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 5, 2019

Getting ready

Well that’s more like it, 4:30am and that’s me up around the same time I arrived in from work yesterday morning!!! I really, really could not handle shift work and how people working for the ‘emergency services’ and other institutions that function 24/7 is beyond me. Sure I’ve still not recovered from the ‘clock changing nonsense in October. Anyway, despite not getting up until mid morning yesterday I did achieve most of my objectives, though they did keep getting added too, much like the straws ‘on the camels back’, in short, I was left feeling a little overwhelmed by what lay ahead.

Patches of sunshine on Tuesday

Prior to the ‘over nighter’ aboard Hallaig with Renee from RH Marine I’d done the usual two or three 3ton loads of rock for the Torran track and latest home civil engineering project. The forecast being for thick cloud but dry.

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Well, they got that wrong, for the ‘North End’ at least, I was blessed with more than enough blue sky ‘to make a sailors trousers’ https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/51/messages/679.html A phrase that I picked up from my wife, who in turn acquired it from ‘Granny Annie’ though I must confess at never having heard it until 20 years ago in my forties. Sure it didn’t look great over on Skye but it was a fine day at Arnish Smile

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More than can be said for today if the forecast is to be believed and judging by the wind I hear outdoors it could be right.

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My first job, before it was fully light was to record the voltages on 35 Yuasa 40Ah gel batteries I’d saved from the commercial recycler they would have been destined for. Thought I’d repurpose them myself, though at the moment I’m not actually sure what for. Coming from a 15kVA 400V UPS system only a few of them would be ‘dodgy’ and by recording the voltages over the next few weeks I could ascertain which ones then pass those onto the recycler Smile What were left would go into some project of mine, electric vehicle, power for caravan, UPS for solar hot water system or something. Worst case scenario, I could use them as ballast to stop stuff blowing away in gales Smile

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Gave my butcher’s table a good clean too and gave the girls some extra rations, I’d not be feeding them much longer Sad smile After that and probably a lot more that I’ve forgotten, I headed to work and joined Hallaig at 18:00.

Wednesday

As soon as I’d got out of bed, done my ablutions and composed myself I headed off for Brochel. Kevin had telephoned me to say the parts were here for the Yanmar engine on the new generator there.

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The ‘clowns’ who ‘shall remain nameless’ who fitted this ‘off grid’ system may have been great electricians but they want severely reprimanding for the idiot mounting of the generator. Not only was there ample room where the old generator was mounted, had it been fitted there the exhaust would have pointed away from the house. In its current idiot location the thing is not only impossible to work on but the exhaust points directly at the kitchen door and an oil tank!!!!!

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Testing the new injector and being satisfied with it I fitted it and tried to start it, she almost went before flattening the difficult to access battery. At this point both myself and Kevin decided to get the halfwits back who installed it, to move it to sensible position where it wouldn’t gas the occupants of the kitchen or melt the oil tank Smile 

After that it was home for the muesli then a little more rock moving, with help Smile

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I’d be needing ‘Calum the Kubota’ to lift the girls into the bath so got another load into the dumper before ‘tracking’ him home.

Then it was more preparation for the impending arrival of the ‘Three Amigo’s’ and their entourage. For it’s the annual ‘pig fest’, that time of year when the two pigs I’ve been fattening for the English Producer, Russian Art Dealer and Swiss Surgeon get ‘dealt with’. Me, I just feed em then ‘pull the trigger’, tis their good selves that turn them into sausages for their own consumption. Though dismissing the weekends charcuterie as ‘sausages’ is somewhat demeaning. The salamis, brawn, links, black pudding, cotechino, nduja, pate and prime cuts wouldn’t be out of place in the dearest butchers or finest delicatessen.

Bed with a good book came around later than usual at well after 21:30 but it’s good to be back in my routine of getting up at ‘stupid o clock’ Smile So, 6:30 is here and methinks I’ll get out whilst it’s still dry and start installing the chimney for the 100lt boiler, you need a lot of hot water for de-hairing a pig Smile

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This 100lt cast iron boiler is a ‘God send’ in the operation, prior to it’s arrival from Germany a few years ago we had to boil water in pans on the cooker and using an electric ‘Burco boiler’. It was a nightmare and we never had enough  hot water, one year resorting to lighting some gas rings under the cast iron bath. Well, that was interesting Smile elfin safety would have had a fit Smile The cast iron boiler may be heavy and a PITA to move and set up but it does make life much easier. All you need to do is keep it fed with coal and water, though judging by current wind turbine output an electric immersion would do Smile

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According to a mate in Loch Carron the Met Office weather station nearby only recorded 22mm of rain in November, the least in forty years. The next lowest reading was 97mm!!!!!!!!

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I do love this dry weather but it was good to see the recent rain put to good use in my hydro turbine Smile That’ll be the Stream Engine doing the best part of 800W this morning Smile

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