There will be no lack of water in the well for the next few weeks!
I have finally given away my hens…as I no longer eat eggs and there was a lovely home ready and waiting for them where they would be more useful, as they are good layers and their eggs will be anticipated and appreciated where there is a family of people to eat them.
I shall miss them, but as with life at Bealtaine Cottage, the void is quickly filled and the hen-house will be re-purposed and appreciated further.
In the past, their manure was a part of developing the fertility of the land at Bealtaine, but this is no longer needed.
The compoost system is now working very well and far exceeds what any animal manure could bring to three acres.
Seed production is well under way, with some of the harvest already collected and much more coming to fruition.
We are now one week away from Midsummer, as evidenced in the lush growth seen here!
We inter-breath with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans. They are part of our own body. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
The fruit trees and bushes were pruned back quite hard over the course of last Autumn and Winter and they are happily producing yet another bumper harvest.
…no matter how complex or affluent, human societies are nothing but subsystems of the biosphere, the Earth’s thin veneer of life, which is ultimately run by bacteria, fungi and green plants.
Your deepest roots are in nature. No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.
“If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.”
― J.M. Coetzee
Sammy-Bear couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted in or out.
Previous to this photo I had opened the back door for him twice to go out, whereupon he ran around to the front of the cottage and jumped up on the window sill, as you can see here!
It’s always a strange time when the moon is full.
I’m sure you each have stories about weird happenings at this time!
This May moon has cast it’s brightness over Ireland, presiding over an extraordinary time of growth.
All around the cottage there are flowers opening, plants growing, seemingly overnight and trees now heavy with leaf and blossom.
Where would an Irish cottage garden be without the beautiful and traditional Perlagonium?
And, of course, every cottage garden has a little spot for Succulents…I plant these in terracotta pots and here in this old planter.
They love dry conditions!
Always lots of tasks to complete as in painting the old Buddha, so he may survive another winter!
As in all cottage gardens, famous for their mish-mash of flowers, vegetables fruit and just about everything else, edibles share potager beds with their close relations!
I have had to move many plants from pots and plant them in spaces wherever I can find them.
For, as always now at this time of the year, there is a drought…sometimes prolonged, but dry enough at the best of times!
The nursery bed, essential to a cottage garden, is being cleared fast, with plants going into the long beds down by the road.
Pieris and Poppies…as always, flowers are squashed in beside the most unsuitable bed mates…the Poppy is planted in with Flowering Currant!
And sitting in my chair on the veranda, looking up…the classic cottage garden rose.
The all-forgiving Cottage Garden will tolerate just about everything one wants to “throw out!” Except, of course, I throw little away, favouring a good old re-purpose, as in this old, but very comfy, fireside chair!
And…the beautiful Wisteria…tougher than it looks and essential “cottage garden!”
Nothing pristine here!
No manicured lawn or well-placed fountain or garden ornament…yet everything knows how to behave itself without supervision.
Even Jack…unlike Sammy-Bear!
Oh Jack, you are a little beaut!
Opening my backdoor this morning I see the Fairies have tidied up again!
Today is an exciting and very uplifting day for Bealtaine Cottage and me! For the past year or so it’s been utterly frustrating not being able to share on this website.
Restrictions 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.
Well, today I paid for an upgrade which allows me unlimited upload space…a treat for myself and, I’m hoping one for you too!
As I type there is a lovely soft rain falling outside, refreshing and renewing the earth.
The same has happened here for me on the website…I feel a sense of renewal and excitement!
To be honest, writing and photographing Bealtaine Cottage and Mother Earth constitutes my first love!
Much as I love the interaction on social media, it can be very time-consuming and ultimately takes away from the work I do here!
The 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.
I 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! And so the story of Bealtaine Cottage continues, moving onwards and upwards!
“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
And so I hope to continue bringing the country to you!
Sharing this little sacred space in the west of Ireland, with the world…
The seasonal changes, garden, wildlife and Mother Earth…
The song of the Goddess and her inspired Permaculture…
Photographs (18 exclusive photos taken today) from the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage on EarthDay 2016.
Words from the Earth Day network…on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.
We are now entering the 46th year of a movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action.
In 1970, the year of our first Earth Day, the movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channelling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with ground-breaking ideas and by the power of our example.
And so it begins. Today. Right here and right now. Earth Day is more than just a single day — April 22, 2016.
This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable.
Yes, I have a mortgage and some bills to meet each month and this is my only source of income. The free website, Bealtaine Cottage, has almost reached maximum capacity at 97.8% of 13 GB allowance at a cost of 199 Euros per year. Bealtaine Cottage Good Life has the same 13 GB allowance, but with only 18% used, so you can see why I now publish new blogs on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life! My total expenditure on both sites and internet maintenance now exceeds 700 Euros.
I will continue to write about, and photograph, Mother Earth whether you subscribe/donate or not…but I so appreciate those who do! …blessings to all XXX Colette
“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”
― Wendell Berry
You can also support Colette and her work at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, by signing up to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…
I once held out hope that Ireland’s participation in the European Union would create a sense of joined up thinking about the state of our sick environment and how we could start to create instead of continually destroy.
That somehow, policy and directives from Brussels would create enlightenment and lead to the wholesale planting of trees on our monocultured island…but recent discussions with someone in receipt of E.U. grants for tree-planting has led me to be very concerned indeed!
The state of tree planting here in Ireland can be summed up as inadequate, with the emphasis on monoculture plantations of Sitka Spruce, planted for harvesting, in long, tight rows, where only a huge machine could possibly access the nightmare of environmental sickness.
These trees are planted for money and regarded only in fiscal terms.
Monoculture is the order of the day because the environment is tied into the “Merchants of Greed,” as John Seymour called them…the institutions now viewed as the great destroyers of our country!
With the back door wide open and the birds singing out a chorus more resonant of Spring than Winter, welcome to Sunday morning at Bealtaine Cottage in the west of Ireland!
Despite the mild Winter, snow has fallen and added a seasonal touch to the landscape…in fact it remains on the mountains to the north of the cottage and here and there on banks and ditches.
I’ve been very busy in the gardens since the end of December, pruning hard, cutting back, washing the tunnel, cleaning pots and generally trying to stay ahead of the work that will suddenly seem oppressive at the start of Spring!
If previous years are anything to go by, the Spring will be very short and Summer will make itself known in mid to late March!
Shocking I know, but that is the measure of it!
So, for a gardener like myself there’s nothing else for it but to adapt!
Seeds are sown in the propagator and compost will be mixed today in preparation for the potting on that is to come in the next few weeks!
It’s a case of just getting on with it as best I can!
There is a distinct difference in the shadow patterns as the outline of the roof of the cottage falls beneath the tree tops…
“Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from plants that died long ago. We can give thanks to these ancestors of our present-pay foliage, but we can’t give back to them. We can, however, give forward. When we are unable to return the favor, we can pay it forward to someone or something else. Using this approach, we can see ourselves as part of a larger flow of giving and receiving throughout time. Receiving from the past, we can give to the future. When tackling issues such as climate change, the stance of gratitude is a refreshing alternative to guilt or fear as a source of motivation.”
― Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone
Sowing and planting, growing tiny trees in pots of hope, tending Mother Earth with love…brings me joy.
Sitting here, with the back door open in the middle of January, may be a cause for concern, but it is over-ridden by the call of Mother Earth from outside.
And for the many visitors to Bealtaine Cottage this year, there will be small pots of hope to take away…
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Outside the remains of the storm huff and puff it’s remaining fury.
Inside the thick stone walls it’s Christmas Eve.
There will be a full moon on Christmas night, the first one since 1977.
But, this morning, the rays of the Midwinter sun illuminate the grey morning and all is quiet.
Quiet is a welcome word after a night of howling wind and relentless rain.
My blessed thanks to those of you who sent me good wishes and gifts.
I am heartily grateful to receive the appreciation of friends.
Friends like Heather, who made me this beautiful brooch, stitched with love.
I have pinned it to the lapel of my jacket…it is a thing of beauty indeed!
It is the little notes, gifts and donations that bring a sense of being appreciated.
I am indeed blessed to live my life in the service of Mother Earth and able to live without the needs so many feel they must have, forever indebting themselves to the corporate machine that is destroying her.
As I write this journal, the radio informs me of another storm on the way.
I will soon light the traditional candle in the window of my small sitting room.
The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas Eve is still practised today.
It remains a symbol of hope.
Hope is what Bealtaine Cottage is all about…hope and renewal.
I am a woman and a pragmatist who looks to the future.
Despite the wars of man, the fear of climate upheaval, the greed of those in power and the relentless drum-banging of the corporate consumer world, life, in all it’s imperfections, is sacred and beautiful.
On this blessed Christmas Eve, I will step out with my spade and wheelbarrow, to plant the future, in the form of five trees.
May you be blessed with love, light and happiness on this wonderful day and in the days of light to follow.
XXX Colette XXX
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The cost of food has risen and the overall quality has dropped.
Much of the fruit and vegetables being sold in the supermarkets may look good, but the taste is somewhat lacking. Considering these issues, it is fair to say that there could not be a better time to grow your own food, as well as make, cook and bake your own food!
Today I have been harvesting potatoes and clearing the beds for the next planting or simply for mulching down with cardboard and straw.
The compost heap is growing by the day as the beds are cleared and tidied.
Elsewhere in the gardens, the burgeoning beds await their turn to be harvested.
This Golden Oregano will dry nicely and ensure tasty tomato sauces all winter!
This is a sheltered part of the fruit gardens to leave the potatoes in the ground for a while to come.
Those at the back of the picture will stay where they are.
You may remember how I mulched this ground last Autumn, using cardboard, straw and shreddings…now you can see the value of this exercise.
The earth is in good condition and any weeds that did grow were very easy to pull.
This gives you some idea of how permaculture works…a forest garden with lots of shelter, biodiversity and ultimately, resilience!
Lots of leaf drop feeds the soil, building a much needed fertility.
Meanwhile, indoors, one of the few electrical items I own is ready to do a lot of sewing.
I also have a hand sewing machine for less labour intensive tasks.
And in the kitchen I’ve been baking bread and making Houmous Dip.
There really is no comparison to home made and home grown food!
The decision, once made, gathers energy and slowly, slowly begins to move…like a baby discovering it can crawl!
And so it begins…the first small movements of the Forest of Bealtaine, barely perceptible, but felt and experienced.
The Forest of Bealtaine is emerging through seed…seeds collected, saved and sown into pots of Bealtaine compost, that will travel with them, to their final destination, here, somewhere, in Mother Ireland.
Where in Mother Ireland I do not know, but, somewhere on this land bereft of the comfort of cover and canopy, open to the growing harshness of rain, that once fell soft like dew…for the changing weather patterns and climate are taking their toll!
And so She grows!
Today the rain falls heavy and my visitors from Dublin have gone.
The heavy rain assures me we need forest…for we are the rocky outcrop of a failing empire
There is no mistake in that word…for it is She with a capital letter, She with a need to grow and nurture.
The land we have collectively failed…our governments collecting carbon taxes whilst fracking the bowels of Mother Earth! The failing Empire of the EU paying Irish farmers to rip out trees, so land can be mapped out for Google Earth Maps!
And all so politicians and bureaucrats can peer and measure and post out cheques…
But what use is money to a people living on a land being ravaged by Climate Chaos?
But here at Bealtaine, the Goddess, the Mother, our Earth is nurtured for in her womb is cradled Eden, waiting to be birthed.
And Bealtaine is one of many birthing places, for the Mother is us and we are her…there is no separation.
And in these little pots of hope, She grows, and slowly, barely noticeable to visitors, the magic begins to manifest.
She stirs, awakens and is…
Winter is here, though it’s hard to believe! Flowers continue to bloom and leaves remain in the process of changing colour. Bowls of apples in the cottage create a sense of Autumn.
Vibrant colours create a different garden, a very seasonal garden thanks to the many trees! The Sedum keeps its shape, despite the small frost that has attempted destruction of these tender-stemmed plants.
Perlagoniums send forth small flowers, protected from the worst of the elements by the warmth of the window-sill. These will be collected up soon and stored in a corner of the little barn, until March, when I shall move them into the tunnel in readiness for the summer.
An Autumn garden is a tree garden, for this is the season when the quiet, sturdy, soldiers of Earth have their very own festival…a final fling of a party before bed!
Even the stems of the young trees join in, merging colours with the falling leaves!
Can you see the little mushroom to the left of Che-Mousey? The earth under many of the trees is bringing forth all kinds of mushrooms!
The coppiced tree is a Hazel…they do very well from being coppiced and grow tall, straight Hazel poles. I use these in the vegetable beds for beans.
The air is still and warm this morning and I’m reminded of the storm hitting the Philippines at this time. The radio tells me that this is the strongest storm ever! I wish safety to all caught up in this impending disaster! Despite the debate that hangs in the corporate media about Climate Change, there is, most definitely, Weather Change!
Che-Mousey has become my constant companion since Missy passed on. His personality becomes more apparent to me, as I get to spend time with him. He was always a very shy cat, but has recently blossomed and I am delighting in seeing the change in him!
I really should write something here, but am simply staring at the colours and sipping coffee!