Life at the end of the road

November 9, 2017

Well over a ton :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, Trucks and plant, weather, wind turbine — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:03 pm

Twelve hours on and what a productive day it’s been, though as usual I never got everything done that I wanted. Still, I’m well pleased with the results, first of which was good progress in the hen field.

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Still pretty mushy at the moment but it’ll firm up a treat once it drains. I could have bashed on with this all day but the constant 3 ton dumper loads were making a bit of a mess on the hill behind the house, which in turn clogged up the tyres and deposited clods of mud an me lovely grey drive. Not only that but spreading the stuff was clogging up Calum’s tracks, which again was gonna make a hoor of a mess when I tracked back the way in front of the house. With all this in mind I decided to put this job on hold until a dry or frosty spell.

I then spent the next hour power washing Calum,

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as this stuff is like grinding paste with rocks mixed in and does the undercarriage no favours at all.

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It was no pleasurable experience cleaning the machine with a good gale and nasty showers so around 11:00am I went in for a warm up, a couple of fried eggs and several cups of tea. Almost an hour later I found the courage to poke my nose outside once more and headed for Tarbert in the digger with Molly. It takes a good half hour or so to track round there and walk back so we kinda ‘leapfrog’ with the dumper, you know, track for half a mile, stop, walk back, collect dumper, drive past digger etc. You get the drift hey,

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stopping once or twice on the way to clear a few culverts and remove this bucket from a drain near the old fish farm slip. This old bucket from a 13ton machine has been sat here for almost 20 years and I’ve had one or two ‘schemes’ for it over the years that have never got off the ground.

First idea was to take it home for a garden ornament, then I was going to bury it as a ground anchor for my wind turbine and now I plan to add it to the mooring we found last week. There is already a large anchor to the seaward side but I plan to extend the ground chain and put this on the shore side. The digger lifts it quite easily so I guess I’ll just pick it up and track it down to the shore at low tide, then I can float it out once the tide rises.

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Methinks that’s the Ronja Commander off Manish Point, she was there for quite a while in the afternoon as I drove back and forth with dumper loads of rock until around 15:30. I stopped work on the machines then hoping to get one riser on the mooring but as usual it took longer than planned and I wasn’t up for diving in the dark.

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I was also unsure which size shackle I would need so put two on loosely, along with a few cable ties to prevent the pins coming out. When doing this kind of work I always put the ties in ‘backwards’ at first. That’s to say I thread the ratchet through the wrong way so you can then remove it on site and then turn it the right way and tighten it. This saves you fumbling about with gloves on underwater looking for the ties in your bag or pocket. The ties are already in the right place, handy if you are using two sizes and you’ve no danger of loosing them. On smaller shackles I use stainless or Monel metal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monel wire, not copper, which tends to act like an anode and corrode the pins. Though having just read that article on Wikipedia, methinks I’ll stick to stainless from now on.

Having been driven in through lack of light I had a go at repairing the exhaust on my Mate’s Yamaha.

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Not the prettiest but with the aid of some 28mm copper pipe, a jubilee clamp, some aluminium tape and sealer it was ‘job done’ Smile

A great day for energy

It’s not often we break the 100kWh per day barrier with our renewable energy production, but today we did big style. The metered supplies from the 3.2kW Proven, hydro turbines and solar panels totting up a very respectable 101kWh.

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This figure does not include the 3kWh produced by the solar hot water or any of the energy produced by the 6kW wind turbine, which is, as yet unmetered. I guess that seeing how the 3.2 produced 60kWh today then the 6kW should have easily doubled the days production.

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November 8, 2017

First of the white stuff :-(

Well the ‘long drive sowf’ on Monday passed by without incident though the sensible thing would have been to do it on Sunday in daylight.

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The north wind would have been at my back and at least it would have been dry, as it was I had a 30mph headwind at least plus my 8mph speed on the dumper. So pretty much a damp gale of wind the whole way to the ferry really, then I couldn’t get my phone to work until almost there at the terminal so it was well after 8:00am when darling wife collected me in her car and took me home. It was a mind-numbingly grim drive sowf in the dumper and with just the flashing lamp and a head torch for illumination I can’t really say I saw much in the way of wildlife, just one rabbit and an unidentified bird that may or may not have been lost. Wishing to get the experience over ASAP I only stopped a couple of times, once to look at ‘Calum’s cairn’ in the eerie glow of the flashing amber beacon and once to readjust my clothing and hat.

The plan had been to go and visit me Mum but the ferry was ‘on amber’ and the forecast was for much fresher winds in the afternoon so we skipped the visit to the mainland and just went to Sconser quarry for a couple of tons of 20mm ‘chuckies’ for in front of the house. The afternoon being spent spreading those and clearing drains at the side of our road, the weather was friggin miserable with constant driving rain power washing everything in its path.

A visit to Talisker

A much better day greeted us yesterday but this time it was Portree we had to visit for pig and hen feed, though I did manage to call at the quarry once more for more stones. This choosing to get a couple of tons of 40mm to use for the drains in the hen field. The 20mm would do but 40mm will let more water through to the perforated pipe that I’ll be using.

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With almost a couple of hours to spare until the 13:00 ferry we took a detour to Carbost on Skye and the Talisker Distillery https://www.malts.com/en-gb/our-whisky-collection/talisker/

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I can’t say that it’s something I was that bothered about doing and personally I’d rather have gotten home an hour earlier but it was actually really, really interesting. Also being ‘off season’ it was pretty quiet so there were only four of us on an intimate tour around the facility. Our guide, a Dutch lady with one of those accents which is hard to place but tells you she’d spent many years in different countries was also very enthused by her subject matter. As is customary on this kind of thing we had a ‘taste’ of a couple of favourites at the end so with the wife driving I left with a lovely warm glow inside me.

Now there is an awful lot of science in this distilling carry one and the unique flavours of each distillery are imparted on their products by everything from the sea air, shape of the stills and stone walls of the warehouse. So why on earth do they give you tap water to add to it!!!! I must admit I always add a little water to my uisge-beatha ‘water of life’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uisce_beatha but it’s invariably spring water and not the chlorinated muck that comes out of the tap. I guess it’s just me being so used to having ‘wholemeal organic’ water for the last 30 odd years but I hate the stuff that comes out of the mains or off the ferry. It ruins a good cup of tea and is sacrilegious in a ten year old single malt.

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Which is, rather appropriately what we had last night, a fine Glenmorrangie Original from Tain that had been left for me at Sconser by a friend Smile The thing in the jug next to it is a diving regulator soaking in vinegar. Vinegar has a million and one uses, we even have a book here on the subject https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vinegar-Natures-secret-Maxwell-Stein/dp/0953707474 but one thing not mentioned is its first class properties for cleaning salt deposits and Verdigris off demand valves. An overnight soak of one of these in  vinegar will have it looking like new a breathing more freely the day after Smile

The pile has gone

After our excellent tour around the distillery we headed back to Sconser below a dusting of snow on the Black Cuilin, the first this year, then caught the Hallaig back to Raasay.

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Once back home it was back to work on the digger and dumper shifting the pile in the car park.

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This was taken up to the hen enclosure so I can make a road through to for the quad and trailer.

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Much, much easier when you have the ‘tools for the job’.

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That was it really, eventually I was driven inside by darkness and changed the filters on our water treatment plant.

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I say ‘treatment plant’ but it’s basically three filters in series, a pleated 50 micron then a 5 micron and finally a 1 micron filter. Then a UV filter but I have never ever used it or even switched it on, can’t see the point really, been drinking the stuff for nearly 30 years so why switch on yet another ‘parasitic load’ for the inverter? I only fitted it to comply with the building regulations and I do have my doubts as to it’s effectiveness anyway. Sure they do work but to work well the water has to be very clear and ours is generally quite brown at the best of times Smile Not really sure how often I change the filters but I change the 1 micron one twice as often as the other 2 and last night I did them all.

So that’s it for now, tis almost 6:30 and time to get started.

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