Considering the weather, which has been one of those days that both wind and hydro turbines have been working overtime, I have got much done. To be honest getting anything done outside today in the lashing rain was an achievement, but that’s what comes of having a VAT return due, I’ll find any excuse available not to stay in the house 🙂
Yup, even on a day like this I’d rather be outside than in front of a warm fire with a steaming coffee and pile of paperwork 🙂
With the rain having fallen steadily all night, or at least since 2:30 when I first awoke I went down to the secret cove where my ‘Stream Engine’ http://www.microhydropower.com/ resides.
It’s a magical spot down there, protected by these high cliffs and the old rustling aspens above it gets little weather or salt spray despite only being a few feet above MHWS (mean high water springs). Any other spot along this rugged shore in Loch Arnish would have lost me 5m of head. All was well with the little Canadian turbine so I left in merrily churning out 750w and headed home through the birch wood.
My boys pal who’d been helping me for the last couple of days had to be on the 10:00am ferry so we hitched up the trailer to the Land Rover and headed south. It was a good day for collecting beach stones for the veg patch.
Once we’d cleared the thick mist over Glame the yacht Northern Spirit http://www.northern-spirit.com/history.htm came into view anchored in the lee of Holoman island, a good spot for sheltering from north wind but one regularly used. In fact I don’t ever think I’ve seen another craft here, though I do recall the Royal yacht Britannia stayed here once in her yearly visits to Raasay.
Once we’d said goodbye to our helper we collected some more on the pretext of ‘playing with my son’ and headed north with a cargo of stones into the rapidly deteriorating weather.
Even I would not choose to drag my boys friends out on a day like this, so I left them on the Xbox and got wrapped up to do some more work on ‘Quadzilla’
Do NOT buy a Quadzilla 🙂
Now I know I keep going on about ‘crap from China’, which is probably unfair, because I know the Chinese can produce some fine stuff, it’s just none of it seems to find its way up to Arnish. I’m sure the pap that they send over here is due in no small part to greedy western companies, demanding stuff that’s made for peanuts and our disposable society. And this quad made by Linhai seems to typify much of it, at first glance it pushes all the right buttons and has all the right features. Quite apart from being half the price of a Honda, It’s got a gutsy 300cc water cooled engine, disc brakes all round, good ground clearance, sturdy looking carriers for and aft, variable transmission with high and low ratio and a host of electronic features. However everything on it seems photodegradable, from the perished rubber gaiters and boots to the cheap plastic switches. A couple of days in the rain and sun saw it fade and rust before my very eyes 😦
The list of things that have failed or fell off it in just over 12 months include the clutch (spectacularly at 241miles) the battery, ignition switch, hand brake, fuel pump and now one of the rear wheels is about to fall off 😦
Now the fact that only two wheel nuts remained on the right hand rear could in all fairness be due to someone not tightening it up after a puncture. However I don’t ever recall it having one and the crap design of just bolts poked through the hub with ‘spire clips’ to hold them in position is pathetic.
I managed to find a couple of high tensile M12 bolts that fitted once I’d ground the flats down from 19mm to 18mm to fit the hub and all was peachy. OK, the nuts didn’t have a taper on them and I had to use a couple of washers but the wheel was goosed anyway 😦
Back to the penstock
Just as I’d finished that one of the boys came out, he’d obviously had enough of the Xbox 🙂 Not my son I hasten to add because the thing had been ‘off limits’ for days 🙂 Fair play to the dude, for he can only use the ‘power hungry beast’ when the battery voltage is over 50v, so he does not get much chance in the summer unless the generator starts up 🙂
It was truly miserable by now but that did not stop helper, dug and I heading over to Tarbert to drag the penstock pipe down the cliff.
Here’s where we got the end of our 750 or so meter long pipe to yesterday just at the top of the cliff. That was the full length of what I’d ‘rescued’ from the fish farm and went right back to Loch Beag. I figured that it would be easier to drag the 90mm MDPE pipe down the cliff then measure what was required to make up the shortfall at the top rather than trying to work it out through the ‘jungle’
OK, it wasn’t an actual ‘cliff’ but it was pretty steep and a boodly hard climb up 🙂
Once that was done we walked back to the quads and drove around to rearrange the pipe.
There’s still much more work to do but we did manage to ascertain that 170m more pipe should be plenty, the really hard part will be trying to route it so there are no dips in it to catch sediment or high spots to trap air. One high spot is going to be inevitable as the pipe is going to have to siphon out of the loch, or at least it is if I can’t get a digger down there 🙂
Lobster and leek frittata
If it was up to me we’d be living of fish and seafood (for years I did) but I’m afraid wife and child would mutiny if we had it more than two or three times a week. As with many things up here it’s ‘famine or feast’ and just now it’s lobster and mushrooms in abundance. There’s only so much you can do with a lobster here on Raasay, not through any lack of recipes but because most of the ones I come across have ingredients that we can’t get at short notice so we usually just have it with a salad or on sandwiches.
Today however I was determined to make a proper meal of the nice hen lobster that my boys pal had brought us yesterday. A little ‘Googling’ of leek and lobster came up with this http://bayourecipes.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/lobster-and-leek-frittata/ and what’s more we had everything in the kitchen.
1 lobster (1-1/2 pounds)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small leek, white part only
4 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, fine diced
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Well, apart from seven of the eggs and the chanterelles, but my neighbour had eggs and I donned my oilskins to pick those up and collect some ‘shrooms’ on the way back 🙂
Twenty minutes in the birch wood saw me with more than enough chanterelles and some hedgehog fungus.
The spines that give them their name are clearly visible underneath these tasty morsels and I’ve picked them as late as Hogmanay, unlike other mushrooms these do not go mushy and soak up water after prolonged rain or even snow. They are also extremely difficult to mistake for anything else that’s poisonous.
A frittata is basically an Italian word for omelette and the procedure is pretty ‘idiot proof’
“Steam or boil the lobster for 10 minutes.Remove from heat and let stand until cool enough to handle. Crack the claws knuckles and tail section;remove the lobster meat and finely dice.Set aside.
Heat the butter in a small saute pan over medium heat.Add the leek and mushrooms; saute for 4 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Lightly beat the eggs with the cream in a large bowl. Stir in the lobster meat mushroom mixture and herbs.Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat;pour in the egg-lobster mixture. As the eggs starts to cook pierce the mixture and pull in the edges with a rubber spatula to allow the uncooked egg on top to move through to the bottom. When the frittata is almost set (firm but still somewhat liquid on top),place the pan under the broiler to finish cooking the top.Slide the frittata onto a cutting board and cut into wedges.Serve hot or at room temperature.”
That’s copied from the link, which omits telling you to chop the leek but that’s pretty obvious anyway 🙂
Finished under the grill and served with roast potatoes and peas, delicious 🙂
As we have actually had some weather today I’ll post a screenshot
though I think my rain gauge has gone ‘Quadzilla’ on me 🙂