Life at the end of the road

January 4, 2011

Only four :-(

Filed under: animals, daily doings, food, harbour, pigs, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:21 pm

This morning I was up just after 5:00 eager with anticipation to meet the day, it was my last one at work for three whole weeks and I felt Jamie Lea would have dropped her litter during the night. Now when you consider that the smallest litter she’s ever had is ten but more usually twelve or thirteen you can probably see how I was a little disappointed to see only three piglets this morning.

040111 018

There were none lying squashed in the straw and these three lively chaps looked like they’d been around for a few hours. I stayed with her for a while but she showed no sign of having any more so I left and got ready for work, shouting the good news up to the swineherd as I left 🙂

Once at work I got on with my engine room project as there was little in the way of traffic to distract me. Around 9:00am Jamie produced her last piglet and wifey (who knows about these things) assured me that it was the last one 😦 The shorter than normal day flew by and I handed over to my relief at 15:00 before heading home in daylight, or at least twilight by the time I’d loaded 400kg of coal for my neighbour.

 040111 001

Skye Coal were quite happy to deliver the seven bags she’d ordered but had been unable to get up due to the snow. They’d offered me a bag of coal to do the job with the Land Rover, and whilst I don’t use the stuff I took it anyway to give to my neighbour, it would make up for the logs that I took around on Hogmanay instead of lump of coal 🙂

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Of course the first thing I did upon arrival at home was to go and check out the four new piglets, there might only have been four but they were certainly large and lively 🙂

Only six piglets in Brambles last litter, now only four in this one, seems to me that our boar Ginger is destined for sausages 😦 I just hope that Rocky is a good a boar as Ginger.

On the way into the house I lifted the first of our two brine cured hams as they’d now been soaking for 13 days. I took the smallest ( 4kg ) one in as the larger one would benefit from an extra day. This was the one we did in cider, apple juice, dark and light brown sugars, bay leaves, peppercorns, and the remnants of Jamie Oliver’s mulled cider.

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Here’s his recipe

• 2 litres good cider, such as Scrumpy
• 6 cloves
• 3 or 4 star anise
• ¼ nutmeg, finely grated into the pan
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 vanilla pod, halved
• juice of 1 orange
• juice of 2 clementines
• juice and seeds from 1 pomegranate
• 4 or 5 tablespoons of caster sugar, to taste

and once we’d drunk nearly all the cider I tipped the dregs into the pot with the ham, I’m not sure just how much it contributed to the flavour but it seemed like a good idea at the time 🙂

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Wow just look at that, of course I couldn’t resist a few slices before hanging it up to dry above the sink, check out the colour and think rich, dark, sweet and full bodied. If that piece of ham were a bottle of red wine it would be around £30 and have reams of garbage written about it 🙂

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I really can’t see this lump of meat lasting very long in such a prominent position,

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the ‘wee dug’ could not reach it but she was trying very hard to move it telepathically off the hook 🙂

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The idea behind this brine cure was to preserve and flavour a joint of meat that could then be soaked overnight and baked or even boiled. However just slicing a bit of there and eating it ‘raw’ it’s every bit as nice as the finest air cured prosciutto, though I don’t suppose it will keep as long, can’t see that being a problem 🙂

 weather 040111

Anyway that’s about it for the day so I’ll just leave you with the weather as I have other things to do 😦

graph 040111

Well the weather and some fantastic aerial shots from Gary Brindle at ,

IMG_2397Fladda Scotavia

this picture of Fladda has to be one of the best images I’ve ever seen. Taken at a high (ish) tide with a northerly swell you can see just about the entire area that I fished for lobsters and scallops. The raised beach at the north of Fladda is clearly visible, as is a patch of sand in ‘the ring’, that three forked bay at the north of the island. The long reefs south west of Grian a Sgier are white with the foamy swell whereas the islets of the Glas Eilean and Fraoach Eilean to south in Fladda’s lee are not. Calum’s road is just visible before Tarbert in Loch Arnish, Dun Caan is just to the right of a distant Glamaig and far to the top right (south east) are the Crowlin’s, Kyle and the mainland, AWESOME Gary 🙂

South Raasay Clachan scenery 0809174597

And here’s one from the other end of Raasay looking north, judging by the old Polish caravan behind the village hall, lack of progress at the harbour, weed killed fields in front of the avenue and lack of bracken I’d say May 2008 🙂

IMG_2384 Calums road Brochel Castle Raasay

Not sure if this beauty of Brochel is taken earlier in the year than the last one, or the north end is just slower to ‘green’ but this one looks more like April to me 🙂



  1. Our hams and bacon joints never last long either. They’re always supposed to last a couple of months but rarely make one. (And no, it’s not me, honest!)

    Comment by Stonehead — January 4, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    • Jeez Stoney, this ham carry on is worse than an opened packet of ‘Pringles’, you just cant walk past it without slicing off a chunk 😦 Not only that but the salt makes you crave a fine red afterwards 🙂

      Have a good New Year, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

  2. Are you really sure the litter size is down to Ginger? There is a fairly incomprehensible paper here which looks like it is a complex question but likely to be down to the sow? Just trying to start a ‘save Ginger’ campaign!

    Comment by Tim Wilcock — January 4, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

    • Gosh Tim,

      that is complex and will require a good read but Ginger is a good age now and has become incredibly lazy so it’s not just about the litter size. He’s taken to cr4pping and pi55ing not just in his bed but around the area where the pigs feed. It’s a subject that wifey and I have discussed on many occasions, Ginger is not just a pig but part of the family but his time has come 😦 The swineherd and Ginger have been through allot, he’s been stuck in a ditch and almost drowned and caught in a fence and almost choked, all whilst I’ve been away. He’s suffered from depression when left alone and yet provided us with hours of entertainment and hundreds of piglets but he’s becoming a bit of a pain. Left with the sows he just eats their food and soils their housing, kept on his own he just mopes about and goes off his food 😦

      Free to a good home or sausages is the only answer 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

  3. thanks for another great read. wee molly is looking great and so are the piglets. If I get a cured ham it will do me two months –never more–late hubby would only eat it if I cut a big chunk to cook with lentils. Me I’d have a dozen slices every day-only I’d drink the local rosé with instead of red

    Comment by frogsaint — January 5, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    • Hi Carol,

      two months 🙂 not a chance, the first one has already taken a hammering, I can’t seem to walk past it without hacking off a slice 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 5, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

  4. Hi Paul.
    Soiling and procreation aside, I feel I have much in common with Ginger.Great shot of Molly willing the ham to earth.



    Comment by Andy — January 5, 2011 @ 11:43 am

    • So let me get this straight Andy, you often get stuck in ditches with your Disco when wifey is away, you eat like a pig and suffer from depression 🙂 Boy do I feel sorry for Jane and the children 🙂

      PS, are you scared of needles ? When Ginger nearly drowned in the ditch he had to be manhandled out of it and spent the next few hours in a burbling heap in his house refusing to eat, drink or move. That was until he saw the syringe full of antibiotics at which point he took off like a spring lamb across the croft 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 5, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

      • Hi Paul, was thinking more along the lines of a grumpy old has-been!

        Comment by Andy — January 5, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

      • Morning Andy,

        “was thinking more along the lines of a grumpy old has-been!”

        🙂 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 7, 2011 @ 7:08 am

      • 😆 gabby the tabby is the same—when he “seems” ill all I have to show him is a syringe–even filled wither water,and voila, a remarkable recovery!!

        Comment by frogsaint — January 6, 2011 @ 9:50 am

      • Morning Carol,

        my friend has a cat like that only with her it’s worming tablets, she can smell them in anything from a mile away and no amount of coaxing will get her to eat one 😦

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 7, 2011 @ 7:10 am

  5. the pic of the junior swineherd trying to eyeball that ham into line made me laugh out loud.
    the pix of the islands from above are so beautiful; there are a series of children’s books that i love of drawings of the great cities from above, and there’s that series of travel videos which are just flying a helicopter over beautiful places. it’s very very pleasant, thank you.

    Comment by jeannette — January 5, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  6. Hi Paul,

    (A happy 2011!)

    Could you give us the exact link to the Fladda picture from the air? I would like to use the highest resolution available, but all my search attempts are in vain.

    Comment by Leonard — January 5, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

    • Hi Leonard, contact Gary who flew over Fladda in his very expensive plane, took the picture with his very expensive camara and had the good nature to let me use use his copywrited image on my blog. I’m sure he’ll sell you a copy at a very reasonable price 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 5, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

      • Hi Paul,

        I have already sent Gary an e-mail earlier this evening as multiple searches on had no result. Do you mean to say you didn’t find this particular picture on the site, but received it directly from Gary? the name of the file on your blog doesn’t help either.. 😦 anyway, money will not be a problem, we have the Euro, so all will be fine 😉


        Comment by Leonard — January 5, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

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