It Still Takes My Breath Away!

dsc04149Each morning I arise and embark on a series of rituals, that culminate with a hot cup of tea in one hand, my camera in the other and faithful Jack by my side.

dsc04146It is then that I step out…

dsc04145This has been my ritual, though not always with Jack, for the past twelve years.

dsc04147And so it continues…

dsc04133What has manifested here on this little piece of sacred Earth still takes my breath away!

dsc04134I touch base with it as many times a day as I can!

dsc04132I take thousands of photographs every year, for the sheer beauty of what Mother Earth can do on three acres of “poor land,” is beyond incredible!

dsc04126And this has manifested in one of the last remaining countries on Earth that continues to refer to itself as “Mother.”

dsc04125“Mother Ireland”

dsc04124The Great Mother, Mother Earth, Goddess, Creatrix!

dsc04089The Celts were one of the last remaining tribes of the Goddess…in that they recognised the spirit of the Earth as female. 

dsc04118There lies a message in that…

dsc04115I believe it to be simply this…”I am alive and filled with joy and waiting…”

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View from the cottage in 2004 

dsc04083And earlier today…

Those who answer her call become immersed in joy and surrounded with beauty…and so it is.

It still takes my breath away!

Magical Spirits

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It’s a wet evening.

It’s a cool evening too.

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I’ve lit the stove and the kettle begins to sing on the top.

It’s a tea and toast kind of evening.

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I was thinking about Fairies today as I walked through the Fairy Wood.

It lies below the cottage, in a natural dell and is a very special place.

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There’s a Fairy tree in the centre of the woodland with a huge stone underneath it’s branches.

I’ve often wondered about the history and meaning of that tree and stone.

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I have been told that such a tree planted by a stone can mark the resting place of a person whose body was not allowed to be interred in the graveyard…the churches had all sorts of rules regarding who could and could not be interred in so called sacred ground…unbaptised babies, suicides etc…all of great sadness and shown little mercy…

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And so, while Jack plays with his football…for some reason he believes I want to steal it…I think about this tree, the Fairy Wood and…fairies…

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Fairies are widely regarded as magical spirits who can help humanity get closer to Nature and embrace harmony in the natural environment.

To the Celts, nature embodied the sovereignty of the Goddess.

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In comparison, within the church view, Nature is widely regarded as something amoral and fearsome, needing to be dominated and put to service.

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All this has led us away from our deep relationship with Mother Earth…we are now in a state of flux and near abandonment and we feel this deeply, with some more aware of the root of our unhappiness and others less, or in severe denial.

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“The creatures I seek do not want to be seen.”
Annie Dillard

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“These folk are hewers of trees and hunters of beasts; therefore we are their unfriends, and if they will not depart we shall afflict them in all ways that we can.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Maybe we need to think again about Fairies, for until we respect the natural world and our precious environment, we are doomed to be cast aside as Gaia struggles on her own…

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

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From A Window on Earth Day

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Spring progresses through the west of Ireland.

It may be Earth Day, but every day is so.

Earth is our only home.

DSCF1227Clear skies and sunshine have hastened the beginning of Summer.

DSCF1228I walked around the cottage this morning and snapped a picture of the view from each window.

DSCF1229Now that the warmer days are here, the cottage has gone into reversal, remaining cool and dark on hot days, when it is a relief to walk indoors.

DSCF1230It is evening as I write and the rain is falling, fast filling the barrels that have run dry over recent days.

DSCF1241I have lit the stove in the Lodge and am in the midst of painting the floor a nice shade of navy blue.

DSCF1236Toast and tea are filling the air with scent.

DSCF1237This little wood-burner more than earns its keep here at Bealtaine Cottage. DSCF1238Before I started painting the floor, clothes were drying beside the stove.

DSCF1240Life at the end of Empire is quite comfortable and cheap, as this little home crafted bench, sitting outside the lodge window, testifies.

DSCF1231The rain falls heavier…but back to the window views of this morning.

DSCF1232You can feel the cool of the interior…

DSCF1233A beautiful day to be sure, but night is falling and the kettle sings a song of tea and toast once more…

DSCF1234Let tomorrow be Earth day and the next day and…

Blessings from Bealtaine…

Come Visit the Permaculture Gardens this weekend!

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageThe Open Weekend at Bealtaine Cottage approaches…

yes…

It’s this weekend everyone!

cropped-0271.jpgYou have a special invitation to come and spend as long as you like on either Saturday or Sunday, this weekend, exploring the gardens, asking questions, looking inside the cottage and just having a lovely time in the permaculture gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage…and…it’s all for charity!

In the Fairy Wood below Bealtaine CottageI am posting directions at the end of this blog, so you will find Bealtaine Cottage quite easy!

Back door at Bealtaine CottageCarole from Whispering Pines in the U.S. has already donated the entrance fee, of 10euros, despite the fact that America is a long way off! Stone planter at Bealtaine CottageCarole at  http://whisperingpinesfiberandherbfarm.com/   writes a lovely blog every day all about her homestead and lovely animals…I often pop by!  

Missy todayHopefully there will be at least 100 euros to donate to The Leitrim Animal Sanctuary by the close of the weekend!

missyYour 10 euro donation includes tea and lashings of cake, home made soup with home made bread and staying all day if you wish! JackHow’s that for value…and you will be helping animals in distress!

rocket stove in the permaculture gardenThere will be lots of tea, fresh coffee and home made cakes!

The Lodge at Bealtaine Cottage June 2013If it’s wet, don’t fret…with two covered verandas and a cosy cottage, there will be lots of dry space to enjoy your morning or afternoon tea!

Stop for a coffee at Bealtaine CottageI am selling a lot of my gardening books too…some great books!

There is lots to see and many secret paths to explore…so come along to the Permaculture Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage this weekend..

Directions to Bealtaine Cottage…

From Ballyfarnon travel on the R284 to Keadue for approx 4km. In Keadue turn right at the top of Village, signposted Leitrim Village. Travel for approx 2km and take right (L 15036) and house is third on the left.
 
From Carrick on Shannon, travel on the R284 to Leitrim Village, approx 5km. In Leitrim Village go over bridge and take left road signposted Keadue. Travel for approx 6km and take left (L 15036) and house is third on the left.

Distance from:
 
Keadue 2km
Boyle 12km
Carrick on Shannon 11km
Sligo 35km
Dublin 160km

Black Bees, Compost and Rocket Stoves

Blue table on veranda at bealtaine cottageNasturtiums, Lobelia, Petunia, Sweet William, Perlagonium, Valerian and Night Scented Stock are jostling for space near the back door.

Roses lead the way to the new orchardAbundance reigns supreme in the gardens, as seen here in these lovely old-fashioned roses that lead the way up to the new orchard.

Bee with a black bumBees are in a frenzy over the Cotoneaster.

This is a strange bee with a black bottom half.

Black beeThe black bit appears shiny.

strange beeDo you have any idea what kind of bee this is?

cotoneaster in full bloom at Bealtaine CottageAll this buzzing guarantees lots of food for the birds over winter!

Bee on cotoneaster at Bealtaine CottageAnother lovely bee working hard here at Bealtaine Cottage this evening.

Cotoneaster and Dog daisiesThe evening is very still and warm…perfect for all the insects that work in the gardens.

Raised Potager Beds WorkshopLots of stone and wood piled up and ready for the workshop tomorrow.

These beds are very abundant and productive, considering the shallow depth and intensive planting…the weather is promised good for tomorrow!

Lysimachia Punctata in full bloom todayLysimachia Punctata is in full bloom.

This cable table has sat in the garden for eight years…great garden furniture for free!

Redcurrants today at Bealtaine cottageThe Redcurrants are almost ready to harvest.

Rose arch today at Bealtaine CottageThis is the new rose arch…first year and doing well.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe Blackcurrants are ripening and will be ready for harvesting very soon.

Tunnel at Bealtaine Cottage todaySunflowers and lots of seeds getting ready for harvesting in the tunnel in these Potager raised beds.

compost heaps todayAs I harvest the compost started last summer, a new compost heap is started.

Friday evening at bealtaineFriday evening at Bealtaine…the rocket stove is boiling the kettle for another pot of tea…could it get any better?

rocket stoveI wonder what the equivalent saving on electricity this little contraption affords?

Would this be equal to a few solar panels?

free tea Just a small matter of washing the cups…have a great weekend everyone!

Permaculture Cottage ~ 70,000 Visitors…(now almost 300,000) seek a better way forward.

Potting, planting, protecting and nurturing the future of Earth…the babies of Gaia are secure in the Nursery beds as the storm approaches from the west, with an early winter not far behind…in late October to be expected!

Visitors to this permaculture blog topped 70,000 this week.

Interest in permaculture is booming as the forces that rule and dominate this sacred earth go into a tailspin, driven by their hatred, greed and compelling and overwhelming desire to destroy all that is good and sustainable on Gaia.

More and more people are becoming desirous of finding a way forward which can only be based on sustainability.

Permaculture is the way that has proven itself to be foolproof here at Bealtaine Cottage. Marian, Colin and Marisa, visitors this week, will testify to that!

Sedums this morning, near the tunnel.  It’s hard to believe that these are growing where once only rushes grew…with nothing sprayed, turned, dug, imported, raped or plundered.

The thing is, when you start to trust Nature and treat her as a friend, wonderful things start to happen…that is permaculture for me, in a nutshell!

Oregano growing around the water bins near the tunnel this morning.

The flower heads can be dried and used to make tea which has wonderful anti-bacterial properties.

Good for sore throats!

Ash trees stand tall and heroic all around the borders of Bealtaine…I have more faith and trust in these guardians of Gaia than any standing army!

The pathway into the Fairy Dell, lined on either side by a Willow Fedge…now is the time to create fedges like this, easy to make and cost ZERO…my favourite word as you all know!

PS…since posting this in September 2011, over 295,000 visitors have made their way to Bealtaine Cottage…permaculture is blooming!

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Benefits of Tea

Evening turns to night at Bealtaine Cottage.

The bats have emerged from their home and are flying low around the cottage.

Lots of activity today at Bealtaine, especially around the Tunnel and Nursery beds.

Many of the Blackcurrant seedlings are now in bigger pots and moved to the plants area, where they will stay until planted out.

The nights are verging from warm and balmy to quite chilly.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see early frost, as the weather has become unpredictable.

Tea…the cup that cheers, especially at the end of the day.

In 2010, researchers found that people who consumed tea had significantly less cognitive decline than non-tea drinkers.

The study used data on more than 4,800 men and women aged 65 and older to examine change in cognitive function over time.

Study participants were followed for up to 14 years for naturally-occurring cognitive decline. (Study carried out by Leonore Arab PhD UCLA 2010).

Tea leaves contain more than 700 chemicals, including  flavanoides, amino acids, vitamins (C, E and K), caffeine and polysaccharides.

Tea plays an important role in improving beneficial intestinal microflora, as well as providing immunity against intestinal disorders and in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage.

Tea also prevents dental caries due to the presence of fluorine.

The role of tea is well established in normalizing blood pressure, lipid depressing activity, prevention of coronary heart diseases and diabetes by reducing the blood-glucose activity.

Both green and black tea infusions contain a number of antioxidants.

Something that my grandmother always insisted upon, though she didn’t call them antioxidants, …now, how did she know?

Sunday Tea at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, Permaculture of Course!

Following the Boot Fair this morning I called into the local supermarket to chance buying a cake…well, I fancied somrthing sweet and you know life as a Vegan is not meant to be drab! What in the world do they put into these shop cakes…industrialized food at it’s worst! Being a Vegan means HAVING to check all the ingredients as to avoid the possibility of the dreaded, DAIRY!

I was so put off having to read the endless lists of chemicals in some of these cakes, that I gave up, came home and baked a cake instead! And here it is. It took minutes to make up and I left it in a warm oven with a plate on top to prevent it from burning while I went out to do some gardening and talk to friends who had called! It is completely criminal…yummy to the point of greed and beyond!

The gardens at Bealtaine are at their summer peak and very lush what with all the rain. I’m trimming back willow at the moment and pruning some fruit trees.

Willow, paths and gardens at Bealtaine today.

I planted these Sweet Peas in a big pot and they are growing on the south side of the cottage near the veranda. They have all opened today!

Sunset this evening at Bealtaine…a perfect end to a lovely day!