News from Lackan Cottage

Toilet twinning just the job for our compost toilets

Lackan Cottage Farm (and our compost toilets) have teamed up with Toilet Twinning, to help provide clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education to people in some of the most deprived areas of the world. Nearly one third of the world’s population lacks access to even the most basic sanitation, whilst at the same time, nearly one third of household water use in developed countries ends up being flushed down the toilet. 

Lackan Cottage Farm open day 2017

We’ve got the loan of a camera from Google that can take these 360 degree images, and boy have we made the most of it, capturing views from all over Lackan Cottage Farm, and making a tour of Birch Eco Cottage. The last couple of weeks have been spent getting the...

A new home for the dome

Having put the rainwater harvesting in, we were left with a 4″ pipe running across the concrete outside the cottage, not ideal. It was always our aim to pull up all the concrete slab in front of the house and incorporate the area in to the garden – our permaculture Zone 0 through which we constantly come and go. On reflection though, we need some parking space for visitors, and so decided to pull up just the area beyond our front door, which is the bit we come and go through anyway.

Get a taste of the Good Life

June is here and Harriet the Horsebox is now available for bookings. As always there have been a million little things to prepare but we’re happy that everything is ready, and that all you need to enjoy a break from the connected world is here. The house truck features a unique upcycled pallet wood interior, well equipped kitchen, wood powered shower, and of course, an outside compost loo with a view. Harriet even has her own decking area where you can sit and admire the view, and is powered by solar electricity.

Improving our water treatment and storage

We really enjoyed the recent permaculture weekend course, and one of the exercises we regularly do is to ask participants to look at our site and see if they can come up with suggestions or improvements. We got several great ones this time around and so set about acting on them. The first was the observation that the area around the pond was being wasted

Introducing Harriet the horsebox

We’re into the final stages of readying Harriet the horsebox to welcome visitors, and it is always those last details that take forever to complete. Our truck house was home for so long, and in it’s new incarnation, refitted with reclaimed materials and things that we have collected along the way, it is a really lovely place to spend time in. Harriet will be available from 1st June.

The truck house gets a makeover

Finally. Just 10 years after putting a coat of primer on the truck, it is painted. Not the best day for painting anything, let alone a lorry, but it had to be done. The transformation is remarkable (thankfully) and after three coats of paint, my arms are falling off, but the old girl does look magnificent.

Willow fencing

When I headed off to Tipperary to collect willow cuttings so that we might grow our own basket willow, Richard was kind enough to give me a trailer load of dry willow. The smaller stuff is all for baskets but I’d been wondering what to do with the heavy stuff. In a bid to protect the young hedge around the garden, Claire and I decided to make a woven fence, which then evolved as Claire suggested bending it over into hoops. The result is excellent, and blends into the garden without shading plants too much.

A tremendous treebog

Sorry those of you who might have wanted to come on our ‘build a compost toilet’ course – we had to go ahead and build it early, and the course won’t be happening now. We needed to get our truck ready for visitors early, and having the loo nearby was a part of that.

Our shop is open!

We’re always making things here at Lackan, and now Steve is making more baskets and willow things, we decided that it is time to make them available on the website. Many items are one offs, and once they are gone, they are gone, but they are all hand made here, from local materials (on site where possible), and always from sustainably produced materials, or in some cases, reclaimed items. Anyhow, we’ll be adding more items as we go, so the shop will change constantly, and hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the things that you can buy here.

The truck is reborn (again)

Somehow in amongst the porch building, ponies, baskets and cottage letting, I managed to gut our truck, which was home for 18 months, and has subsequently been the residence of many volunteers. It ended last season desperately in need of a refurb, but even I was surprised just how much work it has taken to turn it into a really nice place to stay. Now it is complete inside, I want to move back in.

Meet Paddy

This is Paddy, who is what you’d call a happy accident. When I saw him advertised on facebook, I really did not intend to end up giving him a home. Really. But I casually asked a couple of questions and heard no more. Then I get a message back a fortnight later, and the guy sounds desperate to rehome him, and next thing I’m bringing home a tiny three year old cob stallion, who turns out to be not quite two. Makes a change as they are usually older than people say, not younger.

Woodworking and willow – spring courses

Nearly mid April and we’ve already run three great courses – An introduction to green woodworking; make a rustic stool, and willow garden structures. The weather has been incredibly merciful – the willow course participants were practically overcome by heat. Along the way, new friends have been made, and some wonderful new items created as people disover talents they never knew they had.

Hedge Laying

Been so busy that I forgot to mention that I went hedge laying on possibly the wettest day of the century so far, back in February. It was a great group to work with, and I learned a lot. It was great to see the transformation and I can’t wait to take a look in the spring as the new growth emerges. Plus I am an accredited hedge layer now..

Taking stock

It is now five years since we first saw the land here at Lackan, and looking back it is amazing how much has happened here, and how much our lives have been shaped by the land almost as much as we have shaped the place itself.

Living the Good Life

Last year we were approached by a couple of production companies about appearing in TV programmes, and we said yes where they were factual. The first was one about homes in Britain and Northern Ireland, so we spent half a day with a camera crew and played host to Gloria Hunniford

Gathering our harness

This week we went off to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, to their annual Horse Ploughing and country skills day. Apart from anything else it was a good chance to go and have a look at everyone’s harness, as it turns out that literally every single set seems to be different in some way, and we fancied seeing how ours compared.

Lackan Farm Forest School

An exciting development for 2017 is the formation of our first Forest School group, which will be led by Lucy, an experienced Forest School teacher. Ever since hearing about the idea of forest schools or outdoor schools we’ve been excited by the idea of getting a group going and an amazing bunch of children and parents have come together to make this happen.

Practical renewable energy

This course is aimed at those who are keen to find out more about the potential of small scale renewable energy and heating, and the opportunities for DIY and home energy storage where a grid connection is not always practical.

Open day – June 17th

We get a lot of requests from folk who would like to come and have a look around, find out more, and share their stories with us, so this year we have decided to have an open day on June 17th , when anyone can come and see what we get up to, and ask questions about any aspect of what we do here at Lackan Cottage Farm.

Introduction to green woodworking – 1 April & 1 Oct 2017

Green woodwork is one of the most accessible and enjoyable woodcrafts you can experience. Using traditional tools to shape green (unseasoned) timber with the rhythm of the pole lathe and versatility of the shave horse is pleasure that is hard to match. The beauty of green wood lies in its ability to be shaped easily as it is soft and easily worked by handtools.

Make a stool from a log – 2 April & 30 Sept 2017

This workshop will teach you the skills needed to make your own piece of furniture in the form of a rustic stool, encompassing the use of the shave horse and a variety of handtools including the axe, draw knife, auger drill and spoke shave.

Willow basket making – 6 May & 12 August 2017

Before plastic containers and even cardboard boxes became common, the woven basket was used as a container for literally everything. Able to be made into all sizes and shapes, limited only by the imagination of the basket weaver, the basket was part of everyday life....

DIY Living – 20-21 May 2017

Whether you have a project already started, or are dreaming of your ideal plot, this course will help you turn your dreams into reality. A hands on course for all abilities and experience levels.

Build a compost loo – 22-23 April 2017

On this course we’ll look at the basics of composting humanure, types of compost loo, do’s and dont’s and we’ll be building a ‘treebog’ type composting toilet over the course of 2 days. You’ll be learning basic rustic timber building using local wany edged boards, and recycled wood. This is a simple low cost design that can easily be replicated or adapted to suit your needs.

Willow garden structures – 8 April & 9 August 2017

Our willow basket making courses with tutor Sabine were so popular last year that this time around we’re adding some new days where you can learn to make your own willow garden structures. Beautiful and practical, you’ll make your own and the course is suitable for those who have never tried basketry before

Quick and easy window shutters

One of the problems we discovered with using old double glazed windows is that well, they aren’t always terribly good at keeping heat in. Even lined curtains can only do so much, and our strawbale and earth plaster walls don’t lend themselves to having...

Building a pallet porch

In a climate like ours, some sort of porch is pretty much a necessity, not just as a place to store muddy boots and wet coats, but to act as an air lock so that warm air loss from the house is minimised when the door is opened. When we built the classroom we left a...

Finishing touches

Nearly two years after building the classroom, we thought it was about time that the floor got finished. It’s lovely Douglas Fir, and was getting progressively more filthy, but deserved better.

Hoof camp

After my recent visit to Bantry to learn some more about working horses, it was time to get things moving here at home, and so Rain has gone off to hoof camp for a couple of weeks in Glengormley, with John McDermott, to learn how to pull things.

Working horses

This week I made a somewhat epic trip down to Bantry to spend a day learning about working horses, and have a go at driving 2 experienced and patient horses under the tutorage of Sandra (and Tim). In the morning we did a bit of long reining, and looked at harness, and in the afternoon we got stuck in, and pulled a couple of different things – a sled and some chain harrows, before trying our hand at working 2 horses together, and finally some logging.

2 Day basket making course – 22-23 October

Experience basket weaving with locally sourced willow to make your own traditional round shopping basket with a handle. Under the expert guidance of basket maker and craft tutor Sabine Wolniczak you will learn the basic techniques involved in this intricate ancient craft and return home with your own woven basket.

A full house

Our three feral cats are becoming steadily more tame – one in particular which you can now pick up and really rather likes all the attention; one who is getting used to being stroked, and the third who thinks that humans are to be regarded with great suspicion, but follows along anyway. Now the problem is that they all follow us up from their hideaway in the hay shed to the house, and Lyra doesn’t get that we don’t want three un-housetrained kittens indoors.

Action!

Friday was an interesting day, as we got up at the crack of dawn to welcome a little film crew from the BBC to the farm and they wanted to start at 8am. It is part of a programme about housing, and our bit is (hopefully) how modern technology can combine with traditional materials and methods. Being new to this filming lark, we basically did what we were told, and pottered about while Steven the cameraman and Richard the producer followed us around the place…

Well well

You may recall that three years ago (it might be four) we realised that we had a well in the garden, although it turned out to have been used as a drain for a long time and took a lot of cleaning. Anyhow, clean it we did and at the time it passed the environmental...

Jam magic

Mid september, it is still strangely warm, things are fortunately still ripening, and our nectarines are finally edible. They have a habit of dropping off the tree the very second they are ready, so you have to be constantly on the lookout for them. We’re eating...

Farewell summer

Electric Octopus playing Turnipstock 2016 from Lackan Cottage Farm on Vimeo. While we weren’t looking, the summer came and went, but we saw it out in style at the Benraw Creative Convivium up at the Turnip House. Our tipi went on tour, the sun shone, and the...

Page 1 of 1512345...10...Last »

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 186 other subscribers.

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: