Lots of stuff on politics, food, photography, technology, movies, music and other things of interest (but not necessarily in that order). All of them viewed from a vantage point in the Highlands of Scotland.



For almost a year now I've been trying to minimise my intake of carbohydrates (carbs). Instead of getting my energy requirements from carbs, I get them from fats. Specifically, people refer to this as Low Carbohydrate, High Fat (LCHF). However, the terms lowcarb (low-carbohydrate) and keto (ketogenic) also get used for this eating regime, although they are slightly different. In practice, this means that I try to avoid high carb foods like pasta, rice, potato and bread. I haven't missed eating any of these foods in the last year, but it does create a problem if I want to eat certain styles of dishes. Take, for example, Bolognese sauce (ragù alla Bolognese), without spaghetti it is just fancy mince. There is a solution, and I call it courgetti. It is a compund word from "courgette" and "spaghetti". They are also frequently called zoodles, which is a compound of "zucchini" and "noodles". Whatever you call them, they work really well as a spaghetti or noodles replacement, and are easy to make. Of course, they are also low in carbs.

Wood processing: the ideal set up - Part 3

You might find it hard to believe that it sometimes rains in the Highlands. This causes some problems for my wood processing, as it is difficult to complete the cutting and chopping of a whole tree(s) without some of it getting wet. It is a particular problem for windfall (trees blown down during storms), as they aren't planned. I needed some short-term storage, and it needed to be big. A lean-to shed or a Dutch barn might be more permanent structures that could answer my need, but they would be time consuming to build and expensive. A polytunnel might give me sufficient space, be suitable for short-term storage and is cheap to buy.

Homemade mustard

I've been meaning to make my own mustard condiment for years, but never got around to it for one reason or another. If I had realised how easy it is to get a really tasty result, I would have done it years ago, instead of prevaricating. The only (mildly) difficult part is sourcing the mustard seed. You can buy one of three mustard seed types: white/yellow, brown and black. The three seed types are increasingly hot in that order. If you live in a city you probably have access to a wholefoods supplier, and for everyone else you can probably get mustard seeds fairly cheaply via the Internet. Now that we have the difficult part out of the way, we can proceed to the easy part: making the mustard condiment (sometimes called prepared mustard).

Wood processing: the ideal set up - Part 2

Limbing produces a lot of relatively small branches, which although useful firewood, is time consuming and difficult to handle.  The problem is that the branches need to be held in place while I cut them with the chainsaw. As the branches are thin, I might cut through them in a second or two. I then need to put aside the chainsaw, re-position the branch, secure the branch in place, pick-up the saw, cut the next section of branch, re-position the branch... Well, you get the idea. This process is hugely inefficient.

Bird strikes

The long period of sunny weather we have experienced in the Highlands this year, starting in April, seems to have increased the number of birds striking the house windows. The angle of the light hitting the windows, the light intensity and how bright it is in the room, all have an effect on how transparent the windows look. The birds, presumably, don't see the glass and believe they can fly-through the gap. I was dismayed when a juvenile song thrush (Turdus philomelos) struck the sitting room window, and died. I had to do something to combat the problem.

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