Remembering…

dsc05339As the days grow shorter and the evenings longer there is a quietness in the gardens and around the cottage that is rather haunting.

winter sunrise at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens Much of what I do now is centred around preparing for the Midwinter Feast and the continuing festivities of Yule.

BgQ7qv3CEAAL835 Family and friends will be arriving from as far away as Canada.

dsc05353 A house has been rented for the days that are in it, for Bealtaine Cottage is small!

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dsc05352Baking is underway in the kitchen, making full use of the hot oven in the even hotter Stanley stove that is burning constant to keep the cottage warm.

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dsc05329Cakes and bread are then being moved to the freezer in the barn and will be ready to assuage the hunger of visitors and guests alike. dsc05349The cake stand has been dusted off for the festivities.

dsc05331I am transforming the Lodge into a big dining room, moving beds and other furniture out and a huge extending dining table in.

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dsc05333dsc05334This was brought over from the tunnel where it had been in use for years as a potting table, but a good clean down and polish, followed by the adornment of a starched table cloth, has lent the old table an air of noble gentility.

dsc05335dsc05336Candlelight will soften the decrepitness of the piece and even add a touch of shabby chic!

dsc05337In the event it isn’t really about grandeur or showing off, but about coming together to celebrate…something we have almost forgotten how to do.

dsc05338The remembering that less is more…that a pot of well made soup and home baked bread is unique to that day and all who partake of the feast.

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dsc05345It is not about shop bought, ready-made food, or flashy decorations that will still be intact in the landfill when you are long gone from this sacred Earth. dsc05343

dsc05344My little bathroom has had a coat of paint applied and a polish-up!

dsc05346Remembering the importance of gathering and celebrating…this is real civilisation!

 

 

The Other Website… https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

 

 

Frugality, Environmentalism and Optimism…

Frugality, environmentalism and optimism…big helpings of each on this very wet Wednesday!

Much of this is embodied in the painted stone which nestles near the climbing Rose next to the veranda  at Bealtaine Cottage.

I love natural shapes and garden ornaments that don’t cost the Earth.

This painted stone, embellished with water colour paint and some varnish to hold it together, was gifted to me by a child who visited Bealtaine, on a rainy day, like today, and who sat engaged in this task for simply ages, as his mother and I drank tea and shared time!

I adore Owls and have yet to see one here in the west of Ireland, so I keep Olly Owl perched on wood just outside the back door!

Never throw away an old Bear…they just keep improving with time!
My heart cries for the Brown Bears kept in captivity in China for their bile…absolutely horrid and cruel!

A peek out the window in the Den is as far as I go into the gardens today…much too wet!

On the upside, it’s incredibly mild!

Intensive planting, excludes weeds and cuts down on much work!

Intensive planting, excludes weeds and cuts down on much work!

I might mention all the divine charms of a bright spring day, but if you had never in your life utterly forgotten yourself in straining your eyes after the mounting lark, or in wandering through the still lanes when the fresh-opened blossoms fill them with a sacred silent beauty like that of fretted aisles, where would be the use of my descriptive catalogue?

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It's always good to have a special spot in your garden. Sitting in the shelter of trees is calming. This is a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa and look around.

It’s always good to have a special spot in your garden. Sitting in the shelter of trees is calming. This is a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa and look around.

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

ALFRED, Lord TENNYSON, Locksley Hall

New Beginnings

Starting Afresh

This morning the sun shone on a new year and all the possibilities therein…
The first day. A clean slate. A chance, an opportunity…all things good!
Cupboards to be cleared out. Fresh paint to be applied and each day, the sun that little bit higher in the sky.

Garden Work

Now is the time to dig and plant…trees, borders and divide plants as a way of providing the borders with even more food for the bees and butterflies.
Don’t forget to plant garlic…lots and lots as it dries and keeps wonderfully well!

Upper Pond

The water levels in the ground and the aquifers are unseasonally high. The land is seeped in water. Both ponds and the stream gush on overload.

Lower Pond

As I write this, the sun has disappeared behind rain clouds as more water descends from the January sky.

Ash Tree

Storms are sweeping in from the west, as the silver grey of the Ash trees are illuminated against the storm skies.

Bealtaine Cottage on the first day of 2012

                  Sun streams through the trees.

There is a tangible heat from the sun this morning.

Ivy and branches hang low…the birds sing out…it really is a lovely morning and a good start to the year!

A Life in the Country ~ Harvest, Halloween and Magic…

Apples harvested at Bealtaine Cottage last year…you can tell it’s from 2010 as the walls are now blue…though I may repaint them soon, as I mix my own colours and feel a creative moment or two approaching!

Bring forth the raisins and the nuts-
Tonight All-Hallows’ Spectre
struts
Along the moonlit way.
~John Kendrick Bangs

Of course, Apples are the signature of Samhain/Halloween…where would we be without the Apple Ducking Game or the Toffee Apple, or, best of all…the Apple Pie?

Mushrooms are yet another signature of Samhain…

   There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the
dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable
mystery.  ~Joseph Conrad

And the exquisite colours of the leaves…

Stir the fire till it lowe
How like a queen comes forth the lonely
Moon
From the slow opening curtains of the clouds
Walking in beauty to her
midnight throne!
~George Croly

Little beats the delight of walking though deep piles of Autumn leaves on a crisp, sunny day, with a chill in the air!

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and
there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a
beauty who has seen one season too many.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

There is definitely magic at this time of year as we descend towards Samhain and Midwinter…  

 For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.  For nature, it is
a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.  ~Edwin Way Teale

Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely
stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
Evangeline


Permaculture Cottage ~ The Thursday Photo-Diary

A Celtic emblem on my back door. The paint on the door is well scratched and there is a definite patina of life therein. Dogs and children, all attempting to enter the cottage with little patience and no time to wait! I know I have to paint it soon, because the weather demands it, but then this testament to life and laughter and fun and games will be erased…

Moving the tyres in the vegetable garden is a milestone reached this week…converting all to log, deep beds and narrow paths…easier to mulch and now that the soil has improved, I can do this. It has taken 7 years of work and patience, but it has finally paid off!

Apples continue to swell and grow and are, each one, quite perfect. These trees have never had any sprays or chemicals of any kind at all, yet continue to give perfect harvest every single year. Nature knows best!

The beautiful flowers of the remarkable Comfrey plant. This generous herb is not just a pretty face!

Look how well this tiny spider manages to camouflage itself on the Cotoneaster bush…Nature is so very clever!

Flowers have opened on the Fuschia…almost an adopted native plant here in the west of Ireland…