Posted in bog gardens, climate change, silt harvesting, water gardens

Silt Harvesting…Benefiting From Climate Change

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When beginning to plant the land here at Bealtaine Cottage over ten years ago, one of the most important tasks was to dig out drains and create two large ponds.

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The upper pond is mainly to catch the silt washed down from the hilly land behind the cottage.

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The lower pond as a pure delight for humans…a place where the sky is pulled onto the earth and light is reflected upwards, back towards the sky.

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In order to keep the reflective powers of the water, it is essential for me to clear the pond weeds and plants every year.

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This is an arduous task, but a beneficial one for all the trees here in the Bog Gardens.

As I pull up the weed, huge roots packed with fertile silt come up with it.

This is then spread around trees and shrubs in the gardens.

There is a substantial amount of fertility spread this way.

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However, further back, in the silt pond, the sandy, loamy soil is dredged out in buckets.

All this is happening because of extreme weather, causing heavy rains that leach the soil on the hill and wash it down into the stream that feeds the ponds.

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In the face of climate change, it is imperative we adapt in these small ways, for much of our topsoil is being washed into the oceans.

Besides which, silt is one of the most productive soils known to humankind!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spring, Thoughts

Approaching Equinox

March 2014

Mist and frost in the early mornings are a feature of March and the approaching Equinox.

March 2014

Buds have opened on the Ribes to reveal scented pink flowers that serve as an early breakfast for Bees making their way out of hibernation and in desperate search of a nectar shot or two!

March 2014Work has been ratcheted up a few notches, as the rain has ceased and everything, including the woodwork, has begun to dry out…time to paint fences and sheds with preservative!

March 2014This is the new blue fence, courtesy of three rather rusted looking tins of blue wood preservative I have had donated to me from a friend, who had them in her shed for quite a few years!

March 2014The colour of the sky on a clear day!

March 2014Daffodils have really come into their own this week, with splashes of yellow all over the gardens.

March 2014The flooded ponds remain delightfully brimming and filled with frogs spawn.

March 2014…a decoy duck, I have to add!

March 2014And a rarely seen view, looking past the Willow Fedge, into the undergrowth of trees.

March 2014May 2014 marks the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage, from rushy grass monoculture to this little Eden.

March 2014The gardens will be open for one day each month through Spring, Summer and Autumn this year…check out the link at the top of this page!

March 2014After painting this little bench with some of the preservative, I moved it…

March 2014…down to this newly cleared dry spot by a Great Western Cedar, planted eight years ago and now affording wonderful shelter in which to sit and enjoy the sun.

March 2014The last full moon before Equinox rises over Bealtaine.

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Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available, Not-For-Profit seeds, this link will take you there…http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world, the donation is the same wherever you live!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

As an Ark for Nature, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from the EU, as only farm animals, monoculture and set-aside are grant-aided!

Your donation helps remedy that…

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Cats, Climate, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Wild Flowers

Monet in Gaia’s Garden

Coppiced wood makes one neat pile to be used in the wood stove next winter.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe small logs burn very well in the wood stove and give tremendous heat!

The building of the next pile is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comMuch of today has been spent cutting back the growth on the stream that carries the water into the ponds.

Che-Mousey-Bear has stayed in the Bog Garden with me as I worked, keeping me entertained… www.bealtainecottage.comas you can see!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe lower pond looked like a Monet painting…

www.bealtainecottage.comin the soft afternoon light after the storm.

www.bealtainecottage.comEthereal…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I worked silently along the banks of the stream, frogs croaked, mating, swimming and spawning in both ponds.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe spawn was visible…

www.bealtainecottage.comand floated in big chunks across the water and weeds.

www.bealtainecottage.comWillow and Dogwood was pruned back and cuttings inserted along the stream banks,

www.bealtainecottage.comwhere they will root and keep the earth from being eroded by the ever-increasing rain…this is building resilience and adapting to Climate Change!

www.bealtainecottage.comBirdsong filled the gardens all afternoon and Coltsfoot made an early show of yellow flowers in the gravel…

www.bealtainecottage.comnear the lower pond.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

Heartfelt thanks for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Winter

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

The gardens in snow.

Yesterday was a day for visitors who spent two and a half hours walking around all the different gardens.

The photo above was taken in the winter of 2010…cold but very beautiful.

Permaculture is about planting and planting without chemicals, but using Nature’s way of mulch, mulch, mulch.

It works incredibly well, for this approach feeds the soil, our food lifeline!

I mulch with shreddings; clippings; wool; compost; manure; grass and leaves, as well as any other biodegradable material I come across, including cardboard, straw etc.

I also collect silt from both ponds as the stream which feeds them often washes lots of silt down from the hill behind the cottage.

This includes pulling most of the seasonal growth from the ponds and spreading that around newly planted trees.

To date, there have been over 700 trees planted on the 3 acres that make up the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage.

It is trees that give us life and give fertility to the soil.

Let us never forget that.

If you enjoy the free content of this blog, please consider making a donation using the button below. My PayPal account can receive your donations and will convert from your local currency, and you don’t need a PayPal account to make a donation. Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Country Living, Current Affairs, Earth, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland

After the Flood…

The rain has ceased.

The sun has made an appearance and the streams are gushing forth from the hill behind the cottage.

I have just been out and captured the sights and sounds of the water on video.

The stream bed that snakes it’s way through the Fairy dell is brimming with sparkling rainwater.

It’s hurtling along and moving through the Spring Well in the wood.

This usually only happens during the winter months, but Ireland is seeing more and more heavy, monsoon type rains fall during the second half of the summer.

In a land noted for it’s “soft rain,” this is a clear indicator of Climate Change…from whatever cause!

I am not prepared to argue something that is quite tangible and evidential for me!

I am adapting to this and preparing for this downfall each year.

The water barrels are full to the brim and drawing down the afternoon sun.

Happily I live on a hill  and have constructed ponds on the low ground to capture and direct the excess water.

The first pond acts a silt-catcher and I harvest many buckets of wonderful food for the gardens there as the summer ends.

It also provides a huge crop of wild mint…the strongest and purest one can get anywhere on this sacred Earth!

So, rather than moan about the heavy rains and complain of flood, find ways to divert this excess water into useful projects, for that is the permaculture way forward!

Next?

Water-cress beds!

In the meantime, here is today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8hE5czFLcE

Posted in Animals, Cats, Climate, Ecology, Fairies, Lough Allen Basin, Trees, Uncategorized

Thanks!

                           Just to let everyone know the good news…the results have come back on Missy’s tumour and it is treatable!

Needless to add, everyone here at Bealtaine is delighted and Missy is especially so!

It’s always worrying and upsetting when a much loved pet is ill and worst of all it would seem that the animal often picks up on this…but all is well and we breath a collective sigh of relief!

Thanks to everyone for all your good wishes…really, thank you all so much!

Salix Tortuosa…or simply, Twisted Willow, growing here at Bealtaine Cottage. It grows readily and will take easily from cuttings. A beautiful addition to a bouquet or flower arrangement.

I Ivy hangs in long trails in the Fairy Dell woodland. There are times when this place resembles a rain forest. The combination of micro climate and damp creates a strange little world down here in the Dell!

 Today there has been all four seasons in one, with sun, rain, wind, snow, sleet, then warm evening sun…

This is the beautiful Fin lough, near Bealtaine Cottage. There are literally hundreds of loughs, rivers, streams, ponds and waterways within a twenty mile radius of Bealtaine…one thing is for certain; Ireland will never run dry!

Last word must go to the Missy Cat…Meow…purrrrrr

Posted in Country Living, Earth, hens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Trees, Uncategorized

The Life Force that is Spring…

The morning is damp.

This has been one of the wettest winters on record!

The earth is water-logged!

Despite this, the spring is coming in fast…

Kerria is just starting to bud, it will be a couple of weeks and full bloom will show.

Catkins are making a fine show on many of the willow varieties.

Cotoneaster buds continue to thicken and the Dogwood tips have gone a brilliant shade of lime green. This makes a stunning contrast to the red stems!

Catkins have come through on most of the willow and some have even shedded and come into leaf…yes, Spring has sprung !

Even the girls are fussing over eggs, despite the absence of a cockerel!

There must be hundreds of frogs in the upper and lower ponds this morning…it sits in huge pools of thick, shiny blackness all over the ponds.

There’s a green haze covering some of the older trees, especially in the distance where an ancient oak nestles into a dip between a stream and hillock. It’s top-most branches have developed a dull green haze, almost like an aura of life!

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Garden, Life, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wildlife

A Life in the Country ~ Today in the Garden…Ponds and Streams

With all the floods of recent days, the ponds are high and the streams gushing, but the morning is sunny and bright and there’s no better time for a walk through Bealtaine Gardens…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Permaculture Cottage ~ An Autumn Walk through Paradise

Bealtaine Smallholding.

September 1st 2011.

Sunlight and early Autumn…

A young Cherry Tree, grown from seed, seven years ago.

The leaves on the Dogwoods are changing colour…

Seven years ago, none of this existed…

Yes, indeed, Gaia is an incredible force…seven years ago none of this existed…now see how she thrives!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Fairies, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Dog Daisy Afternoon @ Bealtaine Smallholding and Cottage, Ireland

Lots of lovely rain has coloured the water in the Lower Pond a shade of peaty brown. The rain has been so heavy recently that even the spring water which flows into the cottage has been churned up!

Gunnera by the side of the pond is sprouting and growing by the hour. It is surprising that this of all plants survived the bitter cold of last winter. Many of the plants like Escallonia and Eucalyptus died.

The Gunnera is a huge and stunning plant, especially grown beside water.

Copper Beech is planted throughout the gardens on the smallholding and they add a tremendous amount of colour for most of the year. Many are planted along the laneway up to the cottage and each year add another dimension to the look and shelter as they increase in size.

The flowers of the Pine trees are out and each one has this lovely white cobweb under each one. These unusual looking flowers turn into cones…pine cones, and have a delicate yellow pollen that when the tree is shaken the yellowy dust blows off in a cloud…it’s beautiful to watch!

Ivy in the Fairy Dell woodland is growing and hanging in great swirls as the light seeps through before the full shadiness of summer begins.Ivy grows in abundance here in the west of Ireland…it is almost unstoppable!

Wild Violets continue to make a show of themselves all along the shady banks and woodland here at Bealtaine. These tiny flowers are scented…delicately!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Early Summer Photos of Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland.

Just a wooden sculpture nailed onto an old fencing post hammered into the ground makes an interesting piece of garden art. I picked this up in a junk shop for a couple of euros and it’s hardwood, so will weather well. It’s no longer in a rainforest, but settling into a young Irish woodland, that may, one day, be a forest!There is something very magical about crystals, especially as they catch the light in the early morning…this is when the light is at its purest and most transparent, before the heat of the day has set in.Arches and water…still quite free in creating a permaculture paradise in Ireland. Of course, the authorities are talking about charging for water supply. I wonder if that will eventually include this water that runs freely from the spring well at Bealtaine.The early morning sun catches the leaves of the Willow and Birch, casting a magical glow over this young forest of three acres in Ireland…

Spring water flows from the well into the ponds in the Bog Garden.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland

Violets and Wild Strawberries…Early Summer in Ireland…Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding

This morning at Bealtaine…blue skies, sunshine and just about the best weather this year…

Walking Jack is such a pleasant task on such a morning!

Willow arches are coming alive in the Bog garden. The greening of the Willow is always a sign of early summer and today is warm and sunny!

Water levels in the ground are dropping, but the Spring Well continues to feed the ponds in the Lower Gardens. Blackcurrant was planted in raised areas in this area and are doing well, with lots of blossom promising good fruit later on.

Green Beech continues to hold onto the last of the leaves from last year. Buds are thickening and will open in the next few days.

Wild Violets peeping up between Wild Strawberries on a bank near the Fairy Dell.