Although I’ve been involved with permaculture for nearly a decade now, and on site here at Lackan for six years, practising permaculture on a daily basis, I had never done my PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate). When I was offered the chance to do a PDC at Carraig Dulra in Wicklow, led by friends Suzie Cahn and Hannah Mole, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
For months there, it seemed like winter would never end. The longest, wettest most miserable winter in memory for many. But now here we are at the start of June and all that is a distant memory – the heatwave has arrived, and once again water is very much on our minds but for a very different reason.
One of the things that makes Birch Eco Cottage a unique Green Tourism business is that it is powered entirely by renewable energy made here on the farm. We are totally off-grid as part of our commitment to reducing our environmental impact. We use a combination of solar panels and wind to charge batteries that ensure that there is always power when we need it.
We’ve been weathering the ‘beast from the east’, and so far everyone is bearing up well. The horses have been tucked up in their stables with hay most of the time, only venturing out to have a roll in the snow before retreating again. Our hens are similarly unimpressed, although they have decided to keep on laying eggs despite the conditions. We were warned about this weather for a good week before it happened, so there was plenty of time to prepare, and on the whole we got everything ready in time. Here are our top off grid bad weather preparation tips:
A day of winemaking with Leo Cullen, who can conjure wine from just about anything. We’ll be walking and picking some ingredients in the morning, talking about what we can use to make wine, and how to go about preparing our ingredients and equipment, and then sampling some of Leo’s brews over a lunch of home made soup.