Life at the end of the road

April 3, 2009

Preparing for a drought

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:20 pm

Another bonny day here at the end of the road but my acheing body was a little slow at rising today,  it was well after 6:00 and much closer to 7:00 before I set about leaving my bed. As is often the case the day did not go as planned, in fact I can’t even remember what the plan was but I did have a most enjoyable morning sorting out my workshop and clearing out the garden shed. It started something like this, a large order from Screwfix containing all manner of tiling related acutriments had been languishing in the ‘Old Girl’ since Wednesday. This was for tiling the bathroom during my week off, however the demise of wifey’s wheel bearing would have made going to Inverness to collect tiles in the Land rover expensive and slow so I’ve put that job on hold until the next week off. Despite sorting out my workshop I could find no home for all the tubs of adhesive, grout, paint and tiling tools so decided to put it all in the garden shed which was of course a bit of a mess and by the time I’d sorted it all out my stomach was telling me it was lunch time. Whilst I’d been doing all the hard labour wifey was putting in the 1st early spuds but couln’t remember what variety they were, obviously she’s been spending too much time with me and has contracted my forgetfulness 🙂 With the spuds in the sheds sorted and a good helping of scrambled eggs inside us we set off with the trailer to cut rushes for bedding at the roadside, having two sows with litters has meant lots of bedding changing. Normally I just do it on my good neighbours feild opposite with the quad and wee trailer and that will last for my week at work but the extra changing has meant we need to fill up the large trailer now to last the week. It’s actually much easier to get a large amount this way as we can leave it in the trailer rather than put it in the barn, it also has the advantage of making any suicidal new born lambs easier to spot at the side of the road. Of course with the trailer full I then had to go and clean out Ginger’s stone shed and that was a good bit of it gone 😦

Pig movements

The next task was moving pigs, Shona, who had just had her 11 piglets weaned needed to come out of the swamp that was her home for the last two months and go in with Ginger the boar, she couldn’t go in with Bramble because they don’t get on. Jamie Lee was in with Ginger and needed to come out because we couldn’t put Shona in with Jamie Lee and Ginger because Jamie Lee would get bullied. Jamie Lee does bully Bramble but no more than is normal to establish their pecking order so we decided to put her in with Bramble. Things being complicated by the fact that Shona’s 11 spotties were living on the road between the two fields that are at opposite ends of the croft.

Everyone should have a pig :-)

Everyone should have a pig 🙂

So after spending a little quality time with them

Quality pig time!

Quality pig time!

they followed me into the veg/fruit tree patch, step two was to lead Shona out of her field along the road and through 4 gates into  Ginger’s field. That bit went like clockwork apart from one wee detour into the barn.

This looks interesting

This looks interesting

After a quick look around the ex night club that is our barn Shona headed straight for Ginger, you’d think that after just having got rid of 11 piglets she’d want a rest but you’d be wrong!

What's he like?

What's he like?

She needed no encouragement and once in his field Ginger was straight on the case of checking her out though Shona was more interested in giving Jamie Lee a hard time. Fortunately we managed to get her out and in with Bramble before any serious damage was done. Meanwhile Shona’s 11 spotties who had been temporarily shut in the fruit/veg patch had managed to squeeze into this tiny shelter

WEE house

WEE house

and were all fast asleep!

A footie team of piglets!

A footie team of piglets!

How on earth 11 piglets squeezed into a spce the size of a 3′ x 4′ pallet is beyond me but they really were out of it!

After a session of washing and greasing up my Honda Quad and my mates Yamaha I was reminded of last years water shortage when we had less than an inch of rain for 6 weeks in May and June whilst the rest of Britain was under water. Determined not to suffer a repeat performance of  bowsering water 11 miles from the ferry terminal, I’d already installed my old bath as a water but on the barn and now I was making a 1000lt water store out of an old insulated fish tub and a toilet cistern.

Water store

Water store

We have two water supplies to our property one from a tiny spring on the hill that feeds into two 1000lt insulated fish tubs that we use in the house and one that comes from a tiny lochan about 30m above the house. The latter supply used purely for pigs, garden and as a fire hose as it’s not fit to drink (and believe me if I say it’s not fit to drink it’s pretty grim) Last year however both of these dried up for about 3 weeks so I decided to make use of this old tub by screwing an old toilet cistern on the side of it and putting a feed from the lochan into it, when the tub is full the toilet cistern ball cock will shut off the flow giving us a 1000 lts extra capacity which will make all the difference to a lactating sow.

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