Life at the end of the road

October 31, 2010

You should have seen the BIG one :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, food, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:27 pm

The planets must have all been lined up today, at least here at the north end, because it has just been one of those days where everything has gone right, better than right in fact. Well apart from not actually knowing what time it was and having a very confused stomach. My doctor says I have a perfect body mass index, which if you knew what I ate you’d find it hard to believe. My whole day revolves around my stomach which gets regular attention every three hours and this moving the clocks carry on puts me all wrong for weeks 😦

Anyway, the day got off to a fine start, not much wind and dry, which was just as well because the first job was to dose the sheep for worms. I’ll rephrase that, the first job was to attempt to catch the sheep and dose them for worms. We got these Soay sheep some years ago on the understanding that they were ‘low maintenance’, no shearing, immune to foot rot, easy to lamb and can survive off the most meagre of pasture. Well they must be if the came from St Kilda, how on earth they caught these mountaineering sheep on St Kilda is beyond me, they don’t respond to a dog and can climb better than most goats, perhaps that’s why they need little attention, nobody could catch them 🙂

If I said that it went smoothly I’d be lying but it went far smoother than normal due to the extra help from my boy’s two pals. We normally drive them down a long narrow fenced roadway into a pen with VERY high sides but over the years they’ve got wise to it and every time it becomes just a little harder. However two extra hands made all the difference and we only lost one who climbed a wall about 5’ high and scrambled along it to safety, something you had to witness to believe. You could say that we actually started this job a few days ago because that’s when we started lulling them into a false sense of security be feeding them in the catchment area, and we only did it today because the sheep that was destined for the table turned up as well 🙂 Squinty and her cousin have hardly been near the croft since I decided to butcher them, still no sign of her but the wedder lamb who also had a bullet with his name on turned up today.

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So once we’d dosed them all (apart from him) I let the others out and shot him at point blank range through the head, right between the eyes. Sheep have very small brains so it’s quite important to get it right, the last thing you want is an injured and suffering animal running about the place. It sounds cruel and harsh but this chap has had a happy and stress free life up here right until the moment he died. No hours in a lorry followed by a wait in a slaughter house with the sound and smell of death all around him, no, all this chap has ever known is the sweet heather of Arnish.

So please, if you’re vegetarian or of a weak disposition don’t click on the two images below. 

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With my eager apprentices we soon had him up on a block and tackle and his guts out, though were not so keen to join me in fried lambs heart and kidney for breakfast number two 🙂

Bringing in the creels

With November on the doorstep and winter at the garden gate it was time to bring in the remaining lobster pots and ‘winterise’ the boat, and today was the perfect day for it. The depression that had been feeding us with power over the last few days was now on Norway’s shores and had left in its wake some light westerly’s and patches of blue 🙂 So suitably fortified we set off for the shore and my mate’s Pioner Maxi.

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Marvelling at the autumn hues as we sailed westwards past the old ‘mission’ where John Nicolson of ‘I remember’ memoirs of the north end of Raaay by John Nicolson lived as a child.


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We only got a few hundred yards before spotting some ‘treasure’ on the shore, and there is nothing quite like a Pioner for beachcombing, it’s virtually indestructible plastic hull making it truly ‘rockproof’. The booty turned out to be a rather large but rotten piece of timber but our foray ashore did turn up three large trawl floats.

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The first creel returned a lovely ‘berried’ female which went straight back

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and the second had two monster males in and a large brown crab 🙂

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That’s the large one who won the fight next to my size nine wellie

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and that’s the ‘small’ one on the kitchen table, his claw is 9” long and came off in the scrap 😦

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The large one has gone back to sea in a ‘store creel’ ready for Christmas 🙂

The rest of our time at sea was not so profitable but we got all the creels ashore to dry out ready for next year,


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flushed out the engine, emptied the fuel, cleaned out the boat, sprayed everything with WD40, lashed it all down for winter and still got home for lunch 🙂

After a good helping of last nights macaroni cheese we spent the rest of the day moving rocks before I had to deposit pal number one back down at the south end and recover my boy.

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Many people say to me ‘I don’t know how you can drive up and down that road every day’,

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what can I say 🙂

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The clock may only say 21:00 but my body is telling me it’s time for bed so I’ll just leave you with the weather,

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which by recent standards has been rather boring 🙂

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Spitting feathers

Filed under: animals, daily doings, listers, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:20 am

I really do hate all this messing about with clocks, I’ve a great biological alarm clock that negates the use of an alarm. In fact, until I started work on the ferry I never used one and it’s only the fear of being late for work that has me setting one on my phone just in case. It is seldom required 🙂 Anyway I was awake at a far saner 6:30 this morning, which my computer has just informed me is actually 5:30 according to GMT so I should have an extra hour in bed, aye that’ll be right, somebody should tell that to the pigs 🙂

So it’s now Halloween, or it least it is everywhere except for on Raasay 🙂 We had it early so as not to interfere with the Sabbath, rarely does any event actually get celebrated on time here, between weather and the church events like Hogmanay and Halloween can be a day or two early and bonfire night can happen as late as January 🙂 Still it does not seem to bother those who matter, the children still enjoy it and go out safely in all weathers to just about every household at the south end to be showered with sweeties, peanuts and apples by a generous populous.

Here however I was trying for hours to get my new Panasonic FZ38 to download a video I’d shot yesterday onto my Fujitsu Amilo 3438g laptop. Never mind downloading it, it would not even see it on the SD card or even the camera’s internal memory. I hate all this modern technology, you don’t even get a friggin instruction book with the camera nowadays you get a friggin disc, fat lot of use that is in the glove box of the car when you quickly need to look something up. Not only that but the DVD drive on this computer does not work and when I did try it on my clockwork IBM the writing on the screen was so small that I couldn’t read it 😦 I know I can enlarge it but there’s 200 friggin pages and all I wanted to do was to try and change the recording format to something that (perhaps) my friggin computer could read. Four friggin hours of my life wasted on here when I could have been telling you all about our brilliant day 🙂 And what’s more I’m still no wiser and the excellent video of a piglet following two quads up to the ‘Pipers rock’ is still stuck on the card 😦


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It was actually not a bad day here, there were a few heavy showers but we missed most of them,

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wifey took the boy to Portree to play football on the all weather pitch at the high school, a ‘knockout’ that was cancelled before the holidays due to the weather and I stayed at home. Not on my own but with a couple of his pals that much prefer ‘action packed’ life on the croft to chasing a ball about 🙂

All tanked up

The first thing we did was take down all the dustbins from the north end to the ferry to save the bin lorry a twenty mile trip. I know I pay my council tax but if I can arrange my day so that it saves them driving a 15ton truck up an already pot holed road I do. And yesterday I was taking my trailer down anyway to collect one and a half oil tanks 🙂


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A full complete and unused one that I’d been given and was going to use as a water tank and half of one that I’d loaned to a friend as a pig ark 🙂

Once back home and with the sun shinning we set off for to check out the renewable energy system there and give the Lister ST2 back up generator a good hours run. As the house is powered by solar panels and a hydro turbine the generator seldom starts so it’s good to run it up regularly just to keep it’s batteries charged.

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All this we did with a little grunting pig following us about, Bee had chased the quads the half mile or so from our house to the school 🙂

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She also chased us a further half mile up to the Pipers rock as we towed some water pipe up there.

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Halfway up the track we came to a rock fall that must have happened since we were last up in August,

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it must have been quite spectacular as several hundred tons of lewisian gniess came crashing down from this cliff above Torran taking with it a few stunted birch trees.

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We continued climbing to our destination high above Loch Arnish,

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all of us !!!!!! Wee Bee trotted merrily behind grunting like, well, a pig 🙂

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With the water pipe deposited we climbed back down and went along to my friends house a little nearer to Fladda to collect a water tank that I’d been given. OK it had a few holes in it but nothing that a bit of fibre glass could not sort, we strapped it down with plenty of ratchet straps so as to to put any more holes in it and much to my surprise we managed to squeeze through the gate without removing it 🙂


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There was much more but I’d better go and feed the pigs now so I’ll just leave you with this visitor in our garden,

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he wasn’t in great condition, probably from all the sh***ing and bellowing he’d been doing of late but he was handsome enough for all that 🙂

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