Life at the end of the road

May 2, 2008

Mellowing with age

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:27 pm

It’s been the hottest day of the year here and a very busy one at that. Mrs C was up before me and that in itself is worth writing down for posterity because I think it must be a first, well apart from when she was breastfeeding the Dude! Dearest wife was on her way back in after checking on Jamie Lea when I arose at 5:30 and reported big improvements and when I went to feed them all at 7:30 she was certainly looking much better. So whilst she was out mrs C changed her bedding which was quite amusing as the 11 piglets refused to come out and kept trying to hide in the ever decreasing pile of bedding.

We don’t normally change it every day as pigs are contrary to popular belief are very clean but Jamie had been so unwell that despite her efforts to go outside she’d not quite made it. The ark was on a slight slope so it all ran back inside instead of out the door which did not help but I’ll sort that out tomorrow. And all this before 8:30 when mrs C took the Dude to school and I got on with re straining some fences and adding a strand of barbed wire to the fence separating Braken and Bramble the 2 Tamworth sows from Jamie Lea. Bramble can get a bit frantic at feeding time and climbed over a slack fence before now so I wasn’t taking any chances as Jamie Lea would have made sausages of her fever or no fever.

Laying the ‘penstock’

Once mrs C had returned elevenses was out the way and the sun had been beating down for a few hours I got on with my ‘mini hydro scheme’ I’m not ready for it yet but the pipe is FAR easier to work with when it’s warm and as it has to run over 250m through dense undergrowth a birch wood and some braken then I figured that it was better doing it before the dreaded midge arrived. These 50m lengths of 63mm pipe I’m using for a ‘penstock’ are far easier to work with than at first appears. There are however several golden rules that I’ve learned, 1 as mentioned wait for a warm day and let the suns energy help you. 2 always drag it downhill and let gravity help you. 3 pick your route carefully bearing in mind that the penstock must allways be ‘falling’, any high spots may trap air and any low spots may trap debris. The pipe is easy to move down hill, hard to pull uphill and impossible to move sideways over bushes and trees so walk and mark your route well. The spot I’ve chosen for the turbine is not ideal as it’s not much above the high water mark but I could not resist using the last 4m of that drop towards the sea.

Although it’s very close to the sea it is a long way up a narrow curved ravine so by the time the sea gets up here there’s not waves or spray though it will need to be in a good enclosure.

I got most of the pipe laid out (200m) but was struggling getting the last pipe through an old drain under the road so left it for the Dude. I reckoned he would be small enough to crawl through with a rope. However when I mentioned this to mrs C she was not impressed with my idea so I’ll have to think of something else.

Injection number two

I’ve been dreading this all day having been somewhat terrified by what I read on the web. I was well pleased with my efforts yesterday at intramuscular injection but today Jamie Lea was feeling much better and knew the score. Yesterday we spent a good while rubbing, talking and comforting her before i rammed the needle in then giving her an apple when I’d done the deed. She did jump a bit but soon settled down so today I went in the ark with her twice through the day talked to her whilst she was feeding her wains rubbed her rump then gave her a good slap with my hand before giving her an apple. When it was time for her jab I did the same but with the syringe and she didn’t even flinch!!! I was so pleased with myself that I felt like a proper pig farmer!

Back to sea

With such beautiful weather and the weekend ahead there was only one thing for it but to launch the boat and take the Dude and his pal out fishing which we did at 6:00pm, the tide was high, we put out a couple of lobster pots and lifted the 4 that we’d set last week using old socks and cat food for bait (needs must) the 4 were disappointing with only one brown crab one velvet crab and a large wrasse. Time was when I’d just have chopped up this beautiful fish for bait without a second thought, but not now I must be mellowing with age. Apart from my supper I did manage to find a good bit of treasure though I had to get the Dude to go and catch it!

Injecting a pig!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:33 am

As I was saying yesterday the day started going pear shaped after my encounter with John (Korea) Macleod. Mrs C phoned to say that Jamie Lea had collapsed, she was struggling standing and had finally given up and just flopped down on the ground, her vulva had a slight discharge and she was urinating allot. In fact she was so knackered that she was even urinating in her ark. Mrs C had spent a bit of time comforting her and her breathing improved then she got up, which is when she phoned me and then the vet. The vet was out on an emergency call on Skye and her phone was out of range, her assistant recommended a course of ‘Pen Strep’ penicillin/streptomycin injections over 5 days. Which of course we did not have, we had Almyacin but no penicillin or streptomycin. The most helpful assistant had told my wife that the church minister Dr Tallach keeps a stock of antibiotics for the vet but she had been unable to contact him. I got busy trying to phone all the crofters on the island that might have some but of course they were all out doing crofty stuff with the good weather though by 6:30 I found some at ‘Cuddies’ ( Cuddy being a crofter, part time fireman  and the islands reserve constable )and set off down to the village to collect it. I really don’t know what we’d do without good neighbours to fall back on in times of crisis, I say neighbours but they’re 10 miles away and will always offer to come up if an animal is in trouble. When Ginger almost drowned in a ditch last year when I was away at dry dock ‘Brathain’ and ‘Embee’ (everyone has a knickname) were up here like a shot to assist mrs C. By the time I got home the vet was back home and gave us all the help she could over the phone but it was with some trepidation that I set off to give her an intramuscular injection of 4ml. I’d spent most of the time in between phone calls surfing the net. Bizzarely if you type ‘Injecting a pig’ into google then the first page that comes up is all about sending an ROV or something down an oil pipeline! further investigation and previous experience of nearly injecting a pig had confirmed my suspicions that this was not going to be easy and even if I did manage todays the next 4 were going to be really tricky. Still it had to be done or at least attempted and we both set off armed with syringe and an apple. After spending a while comforting her and several attempts,  bringing my arm up but then just stopped short of doing it, Mrs C (who almost trained as a nurse) had a go. She had a couple of stabs but could not even get the needle through the skin so it was back to me, after letting her settle down I raised my arm with the syringe in my fist and with a firm stroke plunged the needle in and squeezed the syringe, I was surprised at the force required, I’ve done sheep before but this was much tougher. She gave a wee jerk but soon settled down and I rewarded her with an apple. Mrs C was out this morning at 5:00am and she’s much better. So I’d better get off and feed her.

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