Life at the end of the road

March 9, 2008

The wains new house and Raasay’s first hedgehog?

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:33 pm

The impending farrowing of Jamie Lea (one of our ‘old spots’) in three weeks time has necessitated the ejection of the wee wains (our 7 Tamworth piglets) out of their swamp, I mean field onto the hill. They’ve been on the hill for a couple of weeks but have been using their field for eating and sleeping and I didn’t want to shut them out until we’d made a shelter for them. Once we separate Shona and Jamie Lea, Shona will start to fret if she’s left on her own so putting her in the wains field means she’s close to all the other pigs. Pigs are gregerious animals and hate being alone, Ginger our boar suffers from depression when we have to remove his two girls for farrowing. Chances are the wains would have been just fine in the birch woods but more likely than not they’d have ended up sleeping under our neighbours chalet. She probably wouldn’t have minded but I wasn’t taking any chances so todays first project was to build a shelter for them.

Pallets to the rescue

I don’t know how many times I’ve said this but I think west coast crofting would grind to a halt without wooden pallets and plastic fish boxes. It’s like big lego for crofters, if you need a bridge, gate, fence, fank, shelter, or just a bonfire then pallets are just the thing. So it’s no surprise then that I turned to my pallet stack when a quick shelter was needed.

pallet house 1

Firstly I got the Dude to screw squares of plywood left over from building the school extention to the bottom of the pallets to cover the holes. Fortuitously these were all 2′ wide which is just half the width of the long side of a pallet. After cutting out a door we took our ‘kit house’ round to a nice firm wooded spot round the back of the croft.

pallet house 2

A ratchet strap a few nails and a sheet of polythene later we had a des res for 7 wee piggies and we’d barely finished it when they came to check it out!

pallet hoose 3

Unique wildlife

Now as Charles Darwin said Islands can have unique species and whilst the Galapagos Islands of the Pacifc ocean have many, Raasay only has one, a vole and unfortunately I’ve only ever seen dead ones that our cats bring as presents, but the same sea that cut the Raasay archipeligo off from the rest of Scotland and gave us the ‘Raasay vole’ also kept the fox away and deprived us of the hedgehog. That is until today! whilst out doing my unpaid work for the county roads dept of cutting rushes at the side of the road (well actually bedding for the pigs ) I came across this lonely creature huddled against a rock.


I cut the rushes around him so he could see the road and then went on my way, stopping just briefly to photograph 5 hinds at Brochel


and a lion up a tree at Screapadale!

Lion up tree
All in all it’s been a pretty busy and exciting day and apart from doing a wee repair job on ‘Harry’ the Lister’s starter solenoid that was about it and even that was self inflicted. I’d just connected a hand lamp up to his 24v battery bank to make checking the cells easier. The new found burst of light in a dark corner led me to a dodgy connection on the starter solenoid which I thought I’d repair with a simple crimped terminal. Of course in doing this I broke the connection on the solenoid so had to remove it, drill out all the rivets re solder it then rebuild it with bolts. Story of my life really.

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