Life at the end of the road

November 21, 2008

Broadband at last!

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:56 pm

A big change in the weather today with a shift of wind to the north west and a big drop in temperature, snow was forecast but I wasn’t convinced. Wifey went off on the first ferry and I stayed at home to wait for the man from http://www.avanti-communications.com/ the company that was installing a satellite broadband system for us free of charge! Now many readers of my ramblings may not realise that I’ve been doing it on a crappy dial up connection of 31.2kbps at best for almost a year now! and broadband has just been a dream, like winning the lottery ( well it would be a dream if I actually did it ). Much as I do love ‘Life at the end of the road’ it does have it’s disadvantages like no mobile reception ( how can I survive ) and being so far from the telephone exchange that actually talking on the phone is a problem let alone sending masses of data. So when about a year ago I filled in an on line questionaire about my lack of broadband to the Scottish government I was less than hopefull. Imagine my surprise when about 4 or 5 months ago I get a letter from Avanti saying they’ll come and fit me a complete system FOC for just a monthly rental of around £30!!!!!! with an up link and down link speed of 1024kbps!!!!, bear in mind I’m now paying almost that for 31.2kbps because we need the extra phone line. Anybody else could manage with one phone line and ‘Netwaiting’ but of course the Raasay exchange does not support ‘Netwaiting’ so we have to pay an extra £12 a month for the extra line, now you try expaining that to someone in India! Anyway just as promised a man came, OK it was months and not weeks later but he came and he came on time, in fact he came early and not only did he come but he fitted a ‘dogs danglies’ satellite system, neatly, tidyly and cleanly in just a few hours. Ok my house now looks like Jodrell bank with it’s huge dish but I’m well chuffed!

Big dish

Big dish

Ok I know it’s not very rustic but neither is the mast behind the house!

Wind, solar, VHF and GSM

Wind, solar, VHF and GSM

With my new system fitted I just can’t wait to stick two fingers up to BT, you would not believe the aggro I’ve had with them over the years, most of it being with people on the Indian sub continent. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had many wonderful conversations with people in Delhi, in fact I love speaking to people at the other side of the world and asking them about the weather and what time it is in Banglehore or Calcutta but when my phone don’t work in Arnish I want to speak to someone in Scotland and not somebody on the other side of the planet. So imagine my joy when I phoned up Avanti to ask them about a router and spoke to a real person with a name who could speak English! And that’s about it really I’ve been plonking away on this all day discovering the joy of ‘you tube’ and ‘google earth’

A sigh of relief on Thursday

Filed under: Uncategorized — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:24 pm

I know it’s Friday but Thursday was far too busy to do any plonking on the laptop. First job as usual was pig feeding and much to our relief Braken one of our Tamworth sows had come into heat. This was a double bonus because it’s the first time that she’s come on heat since her last litter was weaned and that was 12 weeks ago! sows usually come on heat pretty quickly once their litters are away but Braken had a really hard time of it. We got a dodgy ton of feed from Harbro around the time she was due to have her piglets removed and contrary to popular belief pigs will not ‘eat anything’, some of the pigs would eat it, some would eat it eventually and some would not eat it at all. Braken fell into the latter catagory and with 7 piglets sucking the life out of her she was like a skeleton in less than 48 hours. We took the piglets off her and put her on increased rations but on the first day she managed to tear a ligament or something in one of her hind legs. Quite how she managed to do this in a flat field on her own remains a mystery but it took a good 8 weeks to repair so even if she had come on heat she’d not have been fit to go to the boar. To be honest if she’d not come on heat pretty soon she’d have been turned into sausages 🙂 so we were all very relieved. We got her at 9 weeks old exactly 2 years ago, she’s a beautiful looking pig and whilst we’re very fond of her keeping an unproductive sow would have been out of the question. So when the swineherd spotted the tell tale swelling of her vulva we all breathed a double sigh of relief. Firstly she’d got a reprieve and secondly we’d not have to put up with a depressed boar!

'Making bacon'

We just opened her gate at the other end of the croft and she charged straight over to Ginger who wasted no time at all in getting ‘stuck in’

With Ginger and Braken busy making more piglets we set about cleaning out Bramble’s ark. Her piglets were 17 days old and had only just started leaving the safety of their toasty insulated http://www.pig-arcs.co.uk/ by Bidgiemire. Whilst not the cheapest form of pig housing the insulation makes them warm in the winter and perfect for farrowing sows and tiny piglets.

'First footing'

Though some of the little darlings still prefered the warmth of the ark despite the big scary ‘two legs’ and her large stick!

Scary 'two legs'

Scary 'Two legs'

Whilst pigs never soil their house, piglets do and after clearing out the old bedding and replacing it

Making the bed

Making the bed

Bramble set about re arranging it with the utmost of care.

Back to the wind turbine

Whilst my knowledge of electrickary is limited much can be gleaned here http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php and with a lot of help from members of this excellent forum on renewable energy I deduced that the voltage regulator on his 300w turbine was toast! and if your interested more can be found here http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5345.0.html so after sending loads of emails to China I set about helping make dinner. We were having friends round and the pair of us set about making a rather bizzare 3 course consisting of a starter of Cider, onion and cream soup! followed by potatoes and smoked salmon with an oil, lemon, caper and vinegar marinade for second and smoked haddock and rice to finish! I can’t say it was perfect but after a little fine tuning I’ll post the recipies! As is to be expected after an occaision like this the memory is a little fuzzy!

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