Magical Wild Herbs and Other Things

Hawthorn is one of the sacred Ogham trees of Ireland. It goes by the name Huath in Irish,  being the tree that symbolises Bealtaine, the merry month of May! This is also a wonderful, magical herb of abundant medicine. Hawthorn, or whitethorn, is easily identifiable during this time as her creamy blossoms brighten hedgerows, stone walls, fields and sacred sites. Hawthorn is also known as the fairy tree for it is believed, especially a solo tree in a field, that it is a place that fairies would stop to rest (or party!) as they traversed across the land. There was…

Rituals of Midwinter

In preparing for the season of Yule, I follow the age old traditions of all the women who have gone before me. Preparation is everything. This begins in the home and involves casting an eye over all that will be of importance during this sacred time of gathering. I am driven with the desire to instil a sense of order upon Bealtaine Cottage as the Midwinter festivities approach. There is a history to this festival that precedes the usual image we hold as the collective ideal…that of a more recent celebration, Christmas. The Winter Solstice  has been celebrated for thousands of years….

Cottage Industry

The 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. Despite 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! “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! The Wisteria, on…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Abundance…

Harvests continue to develop and flowers bloom at Bealtaine Smallholding. Flowers like these Sedums require little or no attention and soon fill out a space. White Buddleia in full bloom, though there are few butterflies around at the moment. This tree, well, bush really, serves as an air island for the birds nesting in the box nearby. Pots of Curly Kale, Chard and Pumpkins, some of which will be moved across to the new beds in the Vegetable Garden. All these have been planted in pots filled with home made compost. The grapevine, grown from a cutting about four years…