Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, bog gardens, Cottage, First day of Spring, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, season, Uncategorized, Woodland, woods

Signs of Spring

Catnip Heart Toy made at Bealtaine Cottage

Life is stirring.

Light shines higher in the morning sky.

Thickening buds cast a haze over the land.

“But there were certain early days in Casterbridge- days of firmamental exhaustion which followed angry south-westerly tempests-when, if the sun shone, the air was like velvet.”
Thomas Hardy

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine Cottage

Colours emerge and birds sing out a joyous, higher note.

Warm weather in January

We are officially in the season of Spring in the West of Ireland and the new energy is tangible, from rising in the morning to the growing lateness of dusk.

The temperature seems rather unstable, as you can see evidence of in the photograph above.

The morning began very cold and in the space of minutes, the temperature had climbed by 18 F., causing the mirror on the veranda to steam up!

I recorded this as most of the only real information about climate and weather appears to be anecdotal evidence from social media! Cottage interior at Bealtaine, 2016

My favourite aspect of Spring is the way the light changes.

If one simply sat in this cottage and never ventured outdoors it would be possible to map the seasons in light play.

I expect birds, animals and even insects are similarly informed.

Living in the glare of artificial light can be dulling to our senses!

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”
Vita Sackville-West, The Land

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Elsewhere in the woodland gardens at Bealtaine, frogs have emerged from hibernation and busied themselves, as only frogs can in cold ponds!

Frogs in Bealtaine pond have the luxury of a shallow, sheltered, ancillary pond, hand dug by myself, just off the main one.

This water heats faster and earlier, ensuring maximum attention to the detail of frog mating and spawning…a sort of nursery pond!

Anyway, it works a treat and has done for the past eleven years.

As a consequence, the amphibian life force has healthily expanded!

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

 

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016
Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2016

Diversity of planting not only has created resilience, but bestowed all year round colour to Bealtaine Cottage…so appreciated as Spring emerges…for with this rising of the sap, comes a much defined colour change!

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Pussy Willow at Bealtaine Cottage. Ireland

Catkins have appeared on the Willow…and there’s many different varieties in the Woodland. Pond and even Orchard gardens. Essential food for the bees emerging from a hungry winter hibernation.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Quince flowers, Bealtaine Cottage, Feb 2016

This Quince grows in the Bog Garden and has begun to flower!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood

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Where would Spring be without the exquisite little Primroses?

Seen here in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine, surrounded by Spurge!

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Spurge at bealtaine cottage in the Fairy Wood

The Fairy Wood awakens!

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

 

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, YouTube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

http://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Posted in Gardens, Ireland, Nature, Poetry, water, Wildlife

The Visit

Recently, I had the pleasure of welcoming one of my five brothers to Bealtaine Cottage.

Felim had visited very briefly once before, some years back, but this visit was different…something here, on this sacred little piece of Ireland, connected with him.

The energy that thrives here and the sheer joy of the living Mother Nature around him, touched his soul.

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Felim spoke little about his feelings at the time, but this week I received a poem he wrote, inspired by Bealtaine Cottage.

I have decided to share it with you, for it truly expresses an awakening deep in the heart of one who now “gets it!”

Here it is…

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BEALTAINE COTTAGE

A bruised and battered Mother Earth,

Driven to despair by the dearth

Of man’s ignorance of her needs,

Has found a nursery for her seeds

In the soil of this marshy slope.

Here she flourishes in hope-

In this arboreous pottage

Known as Bealtaine Cottage.

Three acres of managed landscape

Has reversed the ruminant rape

Of her natural rotation,

Restoring her to propagation,

Awarding her the well-earned fame

Which we once granted to her name.

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Now a nurturing Mother Earth

Displays the grandeur of her worth:

A forest of young varied trees

Offer feasting to hungry bees;

Small seeds imported from distant shores

Grow to saplings, their hopeful spores

Pollinated, sowing new birth

Within the womb of Mother Earth.

Their young branches shiver and shake

As birds alight, eager to make

Their own claim to the budding feast-

A bounty that will never cease.

At dawn each day, this feathered throng

Praise the earth with angel-song.

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And what about the Water Sprite,

Her sluggish flow a sorry plight?

Her new dug channels’ sparkling flow

Take her to the ponds below,

To spread her silt and rest awhile

Then disappear beneath the stile.

The ponds replace a former bog

And now play host to speckled frog,

While safe beneath the pond-weeds’ root

Swims a little crested newt.

A passing heron stops for tea,

(The food here, after all, is free.)

And willows of all shapes abound

They thrive on such well-watered ground.

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At Bealtaine there is a wealth

Of Mother Earth restored to health.

She shows her true vitality

All over this locality.

She integrates her plants and trees

With cuckoos, wrens and bumble bees;

While Water Sprite, once so random,

Now flows along with her in tandem:

And all because a loving hand

Was laid upon this stretch of land;

A hand with skill to recognise

That Mother Earth is strong and wise;

And if allowed, she will restore

Her bounty to our slopes once more.

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“Bealtaine Cottage” by Felim O’Neill.

Composed on the evening of my return from two days at Bealtaine Cottage.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Herbs, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Year at Bealtaine Cottage…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Not in any particular order…pictures of the year that was…

Stanley stove at Bealtaine CottageWith the oven hot enough to bake a cake…my beloved Stanley Stove in the kitchen…

view morning 001Early morning mist sweeps up the valley…

Plum tree at bealtaine cottage permacultureOne of the Plum Trees laden with fruit…

 Bealtaine Cottage moon rising over the permaculture gardensThe moon rising over the gardens…

mon 27 sep 001Salix Contorta, or Twisted Willow, with Hag-Stones hanging from one of its branches.

Nasturtiums at bealtaine Cottage1Nasturtiums by the veranda.

November 2011 018Back of Bealtaine, near the main production gardens.

November Bealtaine Cottage permaculture pondThe lower pond in the Bog Garden.

December 2011 permaculture cottage 005My darling Missy…gone from this mortal coil, but her energy is felt…

Bealtaine CottageFiring up the Rocket Stove with a bit of an old fence post…wicked heat!

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageEarly Spring in the gardens near the tunnel.

washing on the line at Bealtaine CottageWashing in the wind!

Easiest ever compost at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensHome made compost.

Apple trees in blossom at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture orchardApple blossom…a great apple harvest every year without fail!

Permaculture Tunnel at bealtaine CottageThe tunnel in May…seedlings in pots and trays everywhere!

Permaculture Edible gardens of Bealtaine CottageProductive gardens, around the tunnel and herb beds, in May

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe Hen house…I will definitely get some more hens in 2014!

Hens at Bealtaine CottageI miss the girls…hens are very relaxing to watch.

Under the kitchen windowBluebells under the kitchen window…I shall post some more tomorrow

Happy New Year to you all XXX and Blessings from Bealtaine.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Permaculture Ireland, Roscommon, Sligo

The Romance of Gardening…falling for Gaia

A love story in pictures…

The misty hill of Ballyfermoyle***

Petunias in pot on veranda table***

Entrance to the Fairy Wood***

The Lodge at Bealtaine Cottage***

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage today***

Angel on Midsummer morning***

Bealtaine Cottage sign***

driveway at bealtaine Cottage***Sunset through the trees at Bealtaine Cottage***

veranda at bealtaine cottage***

pealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens***

Pond in May at Bealtaine Cottage***

Pond in the Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage 015

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Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine Cottage***

Angel at Bealtaine Cottage***

Buddha under the Laurel arch at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens***

Mist and trees in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage***

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture***

Bealtaine Cottage 011***

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine Cottage***

bealtaine Cottage in the snow***

Angel in the snow at Bealtaine Cottage

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Current Affairs, Fairies, Garden, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Willow Fedges, Arches and Fairy Woods

It’s evening here at Bealtaine Cottage.

The sun is setting in the west and there’s a mild chill in the air.

I have been cutting back some of the wild summer growth and the sunlight can now reach areas where there was only heavy shade.

The dappled light covers the standing stone on the bank under the cottage.

One of the big tasks is tying in the willow growth from this year into the fedges that cover the smallholding.

It’s a lovely task really, I can’t complain, as I work and listen to the sounds of Nature all around me.

It also allows me time to look at the way plants are developing and plan the next task, so there is an organic flow to my work.

This willow arch has many stems of Dogwood worked into it.

The fedge on the right was the first one constructed here and had developed well over seven or so years.

It looked odd at the beginning as it stood all alone on a rushy field.

An upside down vase covers the top of a stem from a Sitka spruce that I recently cut down.

There is a disease which is killing these trees off all over Ireland and Scotland and no wonder!

The plantations of these trees spread far and wide and are monoculture nightmares that blot the landscape in huge square planting schemes that allow no light or biodiversity into their space…it is purely for greed!

The bog garden has seen lots of work over recent days as I clear the edges of the pond and cut back willow and shrubs.

This is a lovely time of the year to work outdoors.

Autumn is my favourite season.

It is a time when the gardens start to look their best as the summer party ends and the tidy up begins…

I have realised the great value of Willow this year as a fuel for the stove.

Much of what I cut last Autumn made great kindling and small logs, giving a strong heat.

It also works well in the Rocket Stove.

When I had finished my work, I walked back up through the Fairy Dell Wood as the evening sun was illuminating the entrance, making it look magical.

I have always believed in Fairies…

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Orchids, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

Permaculture Water Garden at Bealtaine Cottage

One of the first wild Orchids of the year in bloom by the lower pond this afternoon. It is growing alongside wild Sorrel.

The warm leaves of the Meadowsweet act as sun-loungers for visiting insects…

Gigantic leaves of the Gunnera provide heaps of welcome shade on a hot day like today, for all wildlife.

Heat of the sun is reflected upwards onto the banks of earth that release the heat back into the ponds at night.

A Lily Pad makes an appearance from nowhere…brought to the pond by visiting Ducks, I suspect.

Today’s video takes you down to the Lower Pond at Bealtaine…enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUEeBtMFwXQ

Posted in Current Affairs, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Politics, Spirituality, Trees

A Walk in the Permaculture Gardens Makes All Better!

After listening to the radio this morning, which I should not have done, I had to seek solace and sanity in the gardens.

I will not go into what it was that upset me, but like most of you who read this blog, you can put a fair guess that it had something to do with the establishment…government, church…that measure of hierarchy!

So, off I went into the gardens to shake it off!

Most of us know right from wrong.

Why is this so very difficult for governments and churches?

Here is today’s video…just a walk through the gardens…click on the link and enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4UZMObLSIc&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plpp_video

Posted in Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized

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!

Posted in Garden, Herbs, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Winter

Country Living with Climate Change in Ireland…Evidential Photographs

Climate change is quite evidential here at Bealtaine Cottage in the west of Ireland!
Walking through the gardens this morning I am shocked to find many flowers still in bloom.

Borage in flower this morning, the first day of December 2011. This herb is growing in a fairly exposed spot near the gate to Bealtaine.

The Borage is growing alongside a miniature Rudbeckia, grown from seed this year and in flower from early autumn.
This is indicative of just how mild the weather has been!

I used home made compost to plant out the Rudbeckia and the Borage has come up through it!

This time last year the ground was frozen solid. Today it is more like early autumn than December!

Fuschia in flower down near the Bog Garden…this is not the semi-native one that is hardy, so the flowers this morning are quite a shock to see!

Even the spring water in the ponds is warm…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Culture, Earth, Ecology, Fairies, Gaia, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Spring Wells, Wisdom and the Hopi Indians…

First of all a BIG TA VERY MUCH for all who have visited my blog over the past year. I began in the middle of August 2010 and in little over a year, 70,000 of you have made the journey to Bealtaine Cottage at Ballyfermoyle, here in the beautiful West of Ireland…well, actually, a very great many of you have visited many times over and subscribed to the blog.  Hopefully in the next year the blog will expand even more in some exciting ways…ssshhh, it’s still a secret!

Fuschia and Fedges grow side by side. Both are grown from slips or cuttings. It will soon be time to harvest the willow and plant more cuttings, which is really the story of these gardens. Planting has been ongoing now for seven years, since day one of Bealtaine…

So much rain and so much water gushing along the stream beds in the Bog Garden…the rain brings music!

Walking up towards the woodland that is the Fairy Dell, through new plantings of Willow and Ash…

Spring water gushes up from the well in the woodland.

Deep within the Fairy Dell…has midsummer really passed that quickly?

Perfect apples…never ever sprayed, no chemicals and a bountiful harvest every year!

The Wisdom of the Hopi Indians…something to share with you, just click on the link…http://youtu.be/zNlNUJcEcoY

Have a great weekend! Plant a tree for the Mother…Gaia… x

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Gaia, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ September 1st Morning and the Beauty of Gaia.


It is impossible to choose between the beauty of the seasons.

Gaia is Divine.

More people are coming to that understanding.

Walking in beauty is perhaps the most de-stressing action one can engage in…engage with Gaia.

Long paths, like birth canals, lead into beautiful worlds…


Cobwebbed overnight by Gaia…

The water of life flows from the deep recesses of the Earth, bubbling up through the spring well and through the two ponds at Bealtaine…

Why the Mayor of Roscommon is absolutely right in what he says…No Fracking in Ireland…watch this, especially if you are a farmer, or indeed a consumer of meat…

http://youtu.be/xq9-ATmG8Ao

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Folklore, Frugal Living, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

The Permaculture Daily Photo-Blog from Ireland

Nasturtiums  in bloom this morning. These are the trailing variety and will grow well in poor soil. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible and add a spicy taste to a salad. These are growing from a pot on the veranda.

Swathes of colour dot the driveway to the cottage as the Valerian, Dog Daisy and Dog Rose all come into bloom.
The Dog Rose, Rosa Canina, will go on to produce rosehips that are packed with vitamin C and are good for making syrup that is traditionally fed to babies and toddlers.


Yellow Flag Iris grows by the Lower Pond. This beautiful flower spreads each year, given the right conditions and makes such a brilliant show in late May, early June…I love this naturalized flower.


Willow through Gunnera Manicata…