News from Lackan Cottage

New controller – caution off grid nerd alert

In my search for a well made charge controller that would allow me to configure it properly, I came across Karasouli – www.karasouli.com  It’s easily configurable, and also does proper data logging, for voltage and wind turbine performance, and its made in...

A close shave

Nothing quite like an occasional reminder of my mortality, (which used to arrive almost daily in my days as a horse trainer, and which are now fairly few and far betweeen), but which today came when the dumper truck I was driving rolled down the hill I was...

Enjoying being a Power Generator

Our solar may be reliable, and every day I thank it for providing yet more free power without having to go and prod it in any way, but there is something very satisfying about sitting watching the wind generator spinning. Somehow it proves that theres electricity...

We’ve got wind

Today we put up the wind generator – a huge thank you is due to all those who very kindly gave us something towards it – with any luck that gift will keep on helping to make power for us for a long time to come. Thanks also to Sinead, who unwittingly came...

Purus Inceptos Euismod Sit

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The Tir Teg crew

It’s been a busy month to say the least, but more of that later. Last week we were in Wales, and spent a few days at the PontYGafel farmhouse plotting the building of our empire, and exploring all the local towns.   The Tir Teg group is getting well established...

Answering the critics

A common accusation that I’ve seen made to those who live off grid seems to be ‘you’re off grid and living self sufficiently, but you’ll be quick enough to use the NHS when you get sick, and you’re using a laptop that couldn’t be...

Fringilla Commodo Aenean

Donec sed odio dui. Duis mollis, est non commodo luctus, nisi erat porttitor ligula, eget lacinia odio sem nec elit. Sed posuere consectetur est at lobortis. Nulla vitae elit libero, a pharetra augue. Donec ullamcorper nulla non metus auctor fringilla. Donec id elit...

Off grid couple face eviction

A COUPLE living an “off-grid” lifestyle say they face prison unless they move from their own land in Willand and return to an existence in the benefits trap. Stig and Dinah Mason bought Muxbeare Orchard after a sudden windfall allowed them to quit their impoverished...

Angry of Bangor

Its a beautiful morning, but I have to have a quick rant and get it over with. Listening to Evan Davies and Sarah Montague on the Today radio programme this morning, they mentioned that the last Blue Peter programme is broadcasting from London for the last time. Not...

Abundance

Just 12 weeks on, and our little veg plot is coming on really well. We’re getting a feel for what will grow where, and enjoying the fruits (literally, we have strawberries) of our labour. A second succession of onions, beans, peas, salads, and all manner of...

Long live ‘not normal’

Today I got a sharp reminder of the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Although Northern Ireland already has more than enough tribal troubles, the fact is that there is a huge tribe out there of people who don’t want to be part of the...

Water everywhere

Behold, the heart of my new rainwater harvesting system. This 1000 litre food grade container cost just £30, and will hold enough water to supply the truck for about a fortnight. Thus I’ll be using less than a quarter of the average person’s water...

Water everywhere

Behold, the heart of my new rainwater harvesting system. This 1000 litre food grade container cost just £30, and will hold enough water to supply the truck for about a fortnight. Thus I’ll be using less than a quarter of the average person’s water...

PV panels at 54 degrees

PV panels get a bad press here in Britain and especially in Northern Ireland. There just isn’t a lot of sun – well not when you’d expect it anyway. Certainly I don’t think I’d like to rely on it, on a large scale. However, for our...

Stocking up for winter (already)..

It may be mid summer, but now is the time to be thinking about where next winters fuel is going to come from, and so I’ve been busy in the woods, cutting and splitting a huge fallen ash tree. Ash is fantastic stuff, because it does burn green, unlike many woods,...

ASAP – more thoughts

In the last year or so I’ve met many people on my travels, almost all of whom have been either working out how to change their lives to reduce their burden on the planet’s resources, or who have taken steps to do so. I am in awe of the challenges that many...

ASAPicnic on the hill

Today Joan, Tina, Ruth and I went along to the As Sustainably As Possible ‘Picnic on the Hill’ event on the front lawns of Parliament Buildings. The idea of the event, organised by Shirley Lewis, aka ‘Baglady’. I’m not entirely sure who...

Making electricity 🙂

At last! The solar panels have arrived. Admittedly on the darkest wettest day of the year, but we managed to get them fitted onto their frame (part of a scaffold tower, courtesy of Tina and Joan), and during a lull in the rain, hoisted the whole lot up onto the truck...

A patio extension

With the help of some great beech logs, we now have some steps up onto the lorry ramp, which is sitting on its newly installed legs. The result – a lovely patio area that catches the sun all afternoon and evening. Just hoping that the sun stays out for a couple...

Solar PV – is it really environmentally friendly?

Although Solar PV would seem to many to be the ideal ‘free’ source of energy, one of the main arguments against it has been that the manufacture of the panels comes at significant environmental cost, in terms of extracting and processing the minerals and...

Building the power station

Finally, some blue sky! Even if it doesn’t last it is very welcome. As the moment when we get our solar panels hooked up comes closer, we’re taking an ever greater interest in just how much sunlight we’re actually seeing. It’ll be a few weeks...

Another world

Had a good trek round the farm this evening after dinner, finishing up in the woods. The light as the sun sets is always amazing, and I was there just in time to get some great pictures. It is certainly a relief to be living back in the country, without neighbours,...

Power crazed

One of the hardest things to get used to is that the truck has a very finite supply of electricity, currently one fairly knackered old battery. I’m so used to being able to simply switch on whatever I like, and the power will flow. Despite having pretty much...

Off grid esque

Well, at last here I am – if not entirely off-grid then pretty substantially off grid. Today has been a mixture of the good bits – looking after the animals, gathering eggs, salad leaves, coriander, and some strawberries for dinner, sitting in the warm, in...

Sherafey

This is Sherafey, who was unwanted after finishing her flat racing career at the tender age of 4. Like many racehorses who fail to live up to expectations, her owners couldn’t justify continuing to spend money on her and so were happy to give her away to a good...

The WaftOMatic

The fan attached to its ply mounting The truck has a woodburner in the living room, but I was worried that while it might be tropical down there, the other end of the wagon might be baltic. The solution is what has become known as the WaftOMatic, which does what it...

Moving in…

First day in the truck, and I’ve been very aware of all the new noises. It’s rather like being in an old house as things move around in the wind. The occasional chugging of the water pump; the ticking noises as the water heater fires up; odd groans as the...

The big day is nearly here..

Well, the truck is nearly ready now – just a few bits of plumbing and everything inside will be done. Any furniture that was coming from the house is now in, and the place is starting to fill with belongings, making it feel like a proper home.  We’re...

New arrivals

The horses are petrified of them, so I tend to swear about them a fair bit, but the three little pigs that have arrived here on the farm are pretty irresistible. Tiny at the moment, it is hard to believe just how large they will get. Pure bred Saddlebacks all,...

Time to work?

As we’ve been farm sitting for the last couple of weeks, it has been a great opportunity to see just what is involved in running a full time smallholding. Something that quickly becomes apparent is just how time consuming all this animal and vegetable nurturing...

Off Grid – Power

The decision to be off the electricity grid is probably what people first think of when you mention off grid, and in this case, it’s not merely an ethical decision, but a necessity borne out of living in a truck, parked in a yard where there is no mains...

Going off grid – food

Food is one area where current circumstances mean that I’m not going to be self reliant, but will grow as much as possible, and enjoy produce such as free range eggs from the hens on the farm. It is certainly a fantastic learning process – we have growing...

Wind chimes

Had a moment today so made up some wind chimes from odds and ends – the striker is an old bowl core left over from...

Going off grid – dealing with waste

As a society we use vast amounts of clean water to flush loos with,  treat the resultant waste, and generally speaking, dump the end product into the sea.  Locals who have walked Ballyholme beach after a storm will know just how much fun this can be. The answer? The...

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