Posted in Abundance, agriculture, Uncategorized

Permaculture Potagers, Polytunnel and Gardens

Walk with me around the production gardens at Bealtaine Cottage on this May evening in the West of Ireland.

Potager beds and Peach trees, Polytunnel and Bees…all looking lush on this early Summer evening.

The soundtrack of birds is all around us!

Posted in Earth, Earth Day, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Spring, Uncategorized, Woodland

Earth Day at Bealtaine Cottage

DSC09083Photographs (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. 

The main website, with over 1,000 blogs and 4,500 photographs is FREE FOR EVERYONE!
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April 2011 Ballyfermoyle 013The paid subscription website, Bealtaine Cottage Good Life allows you to support my work in return for some extra special blogs and photographs…and allows me a small, but much needed, income.

Here’s where you can sign up…

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

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

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Eden, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Permaculture Ireland, Uncategorized

As Evening Descends…

Towards the end of a perfect day at Bealtaine Cottage. The gardens are looking well tended as the evening descends. Strawberries have been potted up in hanging baskets and seedlings rescued from the gravel around the cottage and potted up. These will make fine plants for the Summer ahead! And…all the while…the birds sing!

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Posted in Garden, Growing Food, hens, Permaculture, Permaculture Ireland, polytunnel gardening, ponds, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Garden in February (Part One)

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The year in the garden is now well under way, as Mother Earth awakens in a very visible way…not that she ever slept!

www.bealtainecottage.com

Coltsfoot is one of the first herbs to come into flower, for it flowers before it leafs and a very welcome sight this is!

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Bronze fennel, that most vigorous of herbs and also a brilliant addition to the flower garden, starts to produce tasty leaves that can be added to early Spring salads.

Rocket has over-wintered well in the tunnel and forms the base ingredient.

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Daffodils are now up and beginning to flower.

Daffodils on the hill above the cottage, around an old abandoned dwelling are in full bloom!

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Reminders of Winter come and go, but not for long, sometimes just an hour or two of a light dusting of snow.

Never enough to hold back the advance of the seasons!

But beware the wind chill factor that comes with early Spring and wrap up warm when venturing out to work in the garden!

Rhubarb in a permaculture garden

When the sun does shine, it is truly glorious and plants like Rhubarb spring into exuberant life!

A very hungry plant, Rhubarb eats up a generous dressing of well-rotted manure.

Euphorbia at Bealtaine Cottage

Euphorbia comes into life in the flower garden…here it shares a half barrel with a Fig Tree and both like each other’s company!

In fact, the Fig has fruited well year on year since getting a new bed fellow!

bealtaine cottage permaculture feb 2011 002

An old but treasured book is always at hand to delve into for advice on seasonal food, gardening and outdoors work!

I wonder if this little gem is still in print?

Bealtaine permaculture gardens

Beautiful catkins on the Hazel trees…flowers in fact!

Bealtaine Cottage frogs in the pond

The pond is filling with frogspawn and clumps of frogs celebrating the turn in the year as only frogs can!

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2011 028

Out in the hen-house the girls are in touch with the growing of the light as they come back into lay!

Fox in the garden at Bealtaine Cottage

Mr and Mrs Fox are hungry and on the prowl! I often lay out food at night for the foxes, for the way I see it is simply this: we have interfered with the food chain by removing the animals that would have predated upon foxes.

This is my way of attempting to live in harmony as best I can…and ensuring that the girls in the henhouse are well protected!

Part Two  of THE GARDEN IN FEBRUARY can be found on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

To subscribe, see the link below…

 

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, YouTube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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

 

You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

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

 

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 Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, new Year Clearout, painting, Permaculture, stuff, Sustainable Living

Renewal

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You may recall how I began clearing out “stuff” before the Midwinter.

Since then I have begun to enjoy the freedom of less and less stuff.

In keeping with this new sense of space and energy in and around the cottage, I have gone in seek of leftover paint, so as I could begin the task of painting and renewing as much of the cottage and gardens as possible.

The veranda wall of the cottage has not seen paint in several years, so a good wash down and paint was begun this afternoon.

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I scavenged two pots of paint and set about mixing them…I am happy with the result, a kind of peachy white.

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My energy has been renewed as I embarked on a plant-based diet a week ago.

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Washing the tunnel and clearing out the beds inside have been completed.

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The beds have been raked over and are ready to plant into during the weeks ahead.

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Another task undertaken this weekend was the cleaning out of the hen-house.

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They are enjoying masses of fresh oat straw!

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As the daylight faded and I packed the paint away until the morning, I began to see the lovely tones of the freshly painted wall.

*************

Each Bealtaine Cottage blog consists of about two hours work.
Thanks so much to those who have donated and for supporting this website!
If you would like to make a donation of appreciation, then I thank you most sincerely.

Blessings
Posted in Cats, Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Vegetarian

The Best Medicine!

www.bealtainecottage.com

Lists are great things to spend time on.

Despite the wet weather, I’ve been busy making a comprehensive list of what to grow …and the reasons why I should.

The ability to store food is at the forefront of my thinking.

I’ve discovered this year that Beetroot stores very well indeed.

Not just that it stores well, but is a first class root vegetable in the making of healthy juice.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is one taken from a box in the pantry and cut open to be juiced.

Last year was the first year that I grew this wonderful root vegetable and was surprised at how easy it was to grow! www.bealtainecottage.comThe tunnel is now ready to sow.

Most of the seeds will go into the polystyrene fish boxes I used last year.

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply scattered the seeds into the filled boxes and pricked out the seedlings as they came on…the healthiest were those from boxes where the seed was all mixed in together and in no particular order!

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby Chard
Swiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard

Greens are next on my list…and again, in no particular order, just greens!

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel
Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

As a vegetarian who tries to avoid dairy, greens are an important part of my diet.

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today
Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

I add greens to my juice every day to stay fit and healthy.

Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.
Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.

I have lived at Bealtaine Cottage for almost ten years and have only needed to visit my doctor once.

The best medicine...fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!
The best medicine…fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!

During this time I have not suffered a cold or infection and never stayed a day in bed…something I must treat myself to at some point!

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.
Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

All the Herb beds were cut back and the paths in-between covered with straw…

to keep the weeds down.

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Sometimes we do not even need to sow or plant, as foraging for wild food can produce excellent results.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

When I lived in London there were many places that bordered on wilderness and produced masses of food.

Permaculture cottage November 2011 005

There’s a growing movement to get local and municipal councils to plant fruit and nut trees in public parks and highways.

November 2011 079Resilience has it’s foundations in food security and is an aspect of life we need to take more seriously, but, more importantly, see that it not only gets onto the political agenda, but stays at the top of all planning!

If you wish you can subscribe to the latest website from Bealtaine Cottage…”Bealtaine Cottage Good Life”…simply make a donation of 12 euros for a full year and access the long list of blogs now on site. Quote: “Bealtaine Cottage Good Life” with your donation.

(Please note that this small donation sustains the work on this website, Bealtaine Cottage YouTube, Bealtaine Cottage Podcast and Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens FaceBook.)

 

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Birds, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Summer, Wine

A Year at Bealtaine…part 3

Poppies in Permaculture

2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe potager beds were extended and two more were constructed.

angel at bealtaine cottageAquilegia and Valerian ignored the seasons and came up together, surrounding the porch with delicate shades of pink and purple.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt was a frenzy of colour!

roses on verandaThe roses made their appearance on the veranda, more abundant than ever!

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodMy friends Terri and Lol brought me masses of seaweed from their beautiful Clifden in Connemara and it was spread all over the potager beds!

Sammy Bear and meSammy-Bear turned from a rather naughty kitten into an even naughtier cat!

Roses at Bealtaine CottageVisitors had to dodge the low-hanging flowers and…

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottageemerging fruit!

bird bath in pollarded Sycamore at Bealtaine CottageBird baths were sat into trees for the rather hot birds…

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineand Blackcurrant wine was started off in the glass carboy.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThen transferred to a demijohn to sit out the next few months on the kitchen windowsill.

Roses at the back of Bealtaine Cottage todayThe heat of summer continued and the well ran dry!

Bealtaine Cottage signBealtaine Cottage basked in the sun and heat, as I carted water up from a spring well lower down the land.

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage todayRose petals fell like confetti all over the veranda…it was lovely!

bealtaine Cottage this eveningOx-Eye Daisies flourished everywhere!

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageSammy-Bear cooled off by rolling in the dirt path in the tunnel and getting absolutely filthy!

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageChe-Mousey found a cool spot in the shade of the laurel arch.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningIt was sheer abundance!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.And the summer rolled on…

Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!

Blessings from Bealtaine XXX

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Trees

The Storm

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The wind had engulfed the cottage for several days, starting its angry encirclement in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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The kettle kept a simmer on the stove for cups of tea to pass the evening in quiet repose.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 011The storm raged for most of yesterday too and now, this morning, the rain falls softly on the trees, hardly making a sound on the roof of the veranda.

Last evening the candles burned as the electricity flicked on and off in little staggers.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 009The stove in the sitting room was lit and I made up a bed on the sofa.

Myself, Jack and Missy kept company as the wind howled overhead.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 020The weather has settled down this morning…just a drizzle of soft rain that keeps a persistence about it.

Work here continues in the tunnel, clearing the beds and digging in new compost for the winter plantings.

Kale, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Chard were planted this morning.

The Garlic will go in outdoors in the potager beds, before the soil cools down too much…it gives them a better start! permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 014The harvesting continues as more and more produce is brought onto the shelter of the veranda.

I will slice and freeze some of the apples, sprinkling them with a little sugar and cinnamon first…this helps to keep them better.

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 019One would find it hard to believe that there was a storm at all, looking around the gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage…the benefit of planting over 900 trees; just heaps of shelter now!

permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage 018The apples are still on all the trees!

Just a few more days until the Equinox…

Here are the wonderful “Moving Hearts” with their classic, played live, “The Storm”

Enjoy!

Posted in Animals, Bees, Cats, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Permaculture, Seeds, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Glimpses of Days to Come

Red maple tree at Bealtaine Cottage

Stormy weather has given way to a sunny evening.

The Red maple has caught the glow, offering glimpses of days to come, for summer seems close at hand.

Rhubarb and Blackcurrants near the herb garden at Bealtaine CottageThe spring has lingered and time seems out of step with expectation.

One day it’s flooding and the next there’s a hurricane blowing!

I heard someone say to expect frost at night this week…I hope not, as I’ve planted a lot of seedlings out!

Grapevine in the polytunnelThe tunnel has escaped the ravages of the crazy weather and the Grapevine is coming into leaf.

Herb RobertHerb Robert carpets the ground underneath the vine.

This is a perfect ground-cover, as the root system is very delicate and shallow, so doesn’t take much from the earth.

Sammy-BearI caught the boys in here sunbathing in the warmth and out of the wind…

The cats at Bealtaine CottageThey are inseparable! Che-Mousey follows Sammy-Bear everywhere.

He was very lonely before Sammy-Bear joined us…

Lunaria at Bealtaine CottageThe plan is to save masses of seed this year and already the Lunaria is developing tiny seed-heads.

If you look closely, you can see the seed-heads and a beautiful bee doing her work!

These will expand to become “Moon-Pennies”

Lunaria in flower at Bealtaine CottageThe lovely thing about Lunaria is that once you introduce it into your garden it will spread year upon year…it is a most generous flower and so loved by bees.

This is Lunaria growing by the laurel arch today.

The heavenly scent is trapped in the archway and makes a visit to the herb garden and tunnel a joy!

Valerian, Columbine and BuddhaValerian and Columbine have the same generous, spreading habit and all beloved by the bees…

Both are growing freely by Buddha…neither one planted, but self-seeded in the gravel.

Apple blossom at Bealtaine CottageThe Apple blossom has opened fully today.

It’s 8pm as I finish writing and the sky outside the window by the desk is a perfect summer blue, making it hard to believe that frost lies ahead!

Important! Message from Terri:

 On Saturday 25th May, there will be a March against Monsanto in Dublin starting at 2.30p.m in the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square.

Come along and add your support.

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 535 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Angels, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Crafts, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality, Uncategorized

An Angel in the Snow

Angel in the snow at Bealtaine Cottage

The wind howled all night as it carried snow in from the Atlantic Ocean.

The moon drifted downwards as the sun rose.

Somewhere in-between I got up and lit the stove, walked the dogs and returned to settle into a hunker-down day in the cottage.

Che Mousy Bear at Bealtaine CottageAs I write, the dogs are in their baskets and the cats are lounging on the sofas.

Animals know when it’s cold and really appreciate being indoors!

Che-Mousy-Bear is purring loudly on the sofa nearby my desk.

Sam sits opposite.

Stereo purring!

The porch at bealtaine cottageThis kind of weather often makes an appearance after Spring has been called.

The Primroses and Daffodils don’t seem to mind.

Bealtaine Cottage PorchThey know it won’t last!

The snow is soft and fluffy with little ice and no frost.

veranda at Bealtaine Cottage The wind has settled down and the sun is shining.

Today I shall work in the tunnel, sowing herbs and pumpkins…it’s Spring, even if there is snow!

Indoors I am sorting seed and making Smudge Sticks  for sale in the Bealtaine Cottage Shop.

A big pot of vegetable soup is on the menu…just the thing on a snowy day!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BealtaineCottage

Posted in Cats, celebrations, Cottage, Garden, Imbolc, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Saint Bridget Cross, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

It Looks Like Spring!

Toad in Bealtaine permaculture garden

The sun shone all morning and there was a hint of Spring in the air.

Mr Toad…not a real toad, you understand…caught the rays of the late winter sun and looked quite animated.

Spring is officially welcomed into the west of Ireland on February the 1st, Imbolc, Brigid’s day.

I would not be surprised to see it arrive early!

Certainly here at Bealtaine Cottage, the Daffodils are ready to open flower and Primroses are out.

permaculture tunnel at Bealtaine CottageClearing the polytunnel formed part of this morning’s work, one of the first dry, sunny  mornings in some time.

This involved scraping the weeds off the paths and composting them.

Then the top layer of last year’s straw was cleared from the topsoil and spread on the beds. it doesn’t take long and the result is worth the small effort.

I use an Oscillating Hoe, which although expensive to buy is a great investment, as it saves a lot of hard work.

The winter has been mild and most of the herbs in the tunnel have kept their leaves, with Fennel beginning to grow already and broccoli making a good show.

January in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageThe garden took on a mantle of life in the sunshine and the birds all appeared to be very lively.

A beautiful fox has made an appearance over recent nights and even sauntered along the front of the cottage in broad daylight yesterday morning.

I think it’s a vixen as I hear her calling at night from the hill of Ballyfermoyle behind the cottage.

sam playing in bealtaine cottageMeanwhile, indoors, Sam continues to eat, drink, play and sleep.

I make sure that little Flo stays in the lodge with Sam and Che, as being white furred and young, could fall prey to a very beautiful but hungry fox.

I lost a beautiful marmalade mouser called Ossian to the fox some years ago and it was a dreadful experience.

Bealtaine Cottage 001Flo is very territorial and chases all comers!

Jack, as you can see, is very hen-pecked by Flo…he always gives in!

Posted in Angels, Climate, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Personal, photography, Spring

Looking Back at March 2012 in the Photo Album of Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

Bealtaine Cottage march 2012 008The gardens came back to life with new leaves on the Photinia

Bealtaine Permaculture March  2012Blossom opened on the Nectarine tree in the polytunnel.

Sunday morning Permaculture garden mar 2012Rhubarb seemed to grow in spurts overnight!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March 2012Home made Blackcurrant wine was started as I began to empty the freezer.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012Lichens opened up in the warmth of the Spring days.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012Beautiful, delicate colours of Spring.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012The warming sun began to work it’s magic on the north facing gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Permaculture March 2012Garden benches dried out and warmed up enough to beckon the visitor to stop awhile!

Bealtaine CottageSun, glorious sun…this old piece of driftwood stood up to it’s eighth winter of storms and winds.

Bealtain Cottage Permaculture 004As always, there was an early crop of herbs and greens from the tunnel.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012 Donegal Bay

Late March was so warm, we headed off to the beach for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean here in Donegal Bay.

You can see the Hills of Donegal in the background!

Posted in Angels, Animals, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Garden, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Storms, Cats and Pumpkins

The storm has raged all day.

Wind has tossed garden debris around and every so often the heavens opened casting a deluge of rain upon the cottage.

Thunder has brought Jack and Flo rushing to my side…

Yet, through all of this, Che Mousy has lazily surveyed the scene from the comfort of his executive chair.

Missy has slept the storm away in the tunnel.

I was over there earlier clearing out weeds and harvesting parsley and seeds and she followed me, making camp on the potting table.

In between the showers I have managed a bit more pruning in the upper gardens.

Yes, I know…balanced atop a step ladder in a storm is rather silly, but single-mindedness is an integral part of my nature and has been my driving spur always!

There is an abundance of Pumpkins coming into harvest at the moment, as you can see…this one is growing outside and appears more than happy in the mad Irish weather!

I placed an old log alongside it to create warmth and a suitable micro-climate for growing.

It works!

True to form, the weather brings sunshine too…well, this is the West of Ireland!

I even managed to drink my afternoon tea whilst walking through the gardens!

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Country Living, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Seed-Saving the Easy Way…

Working in the tunnel today.

Much clearing and preparing the beds for the Autumn and early winter cycle of growing.

It’s well worth planting anything at this time of the year, as there is a harvest from what would be ordinarily thrown onto the compost heap.

I had several tomato plants that were sitting around, looking quite forlorn, so I planted them into the spaces left by clearing.

There’s bound to be a few tomatoes offered up to a decent salad!

Much of what is in the tunnel has been left to seed, so at this point it makes a good addition to the compost and the video explains why and how.

Even though the day has been has been grey and wet, it’s been lovely working in the stillness in the tunnel…contemplative and dry!

Today’s video…all about natural seed saving…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h78I26NNzAI

Posted in biodiversity, Birds, Climate, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Permaculture

Distracted by the Cuckoo!

Totally distracted by the Cuckoo…sorry, but it’s a nice little look at things anyway! 

Click on the link  below for the very short video…

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

Posted in Abundance, Country Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding

A Life in the Country ~ Daily Permaculture Video Diary

Tomatoes and Pumpkins continue to ripen in the tunnel. Bramley cooking apples are yet to be harvested…the last of the apples! The sun shines and work in the gardens continues apace…

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Eco-Living, Frugal Living, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Friday Photographs from the Smallholding

Leaving the tunnel and walking towards one of the orchards. Crocosmia to the right with water barrels. Oregano growing on the left, just outside the door of the tunnel.

Blackthorn trees on the edge of the woodland near the tunnel. These are now heavy with Sloes, ripe for picking after the first frost…then making Sloe Gin, for Christmas!

Looking back at the tunnel and the Blackthorn trees.

And a little later in the morning as the rain fell.

Willow, cut recently and stored in the Willow Hide.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Eco-Living, Food, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Organic Apples, Grapes, Pumpkins and Sun Drenched Flowers.

Organic Apples growing at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding today. Chutneys, juice and freezing on the menu for these beauties!

Organic Grapes in the tunnel this evening, continuing to ripen and swell. This year has seen the best harvest yet. I mulched and fertilized the vine with raw sheeps wool.

Organic Pumpkins surrounded by oregano and tomatoes in the tunnel about an hour ago.

More Apples on more trees. All organically grown, 6 year old trees, NEVER been sprayed! Here’s a rude salute to the chemical companies and a big ‘hurrah,’ for PERMACULTURE!

The evening sun floods the flowers in the East Garden at Bealtaine Cottage. The Pear in the foreground was wind damaged back in the late Spring, but I have left it to grow as it will do nicely for Chutney!

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Baking, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Daily News from Ireland…Bumper Permaculture Harvest!

The first day of Autumn in the Celtic calendar and the harvest continues. Blackcurrants are being picked at Bealtaine, along with masses of herbs, including Oregano, Chives, Dill and Fennel…though the Fennel in the tunnel is seeding and will be dried and stored for baking purposes later on.

The Plum trees are bearing up well with the wight of the fruit and this will be used for jam and wine. I have planted four Plum trees so far and am also growing some trees from seed.

Yes…it’s hard to believe, but there have been bumper harvest every year at Bealtaine and this is set to continue as the land moves from monoculture in year one to wonderful biodiversity in year seven, with shelter developing and compost heaps bursting…

This is the Fennel in the tunnel this morning, with a good crop of seeds developing.

Apple too are plumping out well…juice, chutneys, pies and crumbles here!

Remember the immense power as a consumer you have…and ultimately, your ability, with others, to control the market…buying Fairtrade and supporting local producers is one way to control the market for the good, rather than giving your precious money and support to the global corporations who wreak havoc on our world…

Posted in Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Just Sunday Pics…

Curly Kale and Parsley growing in pots at the back of Bealtaine Cottage.

The flowers on the Lady’s Mantle near the tunnel have all flopped outwards, but they remain beautiful…

The flower on the Mullein has begun to open…near the vegetable garden.

Potatoes and blackcurrants and even a little orchid…can you see it on the right?

Today has been very stormy…this was yesterday! The vegetable garden and tunnel.

 

 

 

Posted in Abundance, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Fairies, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, polytunnel gardening, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

A Sunday Ramble around Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding, Ireland

My visitors have left. Home made wine and pocheen, lots of home made vegan food and cakes and talk into the wee small hours…what better way to share a weekend!

Sunday afternoon. The first in July. Bealtaine basks in the sunshine.

Willow has been trimmed. Grass cut. Pumpkins are in flower.

The pears are making good progress on the youngest of the Pear Trees planted here at Bealtaine Cottage. I continue to feed the earth around them with a liquid tea made from nettles and comfrey.

The heady scent of Meadowsweet fills the air on this calm and balmy Sunday afternoon. It grows all over the Bog garden…here is some in the woodland, Fairy dell.

On an afternoon such as this I feel almost intoxicated as I walk around the gardens, with sweets scents filling the air and bees flying to and fro along their pathways of pollen.

Turning to look back at the tunnel as I approach the Fairy Dell, I am taken with the sounds coming from the blackcurrant bushes, only to see a Blackbird swooping out from a gorgefest of fruit…

Geraniums and Oregano spill across mown grass paths. All is peace.

Posted in Abundance, Inspiration, Ireland, Lough Allen Basin, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Summer, Sustainable Living

Creating a Permaculture Garden of Eden…It’s Easy!

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Seven years ago this space was a wet, rushy field that hosted a rather angry looking cow…that was on the first day I spied Bealtaine, as it was to become known.

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Here was the upper field where the orchards are now!

There is a pic somewhere on all these posts of that very angry cow, poor thing!

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Lots of mulching, planting and mulching later, here is the same field…mad, isn’t it?

I know I’m always singing the praises of permaculture, but there is no other method I could have followed in order to make this transformation on my own.

The Ladys Mantle has just done its ‘spill thing,’ as you can see…I love this, as it grows beside one of the water bins.

The Rose Arch between the orchards.

Grapes and Poppies in the tunnel.

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Permaculture works on so many different levels and in all situations, even here on the gravel driveway.

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The reason why Permaculture works so well lies in it’s simplicity and economy…encouraging us to use what is already around us.

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It’s about purposeful living born out of observation of and compassion toward Mother Earth.

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Working in harmony with Mother Earth, your investment grows year on year.

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There’s not a bank on Earth can guarantee that!

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

There are over 850 blogs from bealtainecottage.com here in the archives for you to enjoy!

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Posted in Abundance, Bloom, Country Living, Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Food, Frugal Living, Gaia, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Destroying Self-Sufficiency is ALL About CONTROL…Thoughts from a Permaculture Cottage

The Lower pond at Bealtaine this morning.

As I walked around the smallholding I thought about what it is we do to be self-sufficient and ultimately free from tyranny!

Yes…tyranny, because that’s what being at the mercy of the market and banks and importers of food is all about…tyranny!

The world today is governed by commerce, that means banks and business.

These institutions want us to be consumers.

Nothing else!

Just consumers!

In order to be a good consumer it is necessary to have money.

This paper trail enslaves us all.

That is why ‘bartering,’ is referred to as the ‘black market economy.’

Self-sufficiency is about providing as much as one can for oneself, family and wider community.

Is it any wonder that this is not taught in schools?

But then, the ‘make do and mend,’ philosophy does little to support any of the above…

I am not a good citizen.

I did not buy this flowering perennial, the Euphorbia above.

I got a cutting from a friend and propagated it, planted it, allowed it to spread and continued to give this plant forward to other people.

That makes me an economic terrorist.

Yet this is my philosophy for life.

To share.

I am not part of any religion.

Sharing is a human thing to do.

This is a pumpkin grown from a seed saved in Canada, planted yesterday in the tunnel.

I have grown dozens of plants this year  and given most away…because I could and I wanted to.

Growing seeds is an amazing experience as all tenders of Gaia know.

Sharing is liberating.

Why shop when you can share?

Oh dear, am I talking revolution again?

Ha! Ha!

Sharing is a human trait, beaten out of us in this competitive world we are submerged in…

Maybe it’s time to have a major rethink on that, for hard times are here…

Posted in Abundance, Beltane, Country Living, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Summer, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Just Before Bed…Bealtaine Cottage, West of Ireland

Plums beginning to weigh down the tree. One of the plum trees got silver leaf last year and was cut back hard, so this heavy harvest is welcome.

Flower-less colour by the compost heaps.

The beautiful Sage in flower in the tunnel. My big drive this year is focused on seed saving, hence the amount of tall and flowering plants in the tunnel. This Sage plant is strong and prolific…ideal to save seeds from!

Using Barley straw on the paths of the tunnel has given me an unexpected crop of…yes, Barley! So, more seed! And the hens will have a harvest feast!

Now that the grapes have set it is time to prune and cut back before too much of the plants’ vigour is used up and diverted away fro developing the fruit.

Just as I was leaving the tunnel I noticed the reflection in the water barrel just inside the tunnel door…this is it!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Climate, Cottage, Dublin, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

This Morning in the Permaculture Garden and Tunnel at Bealtaine

The storms continue and at times the wind abates for just long enough to get outdoors without being battered by the gusts!

The Sedums planted in and around the old fireplace are now thriving since the rain came…these are ideal for planting on green roofs and will tolerate drought and flood equally well.

Peachy Poppies are peeping through in all corners of the tunnel…abundant in its permaculture state!

The Nectarine tree is loaded down…some of these may have to be removed!

Self-seeded Valerian is blooming in the gravel around the cottage, despite the storms and rain!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized, Vegetarian, Wild Flowers

Food and Roses…Today at Bealtaine…Permaculture Pantry.

The roses hang heavy on the veranda trellis, spurred on by copious amounts of soft rain and sunshine…Today at Bealtaine.

 Baby apples all soft and furry peep from under leaves of bright, greeny newness…Today at Bealtaine.

And furry little balls of new peaches start to look important on the tiny, new tree in the tunnel…Today at Bealtaine.

And the small Nectarine tree, also in the tunnel, showing off with an abundance of fruit on its two year old branches…Today at Bealtaine.

And the Strawberries…refusing to wait for Wimbledon…Today at Bealtaine.

And the Ladys Mantle that has taken over the path and nestles into the water bin…Today at Bealtaine.

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding

Saturday in the Permaculture Garden.

Valerian coming into flower today at Bealtaine. The rain continues, almost unabated, raising the water table and pushing the water in my spring well down towards the cottage. Spent quite some time bringing water across to the tunnel to give the plants a good drenching!

Valerian growing along the west gable wall from seed scattered into the gravel…one of many reasons why permaculture and tarmac are not good mates!

Sprays of Hawthorn blossom hang in swathes around the hedgerows at the cottage. The flowers of this tree release a certain chemical which is good for the heart and it is recommended to breath deeply around these gorgeous blossoms!

I’m hoping that the roses will go on for longer this year, as they have a tendency to flower early in the summer. This has certainly been the best year yet for the blooms.

Posted in Climate, Current Affairs, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Gardening, Ireland, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Uncategorized

The Ascent Towards Midsummer…Bealtaine Permaculture Ireland

This could almost be a wedding arch…

There is a real problem here today with water, that is, lack of it!

Imagine saying that in April in Ireland…it would have seemed improbable only a few years ago, but this is the real state of affairs here at Bealtaine this morning!

The water in the spring well has dropped to a low that lowers the pressure on the gravity fed supply.

If you look at the ground around the arch, it appears quite dry.

 

Lunaria, Honesty, or Moon Pennies growing around the pathway.

This is a biennial plant that grows easily from seed and produces the most beautiful disc-shaped seed heads in the autumn, hence the name.

Bees love them as they are some of the earliest flowers in the garden.

If you look closely you can see some of the seedheads forming…

I have planted some of the pot growns from the tunnel out into the garden in an attempt to save them from drying out and dying…hopefully this will work as I prepared the beds some time ago and the moisture content in them should be high.

The tunnel is too hot to work in…so one just has to sit it out!

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Personal, polytunnel gardening, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Celtic Triad. Permaculture Musings from Bealtaine Cottage, West of Ireland.

Produce in the tunnel is growing well.

There is always some food to be harvested in here all year round.

This is important as I am a vegan and need to ensure a good supply of fresh, wholesome, organic food.

A view of the fruit and vegetable gardens taken from the field behind Bealtaine.

Kilronan Mountain lies to the north.

Apple blossom and rhubarb.

A grass path leading from the hen house over to the tunnel and compost bins, lined with Amelanchier and Lime trees.

The same path…

Friendship is wonderful. There is a triad symbol to friendship…a triangle…consisting of Trust, Respect and Understanding.

Rosemary Roberts suggests that this is a Celtic Triad and forms the basis of solid friendship…”Respect yourself and others through your words and actions.”

“Trust your instincts and the intentions of those close to you.” 

And finally, “When acceptance of another’s actions is difficult, stand in the path of understanding.”

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Ecosystems, Stability, Wild Orchids and Cuckoos @ Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding, Ireland

Working in the tunnel this morning I heard the first Cuckoo of the year calling from the hill behind Bealtaine. This is extraordinarily early to hear the Cuckoo…usually in May, or at the earliest, very late April…the seasons are coming earlier here in Ireland.

The flowers on the first Wild Orchid of the year are opening. I noticed a second Orchid beginning to open further along the bank.

Biodiversity is more than an elastoplast sticking plaster on the skin of Gaia…it is the CURE!

I would go so far as to say that it has been the introduction of biodiversity here on the 3 acres of Bealtaine Smallholding that has allowed such incredible harvest of food to manifest.

Permaculture plantings aim to create and sustain as many food webs as possible, as this gives stability and strength to the environment.

The structure of an ecosystem is represented by food webs and the more cmplex the ecosystem, the greater the stability. It is unfortunate that even Organic farms are not home to complex enough ecosystems, as many of the crops are grown in a monoculture, uniform row, type way.

Posted in Eco-Living, Ecology, Frugal Living, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

The Bed, The Sofa and The 5 Euro Throw…Recycling Permaculture in Ireland

The need for a decent bed has been uppermost in my thoughts recently…I had made a bed using pallets, but kept banging my feet on the wood, tripping and, the worst thing of all…could not shove boxes of old shoes etc., under the bed. So, I had a long hard think about the problem and came up with two possible solutions…Buy a new bed, a mere 300 euros, yes, okay, beam me up spotty! Or, dismantle the old sofa bed and use the bed part with a mattress on the top…so guess which one I went with then?

You guessed right…now I’m chopping up the remains of the sofa for the stove, composting the material and storing the foam for future cushions…cost, ahem, sorry multinationals…zero!

Every Sunday I visit the second-hand market, always on the lookout for bargains and objet d’art. Last Sunday was a lovely day and there were plenty of stalls selling lots of interesting items…and I bought this for 5euros! Handknitted and warm and colourful and beautiful, the perfect throw for another old sofa! Rather gorgeous, don’t you think?

Strawberry flowers are opening up in the tunnel today.

And the strawberry plants in the hanging baskets on the veranda are not far behind! I have planted up lots more baskets and have them hanging in the tunnel, this time with lettuce and lots of other edibles, including herbs.

The tunnel has certainly come to life over recent weeks. I shall move the baskets to the veranda once they are established.