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…

A Day in Early Spring

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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!

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

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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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!

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!

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 and heavy rains of previous days!

Today’s video link…

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

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…