Life at the end of the road

September 1, 2019

Bleedin’ diesels :-)

It’s a bonny start to September for sure, half decent forecast for the day and I’ve started it by catching the wee fecker that killed my two white cockerels yesterday Smile Feeling smug I am, which is more than I can say about the last miserable day of August. I say this every year, or at least I’ve been saying it at some point over the last decade ‘I have never seen so much rain’ !!!!! How can the sky hold so much water? I thought Friday was spectacularly wet but Saturday was every bit as bad if not worse and it got off to a really shitty start with me finding a cockerel dead and one missing.

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The two fine white birds given me by Anne and Donnie had been killed, this one having it’s throat torn out and left, of the other there was no sign.

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A quick search of their large enclosure failed to find it so I left the remaining rooster and hens sheltering from the deluge, let the pigs out and headed south.

I had promised to fix a toilet in the village and a generator at Brochel, which with the weather being as boodly awful as it was, seemed like a good option Smile

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The ‘toilet task’ was straight forward job of removing the pan, fitting a new outlet pipe and refitting it. Unfortunately the seals on the inlet pipe had gone hard and were also leaking. Of course I didn’t have any of those spare but found that by soaking them in hot soapy water and then cleaning them with a stiff brush they became soft and pliable once more.

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Toilet fixed, replaced and tested I went to borrow a couple of mink traps from a pal then headed north to Brochel.

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The rain was relentless Sad smile

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A sea eagle and the SD Raasay working at Brochel. https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:195457/mmsi:235075535/imo:9533426/vessel:SD_RAASAY

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Me working at Brochel on an old Yanmar generator that had just run out of fuel and required bleeding. I dunno how old it is but judging by the belt driven alternator I’d say ancient Smile However in true Japanese fashion it was easy to bleed, started first time and ran as ‘sweet as a nut’, it was also amazingly quiet for a single cylinder diesel engine.

Not so easy Sad smile

That done I headed home to find that it had been decidedly drier at Arnish and Torran so started a thorough search of the hen enclosure for the missing cockerel. In the past I’ve shot the wee feckers in broad daylight trying to haul a dead chook through the fence. I even found a ‘nest’ once under an old fish farm float where they had dragged dead hens to eat. I only found that when it started to smell Sad smile

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Well, there it was, about half way down the eastern fence line, a tunnel in the rushes leading through the chicken wire, minky could get through but couldn’t drag the chicken after him, still at least he’d eaten some of this one. I don’t begrudge the odd chook if they eat them, it’s this mindless slaughter I despise. Anyway, I lifted the corpse and used it as bait for a trap I’d set by one of the disused ‘pop holes’.

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Before the mink arrived on Raasay we had between 60 and 80 hens and the large shed has two nesting/perching areas that we used to rotate. So I set the trap in the disused one and screwed it to the wall so Mr mink couldn’t get by it and wreak havoc inside the shed.

Buoyed up by my success with the Yanmar at Brochel I thought I’d change the fuel filters on my own Lister HR2 diesel generator. The generator has not run since the 5th of May and whilst it gets little use I do try and keep it well maintained. In an ‘off grid’ system a generator is your ‘lifeboat’ if something goes ‘pear shaped’ with your system. I’ve never been without power for more than a few minutes in 30 years which is more than can be said for the rest of Raasay and SSE customers Smile

First thing to do though was to get it nice and warm to change the oil and filter. Ideally the generator needs to be run ‘on load’ to do this and with the batteries fully charged, hydro, wind and even sun all going well I somehow had to make it ‘work’. So I turned off the supply to the main SMA SI 6048 inverter and turned on the supply to the Outback GVFX 3048 inverter and a 6kW immersion heater. I then set the Outback to equalize the reserve battery bank in  the bunker.

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With a couple of Kw load from the inverter’s charger doing the EQ and the 6kW heater that would give the 12kW Lister a good 75% loading and get it nice and warm.

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Well, that turned into a bit of an epic and whilst I got the oil and filters done I gave up on the bleeding when my son arrived home at 7:00pm.

An unusual meal

He’d had a long day and had made a chili dip out of red wine vinegar and caster sugar! so I turned out some sweet potato baked in an olive oil and harissa baste with breaded scallops served on black pudding.

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A touch of lightly cooked asparagus in butter ensured even higher calories and cholesterol but it was boodly delicious Smile

Got the wee fecker Smile

Great start to the day.

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August 27, 2019

A fish supper :-)

Seven AM now, around two hours after I thought I’d actually wake up! Must have needed the sleep cos I’m usually awake at ‘stupid O clock’ but not this morning Smile Nope, I had fully intended scribbling a few lines down last night but by the time I’d made and eaten dinner I was pure wrecked so retired after my fish cakes. Hoping to wake at my normal time and do a little blogging before breakfast but that never happened, ‘twas 6:30 afore I stirred and a pretty uninspiring view that greeted me out the bedroom window.

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Not a patch on yesterday’s vistas of the Storr, in fact most of Monday was a pure peach of a day and after dealing with animals and washing I had a notion to visit Sconser Quarry. There was no particular logic behind this move, I had parcels to collect and folk to see at the sowf end so figured I may as well get some concrete mix whilst I was at it. You can never have too much aggregate Smile

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The quarry is always good for a social call too, the chap that bought my boat served me, my dumper vendor loaded me and I met Jamie from Bear who took my parents house off my hands Smile Methinks Yogi was trying to sell me a tipping trailer to match my dumper too Smile 

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Usually I try and go to the quarry using the 12:15 ferry or 15:30 as this means I can normally get loaded and back on the same sailing. However, in the drive to reduce my blood pressure and lead a calmer life I’d gone for the 8:55 giving me more time to chat and take the dug for a walk at Sconser. Hector’s new bothy and take away can’t be far away so with a bit of luck next time I go for aggregate or chips I can get a coffee there.

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Back on Raasay a yacht had called in to recover it’s lost tender that had come adrift during the night, methinks it was a good deal fresher than forecast and their inflatable had ended up on the shore below Clachan Croft. The silage at North Bay was at last bagged, the inclement weather of late having held things up.

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Hector’s may not yet be open but Iona’s ‘Larch Box’ https://www.facebook.com/thelarchbox/ certainly was Smile The ‘must visit’ attraction just a stone’s throw from the ferry terminal serves an awesome Brie, Pesto and sun dried tomato toastie amongst other things and that’s what I had for ‘second breakfast’. The muesli, fruit and yoghurt I had for ‘first breakfast’ may taste delicious and be healthy but it just doesn’t keep me going Smile

A spot of fishing

After visiting a few peeps in the village I headed home with the notion to do a spot of fishing for mackerel, my good friend and ‘back to back’ having given me some mackerel feathers on the ferry. By the time I actually got on the water though the day had ‘gone to the dogs’. Sure it was nice enough ashore with a good breeze of south wind to keep the midge at bay, however there was a heavy sky full of mischief and the wind was blasting off the land.

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Camilli had also, rather stupidly forgot to pull in the ‘elephant’s trunk’ last night and his boat was full to the brim with water Sad smile Still it was a first class opportunity to test the ‘self bailing’ capabilities of a 5m Searider and 90HP Tohatsu, I was well impressed Smile What must have been a good ton of water disappeared over the transom and out through the ‘elephant’s trunk’ at the mere push of the throttle.

Once I’d found my fishing spot off Manish point I threw in my line encouraged by the many porpoises around the boat. However it proved to be saithe and not mackerel and after 30 mins I gave up, my fingers bleeding from shaking off dozens of small saithe off me hooks. Sure they would have been fine for bait in the creels but saithe are a bit bland so I just kept a couple for dinner and called it a day.

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Long winded fish cakes

With my son on ‘late shift’ and a couple of hours to go before he was home I decided to have a go at fish cakes, not actually realizing what a pure faff they were Smile

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2303639/family-meals-easy-fish-cakes At first glance it seemed simple enough.

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I filleted the two saithe, added finely diced scallops, chopped spring onions and some milk then cooked it for two mins in the shed Smile That’ll be where I keep the microwave Smile I know I’m eccentric but I don’t like the friggin things Smile Having already mashed the Roosters with butter I drained the milk from the bowl and tipped the contents into the mash along with a heap of crab meat left over from yesterday. Ground black pepper and grated cheese were mixed in, after which I got fed up with the recipe which was telling me to put the mixt in the fridge for half an hour. So instead of that and frying em in flour I covered em in flour and breadcrumbs and baked em in the oven for half an hour at gas mark 6.

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They were boodly delicious served up with a tomato salad, three each being more than enough, even for Ross Smile Guess what’s for lunch today, after a visit to the microwave in the shed of course Smile

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