Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, bog gardens, Cottage, First day of Spring, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, season, Uncategorized, Woodland, woods

Signs of Spring

Catnip Heart Toy made at Bealtaine Cottage

Life is stirring.

Light shines higher in the morning sky.

Thickening buds cast a haze over the land.

“But there were certain early days in Casterbridge- days of firmamental exhaustion which followed angry south-westerly tempests-when, if the sun shone, the air was like velvet.”
Thomas Hardy

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine Cottage

Colours emerge and birds sing out a joyous, higher note.

Warm weather in January

We are officially in the season of Spring in the West of Ireland and the new energy is tangible, from rising in the morning to the growing lateness of dusk.

The temperature seems rather unstable, as you can see evidence of in the photograph above.

The morning began very cold and in the space of minutes, the temperature had climbed by 18 F., causing the mirror on the veranda to steam up!

I recorded this as most of the only real information about climate and weather appears to be anecdotal evidence from social media! Cottage interior at Bealtaine, 2016

My favourite aspect of Spring is the way the light changes.

If one simply sat in this cottage and never ventured outdoors it would be possible to map the seasons in light play.

I expect birds, animals and even insects are similarly informed.

Living in the glare of artificial light can be dulling to our senses!

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”
Vita Sackville-West, The Land

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Elsewhere in the woodland gardens at Bealtaine, frogs have emerged from hibernation and busied themselves, as only frogs can in cold ponds!

Frogs in Bealtaine pond have the luxury of a shallow, sheltered, ancillary pond, hand dug by myself, just off the main one.

This water heats faster and earlier, ensuring maximum attention to the detail of frog mating and spawning…a sort of nursery pond!

Anyway, it works a treat and has done for the past eleven years.

As a consequence, the amphibian life force has healthily expanded!

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

 

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016
Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2016

Diversity of planting not only has created resilience, but bestowed all year round colour to Bealtaine Cottage…so appreciated as Spring emerges…for with this rising of the sap, comes a much defined colour change!

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Pussy Willow at Bealtaine Cottage. Ireland

Catkins have appeared on the Willow…and there’s many different varieties in the Woodland. Pond and even Orchard gardens. Essential food for the bees emerging from a hungry winter hibernation.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Quince flowers, Bealtaine Cottage, Feb 2016

This Quince grows in the Bog Garden and has begun to flower!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood

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Where would Spring be without the exquisite little Primroses?

Seen here in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine, surrounded by Spurge!

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Spurge at bealtaine cottage in the Fairy Wood

The Fairy Wood awakens!

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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:

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

 

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…

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

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Brigid, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, homesteading, Uncategorized

Country Cottage Journal…Beginning the Year in the Garden

Propagator at Bealtaine Cottage

Now is the time to sort out seeds and get sowing underway. January passes very quickly…we’re already halfway through!

First of all, ensure all trays and pots used for sowing are scrupulously clean.

No need to use chemicals for this, as soapy water, clean rinsing water and air-drying will ensure a perfect result.

I have used this method for the past eleven years and it has never failed.

Always use a good compost if you cannot make your own.

The John Innes recipe is perfect, but can be difficult to get it all together…

2 parts sterilized loam
1 part moss peat alternative 
1 part sharp sand

The loam and peat is put through in 3/8 in (9mm) sieve.

To each 36 L  add:

1-2 oz (42gm) superphosphate
1/2 oz Potassium nitrate
4-6 oz (21gm) ground limestone

I prefer to purchase sowing compost, as one small sack is usually enough, keeping home-made compost for the potting on process.

Once seeds are sorted and new ones added to the stock, it’s time to get sowing.

Success is all as the season can be delayed!

At this time I also clean the tunnel plastic to ensure maximum light penetration.

Daylight is now increasing by over a minute a day!

A good tidy up of the garden begins around this time, especially in the west of Ireland as Spring is about a month earlier in the gardening calendar.

This is measured on charts from Wisley in the SE of England and is in line with the Cornwall temperatures, due to the effect of the Gulf Stream.

Once the first signs of Spring appear, it is as though a magic wand has been cast over the landscape, with each day being a new day of discovery.

Sometimes there happens a snowfall that appears to set everything back, but in the absence of a deep and lingering freeze, it is very temporary indeed!

Pruning fruit trees and trees in general can be done before the sap starts to rise.

However, and this is from my own experience, Birch trees are known to rise sap very early on in the year, so do not cut as this can lead to the tree bleeding to death!

I encountered this much to my own grief…

In short, just because it’s cold and wintry at present, be aware that Nature’s clock is ticking and, if like me, you garden alone, there’s simply not enough hours in the day! Happy gardening!

Please note there are seeds available from Bealtaine Cottage…here’s the link:

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

Many are perfect food providers for Bees…remember the Bees in your garden planning this year!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Fairies, Garden, hens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Woodland

Follow Your Bliss and the Universe Will Open Doors

Looking out on a May evening...
Looking out on a May evening…

Making a decision is always the most difficult part of moving forward.

DSCF1379In deciding, one simply puts it out there, for the Universe to pick up.

DSCF1382That is what I have done here at Bealtaine Cottage…the next move comes from that energy.

Sammy-Bear takes a seat...
Sammy-Bear takes a seat…

The sale may, or may not happen…but the planting of trees will move forward.

The feeding system I have devised and constructed for the hens...an old pipe and tin, firmly secured on the wall of the hen-house!
The feeding system I have devised and constructed for the hens…an old pipe and tin, firmly secured on the wall of the hen-house!

I have done what was asked of me and agreed to the sacrifice.

What happens next is synchronicity and the will of Divine Energy…The Forest of Bealtaine will happen in the same magical way as Eden emerged here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Food is poured in to the top of the pipe and emerges from the feeder at the bottom as the hen peck!
Food is poured in to the top of the pipe and emerges from the feeder at the bottom as the hen peck!

As my friend, Rosie, on Twitter, pointed out to me this morning…“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” -Joseph Campbell

DSCF1394Bealtaine has begun here in the west of Ireland.

Down the steps into the may gardens
Down the steps into the may gardens

Planting is under way of crops and even a few more trees, though mostly the trees are in pots awaiting a forest!

Sedge in bloom to the left of the steps.
Sedge in bloom to the left of the steps.

Walking around the gardens this morning I snapped these pictures…

Through the Fairy Wood...
Through the Fairy Wood…

 

 

Foxglove in Spurge on the woodland floor...
Foxglove in Spurge on the woodland floor…


Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage
Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage
Sedge in the Fairy Wood
Sedge in the Fairy Wood
Stopping by the Silt-pond
Stopping by the Silt-pond
Willow in the Bog Garden
Willow in the Bog Garden
Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Cats, Climate, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Wild Flowers

Monet in Gaia’s Garden

Coppiced wood makes one neat pile to be used in the wood stove next winter.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe small logs burn very well in the wood stove and give tremendous heat!

The building of the next pile is under-way.

www.bealtainecottage.comMuch of today has been spent cutting back the growth on the stream that carries the water into the ponds.

Che-Mousey-Bear has stayed in the Bog Garden with me as I worked, keeping me entertained… www.bealtainecottage.comas you can see!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe lower pond looked like a Monet painting…

www.bealtainecottage.comin the soft afternoon light after the storm.

www.bealtainecottage.comEthereal…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I worked silently along the banks of the stream, frogs croaked, mating, swimming and spawning in both ponds.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe spawn was visible…

www.bealtainecottage.comand floated in big chunks across the water and weeds.

www.bealtainecottage.comWillow and Dogwood was pruned back and cuttings inserted along the stream banks,

www.bealtainecottage.comwhere they will root and keep the earth from being eroded by the ever-increasing rain…this is building resilience and adapting to Climate Change!

www.bealtainecottage.comBirdsong filled the gardens all afternoon and Coltsfoot made an early show of yellow flowers in the gravel…

www.bealtainecottage.comnear the lower pond.

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

There are over 600 blogs in the archives on this site.

Heartfelt thanks for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, compost, Crafts, Dogs, Edible Gardens, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, photography, Spring, Trees

A Day in Early Spring

www.bealtainecottage.com

Juicing is a great way to ensure one has the maximum of vitamins and minerals and this is something I do every day.
It’s also a reason to keep greens growing all the year around, as even small bits can be added to the juicer and vital vitamins extracted.
I’ve used some small bits of Kale that have escaped the frost and storms.
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There is no waste in Permaculture, just compost and more vegetables growing! Compost is the food needed to grow food!
www.bealtainecottage.com
 
Slowly, slowly the Willow is cut and stacked…time is running out as the buds thicken! Baskets, Fedges and Obelisks are standing here!
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These beds are fairly sheltered and continue to produce Kale, which is processed in the juicer.
www.bealtainecottage.com
 
Fine Willow used in basket weaving waiting to be harvested. The gardens look colourful all the way through Winter, as the stems of Willow, Dogwood, Ash and Birch are revealed.
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So much rain has fallen here in Ireland this Winter and now, in the early days of Spring, the flooding has begun to dominate the landscape. Here at Bealtaine cottage I spent much time in the early days digging out drains and water channels, as well as keeping them maintained over the past ten years…and it has paid off, as you can see from the lower pond. The water runs free, out into the streams and rivers that take it to the Atlantic Ocean. 
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In sheltered areas all over the gardens the ferns have remained green, though a little bit droopy. The winter was mild and warm, with plenty of rain!
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This is the beginning of the wood pile for next winter. It comprises of coppiced logs of Birch, Ash and Hazel. The twiggy bits are thrown into the back of the pile as they make wonderful kindling! These logs may be small, but are perfect for a small wood-burning stove!
www.bealtainecottage.com
 
I’ve been stocking up on straw recently, as this makes great mulch around the garden helping to suppress weeds and line paths.
www.bealtainecottage.comGreen Beech hold their leaves right through Winter, adding even more colour and shelter to the gardens! 
www.bealtainecottage.com
 
And look who’s keeping an eye on me as I type…my loyal Jack!
Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, compost, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture

A New Era at Bealtaine Cottage

www.bealtainecottage.com 001

Smoke rises into a clear blue January sky.

The birds are singing like it’s Spring and black ice covers the road by the gate. www.bealtainecottage.com 012My friend Michael is here this morning to finally remove the toilet and install my compost loo.

The septic tank is, from today, a grey water tank!

www.bealtainecottage.com 008I have been using the compost system for the past year, keeping the flush toilet for visitors, but this is the time to finally say goodbye to a system that no longer makes any sense!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019Those who visit, or stay at Bealtaine Cottage, will experience a neat loo, that is both efficient and hygienic, adding to the environment rather than being a source of pollution.

I shall write a blog and post pics of the new loo in a few days time…

www.bealtainecottage.com 006Meanwhile, there are signs of life all the way through the permaculture gardens, with Daffodils pushing up through the more sheltered earth under the Beech trees.

www.bealtainecottage.com 027The sun is not yet high enough on the horizon to reach the paths in the Bog Garden, many of which will remain frozen for weeks to come.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026In the sheltered parts of the woodland, Ferns remain green and quite lush.

Many keep their life until new fronds unfurl in late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005The Willow continues to be cut, tied and stacked in the barn.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Many of the Fedges will need to be pruned before Spring and vigorous new growth that follows.

This Fedge borders the stream that runs from the Spring Well.

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Many of the Bird Boxes around the gardens will need to be water-proofed with whatever I have to hand…usually a coat or two of gloss paint.

This does not seep into the wood and so does not harm nestlings in the box.

                                  Many thanks for the continuing support for the work of this Bealtaine Cottage  website.

Blessings

Posted in Buddha, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Edible Gardens, Garden, Life, Permaculture, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

The Wood in the Willows

www.bealtainecottage.com 005

This is when the coppicing begins…early winter as soon as the leaves have fallen.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011This Willow will make excellent logs for the stove, once properly seasoned.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The thinner bits will be added to the kindling pile and left to dry.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Coppicing allows for continual regeneration of woodland and is an excellent way to help young woodland get established.

www.bealtainecottage.com 036This is a selective process and involves wonderful interaction with Nature, as it is slow and steady work.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003This is the interface of the young woodland, colourful and vibrant!

www.bealtainecottage.com 044The warmth of Bealtaine Cottage on a Winter’s night, is fast becoming dependent on this most under-appreciated of all our natural resources…trees!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012As I work through small areas of the gardens, it allows me time to tidy up some of the paths…though allowing the leaves to stay where they fall, as this helps to build soil and define pathways.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Buddha sits among the leaves…

www.bealtainecottage.com 024Meanwhile, down in the Bog Garden, little Che-Mousey enjoys the November sunshine and temperatures of 14 oC!

www.bealtainecottage.com 032Spindle continues to hang onto its berries…

www.bealtainecottage.com 048And the Potager beds, at the back of the cottage, continue to deliver food for the table…

www.bealtainecottage.com 039So far its been a beautifully mild early winter, making the season seem much shorter!

A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am into a second print run and am posting from today, Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy…

https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings from Bealtaine X

Posted in Climate, Current Affairs, Earth, Garden, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized

Tar Sands Destruction

Canada September 2012

Canada is a beautiful country, with stunning scenery and some of the most spectacular trees I have ever had the pleasure to see.

I visited Canada last September…here I am in Ontario, not far from North Bay.

Canada is, at present, extracting oil from Tar Sands, oil that will be piped into the US via the Keystone XL Pipeline.

It breaks my heart to think that any part of this extraordinarily beautiful country should be sacrificed to the greed of those who (would happily) see Mother Earth so destroyed.

I have posted a link to some basic info about this…

http://ran.org/what-are-tar-sands

Front door at Bealtaine CottageToday has been disturbingly hot.

I don’t tolerate this extreme of heat well, so most of my chores were done this morning, very early and this evening as the day cools into night.

Potager beds at Bealtaine CottageAll that we do on this small, sacred, little planet is all connected, all the good and all the bad.

Rambling Roses at Bealtaine CottageAs a gardener and tender of the Earth, I can state quite categorically, that the weather systems are more extreme and unpredictable.

Raised Potager bedsCause and effect…we are having an effect for sure!

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageAs I boil the kettle on the rocket stove, fired with dried willow left over from basket making, I remember Canada.

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

The Rocket stove…

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Country Living, Garden, Growing Food, hens, Herbs, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Trees

Permaculture Orchard and Spring Well

New mulched permaculture orchardAn update on the new orchard…the mulching continues as the blossom breaks on the little trees.

Permaculture Orchard at Bealtaine CottageLots of nettles have been chopped and layered on the mulch!

mulching the orchardThe path is being extended, as I find time to do a little more and a little more!

Look who has made a little bed for himself on the weed suppressing mat…

New apple trees in the permaculture orchardThis project will continue into the autumn as I have several other projects on the go, including the new kitchen floor.

Herbs in tyres at Bealtaine CottageHerbs are lovely flowers to grow and these are growing just outside the Lodge.

Chives, Feverfew, Comfrey, Clary Sage and Ox-Eye Daisies all happily growing together!

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe hen house this morning…I leave the girls in long enough for them to lay.

This is the entrance from the new orchard.

I have just returned from cleaning out the well up on the hill.

The water tank had stopped filling and had, in fact dried out.

A visit to the well confirmed my suspicion that the pipe had clogged up with plant life!

I can hear the water filling in the tank in the loft as I type.

The hens at Bealtaine CottageThe hens are all in good shape now and are the most passive and calm little creatures I have ever encountered.

Hens at Bealtaine CottageJust adorable!

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine CottageThe Lime trees are now in leaf.

I have discovered that these trees grow very well from cuttings!

Pollarded Willow at Bealtaine CottageWillow is growing thick and fast on the pollarded trees.

This will grow up to 15 feet high, making great fedging lengths this autumn.

Posted in Country Living, Gaia, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Progress in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Permaculture gardens in April at Bealtaine Cottage

The storm rages on, as the weather is divided between weird and wonderful.

Sun, torrential rain, gale-force winds continue to ravage the North West of Ireland.

Apple trees in April in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageDespite the weather, the progress of Spring is unstoppable.

Sorrel is up in green clumps all over the gardens.

This is a tasty and nutritions herb and salad ingredient and also great for the famous French Sorrel soup!

Buds continue to thicken on the apple trees and there’s some early blossom about to open on the Redcurrants

bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

The hens have settled in well and are laying eggs…that was much faster than I expected, so they must be happy!

Bealtaine Cottage permacultureCatkins and leaves are out on the Willow and buds are swelling on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Blossom is beginning to open on some of the Pear trees, despite the crazy weather and the temperatures remain quite high, even at night.

 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Dogs, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Trees

Photos of the Permaculture Gardens and Cottage of Bealtaine in January 2012

Bealtaine Cottage seen through the camera in 2012

Jack, January 2012

jack in January 2012 at Bealtaine Cottage Ireland

Beech and Bamboo January 2012

Jan 12 permaculture cottage 008

The girls on the veranda January 2012

Hens at Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2012

The Mighty Ash tree against the stormy January sky of 2012

Mighty Ash tree at Bealtaine Cottage

The full moon over Bealtaine Cottage in January 2012

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First snow of 2012 settles on the permaculture gardens.

Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2011 006

A well-mulched bed in the fruit gardens

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Sorting and tying Willow in the shelter of the veranda, January 2012

Tying Willow from the Permaculture gardens

The polytunnel in January 2012

permaculture polytunnels

Posted in Autumn, Celts, Country Living, Culture, Garden, Life, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Transition into Autumn, as Lughnasa moves towards Samhain.

I grow over fifty different herbs here at Bealtaine Cottage.

All are grown organically, in keeping with everything I do here.

Lavender grows in profusion in the tunnel and dry areas of the gardens.

Wild Mint grows in the Bog Garden.

Oregano grows wild in the gravel driveway…one reason among thousands why NOT to tarmac!

The amount of self-seeding that occurs in the driveway is amazing!

I have taken lots of Lavender Cuttings and potted them on, so there will many more plants for next year.

It is important to keep a well stocked Nursery Garden…this enables continued expansion.

The garden has begun it’s slow transitional journey into Autumn.

By the Celtic Calendar, this is the beginning of the second month, and some plants already display that.

The Birch trees are colouring into autumn hues, the Willow hangs low in the early morning frost and harvesting food is well under way.

Hazel nuts are ripening, Rosehips are ready and apples are being harvested.

The hips of the Rosa Canina, or DogRose, rich in Vitamin C and ready to collect to make syrup.

They can also be used in Hedgerow Jelly and Jams.

I planted several of these bushes in various locations around my smallholding and they have all grown and fruited well, though sunlight is important, so shady locations are not that good…semi-shade is tolerable though!

The fruits of the Rosa Rugosa, rich in vitamin C.

These were collected by people during W.W.2. and delivered to the local collection points for the Ministry of Food where they were turned into Rosehip Syrup and given out to families with children as Vitamin C Syrup.

Isn’t it amazing just what governments can do for their people when they have to!

It’s worth looking at the history of the Ministry of Food during this time…some of the recipes produced by them are incredible…!

There are many hundreds of metres of pathways in this garden, connecting many different types of growing areas and gardens, all of them organic and all permacultured for ease of managing.

 One of the paths, leading from a compost area in several directions…the orchard, the east garden, the cottage and if you turn right, along the north bank.

At this time of year, when there is so much to cut back, I use all the waste to mulch within that area.

The mulch, as it degrades, feeds the plants and builds up the soil.

It’s amazing how much is uncovered and revealed when this cut back happens.

The paths are all grass and are mown weekly…grass being used as a harvest food for the nearest trees and shrubs.

Did you know that there are over 300 species of Willow?

In wet ground, Willow only has to be inserted into the earth and it will take root.

Bees love Willow!

It makes great wood for burning in the stove, with just a little seasoning, depending on the thickness.

Baskets can be made from it, as can all kinds of decorations.

There is an archaelogical site in Antrim, recently uncovered that shows that the Ancient Celts used Willow and Wattle to create dwellings.

It is also a sacred tree, featuring in both the Celtic and Saxon Chronicles as such.

Here in the Bog garden, by the lower pond, this Willow provides wildlife food and habitat as well as structure and form.

It’s one of my favourite trees.

Willow lends itself easily to Permaculture, feeding so many insects and birds as to be totally amazing!

For the gardener it is a growing medium without restraints, bending into arches, fedges and garden sculpture.

Lughnasa fades into Samhain and there is magic in the air!

Posted in Animals, Cats, Dogs, Permaculture, Personal, Smallholding, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Cats, Dogs and Long Winding Paths…

There are hundreds of metres of paths here on the permaculture smallholding, all lined with plants, trees and shrubs and all needing to be cut back and tidied up now that the midsummer growth has peaked.

It’s a task I love, especially on a day like today where the sun is clouded over, but the air is warm and still.

Last night I watched a beautiful moon rise in the North East and several shooting stars.

This morning I was entranced by dragonflies around the lower pond as I weeded the margins of the water…standing in the cool water at one point just to cool off and feel the silt between my toes!

Missy is sitting here beside me as I type, emitting little fluffs of fur into the air as she moults.

They are drawn towards my face and cling to my skin, making me stop working to brush them away.

Her soft purring is compensation for the minor discomfort.

She loves to sit near me at times, just drinking in my energy and I hers.

The straggly leftover Tomato plants are all doing well and promise a modest harvest.

The seasons continue on their slow, steady course, despite the chaos of the weather.

Jack and Flo are like an old married couple, arguing over which side of the bed they want to sleep on!

In this case it’s baskets.

Flo often pushes Jack out of his basket and takes over completely, delegating poor Jack to the close confines of her small bed…

It’s only that he adores Flo that he tolerates this!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Current Affairs, Fairies, Garden, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Willow Fedges, Arches and Fairy Woods

It’s evening here at Bealtaine Cottage.

The sun is setting in the west and there’s a mild chill in the air.

I have been cutting back some of the wild summer growth and the sunlight can now reach areas where there was only heavy shade.

The dappled light covers the standing stone on the bank under the cottage.

One of the big tasks is tying in the willow growth from this year into the fedges that cover the smallholding.

It’s a lovely task really, I can’t complain, as I work and listen to the sounds of Nature all around me.

It also allows me time to look at the way plants are developing and plan the next task, so there is an organic flow to my work.

This willow arch has many stems of Dogwood worked into it.

The fedge on the right was the first one constructed here and had developed well over seven or so years.

It looked odd at the beginning as it stood all alone on a rushy field.

An upside down vase covers the top of a stem from a Sitka spruce that I recently cut down.

There is a disease which is killing these trees off all over Ireland and Scotland and no wonder!

The plantations of these trees spread far and wide and are monoculture nightmares that blot the landscape in huge square planting schemes that allow no light or biodiversity into their space…it is purely for greed!

The bog garden has seen lots of work over recent days as I clear the edges of the pond and cut back willow and shrubs.

This is a lovely time of the year to work outdoors.

Autumn is my favourite season.

It is a time when the gardens start to look their best as the summer party ends and the tidy up begins…

I have realised the great value of Willow this year as a fuel for the stove.

Much of what I cut last Autumn made great kindling and small logs, giving a strong heat.

It also works well in the Rocket Stove.

When I had finished my work, I walked back up through the Fairy Dell Wood as the evening sun was illuminating the entrance, making it look magical.

I have always believed in Fairies…

Posted in biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Fairies, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Woodland

Permaculture Planting…The Importance of Trees

Following on from the short video on Willow and using willow in the garden as living willow fedges and structures, here’s a short video on trees… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBu_fP82VDY&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Posted in Cottage, Food, Garden, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding

Making and Using Compost on a Permaculture Smallholding.

Here’s a 5 minute video from Bealtaine Cottage on making and using compost on a permaculture smallholding.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLkBREOi8hE&feature=plcp&context=C4035676VDvjVQa1PpcFOWi9w1WJ3Ko7EephcqjG1KM5MBe0Xa1V8%3D

Posted in Birds, Bloom, Country Living, Garden, Ireland, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Remembering Romania…

Gunnera Manicata in the garden today is beginning to unfurl it’s leaves from under the cover of last year’s leaves which have protected the crown of the plant over the cold, winter months.

There is a complex eco-system at work here, under the decaying leaves of last summer

The eco-system is a complex web linking plants, animals humans and every other life form in what we call the “biosphere.”

Many aspects of this early Spring call to mind my trip to Romania in 2002.

I spent ten weeks in that beautiful country and it was there that I made up my mind to return to Ireland and a simpler life in the country!

Romania is a stunningly, beautiful country and it’s people are wonderful.

I stayed with the Pancs family in Arad and travelled to Borsa in the north of the country as well as many towns and villages in between.

At this time of the year in the west of Ireland, I recall the advent of Spring as I drove from the far north of Romania, near the Ukraine border, down into the south and Arad, near the border with Hungary…very fond memories indeed!

Daffodils continue to open at Bealtaine…

The daffodils have bloomed all over Bealtaine this year, starting way back in January!


The very mild winter has had a positive effect on all the plants and trees here, with many coming into bloom very early indeed!


As I type this there is a plethora of birdsong outside the cottage.

This is a variety of Willow that I am unsure of in terms of name…it has red stems as you can see. Any enlightenment would be good!

Sweet, little, wild Primroses, chancing their luck by growing in the centre of the driveway! Each Spring their number increases as Bealtaine Cottage remains chemical and pollutant free! 

Photinia, or Red Robin is at it’s best right now as the new leaves make a show of themselves!

And so the beginning of another week at Bealtaine Cottage…it promises dry weather and lots of tasks to be completed before the time passes on into summer…for that may be just around the corner!

Posted in Animals, biodiversity, Birds, Climate, Earth, Garden, Spirituality, Spring, Trees, Uncategorized

As Evening Approaches…

The evening approaches…

Taking Jack out for a walk was pleasant as the air was still and warm.

One of the first real signs of Spring is birdsong…excessive birdsong…morning, noon and evening!

The gardens here at Bealtaine are taking on some extraordinary colours as the spring proceeds.

White, cream, shades of pink and amber…all these colours represent the life force awakening!

Jack is driven mad with scents…of the badger, hare, frog, all traversing the ground as the earth awakens!

Buds are beginning to appear on one of the Pear trees near the cottage.

The young Lilac tree has a thickening of green buds.

Moss that has spent the winter covering the ground, is beginning to loosen and rise in clumps, as the grass beneath it pushes upwards, towards the light.

Catkins hang majestically from the Hazel trees.

The leaves of the Blackcurrant are opening.

Spring…

Posted in Country Living, Earth, hens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Trees, Uncategorized

The Life Force that is Spring…

The morning is damp.

This has been one of the wettest winters on record!

The earth is water-logged!

Despite this, the spring is coming in fast…

Kerria is just starting to bud, it will be a couple of weeks and full bloom will show.

Catkins are making a fine show on many of the willow varieties.

Cotoneaster buds continue to thicken and the Dogwood tips have gone a brilliant shade of lime green. This makes a stunning contrast to the red stems!

Catkins have come through on most of the willow and some have even shedded and come into leaf…yes, Spring has sprung !

Even the girls are fussing over eggs, despite the absence of a cockerel!

There must be hundreds of frogs in the upper and lower ponds this morning…it sits in huge pools of thick, shiny blackness all over the ponds.

There’s a green haze covering some of the older trees, especially in the distance where an ancient oak nestles into a dip between a stream and hillock. It’s top-most branches have developed a dull green haze, almost like an aura of life!

Posted in Books, Climate, Country Living, Garden, hens, Ireland, Permaculture, Spring, Uncategorized

Rainbows Before Imbolc

 

As I write this, the rain is lashing down around the walls of the cottage. it’s Friday and the weather is almost mid-March in it’s behaviour…wild, windy, mild and wet!


It has been a day of rainbows…I’ve counted four so far! And the sun, when it does shine through, is brilliant!


The rain has now turned to hailstones!

“By early evening all the sky to the north had darkened and the spare terrain they trod had turned a neuter gray as far as the eye could see. They grouped in the road at the top of a rise and looked back. The storm front towered above them and the wind was cool on their sweating faces. They slumped bleary-eyed in their saddles and looked at one another. Shrouded in the black thunderheads the distant lightning glowed mutely like welding seen through foundry smoke. As if repairs were under way at some flawed place n the iron dark of the world.”
― Cormac McCarthyAll The Pretty Horses

Little bits of work has been done over the course of the day, including cleaning out the hen-house and continuing to cut willow.

“Dang! Look at that RAINBOW!” Piper shouted, accidently spewing bits of apple pie from her overstuffed mouth. All quickly turned and saw…
…exactly what Piper claimed, a rainbow.”
― Victoria ForesterThe Girl Who Could Fly

Thomas Hardy

“WEATHERS
This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside at ‘The Traveller’s Rest,’
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west,
And so do I.

This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.”
― Thomas Hardy

Posted in Books, Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Life, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

An Irish Homesteader.

 Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 005The wind turbines on Kilronan Mountain stand out against the dark blue stormy sky.
Bealtaine Cottage wind turbines on Kilronan mountainAnticipating a cold evening I have chopped lots of wood for the sitting room stove for tonight!
I have worked out a new site for a big, big compost area, now edged with willow.

I figured that the willow would take up all the extra nitrogen around the edges and provide yet more harvest-able supplies for basketry!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture

It is always a challenge to work out better ways of doing things…I’m hoping that this will be very productive!

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Coppicing some of the ash trees on the land will be carried out before the sap rises in the wood…this takes place in early Spring, though the ash is the last tree to come into leaf and usually the first to lose it’s leaves.

Bealtaine Cottage wood burning stoveAbout half the wood burned in both stoves here at Bealtaine Cottage comes from the smallholding.

This will increase steadily over time. Ash can be burned on the day it’s cut, so is a valuable timber to grow and it’s also a hardwood.

Ash is a very fast growing tree here in the west of Ireland.

The forecast for the next few days promise frost, icy patches and sleet.

At times like these, it’s great to have a stove alight that also heats the water and feed the radiators in the cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage frogs in the pondIt remains fairly mild overall though and the frog spawn in the lower pond appears to be doing fine!

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I popped into the library today while in town and got some interesting books, including one called “The Urban Homestead.”

There’s lots of excellent information from a cursory glance through it…a snuggle up on the sofa night is in order, tea and reading!


On the subject of reading, I was thumbing through ‘Hello,’ magazine in a shop and was surprised to realize that I did not actually recognize anyone in all the photographs…is this because I do not have a television?

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Bealtaine Cottage bog garden

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Life, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

A Reason to Dig ~ Life in the Country, Town and City!

Bamboo this afternoon in the garden.

Many people are experiencing hardship at the present time.

This will, inevitably get much worse, as more and more people get trapped in the web of debt.

This is surely a time to think seriously, long and hard about sustainable living.

There are many ways that people can empower themselves and perhaps the most beneficial one is growing food.

Crocosmia shoots are growing fast this month, promising early flowers and colour!

Of course, not everyone has a garden.

In fact, I lived in an apartment at one time in London and did not have access to any growing space, so rented an allotment.

For those who have never grown fruit and vegetables this way, I can tell you, it is the best fun and most social thing one can enjoy!

Beautiful Birch trees on the north bank today.

I often think that allotment growing is even more productive as going to the allotment is a regular delight and there’s always good advice and help at hand.

More important, it is about real self-empowerment, growing and sustaining oneself and one’s family.

Willow, cut, tied and standing in the barn, ready to be used in 8 weeks time.

Growing food is only the beginning of an exciting and fulfilling journey.

What follows from here is an engagement with food…making jams, chutneys, wines, cordials for a start!

Perlagoniums standing in the barn to over-winter, continue to hang onto their flowers…that’s just how mild the winter has been!

Now is the time to get started in the garden.

A propagator can really give you a start on the growing season and there are also many seeds that can be sown on the window-ledge and even directly into the ground.

Any good gardening book will inform you well!

Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2011 006

Pot grown veggies can be very easy, as with growing in hanging baskets.

Willow off-cuts…when dried these make great kindling for the fire.

Have a go and get growing…the first big step in taking control of your life back and embracing independence!

Posted in Christmas, Country Living, Inspiration, Ireland

The Enchantment of Midwinter

bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Hot tea, midwinter and poetry. 

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Ensconced as I am in the silver light of a near Solstice afternoon, this seems a good way of passing the time.

Outside the jewels of winter hang on the pine trees and the air is cold.
Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

I hear the cars move slowly, cautiously along the frozen road.
A near Solstice Sunday.

Tables high and low in the cottage are decorated with green and candles, a celebration of this dark, still time.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

The descent towards the Solstice continues unabated.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

For a few days time will be still as the world turns  and the sun completes it’s downward drift…

Willow lies cut and ready to be stacked into neat bundles for basket-making in the early Spring.
tues eve 14 12 10 002

The tasks of winter continue to resonate around the cottage, calling me to do their bidding…

wed 15 12 10 001

Low lies the sun in the winter sky.

Posted in Animals, Cats, Crafts, Inspiration, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

100,000 Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding

Missy investigates the basket I made yesterday.
She may be sussing it out for a new home!

I noticed that she spent some time licking the new basket and wondered if she was in search of Aspirin, a drug derived from the bark of the Willow.

Visitors to Bealtaine have reached the 100,000 mark…almost…probably today, and you may be the one to match that number!

I am delighted that so many people seek out this blog, or even stumble across it and decide to re-visit again and again.

Interest in Permaculture and the resulting self-sufficiency and sustainable living is growing…

“Oh, well…back into this basket…I may decide on a tenancy, depends on the decoration…”

A big “Thank You,” to all visitors!

Posted in Crafts, Eco-Living, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Weaving Baskets from Willow.

I began a two day basket making workshop today.
Being able to weave baskets fro the huge stocks of willow growing here at Bealtaine has always been a dream for me.

This is the base of the basket.

I am hoping to make lots of baskets during the coming months as I practise the craft.


Inserting the uprights into the base…you need lots of space to do this!

This just a short diary update and will continue tomorrow with the finished project and lots of information!

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Birds, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Woodland

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!

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Birds, Climate, Cottage, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Recipes, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Permaculture Cottage ~ Sustainable Living, Willow and Trees

All the ingredients to make Autumn Chutney are in the pot and heating up on the stove. The apples are from the trees here at Bealtaine. Onions were grown here as well. The stove is burning wood grown here also…which all adds to the sustainability of living…and living well.

I posted the recipe for this last night…so you can easily find it on the previous day…just scroll down and click on the link to go back…

Delicious and top quality as all the ingredients are sourced or grown by myself. Shop bought chutneys just come anywhere near this stuff taste-wise!

And lots of material for the compost heaps… All the apples used in this chutney were windfalls!

I have been reading a lot of stuff on Twitter recently about how pointless it is to plant trees and the importance of protecting our woodlands and forests! Well, the latter I do agree wholeheartedly with, but as for the pointessness of planting new trees…that’s just damned silly! Anyone who has planted a tree in their lifetime will testify to that!

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn
them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~Kahlil Gibran

Seven years ago there were NO trees here on this land…just some in the rather neglected hedges that skirted the land. All you see on the blogs I post are trees that I have planted…over 600 to date. the willow I am harvesting in this photo is a catch crop, planted inbetween the actual trees.

However, there is another very important reason to plant trees and willow and anything else you can think of…biodiversity and wildlife!

Those same people who believe it futile to plant trees should ask the little bird who built this nest if it was futile!

It is amazing just how much we can create from nothing with the magic of Gaia. This was a rod of willow I just stuck into the ground…

Real change needs to grow from the roots up…that means ourselves, individually and collectively getting on with it…creating the world we want to live in.

We are Change                     http://youtu.be/ji8iYgLx8G0  Listen with your Heart…

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Culture, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Lughnasa, Permaculture, Samhain, Smallholding, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Bealtaine Cottage ~ Autumn Equinox and Samhain…Lifting the Veil.

Saturday Morning at Bealtaine Cottage

Sun and clear skies.

As the sun rises in the east, so the moon sets in the west…one of those glorious autumn mornings in Ireland.

Today is a busy one for me.

Visitors, willow cutting, fedging and lots more.

Yes…that is a little tomato you can see in there…this being a permaculture smallholding there are lots of food plants everywhere to be harvested in the most unexpected places…


Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.

This is one of the best videos  that explains with images, words and enchanting music, this time…

http://youtu.be/nLZSy1GsvCk

We are just 4 days away from the Autumn Equinox…the turning time and the descent towards Samhain.

The sun is casting long shadows…

And as the harvest continues at Bealtaine, a Celtic blessing from Tyrone… 

http://youtu.be/4PkU0GOUCNY 

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Earth, Eco-Living, Fairies, Gardening, Herbs, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Tea, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

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!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Culture, Earth, Ecology, Fairies, Gaia, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spirituality, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Spring Wells, Wisdom and the Hopi Indians…

First of all a BIG TA VERY MUCH for all who have visited my blog over the past year. I began in the middle of August 2010 and in little over a year, 70,000 of you have made the journey to Bealtaine Cottage at Ballyfermoyle, here in the beautiful West of Ireland…well, actually, a very great many of you have visited many times over and subscribed to the blog.  Hopefully in the next year the blog will expand even more in some exciting ways…ssshhh, it’s still a secret!

Fuschia and Fedges grow side by side. Both are grown from slips or cuttings. It will soon be time to harvest the willow and plant more cuttings, which is really the story of these gardens. Planting has been ongoing now for seven years, since day one of Bealtaine…

So much rain and so much water gushing along the stream beds in the Bog Garden…the rain brings music!

Walking up towards the woodland that is the Fairy Dell, through new plantings of Willow and Ash…

Spring water gushes up from the well in the woodland.

Deep within the Fairy Dell…has midsummer really passed that quickly?

Perfect apples…never ever sprayed, no chemicals and a bountiful harvest every year!

The Wisdom of the Hopi Indians…something to share with you, just click on the link…http://youtu.be/zNlNUJcEcoY

Have a great weekend! Plant a tree for the Mother…Gaia… x

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 Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Folklore, Ireland, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees

Permaculture Cottage ~ Many Magical Trees

The Life Force of Trees

It was a common belief, long ago, that many conditions could be cured by bringing the patient into contact with the powerful life force or MANA represented by trees…

Nearly 800 trees have been planted here at Bealtaine and there is something so awesome about trees that makes me want to get more land and keep on planting. 

Today has seen the transplanting of another 20 or so Birch trees, seedlings rescued from the road verge before the tractors mow the grass.

More Buddleias for FREE!

Managed to pull up 3 tiny Buddleias from the gravel around the cottage…gravel makes an ideal seeding ground for many plants and trees.

These too have been potted on and will make fine specimens for planting out next year.

Birch Trees

This is a little Birch sapling planted only a few weeks ago and already grown over a foot in height and spread.

Grass cuttings have been spread around the base to deter weeds and provide food for the fast growing tree.

Apple Trees and Verbascum

Apple trees under-planted with Blackcurrants and perennial flowers…here is the Verbascum in bloom with Geranium  and Calendula amongst others.

Many Magical Trees…

Willow, Birch, Copper Beech, Twisted Willow, Oak and Pine, all planted in very close proximity to one another…this is the permaculture way and very quickly excludes weeds and provides an excellent source of coppiced wood for the stove.

Ash trees were traditionally used in Folk Medicine against poison and evil. Lightning runs to the Ash…’Avoid the Ash, it courts the flash!’

Long ago, in many parts of the Highlands of Scotland, on the birth of a child, the midwife would take a green stick from the Ash tree and hold it in the fire. As the heat worked on one end of the stick, the sap would ooze from the other. This was administered to the newborn baby as the first liquid to pass its lips!

I write about, film and photograph Mother Earth, for Mother Earth, opening little portals of healing energy all over the world.

Blessings and thanks for your support.

Posted in Abundance, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sligo, Uncategorized

Sunday Tea at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, Permaculture of Course!

Following the Boot Fair this morning I called into the local supermarket to chance buying a cake…well, I fancied somrthing sweet and you know life as a Vegan is not meant to be drab! What in the world do they put into these shop cakes…industrialized food at it’s worst! Being a Vegan means HAVING to check all the ingredients as to avoid the possibility of the dreaded, DAIRY!

I was so put off having to read the endless lists of chemicals in some of these cakes, that I gave up, came home and baked a cake instead! And here it is. It took minutes to make up and I left it in a warm oven with a plate on top to prevent it from burning while I went out to do some gardening and talk to friends who had called! It is completely criminal…yummy to the point of greed and beyond!

The gardens at Bealtaine are at their summer peak and very lush what with all the rain. I’m trimming back willow at the moment and pruning some fruit trees.

Willow, paths and gardens at Bealtaine today.

I planted these Sweet Peas in a big pot and they are growing on the south side of the cottage near the veranda. They have all opened today!

Sunset this evening at Bealtaine…a perfect end to a lovely day!

Posted in celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Culture, Earth, Folklore, Inspiration, Permaculture, Poetry, Summer, Uncategorized

A Little Celtic Magic at Midsummer…

Wild Honeysuckle…Woodbine

The Celts believed that endurance and patience were two of the elements in Woodbine, or Honeysuckle as we commonly call it.

The spiral journey could be found within the vine, so to have it growing wild at the entrance to Bealtaine Smallholding is magic indeed!

Winter and Summer…Thomas Telynog Evans

In lovely harmony the wood has put on its green mantle,

and summer is on its throne, playing its string-music;

the willow, whose harp hung silent when it was

withered in winter, now gives forth its melody-

Hush! Listen! The world is alive.

“We honour the land which supports us,

we respect the waters which give us life.”

Amergin the Bard

Here are three things to hold dear on your journey…

Belief in oneself,

Belief in a higher self, and

Belief in the truth.

Celtic Triad

The longest day is almost over…

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Bloom, Cottage, Country Living, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Sunny Permaculture Gardens at Bealtaine…June 1st.

Alder logs ready to be stacked in the barn and seasoned! Such a beautiful colour and such a fast- growing wood.

Spirea, ‘Bridal wreath,’…so-named for its arching habit which would make wreaths easily…beautiful in a bouquet too!

Calendula in the tunnel earlier today. Such a lovely, orangey scent from both the flowers and the foliage!

This gorgeous little Herb Robert is everywhere this year…conditions must be perfect for it!

Willow paths leading under willow arches that lead to other places in the garden…and yes…it was sunny for most of the day!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, Celtic Mythology, Folklore, Gaia, Garden, Permaculture, PermaGoddess, Thoughts

Permaculture PhotoBlog Daily…Bealtaine Smallholding in the West of Ireland

The girls are laying and all is well with the world…well, at least at Bealtaine. Willow, willow, everywhere…it dries out magnificently and creates such a heat in the stove.As I type this the pasta is boliling on the stove fired up with wood I collected on the land today as I tidied up…and harvested the grass.Another little drop-in…picked up at the Boot Fair for one euro…sorta meant to be here!Ah! An antidote to the nonsense that is the royal nuptials…Bealtaine on the almost eve of Bealtaine!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Early Summer Photos of Bealtaine Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland.

Just a wooden sculpture nailed onto an old fencing post hammered into the ground makes an interesting piece of garden art. I picked this up in a junk shop for a couple of euros and it’s hardwood, so will weather well. It’s no longer in a rainforest, but settling into a young Irish woodland, that may, one day, be a forest!There is something very magical about crystals, especially as they catch the light in the early morning…this is when the light is at its purest and most transparent, before the heat of the day has set in.Arches and water…still quite free in creating a permaculture paradise in Ireland. Of course, the authorities are talking about charging for water supply. I wonder if that will eventually include this water that runs freely from the spring well at Bealtaine.The early morning sun catches the leaves of the Willow and Birch, casting a magical glow over this young forest of three acres in Ireland…

Spring water flows from the well into the ponds in the Bog Garden.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Woodland

Weekend Permaculture Tree Planting at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

 

Blossom on the Plum and Cherry trees continue to develop at Bealtaine Smallholding.

As I type this blog on a calm and warm Friday evening I am amazed at the continual good weather experienced here in the west of Ireland since the middle of March. The climate is changing…that I know.

Peach blossom covers the tree in the tunnel and all the seedlings are growing well. The bottom line is that food is very easy to grow. A small warm space is all that’s needed to get seedlings up and ready for planting out.

The Fairy Dell is now covered in green growth. Primroses, Mosses, Violets and Ferns are all competing with hundreds of other species to grow. The scents emanating from the warm earth below my feet as I walk the woodland are nothing less than intoxicating!

This is the willow wreath made here in December. I will strip back the winter foliage of Larch and Ivy and re-dress the willow base for the Easter celebrations. This Willow wreath will keep for several years and can be dressed for seasonal celebrations.

The leaves on the Amelanchier tree are out and making colour in the garden.

The weekend is here and I have another five trees to plant. These are all pot grown from seeds, so can be planted at any time of the year as long as they are kept well watered!