Midwinter Cottage

midwinter cottage 002

The air is still.
The storm has passed. 
Stillness and silence pervades the cottage.
Jack is in his bed, and the boys continue to doss away the morning in the Lodge.
A midwinter scene repeated all across the northern hemisphere.
midwinter cottage 006Someone remarked on the increasing silence they noticed in the world around them.
Midwinter is a silent time, suffused with echoes and occasional sounds from strange places.
Places that are more difficult to pinpoint on the landscape…it’s a trick played on us by Mother Nature as she paces the dormitories of sleep and hibernation.
midwinter cottage 014Candles illuminate the darkness, dispelling matt grey for moving shadows.
Jingles of Christmas on the radio, some lovely, most rapaciously dreadful, urging the listener to get out now and spend, spend, spend!
And so the radio is switched off and music switched on, low and evocative.
Midwinter enchants us all with memories of stillness and light, fires and food…times past, selected for our personal album of memories.
midwinter cottage 005I found this photograph recently.
It was taken around Midwinter, in a photo-booth in London, when I first ventured away from home and Ireland.
Scents were what I most missed.
The scents of home, like turf and coal smoke, wisping out of chimney pots on rows of terraced houses.
London was filled with new, more exotic scents, especially places like Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning, where Patchouli oil perfume lingered in the air.
midwinter cottage 004Working patchwork, brings me back to early days, in London and the sheer wealth of fabric shops and stalls, Laura Ashley and the love of William Morris retro!
midwinter cottage 007Colours, fabrics and textures continue to fascinate.
midwinter cottage 003Natural fabrics hold most memory…perhaps because they are from the natural world, where energy is hosted.
midwinter cottage 009Sackcloth and old lace cover a jam jar, filled with Honesty.
midwinter cottage 010Cotton gingham of various colours in the kitchen.
midwinter cottage 012Willow, wood and clay pottery, mugs and bowls.
midwinter cottage 015The morning, washed by soft midwinter light…not to be bought and packaged for Christmas, but absorbed by the celebratory soul.
midwinter cottage 013Blessings from this midwinter cottage…
 

The Happiness of not Having Things

Apple Jelly made from apples grown and harvested here at Bealtaine Cottage Smallholding

This will keep well for years if stored in a cool pantry and can be used in baking and cooking and makes a wonderful sweet and sour sauce!

August 2011 Permaculture Cottage 003

“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language,
and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. 

Upcycled water taps at Bealtaine Cottage

The
consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and
has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

 ~Elise Boulding

And so, tied down with the complex consumerism of life, we don’t get time to see and appreciate the simple frost on leaves, or deeply inhale the clear, morning air…

Bealtaine permaculture cottage 005Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a
burden,

and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.

~Robert Brault

Quality does not lie in quantity, but in something that is unique…and the most unigue is made by oneself, for sure.

August 2011 permaculture Cottage 007

Maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to
buy food.

~Frank A. Clark
Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

“The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your
eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before
you.

stained glass wheel of life at bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it
comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in
life.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

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As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude
will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.
~Henry David Thoreau

permaculture cottage Aug 2011 023

I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but
private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because
they would take away my liberty.

~George Santayana

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Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be
beautiful.

~William Morris

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