My Wildest Dreams

IMG_0096Bees are declining all over the world, for multiple reasons.
The most serious one in my estimation is habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation…in other words… Homelessness!
IMG_0097This is not a problem at Bealtaine Cottage, as Bee habitat and food source creation was implemented in the early years of the Bealtaine project.

IMG_0087As a direct consequence of this, the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage are thriving!

This is a part of the new Lughnasadh Garden, created especially for the bees and butterflies.

IMG_0046One only has to plant it and they will come! One only has to be a little untidy and they will create a home!

IMG_0085Sadly, many gardeners are not aware of the ways in which habitat and food source can be secured and managed for wildlife.  Here I’ve planted Blueberry bushes, and heaped mulch around them…a possible habitat! The flowers are pollinated by bees and in return I get masses of fruit!

IMG_0098However, some time spent observing Nature can be very empowering and planting near the cottage means I get to sit and watch the bees and butterflies as well as discover more about their feeding habits.

IMG_0089 In planning and planting this new garden, I observed a quiet respect for “nooks and crannies,” …stones, logs, small mounds…all areas of potential habitat. When cutting back the Jostaberry, above, I stacked the cut wood underneath the bush as potential habitat. Some species of Butterflies can over-winter, (leaf piles are particularly good!) and guess what…I got to see two butterflies in the garden at the end of March!

The sight of new and first butterflies in spring is a joyful, reaffirming vision of hope.

IMG_0080Water availability, layers of plants, trees, shrubs, a succession of flowers for the majority of the year…and much more was taken into the planning and planting of the garden. Habitat and food are the main drivers in my planning and planting.

The trending emphasis, when it comes to bee-decline, seems to be on bee-keeping rather than bee-habitat…the latter being something that each of us can do something about.

bees and peas at bealtaine cottageFor my part, I don’t keep bees…they keep me…and all are wild and free!

A Cottage and Three Acres…the book, available now.

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The cost of the book is 21.00 euros, plus 5.50 P&P for addresses in Ireland, 6.50 P&P the rest of the world.

Thus books posted to Ireland, total cost 26.50 euros

All other countries worldwide, total cost 27.50 euros

I am happy to inscribe and sign your copy.

To order and pay, use this button…

Windy, Warm, with Daffodils on Boxing Day!

Christmas Presents…

Trees as pressies! I love these presents as they keep on giving and giving and will be here long after I have passed!

Daffodils

The weather is very mild and has been so for much of the winter so far. As testament to this the daffodils have decided to make an unseasonally early appearance and will be opening their blooms very soon.

Under Trees

Trees lend a huge amount of shelter to all kinds of plants, but especially early flowering bulbs…a good reason to plant under trees!

To the Water and the Wild…

The lower pond this morning, the day after Christmas. Water weed remains green and lush. The spring well gushes life into this huge pond from further up the hill…

The Wren Boys

Today is St. Stephen’s day in Ireland…one where people dress to hide their identities and go door to door singing and making fool in aid of charity…an ancient tradition!

The sedge remains green and lush.

Spring is not far away!

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Walk on the Wild Side

Ivy loops and twirls around the trees in the Fairy Dell woodland. Ivy that feeds the birds in the depths of midwinter. Ivy that shelters the pheasant in the heat of midsummer. Strong, natural and wild…

Ivy and Lichens, so perfect in the gardens at Bealtaine that it can only be the hand of Nature…no gardener can create this perfection…

Another sacred part of the land at this permaculture smallholding…a small field of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the natural habitat of the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. Nature working her pure magic and being encouraged at every turn!

Now is the time to plant Willow. This is something which is easy to do and will serve the eco-system around you well. So many insects, birds and bees depend on this plant. Simply cut a wand of Willow and push it into the ground as far as you can…about 1-2feet will do! Manure it well and it will grow fast and strong! Some people surround it with plastic to stop weeds and grass, but, personally I do not approve of this as the earth under plastic is not beneficial to wildlife and anyway, the Willow will soon shade out any unwanted weeds!

Cotoneaster…planted, but soon takes on the mantle of wildness and becomes a feeding station for birds and insects alike!

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!

Fruity Sourdough Bread and Real Bluebells at Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding.

Made a fruit sourdough bread yesterday.  Sourdough skills are developing slowly and the real savings are tangible. Making the traditional soda bread was easy, but more costly. Buttermilk was needed, whereas sourdough requires nothing other than the flour and what one chooses over and above that! Added to that is the bonus of the bread not using commercial yeast, which is detrimental to health for more and more people.

Sultanas and spice were added to the basic dough, along with 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and it’s yummy!

Lots of wild Bluebells have appeared this year at Bealtaine. This single flower is indicative of the natural spread taking place after 7 chemical-free years on this smallholding. Open the door a little, (figuratively speaking), and Nature sweeps in…a much welcomed guest!

Beautiful, elegant Ferns have also spread, especially throughout the Fairy Dell Woodland…

The heavenly, sweet-scented flowers on the Hawthorn trees is in full bloom now. This is the edge of the Fairy Dell, where many of the apple trees thrive. Cherry and Plum are also planted on this south facing edge of the 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!

Permaculture Health, Wealth and Abundance…May the Force be With You!

Apple blossom this morning at Bealtaine.

As I write this I am listening to Irish Radio…talking endlessly about money, economics, making people spend money, kick-starting the economy! They just don’t get it! The wealth of a country must be measured in the health and wellbeing of its people…

Rhubarb waiting for me to turn it into jam…bumper harvests have begun again!

Apple blossom open today. the bees have feasted on the Ribes and are ready to continue the party on the fruit blossoms.

Irusan in the Fairy Dell this morning. He loves to walk the land with me each morning when he is staying at Bealtaine. Irusan is a Bombay Black Cat, whose mother was feral, living almost wild in London. he is extremely perceptive and interactive with people he chooses to like.

Growth over recent days has begun to impact on the paths that connect the permaculture zones at Bealtaine Cottage. Where monoculture fields around this smallholding are waiting for chemical fertilizer to green them, the grass and herbal pathways do the greening for themselves, for underneath lies a healthy soil that now pushes forth abundance!

Violets have emerged in the Fairy Dell…woodland abundance!