Life at the end of the road

December 9, 2019

Lots to do :-(

Golly gosh, 6:30 already, black and wild outdoors with plenty of stars but no sign of the moon, he must be hiding in the west somewhere cos he sure was bright last night. Well, it’s gonna be a short one this morning, about as long as it takes me to drink five cups of strength 5 Italian blend. Well, they are small cups and I don’t usually go higher than 3 Smile

It’s getting ‘that time’ when the ‘fortnight off’ draws to a close and I’m preoccupied with all the tasks left, as yet undone. Dealing with the pigs and associated shenanigans have taken up a good chunk of the last week, though I must confess to not having played much of an active part in the butchering this year. Living alone these days and already having a freezer full of deer, fish, scallops and even pork meaning, well, I just don’t want to be greedy Smile Having said that last night’s offering of faggots, spuds, broccoli and asparagus was deelish Smile

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Balls of meat, seasoning and onion wrapped in this membrane called caul fat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caul_fat that surrounds some of the pig’s internal organs. Amazingly storng and sometimes called lace fat, you can see why. Well, I have one left and can’t make my mind up whether to put it on tonight’s menu or freeze it Smile

Sunday

With a huge contingent working on the remains of Snowy and May I’ve been keeping myself amused with other tasks. An early morning trip to Brochel to service my Mate’s 6kW petrol generator being the first task. Early being quite relative, it was probably just before 9:00 but still dark when I set off.

The Dunan Star must have been out early for she was already lifting her trawl aboard before 9:00am, unusual here for a Sunday.

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The SDMO SH6000 petrol generator is far from the ideal or suitable machine to power an ‘off grid’ property. With a 13HP Honda GX390 as the ‘prime mover’ it’s pretty boodly thirsty, however it is quiet and starts easily. Unlike the brand new Stephill SSD6000 diesel supplied and fitted by a ‘reputable’ firm in England. And whilst it’s extremely frustrating I don’t think there’s a great deal wrong with the Stephill other than the clowns who fitted it.

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The Honda had recently had an oil change and I confined my work to a new recoil assembly and air filter. Starting her up easily when finished and leaving to running to put some life into the 10kWh BYD LiFePO4 battery pack which was down at 37% http://www.byd.com/cn/en/byd_enproductandsolutions/newenergy_mob.html

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With the Honda purring away I set off to do some road repairs,

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sure, this is what I pay my Council Tax for but to be honest it’s actually easier making ‘run off’s’ with a spade than getting sense out of HRC. Why the feck they cannot drive around with a spade and do it themselves is beyond me. No they’ll just wait until potholes are deep enough to damage a car then pay a contractor to patch the holes and leave the root cause of the problem (water lying on the road) to make the next feckin pothole. I despair, not to mention have to fit yet more suspension joints and bushes to my cars to get them through the MOT Sad smile

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That done I continued on to Torran doing more of the same,

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the Council having long given up on repairing this track. They used to maintain it when I first moved here in the late eighties, now they do ‘feck all’ yet still charge full council tax to the properties it serves. Leaving path repairs to Raasay volunteers and the people who live here.

After breakfast at Torran and Molly drying herself we returned to Brochel to check on progress, calling at Brochel Loch on the way back.

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The batteries being at a healthy 60% I left the solar panels to finish off, though there wouldn’t have been much from them yesterday Smile

December 3, 2019

Grey and miserable :-( at last :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food, life off grid — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 3:50 am

Two thirty in the morning and that’ll be the hot chocolate and banana ‘sleeping draft’ taken Smile

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Hopefully I’ll manage to get back to me bed for a few hours shortly, normally I wouldn’t bother even trying but I’m working tonight. The good ship Hallaig is having some work done overnight and ‘yours truly’ will be in attendance with a pan of venison chili Smile I had it last night for dinner and I gotta say it was probably the best I’ve ever made. I used real chunks of a stags hind leg instead of the normal mince then gave it a ‘kick’ with Sriracha and harissa instead of regular chili powder, finished off with the usual table spoon of organic cocoa it was boodly awesome. I was actually laid in bed at 2:00am thinking about eating some but settled for the Twinning’s Swiss drinking chocolate and an organic banana instead.

Normal weather

Anyways, as I’ve been saying, the weather this November has been exceptional with little rain, wind or sun. Well that changed yesterday, at least on the wind and rain front, sure there has been sun in November but even if it shines all day at this time of year my 8kW of solar PV struggles to generate more than 2 or 3 kWh. Even on the best of days at this latitude solar PV only generates 10% of what it does in May or June. Normally this would be offset by increased wind and water turbine energy, alas not this month. Having said that I’m far from complaining, it’s been great weather for the outdoors and whilst I’ve had to run the generator most days this month even that has only amounted to 52 hours, which isn’t much less than what I’d normally run in the whole year!

Well December’s second day gave Harry a rest, whilst it was thick and grey there was a good sprinkling of wind and rain, hardly gale force, or pishing down but the 12kW of wind and 2kW of hydro was more than enough to keep the house warm and ‘powered up’.

The first task of my leisurely approach to Monday was to go to Brochel and remove a couple of barrels of diesel of dubious heritage. They’d been stored outside with leaky caps and probably had water or worse inside them. The builders had asked me how they could dispose of them and I’d obliged figuring I’d be able to filter and separate enough of the stuff to make it worth my while.

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I took my Mate’s Kawasaki SX 4×4 Mule, A, cos it was muddy and slippy with limited turning space and I’d just washed the cars and B, cos it has a 500kg towing capacity and I didn’t believe it Smile

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Well, the little Mule lived up to its namesake and pulled the trailer and its cargo up ‘Calum’s Road’ no problem. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calum_MacLeod_(of_Raasay)

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https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/33158 better picture of plaque and that will be the Dunan Star fishing the underwater cliff in Brochel bay, which is a spectacular dive form around 18 to 40m.

Storing stuff in barrels

A lesson I learned many years ago on Scalpay, where all the fuel, be it petrol or diesel was brought onto the island in barrels.

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If possible store them upright in such a manner that water does not lie on top of them and enter either of the two caps, do this by setting them at an angle so it runs off. If you must store them on their side then do it with the caps at quarter past and quarter too, that way, if they do leak you will only loose half their contents Smile I’ve been moving full fuel and oil drums since 1985 and you would be surprised just how easy it is, it’s all down to technique and more often than not easier on your own, honest. I shifted these two full ones on my own with ease, it’s nay wonder I’ve suffered with a ‘bad back’ for years hey Smile

Power at last Smile

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100% fully charged batteries, 1200W from the wind turbine and 250W from one of the hydro turbines but these are all set to increase over the next few days with plenty wind and rain on the horizon. In view of this and having found a nice piece of Perspex left by the Polish builders I set about making a rear window for the Mule.

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Right, that’s it, almost 4:00am now, I’m gonna try and get some sleep Smile

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