Guided tour of Lackan Cottage Farm

***Sorry we have sold out of tickets for this one. We will run another so click here to leave your contact details and we'll let you know when the next date is **** We're offering a guided tour of Lackan on Sunday 26th September, where we will be looking at everything...

The same but different

It's nearly ten years now since we landed here at Lackan and in some ways the world has changed very little, and in others we live in an utterly different universe to the one we inhabited back then. Ten years ago we were holed up in our truck in Bangor, building a...

Thoughts on heating systems

I get asked about heating a lot. What's best, the most cost effective, simplest, efficient. All that. So this is a collection of my thoughts based on all the various things we've tried (and we've tried quite a few). So far we have (or have had) - Range cooker with a...

Summer updates from Lackan

July already, how did that happen.Needless to say we've done a fair bit since my last post back in December, so I'm not even going to try and cover it all, as its mostly in a recent video where I did a quick walk round. As you can see, we've made some changes. The...

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...

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.

Tidying up the power station

Tidying up the power station

I actually did this work earlier in the summer but never got around to posting it. We decided to install another 4kw of solar pv, principally to allow us to run immersion heaters in both cottages over the summer and thus almost completely remove the need for lighting...

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Making headway in the garden

Making headway in the garden

Every day now it feels like we are making headway in the garden, this week we've brought in 4000 litres of compost to put on the newly manured beds, and that gives us a really nice fine surface to sow and plant into. It's pretty late now, but we've lots of winter...

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Scythes, fresh planting and the chicken hordes

Scythes, fresh planting and the chicken hordes

A beautiful summer's day here at Lackan, and one that began with some scythe action in the front field. The new austrian scythe is incredibly sharp, and I can cut grass to literally an inch long with it if I need to - certainly its as quick as a strimmer, and great to...

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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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