An Irish Cottage Garden and Homestead in Spring

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The promise of peaches growing outdoors in the west of Ireland, another Bealtaine Cottage first! Blossom on these home grown trees, grown from seed, is looking good. So far, with only the first month behind us, this has been a remarkable Spring!

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New Bird Boxes have been added to the rich habitat, now in its fifteenth year on these three acres.

IMG_1967The interior of the tunnel has been remodelled  to create a sanctuary in which to enjoy being in the garden, even in very wet weather!

IMG_1678Sanctuaries are much needed in today’s world!

IMG_1965The plastic has been washed inside and out, ready for its fourteenth year!

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IMG_1963The area around the tunnel, which includes compost heaps and potting corner, is now tidy.

IMG_1961Crocosmia is growing into fine clumps of lime green foliage.

IMG_1959Rhubarb doesn’t need forcing in the mild climate enjoyed here in the west of Ireland. IMG_1960Beds have been well mulched and Rhubarb banked up with enriched compost.

IMG_1954Work in the garden never stops, because Mother Earth never sleeps.

Sweet Peas have successfully germinated outdoors in plastic buckets. Many of you have been following this experiment.

IMG_1953IMG_1952There are lots more seeds germinating in this way and I expect them to be stronger and hardier for their experience being outdoors, even through the recent snow!

IMG_1949In between the outdoors work, clothes are hand-washed and hung out to dry in the wind and sporadic sunshine.

IMG_1948IMG_1947Potatoes are arranged to chit, as pots are brought together and prepared for potato planting.

IMG_1955In a home without television, reading is the great entertainment…my book of the moment is all about the incredible life of Vita Sackville-West…a rollicking good read in the form of a wonderful biography by Victoria Glendinning.

IMG_1940And, as always, whenever the weather allows, the back door is thrown open to welcome in the day that’s in it!

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

SPECIAL OFFER! Reduced to clear… Bealtaine Cottage Calendar for 2019

Price includes postage and packing worldwide! The calendar hosts a page of colour photographs from Bealtaine Cottage for each month of the year. The months of the year are written in Celtic script…ie: May is Bealtaine, August is Lughnasadh and so on…many of you are already familiar with the Celtic Calendar. The pictures on each month also feature some added wisdom from Bealtaine Cottage and information on the ancient festivals of Celtic Ireland.

€9.95

More information and selection…

Bealtaine Cottage Press: 

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-publications-books-and-maps/

Old Year’s Night…Celtic Samhain

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Between two worlds, that of Summer and of Winter, rests Samhain. 

dsc03482Samhain, (pronounced “Sow-when”) is the most important time in the Ancient Irish (and Celtic) Calendar.

dsc03483The time of Samhain starts at dusk, when the light and dark are in balance.

dsc03484This was never regarded as a time of death, but a time of incubation for Mother Earth.

dsc03485It was the onset of Winter that allowed the Great Mother to get ready the seed for Spring.

dsc03486Samhain is the Celtic New Year’s Eve.

dsc03487It is at this time, between worlds, that the veil is thin.

dsc03488A time of possibilities.

dsc03489A time to pay honour to those who are no longer with us in human form.

dsc03490This was a time of endings and the promise of beginnings, a time for stillness and reflection.

dsc03491It was understood that in the dark silence of Mother Earth, when all appears dead, comes the promise of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed beneath the ground.

dsc03492 It is on this night, some believe, that time stands still, allowing access to other worlds and into new consciousness.  

dsc03495As I walked the gardens today, taking these photographs, there was a real sense of endings and beginnings, of approaching a marker in time.

dsc03496 A sense of anticipation and readiness for the sabbatical that is Winter…for Samhain means “Summer’s End” and as the Celts believed, this was Winter’s Beginning.

dsc03497As an integral part of their culture and interpretation of life, the Celts held strong the tradition of The Transmigration of Souls, a philosophy I believe in.
dsc03498The Celts believed in two lands after death, the Underworld and the Otherworld.

 dsc03499The Otherworld was the abode of the dead.

dsc03500This is interesting, as it strongly suggests a “life alongside the dead”…and in that an understanding of the “Night of the Thin Veil,” 

https://bealtainecottage.com/2013/09/29/the-night-of-the-thin-veil/

dsc03501Archaeological evidence has drawn attention to the richness of Iron Age tombs and the abundance of grave goods within them.

dsc03505 There is literary evidence from Caesar that seems to confirm at least part of the Celtic Beliefs system.

dsc03513In his description of the Druids, he alluded to some of their lore that related directly to the movement of souls between one world and another or between one individual and another. He states:

‘…the druids attach particular importance to the belief that the soul (or spirit) does not perish but passes after death from one body to another’
(Julius Caesar: Gallic Wars VI)

dsc03514Lucan (Pharsalia: I) stated that the Celts considered death as merely an interruption in a continuous life, as the spirit passed from one form into another, or from one world to another. dsc03515Other writers, such as Diodorus Siculus drew attention to similar beliefs – that the soul was immortal and, as its body deteriorated with age, it simply moved to another, usually located in another world.  

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It is little wonder then that the Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”. dsc03517And so we celebrate Samhain…

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Please consider making a small donation to the Fundraiser for

LEITRIM ANIMAL WELFARE CENTRE (once the home of Jack)

https://bealtainecottage.com/leitrim-animal-welfare-fundraiser/

“Animal companions come into your life for an infinite number of reasons, each one being in service to you, your current life experience, and moreover, your soul’s growth and evolution.”
Amy Miller, Beyond Companionship: Connecting with Kindred Souls of Animal Companions.

Celtic Ireland~Imbolc Rising

And so the wheel turns towards Spring and its tentative beginnings in the West of Ireland as the sun rises tomorrow morn.

With the rising of the sun comes Imbolc!

Oftentimes it does not look or even feel like Spring, but the light has changed…something that animals see, feel and react to before we do.

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The understanding of the changing seasons grew from the deep connections between us and the natural world, as can be seen in the word itself, for “Imbolc” refers to sheep’s milk in Old Irish.

During ancient times, lactating ewes represented one of the first signs of Spring.

Imbolc is a Cross Quarter Day, which means it is midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Depending on the year that’s in it, Imbolc can fall between the 2nd & 7th of February…the  calculations vary, despite the best will of man to box it all up into calendars!

Celtic festivals are based on astronomical events!

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Festivals like Imbolc are often claimed to be Wiccan or Pagan, but Imbolc belongs to the ancient peoples of Ireland who were neither Wiccan or Pagan!

Wicca itself is less than one hundred years old

Pagan was a term used to describe those in Ireland before Christianity…a sort of name-calling, in that it became and remains for many, a derogatory term.

My ancestors were never without spiritual beliefs!

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Paganism is a term that developed among the Christian community of southern Europe during late antiquity to describe religions other than their own, Judaism, or Islam–the three Abrahamic religions.

Imbolc (February 2) marks the lengthening days as the growing light awakens the Earth Goddess.

The warmth of the rising, growing sun fertilizes the Earth (the Goddess), and causes seeds to germinate and sprout.

And so the earliest beginnings of Spring occur.

As Imbolc rises on the second day of February, the last quarter moon is in Scorpio, my birth sign.

Now is the time to secure your seeds for the Spring sowing which is now well underway in propagators and sheltered places.

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

I continue to clear out spaces in my cottage and renew many aspects of my life…always a good preparation for Imbolc!

Happy Imbolc to you all!

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, Youtube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…thanks for the appreciation! X

Seed-Saving, Kindling and Butterflies

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Here’s the evening podcast from Bealtaine Cottage… Talking kindling, pizza dough and what to do in the garden…

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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.

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

Podcast   https://soundcloud.com/bealtaine-cottage/seed-saving-kindling-and-butterflies

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Little Pots of Magic…She Stirs…

www.bealtainecottage.comThe decision, once made, gathers energy and slowly, slowly begins to move…like a baby discovering it can crawl!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so it begins…the first small movements of the Forest of Bealtaine, barely perceptible, but felt and experienced.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe Forest of Bealtaine is emerging through seed…seeds collected, saved and sown into pots of Bealtaine compost, that will travel with them, to their final destination, here, somewhere, in Mother Ireland.
www.bealtainecottage.comWhere in Mother Ireland I do not know, but, somewhere on this land bereft of the comfort of cover and canopy, open to the growing harshness of rain, that once fell soft like dew…for the changing weather patterns and climate are taking their toll!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so She grows!
www.bealtainecottage.comToday the rain falls heavy and my visitors from Dublin have gone.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe heavy rain assures me we need forest…for we are the rocky outcrop of a failing empire
www.bealtainecottage.comThere is no mistake in that word…for it is She with a capital letter, She with a need to grow and nurture.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe land we have collectively failed…our governments collecting carbon taxes whilst fracking the bowels of Mother Earth! www.bealtainecottage.comThe failing Empire of the EU paying Irish farmers to rip out trees, so land can be mapped out for Google Earth Maps!
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd all so politicians and bureaucrats can peer and measure and post out cheques…
www.bealtainecottage.comBut what use is money to a people living on a land being ravaged by Climate Chaos?
www.bealtainecottage.comBut here at Bealtaine, the Goddess, the Mother, our Earth is nurtured for in her womb is cradled Eden, waiting to be birthed.
And Bealtaine is one of many birthing places, for the Mother is us and we are her…there is no separation.
www.bealtainecottage.comAnd in these little pots of hope, She grows, and slowly, barely noticeable to visitors, the magic begins to manifest.
www.bealtainecottage.comShe stirs, awakens and is…

Permaculture Gardens

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The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.

www.bealtainecottage.comMeanwhile, down in the Fairy Wood, ferns have kept their green in the shelter of the dell. Mosses grow bright in the sunlight and ivy twists and twirls around the Goat Willow.

www.bealtainecottage.comLots of Goat Willow has been coppiced over recent months, and although it takes a year or so to season, it makes excellent logs for the stove, giving out masses of heat for free!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, Pine, laurel and Great Western Cedar all grow happily together and appear healthy in the spring sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comDaffodils are on their way to opening under the shelter of the Beech hedge. This is down beside the pond by the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd as I turn around from the Daffodils, the Ivy that hangs from some of the mature Goat Willow, swings about in the wind and sunshine…this is turning into a lovely walk around the gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.comI amble around the lower pond, snapping as I go…Jack moves ahead of me, tugging on his lead for he has picked up the scent of a fox or badger!

www.bealtainecottage.comI put my camera away and let Jack pull me along, hot on the scent of other life…we finally stop as we come up to the east side of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comWe 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.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to the cottage and the shelter of the veranda…it’s very stormy, despite the sunshine!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith a full moon over Bealtaine Cottage tonight and a hard frost to come, the evening will be cold for sure.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe coppicing continues and the woodpile grows…

www.bealtainecottage.comFennel is beginning to send forth lots of new growth in the shelter of the veranda and the back of the cottage. These new shoots are delicious added to salad!

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd just across from the Fennel…

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd a reminder for anyone wanting 100% Bealtaine seeds from Bealtaine Cottage…there is a link at the top of this page where you can choose what you want.

The Closing Chapter

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer began to melt into Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage amidst a flurry of bees and butterflies, more than ever witnessed in the permaculture gardens.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureHarvesting began and the kitchen was a place of jam jars and bottles, all waiting to be filled and labelled.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe glut of blackcurrants became wine, jam and chutney, with even more added to the freezer.

free tea Open days and workshops seen a steady stream of visitors to the cottage and gardens.

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageKindling for the winter stoves continued to be collected and stored in the barn.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayAnd the Potager beds kept growing!

Blackcurrant ChutneyThe recipe for Blackcurrant Chutney was added to a blog post that had runaway success!

Bealtaine Cottage ValerianValerian flowered…

Rambling Roses at Bealtaine CottageRoses bloomed…

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageAnd all around, flowers showed off with total abandon!

poppies, poppy seeds and dried seed-headsI collected seeds…

Foxglove seed and more seeds…

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageDrying and labelling in every container I had to spare!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageSeedheads were stored for winter flower arrangements.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodAs the boys played in the Fairy Wood.

A path from the Fairy WoodIt was a magical time for all!

006Summer never really went away, for the wine of that season kept bubbling with life.

cottage garden harvestAnd the harvest continued…

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottageAs potatoes were lifted…

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageAnd misty mornings began to appear.

hanging webCobwebs shimmied in the morning breeze…

Buddha at BealtaineAs the light and shadows began to change.

flowers for MichelleMy son got married and I designed and made the flower arrangements, on a lovely day with my new daughter’s mother, here at Bealtaine.

Dylan and Michellw wedding 031Everyone came to the west of Ireland for a three day wedding in a 500 year old castle. Here I am with my eldest daughter.

harvestAnd when all was over, the harvest continued.

wine, kitchenAnd the cottage fell silent…

Recycling in the permaculture gardensBut not for long, as friends delivered cardboard for mulching…

apples and sunflowersAnd helped with the harvest.

fairies 035Lords and Ladies made an Autumn appearance in the Fairy Wood.

open weekend bunting by the gateAnd the cottage and gardens were opened for a special fundraiser in aid of Leitrim Animal Welfare.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Raising a magnificent sum of money for a wonderful charity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Autumn continued into Winter…

www.bealtainecottage.com 012And logs were stacked in readiness for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008The days darkened as Midwinter approached…

cropped-029.jpgAnd candlelight illuminated the dark days.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Bringing cheer to the silent grey…

www.bealtainecottage.com 025And soft light into the Midwinter Cottage.

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So few do, but if you choose to make a small donation, then Bless You! 

Midwinter in an Irish Cottage

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Rain is falling, softly, silently, onto a warm land.

The air is still.

Birds sing out loud.

A touch of Spring is in the air as Midwinter approaches.

It often happens this way, birds singing in the still air near Solstice.

The cold is saved for January…the biting winds that bring the snow.

I have spent much time indoors, making cards and packaging seeds.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001This is a quiet, yet productive time, a chance to reflect as work proceeds.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Yesterday was the last day for posting abroad in time for Christmas.

I am already thinking of the New Year, as I make these cards and planning out a few lovely walks to enjoy over Midwinter.

Walking at this time of year really clears the head and clarifies life in general.

There is a silence around Solstice that creates harmony in all things.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015The chimney in the kitchen remains blocked.

Armed with a borrowed crowbar, I shall attempt excavation of resin like tar this morning…something I’m not looking forward to!

Still, once cleared, the stove will heat the cool air and a sense of Yuletide be conjured up in a less smoky kitchen!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The air is so still that even the Rocket Stove smokes and billows!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005After harvesting the seed from the Lunaria, translucent seed heads decorate the window ledge in the Lodge, and…

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Outdoors, in sheltered spots, the empty seed heads create interest and beauty…

www.bealtainecottage.com 008Despite the delicate beauty, the little flowers that produced these seed-heads are strong and enduring!

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Sheltered in the Laurel Archway…

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