Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.

Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!

Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

The Closing Chapter

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer began to melt into Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage amidst a flurry of bees and butterflies, more than ever witnessed in the permaculture gardens.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureHarvesting began and the kitchen was a place of jam jars and bottles, all waiting to be filled and labelled.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe glut of blackcurrants became wine, jam and chutney, with even more added to the freezer.

free tea Open days and workshops seen a steady stream of visitors to the cottage and gardens.

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageKindling for the winter stoves continued to be collected and stored in the barn.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayAnd the Potager beds kept growing!

Blackcurrant ChutneyThe recipe for Blackcurrant Chutney was added to a blog post that had runaway success!

Bealtaine Cottage ValerianValerian flowered…

Rambling Roses at Bealtaine CottageRoses bloomed…

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageAnd all around, flowers showed off with total abandon!

poppies, poppy seeds and dried seed-headsI collected seeds…

Foxglove seed and more seeds…

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageDrying and labelling in every container I had to spare!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageSeedheads were stored for winter flower arrangements.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodAs the boys played in the Fairy Wood.

A path from the Fairy WoodIt was a magical time for all!

006Summer never really went away, for the wine of that season kept bubbling with life.

cottage garden harvestAnd the harvest continued…

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottageAs potatoes were lifted…

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageAnd misty mornings began to appear.

hanging webCobwebs shimmied in the morning breeze…

Buddha at BealtaineAs the light and shadows began to change.

flowers for MichelleMy son got married and I designed and made the flower arrangements, on a lovely day with my new daughter’s mother, here at Bealtaine.

Dylan and Michellw wedding 031Everyone came to the west of Ireland for a three day wedding in a 500 year old castle. Here I am with my eldest daughter.

harvestAnd when all was over, the harvest continued.

wine, kitchenAnd the cottage fell silent…

Recycling in the permaculture gardensBut not for long, as friends delivered cardboard for mulching…

apples and sunflowersAnd helped with the harvest.

fairies 035Lords and Ladies made an Autumn appearance in the Fairy Wood.

open weekend bunting by the gateAnd the cottage and gardens were opened for a special fundraiser in aid of Leitrim Animal Welfare.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Raising a magnificent sum of money for a wonderful charity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Autumn continued into Winter…

www.bealtainecottage.com 012And logs were stacked in readiness for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008The days darkened as Midwinter approached…

cropped-029.jpgAnd candlelight illuminated the dark days.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Bringing cheer to the silent grey…

www.bealtainecottage.com 025And soft light into the Midwinter Cottage.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So few do, but if you choose to make a small donation, then Bless You! 

Bealtaine Cottage Fruit Growing and Winemaking Workshop

Bealtaine Cottage rhubarbGrowing food is important.

Bealtaine Cottage BlackcurrantsHere at Bealtaine Cottage there is another bumper crop of Blackcurrants, Rhubarb, Apples, Pears and Plums growing.

Bealtaine Cottage redcurrants from the permaculture gardensPreserving and using fruit is a challenge when the crops are this abundant!

Bealtaine Cottage wine makingMaking wine is one of the delights of summer, allowing fruit to be preserved in a unique and tasteful way…wine!

Bealtaine Cottage wine makingThere will be a day long wine making and fruit growing workshop at Bealtaine Cottage on Saturday, the 29th of June.

Bealtaine Cottage teaA Vegetarian lunch will be provided, as will morning and afternoon tea/coffee and home made cakes.

home made wine at Bealtaine CottageIf you would like to book a place, please email Colette on:

coletteoneill2010@hotmail.com

Roses on the Veranda and the Apples have set!

The roses have come out on the veranda.

I made a short video to show you some of the beauty… you can click on that below.

The apples have all set and are developing well.

There promises to be a magnificent crop this year, so all the recipes for apple wine, chutney,butter, cider and more will be perused and debated…will I make this or that or…

The Willow is now in leaf, as are most of the trees, with the Ash being the last to leaf.

The scent as I walk around the gardens from the blossom on the Hawthorn trees is heavenly!

Work in the kitchen is almost finished and the task of stencilling will start later in the week.

I thought that an Ivy stencil would be lovely, so will cut one out when I get the chance to sit down!

Anyway, here is today’s video, with love from Bealtaine Cottage…click and enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqX4Q4G8NPE&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Permaculture Harvests in Ireland

Plum Harvest

Plums from the one of the Plum Trees here on the land. 

Plums are easy to grow in Ireland as they are related to the Blackthorn tree, the one that fruits Sloes.

Rowan berries, collected from trees near my local town, Carrick. Foraging can be a very fruitful and worthwhile undertaking in the country, bringing in a bountiful harvest!

mushrooms and rosehips 002

Hips from the Rosa Rugosa growing at Bealtaine Cottage…these are brimming with Vitamin C and make a delicious syrup, as well as magnificent wine, which has the body of a good Sherry!

Home-made wines are very easy to make…simply observing the “clean” rule. Mind you, if you do have a slip-up, the wine can be turned into a delicious fruit vinegar…which makes lovely and unusual presents at Christmas!

Apple jellies and Rowan jellies…delightful garden produce!

The Apple harvest at Bealtaine has been consistently good, producing more apples than what I can use!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture pumpkins

Pumpkins and Tomatoes grow well in the tunnel. Pumpkins will store for 6 months and more in a cool pantry, as happens here.

Bealtaine Cottage June 2012 005

The so-called “poor,” land produces hundreds of pounds of Blackcurrants…which I turn into jams, chutney, wine and delicious cordial.

These are just some of the wonderful foods that can be grown on poor land, on a north-facing slope, in the west of Ireland, using Permaculture! 

Unlike so many of the books that tell you what can and cannot be grown, I simply plant it and see…and have yet to be disappointed!

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Pantry

Sweetcorn harvested over the weekend…this is the native American corn, called ‘Painted Mountain,’ and is very colourful!

I will save some of the corn seeds for planting next year…

Heaps and heaps of windfalls… planting apple trees is cheap and easy and all you do is wait for the windfall! Ha! Ha!…I love it. Simple, easy and so very permaculture!

And more apples in the pantry…buckets of them…free food, good food and not a corporation in sight!

Free-range eggs with deep orange yolks and pumpkins in the pantry today…it’s starting to fill up as the  harvest comes in…

Bountiful Blackcurrants…waiting to be turned into jam, chutney, wine et al, rest in the freezer in the Pantry.

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…

The Permaculture Centre in N.W. Ireland. Moving Forward.

Lysamachia Punctata is just opening for its annual display of yellow. This is the 7th year of Bealtaine permaculture. It was pointed out to me recently that Bealtaine is becoming more of a centre for permaculture than any other place in the N.W. of Ireland. There are visitors all year round, as well as students who want to view a mature permaculture smallholding , functioning on a daily basis, producing food and energy, as well as a permacultured home, with permaculture principles adopted as a lifestyle choice.

The weather is warm, encouraging flowers to open. Paths are closing in, demanding my attention!

Considering the fact that there are 3 acres of tended gardens here, the total time spent maintaining these is about 2 hours per day, Monday through Friday. This is the biggest bonus to permaculture growing…once established the gardens require little tending. This is because Nature does most of the work and cutting back become the major task through the seasons.

Good harvests of Blackcurrants are promised. None of the bushes are ever covered, as there are lots to share…no need to be selfish!

Redcurrants are ripening. The Redcurrant wine I made last year was very successful and extremely potent, so I know what these will be used for!

The basic recipe I use, from an ancient book, is as follows:

4lbs redcurrants

4lbs sugar

1 gallon of Spring Water

1 tsp wine yeast

Steep the fruit in the water for 4-6 days, stirring daily. Keep covered with a clean cloth. Strain. Add sugar and stir well. Add yeast. Stir well. Pour into demijohn, insert bung and airlock and place in warm area. When clear and no more bubbles rising in airlock, syphon off carefully into bottles and cork.

Abundance in the polytunnel this afternoon.

Days of Wine and Roses…West of Ireland Permaculture.

Continuing to empty the freezer of last summer’s huge harvest of black and red currants…so, it’s more wine on the make!

Colours in the gardens continue to develop with very little need for flowers…and those that are in bloom are strong perennials that are here to stay!

Roses hang heavy around the veranda. Valerian comes up through the gravel, astounding me year after year…where does it get its food from?

The colours and shadows of summer begin to play with the light on the window ledges.

I now add the yeast to the must and it makes a real difference in the fermentation process of the wine…speed it ip considerably!