Posted in Permaculture, Personal, Smallholding, Sustainable Living

A New Beginning for Bealtaine Cottage!

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Today is an exciting and very uplifting day for Bealtaine Cottage and me! DSC09687For the past year or so it’s been utterly frustrating not being able to share on this website.

DSC09689Restrictions were placed upon me in relation to upload space for photographs, as I had used up virtually all of the allocated space of 13GB, which is that allowed on the Premium Plan from WordPress.

DSC09691Well, today I paid for an upgrade which allows me unlimited upload space…a treat for myself and, I’m hoping one for you too!

DSC09693As I type there is a lovely soft rain falling outside, refreshing and renewing the earth.

DSC09694The same has happened here for me on the website…I feel a sense of renewal and excitement!

DSC09696To be honest, writing and photographing Bealtaine Cottage and Mother Earth constitutes my first love!

DSC09695Much as I love the interaction on social media, it can be very time-consuming and ultimately takes away from the work I do here!

DSC09684The payment of an extra 200 Euros was necessary for the extended plan, but this liberates me from the strictures of what I can put out there for everyone to enjoy.

DSC09697I will continue with the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website and am working on a plan to do a sort of “joined-up”daily blog…watch this space! DSC09698And so the story of Bealtaine Cottage continues, moving onwards and upwards!

DSC09699“Country things are the necessary root of our life – and that remains true even of a rootless and tragically urban civilization. To live permanently away from the country is a form of slow death.”
Esther Meynell

DSC09700And so I hope to continue bringing the country to you!

DSC09701Sharing this little sacred space in the west of Ireland, with the world…

DSC09702 The seasonal changes, garden, wildlife and Mother Earth…

DSC09703The song of the Goddess and her inspired Permaculture…

DSC09704Thanks for staying with Bealtaine Cottage…

This is a new beginning…Welcome back!

 

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Posted in Abundance, agriculture, Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Birds, compost, Ecology, Eden, Edible Gardens, food forest, Lifestyle, Nature, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Permaculture Food Forest in Ireland

The leaves are just beginning to bud and appear.

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Bees are busy at work here in the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…without them this would be a place of hunger.

Poster after permacultureBut, it’s not…instead it boasts food for all and more to come.

This is what a food forest looks like as the sap rises and life returns.

poster permaculture viewThese are the gardens of the goddess, Mother Earth in all her splendour and abundance!

And here is today’s video…

All the videos I upload are free from advertising, so you can enjoy watching…

Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

 

Posted in homesteading, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized

How To Build Your Own Polytunnel!

The polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage has stood for eleven years, retaining it’s structure extremely well and providing all year round space for growing food. The plastic remains “as tight as a drum,” as any visitor to Bealtaine Cottage gardens will attest to.

In this blog I will endeavour to give you simple instructions on how to build your own polytunnel from scratch, as was done here…

To read more, go to Bealtaine Cottage Good life website at…

http://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Posted in Gardens, homesteading, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living

One Million Celebration!

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Sometime today, Bealtaine Cottage will be viewed for the 999,999th time.

It will, thereafter, have reached one million views!

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Who would have ever thought that this little place, tucked away as it is in the West of Ireland, would have become such a beacon in these troubled times?

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I never imagined so many people would flock here to find inspiration and comfort, but they have and you continue.

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The journey continues here.

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Better ways of living with Mother Earth are under constant scrutiny and reflection.

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Visitors come and go, always taking away strategies and ideas to use, as well as plants and seeds.

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Basic concepts of sustainable living are explained…the shock of the “Compoost Loo” morphs into admiration for it’s sheer simplicity and hygiene.

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The miracle that Nature has performed here in such a short space of time becomes more visible with each photograph.

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The realisation that everything is possible when one embraces Mother Earth as a co-creator, rather than something to be abused and driven.

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I began writing about this journey and photographing Her magic back in 2011, as a way of trying to convince people that what we stand upon is part of us…we shape our world by how we live.

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Bealtaine Cottage has become a little centre of hope in a world where we are continually told we are a blight upon the Earth.

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We are not!

This is what we are capable of…helping Her to nurture us, as we in turn care for Her. Garden permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 163

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I have two websites… Bealtaine Cottage and Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

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

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life costs 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.

Making this small donation adds your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

This amounts to 104 publications per year, at a cost of 12 cents each!

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

Posted in Earth, Gardening, Growing Food, healing, Mother earth, Permaculture, PermaGoddess

Permaculture Works…A Ten Year Transformation!

Just over ten years ago I bought a derelict cottage standing on three acres of wet, rush-infested, north-facing land.

This is how I transformed it, using only Permaculture and my own labour.

See for yourself and share the magic!

Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2012

Windchimes at Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage before permaculture

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Bealtaine Cottage wheelbarrow to compost heap

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Bealtaine Cottage sign

Manifesting the Divine Feminine

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www.bealtainecottage.com

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Year One…the pond and stream beds were dug and the water has flowed ever since!

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www.bealtainecottage.com

www.bealtainecottage.com

Looking out on a May evening...
Looking out on a May evening…

For the past fifteen or so years, Mother Earth has been communicating with us in a powerful and energetic way.

She wants us to plant her, nurture her and most of all recognise her for the Great Mother she is.

I heard her over ten years ago.

I write about her and photograph her magical ways every day, uploading to bealtainecottage.com several times a week, to be her voice and advocate.

The energy is quickening.

We live in wonderful times.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living

The No Dig, No Till Garden

Amethyst Horn at Bealtaine CottageBealtaine Cottage is a permaculture smallholding, as followers of this blog know.

In permaculture we mulch, mulch and carry on mulching, building up the soil as we go.Bealtaine Cottage potager bed

Over the past two years I have been creating Potager gardens near the back of the cottage, using stone found on the land to create raised beds.

Bealtaine Cottage making the Potager beds June 2012 005Into these beds I have packed raw wool, compost, ash, leaf mould and shredding…lots and lots, layer upon layer, of shredding.

Plants are planted into bottomless pots onto the top of all this, so their roots can spread down deep into the goodness!

Bealtaine Cottage Potager bedThis year has seen the extending of these beds to cover yet more of the gravel.

The most useful tool in the permaculture gardens is the shredder!

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds and BuddhaI pile the shredding on the soil, wherever there are plants growing, spreading it around the base and everywhere in-between.

Beaten earth floor in ploytunnel at Bealtaine CottageNot only does this suppress the weeds, but it feeds the soil and therefore the plants.

You can see this practice at work here in the tunnel.

April 2013 Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageAfter a few weeks, the shredding take on the dark look of soil, making it look like the soil has been just tilled…it has not!

permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage, No digCaring for 3 acres, I can assure you that I do not dig and I have no one who helps!

Does it work? …see for yourself.

No sore back and an abundance of food!

Bealtaine Cottage potager garden

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 600 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Badgers, biodiversity, Birds, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized

Permaculture Brings Hope…before and after images!

It’s been almost nine years since I began planting this smallholding in the west of Ireland. Before permaculture. Bealtaine CottageMany of you are familiar with the landscape as it looked then.

The picture above shows Bealtaine Cottage after a lot of cutting and clearing, around the time that the planting began. June 2011 permaculture cottage 021

This picture shows the same view today.

As you can see, the cottage is obscured…melting into the gardens of intense production.

Bealtaine Cottage before and after

The lonely, abandoned cottage on the first day I saw it.

Bealtaine Cottage driveway

Disappeared into the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…nine years of planting by one woman and a spade!

Installin permaculture pond at Bealtaine CottageThis picture shows the Bog Garden after the first pond was created and the surrounding land cleaned up for planting.

Photographs taken at the time depict a barren looking, rushy, wet landscape that offered little hope or sanctuary for gardeners, growers, wildlife or Nature.

Permaculture Cottage July 2011 016The same view down to the pond is obscured with dense and abundant planting.

This nine year journey has opened my eyes and my mind to the problems facing the entire planet in terms of food production, sustainable living and facilitating Nature.

The answer is simple.

June 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 023Plant!

As the planting develops, so fertility returns to the land.

Tree planting at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture 015Birds choose to set up home nearby.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 016Frogs, Toads and Newts find their way to your pond and start to breed.

wild orchids at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture 019Wild flowers make a show…like these wild Orchids.

apple trees at Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage July 2011 011Fruit trees and bushes grow and give you fruit…more than what can be harvested!

tunnel at Bealtaine cottage005Micro-climates evolve as everything grows.

June 2011 Permaculture 002Fuel is harvested.

Small mammals settle into chosen areas…there is a Badger set at Bealtaine Cottage now.

veranda at Bealtaine CottageYour body becomes attuned to the seasons and good health follows.

The best part of all this, is that although permaculture requires  labour to set up, it is maintained with minimal work and attention.

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Posted in Climate, Country Living, Food, Frugal Living, Garden, Growing Food, Health, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding

The Easiest Way to Harvest Blackcurrants

It is early July, early evening and it’s cold.

The stove is lit.

The weather systems all over the world appear to have gone wild, but as I sit here, sipping tea and typing, the reality of life is more to do with getting the harvest of blackcurrants into the freezer!

Blackcurrants in the freezer at Bealtaine CottageI have returned from the kitchen with a cuppa and red-tinted fingers from all the handling of the currants as I weigh them into bags.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrants in the Permaculture GardensWhatever the weather is like we have to adapt as best as possible and Blackcurrants don’t seem to mind any way!

There is no sense in this weather here at the moment, or in the fact that Summer in Ireland started in March of this year and ended in April…take a look at the blogs I posted during that time, bearing in mind that I take photographs on a daily basis, real-time so to speak!

However, life at the permaculture smallholding goes on in quite a pleasant way, harvesting, freezing and making chutney.

I have found that the easiest way of harvesting the currants is to cut whole stems and wheel-barrow them over to the veranda where I can sit quietly and harvest the berries, listening to the gentle tinkling of the wind-chimes…it’s pleasant work with lots of time for fleeting thoughts!

It saves a lot of backache and gives the bushes a good pruning too!

The sky seems to be perpetual grey blanket of cloud, with the very occasional peek through of blue sky and sunshine…very occasional that is!

It does remain fairly bright, being that this is the west of Ireland  and we are surrounded by ocean.

Visitors to Bealtaine tell me about droughts in western USA and torrential rain in England.

It does all seem rather mad!

I’m hoping for a beautiful Autumn!

Posted in Bloom, celebrations, Country Living, Culture, hens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Towards the Equinox…

Pink Ribes and Spring sunshine are both, most welcome.

There was no need to light the stove this morning as the weather is so mild!

The hens are happy to be out on the land for longer as the daylight hours increase and we head towards the Spring Equinox.

Forsythia is in bloom and the “haze,” of green continues to spread over all plant-life…it is both remarkable and beautiful!

Work continues at a rapid pace here at the smallholding, as Spring is advancing with some gusto…there is little time to get all the work that has to be done out of the way…each year is a race against time!

Produce for sale in the porch at the front of the cottage.

Saint Patrick’s day is not far off… 

From Shamrock Song by Katherine Tynan

Irish hills, as grey as the dove,
Know the little plant I love;
Warm and fair it mantles them
Stretching down from throat to hem.

And it laughs o’er many a vale,
Sheltered safe from storm and gale;
Sky and sun and stars thereof
Love the gentle plant I love.

Soft it clothes the ruined floor
Of many an abbey, grey and hoar,
And the still home of the dead
With its green is carpeted.

(If not I?)

Posted in Animals, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Fairies, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spring, Trees, Uncategorized

Primroses and Badgers and Irish Country Living

Primroses are open on the lane to the cottage.

Birds sing and the morning is clear and very still.

As I was driving up the lane last night I came across a badger, just a young one, but looking beautiful and wise as only a badger can…they have this really ancient look about them…

Here are just a few of the 650+ trees planted here at Bealtaine over the past seven and a half years.

These Pine Trees are near the eastern edge of the smallholding and afford great shelter form the east winds that blow during the winter months.

When the sun shines at this time of year, the silvery light is magical!

I googled Bealtaine Cottage images last night and was met with an assorted array of photos from this blog…this is page one…

Hmm…Che is up a field maple tree in the front garden…

He regularly gets himself entangled in branches and begins calling for someone to come to his rescue!

Fairies, ancient stones and spring daffodils…

I rescued this fairy from a junk sale! I paid one euro for the priviledge!

I thought she looked particularly happy this morning!

Ribes, (flowering currant) are coming into bloom this morning at Bealtaine Cottage…and they are beautiful!

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Garden, Gardening, Permaculture, photography, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ Today at Permaculture Cottage

The hens are out foraging today.

Autumn is a good time to let the girls out to roam freely all over the smallholding…and roam they do!

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried:  “Look at this Godawful mess.”  ~Art Buchwald, 1970

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Beech planted with Bamboo. 

Close planting is one of the ways to keep unwanted weeds at bay!

If you look closely you can see Cotoneaster planted to the right.

It is easier to thin plants out than wait for them to grow!

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In the true style of the Economic Terrorist I grew all these trees from seed.

That’s what I love about growing and gardens and Nature…there is no consumerism and everything continues to grow.

The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have – and that is a moral problem, not an economic one.

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other.  It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.  Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied… but written off as trash.  The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.  ~John Berger

Testament to Dad…

My father died in April of last year.

Dad loved this smallholding and bought me a sack full of bare-rooted saplings to plant here.

All the Beech trees, including this Purple Beech are a testament to his love for Nature and the environment we make within.

As these trees turn marvellous shades of reds and browns, I smile and remember my father…

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Forethought and temperance are the virtues which produced thrift, and with thrift the economic progress of society.  And those are the virtues which today are gravely compromised.  ~Adriano Tilgher


Posted in Abundance, Buddha, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized, Wine, Woodland

A Life in the Country ~ Buddha, Permaculture and Growing…

What we think, we become. Buddha

Thinking plants and gardens and growing…I suppose I have become a person who is in love with the Earth!

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. 

 Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. 

 Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. 

 Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. 

 Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. 

 But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.  ~Buddha

Permaculture wine…because, all the fruit is grown here at Bealtaine Smallholding using permaculture methods and every aspect of the wine making process is carried out in a sustainable way.

Even the demijohns have been sourced as recycled/upcycled.

I’m reading ‘Blackberry Wine,’ by Joanne Harris at present and one of the central characters, ‘Joe,’ is definitely a permie!

It’s a great read!

A reminder from a few months back…and yes I planted trees and a lot more than 50.

As for the Blackcurrants, I have taken to planting them along the ditches here and into the hedges…planting a slip at a time!

Trees are very precious to me.

I have lived here for 7 years and planted over 600 to date with plans for more!

Plant as though your life depends on it…because it does!

 We could not exist as we do if there were no trees.

 A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.

 Forests  act as  giant filters  that clean the air we breath.

 Trees Shade and Cool

Shade resulting in cooling is what a tree is best known for.

Shade from trees reduces the need for air conditioning in summer.

 In winter, trees break the force of winter winds, lowering heating costs.

 Studies have shown that parts of cities without cooling shade from trees can literally be “heat islands” with temperatures as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit higher than surrounding areas.

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Birds, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Walk on the Wild Side

Ivy loops and twirls around the trees in the Fairy Dell woodland. Ivy that feeds the birds in the depths of midwinter. Ivy that shelters the pheasant in the heat of midsummer. Strong, natural and wild…

Ivy and Lichens, so perfect in the gardens at Bealtaine that it can only be the hand of Nature…no gardener can create this perfection…

Another sacred part of the land at this permaculture smallholding…a small field of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the natural habitat of the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Nature working her pure magic and being encouraged at every turn!

Now is the time to plant Willow. This is something which is easy to do and will serve the eco-system around you well. So many insects, birds and bees depend on this plant. Simply cut a wand of Willow and push it into the ground as far as you can…about 1-2feet will do! Manure it well and it will grow fast and strong! Some people surround it with plastic to stop weeds and grass, but, personally I do not approve of this as the earth under plastic is not beneficial to wildlife and anyway, the Willow will soon shade out any unwanted weeds!

Cotoneaster…planted, but soon takes on the mantle of wildness and becomes a feeding station for birds and insects alike!

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 

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Permaculture Cottage ~ An Autumn Walk through Paradise

Bealtaine Smallholding.

September 1st 2011.

Sunlight and early Autumn…

A young Cherry Tree, grown from seed, seven years ago.

The leaves on the Dogwoods are changing colour…

Seven years ago, none of this existed…

Yes, indeed, Gaia is an incredible force…seven years ago none of this existed…now see how she thrives!

Posted in Culture, Food, Gaia, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Merging of State and Corporate Powers…

The merging of State and Corporate powers has produced nations of people who are driven by fear and greed. Fear as created by the Media and Governments, turned into loathing for other cultures…a good smokescreen that keeps people occupied! Greed for all the Corporate rubbish pushed at us through the Media.

Between the screens of fear, governments are encouraging people to eat horrendous, factory food that makes them ill and drains their energy. Once people buy into this they are then herded towards doctors and endless drugs to treate the effects of such appalling diets…they are then captives of the system that has abused them!

For the past seven years I have practiced Permaculture. Growing food, planting trees, harvesting energy, working towards self-sufficiency…and what an eye-opening experience it has all been.

Permaculture is a way out of the mess that so many people are now waking up to.

This past week has seen more visitors to Bealtaine Smallholding. All are welcome to come and look at a better way of living. Everyone who makes the journey, after several hours spent looking around, articulates the effect they have felt here…inspired to become more self-sufficient…and so many individual journeys begin, towards a better life, a lighter life with Gaia.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Permaculture Cottage ~ Dividing Rhubarb, Growing Trees and Composting!

Lots of the rhubarb has been lifted and divided recently and planted into the new beds, all loaded with fresh compost from the heaps stacked last year.

Rhubarb is an easy and early fruiting plant to grow. Although the leaves are toxic, various parts of the plants have medicinal and culinary uses.  In culinary use, fresh raw stalks are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong tart taste; most commonly the plant’s stalks are cooked and used in pies and other foods for their tart flavour. Personally, there is nothing equal to a Rhubarb Crumble, or, one of my absolute favourites…Rhubarb Jam!

Did you know that in England, the first rhubarb of the year is harvested by candlelight in dark sheds dotted around the noted “Rhubarb Triangle” of Wakefield, Leeds, and Morley,a practice that produces a sweeter, more tender stalk?

The New Vegetable Beds

The new beds are coming along well…planted out with Chard, Cucumber, Parsley, Tomato and Chives…for starters! I have spread wood ash recently on the beds and continue to build up with compost.

Chard can be harvested while the leaves are young and tender, or after maturity, when they are larger and have slightly tougher stems. Raw chard is perishes quite fast, so it’s best to pick only when about to be used!

Chard has shiny green ribbed leaves, with stems that range from white to yellow to red, depending on the cultivar. It has a slightly bitter taste. Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked  or sautéed; their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavor which is more delicate than that of cooked Spinach. I use Chard a lot in my home made soups and curries and as a replacement for Spinach.

Flowering Oregano and Chives

Both grow like weeds here at Bealtaine Cottage, with lots of Oregano now coming up in the gravel driveway. Great for drying and using in sauces and soups and breads!

More Trees Please!

Trees are planted all the year around here at the smallholding. Many are grown from seed and potted on several times before eventual planting out. Many are rescued from the roadside verges and gravel paths. Lots of these trees are given away to those who show an interest in planting. There is one thing for sure though, the Earth needs more trees. Trees protect her.

Compost this morning at Bealtaine

Now working through the second heap and already filled up the first again, so am busy as you can see!

Composting as a recognized practice dates to at least the early Roman Empire since Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79).

Traditionally, composting was to pile organic materials until the next planting season, at which time the materials would have decayed enough to be ready for use in the soil. This is the method I follow and it works every time as you can see!  The advantage of this method is that little working time or effort is required from the composter and it fits in naturally with agricultural practices in temperate climates. Personally I see no disadvantages in this technique. There is no real exposure to excessive rainfall, as the heaps are thatched with lots of straw to overwinter in peace and harmony with all the hibernating insects and frogs!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are welcomed free.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Permaculture, Sligo, Uncategorized

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 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.

Another good year for the apple harvest. This part of Ireland is great for growing fruit, as rhubarb, blackcurrants, redcurrant, plums, apples et al appear to thrive!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Eco-Living, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, News, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

50,000 Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding , West Ireland.

Thanks to all the visitors to Bealtaine Cottage! Through this blog I’ve had the opportunity to meet some great friends and welcome some of those as visitors to Bealtaine in the flesh so to speak! I hope that in the coming weeks and months to welcome many more!

Each year the gardens grow a little more and after seven years there is a sense of maturity at Bealtaine, which is quite noticable. Some trees now reach thirty feet and more and shrubs have more than filled the spaces they were planned for.

All the Mother Plants remain in situ and many of their children have spread out into new areas of the land. There are now fifth and sixth generation plants dotted around the smallholding.

Even the verge on the public road is planted with Bealtaine plants that are all the more hardy for being raised organically here on site. These are planted straight into grass using the no-dig method where only a slit is opened in the ground to receive the rootball, then closed and mulched with grass clippings to keep the plant free from pressure of grass and weeds.

Some of the blackcurrants harvested here yesterday…

Sunset through the window of the porch. Up-cycled window, up-cycled stained glass, continuously re-cycled sun.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Simple Country Style, Ireland. Cottage Gardening

The Cottage Garden Approach…

cropped-0068.jpgA cottage garden is the most  informal garden it is possible to create and the easiest to maintain, if following the permaculture, no-dig method and approach.

bee on Lavender at Bealtaine CottageLadys Mantle will grow, fall, spread, then grow some more from the centre, outwards…if allowed, and that is what happens in a cottage garden!

Sammy-Bear CatPlants are ‘allowed,’ to do their own thing to a large extent!

Informality is the only hard and fast rule and that’s a contradiction in itself!

Formal or Not

Spirea simply HAS to get unruly before it produces these exquisite spires of pink fluff!

bealtaine Cottage windowThe hedge or bush…there is both here at Bealtaine Cottage, can only be brought back into semi-formality after the flowering period!

Blue Borage

This stunning herb gets very big and quite straggly, but it’s all worth it when the flowers happen.

It self-seeds everywhere, but who cares?

It’s carelessly beautiful!

 Poppies

Once these seeds are introduced into your garden, there is no way back for splashes of pink bobbing on the morning breeze between vegetables and fruit alike.

hanging webThe Bees adore them!

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageAbsolute Anarchy…

Bealtaine CottageJust let it be!

Back door at Bealtaine CottageAt the end of the day that’s the great joy to be found in a cottage garden.

Dog Daisy benchPrepare to be surprised, shocked even!

cropped-060.jpgThere is no rule book!

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Posted in Abundance, Birds, Garden, Gardening, Orchids, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife

Biodiversity in the Garden and How to Achieve it!

Mowing the paths this morning in preparation for the visit of 19 permaculture students this Wednesday.

It should be a busy day!

The grass had grown quite high over the past few weeks as I was unable to get out to cut it because of the continual rain.

I went slow due to the amount of frogs in the grass and because it was still wet!

Planting close together allows shade and shelter to develop.

The Birch shown here, planted close-up to the Ribes, are providing shelter from the north wind, which can be cold and destructive!

You can see Kilronan Mountain in the distance.

It would be impossible for me to work 3 acres without the benefits of permaculture techniques.

I don’t do weeding except directly around vegetables!

The reality is that I simply don’t have the time for this and anyway, I find that mulching and planting takes care of the gardens more than adequately!

Small areas of lawn add interest to the gardens and allow one to look around at the plants , shrubs and flowers and to appreciate the wildlife which is absolutely integral to the health of the land and humankind on it.

This is one of the most important elements of permaculture in my view…after all there is nothing without pollinating insects!

Where would a garden be without birdsong?

Biodiversity at its best…a tiny orchid grows up alongside a young Ash sapling.

I best go back to work…nettles to pull and use as mulch!

Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Cottage, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Notes from a Cottage…West of Ireland Permaculture.


The land across the smallholding that is Bealtaine Cottage, is very wet indeed. Too wet to do much, except admire the tremendous growth that has taken place recently! The paths are closing in and so I spent about two hours this morning out with my shears, clipping frantically between showers…about a third done, not bad!

Despite the rain the redcurrants are on course for ripening at their usual pace and time…around the first week in June or thereabouts. Although Bealtaine has become something of a wildlife sanctuary over the seven years of its’ existence, most of the fruits are left on the bushes and trees and have never required netting…that’s what abundance does, provides plenty for all!

Bealtaine has hundreds of metres of paths…one day I will measure them all!

Part of the front gardens on the north side of the smallholding, today.

The cottage sits snugly in the permaculture gardens, zones 1-5.

Dog Daisies on the driveway, with lots of insects on and around them. I shake seed from the flowers onto the gravel, so each year they spread a little further…and they’re wild flowers!

Brilliant colour on the Valerian, another seeded flower on the driveway. Each year I shake more seed further down the driveway and these beautiful flowers just appear!

The delicate blooms of LondonPride line the steps at the back of the cottage. These are perennials and spread every year, now lining the steps and spilling out over them.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Climate, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Woodland

Photos from a Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland.

Greening up in the East garden…the sunshine makes it look surreal!

Oh dear…my blog site is playing up, not allowing me to upload pics properly. It’s inserting one pic on top of another and I don’t know what to do! No real speed to connect with much as this is dial-up! Sorry folks…will continue to post!

All I can say is that the pics are all of Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding!

It’s a beautiful morning here in west Ireland. Summer appears to have come early. The mountains look baby blue this morning, caught in a heat haze.

I shall try posting later and hope the problem is fixed. it was the same yesterday evening!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Woodland

Weekend Permaculture Tree Planting at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

 

Blossom on the Plum and Cherry trees continue to develop at Bealtaine Smallholding.

As I type this blog on a calm and warm Friday evening I am amazed at the continual good weather experienced here in the west of Ireland since the middle of March. The climate is changing…that I know.

Peach blossom covers the tree in the tunnel and all the seedlings are growing well. The bottom line is that food is very easy to grow. A small warm space is all that’s needed to get seedlings up and ready for planting out.

The Fairy Dell is now covered in green growth. Primroses, Mosses, Violets and Ferns are all competing with hundreds of other species to grow. The scents emanating from the warm earth below my feet as I walk the woodland are nothing less than intoxicating!

This is the willow wreath made here in December. I will strip back the winter foliage of Larch and Ivy and re-dress the willow base for the Easter celebrations. This Willow wreath will keep for several years and can be dressed for seasonal celebrations.

The leaves on the Amelanchier tree are out and making colour in the garden.

The weekend is here and I have another five trees to plant. These are all pot grown from seeds, so can be planted at any time of the year as long as they are kept well watered!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Fairies, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, News, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Wildlife, Woodland

Permaculture Health, Wealth and Abundance…May the Force be With You!

Apple blossom this morning at Bealtaine.

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!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Spring, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture Pics on Sunday ~ Growing Ireland!

Bog Oak…Cockerel Crowing.

Mound of Sedum.

Celandines.

An old fireplace.

Keep on planting!