From A Window on Earth Day

Spring progresses through the west of Ireland. It may be Earth Day, but every day is so. Earth is our only home. Clear skies and sunshine have hastened the beginning of Summer. I walked around the cottage this morning and snapped a picture of the view from each window. Now that the warmer days are here, the cottage has gone into reversal, remaining cool and dark on hot days, when it is a relief to walk indoors. It is evening as I write and the rain is falling, fast filling the barrels that have run dry over recent days. I…

A Day in Early Spring

Juicing is a great way to ensure one has the maximum of vitamins and minerals and this is something I do every day. It’s also a reason to keep greens growing all the year around, as even small bits can be added to the juicer and vital vitamins extracted. I’ve used some small bits of Kale that have escaped the frost and storms.   There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!   Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken!…

Time to Reconnect with Gaia

This has been a great year for trees…amazing growth! Willow, pollarded and coppiced has made good growth too! The morning has been wet, but very still and autumnal. Crocosmia Montbretia is struggling to climb out from underneath the lush leaf growth. Both Che Mousey-Bear and Sammy-Bear have walked the gardens with me, despite the rain and the wet conditions. Strange little fellows! The branches I chopped earlier in the summer are almost ready to be stacked in wig-wam shape to dry out. You can see from this photograph just how near the bedrock is to the surface of the land…I…

Progress in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

The storm rages on, as the weather is divided between weird and wonderful. Sun, torrential rain, gale-force winds continue to ravage the North West of Ireland. Despite the weather, the progress of Spring is unstoppable. Sorrel is up in green clumps all over the gardens. This is a tasty and nutritions herb and salad ingredient and also great for the famous French Sorrel soup! Buds continue to thicken on the apple trees and there’s some early blossom about to open on the Redcurrants The hens have settled in well and are laying eggs…that was much faster than I expected, so…

The Perfect Permaculture Plant …

A Permaculture plant is one that is perfectly suited to that space in nature, soil, climate, site, micro-climate, etc., A plant that is comfortable in that zone and one that adds to the bio-diversity possibilities on the land space you inhabit. One that provides food, whether for yourself, animals, insects or the soil…thereby keeping the loop healthy and working. Covered with tiny droplets of rain, this Cow Parsley looks exquisite, despite the fact that it is hated and despised by so many gardeners, yet home and food and shelter to so many insects. I have vast tracts of Cow Parsley…

The Ebb and Flow of Life at Bealtaine Cottage

Evening at Bealtaine Cottage and the the night is drawing in. The sunshine of this morning ebbed and flowed all day, like the waves on the strand at Rosses Point, as the sun dipped in and out of rolling clouds that occasionally deposited rain. Strange weather, but the day was passed in constructive ways. I sorted out the recycling, washing out cans and finding all sorts of uses for them. They make great tea-light holders, piercing holes in the sides using a hammer and nail to make patterns. The one above sits atop the hot stove, filled with water and essential…

Life Sounds…

Gentle rain falls from the sky between bright sunshine and winds that swirl the clouds above. This is a lovely weekend.  Flowers and seed-heads adorn the interior of the cottage. Lovage wine is being prepared in the kitchen.  Today’s video is simply the sounds of a day in late June, 2012, as the heavy rains subside and the sun breaks through. Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQdz32XJZnY

Midsummer in an Irish Permaculture Garden

Fruit, flowers and vegetables are all in abundance in the permaculture smallholding of Bealtaine. Roses are in over-production and some are well on their way to becoming the wonderful, vitamin-C packed hips of harvest for the Autumn.  Missy continues to direct operations, while listening to the calls of the Pheasant on the hill behind the cottage. Pumpkin plants are making their way up along bends of Willow, as Peas vie for their territory along the same climbing frames. All is in full growth and bloom as the day turns into a weekend of stillness and calm after the high winds…

A Sense of Purpose

This is a month of many visitors to Bealtaine. It is also the month of midsummer. The ascent towards the solstice is happening. It is actually visible in the growth all around me at Bealtaine Cottage. Grass has grown tall and is seeding. Nettles are almost past their prime, for once the flower heads appear their culinary use is forbidden. Blossoms are ready to harvest, especially the Elderflower, one of the most delicate and exquisite flowers to use for making cordial, jam and champagne. Elderflower cordial, once made and safely bottled, will keep easily for a year or more…not that…