Recipes, Cats and Ponds

First of all, the recipes have just been posted over at Bealtaine Cottage Kitchen on the Good Life website…and here’s a link:

https://bealtainecottage.org/bealtaine-cottage-kitchen/

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Sammy-Bear is well and truly zoned out here on the sofa.

dsc03201I was going to sit down, for I’ve been out most of the day at the pond, finishing clearing the pond-weed! Oh…at last…job done! dsc03202I stood and watched his restful sleep and decided to sit elsewhere! dsc03203He’s a lovely boy who deserves his comfort! dsc03204The signs of season change and early autumn are now quite visible from the windows of the cottage, with lots of yellow appearing on the young Ash trees. By the way, there are lots of Ash seeds for sale and these trees are very, very easy to grow…even as Bonsai! Here’s the link to the seed site…

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

dsc03229You can see from the following pics the amount of clearing I’ve done.

dsc03211It was a mammoth task and I’m jolly glad it’s over! dsc03212The next task involves continuing to clear around the banks and the woodland around the pond.dsc03228

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The water is cloudy but this should settle in the next day or so.dsc03233Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.  Buddha

dsc03232Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. 

John Wooden dsc03220dsc03221I have a mind to just get on with things…head down into the wind, not looking to right nor left and working until I’m exhausted.dsc03230

dsc03207dsc03209This is probably why I have refused the help of others and never allowed woofers to stay here…I’ve always been stubborn!

However, it must be said that I love a challenge and hard work is good for mind and body, regardless of age. dsc03206dsc03205Rebellion against your handicaps gets you nowhere.  Self-pity gets you nowhere.  One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world–making the most of one’s best.  

Harry Emerson Fosdick

dsc03235dsc03236dsc03237Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.  There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

The Goddess in the Well

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Yesterday was a special day for me!

The beautiful, ethereal mountain that is Ben Bulben will give you a clue…

DSC09886I travelled to Sligo, passing along the shores of Lough Gill, to collect a very special ring, that was made for me by gifted Silversmith, Mirjam Schiller at 

https://www.facebook.com/Wildheart-290973244286031/timeline

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My daughter, Cara, was driving, so we stopped by the shores of the Lough, made famous by W.B.Yeats in his poetry.

DSC09883DSC09884Birthdays come and go and I have enjoyed sixty of them, all in the month of October, near Samhain…so this, along with a second ring as yet unfinished, marked my sixty Summers on this precious, beautiful Earth.

DSC09885DSC09888I had deliberated for some time over what I should spend my birthday money on…have always loved silver and, very importantly, dearly wanted to place a much maligned symbol of the Goddess where I would always see it! 

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The story of the snakes being banished from Ireland represents a dark place in the history of this land…for it was the Goddess who was banned, to be replaced with an image dominated by Patriarchy… that of Virgin Mother Mary.13240026_1157744440942236_3639364493354802613_nThe Great Goddess often had snakes as her symbol—sometimes twining around her sacred staff, as in ancient Crete—and they were worshiped as guardians of her mysteries of birth and regeneration.

DSC09893Bealtaine Cottage encapsulates those two energies…birth and regeneration…of Mother Earth herself, in all her wild, unstoppable beauty.

DSC09889Wildheart was the place I had to go… 

DSC09891DSC09890The journey back was auspicious, in that we got lost. 

DSC09897And so, driving along a quiet road, we were led to an ancient Holy Well…much older than any religion…

DSC09898Tobernalt Holy Well is a place of reflection and nurturing serenity. 

DSC09896It predates the advent of Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. 

DSC09895Its importance as a meeting place and a sustainer of life predates even our Celtic ancestors.

DSC09894Tobernalt is a natural spring well that established itself in a primeval forest. 

It is situated at the South West corner of Lough Gill in the North Sligo Barony of Carbury. 

DSC09899This was where I blessed my ring, submerging it in the Spring Water that flowed from the hill, away into the mystical depths of Lough Gill and the Lake Isle of Inishfree. 

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A New Era at Bealtaine Cottage

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Smoke rises into a clear blue January sky.

The birds are singing like it’s Spring and black ice covers the road by the gate. www.bealtainecottage.com 012My friend Michael is here this morning to finally remove the toilet and install my compost loo.

The septic tank is, from today, a grey water tank!

www.bealtainecottage.com 008I have been using the compost system for the past year, keeping the flush toilet for visitors, but this is the time to finally say goodbye to a system that no longer makes any sense!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019Those who visit, or stay at Bealtaine Cottage, will experience a neat loo, that is both efficient and hygienic, adding to the environment rather than being a source of pollution.

I shall write a blog and post pics of the new loo in a few days time…

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Meanwhile, there are signs of life all the way through the permaculture gardens, with Daffodils pushing up through the more sheltered earth under the Beech trees.

www.bealtainecottage.com 027The sun is not yet high enough on the horizon to reach the paths in the Bog Garden, many of which will remain frozen for weeks to come.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026In the sheltered parts of the woodland, Ferns remain green and quite lush.

Many keep their life until new fronds unfurl in late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005The Willow continues to be cut, tied and stacked in the barn.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Many of the Fedges will need to be pruned before Spring and vigorous new growth that follows.

This Fedge borders the stream that runs from the Spring Well.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Many of the Bird Boxes around the gardens will need to be water-proofed with whatever I have to hand…usually a coat or two of gloss paint.

This does not seep into the wood and so does not harm nestlings in the box.

                                  Many thanks for the continuing support for the work of this Bealtaine Cottage  website.

Blessings

Permaculture Orchard and Spring Well

New mulched permaculture orchardAn update on the new orchard…the mulching continues as the blossom breaks on the little trees.

Permaculture Orchard at Bealtaine CottageLots of nettles have been chopped and layered on the mulch!

mulching the orchardThe path is being extended, as I find time to do a little more and a little more!

Look who has made a little bed for himself on the weed suppressing mat…

New apple trees in the permaculture orchardThis project will continue into the autumn as I have several other projects on the go, including the new kitchen floor.

Herbs in tyres at Bealtaine CottageHerbs are lovely flowers to grow and these are growing just outside the Lodge.

Chives, Feverfew, Comfrey, Clary Sage and Ox-Eye Daisies all happily growing together!

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe hen house this morning…I leave the girls in long enough for them to lay.

This is the entrance from the new orchard.

I have just returned from cleaning out the well up on the hill.

The water tank had stopped filling and had, in fact dried out.

A visit to the well confirmed my suspicion that the pipe had clogged up with plant life!

I can hear the water filling in the tank in the loft as I type.

The hens at Bealtaine CottageThe hens are all in good shape now and are the most passive and calm little creatures I have ever encountered.

Hens at Bealtaine CottageJust adorable!

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine CottageThe Lime trees are now in leaf.

I have discovered that these trees grow very well from cuttings!

Pollarded Willow at Bealtaine CottageWillow is growing thick and fast on the pollarded trees.

This will grow up to 15 feet high, making great fedging lengths this autumn.

After the Flood…

The rain has ceased.

The sun has made an appearance and the streams are gushing forth from the hill behind the cottage.

I have just been out and captured the sights and sounds of the water on video.

The stream bed that snakes it’s way through the Fairy dell is brimming with sparkling rainwater.

It’s hurtling along and moving through the Spring Well in the wood.

This usually only happens during the winter months, but Ireland is seeing more and more heavy, monsoon type rains fall during the second half of the summer.

In a land noted for it’s “soft rain,” this is a clear indicator of Climate Change…from whatever cause!

I am not prepared to argue something that is quite tangible and evidential for me!

I am adapting to this and preparing for this downfall each year.

The water barrels are full to the brim and drawing down the afternoon sun.

Happily I live on a hill  and have constructed ponds on the low ground to capture and direct the excess water.

The first pond acts a silt-catcher and I harvest many buckets of wonderful food for the gardens there as the summer ends.

It also provides a huge crop of wild mint…the strongest and purest one can get anywhere on this sacred Earth!

So, rather than moan about the heavy rains and complain of flood, find ways to divert this excess water into useful projects, for that is the permaculture way forward!

Next?

Water-cress beds!

In the meantime, here is today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8hE5czFLcE

Friday Pics from Bealtaine Cottage

Mossy Angel in the Bog Garden today.

Dogwoods in the Bog Garden near the lower pond.

Amazing heaps of frog spawn in the upper pond…it’s that big black area!

Japanese Quince in the Bog Garden is flowering today…

Dogwoods come back to life…

The Spring Well in the Fairy Dell.

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Permaculture Cottage ~ Spring Wells, Wisdom and the Hopi Indians…

First of all a BIG TA VERY MUCH for all who have visited my blog over the past year. I began in the middle of August 2010 and in little over a year, 70,000 of you have made the journey to Bealtaine Cottage at Ballyfermoyle, here in the beautiful West of Ireland…well, actually, a very great many of you have visited many times over and subscribed to the blog.  Hopefully in the next year the blog will expand even more in some exciting ways…ssshhh, it’s still a secret!

Fuschia and Fedges grow side by side. Both are grown from slips or cuttings. It will soon be time to harvest the willow and plant more cuttings, which is really the story of these gardens. Planting has been ongoing now for seven years, since day one of Bealtaine…

So much rain and so much water gushing along the stream beds in the Bog Garden…the rain brings music!

Walking up towards the woodland that is the Fairy Dell, through new plantings of Willow and Ash…

Spring water gushes up from the well in the woodland.

Deep within the Fairy Dell…has midsummer really passed that quickly?

Perfect apples…never ever sprayed, no chemicals and a bountiful harvest every year!

The Wisdom of the Hopi Indians…something to share with you, just click on the link…http://youtu.be/zNlNUJcEcoY

Have a great weekend! Plant a tree for the Mother…Gaia… x

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Stormy Evening at the Cottage

A storm is making its way in from the Atlantic as I write this and a cold wind blows through the window. I took these pics earlier today when it was positively hot and humid. It’s strange how quickly the weather can change! The ground is very dry, the spring well runs low and lots of rain is needed, so I am happy to see the storm blow in!

Painted Mountain Corn, Poppies and Feverfew are jostling for space in the tunnel. Still high summer in many respects and flowers continue to bud and bloom.

Here in Ireland, Corn, or Maize is usually called “sweet corn”. Sweet corn is harvested earlier and eaten as a vegetable rather than a grain. This one that I am growing is from the Native American seed bank of Corn, known as “Painted Mountain.”Corn has shallow roots and is susceptible to droughts, intolerant of nutrient-deficient soils, and prone to be uprooted by severe winds, so growing it in the protective atmosphere of the tunnel makes good sense.

It has taken two years, but finally, the Leek has seeded, with multiple seed heads like this one…really ornamental and worth growing on as flowers I think!  Leeks are easy to grow from seed and tolerate standing in the ground for an extended harvest. Leeks usually reach maturity in the autumn months, and they have few pest or disease problems. Leeks can be bunched and harvested early when they are about the size of a finger or pencil, or they can be thinned and allowed to grow to a much larger mature size. Really tasty in soups, so I’m inclined to leave them in the ground and pull them as needed.

Leek is typically chopped into slices 5–10 mm thick. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek. There are different ways of preparing the vegetable:

  • Boiled, which turns it soft and mild in taste.
  • Fried, which leaves it more crunchy and preserves the taste.
  • Raw, which can be used in salads, doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient.

The veggie garden, all new and improved with the terraced beds…just waiting to see if the terracing directs the water when a storm hits…as it may do very soon!In the Andes farmers have used terraces known as andenes for over a thousand years to farm potatoes, maize and other native crops. The Inca also used terraces for soil conservation, along with a system of canals and aqueducts to direct water through dry land and increase fertility. This has become part of the approach for growing in Permaculture…conserving and adapting to the environment as found, rather than trying to change the lay of the land!

One of the Poppies in the tunnel today, all papery and delicate…

Friday Morning Coffee at Bealtaine…Permaculture Life

Another weekend looms large and the weather is fab! Just wandering around the land here, snapping pics as I go. Paying homage to Gaia and all her splendour…it never ceases to bowl me over! This is the Fairy Dell and all is well!

Reflections in the Spring Well. The water continues to bubble up from below the Earth. Can never understand why the earth is called ‘dirt?’

It’s cool down here in the woodland of the Dell…so very hot and still in the open today.

Forget-Me-Nots in the long grass as I walk towards the ponds in the Bog Garden.

And Valerian near the cottage door in the early morning sun.

Have a good weekend everyone!