Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, holiday, Ireland, ocean, surfing, wild atlantic way

Wild Atlantic Way

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A visit to the wild Atlantic Ocean marks the day that’s in it!

The turning of another year for me, so close to the Celtic New Year, I can almost taste the wood-smoke in the air from Samhain bonfires.

The ocean is strong and volatile today, churning and heaving life, as it crashes on the stony shore of Strandhill in Sligo.

This is my birthday, the beginning of my sixth decade experience with Mother Earth.

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Visiting the Ocean is as close as I can get to her heart beat, rhythmic and strong…pounding out the pulse of life upon the shores of this most westerly habitation.

White horses ride the water as it breaks further out.

Children are on mid-term holiday from schools and line the promenade, with parents keeping watchful eye on the wild foam.

I look for a small stone upon the shore, one I can put into my pocket and hold easily in my hand as we venture home.

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I feel renewed, invigorated, and ready to leave the last decade behind me, as I embrace the first day of my future.

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Thanks to all you wonderful friends…it’s been a beautiful first day!

XXXX Colette at Bealtaine Cottage XXXX

Posted in Celts, Ireland, Samhain, writers

Between Worlds We celebrate

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

As with all things Celtic, the merging of time and place meant boundaries became thin and blurred…

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Known as “The Night of the Thin Veil…a time of “between worlds”…the fertile edge when all is possible!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Today’s Podcast…

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

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There are seeds for sale, as well as hand carved Bog Oak Pendants…see the links at the top of the Home Page.

Thanks for your support!

Posted in Celts, Folklore, Ireland Celtic festivals, Permaculture, podcast

From Lughnasadh to Samhain

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We have entered the final month of Lughnasadh and the wonderful Indian Summer continues here in the west of Ireland!

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As we journeyed through the Equinox and welcomed a spectacular moon, the nights seemed to draw in dramatically.

The Seed Site on Bealtaine Cottage has been updated today and now includes Willow.

I will be adding to the site as more and more seed becomes ready to be packaged.

Shabby chic at Bealtaine Cottage

Today I have collected Flat Leaf Parsley and will be adding Celery seed this weekend.

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As we begin to make plans for the final Harvest Feast…From Lughnasadh to Samhain…enjoy today’s Podcast…

Seeds and Willow   http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

Podcast :

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

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Bealtaine Cottage Podcast is a free service.

Posted in Art, cottage style, decorating, Doors, Interior Design, Ireland, painting

Decorating an Old Cottage

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Those of you familiar with Bealtaine Cottage online and the many hundreds who have visited will be interested to see the results of what a little paint can do in terms of brightening up a home.

Yes, I’ve been busy over recent days, stood on a step-ladder, paintbrush in one hand and paint tin in the other, alongside dusters to remove the heaps of cobwebs…eek!

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There’s a certain old world loveliness to “Duck Egg Blue,” as the paint is referred to, more often than not!

The colour is reminiscent of the eighteenth century and the novels of Jane Austen…a favourite author of mine. sitting room at Bealtaine Cottage bealtainecottage.com 005

There’s a simplicity about the soft pastel shades which bring out the best in an old cottage.

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Decorating a cottage is fairly simple too, as the walls and general layout are quite forgiving…in other words, anything goes as long as it’s a good mix of styles and time periods, for a cottage is a harbourer of both!

The wooden chest of drawers in the corner is relatively new-style, but provides a practical function of storing clothes not in seasonal use…and what better position, than by the chimney wall, where dampness is never an issue!

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It’s a fuss-free environment indeed! Decorating an old cottage works well when one projects personality and quirkiness into the general style…in my case it’s always a case of what frugality allows for, so an eclectic style is as much practical as it is creative.

A reflection of what the great William Morris once said…”Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”...that allows me free reign really!

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Cosy. Practical. Colourful. That’s what works for me.

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The colours will also be a good backdrop to Samhain and Yule decorations…as many of the pumpkins are seasoned indoors and the window ledges are needed for storage too.

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And as for the paint…well, it does go a long way…

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

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Bealtaine cottage crafts 010Bog Oak Pendants are available from the Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop.

Each pendant is hand-crafted from locally sourced Irish Bog Oak, an ancient and profoundly mysterious wood that’s been buried in the Irish peat bogs for thousands of years.

These pendants are hand carved from wood dated as 5,600 years old.

Visit:

http://bealtainecottage.com/craft-shop/

Posted in Cats, Climate, Country Living, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Samhain

The Passing of Samhain

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Autumn remains, despite the passing of Samhain.

Nasturtiums hold their blooms and the occasional bee busies himself with work, inside the generous flowers of orange and yellow.

Sammy-Bear and Che-Mousey have drunk all their milk and turned their noses up at the biscuits…they may be spoiled!

www.bealtainecottage.com 010The leaves of the Nasturtium appear to grow huge, as the season of growth comes to an end…capturing and reflecting the dew of the morning.
www.bealtainecottage.com 016Giant Willow, (Biomass), drops its leaves and the winter duvet, that will cover the earth, spreads.

This Willow grows at the top of the gardens and is pollarded, to allow for ground space.

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Few gardeners here in Ireland pollard Willow, so these trees always attract attention from visitors to Bealtaine!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Che-Mousey has taken to following me around the gardens, as I take pictures.

He has even managed to develop a feint miaow!
www.bealtainecottage.com 024The reflective quality of the rainwater improves, as the air cools into early winter.
www.bealtainecottage.com 025Vivid colours are manifested on the Copper Beech trees…
www.bealtainecottage.com 028Cats are all around on this first day of winter!
www.bealtainecottage.com 031Can you believe these colours?

Grapevine on the veranda against blue sky…it actually appears photo-shopped, but is not!
www.bealtainecottage.com 032The raw beginnings of a basket, hung into the eaves of the veranda, now appearing, as the leaves fall away from around it!
www.bealtainecottage.com 033The Pumpkins are ready to store away in the pantry…I must remember to do this today!
www.bealtainecottage.com 036I’m just enjoying all this green, before Jack Frost steals it!
www.bealtainecottage.com 041Have a wonderful weekend everyone XXX

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Celts, Cottage, Gardens, Ireland, Permaculture, Samhain, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Cottage Industry

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The clock ticks towards Samhain, literally meaning: Summer’s end!

Tomorrow is Samhain, a celebration of the last day of Summer and the beginning of Winter in the Celtic calendar. www.bealtainecottage.com 002Despite cold nights creeping into Bealtaine, all remains green on the ground, with just the trees showing signs of transition into Winter.

Nasturtiums have not yet melted in the frost…it seems the ground continues to put forth enough heat to protect them!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003“I ordered my food ages ago!”

Sammy-Bear waits for his breakfast on the veranda…I have to hurry up with this photography business and serve him breakfast!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007The Wisteria, on the veranda of the Lodge, is showing a last magnificent vibrancy before it sets itself into bed.

The plants and trees are making a fantastic show of colour this season!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The view from the doorway of the Lodge remains green and tranquil.

The micro-climate created here serves the cottage well.

All is sheltered from the North, West and East!
www.bealtainecottage.com 013We really have been blessed, with perfect weather this year, here in the west of Ireland.

Each season has behaved itself extraordinarily well!
www.bealtainecottage.com 020Despite the fact it was my birthday yesterday, I was sufficiently inspired to work and spent the afternoon crocheting this hat.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003It’s an “Annie Hall,” inspired creation…I adore Diane Keaton!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I love the “cloche” type, 1920’s inspired, hats and adore working with pure wool and natural fabric.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004This one is made using Donegal Tweed Pure Wool and the colour is just wonderful!

I shall be making many more for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop!

Here’s the link to the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/167531769/cloche-hat-1920s-style-in-pure-irish

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celts, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Samhain, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Moon of Samhain

www.bealtainecottage.com 028Leaves are changing the trees and shrubs into their vivid autumn attire.

Spiders are scurrying to and fro, spinning webs and catching food.

Berries hang in abundance on shrubs and trees.

Samhain waits in the wings.

The season makes progress towards “Summers’ End.”

www.bealtainecottage.com 015My friend, Marion has delivered some logs to me as a gift…a true and thoughtful friend indeed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Rain has fallen for some days now and the ground is saturated.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034However, Jack must be walked…Walking in the rain is therapeutic and quite humbling, reminding me of the blessings of warmth and comfort in the cottage and the fortune of friendship.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002Last night the moon was full and powerfully bright, illuminating the landscape and the sheep, on the hill behind the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005I love this time of year, my birthday month…a celebration on the 29th, a Scorpio for sure!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012I am driven by passions and am of the Earth…at times a great strength and others my downfall, though little I care!

Scorpio women rarely cast a glance over their shoulder…

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I am blessed in that I love the Earth and her seasons, an endless wardrobe of colours and textures and scents!

www.bealtainecottage.com 008And even here, in my workroom, I can watch her on the stage, through my window.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The lunar cycle is almost complete, the moon of Samhain is next on stage.

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Folklore, Gaia, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Samhain, Spirituality

The Night of the Thin Veil

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September has been an extraordinary month of sun and still air, little has moved and time has appeared to stand still. www.bealtainecottage.comSunrises and sunsets have been spectacular.

www.bealtainecottage.comIndeed, September 2013 will be remembered here in Ireland for the “Indian Summer,” often promised and rarely received!

www.bealtainecottage.comTomorrow is the last day of September.

We are now past equal day and night and on the descent to Samhain and the night of the “thin veil”…

www.bealtainecottage.comI have spent as much time outdoors as possible, walking and watching the light play with the changing seasons.

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The Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”.

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The places, “in-between,”  the shore and land, thresholds, night and day, life and death.

The place between life and death was honoured in the form of a wake, for the soul took time to depart and journey onwards.

www.bealtainecottage.comBealtaine and Samhain are in-between times, when time stands still, as transition occurs.

Bealtaine is the transition to summer and Samhain the passing into winter.

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‘Tis a pity that Samhain has been so commercialized, into the freak show of Halloween…it is not to be tolerated! Samhain is a lovely time of remembering and honouring the ancestors and all those who have passed from our lives during the year.

www.bealtainecottage.comI hope you take the time to celebrate with a gathering of family, friends, feast and fire…reclaiming our precious traditions from the corporate nonsense of plastic pollution and Hollywood freak show!

(All photos today were taken by me, in the local area around Bealtaine Cottage.)

www.bealtainecottage.com

Blessings

Colette

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bees, Birds, Cats, celebrations, Celts, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Vegan

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 001Stepping out in search of breakfast…the potager beds are full and the apple trees drip with fruit…lots of good, fresh food to juice this morning!

Much of my Vegan diet is raw food…I love it!

It makes me feel alive and well!

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 013The morning is mild and very still…I can hear the birds move through the bushes, as they dip and swoop along the paths in the gardens.

Rustling sounds entice me along the paths towards the stone circle…the cats are at play in this magically wild field to the north of the cottage.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 015Sammy-Bear sits atop the stone seat, watching Che-Mousy as he creeps towards him…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 016It’s a delight to watch young animals at play…I wonder what they’re thinking and saying to each other…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 017The streams around the land are beginning to flow, as the rain returns.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 007This summer has been very dry and the land is quite firm to walk upon.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 020As the vernal equinox approaches, the rhythms of Nature beat a pace to follow towards Samhain.

The days of cutting and clearing and making haste the harvest are upon us.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 025The last of the herbs will be harvested before the equinox.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 026Willow and Dogwood, grown tall, will be cut, or trimmed, according to the use.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 027New beds, like this one, will be completed and shredding continued to be applied throughout the months of winter, up until the new planting.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 028But, I digress…my journey into the gardens this morning took me in search of breakfast…I must keep going…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 029More distractions catch my eye…the bees continue to work on the Sunflowers nestling among the Apple-mint.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 030As I turn around, I see part of my breakfast, fresh to pick and juice!

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 034Finally! Picked and ready to wash, then juice…Kale, Apples and Celery.

Living off the land!

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Folklore, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Samhain

The Celtic New Year Festival of Samhain

It is nearing the end of this beautiful year.

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The transition of Autumn is underway as the end of October arrives with the magical Festival of Samhain…known to many as “Halloween.”

Halloween was derived from the celebration of Samhain, with its myths and beliefs about the “Otherworld” and happily placed into Christian culture through the celebration of, “All Hallows Eve,” or “All Souls Night.”

This beautiful time of the year is extolled in many beautiful poems and odes.

The year was divided in two, with Summer and Winter heralding transition.

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“My tidings for you: the stag bells,
Winter snows, Summer is gone.

Wind high and cold, low the sun,
Short his course, sea running high.

Deep-red the bracken, its shape all gone,
The wild goose has raised his wonted cry.

Cold has caught the wings of birds.
Season of ice – these are my tidings.”


–  Irish Poem, Translated by Caitlin Matthews 

 

My favourite verse…the one that enters my head and repeats itself at this lovely time of year is the evocative verse of Keats…

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.”


–   John Keats,  To Autumn

The summer is officially over as Samhain is celebrated…and winter begins.

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This is a special time, where there is a real sense of renewal and hope.

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Time to light the annual bonfire and celebrate, with songs and games and food.

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Time to write your wishes, hopes or fears onto paper and cast it away into the flames.

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Time to share and bake and dance and laugh.

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Summer is over and we have lived to greet another year.

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And for those we have said goodbye to, wish them well on their onward journey.

As the days shorten and the sun dips low in the sky, our homes become sanctuaries of warmth and comfort.

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The over-wintering begins!

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You have been reading a blog from “Bealtaine Cottage”.

There is now a second website:  Bealtaine Cottage Good Life  which is accessible through subscription, 12 euros per year, allowing me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her. 

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Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Country Living, Food, Gardens, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Ireland…Ridden with Debt and Blessed with Land

We are a country ridden with debt and blessed with land…and water…and a temperate climate.

Ireland is capable of producing a lot of food, not just meat and dairy, but fruit and vegetables of all kinds.

We could have a great wool industry!

We were famous for our Crystal from Waterford!

Irish people are hard-working and dedicated.

What is needed is courage, integrity and honesty in our political leaders.

We need political leaders with vision and confidence…

If only we had leadership…

I have cut back many of the Dogwoods in the upper gardens and have been busily replanting some of the better cuttings.

The entrance to the Fairy Dell is enveloped in the striking reds of Dogwoods.

These easy to grow [stick a wand in the earth] shrubs are incredibly valuable to me…the stems remain a vivid red all winter, I use them in Willow wreaths for vibrant colour and vase  arrangements in the cottage to brighten a dull day.

The birds will eat the juicy ripe berries and the bees will enjoy the delicate spring flowers on the old stems.

Another misty morning.

Cobwebs everywhere shining with tiny drops of dew.

I walked through the Fairy Dell to the sound of the Blackbird rustling about among the fallen leaves, searching for breakfast!

It wasn’t just the mountains that had disappeared, this morning, into the mist, but most of the land as well.

My garden had vanished this morning!

It’s strange because the air was so still and the bird calls seemed to echo in the mist.

I hope it’s like this at Samhain…so many preparations are under way, especially gathering in the apples and preparing them for the freezer.

Despite the warm and sunny days,  nights are cold  and lots of little creatures are seeking hibernation spots…

I have to keep the windows closed at night for fear of having to share this cottage with too many visitors!

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Poetry, Samhain, Spirituality, Thoughts

A Time of Early Shadows

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Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.

Scents of woodsmoke and compost fill the air.

Samhain is close.

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The Celts divided the year into two parts…the light and the dark.

Samhain is the crossover point into the dark.

Seamus Heaney wrote a wonderful collection of poetry entitled, “Into The Dark.”

One of my favourite reads at this time of the year.

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Poetry is like that…it can be turned over again and again, extracted from the past into the present and enjoyed afresh.

The turning of the year towards the light is heralded in the Feast of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054Bealtaine also means, “May,” in Irish and is why I named this cottage Bealtaine Cottage…for it was in May I first spied it!

Bealtaine celebrates the beginning of summer as we turn towards the light and short shadows.

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In Ireland the Tribes gathered for Samhain, at the ritual centres across the land to celebrate this most important festival of the year.

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It was a time to reconnect with the past, a time of early shadows and light veils of separation.

A time of magic.

Posted in Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Gardens, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Samhain, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Stonehenge, Newgrange and the Cycle of Life

The autumn continues to progress through it’s mellow display of earthy colours.

Tomorrow is the Equinox and the beginning of the descent towards midwinter.

The time of year denotes the slowing down of all that is life as we know it.

Time to sort out the winter woolies and hang the heavy curtains to keep out the drafts.

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One of the big tasks I have lined up here at Bealtaine Cottage is the coppicing of the majority of the trees that were planted eight years ago, in the first flush of restoring the fertility of the land.

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Trees are one of the most important connections we have to the Divine, embodying the sacred fertility that anchors us all on this planet.

Where trees grow, life is abundant…without them we are bereft of all that makes life comfortable and good.

One of the great delights of the shorter days is the ritual lighting of the stove and the chance to sit around the fire and enjoy the scent of woodsmoke on the air.

There are few pleasures in life quite so comforting.

From this point in time the autumn will wend its way through to Samhain and evolve into the dark depths of winter, finally rising towards the light in the deep midwinter, a time of renewal, hope and promise.

Life is cyclical.

The builders of Stonehenge and Newgrange knew all about that.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celts, Country Living, Courses, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Lughnasa, Nature, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Spirituality, Uncategorized

The All-Ireland Permaculture Gathering…

I brought lots of flowers and seed heads into the cottage to brighten up the greyness that is July.

Nothing stops the movement towards Lughnasa and the time of spiritual gathering.

The “All Ireland Permaculture Gathering,” takes place near Bealtaine Cottage this year in the town of Strokestown, County Roscommon.

It’s ideally placed, being located in  the near centre of the island.

It happens on the first weekend of Lughnasa.

For more details you can contact Hannah Mole on:

http://www.permaculture.ie/news/permaculture-gathering-2012

For those wishing to visit Bealtaine Cottage on or around this time, you can get my number from Hannah…I am happy to show visitors around the permaculture smallholding that is Bealtaine Cottage…

Lughnasa is a good time to assess one’s life harvest of wisdom, for the dark evenings of winter are a good time to learn new skills and crafts, to read and share, to think and plan.

It is about preparing the land for winter too, helping to put it asleep, mulching and covering…

We also need to prepare ourselves for the journey through Lughnasa and into Samhain, by ensuring we gather sunlight on ourselves, walk and meditate, enjoying sunrises and sunsets at this mellow time of the year.

Times like today, when the rain seems relentless will give way to sunny mornings and misted evenings, the Lughnasa of the year.

Long walks with Jack and Flo are great excuses to go out and explore new pathways, leaving the dark evenings ahead to navigate the pathways of the soul…

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Culture, Folklore, History, Ireland, Permaculture, Poetry, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ Knocknarea, Queen Maeve and W.B. Yeats

The sun shone brilliantly today and as it heralded the first day of winter, I felt it was a good time to visit the magical mountain of Knocknarea and the grave of Queen Mebh.

The huge cairn that sits on the top of Knocknarea Mountain and marks what is probably a passage grave housing the ancient Queen, is 55 meters in diameter by 10 meters high.

 It was constructed for the mythical Iron Age Queen Maeve, whose father, the high king of Ireland, gave her Connacht as a gift. Archaeologists believe it may really date back to 3000 BC.

It is considered bad luck to remove a stone from the cairn, and good luck to take one up the hill with you to deposit on it.

The view from the top of Knocknarea is spectacular!

Medb (old Irish spelling, pronounced Maeve), was the queen of Connaught. She ruled from Cruachan (now Rathcroghan, County Roscommon).

Maeve features in the story known as “The Tain.” This is also known as “The Cattle raid of Cooley.”

This is the incredible view across from Knocknarea to Ben Bulben. William Butler Yeats is buried at the foot of that great mountain!

Nestled in on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean…descending Knocknarea today!

The Atlantic Ocean on this calm first day of winter!

From: The Old Age of Queen Maeve, by William Butler Yeats

MAEVE the great queen was pacing to and fro,
Between the walls covered with beaten bronze,
In her high house at Cruachan; the long hearth,
Flickering with ash and hazel, but half showed
Where the tired horse-boys lay upon the rushes,
Or on the benches underneath the walls,
In comfortable sleep; all living slept
But that great queen, who more than half the night
Had paced from door to fire and fire to door.
Though now in her old age, in her young age
She had been beautiful in that old way
That’s all but gone; for the proud heart is gone,
And the fool heart of the counting-house fears all
But Soft beauty and indolent desire.
She could have called over the rim of the world
Whatever woman’s lover had hit her fancy,
And yet had been great-bodied and great-limbed,
Fashioned to be the mother of strong children;
And she’d had lucky eyes and high heart,
And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax,
At need, and made her beautiful and fierce,
Sudden and laughing.

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Folklore, Food, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Samhain, Smallholding, Spirituality, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ Harvest, Halloween and Magic…

Apples harvested at Bealtaine Cottage last year…you can tell it’s from 2010 as the walls are now blue…though I may repaint them soon, as I mix my own colours and feel a creative moment or two approaching!

Bring forth the raisins and the nuts-
Tonight All-Hallows’ Spectre
struts
Along the moonlit way.
~John Kendrick Bangs

Of course, Apples are the signature of Samhain/Halloween…where would we be without the Apple Ducking Game or the Toffee Apple, or, best of all…the Apple Pie?

Mushrooms are yet another signature of Samhain…

   There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the
dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable
mystery.  ~Joseph Conrad

And the exquisite colours of the leaves…

Stir the fire till it lowe
How like a queen comes forth the lonely
Moon
From the slow opening curtains of the clouds
Walking in beauty to her
midnight throne!
~George Croly

Little beats the delight of walking though deep piles of Autumn leaves on a crisp, sunny day, with a chill in the air!

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and
there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a
beauty who has seen one season too many.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

There is definitely magic at this time of year as we descend towards Samhain and Midwinter…  

 For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.  For nature, it is
a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.  ~Edwin Way Teale

Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely
stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
Evangeline


Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Inspiration, Permaculture, Samhain, Uncategorized

Cat Hotels and Halloween Weather…Notes from a Permaculture Cottage!

Cats will always find a home. The cleverest cats manage to find hotels. Cat hotels. The best food, drink and accomodation, free of charge with limitless facilities!

And so it is that Missy the ginger cat has come to stay at Bealtaine Cottage…

Missy is the daughter of a feral cat. Her mother was killed on the road, leaving Missy and her siblings orphaned and living in the hedgerow. A kindly man rescued them and Missy came to live at Bealtaine. years later she went further afield, to London and became a city cat…but has now returned to Bealtaine Cottage.

I think all cats are wild. They only act tame if there’s a saucer of milk in it for them. ~ Douglas Adams

Sitting on the window-sill this morning waiting to be let in…for a jolly hearty breakfast!

Lat take a cat, and fostre hym wel with milk
And tendre flessh, and make his couche of silk,
And lat hym seen a mous go by the wal,
Anon he weyveth milk and flessh and al,
And every deyntee that is in that hous,
Swich appetit hath he to ete a mous.

~ Geoffrey Chaucer The Manciple’s Tale

Today, someone told me to expect snow at Halloween…Samhain as the Celtic calendar states…but, I ask you, snow? What on earth could it be doing snowing at Halloween in Ireland?

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. ~ Jeff Valdez

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Culture, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Lughnasa, Permaculture, Samhain, Smallholding, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Bealtaine Cottage ~ Autumn Equinox and Samhain…Lifting the Veil.

Saturday Morning at Bealtaine Cottage

Sun and clear skies.

As the sun rises in the east, so the moon sets in the west…one of those glorious autumn mornings in Ireland.

Today is a busy one for me.

Visitors, willow cutting, fedging and lots more.

Yes…that is a little tomato you can see in there…this being a permaculture smallholding there are lots of food plants everywhere to be harvested in the most unexpected places…


Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.

This is one of the best videos  that explains with images, words and enchanting music, this time…

http://youtu.be/nLZSy1GsvCk

We are just 4 days away from the Autumn Equinox…the turning time and the descent towards Samhain.

The sun is casting long shadows…

And as the harvest continues at Bealtaine, a Celtic blessing from Tyrone… 

http://youtu.be/4PkU0GOUCNY