Happy to announce that the Bealtaine Cottage YouTube channel has not died and gone to Heaven…for Heaven is a place on Earth! The first video of 2016…enjoy…and don’t forget to leave a comment, like, or even SHARE!
Bill Mollison once said, “I teach self-reliance, the world’s most subversive practice. I teach people how to grow their own food, which is shockingly subversive. So, yes, it’s seditious. But it’s peaceful sedition.”
Applying design to growing makes for good permaculture.
As Ireland endures a wetter and wetter climate, constructing vegetable beds on the top of gravel helps to counteract the worst elements of flooding.
Beds are raised and paths are lowered, allowing for good drainage on this north facing slope.
As seeds emerge and gain strength, I gently tease them out and pot them on, leaving space behind for the next swathe of emerging seedlings.Rhubarb fills out a Spring bed, with Raspberries coming along next in seasonal line!
The Summer fruiting Rhubarb lies protected under this mound of straw…excluding light from emerging weeds.
And here’s the black gold…home made compost. As all of the gardens are on a north-facing slope, the tyres do not interfere with the quality of the compost, just protects the heap from the east and north weather systems…particularly cold!
You can see one of the six bins used for compost toilet waste re-cycling tucked in on the right of the picture.
This makes great planting compost for trees!
Have a good weekend everyone.
Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.
If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…
Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!
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!
The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.
We move around towards the polytunnel and one of the orchards. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are now devoid of berries. This can be a hungry time for the birds as they mate and nest…there is a big bag of Oats I can scatter around in handfuls for the hungry birds and will do this later.
Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
Over 535 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.
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Today was going to be about planting potatoes…
It started off with digging the chosen patch in preparation for the sowing of the seed potatoes.
Towards the end of the dig, the spade hit something rather tough…
It turned out to be the water pipe which leads from the spring well on the hill above the cottage, down across my land towards the back of Bealtaine.
(The Rhubarb this morning.)
An emergency trip was made to Ballyfarnon, a village about three miles away, where there is a local hardware store.
The connector was bought to mend the pipe.
At this point, a brainwave had caught up with the disaster…why not use this opportunity to connect a tap to the tunnel?
Why, every summer the carrying of buckets of water to the tunnel from the cottage was time-consuming to say the least! This was a golden opportunity, as the broken pipe was just a couple of metres away from the tunnel…so, the necessary components were duly purchased!
One of my five brothers, Hugh, was visiting from Omagh, so the expertise was there and willing to help!
Hugh and I returned with the gear and set about the task…
A channel was dug to release the water, which by this time had the potato patch looking more like a rice-paddy field!
After almost eight years of carrying water to the tunnel, I am delighted with my inside tap!
As you can see the Rhubarb is coming up really fast and will be ready for harvesting in the next 10 days or so. One of the joyous tastes of Spring…a Rhubarb Crumble and egg custard!
Although this morning is dull and grey, the garden is illuminated with colour…blossom, buds and leaves, like this Photinia near the apple trees closest to the cottage. Good shelter and colour!
Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.
Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are welcomed free.
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The grapevine, grown from a cutting about four years ago, has produced well this season. This was pruned hard at the end of the winter and then lightly at the end of spring. Well developed bunches of grapes have set and continue to thrive.
The Rhubarb in the first line of tyres had become embedded as they had not been divided for about four years or so…it was time to use brute force!
Although it’s taken me most of the day, I’m glad to have got it done, finally, as there’s nothing worse than putting things off…now that can be ticked off my ‘to-do,’ list! Anyway, it’s been a lovely day for the work, though now have quadruple the freckles on my face that I started the day with!
Checking out the demijohns of various wines yesterday, I realised that some were ready to either rack off-that means transferring them to another, clean demijohn, or bottle up…so I spent a couple of hours doing just that, as well as sampling each one…well, it has to be done!Making wine from the abundant harvest of organic blackcurrants is one of my favourite summer tasks.
The wine here is Strawberry and Redcurrant.
After bottling it needs to be laid down for about 3 months minimum.
This improves the taste and helps maturity.
Keeping everything clean is very important in wine making and bottling.
I use a baby equipment sterilising fluid and find this cheap and effective.
A bowlful is enough, making sure that lots of swirling takes place!
I use one pound of sugar to one pound of fruit. each demijohn takes about four pounds of fruit.
I add 1 teaspoon of wine yeast and fill with spring water, which thankfully comes out of the tap here!
It is effective and works well in corking the bottles efficiently and completely.
Just returned from the Animal Rescue Centre in Leitrim with the latest addition to the family…Jack!
Never a replacement for The Tomster, but in need of a home and Bealtaine is just that! he’s wandering about the cottage at the moment and sussing everything out!
He is a little bit nervous at the moment as you can see, but I expect he will settle in quite rapidly. It’ll take time then for us to bond and become trusting of each other…time will out!
Harvesting Rhubarb yesterday evening, just as the moon was rising…this is some of the crop, now sliced and in bags in the freezer, waiting for the wine and jam making process. The problem with permaculture is just keeping up with the abundance…
This is a plant box I made several years ago from reclaimed timber and driftwood. Planted out with edibles it will be really useful on the veranda, growing within easy reach of the kitchen…especially when it’s raining!
Irusan the cat has gone home to allow Jack to settle in without being continually glowered at…Irusan is pretty good at making a dog feel very uncomfortable…except for those he likes!
It looks like I’m in for an eventful weekend!
As I write this I am listening to Irish Radio…talking endlessly about money, economics, making people spend money, kick-starting the economy! They just don’t get it! The wealth of a country must be measured in the health and wellbeing of its people…
Rhubarb waiting for me to turn it into jam…bumper harvests have begun again!
Apple blossom open today. the bees have feasted on the Ribes and are ready to continue the party on the fruit blossoms.
Irusan in the Fairy Dell this morning. He loves to walk the land with me each morning when he is staying at Bealtaine. Irusan is a Bombay Black Cat, whose mother was feral, living almost wild in London. he is extremely perceptive and interactive with people he chooses to like.
Growth over recent days has begun to impact on the paths that connect the permaculture zones at Bealtaine Cottage. Where monoculture fields around this smallholding are waiting for chemical fertilizer to green them, the grass and herbal pathways do the greening for themselves, for underneath lies a healthy soil that now pushes forth abundance!
Violets have emerged in the Fairy Dell…woodland abundance!