News from Lackan Cottage

Fixing the floor

Usually I post about the things that have gone right, but we are on a learning curve, and things often don’t work out first time around. The floor in the new build is one such case. After much deliberating, and mainly due to budget constraints, I put in a...

Wind turbine first proper test

The windy weather we normally get in October didn’t put in an appearance, but finally it is here, and today’s weather perfectly illustrates the need for a mixture of generation to keep the lights on all winter. At 10m on an overcast day the PV is producing...

Autumn abundance

When we started growing food here, we weren’t sure what would thrive, and so I continue to be amazed and grateful when I walk down into the gardens and find an abundance of food growing, now, in November. Strawberries – not only the traditional ones but...

Preparing for winter

In our world turned upside down by changing climate, we began the year with a cold, wet ‘summer’, and have ended it with a warm sunny autumn. Strolling around in a t-shirt in November is definitely not normal here in Northern Ireland, but we (and our...

An epic climate journey

Today we were inspired to meet Morgan and Garrett, who are undertaking an epic journey from New England to Paris, via Canada, Iceland, Scandanavia, and the UK by bicycle. Their destination? The COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris in December. Along the way they...

Energy independence

For those who can’t already claim some form of payment for generating their own energy, or who will face vastly reduced incentives from 2016, there would seem to be few reasons to invest in renewable energy such as solar PV.  Recent coverage of the Tesla home...

What a summer

As we come to Mabon –  the Autumn equinox, our busy season draws to a close, and the place has quietened down as our band of volunteers head off, and we host the last events before we take a break. Last weekend’s course – ‘Finding You – A...

A weekend of permaculture

Last weekend saw the second Permaculture course to be run here at Lackan Cottage Farm, with tutor Hannah Mole, and guest appearance by Heiko Vermeulen who came to lead a foraging walk on the Saturday.   After an opening circle and a session to get to know each...

I’m no expert, but….

So twice this week I’ve had conversations with people who said something along the lines of “Well I’m no expert but really solar isn’t much good here in Northern Ireland because unless its really sunny they don’t work and its never really...

Amazing reedmace

In researching what type of reeds were best suited for our new reedbeds, I discovered that the humble reedmace – or Bulrush as many people know it, is a quite remarkable plant. It is hardy, frost resistant, likes wet ground, and can remove high levels of toxins...

Horizontal flow reedbeds

  This week we undertook the building of a ‘proper’ horizontal flow reedbed. Our existing little ones were a hastily built, stopgap measure that we installed when we got here, and it was time to do things correctly. A horizontal flow reedbed can cope...

Chicken day

Today was ‘chicken day’ – 15 weeks or so ago, these 10 birds arrived as day old chicks, supplied by our friends Brian and Becky, as something of an experiment in rearing our own meat.  They have led a happy outdoor existence, foraging, enjoying...

Permaculture weekend workshop 27-28 August 2016

Coming soon –  our 3rd ‘Introduction to Permaculture’ weekend workshop,  the weekend of the 27th – 28th August 2016. In the 3 years since our first Permaculture course at Lackan the farm has developed to include a natural build classroom...

One for the techies

The last couple of weeks have seen our renewable energy setup almost completed, as the wind turbine was commissioned, although we quickly realised that we would need some additional capacity to deal with all the power coming in. Our Victron Multiplus 24/3000/50...

Autumn mists

Today saw the first autumn mist, and the farm took on a magical quality that you only get at this time of year.   Such an incredibly abundant time, as fruits begin to ripen, and we are able to harvest from the garden and tunnels every day. Having a freezer for...

Permaculture Gathering 2015

The weekend of August 7-9 saw the first visit of the All Ireland Permaculture Gathering to Northern Ireland – at Tubby’s Farm in Hillsborough, home of Sunflowerfest. Preparations have been going on for months leading up to the Gathering, mainly organising...

Wind power at the farm

Solar power is wonderful but here in Northern Ireland sun is often in short supply, especially in winter when the days are short. Hence the need for an alternative – in this case a wind turbine. Bornay, who make this particular model have been building turbines...

Our first official event in the classroom!

When we built the classroom space, the intention was always that it would be a space for people to come to and discover new things – not only from the person giving the talk or presentation, but from each other. So it was this weekend as we hosted the first...

Community living

I recently heard Tobias Jones talking on the radio about Windor Hill Wood, an experiment in communal living, albeit a fairly extreme one where his family took in folk with a range of issues, with the ideal of giving them a refuge. Although our circumstances are vastly...

Solid foundations

    Two years ago we built our little stone circle at midsummer. Our home is built from the granite that it sits upon, and the stones are a connection to the mountains they look to, as well as a reflection of the place in which we live. The stones are all...

You can make a difference

In response to a post I wrote about coping with the effects of catastrophic climate change, someone commented to the effect that ‘the climate has always warmed and cooled so we should all stop complaining, and accept that this is the natural order of...

Solar Independence Day

Today is apparently ‘Solar Independence Day‘, and the good weather means that just about now an amazing 15% of the UK’s power needs are being met with solar. Of course, around here 100% of our power needs are being met with solar all the time, and...

Where did you learn to do that?

Where did you learn to do that? Is a question I get asked about all sorts of things, and the answer is always the same. “I just sort of did it”, I reply. Of course, when the person asks the question they are usually looking at a successful end result of...

Are you ready?

Despite vast amounts of evidence pointing to a very real change in our climate, and the increase of extreme weather events, it seems that people generally like not to think of any of it as being part of some sort of pattern, and instead to put these events down to...

Living with the Land

Lauren and Phil visited us briefly last year, just at the right time to impart some knowledge about cob and clay plaster mixes, when we were working on the classroom. They have produced a series of short films for Permaculture Magazine, called Living with the Land,...

The website gets a facelift

  Things change quickly on the farm, so we thought it time to reflect that in our website, which has had a makeover and an update to bring the content into line with what we actually have here now. The new site works on all manner of wierd and wonderful devices,...

Gold standard Green Tourism

  We’re incredibly chuffed to have got a Gold level Green Tourism award, and were off to the awards dinner last week at the Sugar Supper Club in Newry (highly recommended, brilliant food). One of only 18 Golds in County Down, too.  Northern Ireland’s...

Midsummer has arrived

  Midsummer is upon us, and we were fortunate to be able to celebrate the solstice eve with friends from far and wide – visitors from no less than five nations were here on Saturday. I’m always in two minds about the summer solstice – given that...

The lone ranger returns

  After a couple of weeks absence, Dotty has returned with a sizeable clutch of chicks – fourteen, we reckon. These plus the seven that Fluffers had last week, and the ten that we are raising for meat, means that not only will our laying flock grow...

A trip to the sawmill

A trip to the sawmill from Lackan Cottage Farm on Vimeo. Today I headed off to Ballytrim sawmill in search of some suitably lovely bits of timber to make seats in our classroom, and I wasn’t disappointed. Initially it seemed as though my trip would be in vain...

Stool making in the sun

  This saturday saw the second of our ‘Make a stool from a log’ green woodworking courses, and our six participants got on incredibly well..   Although Steph left before we got a chance to get a picture….   Some really nice stools were...

A riot of colour

  This is Robbie, our magnificent Welsummer rooster – isn’t he an amazing colour? At this time of year there is so much to look at you hardly know where to begin.   Poppies are everywhere, and more are coming –     and just in...

Painting with clay

  As you can see, the new room is coming on now, and we are on the final layers of clay paint, having gone through progressively finer mixes until we are now using just clay, fine sand, wheat paste, and occasionally some colouring – in this case tumeric....

Welcome to new visitors

Welcome – there are many new folk visiting the site this last couple of days so we thought we would say hello, and explain briefly what we are doing here at Lackan Cottage Farm.  In essence, we’re attempting to use the best of new and old technology and...

Sunday earth plastering crew

Today we were pleased to welcome old friends and new – the Freckle magazine crew of Lynn, Hannah and Mick, with Andrew and Liam. Together we earth plastered the last of the walls, and gained some mountains and geese, as well as applying some finish coat plaster...

Green woodworking at Lackan

Introduction to Green Woodworking at Lackan Cottage Farm from Lackan Cottage Farm on Vimeo. This weekend saw our latest ‘Introduction to Green Woodworking’ course with Steve Ryan. Blessed with wonderful weather, our participants made a range of items on...

Getting plastered

After two weeks of hard graft, our latest wwoofers,  Brodie and Molly are on their way, but what a difference they’ve made. We promised them building work, and our first task was fitting out battens and wood-wool board in the little cottage.  Then they moved on...

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