Life at the end of the road

March 18, 2009

Still itching!

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:43 pm

Yet another peach of a day here on Raasay with a real feel of spring about it,  whilst we could still get a spell of north wind and some ‘Lambing snow’ it was the last thing on my mind today as I went to feed the pigs. Even though I fed them all on Sunday morning the 4 wee  spotties seemed to have put on pounds and Sona’s 11 wee, wee spotties were needing to get out of their swamp! At around 4 weeks old they’ve seen precious little of the wide world, whilst they’re in a large field that mum quite happily trudges around up to her armpits in mud her wains seldom leave the half dozen pallets that lead from the front of their ark to the gate. We usually turn the gate upside down so the piglets can roam about the croft in front of the house and feed from a separate trough, with the gate the wrong way round the wains can pass through it but mum can’t. As the much larger spotties have been on this bit of ground it’s not been possible to do it yet but I felt that today they were large enough to fend for themselves in the big wide world so after feeding I discussed it with the swineherd.

Insulation, insulation, insulation

At the breakfast table we agreed a battle plan, she’d take the boy to school and upon her return we’d turf the 4 wee spotties out on the hill and let the 11 wee wee spotties out on the croft in front of the house, whilst it’s quite a large area most of it is a road I made but at least they’d be able to run about and do a bit of grubbing in the verges. The minor complication to this plan being that there are 4 much larger Tamworth roaming round the hill so we’d have to make another shelter and try and keep them apart or at least feed them apart. I can almost hear the seasoned pig keepers laughing but we have done it in the past, and if they’ve got enough room it can be done 🙂 Anyway before all that I wanted to make a start on fitting the 150mm insulation in the roof space of the house. It’s one of those jobs I should have done 18 years ago before I put up all the wood paneling but in those days I was much tougher and could not be doing with namby pamby insulation. Which is stupidity bordering on insanity because insulation is by far the cheapest form of heating and the £90 that I paid for the 4 rolls needed would have paid for itself a dozen times over by now, but you live and learn!

Not much room!

Not much room!

The first thing I tackled was the 6″ gap between the sarking boards and the roof paneling.

150mm Rockwool

150mm Rockwool

The insulation was the same thickness as the 150mm and the roll was the same width as the distance between the roof trusses which at around 45″ is quite wide but that’s because it’s only supporting a tin roof. The insulation had to go in up the way as crawling on the wood paneling would have been impossible and I did not have enough room to get anything to crawl on up there 🙂 . However upon unrolling the stuff I discovered that it was pre cut almost all the way through into 4 strips making it fairly easy to push up with a stick  and even easier when I discovered the trick of tightly rolling the strips back up to squash them then unrolling them and pushing them up before they had time to expand again 🙂 By around 10:30 I’d about a quarter of the roof done which included the 32″ section between the wood paneling and the eaves which once insulated I covered with quarter inch thick hardboard.

Well pleased

Well pleased

It was gross overkill but I’d been given 14 of these 8′ x 4′ ever so slightly water damaged sheets a couple of years ago and it seemed like the ideal use for them to contain the dreaded insulation and it’s nasty fibers that have left me itching and with a sore eye at 3:30am which is when I’m trying to finish this post off!

The great outdoors

So with wifey back from the school run and second breakfast digested it was outside to work on plan A, the first of which was to build a shelter or should I say convert an oil tank into one. There must be hundreds of these faulty plastic oil tanks lying around they were made over a period of several years by Balmoral using I think a mterial called Bocerene or something like that from Denmark. The company were a little slow in identifying and sorting the problem and quite a few tanks slipped through their  checks. Mainly by being sold to retailers that had ceased trading since the problem was identified or supplied through builders who’d not been informed of the problem or did not want to pass on the information for fear of picking up the tab. I copied and pasted this from Google :-

“Users of Balmoral fuel tanks with serial numbers beginning 0001 through to 0201 should contact Balmoral Tanks by fax on 01224 859030 or email (siteservices@balmoral.co.uk). It is stressed that no photographic attachments should be sent at this time.

A form can also be found on Balmoral’s website (www.balmoraltanks.com) and emailed to (siteservices@balmoral.co.uk).”

but I don’t know if it’s still relevant as it’s quite old

It could well be because the tank I was about to cut in half to make 2 luxyury pig arks was only replaced a few weeks ago.

  • Instant ark!
  • Instant ark!
  • Once Id cut it in half  with the hand saw and wifey had made a door we loaded it on the quad and took it to a nice suuny spot with a few trees and a view!

    A room with a view

    A room with a view

    and with the shelter placed on a nice well drained dry spot we walked back to lead the wee spotties round there

    Free at last!

    Free at last!

    We stayed a wee while with them then left them to it grubbing about in the bracken roots

    'I like it out here'

    'I like it out here'

    By which time my stomach was grumbling, the problem of what to have for it being solved by finding a cache of eggs under an old Land Rover body near my workshop! As there are no foxes on Raasay we don’t shut our hens in at night, the down side of which is that every now and then one of them starts laying out somewhere mad. It’s not usually a problem as the lack of eggs in their nest box tells us to start searching and hens do not wander far or have a great imagination so their nests are quite easy to find. The hen that laid these however is ancient and we thought she’d stopped laying months ago. The threat of spring must have given her a new lease of life!

    21 eggs!

    21 eggs!

    After lunch it was cleaning out all the arks and trying to get Shona’s litter out into the big wide world.

    Where's all the mud gone?

    Where's all the mud gone?

    And whilst they took a little persuading once out they were skipping about like lambs, we even let mum out for an hour before leading her back in the feild and re fitting the gate upside down. By the time the evening feed came round her piglets were fast asleep in the ark, worn out by all the running about and too tired to eat!

    Me I had a bath to try and stop the itching caused by the insulation then spent hours doing this only to lose most of it!, awaking at 3:30am with a sore eye probably caused by the blessed rock wool, anyway an eye wash seems to have done the trick so now at 5:00am I’m going back to bed for an hour!

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