Life at the end of the road

February 21, 2019

Back to the shed :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, daily doings, life off grid, listers, pigs, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:45 pm

OK, it’s not actually a shed more of a ground mount PV array that I can park the Searider under to keep the sun and weather off it. Sort of a car port on steroids I guess, whatever you call it, it’s certainly gonna be man enough to stand up to the West Coast weather that’s for sure. Callum Findlay, sole proprietor of the Raasay Sawmill and shed designer/builder extraordinaire has seen to that. Me, I’m just the apprentice in this project Smile I guess it’s been three weeks since we got the sturdy frame up and in the intervening period I’ve gotten 12 x Trina 300W solar panels and all the mounting hardware to go on the roof whilst Callum was busy cutting rafters, purlins and boards for the roof and sides.

  Pigs and Listers

Anyway, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, the shed was today, it was pigs and a Lister yesterday, oh and rain, lots and lots of rain. A friend had needed help removing his pigs from a croft they were busy rotovating and myself and A, N, Other had offered to help.

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First thing I had to do though was remove the 12 solar panels from the trailer, easier said than done in a gale of south wind on your own Smile

That done, the trailer sides and roof fitted we set off south to try and get the two beauties into the trailer.

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The girls were not impressed and to cut a long story short my neighbour went for a mud bath, we all got very wet and the two pigs, as far as I know are still charging about the field Smile

After all that excitement I found myself a nice leisurely job on Harry, my trusty Lister HR2 15kVA generator. Truth is, Harry is much larger than we need, a 7 or 8kVA would suffice, but he was dirt cheap and had only done 50 hours running when I bought him despite being 20 years old then. He is over 40 years old now and has still only done 3300 hours so still a ‘spring chicken’ in Lister terms.

Lister fuel solenoid

If I’m honest the fuel solenoid stopped working properly over a year ago which effectively meant that Harry wouldn’t start unless you helped him. Sure he would stop fine but the fuel solenoid needed help to energise. This was never really too much of a problem as the generator doesn’t run much and we have a meter in the kitchen that tells us if the batteries are low.

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Anyway, I thought it was about time I fixed it, especially with me going away next shift for a couple of weeks. The Hallaig will be covering for Lochinvar again at Lochaline so we may have house/dog sitters in. The solenoid is just an electro magnet that once energized lifts up a lever on the fuel pump allowing the fuel to flow to the injectors. It was working but needed a little help to operate.

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The return spring seemed to be too strong for a start so I replaced that for a weaker one as it looked like it had snapped at some point and been shortened. I do have a vague memory of doing this but the main issue seemed to be that the plunger wasn’t in line with the operating lever so it was binding as it travelled upwards. Not sure how this could have happened but a little adjustment with a 5/16” and 7/16” spanner plus some WD40 soon sorted it.

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Plunger off.

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Solenoid energised and fuel on Smile

The shed

Today was a vast improvement on yesterday weather wise, OK, it wasn’t absolutely dry but near enough to not need oilskins and no where near as windy as forecast.

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Callum and Jay arrived around 9:30, just in time for ‘second breakfast’ of eggs fried in nduja and a fresh pot of coffee. Sure the muesli and banana I’d had for breakfast number one had been healthier but home grown eggs, pork fat and chili beats the carp out of it for ‘hitting the spot’ Smile

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Callum had pre cut the rafters and purlins and just like the rest of the construction they fitted perfectly.

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I concentrated on fitting the rafters whilst Callum got on with the purlins.

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After 17:00 I ‘broke out’ the Magners Smile

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By 18:30 it was getting to dark to see the ‘bubble’

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so I ‘called it a day’ Smile

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February 6, 2019

San Pellegrino tonight :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, life off grid, shed/house — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:45 pm

Eight PM and that’s me just through the door from work and sat down in front of the puter with a glass of San Pellegrino, there’ll be no rum tonight Sad smile Still, I arrived back home freshly showered and fed thanks to the luxury of MV Hallaig and the generosity of my ‘back to back’ who left me a bowl of leak and potato soup as an afternoon snack and a pan full of spag bog for dinner. Another glass or two of sparkling water once I’ve done on here and that’ll be me off to bed, more likely than not before 21:00. The first day back at work always passes quickly cos it’s inevitably only a short one. By the time I’ve read all the handover notes, trawled through two weeks emails and read the ‘End Of Trip Report’ left by the previous crew the day is usually done and today was no exception.

Home Alone

With darling wife in the ‘toon hoose’ once more I’ve had a couple of girls sharing my bed,

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dunno how this is gonna go down when the wife returns Smile I must hasten to add that I ALWAYS make the bed, I always have but after watching Admiral William McRaven, I do it with a smile Smile

Anyway’s, just like every other ‘final day’ it was a mad rush finishing stuff off and tidying stuff away. This morning I gave the digger a good clean and grease, moved a dumper load of ballast ready for the next project in a fortnights time, a long overdue pipe burial.

Most of our water supply pipe is well buried, my diligent son did it over the course of around a year by hand. No mean feat as it’s 250m and some of it is quite stony. However there is a 15m section that runs over solid rock which he covered with turfs and this works just fine to prevent the pipe freezing. Unfortunately every batch of pigs we fatten seem to take great delight in removing them and exposing the pipe. This lot were no exception so I formulated a plan to put a large drainage pipe in the burn behind the house then bury the pipe deeply with the digger. Sure a sensible person would have done this in the summer but ‘you know me’ Smile

Whilst reassessing this plan I took the opportunity to go and check our supply up the hill.

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I discovered this ‘secret well’ 6 or 7 years ago when looking for a suitable water supply for the house. It resides in an old enclosure and is a proper walled well that has never run dry in all the time I’ve been monitoring it. Granted that is only 5 or 6 years but more or less as soon as I hound it, I put a pipe in it and ran it the 250m down to what was then just the shed and house site and it has always had a trickle of water coming out of it. The water is piped from the well into this 1000lt settling tank then flows into the 3000lt storage tank which is 20 or 30m above the house so gives us great water pressure.

After checking the settling tank, which was its usual peaty hue I went to check the well.

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Sadly, there must have been a landslip recently and this huge rock was covering it, shame, cos it really is a pretty well.

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You could see where the rocks had come from and it must have been fairly recently.

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I dunno whether this enclosure was for sheep or hens or both but there are the remains of a shelter up there too. Again, that could have been for shepherds or hens, whatever, it is a lovely spot up there.

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That was it really, I took the dugs for a walk, got my trailer ready for tomorrows oil delivery and went to work.

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And I REALLY did make that bed Smile

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