Bornay wind turbine upgrade

So after years of gradually building up our renewable system, we've definitely got to the point where its perfectly capable of supplying us with enough power, but the thing about building a system as you go along is that its a learning process, and sometimes you use...

Making the most of the light

We're into the part of the year that is hardest for those living off grid, when the days are getting increasingly short, the sun doesn't appear that often, and when he does, he's pretty low in the sky. Having been terribly casual about the whole energy thing all...

Being prepared

The typical image of 'preppers' is of heavily armed Americans living in compounds in the mountains, with stockpiles of food and ammunition, or their close relatives the 'survivalists' who are kitted out ready to live in shelters in the woods, making their own clothes...

There’s so much to do!

As we approach Samhain - Halloween, and the midpoint of the latest lockdown or 'extended half term' as it's sold to us, we've managed to get busy in the garden. Our apple crop this year was woeful, partly due to some odd frosts at bad times, and partly because half...

Wind turbine upgrade

Right at the start of the year, Gerry from Kerry was kind enough to give us a working Bornay turbine like the (then broken) one we have, as well as a 15 metre mast to put it on. Our mast is 9 metres which seems pretty tall when you're near it, but in the world of wind...

Let there be light

For the last eight years we've been fervently letting everything grow, more or less unrestricted. So for the first time this summer it became really apparent that it was time to rein things in a bit, as the vegetable garden was becoming darker and darker, and just...

Where has the truck gone?

We've had lots of emails to ask why the truck isn't available to stay in at the moment. The simple answer is that during lockdown, we spent a lot of time redecorating and sprucing up Birch Cottage, and then realised that the truck needed even more work doing to make...

A tour around Lackan Cottage Farm

As it looks as though we won't be doing any actual tours around or opening for visits in 2020, I made this somewhat inpromptu video tour where I had a good walk round and covered most aspects of Lackan Cottage Farm on the way. Usually I'd be answering questions as I...

Latest news

Here at Lackan Cottage Farm people often say we are living the good life. We grow our own food and wood fuel, generate our own electricity, take responsibility for our own waste, harvest rainwater and are using natural building techniques. Additionally we help other people to do the same, and welcome visitors and volunteers here to the farm to stay and learn about what we have to offer.

We did it! The Northern Gathering was a success.

We did it! The Northern Gathering was a success.

After months of preparation and planning, last weekend saw the first Northern Permaculture Gathering happen at Oxford Island. Permaculture legend Suzie Cahn started the gatherings off, some eight years ago, and has been central to their organisation ever since. Suzie...

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The Truck in the Times Top 20 Off Grid places

The Truck in the Times Top 20 Off Grid places

It's always nice to be recognised, and this week the off grid horsebox appeared on The TImes Top 20 off grid places to stay in the UK list. Introducing people to the idea of living more simply, whether off grid or on grid has always been our aim, and because we lived...

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Wild Horses with Joe Rocks

Wild Horses with Joe Rocks

Musician Joe Rocks and his partner came and stayed in our off grid horsebox earlier in the year, and recorded this version of 'Wild Horses' during their stay, which they've very kindly shared with us. It's always lovely to see that people enjoyed their time here....

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More seven year improvements

More seven year improvements

So having got the house to the point where it behaves itself - we have charged batteries, far more hot water, and considerably less chance of it raining inside the house, as well as not having lit the fire for some time now; we have finally been able to turn our...

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The storm before the calm

The storm before the calm

I keep nearly writing posts, and it seems there is so much to put in that it never gets done, so its time for a good update and then we'll keep up to date. There is certainly plenty going on, so here goes. It's getting on for a decade since I began this journey, and...

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GROW Citizen Soil Observatory

GROW Citizen Soil Observatory

Building Better Soil Through Citizen Science Through Permaculture UK, we are excited to be a partner in the GROW Observatory, a European-wide project engaging thousands of growers as citizen scientists. We will learn together, using simple tools to better manage soil,...

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Exploring the Mourne Coastal Route

Exploring the Mourne Coastal Route

Recently we welcomed the folks from Outsider.ie - Ireland's Adventure Magazine to visit, and we're really pleased to feature as part of this promotional video made in association with Discover Northern Ireland. The Mourne Coastal Route is undoubtedly the nicest part...

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Building and installing a ram pump

Building and installing a ram pump

A little stream runs through the farm - actually its a drainage channel, cut into the rock to drain this part of the bog, well over a hundred years ago. The fields and woods drain into it, and it heads off through the countryside which is mostly level. As it passes...

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Books – The self sufficient house

Books – The self sufficient house

None of this energy saving, off grid stuff has appeared out of thin air. Back in 1980, Brenda and Robert Vale wrote 'The self sufficient house', which is still an incredibly useful resource and which is full of good practical information on improving the energy...

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Affordable off-grid?

Affordable off-grid?

Yesterday I went on the radio to talk with a couple of other people about living off grid. Trouble is though you get a few minutes to talk and then its over without really getting to say what you wanted, unless you're a trained media professional, which I'm not.  As...

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Starting on a positive note

Starting on a positive note

It's only a few days into the new year and already it's been a busy one. We're heading into our seventh year here at Lackan, a lot of the physical heavy lifting of sorting buildings and structure is done. Over the last years we've welcomed a lot of volunteers,...

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Pioneering Eco Tourism with Green Key

Pioneering Eco Tourism with Green Key

We’ve always been passionate about increasing awareness of the many environmental issues that face us all, and a major part of that is through our self catering accommodation here at Lackan. Visitors can see that is is possible to reduce their environmental impact and still live in a beautiful, comfortable space. As pioneers of ‘eco tourism’ in Northern Ireland, we’re always looking for ways to increase the profile of green living.

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Off grid living series of courses

Off grid living series of courses

Once again this year we are offering our popular one day 'Off Grid Living' course, which takes a look at all the aspects of living the off grid life here at Lackan, and gives practical examples of how elements of this can be used in your everyday life. Our new off...

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Some new websites

Some new websites

In a previous life, I was a partner in a website development company, and as well as building our own website, I still keep my hand in by developing sites for other people when I feel we share a similar ethos

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Managing horses on a small acreage

Managing horses on a small acreage

As part of our overall planning for Lackan, and as one of the designs on my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, I’m looking at how we can better integrate horses into a permaculture design. Not an easy task, as creating closed loops on a relatively small area of land means considering winter forage and bedding, both of which are never going to be completely met from the land but which can be supplemented, in the form of gorse and rushes. Both of which people have spent 150 years eradicating from the land here. Our horses do however provide a hugely valuable resource – manure, which feeds our vegetables incredibly well.

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Give the gift of cosy this Christmas

Give the gift of cosy this Christmas

If you're looking for something different to give as a gift this Christmas, how about a stay at Birch Eco Cottage or the Off Grid Horsebox. Our gift vouchers come in £25, £50, £75 and £100 amounts and can be used as part of all of a booking at Birch Eco Cottage or the...

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Why green tourism is about so much more than travel

Why green tourism is about so much more than travel

Green Tourism, Eco Tourism, Ethical Tourism – all these are increasingly popular terms, as awareness of the need for more environmentally aware accommodation and travel is gradually making its way into the mainstream. Of course, the availability of cheap air travel, and our love of fossil fuel powered transport in general have contributed significantly to the position we now find ourselves in. One where climate change is poised to reach a tipping point from which there is little chance of recovery. Despite this,it is vital to encourage as many people as possible to make changes to their behaviour, and green tourism has its part to play.

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