Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Country Living, Earth, Edible Gardens, Gardens, Nature, Permaculture, Summer

Summer in the Garden

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Being able to upload 31 photos is a real treat for me, and, I hope you will get a taste of Bealtaine Cottage today.

DSC09767I have snapped these minutes ago and come straight in to upload and write this blog…taking time en route to give Jack a cracker treat.

As you can see he’s fully engrossed with chomping!

There is an abundance of Poppies this year…these are just outside the back door and almost ready to burst open!

DSC09773Thanks and blessings to my dear friends and supporters of the Bealtaine Cottage project.

It is so very heartening to read the wonderful feedback and special messages of support.

DSC09774There was enough rain overnight to half-fill the water barrels and all is looking lush this morning! DSC09775Aquilegia is in full bloom and has grown well from an extra scattering of seeds I did last Autumn. DSC09776Here is the perennial Yellow Poppy.

This seed sold out fast last year, so I shall be harvesting as much as I can this summer.

It’s a much smaller, more delicate bloom, but strong and hardy!

DSC09777I’ve moved potted seedlings and more robust plants out of the tunnel.

Planting will be wherever I can find a space! 

DSC09778The symbolism of the Goddess is not a parallel structure to the symbolism of God the Father.
The Goddess does not rule the world…She is the world!
Manifest in each of us, She can be known internally by every individual, in all her magnificent glory.
~Starhawk

DSC09779The Permaculture design and planting at Bealtaine is not just inspired by the Goddess, but is the Goddess manifest…as natural and intuitive as the energy that flows from Mother Earth herself.

DSC09780This is the difference between Permaculture and Goddess-inspired Permaculture.

The spirit is fed as much as the stomach! 

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Each Summer the harvest grows more abundant. Redcurrants hang in droplets waiting to ripen and reveal their jewel-like qualities.

DSC09786Hawthorn has opened…

DSC09787Garden paths become enclosed, dark, shady places…

DSC09788The Spindle bush sits covered with blossom yet to open…

DSC09790“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer.  My bank of wild grass is majestic
and full of music.  It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.”
– Violette Leduc 

DSC09791To meet it — nameless as it is —
Without celestial Mail —
Audacious as without a Knock
To walk within the Veil.”
–   Emily Dickinson

DSC09792Lilac is open…

DSC09793“That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
–   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

DSC09794DSC09795DSC09796“Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me,
who could ask for more?”
–   Bev Adams 

DSC09802“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most
beautiful words in the English language.”
–  Henry James 

“The smell of manure, of sun on foliage, of evaporating water, rose to my head; two steps farther,
and I could look down into the vegetable garden enclosed within its tall pale of reeds – rich chocolate
earth studded emerald green, frothed with the white of cauliflowers, jeweled with the purple globes
of eggplant and the scarlet wealth of tomatoes.”
–  Doris Lessing

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celts, Ireland

As Pleiades Rose…

bealtainecottage.com open gardens 019

A fabulous sunset on Bealtaine 2015.

A Bealtaine filled with much love and sunshine, as visitors came and went all through the day. bealtainecottage.com open gardens 018

First arrivals walked up the lane at 10am, with the last leaving at 8pm.

At Bealtaine the star cluster known as Pleiades rises in the early morning sky, just before dawn. Bealtaine Cottage interior design

The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus.

Bealtaine, was always regarded as a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest.

www.bealtaine cottage.com

This morning, as the Pleiades rose, I walked the gardens, tea in one hand, steadying myself by holding onto trees, as I gazed up into the brightening sky.

Today was a Bealtaine of great renewal as the Summer moved into the Northern hemisphere.

bealtainecottage.com open gardens 022

I want to say a massive “Thank You!” to those who made the journey in person and especially the good people who sent beautiful wishes and messages from all over the world.

There are times when I feel totally over-whelmed by the love and support you show for this little piece of Ireland.

Today was such a time.

Bless you and thank you from the bottom of my heart XXX Colette

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You can subscribe to the new website, Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, by clicking the link at the top of this page.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Edible Gardens, Fairies, Frugal Living, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Nature, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Summer, Uncategorized, Wine

Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.

Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!

Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Gardens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Poetry

Goddess Rising

www.bealtainecottage.comSummer swells; the Earth heaves a mantle of green over all the land.

www.bealtainecottage.comSwallows dip and turn above tall grass.

www.bealtainecottage.com (2)I see the Goddess rising…

www.bealtainecottage.com (3)Light dances at midnight across the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com (4)Long swathes of ivy swing from tall branches of goat willow.

www.bealtainecottage.com (5)The Fairy Wood is almost impassable.

www.bealtainecottage.com (6)I see the Goddess rising…

www.bealtainecottage.com (7)Blackcurrants plump to ripening, as apples emerge.

www.bealtainecottage.com (8)The summer is here in all her glory; a feast for the eyes.

www.bealtainecottage.com (9)The Earth, Mother Earth, the Goddess… rises.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Ireland, Spirituality, Summer, Uncategorized

Bealtaine Eve in Ireland

 

The hen-house is all quiet on the Eve of Bealtaine.
The hen-house is all quiet on the Eve of Bealtaine.

 

The rain taps on the cottage roof as the Eve of Bealtaine draws in.

All the dry, warm weather is ended abruptly with heavy, rhythmic rain.

The lushness of Bealtaine Eve here at Bealtaine Cottage is merely a prelude to Summer and all to come...
The lushness of Bealtaine Eve here at Bealtaine Cottage is merely a prelude to Summer and all to come…

 

This Summer’s Eve will be freshened with Atlantic rain and the dry earth will release scents of green…yes, indeed, colour has a scent!

Honesty, Lunaria in full bloom this day
Honesty, Lunaria in full bloom this day

 

Bealtaine is the oldest festival in all of Europe and was historically celebrated on the Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath.

looking deep into the gardens of Bealtaine
looking deep into the gardens of Bealtaine

 

This ancient ceremonial hill was, and remains, a sacred place and one of the most significant places of ancient ritual in all of Ireland.

Apple blossom on Bealtaine Eve at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom on Bealtaine Eve at Bealtaine Cottage

 

This was the home of the Goddess Eriu…a place of High Kings and Tribes, a gathering place, where laws were passed and old allegiance re-newed!  

Bealtaine Eve by the Laurel Arch
Bealtaine Eve by the Laurel Arch

 

Bealtaine“Beacon-fires lit upon its summit could be seen over a quarter of Ireland, and in most directions the hills upon the horizons could relay the message of the beacon as far as the sea-coast.  The claim of Uisneach to be the centre of Ireland is thus quite justifiable, even though it may not be mathematically accurate.”[Macalister]

Bealtaine Eve in an Irish  Permaculture Garden.
Bealtaine Eve in an Irish Permaculture Garden.

 

In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer and the bright half of the year started with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.

Seedlings and new growth
Seedlings and new growth

 

May Summer be long and joyful for you, with a great harvest all the way through.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Family, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Personal, Summer, Woodland

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Posted in Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Crafts, Gardens, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Thoughts, Winter

Fairy Lights

www.bealtainecottage.com 009

Winter sunlight turns bare branches, that drip with rain, into fascinating fairy lights.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Silver prisms of fantasy, dangling precariously from thin Birch trees.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The days of light and dark are confused with bright full moons, illuminating the bare landscape…

www.bealtainecottage.com 015This is a delightful time of year, as the sun makes its steady progress downwards, ever down…

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Light is delicate and unpredictable, sometimes overwhelming in its glow, at others, just a whisper of the day.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Entire worlds are captured in water droplets.

Fitting too, as water and sun give life.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026The coppicing continues and long branches are hauled up from the gardens to the dry environment of the veranda.

This is next year’s fuel for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036Seeds continue to be sorted and packaged.

www.bealtainecottage.com 037These are special little packs requested for Yuletide gifts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Poppies are easy to sow…simply sprinkle!

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Most of the second run of Christmas booklets have been posted… all over the world! http://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

The few remaining will not sit here for long.

www.bealtainecottage.com 020It’s strange sorting seeds at this time of year, as it seems that summer was only yesterday…gosh but the time passes quickly!

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 Abundance, Angels, Cats, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Tea, Wine

Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

JackThe permaculture harvest continues, along with the increasing numbers of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage.

Garlic is harvested, dried and stored…just in time for re-planting the crop for next year, in just a few more weeks.

As the world teeters once more on the brink of chaos, in the forms of war and nuclear contamination from Fukushima, getting the harvest home and planning for next Spring is a way of keeping one’s sanity!

It’s also a way of nurturing optimism and hope for the future!

kilronan mountainTomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel.

I let them do their own thing and they have produced wildly!

All the tomatoes are late, but then the summer was dithering in and out of Spring this year!

Even the Perlagoniums in the photo above are in late flower after several months of sleepy time!

porchAs the summer fades into Autumn, the light changes inside and around the cottage in the most delightful ways.

Shadows prevail in unfamiliar places, making all look quite different.

workshopOnions, Blackcurrants, Peas and Broad beans are all stored for the year.

I am continuing to use the remainder of last year’s Blackcurrants!

More wine I think!

I was invited to give a talk to the Green Party recently and am invited to give another talk at an Arts festival in Connemara…along with a wine making demonstration, so will be finding use for excess Blackcurrant crops!

evening sun reflectionsShadow play on the door of the Lodge…isn’t this beautiful?

This is a good place to dry herbs when the stove is lit, as it gets very hot very fast!

wine, kitchenI noticed that there is a bumper crop of Blackberries on the hedgerows this Autumn.

I looked up some old recipes for using Blackberries, so will be collecting them and saving them in the freezer, ready to use in a plethora of delicious recipes!

Food for free and lots of it!

The new compost heap is being stacked up daily, so am already thinking about next planting season!

cup of tea!There is a slight chill in the air, heralding Autumn as it transits into cooler times.

It’s a good idea to wear cotton scarves around shoulders and neck and take them off indoors!

Along with all the food harvested, there is an abundance of seeds to bring in and herbs to dry and store.

This is also the time to begin collecting tree seeds to sow in pots…something I do every year!

missyAs I work, show visitors around, harvest and continue building my workshop, Missy snoozes, oblivious to it all!

Posted in Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized

The Magic of Herbs

 Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. In this video, I show you some of the Herbs I grow in the tunnel.

Herbs have a variety of uses including culinary, medicinal, and in some cases spiritual usage.

 Culinary herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts and provide flavour rather than substance to food.

Many Herbs are perennial and easy to grow, coming up year after year with little or no effort on the part of the gardener. Here are a few of the Herbs I grow and use…I will include many more as the summer progresses, as well as ways of using and saving them.

Just click on the link to see today’s video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvxwWHHiizY&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Posted in Birds, Bloom, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Remembering Romania…

Gunnera Manicata in the garden today is beginning to unfurl it’s leaves from under the cover of last year’s leaves which have protected the crown of the plant over the cold, winter months.

There is a complex eco-system at work here, under the decaying leaves of last summer

The eco-system is a complex web linking plants, animals humans and every other life form in what we call the “biosphere.”

Many aspects of this early Spring call to mind my trip to Romania in 2002.

I spent ten weeks in that beautiful country and it was there that I made up my mind to return to Ireland and a simpler life in the country!

Romania is a stunningly, beautiful country and it’s people are wonderful.

I stayed with the Pancs family in Arad and travelled to Borsa in the north of the country as well as many towns and villages in between.

At this time of the year in the west of Ireland, I recall the advent of Spring as I drove from the far north of Romania, near the Ukraine border, down into the south and Arad, near the border with Hungary…very fond memories indeed!

Daffodils continue to open at Bealtaine…

The daffodils have bloomed all over Bealtaine this year, starting way back in January!


The very mild winter has had a positive effect on all the plants and trees here, with many coming into bloom very early indeed!


As I type this there is a plethora of birdsong outside the cottage.

This is a variety of Willow that I am unsure of in terms of name…it has red stems as you can see. Any enlightenment would be good!

Sweet, little, wild Primroses, chancing their luck by growing in the centre of the driveway! Each Spring their number increases as Bealtaine Cottage remains chemical and pollutant free! 

Photinia, or Red Robin is at it’s best right now as the new leaves make a show of themselves!

And so the beginning of another week at Bealtaine Cottage…it promises dry weather and lots of tasks to be completed before the time passes on into summer…for that may be just around the corner!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, History, Ireland, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Uncategorized

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…

Posted in Abundance, Eco-Living, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Passionate Gardeners and Outdoor Living

Passionate and gardening are two words that seem to fit seemlessly together.

There were three visitors to Bealtaine this morning and as walking around became enthused to talk of their own gardens! One had brought a photo album to show me…and it was well worth a look, as there were shots taken from just about every angle of her small garden in Dublin. it reminded me of a garden I once tended in London. It was an old garden, created when the house was first built around 1795, so the porportions were conducive to the size of the house…a Georgian Artisan Cottage.

We all had tea on the veranda, deciding that the outdoors was where it was at!

When I lived in London it became a Saturday ritual to go to the local park and the Teahouse therein for an early morning coffee…just to be outdoors! Summer and Winter alike, the same glorious ritual applied and more often than not it was shared with friends and family.

It is always the little cafe or teashop I go in search of…the big franchise, multi-national , always the same, just does NOT do it for me…!

Trying to control nature is not an aspect of personality of the passionate gardener…well, not that I have found! Valerian has found its own way up by the side of the tool-shed and there it will continue! Putting down a mulch or a sheet to stop growth of weeds is as much control as I have it in me to exercise…apologetically I may add…

Mulching around a garden sculpture, (home-made), using freshly shredded waste…

And mulch will keep the no-dig beds looking neat and work-free!

Some of the new beds this morning…mulched paths in between work really well and cost zero to make!

Posted in Abundance, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Uncategorized

Permaculture Sunday…Apples, Sweetcorn and more seedlings

More logs wait to be carted around to the barn and stacked ready for the cold winter days ahead!

Valerian grown from seed continues to flower and will do all summer and into the autumn all the time that the seedheads are removed…

Something else grown from seed here at Bealtaine…this gorgeous Poppy this morning in full bloom, all red and frilly like the Folly Bergere!

Blackcurrants and Sage in the Nursery area, again grown from seeds, so 100% permaculture at Bealtaine plants to come. Both of these plants grow very easily from seed scattered into limestone gravel and left to overwinter, before being pricked out and potted on…how simple is that?

This is one of the many apple trees snapped this morning. The harvest is coming on well, with plans for lots of Apple Chutney! The trees continue to be fed with mulched comfrey and nettles.

Painted Mountain, Native American Sweetcorn is a real success in the tunnel, with lots of heads coming to maturity. Definitely one to save seed from!

The Aloe Vera on the sitting room window has had babies!

Posted in Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Summer, Wild Flowers

Days of Wine and Roses…West of Ireland Permaculture.

Continuing to empty the freezer of last summer’s huge harvest of black and red currants…so, it’s more wine on the make!

Colours in the gardens continue to develop with very little need for flowers…and those that are in bloom are strong perennials that are here to stay!

Roses hang heavy around the veranda. Valerian comes up through the gravel, astounding me year after year…where does it get its food from?

The colours and shadows of summer begin to play with the light on the window ledges.

I now add the yeast to the must and it makes a real difference in the fermentation process of the wine…speed it ip considerably!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Culture, Current Affairs, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Politics, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Woodland

Extreme Weather in Ireland…AGAIN! Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage May 2012 010The weather has been extremely dry over recent weeks.

Bush fires are raging in counties Donegal and Mayo as I write.

There can be no more wavering on the issue of climate change…it is real!

May 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 010There are very low levels of water in my spring well so I have to ration water use in the cottage.

Rain is promised for the middle to end of the week…bring it on!

Colours of the Copper Beech trees are deepening along the bank at the back of the cottage.

Planting deciduous trees like these will ensure that soil is not eroded and the land is protected from monsoon type rains which are becoming more frequent here in Ireland.

May 2011 Bealtaine 013Ireland, once known for its soft rain…

There is a distinct canopy emerging at Bealtaine, a forest garden is taking shape, and with it a magical landscape.

I see permaculture more and more as the only real solution to the massive environmental devastation that is happening across the globe.

The Earth needs to be re-forested…fast!

There are 60 fire engines out across N.Ireland this evening fighting wild fires on the hills.

Some homes in Donegal have already been evacuated.

May 2011 Bealtaine 006It is difficult to come to terms with this freakish weather on May 1…except that extreme weather in Ireland is no longer freakish and more and more the norm., Worrying!

Posted in Culture, Ecology, Frugal Living, Herbs, History, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Woodland

Permaculture Zero…My Two Favourite Words! Bealtaine Smallholding West Ireland.

Willow arches, all around Bealtaine, have greened up and may need their first trim of the year…about two trims a summer are enough to keep the shape!Comfrey…this has been planted all over the smallholding. It grows wild in damp, shady places, near streams and rivers. Historically this powerful plant has been used to knitting broken bones back together, hence the names: Boneset, Knitbone and Bruisewort. Interestingly enough, research has discovered that Comfrey contains Allantoin, which actively promotes the growth of new cells! Leaves of the plant are applied to bruises, sprains and broken bones.The rose on the veranda is growing in two tyres filled with home made compost and topped up each spring.Roses about to bloom on the veranda…but we desperately need rain…west Ireland is suffering drought conditions at present!Steps from the vegetable and fruit intensive gardens down into the woodland. These were made from recycled timber boards, hammered into place, then backfilled with compacted ash from the stove. Cost:Zero…love that word!

Posted in Family, History, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Old Stone Cottages and Windswept Mountains in the West of Ireland…Bealtaine Permaculture

Kilronan Mountain melts away into the valley below on a glorious easter sunday evening… The land below stretches west to Sligo Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, south to Boyle and the land of Roscommon  and east towards Dublin City. Loughs are too numerous to mention, villages and townlands with ancient names that stretch back into the mists of legends. Beauty that is both exhilarating and tragic… Abandoned amidst the bleak beauty of Kilronan Mountain, it’s empty windows gazing out across an early summer landscape.Ireland is dotted with these beautiful and evocative old stone cottages. It is heartbreaking to think of the skill and hard work involved in building these unique, vernacular style homes…and like this one, sometimes in the most windswept landscapes imaginable.As the evening draws in and the air begins to chill, it’s time to leave the mountain behind and head home to the warmth of Bealtaine Cottage and a mug of hot tea.

Posted in Beltane, Climate, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Easter Sunday Wildflowers and Butterflies ~ Permaculture in Ireland at Bealtaine Cottage

The delicate an exquisite flowers on the Dogwoods are beautiful close-up. For colour all winter, flowers in summer and berries during the autumn, dogwoods are hard to beat.Wildflowers…the most delicate and delicious blooms at Bealtaine Cottage…Elderflower Cordial, mmm!The time of the butteflies is very near. Last summer seen a huge upturn in the butterfly population as the garden matured. This summer should be good for butterflies too, although some of the buddleia was killed off in the prolonged frost of last winter. Seed heads from last summer. All so-called weeds are in fact valuable herbs, some of which we have not yet found a use for. It’s amazing just how much knowledge we have lost over the post-industrial time, a mere 150 years!

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, Cottage, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland

Violets and Wild Strawberries…Early Summer in Ireland…Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding

This morning at Bealtaine…blue skies, sunshine and just about the best weather this year…

Walking Jack is such a pleasant task on such a morning!

Willow arches are coming alive in the Bog garden. The greening of the Willow is always a sign of early summer and today is warm and sunny!

Water levels in the ground are dropping, but the Spring Well continues to feed the ponds in the Lower Gardens. Blackcurrant was planted in raised areas in this area and are doing well, with lots of blossom promising good fruit later on.

Green Beech continues to hold onto the last of the leaves from last year. Buds are thickening and will open in the next few days.

Wild Violets peeping up between Wild Strawberries on a bank near the Fairy Dell.

Posted in Uncategorized

Lovage and Lettuce…Easy Permaculture Crops in Ireland

The view from my window a few moments ago.

Mist is clearing upwards from the valley floor up towards the top of Kilronan Mountain.

There’s great promise in the day.

Frost has melted into the heat of the morning as the temperature rises…

As the buds burst open and the blossom thickens, the planting grows dense and shade descends below…the earth is once more protected from the impending heat of the summer.

Leaves opening on the dogwoods.

This is a good time of the year to feed plants like these.

I make up a sludge from chicken droppings that have been left to ferment.

Lovage is growing fast at the moment and will continue to grow, reaching heights of over seven feet by midsummer!

This is a perennial herb.

The flavour is intense…spiced celery and strong!

I use it in soups and curries.

I grow most of my summer lettuce in hanging baskets for a slug-free happy growing system!

This is one recently planted out and hanging in the tunnel to get ahead before hanging outside.

This is a lovely and easy way to grow all the organic lettuce you need, from now until early October!