Upcycled Fashion

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I took my own advice today…see the motto at the top of the website page…and created this…

dsc04956And yes, the motto is some of the best advice one could ever act upon!

dsc04969dsc04972dsc04976So, I present to you my Celtic Dream Coat…

dsc04978dsc04980Made from 100% recycled materials.

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This is called upcycling!

For lovers of Bealtaine Cottage and all aspects of ancient Celtic life and Goddess Permaculture found therein, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 90 new blogs and several thousands of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

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Make It, Mend It.

As the Winter nights draw in, we have a sense of being confined to home. This is the time when many people feel there is little to do, often resorting to whiling away the evenings doing nothing much…and I speak from personal experience more’s the shame!

The reality is actually quite different from that which we first encounter, for this is not time we have to pass, but down time allowing us to catch up, prepare for the lighter days ahead and make plans.

There lies ahead of us a mere 5-6 weeks to that most busiest of holiday seasons, Yule…Christmas.

This is the perfect time to give home-made gifts…especially edibles!

I say especially edibles because much of what passes as Christmas food in the shops is really quite mediocre.

For real taste and great packaging, nothing beats home-made!

Jam, wine, knits, biscuits, bakes…the possibilities are endless!

And the other half of this title?

Mend it…the economy of home management. Sewing, knitting, darning, painting, upcycling…a good lamp to work by and work away!

Of course, all this is about skills, and no better time to learn a new skill than by joining an evening class and meeting like-minded people.

Come to think of it…there really is very little time over the course of one winter to get half of it all done!

If you’re short of ideas on sending gifts abroad, then have a peek on the Bealtaine Cottage Seed site.

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

I’m happy to act as Mother Christmas and despatch beautifully wrapped seeds, with a card including your message, to deserving recipients all over the world…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Lazy Sunday Afternoon…Upcycling!

Today is Sunday…afternoon…Pics from here, today, at Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage…

Sun rising over Bealtaine today.

Sunrise from the porch. Built in a sustainable way from wood, locally sourced…when most people are building in concrete blocks, but as I often ask, ‘how long do you intend living on Gaia?’ This wooden porch will see me out!

Windows are recylced, as is most of the wood!

Upcycled taps…from the bath to the sink…water is water is water is water!

And an upcycled sink and an upcycled surround and the same for the material for the curtain…and the dish drainer?…that’s a cake cooling rack!

Permaculture Cottage ~ Compost, Potatoes, The Fairy Tree and a Cold Winter to Come!

Potatoes growing by the east side of the shed. Did you know that there are about five thousand potato varieties worldwide?                            Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to molds that feed on the stored tubers, quickly turning them rotten.  However, I left potatoes in the ground over the course of last winter, when all was frozen solid for six long weeks…and they were dug out after the defrost and were perfect! I think it may have been the layer of straw that was atop the ground!

Throughout Europe, the most important new food in the 19th century was the potato, which, of course fast became a monoculture among poorer people… I strive hard to avoid planting all the tubers in one area, preferring to plant here and there in a positive way to avoid disease…and it appears to have worked thus far!

Now in its seventh year, Bealtaine smallholding has achieved new heights of growth, meaning that compost is plentiful. This is because there is so much to cut back and use to build compost heaps…I have made two so far and am still using the compost made last year, with loads to go!

At its most essential, the process of composting requires simply piling up waste outdoors and waiting a year or more. This is the method I use and it has benefitted Bealtaine well! The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. Any parts of the heap that have not degraded sufficiently can be added to the next heap…a process I indulge in!

Permaculture planting lends itself really well to bountiful compost production, so even if you do not keep animals for manure, it is still quite possible to maintain a high degree of healthy and fertile soil, using plant compost alone…however, a few hens are easy and happy and productive little workers to have on any smallholding!

Upcycling baked bean tins…making a few holes in the bottom and planting with sedums…these are two years old now and quite attractive when grouped together like this, don’t you think?

Lots of berries on the Hawthorn. last year was the same and I predicted a very cold and long winter…I forecast more of the same for the coming winter based on much evidence around me…

Crataegus,or Hawthorn is one of my favourite trees here at Bealtaine and I have grown all I have planted from seed. Hawthorns provide food and shelter for many species of birds and mammals, and the flowers are important for many nectar-feeding insects.

In Gaelic folklore, hawthorn  ‘marks the entrance to the otherworld’ and is strongly associated with the fairies.   Lore has it that it is very unlucky to cut the tree at any time other than when it is in bloom, however during this time it is commonly cut and decorated as a May Bush or Bealtaine…Irish meaning May.    This warning persists to modern times; it has been questioned by folklorist Bob Curran whether the ill luck of the De Lorean Motor Company was associated with the destruction of a fairy thorn to make way for a production facility.

Hawthorn trees are often found beside clootie wells; at these types of holy wells they are sometimes known as ‘rag trees’, for the strips of cloth which are tied to them as part of healing rituals. ‘

When all fruit fails, welcome haws’ was once a common expression in Ireland.