Food in the Midwinter Garden

It’s surprising just how much food is growing in the gardens of Bealtaine at this time of year, the time of scarcity…but far from it! There’s the makings of a decent salad, with Fennel, Japanese salads like Mizuna and others as well as a lovely edible garnish in the form of Pansy flowers. In other parts of the gardens, where little micro-climates exist in the form of stones and shed walls, there’s Flat-leaf Parsley and Thyme. I used Thyme in roasted potatoes yesterday…delicious! Purple Sprouting Broccoli is giving lots of florets…delicious raw or cooked and full of goodness! Then there’s…

Bottling Summer

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn. Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater. Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine. There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began! Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally… the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!…

Permaculture Fruit and Vegetable Garden

I made a short video about the Fruit and Vegetable garden…  It’s around five minutes long and begins to explain how it all works. I hope you enjoy it…      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayBXUeT5NL0&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Country Living at Bealtaine Cottage…Soaring temperatures for November!

The weather has been so very mild over the past few days with temperatures hitting 17 centigrade…this is hotter than Valencia in Spain! The hens don’t seem to mind and working outside has been pleasant, so it’s good all round. Oregano grows almost wild here in the west of Ireland…growing up around the water bins here in this pic…it’s such a bee friendly plant and is perennial too, so once planted it will happily spread all over the place. It especially likes the gravelly ground and indeed is sprouting all along the driveway up to the cottage! The flowers dry…

Permaculture Cottage ~ 70,000 Visitors…(now almost 300,000) seek a better way forward.

Potting, planting, protecting and nurturing the future of Earth…the babies of Gaia are secure in the Nursery beds as the storm approaches from the west, with an early winter not far behind…in late October to be expected! Visitors to this permaculture blog topped 70,000 this week. Interest in permaculture is booming as the forces that rule and dominate this sacred earth go into a tailspin, driven by their hatred, greed and compelling and overwhelming desire to destroy all that is good and sustainable on Gaia. More and more people are becoming desirous of finding a way forward which can only be…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Friday Photographs from the Smallholding

Leaving the tunnel and walking towards one of the orchards. Crocosmia to the right with water barrels. Oregano growing on the left, just outside the door of the tunnel. Blackthorn trees on the edge of the woodland near the tunnel. These are now heavy with Sloes, ripe for picking after the first frost…then making Sloe Gin, for Christmas! Looking back at the tunnel and the Blackthorn trees. And a little later in the morning as the rain fell. Willow, cut recently and stored in the Willow Hide.

Permaculture Cottage ~ Oregano, Hippocrates and Herbs

The hips of the Rosa Rugosa are yet to turn red. Rugosa rose is widely used as an ornamental plant. As a seaside plant it is invaluable as it can tolerate the salty wind and storms really well. The sweetly scented flowers are used to make pot-pourri in Japan and China,  where it has been cultivated for about a thousand years. This grows well here at Bealtaine Cottage. The other rose growing abundantly here at Bealtaine is the Rosa Canina, or Dog Rose. During world war two, the shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables was having an adverse effect on the nation’s…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Dividing Rhubarb, Growing Trees and Composting!

Lots of the rhubarb has been lifted and divided recently and planted into the new beds, all loaded with fresh compost from the heaps stacked last year. Rhubarb is an easy and early fruiting plant to grow. Although the leaves are toxic, various parts of the plants have medicinal and culinary uses.  In culinary use, fresh raw stalks are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong tart taste; most commonly the plant’s stalks are cooked and used in pies and other foods for their tart flavour. Personally, there is nothing equal to a Rhubarb Crumble, or, one of my absolute…

How Permaculture Helps Us Re-Connect…Notes from a Cottage in Ireland

The beautiful Kilronan Mountain… Rubbish dumped over a bridge into the Mountain Stream Bed below…How we perceive the world around us depends largely on how we connect with it, if at all. Most dog owners will know this to be true, because an otherwise dull morning can be transformed by simply walking the dog…getting OUT into the natural world. Walking and connecting with Nature is tremendously uplifting and inspiring…the Romantic Poets and Artists did a lot of walking in Nature and we have their legacy of work to prove that uplifting feeling.  Walking out to the tunnel in the morning…