OK, not quite alone because I’ve got the ‘wee dug’ for company, but my weekend with the Dude is over now as I delivered him to the ferry this morning. A very fine morning it was too and I sure as hell am glad I’m not going back to work tomorrow. I would be severely miffed after two weeks of carp to be returning to the Hallaig during what looks like a precursor to spring.
Considering I lived here on my own for several years I’d forgotten just what it was like, above all the silence, but also how much there is to do. It’s 20:00 and I’ve just sat down having reluctantly left the new house site two hours ago. Had to feed the pigs, deal with the hens, feed the dog, bring in the washing, do some house work then make my dinner. I’ve still not had a bath yet or done the washing up because I’ve only just lit the stove and the teenager used all the hot water last night.
It was actually a really good day here yesterday, which was one of the reasons why I never posted, there was even more to do last night and we didn’t get in until dark. The forecast was actually for rain, and whilst it certainly threatened, it never actually arrived.
It started a little later right enough due to wine bottle number two, so when I went to feed the pigs most of them were waiting for me, usually it’s just Ellie. Unusually the Tamworth sow in the middle lives on her own, not in an ark, but in that rhododendron bush behind the road sign. Pigs are not usually solitary creatures but she lived on her own before we acquired her and seems quite content. I guess she’s also sussed out that being far nearer the croft than the others she can finish her food before Rocky or Jamie Lea steal it. The two wee Tamworths have only just been given the ‘freedom of Raasay’ or at least the north end and I’m not quite sure where they’re sleeping yet.
Molly, as usual is stealing pig feed whilst wearing her ‘hang dog’ expression because I’m yelling at her, it’s no wonder she’s fat, that stuff is full of protein. After porridge and with the boy still in his bed I headed up to the turbine base to clear out the mounting hole in the base plate and remove the greased mast bolts.
I also set up a taught 8m long string to ascertain the position for the winching post, which is crucial, not so much the distance, but it must be exactly in line with the centre of the hinge pin and at right angles to it.
Finding a suitable piece of Scotland I rolled back the carpet of heather and bored a 32mm hole around 6” deep with my Hitachi breaker. I had planned to use resin anchors for this too but I already had 16mm ‘Rawlbolts’ and as the load here is less than 2000kg I used that in favour of the £30 resin from Hilti https://www.hilti.co.uk/anchor-systems/injectable-adhesive-anchors/r1216 . Having said that I just bought five packs on eBay last night for £5.50 because it was just out of date
I also managed to get the resin gun for a mere snip at £12 + £6 postage, I was well chuffed. This is how I fastened my current Proven turbine eight years ago and it’s far easier than mixing 7.5 cubic meters of concrete I can tell you. I only mixed two barrow loads for the screed and I was wrecked
Of course using resin fixings only works if you have suitable rock, however, there’s no shortage of that at the north end of Raasay. Indeed Hugh Mackay had his rock breaker attachment on the 7ton Hitachi digger and barely put a dent in this particular spot.
Having not spent anywhere near enough time with my boy, he buried in homework and me in ‘housey stuff’, I knocked off early and we went for a good tramp round the hills of Arnish.
Grey it may have been, but after the recent deluges it was a great tonic, few more good days and we’ll see a little greenery about the place I’m sure. For all its miserableness, it’s not been cold and the grass has hardly stopped growing all winter on the lawn.
Calum Macleod’s croft the Aird, Torran and Loch Arnish.
The solar powered hen house showing all the bits that I creosoted today
What a lovely building site
By the time we’d dealt with everyone and got back in the house it was dark, and after lighting the stove, making dinner, buying rock anchoring drills and kit off eBay and ensuring my boy was ready for school it was bedtime. We had to be up even earlier than normal today to deliver ‘Houdini’ the pig, that’ll be the one that I tried to deliver on Friday only to have her jump out of the trailer twice!!!
Well my plank, G clamps and Vice grips sorted her out.
For the first time this year I awoke on a brightening day and took my son to school in full daylight, and that was leaving the house early with two pigs for Oskaig.
Dropping those off complete with trailer on our way to the ferry
and returning home as the Golden Dawn was hauling creels off the ‘Long Rock’
though not all the previous precipitation had been rain. The Cuilins were certainly whiter than when last I saw them.
A lovely day indeed saw Molly and I saw no reason to rush home and dawdled about Hectors croft at the bottom of Glam Brae.
The pigs were once more awaiting fed at the gate but pretty soon afterwards found a sunny spot to ‘sleep it off’. Me, I went up to the new house, threw all the windows open there and on the caravan and got on with creosoting the hen shed.
Ever since I moved my weather station up to the new house site, with the base station in the caravan, it has always been more humid inside than out.
Today however, after a few hours of sunshine it climbed up to a heady 21 degrees in the sun and was positively dry inside for the first time this year.
The house also acquired some guttering and lost some scaffolding today
The ‘wee dug’ supervising operations from a warm sunny spot
and me still working in a boggy one, I need to dig some serious drains around here. When I started building it last autumn it was bone dry, now it’s like a sponge, a cold one at that.
Well, I managed a bath but I’ll do the washing up in the morning, it’s 22:30 and time I was in bed, it’s looking like another peach of a day tomorrow and I’ve ‘stuff’ to do.