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

November 30, 2019

Another ‘peach’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:12 am

Well, that’ll be the last day of November here, Orion was framing the bedroom window once more with even sharper clarity than yesterday. Countless stars filled the clear sky yet there wasn’t a hint of any frost and the car thermometer told me it was 3 degrees Centigrade!!! My third Chinese weather station in 5 years having died in a September gale. I really should buy myself a decent one for Christmas, it’s more entertaining and less distracting than the TV which still lurks in the corner of the room, even though neither myself or Molly ever watch it, truth is I’m not exactly sure how to switch it on Smile Whatever happened to knobs and switches on appliances and radios? I often listen to the Radio, especially when working outside or in my shed and have resorted to changing radios rather than stations cos they’re that frigging complicated to tune!!! I kid you not. I’ve five of them, three Sony’s, one Makita and an unbranded digital one. The Makita is the only one I can actually tune, it has a big black knob and has the buttons set to Radios 1,2,3 and 4. Of the rest I’ve two on Radio 2 and two on Radio 4. It is actually easier to move rooms or Radios than use the friggin pre sets or tuner. Me dear old Mum must have had the same problem cos I got three of the radios off her when she died Smile

More generator woes

Now, I don’t have any issues with generators, probably cos I’ve lived off grid long enough to know that you need a decent one and you need to look after it. In the thirty years I’ve lived at the North End I’ve never been without power and the truth is I’d probably shy away from a grid connection even if it were possible. I draw great satisfaction from not having any utility bills and being independent. Well, that is until I’m asked to provide two of them to prove where I’m living and not laundering money Smile 

Other folk living ‘off grid’ don’t seem to be so lucky in the generator department, me I’ve had three (for the houses I’ve lived in) in thirty years and they all still working despite having a combined age of 132 years. I’ve got neighbours on Raasay that have had half a dozen in the same period and are continually having problems. Such has been the case with the builders working at Brochel, they’ve gone through three in as many months!!! The latest one being a brand new Stephill http://www.stephill-generators.co.uk/ SSD6000 which has NEVER worked, a reflection on the company that installed it rather than the excellent Yanmar powered generator itself.

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I had been working on it until late Thursday, leaving the builders ‘in the dark’ and promising to sort them out on Friday. The injector on the single cylinder diesel engine did not appear to be ‘injecting’, fuel was getting as far as the union to it but no further suggesting a faulty or blocked injector. However, as the generator was brand new I was somewhat reluctant to delve any deeper for fear of voiding any warranty. Armed with a name and number for the manufacturer I left the builders searching for a B&B and went home to ‘mull it over’. Whatever was wrong with it would most likely require a new part and that wasn’t going to be on Raasay until next week at the earliest.

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After making enquiries I found a 6kVA petrol belonging to a friend and loaned to another, it was at Torran about a mile down the track. Not straight forward cos I had to make several phone calls and leave Facecloth messages online at ‘stupid o clock’ but at ‘first light’ I headed over in the Mule to get it. Of course it wouldn’t start and I had to drain excess oil out of it, clean the spark plug and air filter, etc.etc.

With the SDMO SH6000 petrol generator running sweetly I headed to Brochel and tried phoning Stephill, for reasons unclear my phone on 3 and the builders phone on Vodafone wouldn’t work despite both showing 3 or 4 bars. Well, it was still early and I’d a job to do in the village so I took my phone down there and spoke to a very helpful chap at Stephill.

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Traffic was quite heavy on the way back in the wife’s Subaru which had, amongst other things broken the alternator drive belt. This wasn’t good cos the battery was pretty flat and crawling along behind these tups was making it even flatter Smile Luckily I had my wee ‘starter pack’ with me so clipped that onto the Subaru’s battery to keep it running.

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I gotta say, I’m severely impressed with this tiny Noco GB70 ‘booster’ which I bought on a friends recommendation some months ago. It is small and light enough to fit in a jacket pocket, albeit a large one, yet it will deliver 2000 Amps, enough to start a large diesel engine. I kid you not, I’ve done it several times. It also has a USB port so you can use it to charge phones, laptops or whatever. My son even took it to the Belladrum festival weekend for that very purpose it’s so small and light. I purchased it when Phoebe the Daihatsu’s battery failed, a new battery was £70 and with the car still useable but destined for the scrappy I put the money towards this   https://www.amazon.co.uk/NOCO-GB70-UltraSafe-Lithium-Gasoline/dp/B016UG6PWE starts up to 8lt petrol and 6lt diesel engines it says and I can well believe it. Starts a V8 Range Rover and TD5 Discovery a treat in the coldest of weather.

The tups were being ‘put out’ to get on with the business of making lambs, traditionally, at least for as long as I’ve lived on Raasay, they’ve been let loose on the 4th of December. Dunno whether it’s a sign of climate change or a ploy to fool/miss the ‘lambing snow’ but last year and this they’ve  gone out a week early.

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I guess that was just about it really on the daily doings, when back at Brochel I removed the injector and pipe then swivelled it round to test it on Stephill’s instructions. Sure enough, fuel was getting as far as the injector but no further. I then installed the SDMO petrol genny in the shed using the Stephill plug and flashed it up.

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The big Victron 48V Quattro 5kVA inverter sprang into life and started charging the very flat batteries.

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That was it really, it’s 8:00am now and time to feed the pigs, I went out at 7:00 and someone with a torch was already halfway up the Storr in the dark!!!

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