Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Books, Cats, Cottage, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Counting Down the Days

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Often times as I sit down to write this blog, it is evening and the day has come to settle here, in the cottage… the lamp illuminating the darkness, Jack sprawled out in front of the stove, with both cats in residence upon the sofas…I squeeze in somewhere!

DSCF0670The stillness of the evening pervades the cottage…no television or other distraction to detract from the clock on the wall ticking the time away.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002There’s a fine stretch in the day, with the light finally fading around a quarter to seven.

DSCF0671The untidy kitchen bears testament to a little shopping, yet to be sorted and packed away.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Friends have been and gone, polytunnel doors shut tight against the wind and logs stacked by the stove ready to be consumed by the iron maiden.

DSCF0674A pack of wooden, clothes pegs, sits atop the kitchen table, to be unwrapped…Lord save me from plastic pegs that grow brittle in the weather and snap when least expected!

DSCF0675Dried chillies wait patiently for their resting place in the pantry, in a jar, yet to be found!

DSCF0673A book, donated by a friend, promises bedtime reading, maybe even into the wee hours of the morning…I’m enchanted by the cover!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March primrosesCounting down the days until the Spring Equinox…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 020Happy Saint David’s Day to all of Welsh connection XXX

Posted in Cats, Climate, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Samhain

The Passing of Samhain

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Autumn remains, despite the passing of Samhain.

Nasturtiums hold their blooms and the occasional bee busies himself with work, inside the generous flowers of orange and yellow.

Sammy-Bear and Che-Mousey have drunk all their milk and turned their noses up at the biscuits…they may be spoiled!

www.bealtainecottage.com 010The leaves of the Nasturtium appear to grow huge, as the season of growth comes to an end…capturing and reflecting the dew of the morning.
www.bealtainecottage.com 016Giant Willow, (Biomass), drops its leaves and the winter duvet, that will cover the earth, spreads.

This Willow grows at the top of the gardens and is pollarded, to allow for ground space.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018

Few gardeners here in Ireland pollard Willow, so these trees always attract attention from visitors to Bealtaine!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Che-Mousey has taken to following me around the gardens, as I take pictures.

He has even managed to develop a feint miaow!
www.bealtainecottage.com 024The reflective quality of the rainwater improves, as the air cools into early winter.
www.bealtainecottage.com 025Vivid colours are manifested on the Copper Beech trees…
www.bealtainecottage.com 028Cats are all around on this first day of winter!
www.bealtainecottage.com 031Can you believe these colours?

Grapevine on the veranda against blue sky…it actually appears photo-shopped, but is not!
www.bealtainecottage.com 032The raw beginnings of a basket, hung into the eaves of the veranda, now appearing, as the leaves fall away from around it!
www.bealtainecottage.com 033The Pumpkins are ready to store away in the pantry…I must remember to do this today!
www.bealtainecottage.com 036I’m just enjoying all this green, before Jack Frost steals it!
www.bealtainecottage.com 041Have a wonderful weekend everyone XXX

Posted in Angels, Cats, Current Affairs, Earth, Fracking, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Politics, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Fracking the Homestead

Recycled bags and containers at Bealtaine Cottage
Recycled bags and containers at Bealtaine Cottage

Home used to be a place where everything that was needed to live well was grown or made on site by family and neighbours.

Michael Kennedy Mug and Westport Potteries bowl on locally made chopping board
Michael Kennedy Mug and Westport Potteries bowl on locally made chopping board

A place in which food was prepared several times each day and shared by all present.

Many basic necessities were stitched or nailed together by those who used them. 

Perlagoniums and cats on the window sill
Perlagoniums and cats on the window sill

Home used to be a vibrant, thriving project in self-sufficiency, with what was needed to be bought in, purchased on a rare trip to town, or ordered several times each year, to be delivered and stored.

Missy relaxing on a hot water bottle to ease her tumour...it works well!
Missy relaxing on a hot water bottle to ease her tumour…it works well!

Home included a pantry or larder, a cold-store and a well used and scrubbed kitchen table where food was prepared and eaten.

Valerian growing in the gravel around the cottage
Valerian growing in the gravel around the cottage

Today, as part of the massive disconnect  from our lovely Earth, we have fitted kitchens which are made from chemicals and constantly cleaned with chemicals.

Orange waste infusing the air with beautiful aroma on top of the stove
Orange waste infusing the air with beautiful aroma on top of the stove

The emphasis is on keeping a show-house type of environment, where these expensive kitchens are not used to their full potential.

A great cure-all...hot water bottle for Missy Cat
A great cure-all…hot water bottle for Missy Cat

Our lives are chemically infused…with clothes, bedding and bodies immersed in chemical solutions on a daily basis.

Washed in soap, rinsed in rain water and blowing in the wind
Washed in soap, rinsed in rain water and blowing in the wind

Washing machines pound the clothes we buy with chemicals that are washed out into our rivers and oceans, killing life on the way.

The Bealtaine Cottage angel ponders it all...
The Bealtaine Cottage angel ponders it all…

We wonder how cancer, autism, asthma, allergies and depression are so rife within our communities? 

Harvest at Bealtaine Cottage

We seek doctors and drugs to help us live and be well, without paying too much attention to our living state and what the corporations are doing to our environments.

Recycled floor
Recycled floor

Pharmaceutical companies are the most powerful corporate bodies on our planet.
In the US alone in 2011, the pharmaceutical industry spent nearly $29 billion on drug promotion with most of that money targeted at doctors!

Herbs drying naturally
Herbs drying naturally

We are taught not to question, but to accept the status quo of a controlled demolition of society…

A government sponsored controlled demolition of our society!
A government sponsored controlled demolition of our society!

We are viewed by corporation and government alike, as mere consumers. Passive receivers and worker drones.

Awakening and refusing to comply!
Awakening and refusing to comply!

The realization of this state of affairs is the beginning of our personal journey to freedom and a good life.

Wonderful July 2017 Update!

Our Irish Government has passed the bill to ban Fracking in Ireland!

This was signed into law by President Higgins in July 2017!

If you would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, completely dependent on people who value what I do, here’s how…

Here is the link to my new Patreon page
https://www.patreon.com/BealtaineCottage

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Some links for you to use should you wish to comment on any of the videos on the Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel…

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Posted in Autumn, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Self-Sufficiency at the Cottage

Fennel grows very well in my garden here in Ireland.

In fact all the plants from the herb family grow well here.

I’ve been harvesting seeds from the Fennel plants this morning.

The seeds taste lovely, sweet and liquorice like.

They make great chewy sweets that help to assuage the appetite, so can help in weight loss too!

I suppose the taste could be likened tio a distinctive anise-like flavour and scent.

Medicinally this seed acts as an aid to digestion, stomach pains and flatulence…it’s traditionally good for babies with colic if a tea is made from it.


No using washing powders.

No using fabric conditioners.

No using bleach or ANY chemicals here at Bealtaine Cottage.

My washing machine broke down about two years ago and I have hand-washed clothes ever since.

It really is extraordinarily simple and easy to make a routine that encompasses washing a few items of clothes each day.

If I want white fabrics to whiten up, I leave them to bleach in the sun…and a shower of rain on them is even better!

Of course the very best and quickest way to bleach fabrics naturally is to leave them out on a frosty day…brilliant whites!

Think about it…the Victorians wore a lot of white cotton and calico, with only bars of soap to clean their clothes!

We need to stop sending all those chemicals down our drains to the oceans…there is NO AWAY!

I am storing the pumpkins wherever I can find a space in the pantry, ensuring they are kept separate on shelves, cool and dry.

There are so many  recipes that use pumpkin and am collecting them up for use this winter.

Pumpkin Curry is already a tried and tested dinner and is yummy!

Tomorrow is the beginning of October.

Fortunately there are many bright and sunny days to be had in the months that make up the Autumn.

The evenings are drawing in, fires are lit and warm jumpers unpacked from summer storage, but the days are pleasant and filled with a beauty only to be found at this time of year.

Enjoy the week ahead and take time to appreciate The Fall.

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Country Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Samhain, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

As The Nights Draw In…

The light is changing.
The nights are drawing in.
The Equinox approaches…a time of equality in night and day, dark and light, balanced on the cusp of the descent into winter.

Much more of autumn is to come, with the delights of Samhain and last harvest in the coming month…my favourite time of year, for it is the season of my birth.

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…the dying sun. I love the changing of the seasons and the scents of the earth as the musky, mellow scent of autumn evokes a spirit of welcome for the darker nights.

We are seasonal creatures forced unwillingly into man-made rhythms that go against our inner desires to snuggle down into the deep recesses of a feather quilt and keep warm.

Now is the time to plant Broad Beans, Garlic and Onions for a good early crop next year.

This is also the time to hang winter curtains and make sure all outside painting tasks are completed to safeguard wood against the rigours of winter.

When I lived in London, I often ventured into the Hertfordshire countryside to buy sacks of vegetables direct from farms,to store in my pantry and use during the winter months.

I believe that a good pantry is worth any amount of fitted kitchen and can be easily constructed for little money!

The Equinox is near…make the most of your time outdoors and enjoy the autumn, one of the most beautiful seasons!

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Frugal Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Stencilled Walls and Stencilled Floors…yes, Floors!

Decorating the kitchen over the past week has been hard work, as a year’s worth of dust and grime was removed from the walls, shelves, dresser, stove and floor…not to mention the ceiling!

Everything has been moved around and the walls and floor painted.

The off-white paint has brightened up the kitchen and as a finishing touch I have added some stencilling in the form of trailing ivy.

The stencil was easy to make, using card, a cutting mat and a craft knife.

The paint was from the tin used on the floor, so there was no expense involved!

That’s useful to note, as I am not a fiscally enhanced person, but have the means in my head to do without the dreaded lucre!

Of course I donned my arty hat and decided to prance around with the stencil, adding bits here and there…

This bit stays as I imagine it to look rather romantic…

The floor will need another coat of varnish…and should be tough for a good year or so!

This is just emulsion type paint and I used a home-made stencil and some gold spray paint left over from the Yuletide festivities. The cost overall was minimal and the labour was my own.

It has charged me with energy to move onto the pantry…the bathroom…my bedroom…you get the picture!

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Country Living, Uncategorized

Life in the Country at Christmas

Living miles from the nearest town, beyond a fair stretch of the legs, shopping becomes an event…not to be treated in a casual way at all!

There is no such thing as, ‘just popping out to the shops,’ as the journey there and back can be costly on limited resources, such as petrol for the car.

Running out of food is simply not an option, so a pantry is essential, where a good stock of food can be built up and held in reserve.

The pantry really comes into it’s own at Christmas and other festivals where visitors are expected to descend with little notice…and the tradition is to always feed the visitor!

As the pantry is a cool, dark place, storing food is easy, much better than a fridge in some cases, especially when it comes to cakes, home made bread, vegetables and the like.

The Victorians were especially adept at designing and building pantries and larders.  However, there appears to be little inclusion of this excellent feature in any modern design. I would even go so far as to say that few architects would even have heard of this small, but very essential room.

I used to live in an old Victorian house in London that came complete with a stone slabbed pantry, with fine mesh wire window, facing north for ultimate coolness!

Ideally the only light to penetrate the pantry is an artificial light or weak light from the north.

It is possible to build a small pantry in any home and I have even seen them made from wood, lined with various materials, in city apartments. 

The pantry here at Bealtaine Cottage is well stocked. Over the course of this week it will fill up with home baked goodies. Jellies and cakes will jostle with cans and jars on the shelves.

Christmas cannot be bought…well, not here at any rate!

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Food, Frugal Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Spirituality, Thoughts, Thrift

The Happiness of not Having Things

Apple Jelly made from apples grown and harvested here at Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding

This will keep well for years if stored in a cool pantry and can be used in baking and cooking and makes a wonderful sweet and sour sauce!

August 2011 Permaculture Cottage 003

“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language,
and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. 

Upcycled water taps at Bealtaine Cottage

The
consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and
has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

 ~Elise Boulding

And so, tied down with the complex consumerism of life, we don’t get time to see and appreciate the simple frost on leaves, or deeply inhale the clear, morning air…

Bealtaine permaculture cottage 005Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a
burden,

and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.

~Robert Brault

Quality does not lie in quantity, but in something that is unique…and the most unigue is made by oneself, for sure.

August 2011 permaculture Cottage 007

Maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to
buy food.

~Frank A. Clark
Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

“The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your
eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before
you.

stained glass wheel of life at bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it
comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in
life.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Aug 2011 Permaculture Cottage 016

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude
will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.
~Henry David Thoreau

permaculture cottage Aug 2011 023

I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but
private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because
they would take away my liberty.

~George Santayana

August 2011 permaculture cottage 003

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be
beautiful.

~William Morris

*************

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Posted in Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Pantry

Sweetcorn harvested over the weekend…this is the native American corn, called ‘Painted Mountain,’ and is very colourful!

I will save some of the corn seeds for planting next year…

Heaps and heaps of windfalls… planting apple trees is cheap and easy and all you do is wait for the windfall! Ha! Ha!…I love it. Simple, easy and so very permaculture!

And more apples in the pantry…buckets of them…free food, good food and not a corporation in sight!

Free-range eggs with deep orange yolks and pumpkins in the pantry today…it’s starting to fill up as the  harvest comes in…

Bountiful Blackcurrants…waiting to be turned into jam, chutney, wine et al, rest in the freezer in the Pantry.