prolonged, but dry enough at the best of times!

DSC09948The nursery bed, essential to a cottage garden, is being cleared fast, with plants going into the long beds down by the road.

DSC09946DSC09943Pieris and Poppies…as always, flowers are squashed in beside the most unsuitable bed mates…the Poppy is planted in with Flowering Currant!

DSC09931And sitting in my chair on the veranda, looking up…the classic cottage garden rose.

DSC09941The all-forgiving Cottage Garden will tolerate just about everything one wants to “throw out!” Except, of course, I throw little away, favouring a good old re-purpose, as in this old, but very comfy, fireside chair!

DSC09937And…the beautiful Wisteria…tougher than it looks and essential “cottage garden!”

DSC09936DSC09933DSC09932Nothing pristine here!

No manicured lawn or well-placed fountain or garden ornament…yet everything knows how to behave itself without supervision.

DSC09930Even Jack…unlike Sammy-Bear!

DSC09927DSC09924Oh Jack, you are a little beaut!

DSC09923Opening my backdoor this morning I see the Fairies have tidied up again!

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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 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 Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Crafts, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Darning Socks , Sustainable Living.

Bealtaine Cottage homespun woolWool, my favourite textile for keeping warm!

I wear woolly socks on my feet and often need to darn them as they wear thin when I use them instead of slippers!

This little wooden mushroom has a detachable head. It is used in darning holes and threadbare patches, fitting up inside the sock…

 

All that is needed is some wool and a darning needle…which is a big needle with a big eye to take the wool through.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about all the little holes on the mushroom…Jack had a little taste and chew!

 

Woolen gloves, hand knitted at Bealtaine CottageSome interesting facts about wool…Wool ignites at a higher temperature than cotton and some synthetic fibres.

It has lower rate of flame spread, low heat release, low heat of combustion, and does not melt or drip; it forms a char which is insulating and self-extinguishing, and contributes less to toxic gases and smoke than other flooring products, when used in carpets.

This is one of the reasons why I used wool to insulate my loft!

It is also incredibly warm!

Pure Irish Wool Bootees from Bealtaine CottageWool is resistant to static electricity, as the moisture retained within the fabric conducts electricity.  This is why wool garments are much less likely to spark or cling to the body.

The use of wool car seat covers or carpets reduces the risk of a shock when a person touches a grounded object.

Missy Approved Baby Pixie Bootees handknitted at Bealtaine CottageWool is considered by the medical profession to be hypo-allergenic.

Premature babies are laid upon wool in incubators…it is comforting and natural.

Slouch Hat, handknitted at Bealtaine CottageI spin wool from fleece collected locally…spinning is a wonderfully therapeutic and relaxing craft to do.

Hand knitted shawl at Bealtaine Cottage Wool is a sustainable and natural product to help us live lightly upon the Earth.