Life at the end of the road

March 30, 2008

A sign at last (for ‘Calum’s road)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, listers, Raasay road signs, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:37 pm

Had I not been studying my diary last night for 18 years ago and spotting an entry that said ’29th march BST’ I wouldn’t have put my clock forward so my mum and the Dude would have been well displeased. As I’m going back to work tomorrow and mrs C is in and out of bed all day with the lurge then we all decided that Dude would be better off at my mum and dads for a few days. It would give him chance to bag another Munro or two and give us a bit of peace (only kidding) Leaving my invalid wife in bed I went out feeding only to notice that all of Shona’s considerable pile of fresh bedding had vanished, upon investigation I saw she’d burst open the barn door dragged all her bedding inside and made a lovely nest. As the barn at this moment is full of many things easily destroyed or eaten by a curious pig I swept out the bedding and screwed the door shut! that’ll show her who’s boss!!

shona in dd

There she is sulking after I locked her out. All this put me in such a rush for the ferry that I didn’t even notice the sign until my return.

calums rd sign

In fact I nearly jumped when I saw it and as I’ve been dying I’m not absolutely sure when it went up. It wasn’t there on Friday morning so I suppose it must have gone up on Saturday as I think the council supplied it and the community council erected it. Anyway I’m sure this will be it’s first public showing days ahead of the WHFP and it’s long over due and at least now I won’t get lost on my way back from the pub!!!

A battery charging and a seal changing day

When I arrived back home mrs C was still in bed and me knowing how ill she was and knowing the way to her heart and how to make her feel better than any amount of chocolate could decided to change the door seal on our washing machine. It’s a Bosch ‘Classixx 1200’ and I’ve been putting off changing it for weeks because I made the mistake of consulting t’internet before attempting it. There are pages of stuff written about how hard it is, DO NOT let this frighten you I did it in an hour with 2 star keys having disregarded everything I’d read. Take top off (2 screws), I took control panel off (3 screws) but think it was uneccessary, remove old seal, taking note of position of spring clips and orientation of seal. Wedge drum as far back as possible with 2 of Dudes shoes, fit seal, fit spring clip, remove shoes, fit front clip, re build.

door seal

Being off the grid, making our own electricity by wind and as a back up by ‘Lister’ diesel genny then a fair bit of maintainance is required. The main back up ‘ Harry’ the HR2 gets done every 500h or every year whichever comes first. ‘Twinny’ the ST2 and ‘old faithful’ the SR1 get done when I feel like it as they’ve not been run in anger for years, though I fire them up once a month to make sure all is well and keep the valves free. I plan to start running them for longer under more load as running them light loaded glazes the bores. I’ve loaded them up in the past with flood lamps or fan heaters but it’s always struck me as a waste so now I’ve started doing it with battery chargers onto my various banks. This means I can time my genny checks to coincide with lack of wind and put some juice in my batteries at the same time. Despite the wind today I did it anyway as I wanted to try out the new 48v charger I’d just got off ebay.

4 in 1 charger

That’s it bottom left and it will do 12/24/36 and 48v batteries @ 30/30/25 and 15 amps respectively so at least the genny is doing something useful now.

ST2 charging

As well as putting some juice in the main house 48v 1000ah bank ‘Twinny’ was topping up the 12v 500ah bank, his own batteries, ‘old faithfuls’ and an odd one I had lying around. After topping them all up with distilled water cleaning the top and terminals checking and recording the S.G. (specific gravity) I left ‘Twinny’ to it for a few hours and just enjoyed being outside for a while.


  1. I’m amazed! I have no earthly idea what you did but I’m so impressed thatyou are officially off the grid. My husband is VERY interested in going completely off the grid. Of course, his reasons are a bit different from friends of ours who actually are off the grid. Our friends are a bit wary of government involvement of any kind in their daily life… my husband is in the military so we’ve already determined that we have no secrets. 😉 Ha ha.

    Anyway, we’re VERY fascinated by solar power. I priced it for my husband and it is WAY out of reach for now.

    Always a joy to read the island goings-on!


    Comment by Razor Family Farms — March 31, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  2. Hi Lacy,

    I think solar will get cheaper in the future and as energy costs rise it will begin to look more attractive. Dunno how it is in the US but here oil, gas and electricity prices are going through the roof. Do you have any creeks nearby that could be used for hydro power?

    Cheers, Paul

    Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 31, 2008 @ 9:03 pm

  3. It’s not cheap in the U.S. unless your rich, then it’s affordable 🙂 We are an oil-based economy, our economy would probably crash if people started getting off the grid. The power companies want you to buy from them and they won’t even pay you what they charge you for electricity.

    The natural resources departments won’t let you touch the creeks, everything is so regulated. I’m not saying it can’t be done, just about every river, creek we’ve got in this country is dammed up. No one wants wind towers anywhere near their property and solar panels are ugly or blocked when your “green” neighbors plant trees.

    You need to live pretty far back to get any kind of real freedom in the U.S. anymore. Supposedly in 10-20 years solar could start to compete with fossil fuels, producing cheaper more efficient solar panels is pretty important as well.

    Comment by C — March 31, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

  4. You need to live pretty far back to get any kind of real freedom in the U.S. anymore. Supposedly in 10-20 years solar could start to compete with fossil fuels, producing cheaper more efficient solar panels is pretty important as well.

    Same here really C, I suppose we’re lucky living in the sticks. I’ve got a small hydro scheme up my sleeve that I’m gradually acquiring the hardware for and we’re gonna get a decent size solar PV array within the next couple of years as I want to reduce our diesel consumption even further.

    Cheers, Paul

    Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 31, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

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