Life at the end of the road

October 31, 2011

Even more power :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, life off grid, pigs, shed/house, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:23 pm

I’ll not bore you with even more rants about the clocks and I’ll just get on with it 🙂 Well apart from a little one about wifey setting the alarm clock for 6:30pm instead of 6:30am and almost not getting the boy down to the ferry on time 🙂 Me I don’t need an alarm clock, in fact I only bought one nine years ago when I started work on the ferry. I always set it but seldom require it, it’s just a comfort thing 🙂

I only realized her error as I put on my boots at 6:45 to go and feed the pigs, who normally get fed at 7:45 but then they don’t alter their clocks 🙂 Anyway I shouted something like ‘not getting up this morning’ and made a hasty exit. The swineherd is not a ‘morning person’ at the best of times 🙂

311011 010

Wifey may not have been pleased to hear me but Bramble was as I trundled up to the new house site to feed her.

311011 011

Her cosy ark is perhaps a little too cosy as she’d managed to crush another piglet, the largest, during the night 😦

311011 008

Still, the four remaining were all thriving and very inquisitive 🙂

Don’t ever get involved with a siphon 😦

The day was pretty wild, mild and until lunchtime at least, pretty dry, in fact it was really quite refreshing, especially after that bottle of Chianti last night that mum had given us 🙂 The plan for today was to do what I should have done yesterday with the boys had the weather not been so atrocious.

As you’ll know if you’ve been following, I’m trying to get a reliable siphon going in an 800m length of 90mm pipe to supply my hydro turbine, which will hopefully power our new house and barn. I’ve had the water flowing many times but after about a week it stops due to air ingress. There’s many possibilities for this and I’m not going to go over them again but if your interested read this,145889.0.html . Anyway, I’ve exhausted most options and plan to put a pressure vessel at the high point that I can fill with water, but I’ll tell you all about that when the parts arrive. Before that however there was just one last thing to do, and that was to submerge all the joints and pipe work on the suction part of the siphon. Then at least if there were leaks they would be of water and not air 🙂

311011 012

Having a spade on board I decided to help our hard pressed council by clearing some of the water off the road.

311011 013

It really is amazing what can be achieved by one man and a spade in five minutes, of course that even included filling in the risk assessment and making sure I had a mobile phone signal in case I put the spade through my steel to cap boot. Unlikely I know but its very dangerous working on the highway on ones own, which reminds me ‘HIGHWAY’ means just that, the road should be higher than the surrounding land, or at least have ditches either side to carry the water away, it’s not ‘rocket science’ 🙂

311011 014

The road wasn’t the only place full of water, this old peat bank proved a bit of an obstacle that had me getting off and pushing 😦 I’ve been up it dozens of times without assistance, but not today 🙂

311011 016

Once down at the loch I started digging into the bank to submerge the three valves that switch the flow between pump and siphon. I also changed that length of blue pipe on the left as it was badly scored, not a problem had it been under pressure for it would have just leaked water out but I feared that it may have been letting air in.

311011 017

Especially at these crappy valves

311011 018

Plimex they’re called and they’re rubbish, they keep coming loose and the blue handle is not held on with anything so just falls off 😦 The only good thing is their price, around a third of a proper one and I wish I’d have spent the extra.

311011 024

An hour or so’s work had a nice deep trench dug and the pump set up for priming,

311011 026

and all the valves and joints fully submerged.



311011 022

I’d like to say it all went smoothly but it didn’t, far from it, the pump kept blocking with all the cr4p from my trench and it took a good couple of hours to get the water flowing to Tarbert.

311011 027

The wee dug and I must have walked up and down the pipe half a dozen times bleeding it before we got air free water coming out.

311011 030  311011 031

Eventually we won and the pressure gauge showed a steady 6bar at 3lts/sec and 7bar of static head so I was well pleased. Though I’ll let you know how pleased if it’s still running in a week 🙂

311011 032

Where’s Jimmy Jess 🙂

By now the heavens had opened and yours truly and the ‘wee dug’ were well soaked,

311011 034

unlike my mate in his nice cosy digger

311011 035

who as usual was pleased to see me. Though he did remark that an extra pair of hands like Jimmy Jess’s would come in handy 🙂

311011 033

And an extra pair of wellies would have been handy for the ‘wee dug’, who in her enthusiasm to greet the Grumpy Digger Driver leapt into some very deep mud :-) 


Even more Kilowatts 🙂

The wind and rain saw us producing 31Kwh of electricity today, roughly 20Kwh from the Stream Engine and 11Kwh from the 2.5 who have now been taken over by

311011 036 (Small) 311011 038 (Small)

The meter on the left is reading 15.1amps at 53.9v (814w) and the one on the right measures the dump loads, that’s 636w with a total of 1453 dumped since April 1st

311011 039 (Small) 311011 040 (Small)

The house meter on the left is total consumed (excluding dumps) in the last six years and the ones on the right are, top to bottom battery voltage, frequency and AC voltage. The meter on the right is Kwh produced by the generator in the last six years.



  1. she works hard for the money….

    Comment by jeannette — October 31, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    • Hi Jeannette, I don’t think Molly’d be seen dead in one of these…..though, maybe, if they do a nice tartan/plaid one…….

      Comment by Iain — November 1, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    • $24.95!!! she can wear a bin liner 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 1, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

  2. Hey Paul hows it goin? I read about your loss of “perfect piglets” and being no pig or computer expert entered “saving piglet crushing” and read on …………… Maybe you can find more. Its always a shame when nature has performed her best and then allows this to happen. It looks like its a hazard of free range, ie. perfectly happy pigs being naturally ignorant or careless or both.
    All the best and cheers for now A

    P.S. I make regular trips to Aberdeen (small van + trailer) from Skye. If you need anything carriage FOC!

    Comment by arthur — November 1, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

    • Hi Arthur,

      I fear that ark is a little small for a farrowing sow, we’d never intended to leave her in there, preferring her to have them on the croft. However she went and dropped them early, or more correctly, we cocked up on the calculation 😦

      Will bear in mind your kind offer, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 1, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: