Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Christmas, EU, midwinter, Winter, Yule

Circling Celebrations

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Winter is the time for comfort, for
good food and warmth, for the touch
of a friendly hand and for a talk beside
the fire:  it is the time for home.

Edith Sitwell

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                   And so the story of Autumn and Winter begins, not in cold and dark, but comfort and light.
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                                                 A time to take stock and nestle into home.
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                                 A time for simplicity of food before the excitement of Samhain.
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                We move inexorably through the year, circling around celebrations, family and friends.
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         This is what it means to be part of a society…planning and sharing the days we look forward to, as well as bringing camaraderie and support on days less well favoured. 
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                As I uploaded these photographs this morning, I enjoyed a sense of timelessness.
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            Even as I move around Bealtaine on my own, the sense of ‘with others’ pervades the air.
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                              Perhaps, in the world we cannot see, there are many around us.
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                                                             This would not surprise me.
                        My mother often said she felt surrounded by people here at this little cottage.
                                                                              I do too. 
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                                      “In a way Winter is the real Spring–the time when
the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.”

Edna O’Brien

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                                                           Like Edna, I look forward to the
quiet time of Winter, for the quiet solitude; a time for contemplation. 
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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celts Celtic Festivals, Christmas, midwinter, night sky, solstice, stars, Yule

The Midwinter Archives

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Midwinter, past and present…all here for you to see!

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Feeling a touch nostalgic, I decided to share some of the magic of Midwinter with you from previous years.

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The silvery light of a midwinter sun captures a sense of magic indoors.

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We are all deeply affected by light and respond in varying ways to it, though mostly it makes us feel happier and more positive about life.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

The light of both the sun and moon proved so important for our ancestors that they integrated all aspects of both into their spiritual lives.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Somewhere in the depths of Winter was born a sense of the light returning and the cycle beginning once more. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

At midwinter, the sun appears to stand still, for three days, before rising on its ascent back up into the southern sky. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

The light changes. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Shadows grow shorter. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Our bodies and minds ascent with the sun towards Midsummer, filled with joy and optimism.

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Much of humankind has forgotten the importance of observing the heavens and being mindful of our connection to them.

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The star that flashes red and green, (I was told was Arcturus), has moved from its midsummer position above Kilronan Mountain to the north, to one high in the south eastern night sky.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

I have come to be more aware of the night sky over recent years…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

As we continue on the descent towards Midwinter, with clear, cold night skies, this can be a good time to look to the heavens.

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Midwinter will pass soon enough and the cycle will begin once more.

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The darkness will lift.

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Days will lengthen.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

And life emerge anew!

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Mother earth, Permaculture, snow, Sustainable Living, Winter

Earth Art

I work for the Great Earth Mother.

I feel honoured to capture images of her and post them through Bealtaine Cottage.

I believe that more and more of human life will come to honour the Great Mother through these images.

This is her Art…Earth Art.

(These images were captured here at Bealtaine Cottage during the Winter of 2010)

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“Remain faithful to the earth,

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my brothers and sisters,

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with the power of your virtue. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. sun 19 12 10 032

Thus I beg and beseech you. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. 

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Lead back to the Earth the virtue that flew away,

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—back to the body,

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back to life,

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that it may give the Earth a meaning,

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

a human meaning.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…I have posted over 120 videos about Permaculture, Sustainable living practice, planting, growing and living.

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written almost 800 blogs on this Bealtaine Cottage website.

As an advocate for Mother Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living Practice, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU.

Everything created here is self-funded, with a little support from occasional donations..

Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.

Blessings
Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Buddha, Cats, Climate, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, Spring

The Light of Spring

www.bealtainecottage.com

Sammy-Bear lies concussed by the heat from the wood burning stove! It’s a tough life being a cat at Bealtaine Cottage!

www.bealtainecottage.comOver the past week there has been a struggle between Winter and Spring as temperatures have moved up and down the thermometer, with hard frost, heavy rain, warm nights and brilliant sun all in the mix!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe rising sun reflected in the mirror at the far end of the veranda.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe amazing light of early Spring…

www.bealtainecottage.comMoving closer to the mirror, the rising sun looks back at me over the head of the Buddha…quite otherworldly.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis was how the Romantic Poets viewed the world…through a mirror…I understand why!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, the last seed-head of the Gunnera Manicata stands tall against the storms of winter, saluting the Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe ponds have remained in flood during this winter, the wettest on record since 1866 here in Ireland.

www.bealtainecottage.comCatkins stand out against a brilliant blue sky, providing some little food for any early Bees.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe shadows of Spring are long, casting patterns and shapes on an ever-changing tapestry.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe kitchen is illuminated by a different light…the light of Spring.

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Bealtaine Cottage has built up a Permaculture Seed Bank.

If you want to see a list of available seeds, this link will take you there…http://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-from-bealtaine-cottage/

Seeds from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland are posted all over the world!

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.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Fairies, Folklore, Winter

Ghosts

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Winter has finally gripped the land.

Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The evening sky turns a cold blue.

Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen.

Winter is here!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Sliabh An Iarainn Mountain catches the dying rays of a winter sun.

Cleaving  the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.

 Ancient  legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place.

 Descending in a thick mist, the Tuatha De Danann found the mountain and the lough.

The mountain contained deposits of iron, and so the magical people proceeded to forge the first metal weapons in Ireland.

There followed a mighty battle with the Tribe of the Formorians, nearby at Magh Tuireadh…and so the legends began.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Willful and determined, like ancient tribes who once battled on this land, Fuchsia continues to hold their flowers, in sheltered parts of the gardens.

There are pockets of Bealtaine that refuse to give up Summer, protecting and nurturing flowers through to Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Kilronan Mountain holds sway to the north of Bealtaine Cottage, washed with shades of purple in the early evening thin winter air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Of all of Ireland, the mountains and valleys of this part hold most history, legend and mystery.

The Tuatha De Danann, as legend tells us, never died, but were banished underground.

They became the Sidhe…the Fairies.

On an evening like this, the ethereal energy of the Tuatha De Danann is almost tangible…

 

A video from Bealtaine…Towards Midwinter…enjoy X

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOu72QAAkro

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Blessings X

Posted in Birds, Fairies, Herbs, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Winter

Overwintering in the Lodge

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For the past few evenings I have lit the stove in the Lodge and turned down the sofa bed to make a cosy sleeping area that is easy and cheap to heat!
The little wood-burning stove that seems to emanate warmth from one or two small logs, is economic and easy to maintain, making this a snug and cosy place to overwinter.
The layers of insulation packed into the walls of this little wooden cabin, makes for excellent heat and maximum comfort!
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The nights are drawing in fast now and the ice, frost and mist has been a nightly feature for about a week.
Autumn appears to continue during the day and Winter holds sway from darkness onward.
www.bealtainecottage.com 005This morning was particularly beautiful, with swirls of icy mist hanging over the mountains and the air still and warming around the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 010The berries on the Pyracantha are turning deep in colour, as the Blackbird and Thrush both eye them up!
www.bealtainecottage.com 012The Larch tree betond the Lodge is getting ready to shed its needles and the Purple Beech in the foreground hangs onto her leaves well into the middle of Spring!
Autumn is colourful and delightful and definitely my favourite season!
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Parsley grows through the winter in this old, bottom-less bread-bin, tucked into the raised stone bed…a good source of Iron and Vitamin C.
 
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 015Tiny Lichens are beginning to grow on this Birch tree…I love the delicate colours of the Lichens!
www.bealtainecottage.com 017Bamboo and Beech compliment each other on the driveway…both are a source of energy and usefulness at Bealtaine. Bamboo lends itself well to many projects and makes fantastic tapers for using in the cottage, between the fire and candles!
www.bealtainecottage.com 019Bamboo is also a wonderful medium to use when making wreathes, as it is very pliable when first cut and will bend into a circular shape with ease.
It can then be wrapped around with other plants and wood.
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 018Beech, seen here with Forsythia, grows into fairy tree shapes, all twisted and gnarled, reminiscent of the Arthur Rackham Fairy story  illustrations…these are indeed beautiful trees!
www.bealtainecottage.com 022Red Dogwood comes into its own at the entrance to the Fairy Wood.
Do I believe in Fairies?
Indeed I do…don’t you?
www.bealtainecottage.com 027Can you believe these cheeky little Perlagoniums, refusing to give up and go to sleep?
Tomorrow I shall lift them from their big pot and put them to bed for the winter!
Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Climate, Cottage, Garden, Gardens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Trees, Uncategorized, Winter

Magical Midwinter at the Cottage

Freezing fog surrounds Bealtaine Cottage.

Despite the cold, part of the day has been spent outdoors, tree-planting and dog walking.

Missy decided to remain indoors.

She has gotten rather snuffly again as she struggles with her condition.

She craves the warmth and sleeps a lot, bless her!

Once outside, adjusted to the cold with lots of layers, it’s a pleasant day with that magical midwinter light, as the sun travels low on the horizon.

You can see that the fog has partially lifted, though remains in the valley below, hugging the village of Keadue.

Lots of mixed and informal planting gives the gardens a colour and form all the year round, as you can see from today’s picture.

That’s Pyracantha in the foreground, with Buddleia and Copper Beech, Box and Bamboo, all vying for a space and standing up to the wind from the west!

Part of today was spent in hard graft…cutting back some of the Laurel Arch  on the path that leads from the cottage to the polytunnel and soft fruit gardens.

Winter is a busy time, as one attempts to keep on top of the crazy growth here in the west of Ireland.

The top needs to be cut back, but I shall leave that to another day!

However, look what was on the inside…a beautiful birds nest…so I walked quietly away!

My excuse to retreat indoors and make a big pot of tea!

Posted in Art, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Spirituality, Thoughts

The Colours of the Celts

Creativity was associated with orange, as well as sexuality and fertility.

Think of the egg yolk…only a deep orange yolk is really healthy and full of goodness.

Invoke this colour in areas of your home where you want to express these elements.

Wind Spiral in the Fairy DellGreen is infused with beauty and fertility, but also prosperity.

In Feng Shui, it is advised to paint the front door of one’s home red so as to attract prosperity, but my door is painted green and the real prosperity is quite tangible at Bealtaine Cottage.

As for beauty, well, that speaks for itself, for what is not beautiful in the flowing greens of Nature?

Brown is the essence of earth and the home.

The very centre of the home is the “hearth,” or home earth.

Brown is also for animals.

In old cottages in Ireland the animals were brought near to the “hearth,” or home for the winter.

Winter begins tomorrow in the Celtic Cycle.

The prosperity of purple is long associated with the royal families and indeed was not to be worn by lesser mortals in Europe, upon pain of death…not so the case today where we recognize the equality in all human life and the real meaning of wealth and power being unique to each one of us.

The blue of heaven heralds healing…I keep a long piece of blue silk to lay on a pillow or seat especially for those feeling poorly.

Blue also invokes peace and the sacredness of all under it’s mantle.

There are many colours that represent other aspects of our sacred journey.

As we wear a particular colour, our understanding of how it makes us feel infuses us with a little more knowledge and understanding of its importance to us.

We each have a favourite colour that we wear, one that looks good on us, matches our skin tones and brings out a certain energy.

That is a good place to begin to relate to the energy of colour.

Posted in Abundance, Birds, Country Living, Ecology, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

A Permaculture Life in the Country

Today is Sunday. It is unseasonally warm and mild for November. A good time to be out on the land. Flowers continue to bloom and there are primroses down by the gate on the lane.

The soil will benefit from a layer of protective foliage, which will prevent winter rains from leaching minerals.

Mulching before the ground gets too cold, where soil is exposed, and also use mulch to protect the crowns of tender plants, such as Gunnera.

In milder areas a winter mulch of straw and compost will prevent the penetration of  frost so much so that last winter, after 6 weeks of hard frost, potatoes I dug up were in perfect condition!

 Resist the urge to overtidy, as gardens are also a sanctuary for wildlife.

Beneficial plants like this Pyracantha will provide much needed food for the birds and insects will overwinter in the decaying stems of perennials and tall stems of weeds and herbs like Cow Parsley.

Decaying foliage is very necessary to slug eating beetles and this is a way of enriching their habitat.

Keep planting trees…this is the time to buy bare-rooted stock and as long as the ground is not frozen, then planting can continue throughout the winter.

This is a great bit of reading…and here’s a slice of it…

“It is time for all of us to make changes about how we live our lives and to follow a path of the heart. By following our intuition and inpiration we encourage our own acts of heartfelt genius and boldness. This makes us feel alive and vital, gives us a great purpose and harnesses parts of ourselves we may have neglected or didn’t even know we had. We no longer feel overwhelmed by the way the Earth’s resources are managed, but recognise that change is in our hands, yours and mine, the hands of extraordinary people who have made a leap of understanding and are determined to make a difference. We become part of the change by becoming part of the solution.”


Glennie Kindred ‘Earth Wisdom’

 Watched this incredible video of A Murmuration of Starlings, filmed above the River Shannon at Lough Derg…here it is…

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Winter

A Life in the Country ~ The Growing Disaster of Impoverishment!

Early winter and the weather is brilliantly sunny with clear skies above the cottage and moonlit nights that are bright and cold!

It’s worth enduring the rain and grey for mornings like this…

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008Colours continue to develop in the densely planted gardens. This palette of colour continues all the year round…

Dense planting as is undertaken in any permaculture plan, lends itself well to the enrichment of the soil.

 Permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage. The verandaImpoverishment of the soil is no natural disaster, in fact it is the result of nothing less than greed…for money!

Henhouse at Bealtaine  Permaculture Cottage Cash crops and monoculture are both killing the soil, which is an integral part of our lifeline.

permaculture at Bealtaine cottage  In the past seven years since the beginning of Bealtaine, this land has gone from rushy monoculture half  life to enriched, protected earth and being continually enriched and protected due to planting.

Permaculture Cottage ...September 2011 013Poly-culture, which is the opposite of monoculture is of maximum importance for the survival of Nature as we know it.

This high level of biodiversity provides all year round food for the Natural World.

Diverse planting with permaculture at Bealtaine cottage  Peanuts, imported and therefore carrying a huge carbon footprint, are not a sustainable source of food for the birds and wildlife.

Diverse and enriched planting is.

We should therefore stop trying to re-invent the wheel and plant our gardens and urban spaces to this end.

A beautiful garden becomes a paradise when Nature is placed high on the list of important horticultural demands!

At the top!

This is one of the many delights of a garden that embraces maximum biodiversity…silky spider webs woven through Cotoneaster on a winter’s morning.

Light is important at this time of year as we descend towards the Midwinter Solstice and within it, the shortest day of the year.

Mirrored cottage of Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage Light is also very beautiful during this time…silver streams filtered through landscape hedgerows and trees.

 

In the words of Saint Columcille…”It is peaceful and it is delightful.”

Posted in Autumn, Cottage, Earth, Ecology, Garden, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ The Progress of Autumn through a Permaculture Landscape…

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.

– Andrew Wyeth

Out walking Jack in the early morning sunshine and spying hundreds of silvery webs on the hedgerows, mostly with a lone spider in the centre of each.

The Sedums and Rudbeckias are in full bloom as the colours of the leaves golden up…this is one of the best times of the year to go walking.

We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving. And we all have some power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.– Louisa May Alcott

Hundreds of webs, sparkling with raindrops in the early morning sun at Bealtaine Cottage…

Whether one sees the world as God’s creation or as a secular mystery that science is on the way to figuring out, there is no denying the beauty and majesty of everything from mountain ranges, deserts, and rain forests to the exquisite details in the design of an ordinary mosquito. [Spirituality for the Skeptic]

– Robert C. Solomon

The stillness of the Lower Pond today as the frenetic flooding of the past two days subside.

Copper Beech and Dogwoods line a path in the Bog Garden near the Lower Pond this morning. Beech trees colour up wonderfully in Autumn.

Leaves along the grassy verge on the laneway up through the land of Bealtaine Smallholding…

Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Ecology, Gaia, Ireland, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Spirituality

Celtic Mysticism, the Goddess and Permaculture…

Autumn permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 017Perlagonium continues to flower.

The nights are drawing in.

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Autumn begins to harvest the land of leaves and green, as Winter waits in the wings…

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The culture of the West, and its reliance on centralized government, has lost its way regarding Nature, seeing her only as a resource!

Woodland at bealtainecottage.com 005Politically, governments have aligned themselves and us with the world of big business.

The madness of the policy of continued economic growth amid finite energy sources…and all to create more and more wealth for a very few, including themselves.

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This smallholding of 3 acres continues to give up her harvest.

It is incredible to think that gardening and growing food, as we know it today, has only been operative since World War One and the use of chemicals on the land.

Vintage Chest 016

Rarely is Nature now regarded as sacred, valuable in itself and in any way seriously considered.

This has happened in less than three generations.

Bealtaine Cottage water barrel

The heart of the Celtic understanding of Nature is to regard the female, the Goddess and the Divine in all living things.

 sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 012

The king, or ruler, is assumed to marry the land in the persona of the sovereign Goddess.

Thus they become partners.

Marriage was regarded in this culture as a joining of equals…

What would Earth look like today if we regarded the environment as our partner instead of our servant?

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 020Permaculture is about working hand in hand with Nature and recognizing her sovereignty in all that lives.

sustainable living at bealtainecottage.com 003

For many, this brings a remarkable sense of the Divine and the sacred nature of Gaia.

Woodland at bealtainecottage.com 059

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

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Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Baking, Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Ecology, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage Daily ~ Water in the Well…

Continuing to collect windfall apples today. Making a lot of apple crumble. I use my own recipe that uses half and half wholemeal flour and oats, so it’s really heart healthy too.

 Tomatoes and Calendula…knocked over by the wind, but continuing to grow and ripen…late, but sweet!

And there remains a long list of tasks to complete before the onset of Winter…which will come early this year…October/November.

Today, at Bealtaine Cottage. Still, sometimes sunny, mostly cloudy, but always  very beautiful.

Plenty of water in the well…

Edith Piaf sings…The Autumn Leaves…

http://youtu.be/n2s2tPORlW4

…with some beautiful images…enjoy!

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Fairies, Garden, Inspiration, Permaculture, Poetry, Uncategorized

The Stolen Child…in memory of half a million children of Iraq who will never grow up.

Willie Yeats is one of my favourite poets.

He shares a place in my heart with Seamus Heaney and several others.

I found this enchanting animation of one of Yeats most remembered poems, “The Stolen Child,” and thought it would be good to share it with you.

The words of Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State, burns in my heart…500,000 dead Iraqi children “was worth it”…

http://youtu.be/g9hnUYV06t4

 

Autumn and the changing light…that’s my favourite aspect to the season.

The next few weeks are going to be all about cutting back and filling the compost heaps.

Paths that have closed up over recent months will be opened up again through a lot of hard work…but then this is a lovely time to be outdoors.

Cow Parsley…this will stand for most of the Autumn and sometimes into the winter.

Spiders will spin webs and leave a fairy-like strands that connect the skeletal shapes.

As the EU imposes sanctions on Iran, we wait for the death toll of children to mount there too.

Ireland now holds the Presidency of the EU.

Ireland can make a difference…or be complicit in the genocide of a nation.

Ireland should know better!

If you get close enough to Tony Blair to attempt a peaceful citizen’s arrest, you will qualify for the reward which has already been paid a number of times.

For details, see http://www.arrestblair.org/

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Food, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Permaculture Cottage ~ Oregano, Hippocrates and Herbs

The hips of the Rosa Rugosa are yet to turn red.

Rugosa rose is widely used as an ornamental plant. As a seaside plant it is invaluable as it can tolerate the salty wind and storms really well.

The sweetly scented flowers are used to make pot-pourri in Japan and China,  where it has been cultivated for about a thousand years. This grows well here at Bealtaine Cottage.

The other rose growing abundantly here at Bealtaine is the Rosa Canina, or Dog Rose.

During world war two, the shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables was having an adverse effect on the nation’s health,  so the call went out for the collection and distribution of rose hips  from the hedgerows, as they provided the highest home-grown source of Vitamin C.

In response, the government organised a nationwide initiative to collect roadside rose hips which, with the help of the Women’s Institutes, were processed into syrup for babies and children.

Oregano is an important culinary herb, used for the flavor of its leaves, which can often be more flavourful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Factors such as climate, seasons and soil composition may affect the aromatic oils present.

The leaves are most often used in Greece to add flavour to Greek salad, and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles. I grow heaps of this lovely herb and dry it for daily use all the year round. It is a mainstay of my cooking, especially tomato sauces!

Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic, as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments.

Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. The flowers can be dried and used in tea and as it is a good antiseptic it is useful to stave off colds during the winter.

The easy to grow corm, Crocosmia, this evening at Bealtaine Cottage. The chains of corms are fragile and easily separated, a quality that has enabled some species to become invasive and difficult to control in the garden. However, I welcome invasive flowers…less weeds!They are commonly known in the United States as coppertips or falling stars, and in Britain as montbretia. Crocosmia are winter-hardy in Ireland. They can be propagated through division, removing offsets from the corm in spring.

It’s hard to believe that this is not a garden flower…but the beautiful herb, Chives. This plant has been flowering since the middle of Spring! Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are the smallest species of the edible onions.

Chives are a commonly used household herb, frequently grown in gardens. In culinary use, chives leaves (straws) are shredded for use as a seasoning for fish, potatoes, soups, and other dishes. Chives have insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests.I think they make great border edging plants as well!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Books, Climate, Food, Growing Food, Herbs, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Summer Feast on a Wet Evening

Lots of Parsley and loads of eggs…yes, it’s summer and the food is in plentiful supply here on this Permaculture smallholding.

An easy way of preserving food for the leaner times is to use it to cook and freeze, or bottle or…anyway, you know what I mean…just don’t let it go to waste!

Here is one of my favourite fast foods, devised by Rose Elliot, my favourite Vegetarian Cookery writer…Parsley Burgers.

I made these on the Cook and Dine Evening I hosted on Monday evening at Cleen Hall, Knockvicar, and, they were very well received!
Anyway, here’s the recipe…
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2 eggs / 6 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs / 1 small onion, chopped / 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley / salt and fresh ground black pepper / oil for shallow frying.

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Add the breadcrumbs, onion and parsley to the beaten egg and season to taste.

Pour oil into pan to cover the base thinly and heat.

Spoon the mixture into the pan and fry for about 3 minutes on either side, until crisp.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve with salad or baked beans!

As they freeze really well and there is a glut of all the ingredients here at Bealtaine, I have made dozens of them to freeze and save as a fast food…

AN UPDATE ON THE GRAPEVINE…I planted outdoors…it’s doing really well, so far!

It had over-wintered at Bealtaine and endured being frozen in its pot for weeks on end, survived well and is now set to be a successful outdoor grape…

A Forecast for the Winter Ahead…

Lots of logs continue to be stockpiled for what is going to be a very cold winter indeed.

Seriously, now is the time to prepare!

If you live in the British Isles, try to get hold of a wood burning stove now and start your woodpile.

Ash can be burned without seasoning!

Posted in Abundance, Eco-Living, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Passionate Gardeners and Outdoor Living

Passionate and gardening are two words that seem to fit seemlessly together.

There were three visitors to Bealtaine this morning and as walking around became enthused to talk of their own gardens! One had brought a photo album to show me…and it was well worth a look, as there were shots taken from just about every angle of her small garden in Dublin. it reminded me of a garden I once tended in London. It was an old garden, created when the house was first built around 1795, so the porportions were conducive to the size of the house…a Georgian Artisan Cottage.

We all had tea on the veranda, deciding that the outdoors was where it was at!

When I lived in London it became a Saturday ritual to go to the local park and the Teahouse therein for an early morning coffee…just to be outdoors! Summer and Winter alike, the same glorious ritual applied and more often than not it was shared with friends and family.

It is always the little cafe or teashop I go in search of…the big franchise, multi-national , always the same, just does NOT do it for me…!

Trying to control nature is not an aspect of personality of the passionate gardener…well, not that I have found! Valerian has found its own way up by the side of the tool-shed and there it will continue! Putting down a mulch or a sheet to stop growth of weeds is as much control as I have it in me to exercise…apologetically I may add…

Mulching around a garden sculpture, (home-made), using freshly shredded waste…

And mulch will keep the no-dig beds looking neat and work-free!

Some of the new beds this morning…mulched paths in between work really well and cost zero to make!

Posted in Abundance, Ecology, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Uncategorized

Permaculture Sunday…Apples, Sweetcorn and more seedlings

More logs wait to be carted around to the barn and stacked ready for the cold winter days ahead!

Valerian grown from seed continues to flower and will do all summer and into the autumn all the time that the seedheads are removed…

Something else grown from seed here at Bealtaine…this gorgeous Poppy this morning in full bloom, all red and frilly like the Folly Bergere!

Blackcurrants and Sage in the Nursery area, again grown from seeds, so 100% permaculture at Bealtaine plants to come. Both of these plants grow very easily from seed scattered into limestone gravel and left to overwinter, before being pricked out and potted on…how simple is that?

This is one of the many apple trees snapped this morning. The harvest is coming on well, with plans for lots of Apple Chutney! The trees continue to be fed with mulched comfrey and nettles.

Painted Mountain, Native American Sweetcorn is a real success in the tunnel, with lots of heads coming to maturity. Definitely one to save seed from!

The Aloe Vera on the sitting room window has had babies!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Climate, Earth, Gaia, Garden, History, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Permaculture in Ireland.

Moon in the sky last night over Bealtaine, lighting the way back from the tunnel. the Cuckoo was still calling, even in the dark of the night and light of the moon. as we ascend towards Midsummer, the Cuckoo barely sleeps. I have heard him call in the middle of the night!

The garden becomes a jungle as the rain falls and the sun shines inbetween. Willow is shooting up and all of the trees are rapidly assuming a look of maturity, though they are far from it, being 7 years old and younger!

Permaculture is about connections, keeping mindful of our connections to the Earth, so walking the land is very important. Walking the land at dusk is an uplifting experience, hearing the Blackbird sing the last song of the day. Thousands of years ago our ancestors kept mindfulness of the seasons and the rivers and all that lived thereon. my ancestors, the Celts, believed that all living things had a spirit and God dwelt within all! It is easy to believe that same wonder of understanding…should not the creator be in all creation? An artist paints a picture…ask the artist how much of herself can be found therein?

The logs continue to be stacked in the barn in preparation for winter. Most of the wood is Ash and Sycamore and burns well, providing a good source of heat for the cottage which is sustainable and carbon balanced. I am aware that more and more people here in Ireland are returning to a multi-fuel source of heating for their homes, which can only be a good thing. For too long there has been a reliance on oil and a devaluation of our own resources!

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!