Life at the end of the road

April 14, 2013

Water and wood :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:53 pm

Water, water everywhere, well there sure has been plenty of the stuff pouring out the sky and down the hills today, not just hills but roads tracks and foot paths too. The whole of the north end is awash, and what’s more I’ve been out most of the day enjoying it, sure enough, another day or two and I’d be seriously peed off, but for now the rise in temperature and much needed drink for the parched is a blessing. Not if your unfortunate enough to have booked this week for a holiday, but I’m sure there’s many of a farmer in these parts ‘praising the Lord’. And if nothing else it will have put paid to the pyromaniacs up and down the west coast who’s overenthusiasm this year has kept the fire crews more than busy.



Yesterday with its blazing sunshine, sunbathing pigs and boldly going into the wood,

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seems a season away but it was well forecast so I got all done that I wanted on Saturday. As well as I spent the morning with Molly cutting down some fallen birch trees and doing some thinning in parts of the croft usually inaccessible by quad. OK, perhaps accessible but certainly not exitable   with a trailer load of sap filled silver birch, for that was one thing much in evidence when I wielded the chainsaw, the trees were crying Sad smile


I awoke this morning fully prepared for the rain, but even so I was shocked by the amount that had fallen,


our house now had its own swimming pool and the burn was well swollen.


The ‘Stream Engine’ was at last doing some serious work,

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a good 15amps, around 800w at the 55v to 58v that the battery voltage was hovering at.

It did however have a pig related issue Sad smile the three supply pipes should have a constant downhill gradient to prevent air locks in the high spots and silt collection in the lows. Several years of pigs grubbing about the penstocks has turned the once smooth slope into a veritable ‘big dipper’ and whilst I’ve not noticed any lack of performance at higher flows, the low ones seem poor.


The once nicely staked out pipes being well and truly messed up by, amongst other things, some bulldozing in a patch of bracken.



Of course, no sooner had I got it fastened back in position with fresh stakes, ropes, rocks and trees, and as soon as I’d dug out a small section of the bank to lower the pipes than my helpers arrived Sad smile


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It is however very hard to get annoyed with something that is just wanting to have a good scritch then roll over on its back in the pouring rain because its so happy Smile





Working my way down the 270m of pipe to the turbine shed at the shore I gradually got most of the pipe sorted, certainly all of it that mattered anyway.

The next job was another that was best done in the pouring rain, drain and road repairs,



not this one I hasten to add.



This fine piece of road repairing having been done last week by my friends at Torran, what was once a series of rock steps now being a smooth and well drained path thanks to their hard labour.



Me, I turned my attentions to a blocked drain under the road a little further along the track.

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A little diligent work with a six foot pry bar soon had it sorted and once more I cursed the interfering folk that had cut short the upgrade of this track by complaining about the friggin trees being cut down. Friggin trees, the birch grows like a weed around here and I’d much rather see a serviceable track to Torran than some stunted birch trees. Still I suppose its easy to whine about someone else having access to their house if you can park outside your own.

Wood and old iron :-)

Filed under: daily doings, How I, life off grid, listers — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:54 am

A few moments to myself whilst the sausages cook so I’ll finish off last nights effort which had me ‘home at last’.


The Dude, Molly and I wandered the hills in the sunshine, sitting down for five minutes above Tarbert to admire ‘Calum’s road’ and ‘Rainey’s wall’ or is that Rainy’s wall, I’m never sure.

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The daft wee dog taking a barking fit at a sole cyclist almost a quarter of a mile away, she may have a ‘screw loose’ but there’s nothing wrong with her eyesight.

It was in fact the busiest day I’ve seen at the north end since the foot and mouth epidemic of some twelve years ago, with a full car park and a large group of walkers. Well they couldn’t have picked a better day for it that’s for sure, even the path to Torran and Fladda had the air of Sauchiehall street on Saturday about it.

Servicing a Lister ST2

As is customary for the weekend the Dude and I went over to the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ to check over the batteries, turbine and solar panels that power this idyllic let. Well we did in between passing the ‘time of day’ with the many walkers, something that always amuses me Smile 

As well as the topping up of batteries and checking the ‘Harris hydro’ turbine we decided to give the 70’s vintage Lister ST2 a service. The renewable energy system of 1260w of solar panels and a constant couple of hundred watts from the hydro turbine means that this generator does little work. In all honesty it’s probably only done 150 hours since I last serviced it a couple of years ago. There’s no hour meter on it but I can tell by the amount of fuel it has used, which is around 300lts. Even under full load this 1500RPM 7kW generator only burns 2lts/hour, so 150 would be the max.


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After running the lump of ‘old iron’ for a good half hour, the first thing that I did was ‘make life easy for myself’ by replacing the 1/2” BSP taper sump plug with a length of hydraulic hose with a tap on. Something that I’ve done on all my own as it saves an awful lot of mess, the oil can then be drained straight into a container. However I also fitted a brass blanking plug on the end of the tap just to prevent accidental opening and leaks.

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As well as renewing the 8pts of oil in the sump I also cleaned out and changed the oil in the air filter, replaced the fuel and oil filters, checked the torque of the base mounting bolts. The batteries were checked for electrolyte and all wiring checked for abrasion and security as well as the front and rear alternator bearings being greased. A look through the cooling grills on the Brush generator revealed plenty of life in both the DC brushes and AC slip rings and that was about it. Mr Lister would be good for another couple of years at least with nothing other than a few hundred litres of diesel Smile

Anyway, its time to go back outside now.

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