Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Climate, Cottage, Earth, Gaia, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spring, Summer, Tea

From A Window on Earth Day

DSCF1226

Spring progresses through the west of Ireland.

It may be Earth Day, but every day is so.

Earth is our only home.

DSCF1227Clear skies and sunshine have hastened the beginning of Summer.

DSCF1228I walked around the cottage this morning and snapped a picture of the view from each window.

DSCF1229Now 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.

DSCF1230It is evening as I write and the rain is falling, fast filling the barrels that have run dry over recent days.

DSCF1241I have lit the stove in the Lodge and am in the midst of painting the floor a nice shade of navy blue.

DSCF1236Toast and tea are filling the air with scent.

DSCF1237This little wood-burner more than earns its keep here at Bealtaine Cottage. DSCF1238Before I started painting the floor, clothes were drying beside the stove.

DSCF1240Life at the end of Empire is quite comfortable and cheap, as this little home crafted bench, sitting outside the lodge window, testifies.

DSCF1231The rain falls heavier…but back to the window views of this morning.

DSCF1232You can feel the cool of the interior…

DSCF1233A beautiful day to be sure, but night is falling and the kettle sings a song of tea and toast once more…

DSCF1234Let tomorrow be Earth day and the next day and…

Blessings from Bealtaine…

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, compost, Crafts, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, photography, Spring, Trees

A Day in Early Spring

www.bealtainecottage.com

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.
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There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!
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Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken! Baskets, Fedges and Obelisks are standing here!
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These beds are fairly sheltered and continue to produce Kale, which is processed in the juicer.
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Fine Willow used in basket weaving waiting to be harvested. The gardens look colourful all the way through Winter, as the stems of Willow, Dogwood, Ash and Birch are revealed.
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So much rain has fallen here in Ireland this Winter and now, in the early days of Spring, the flooding has begun to dominate the landscape. Here at Bealtaine cottage I spent much time in the early days digging out drains and water channels, as well as keeping them maintained over the past ten years…and it has paid off, as you can see from the lower pond. The water runs free, out into the streams and rivers that take it to the Atlantic Ocean. 
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In sheltered areas all over the gardens the ferns have remained green, though a little bit droopy. The winter was mild and warm, with plenty of rain!
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This is the beginning of the wood pile for next winter. It comprises of coppiced logs of Birch, Ash and Hazel. The twiggy bits are thrown into the back of the pile as they make wonderful kindling! These logs may be small, but are perfect for a small wood-burning stove!
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I’ve been stocking up on straw recently, as this makes great mulch around the garden helping to suppress weeds and line paths.
www.bealtainecottage.comGreen Beech hold their leaves right through Winter, adding even more colour and shelter to the gardens! 
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And look who’s keeping an eye on me as I type…my loyal Jack!
Posted in Autumn, Country Living, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality, Sustainable Living

Time to Reconnect with Gaia

willow arch and CheThis has been a great year for trees…amazing growth!

Willow, pollarded and coppiced has made good growth too!

Crocosmia Montbretia in the rainThe morning has been wet, but very still and autumnal.

Crocosmia Montbretia is struggling to climb out from underneath the lush leaf growth. bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensBoth 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.

bealtaine cottage permacultureYou can see from this photograph just how near the bedrock is to the surface of the land…I garden on very thin, poor soil on a north-facing slope!

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensEverything is grown from seed, so has a fighting chance of making it, despite the far from perfect conditions.

jewelled cobweb at BealtaineMother Nature has worked miracles here at Bealtaine Cottage!

cobwebs at bealtaine cottageThe rain has clung to cobwebs all over the gardens…

jewelled web at bealtaine cottageOne web dangles with raindrops…

new orchard at bealtaine cottageThe new orchard is making good progress. I am keeping the ground well mulched as the trees, bushes and flowers find their feet!

bealtaine standing stone poster

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Now working towards installing solar and wind power, your donation is  much appreciated.

Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Country Living, Gaia, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Progress in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Permaculture gardens in April at 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.

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageDespite 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

bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

The hens have settled in well and are laying eggs…that was much faster than I expected, so they must be happy!

Bealtaine Cottage permacultureCatkins and leaves are out on the Willow and buds are swelling on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Blossom is beginning to open on some of the Pear trees, despite the crazy weather and the temperatures remain quite high, even at night.

 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

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Thank you!

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Posted in Fairies, Gardens, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

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.

Cow Parsley in my garden

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 growing on my land.

It looks stunning when dusted with winter frost!

I noticed that there was a lot of this wild herb growing on the roads around the mountain of Kilronan this week.

It looked spectacular in the mountain light.

Wind Spiral in the Fairy Dell

This wind spiral catches energy moving through the woodland of the Fairy Dell.

This is a spot that everyone refuses to visit or even walk through after sunset…

Fairies inhabit this little bit of woodland.

 A woodland zone is  a vital part of the Permaculture Plan…

Harvest Moon in the West of Ireland, tonight!

Last night the Harvest Moon rose over my Permaculture Vegetable Garden.

The sky was clear and the air  crisp as the moonlight illuminated my path back across the grass from the compost heap.

Today is now calm and sunny, but rain clouds  have emptied a lot of water over the valley.

I watched them move, sweeping across the mountains from the Atlantic Ocean, bringing fresh, clean water to my garden.

I have lit the stove in the kitchen and filled it with Turf and logs.

The heat will air the clothes that I’ve rescued from the clothes line.

As I write this I can smell them drying…time for tea, I’m thinking!

Posted in Country Living, Health, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture

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 oils, that emits small wisps of fragranced steam into the cottage.

Vases were dusted…

…as the dogs played in the porch, rearranging their beds as you can see…

At least the continual drizzle keeps all growing and lush…

And the veranda means that I can enjoy the outdoors despite the weather!

Posted in Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

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

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cats, Country Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Summer, Sustainable Living

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 and heavy rains of previous days!

Today’s video link…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_x8EII9J_c

Posted in Country Living, Earth, Frugal Living, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Thrift, Uncategorized

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 I have ever kept it that long!

It is one of the best tastes of summer, if not the best!

Many of the visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are as interested in the spiritual aspects of permaculture, as the practical aspects of embracing permaculture as a lifestyle choice.

I see both as intertwined, for as permaculture is practised, spiritual awareness deepens and religious thinking diminishes.

A transformation occurs that takes the participant to a higher plain of awareness and understanding.

For me, permaculture has led me quite naturally to a life of simplicity and increasing awareness of the natural world.

It has been a tuning in process that has reached a level of comfortable ordinariness.

In other words, I get it… I feel comfortable within the universe.

There is incredible peace of mind in a permaculture lifestyle.

Most of the time, the brain is in an alpha state, with virtually no anxiety.

There is little to be anxious about, as this lifestyle choice both empowers and disregards.

With little need for money, the desire to consume is abated and diminished.

The consuming society is fast consuming itself and mostly for greed, ego or other negative reasons.

So much of the negativity which once dominated thinking, is disregarded, thrown off.

Life is embraced as a series of sunrises and sunsets and all the day in between, noticing the natural environment, planting, harvesting and simply being.

Many who are unemployed can turn to permaculture as an unlimited resource, fractionalised only by one’s own imagination.

A sense of purpose is easily attained by working close to the Earth.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, as the night draws in and the rain scatters nourishment upon the plants, I take a final walk around the cottage before reluctantly going in for the night…

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 Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Friday Photographs from the Smallholding

Leaving the tunnel and walking towards one of the orchards. Crocosmia to the right with water barrels. Oregano growing on the left, just outside the door of the tunnel.

Blackthorn trees on the edge of the woodland near the tunnel. These are now heavy with Sloes, ripe for picking after the first frost…then making Sloe Gin, for Christmas!

Looking back at the tunnel and the Blackthorn trees.

And a little later in the morning as the rain fell.

Willow, cut recently and stored in the Willow Hide.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Earth, Gaia, Ireland, Permaculture, Permaculture Ireland, PermaGoddess, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Rain, beautiful rain!

The rain came today. It was so very welcome!

The sky was heavy with water this afternoon.

Every container that could hold water is now full!

Rain fell on the velvet smooth petals of the Pansy.

Streams of rain overspilled from the gutter…it bucketed down!

Rain. Water. The water of life. Thank you for watering Bealtaine today.

Posted in Abundance, Beltane, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage…Groups of Plants and Jack….

Jack has settled into Bealtaine very well and now runs around the cottage playing with anything he can steal…usually one of my socks, scarves or shoes…

Highly scented Buddleia, drooping under their own weight, hang down after the storms of recent days.

No butterflies as the weather has been so bad recently…hoping all that will change at the weekend when warmer days are promised!

Intense permaculture planting of Bamboo, Spirea, Horse Chestnut, Buddleia, Dogwood and Greengage, bullying and pushing weeds away from them…

More intense planting of Gunnera Manicata, Cherry and Ribes.

The permaculture gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage have lots of rain and like to pretend to be a rainforest!

Little Gatherings…

Hypericum, Sedge, Pine and Beech, with Michaelmas Daisies coming slowly into flower, rather too early I think!

The tall pink plumes of the Spirea and the long lasting flowers of the Lysimachia Punctata make a lovely show despite the rain and wind!

Posted in Baking, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Vegan

Funky Friday Fotos From…The Permaculture Cottage

Bealtaine this morning…

Got a mega-curry under way…vegan, of course and destined to be consumed over the course of the weekend!

The Red Jewels…

in the garden are redcurrants…to be made into one of the best fruit wines around!

The Kitchen…

has been a hive of activity this morning, with curry, soup and bread all made and stored for the weekend. This will be a ‘no-cook,’ weekend!

Paths…
of Lysimachia Punctata are closing in…not good when it rains…and it’s raining a lot!

Have…

a great weekend everyone. Maybe plant a tree? Be happy!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Climate, Cottage, Dublin, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

This Morning in the Permaculture Garden and Tunnel at Bealtaine

The storms continue and at times the wind abates for just long enough to get outdoors without being battered by the gusts!

The Sedums planted in and around the old fireplace are now thriving since the rain came…these are ideal for planting on green roofs and will tolerate drought and flood equally well.

Peachy Poppies are peeping through in all corners of the tunnel…abundant in its permaculture state!

The Nectarine tree is loaded down…some of these may have to be removed!

Self-seeded Valerian is blooming in the gravel around the cottage, despite the storms and rain!

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 Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding

Saturday in the Permaculture Garden.

Valerian coming into flower today at Bealtaine. The rain continues, almost unabated, raising the water table and pushing the water in my spring well down towards the cottage. Spent quite some time bringing water across to the tunnel to give the plants a good drenching!

Valerian growing along the west gable wall from seed scattered into the gravel…one of many reasons why permaculture and tarmac are not good mates!

Sprays of Hawthorn blossom hang in swathes around the hedgerows at the cottage. The flowers of this tree release a certain chemical which is good for the heart and it is recommended to breath deeply around these gorgeous blossoms!

I’m hoping that the roses will go on for longer this year, as they have a tendency to flower early in the summer. This has certainly been the best year yet for the blooms.

Posted in Country Living, Eco-Living, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Hothouse Flowers in a Permaculture Environment. Evening @ Bealtaine Cottage

Laburnum and Ferns, hastily picked, make a casual, summer bouquet for the sitting room window of the cottage. I never buy flowers and don’t support the polluting, hothouse methods involved in growing shop bought arrangements. The seasonal look is more in keeping with caring for the environment as well as being much more stylish.

The rain has passed over for the day as the evening sweeps in from the East. Hoping for a lot more if the wells are going to resume full flow! I still haven’t moved the logs as the rain has continued unabated for most of the day. Added to this is the task of clearing out the barn in order to stack the logs, which is pending…ahem!

Jack has been having a ripping time, literally…nothing is safe around him! I got him some massive bones from the butcher yesterday and he has been crunching and chewing away to his heart’s content! I can’t quite get over just how intelligent he is! I would advise anyone thinking of getting a pet to visit their local animal sanctuary first…you might be as lucky as myself and come away with a gem like Jack!

Looking out the window onto the veranda is uplifting when the roses are in bloom. I planted a grapevine further along, into a couple of tyres and have big expectations for equally bountiful harvests of grapes!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Cottage, Earth, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Organic Garden, PermaGoddess, Smallholding, Uncategorized

And then the rain came…Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding

And the lettuce in the hanging baskets perked up…

And the strawberries held a promise of fat, juicy, red ripeness for midsummer and maybe before…

And the roses on the veranda drank deeply and opened…

And the logs got wet!

 Oh, Happy Day!

Posted in Climate, Current Affairs, Ecology, Folklore, Gaia, History, Ireland, Leitrim, News, Permaculture, Personal, Poetry, Politics, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Osama Bin-Laden and the Day that’s in it…The Sun Sets on Permaculture Ireland

The sun sets into the west and the day is nearly over. Rain is promised for the night ahead and tomorrow. All is quiet and calm and dry at Bealtaine. The well has stopped feeding the cottage with its sweet water.

The shadows cast by the setting sun illuminate the curtained cupboard…”I am half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shallot…” Listening to the incessant reporting on the death of Osama Bin Laden, I am half-sick of news…! Is this all that is news worthy? Will we ever be told the truth by the popular media? I grew up in Omagh, a town dominated by institutional sectarianism and was aware from an early age that the BBC rarely reported what I experienced…there were two different realities, the one I lived and the one on the screen!

The sun continues its descent into the west.

There is one certainty in all of this mayhem that is civilisation…that the beauty that is Gaia will be here long after we have passed…Perhaps the words of an unknown Irish Bard can best capture the moment that’s in it-      “The world has laid low, and the wind blows away like ashes Alexander, Caesar, and all who were in their trust; grass-grown is Tara, and see Troy now how it is – and the Irish themselves, perhaps they too will pass!”   Irish; author unknown; 17th-18thcentury.